tv The Last Word MSNBC June 12, 2013 10:00pm-11:01pm PDT
as public policy, it is genius. tonight, a friend of ed snowden will join me to tell us what she wants you to know about her friend who is still hiding tonight in hong kong. >> let's get straight to the story everyone is talking about. >> the nsa. >> the nsa knows what everyone is talking about. >> the head of the national security agency will be back on the hill today. >> the head of the nsa will testify in front of a senate appropriations committee this afternoon. >> i'm trying to look at the nsa background. >> i'm no different from anybody else. >> we keep hearing that snowden had special skills. >> i don't have special skills. >> the access he had, i think we all need to be concerned about it.
>> there is a real disconnect up here about who knew, who didn't know. >> the aclu filed the first lawsuit toot. >> the aclu filed a lawsuit. >> to challenge the constitutionality of these programs. >> the revelation of these programs could lead to even more lawsuits. >> who are you suing? >> well, it is the constitutionality, or the civil libertarians are objecting. >> they are tracking calls, records, e-mails. >> it is very, very difficult to have a transparent debate. >> even our personalized birthday cakes. >> based upon secret interpretations of the law. >> complain all you want about it, but it is how we caught osama bin laden. tonight, nsa leaker ed snowden is holed up in a secret location in hong kong. that is according to today's south china morning post, which
got the first interview with snowden since he revealed his identity to "the guardian." snowden said compared to the unidentified documents the nsa had been hacking computers on the mainland since 2006, he has been seeking refuge. he says my intention is to ask the courts and the people of hong kong to decide my fate. here is what the father of ed snowden's girlfriend told reporters. >> he has always had strong convictions of right and wrong. and it kind of makes sense, but -- >> today, members of the senate appropriations committee asked the nsa director why an i. t. specialist who dropped out of high school had a top secret security clearance. >> i'm trying to look at the
resume background for this individual who had access to this highly classified information at such a young age with a limited educational and work experience, part of it as a security guard. and ask you if you're troubled that he was given that kind of opportunity to be so close to important information that was critical to the security of our nation. >> i do have concerns about that. i think those absolutely need to be looked at. i would point out that in the i. t. arena, in the cyber arena, some of these folks have tremendous skills to operate networks. >> we keep hearing that snowden had the skills, well, maybe he did. you know, but just because you're a swimmer and you're a champion swimmer doesn't mean we ought to make you a navy seal. >> the i. t. infrastructure was out-sourced. they don't have total access, but they get key parts to it.
>> he was in geneva, switzerland to maintain security. snowden told "the guardian," much of what i saw in geneva really disillusioned me. he said it was during the stint in geneva that he thought for the first time about exposing government secrets. while in geneva, he was in close contact with mavnee anderson, and today, mavanee said "i don't work for the cia or nsa but i obtained top secret clearance for a position i held in geneva when i met ed. my security clearance allowed him to talk to me as a friend about some of the things that weighed on his mind and conscience. he never gave up anything to me he should not have. he spoke in the context of the information i already knew.
and in a general sense about the stresses and burdens of the work he performed. he was already experiencing a crisis of conscience of sorts. joining me for an exclusive interview is mavanee anderson, thank you very much for joining me tonight. >> thank you for having me. >> mavanee, so you had a security clearance when you were there. were you working as a contractor also? >> i was not. and i guess i'll just say, so it doesn't seem mysterious at all, and because i think that it is information that can be readily gotten on line, i was a u.s. intern -- i was a legal intern at the u.s. missions of the united nations. and i had a top security clearance. >> well, that sounds a little confusing i think, to us, mavanee, that an intern would
have that type of security clearance just that the senate was surprised today that ed snowden would have that type of security clearance. are these security clearances, would you say they are easier to obtain than we out here, outside of the intelligence community realize? >> i think they're actually rather difficult to obtain. and i think that it is important that people understand -- i mean, i don't want to get too far into this. because really what i want to talk about is my friendship with ed. and my experience with him, as a friend. and i want to focus on that. but i did have a top secret security clearance. i did not have the sort of access that he had. and we did not talk about anything that i did not already know. so -- >> did he consider quitting this line of work?
he was already expressing that he was disillusioned about it back then? >> yes, he considered leaving it. and i was in contact with -- in close contact with him from the summer of 2007, as i say in my op-ed, from the summer of 2007 until around you know, the beginning of 2009. and we haven't been in close contact since them. and the fault is probably more mine than his. i am not very good at keeping up with friends. but -- during that time -- sorry, i'm trying to collect my thoughts. >> go ahead, take your time, take your time. >> thank you. i have to think very seriously about what things i want to divulge and what things i don't want to divulge. because i'm worried about him, mainly.
but during that time period, he did quit the cia. i knew that he was having a crisis of conscience, of sorts, and -- who does the type of work that he did, i feel like there must be points in time when they question the types of things that they do, or that they have to do. the decisions they have to make. the lies they have to tell. or the obfuscations, even, just to people they're in relationships with, or to friends who don't know what they do. >> mavanee, just watching you answering these questions, it is seriously -- just the kind of stresses involved and that kind of life.
i notice that he grew up in maryland, really in the shadow of the nsa, the neighborhood close to the nsa. and i'm wondering if that location had something to do with what got him into this line of work. >> you know, i can't speak to that. that is not something i would know about. >> do you know how he got started in this field to begin with? what drew him to it? >> i know that he is brilliant at i. t. and so i don't know what may have drawn him to become a part of the cia. but i assume that it -- that he wanted to make a difference in the world. and so i think he wanted to use the i. t. skills that he had, these special skills that he had in order to make a difference,
in a patriotic sort of way. >> there are a lot of things he says that sound to me, anyway, to be very naive, for example, he talked to "the guardian" about his interest in joining the armed forces, was based on the desire to go to iraq and do good. and then he was very surprised in military training and this is what i found astonishing, and naive. he was surprised that the military training concentrated so much on killing people. did he really not know that that is what the military is there to do, is actually kill people in war? could he be that naive? >> i don't think he was questioning whether or not you are trying to kill people when i join the military. i'll say i was surprised that -- when he told me that he had joined the army and -- and why.
and his reasons for it. but i don't know, perhaps he is naive, or perhaps he is just a patriot who wants to do his part for the country. >> well, on the patriot question or the general motivation question, because the word patriot to me, i'm not sure what it means in almost any context, but especially not in one. when he did quit the cia, you said, but he got back in, and he got back in having already -- or into the intelligence community, anyway, nsa contractor, that sort of thing. and he did that after already being disillusioned, expressing that to me, telling you about the stresses and the difficulties of the dishonesties involved. do you think he may have gotten back in with the intent of actually doing something like this from within the system? >> i am doubtful that that is
the case. as i said, i knew he was having a crisis of conscience. but i am still surprised, even shocked that he would -- he never gave me any indication that he would reveal anything that was top secret. so i am still very surprised. i -- you know, this is only supposition on my part, because i don't know why he decided to work for the nsa after being disillusioned, but it could be that he has a certain skill set. and he had experience on his resume. and he already knows a great deal about that world. and that is what he knows how to do. so -- >> i want to listen to something he said about his ability to
wiretap the -- and read, if he chose to, the president's e-mail. let's listen to this statement that he made on video. >> my desk certainly -- certainly had the authorities to wiretap anyone from you or your accountant to a federal judge or even the president if i had a permanent e-mail. >> and manavee, that sounds grandiose to a lot of people and there are some experts that came out since hearing that saying no, that is not possible, there is no technology capable, in which they think that is possible. do you think that some of the things that he has been saying and some of the things he said on that video are exaggerating? >> in my persons, he was not prone to exaggeration, so i'm not an i. t. person, i didn't do
the sort of things he did or have the access that he had. i don't know what he was capable of doing and what he was not capable of doing. but really i'm here to speak to the fact that he is a friend of mine. i think a lot has been made of the fact that he didn't graduate from high school. and what i find interesting about that is that he made a big deal of it just in our day to day conversation as friends. i think he was slightly embarrassed about it. which i find interesting because he did end up getting a g. e. d. and did take college courses. he is an i. t. person. and in my mind, an i. t. person often comes to that knowledge on their own. and so you know, someone such as bill gates, for example, i don't
think he ever graduated from college. so you know, i feel like a lot of i. t. people teach themselves. and i always considered him to be -- i don't know, because i didn't supervise him, i didn't do the sort of work that he did. but i always thought of him as sort of an i. t. genius, so for what it is worth. from a friend. >> right. and did he ever talk about his view of the world and his view of politics and the way things should be that -- i understand his expressions of disillusionment, but did he ever say you know, we shouldn't be doing this, and we should be doing x instead? >> no, and i mean, we were friends and i don't remember having -- i don't remember having a lot of political discussions with him.
so this is not really something i can speak to. i can speak to his character. i can speak to the fact that in my opinion, he was always a loyal friend and a good guy. he was very introspective. he thought long and hard about things -- he thought long and hard about the consequences of things before doing things, in my experience with him. >> i want to play you something that ron paul said during the last presidential campaign, because as we now know, ed snowden contributed to ron paul's campaign, and presumably, if he voted, possibly, voted for him. so let's listen to what he said about osama bin laden and al-qaeda, which was a specific, obviously, of ed snowden's. >> osama bin laden and al-qaeda have been explicit, they have been explicit.
and they wrote and said that we attacked. we attacked america because you had bases on our holy land in saudi arabia. you do not give palestinians fair treatment. and you have been bombing -- i didn't say that. i am trying to get you to understand what the motive was behind the bombing. at the same time, we had been bombing and killing hundreds of thousands of iraqis for ten years. would you be annoyed? if you're not annoyed, then there is some problem. >> did ed snowden say that, for example, like ron paul, that he thought that osama bin laden and al-qaeda were provoked in their actions by actions of the united states? >> i don't remember having conversations about that. so i really can't speak to that. i'm sorry. >> and just one more detail of that kind. anything about israel, ron paul, for example wants to end all aid to israel? was that something that ed
snowden thought about very much? >> sorry, again, that is not something i would know. >> okay. and you said in your piece that you would have advised him, you wished you had a chance to advise him not to do what he did in terms of this security breach. why do -- would you have advised him not to do this? >> you know, i think national security is really important. and i don't know, i would have counseled him to take a more measured approach. i don't condone breaking the law. i'm an attorney, and so i think i, you know, can't condone breaking the law, really. but i actually do believe in -- i do believe in law, which is one of the reasons why i find it -- i find the current debate interesting.
and the idea of national security versus privacy and whether or not there has been some executive overreach. i find all of that an important dialogue for us to have. but i would have counseled him to perhaps go about things in a different way through activism, through lawsuits. but not through leaking top secret information. >> do you agree with him, with your experience that the -- that our national security apparatus and intelligence community is what he calls, his words, the architecture of oppression? >> that is not something that i would say. >> and what i'm wondering about there, is -- does he go to a
level of exaggeration, i mean, i can understand having sensations that point in that direction, but that statement strikes me as a very serious overstatement about what for him is a very serious matter. >> perhaps it is an overstatement. but again, you know, i'm not privy to all the information that he was privy to. but i mean, i generally speak of things in a more measured way. >> well, i guess the final point that i want to raise about him as a person, because you're our insight into that. his sense of balance, his ability to balance things and his ability to balance conflicting things at the same time, which is an intellectual maturation process, which by the way, we hope occurs to some degree in college. which is one of the reasons why some of the senators were surprised, and they said you can be a great swimmer, doesn't make you a navy seal.
because there is more that -- that what the personality has to include in order to be an i. t. guy for the nsa, you may be a perfectly great guy for the nsa or google, but not have the kind of maturity for the nsa. but i'm wondering, is his personality, has it developed that kind of maturity that can balance these kinds of things and look at certain things and have a perspective on them? or is it a personality that allows certain aspects of things to get exaggerated. and he can look at the united states government and think of it as the architecture of oppression? >> you know, i'm thinking back on my own college experience and my own law school experience, as well. and i'm not sure that attending the classes that i attended
necessarily contributed to that -- >> let me stop you there. what do you think is the difference between you and your friend, ed, when you look at the american government and he sees the architecture of oppression, and you don't. what do you think is the difference between the two of you there? >> it is a good question. i do think that there are some issues, actually. and i do think that this dialogue is very important. i think that there has, perhaps because some executive overreach. and it could maybe be scaled back. i'm a big advocate for judges and for search warrants and i definitely think that there needs to be oversight, especially in an area such as this, in the intelligence world when there are not journalists
who necessarily have access who can sort of bring things to the light of day. i think it is so much more important, perhaps to have -- to make sure that we have the appropriate amount of oversight. so i don't why it is that i sound different when i talk about it. than he sounds when he talks about it -- >> well, mavanee, because there is huge difference between overreach and oppression, those are very, very different things, i think you and i can agree there is government overreach, and there is a lot of it and surely there must be some of that in the intelligence community. but there is a big difference between overreach and oppression. and that big difference, it may be i'm suggesting, be maturity of things that you look at things with, and it may be that ed snowden may have more
information than the rest of us may have. mavanee, thank you very much for being here, i know it is very difficult to talk about your friend with your own occupational history, and i really appreciate you joining all of us. >> thank you very much. >> thank you. coming up, today of all day, was the long scheduled hearing on the nsa's budget and the head of the nsa got quite a grilling, thanks to ed snowden. [ male announcer ] frequent heartburn? the choice is yours. chalky... not chalky.
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with lower-calorie options. with more choices and fewer calories... america's beverage companies are delivering. at the senate hearing on the nsa today, reporter rosie gray tweeted that senator barb is trying hard to keep the other senators from asking general alexander anymore about data mining programs. and then this happened.
>> so that is one of the great concerns we both have in that in our networks, the system administration of those networks, the i. t. infrastructure was out-sourced about 14 years ago to push more of our work out to contractors. as a consequence, many in government, not just us have system administrators who are contractors working and running our networks. now, they don't have total visibility of the network, but they get key parts to it. and in this case, this individual was a system administrator with access to key parts of the network.
>> senators who never got into much detail in previous nsa budget hearings were very interested in the details today. >> section 215 can be used to obtain "any tangible thing." that could include, could include medical records, internet search records, tax records, credit card records. >> we don't, i don't use those so i am not aware of anything that goes -- that would be outside of nsa. >> does this extend beyond telephone records? for example, could you check and see what that person is googling? could you check and see who that person is e-mailing? >> once we identify a person of interest then it goes to the fbi. the fbi will then look at that and say what more do we need to now look at that individual themselves? so there are issues and things that they would then look at if passed to them. >> so the answer to the question
is yes? >> yes, you could, you could get a court order to do that. >> but would that take a court order? >> it would, to do any kind of search in these areas on a u.s. person you have to have a court order. >> and here is general alexander's bottom line defense of all that secrecy. >> some of these are still going to be classified and should be. because if we tell the terrorists every way that we're going to track them they will get through. and americans will die. >> joining me now, howard dean, former vermont governor, and joy reid. howard dean, you were once on your way to the presidency, i don't know what happened to stop that. but you may have had a chance to sit in the oval office with that issue in front of you. if you don't do this, americans will die. there will be generals like alexander sitting there telling you that.
how should the chief executive balance the issues in making those kind of decisions based on those kinds of recommendations? >> well, look, i think there are a number of lessons to be learned here, leaving aside what ed snowden's motives were. i just got a tweet from a new hampshire legislator? who will guard the guards? this country is a great country because people who govern us govern with our consent. as i said last night or a couple of nights ago, i don't have a problem with somebody rummaging through my records if that is what we need to keep us safe. i do have a problem not knowing that it is going on, because i don't think it is logical or constitutional. i think what is necessary was for the american people to be aware that this level of scrutiny was going to happen, the public would have given approval. but what happened, a lot of congressmen right now claim they didn't know anything about it.
we do need protection from the government and by the government. i'll give you an example, i am old enough to remember when j. edgar hoover was involved in spying. i think the government is doing the best they can, i think it is possible for governments to overreach. and the inclination for the government to overreach, i am not going to debate over whether or not he's a traitor, we need to figure out how we can balance the need for security and inspection and the need for freedom, and to prevent government from overreaching and using this kind of information to oppress people. when you talk about the art of oppression, i think you unfairly jump down his throat.
i don't think he was saying the united states government was oppressive government, i think we would have given our consent, but we were not asked. >> but i do think if you look at the language, exactly what was said, he does use phrases like architecture, oppression, but joy reid, can we be oppressed in this country if we don't feel oppressed? >> well, i think i do have to take issue with what howard dean said. he also said that the united states is bullying china. i hate to break it to people, but china also was spying on our networks.
he told the chinese through the newspaper that we're spying on them. well, no-duh? that is what the agency does, created by harry truman for the intelligence gathering. it is an agency that wiretaps. remember before 9/11, the intercepts that came through, that was the nsa, that is what they do. let's just start by remembering what the agency does. and this young man went to work deliberately for that agency that all they do is electronic spying. that is what they do. number two, the idea that yes, you have to gain the consent of people before doing these programs, look, this was a program discovered, the new york times in 2005, they said okay, you can do it. but what is leaked here? the warrant. i think we have to be careful about making comparisons.
i think it goes too far. anybody would be uncomfortable with the government sitting through reams of data, it is just a variety of documents that they can get a court order. we can debate that. but calling it oppression, that means the companies like facebook, google, pretty much they're all oppressing us. >> that is my point, he didn't say oppression. he said the architecture of oppression. he said the chinese do this to their own people. i don't mind spying on them, they spy on us. i don't want to spy on our own people the same way that chinese spy on their people. >> if we hear from ed snowden, we'll get more clarification. but i think you're right, howard dean, this is an invaluable
debate that if he had not started in the appropriations hearing today, it wouldn't be controversial if it were not for ed snowden. but like so many washington debates, we are starting it several years too late. we didn't have this debate when they were voting on the laws authorizing all of this. joy as you pointed out on msnbc, the long history that was established without debate. howard dean, joy reid, thank you for joining us. >> thank you. coming up, yet another episode of republican guys sitting around talking about rape. they just cannot help themselves. . and those people are what i like to call... wrong. take metamucil. sure it helps keep you regular but it doesn't stop there. metamucil has psyllium, which helps lower cholesterol, promotes digestive health, and helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels. it can multi-multitask... look at it, it's doing over a million different things right now.
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crazy broke out in the house of representatives again today. yet another republican let it be known that pregnancy is not really one of the things you have to worry about if you get raped. his lunacy did not go unanswered. that is next. vo: traveling you definitely end up meeting a lot more people but
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>> before, when my friends on the left side of the aisle here tried to make rape and incest a subject here, the instances of rape resulting in pregnancy is very low. >> the congressman speaking in not so eloquent support on banning the abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, he did not go unanswered. >> astonishing to hear that the instances of rape and pregnancy were low, there is no scientific evidence of that. and the idea that the republican men on this committee think they can tell a woman in america that they have to carry to term the product of a rape is outrageous. >> joining me now, democratic congresswoman from california, jackie spear, congresswoman spear, his bill actually passed through the house today.
will they actually vote on it in the full house and all go on record for this? >> oh, absolutely, i think it is yet another example of the cheap theater that the republicans love to put in front of the american people to fundraise in front of certain people and show their credentials to a particular component of the conservative movement. >> and this thing that they have about rape and pregnancy, it feels like some kind of strange twitch or reflex they have. when they hear these words they have to say these things. >> it is almost like they have been programmed. and when the word "rape" comes up, it is like they have to say something more stupid than the last person said. the truth is they lost three elections on the last cycle on this very issue. and for him to say that somehow rape does not result into pregnancies is false.
because in fact, 32,000 women become pregnant because of a rape every year in this country. and there is no way that those women should have to take to term that -- that horrible act that took place as part of their experience in this crime that they endured. >> well, they're always making this point, the republican men, to justify their refusal to consider any kind of exception on their abortion bans, any kind of exception for rape and incest, so then they have to minimize the effects of rape. >> they minimize the effects of rape. i always get frustrated because not one of them has a vagina, and unless you have got one, and unless you have experienced that kind of just horrendous experience, how can you possibly speak to it? and you know, the american
college of gynecologists has spoken out loudly and clearly, they're the medical experts on this. and they say that at 20 weeks, a woman can have life-threatening circumstances, and that this kind of legislation is wrong. >> congresswoman jackie speier, thank you for joining us once again. >> my pleasure. coming up, darrell issa flip flops on the investigation, that means darrell issa is in the rewrite tonight. [ whirring ] [ dog barks ] i want to treat more dogs. ♪ our business needs more cases. [ male announcer ] where do you want to take your business? i need help selling art. [ male announcer ] from broadband to web hosting to mobile apps, small business solutions from at&t have the security you need to get you there. call us. we can show you how at&t solutions can help you do what you do... even better. ♪
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>> this was the targeting of the president's political enemies, effectively, and lies about it during the election year so that it was not discovered until afterwards. >> that was the chairman of the house committee on oversight, basically the house committee for investigations, investigations they feel like doing any time. darrell issa is the chairman of the investigations, and there he was on may 14th, announcing his conclusion about what happened at the irs before conducting one minute of investigation. he knew everything he needed to know. this was targeting of the president's political enemies. that is what he said. period. case closed. he knew that before a single minute of hearings. then darrell issa had his hearings and they were very
disappointing for daryl issa, because his conclusion about the case, the conclusion he reached before hearing a word of testimony was not supported by that testimony. and so then darrell issa had his staff start conducting private interviews with irs workers in the cincinnati office where the applications for tax-exempt status were handled. issa could have called those workers as public witnesses in a committee hearing on tv to see. but he was obviously by that time afraid that their testimony would not support the conclusions he had already publicly reached. so republican and democrat, committee staff members conducted those interviews in private. and produced the transcripts of those interviews. then, darrell issa tried to select phrases from those transcripts that he could then flash publicly and make them sound like they supported his earlier conclusions. but that didn't work so well for him. >> you know that your critics say that republicans, and you in
particular, sort of cherry-pick information that is sort of a foregone conclusion, can you not put the whole transcript up? >> the whole transcript will be put up. >> the whole transcript will be put up? okay, good, that was on june 2nd, he did say a little bit more in that hearing. >> we understand these are in realtime. and the administration, their paid liar, their spokesperson. >> yes, that was the answer in which darrell issa called jay carney, a paid liar, the answer in which darrell issa promised the whole transcript would be put out. and then darrell issa refused to put out the whole transcript. which means if anybody is going to be calling somebody a liar in washington, darrell issa shouldn't be that guy. because there is a very good chance he will lie while calling somebody a liar. here is what the member said
about getting the transcripts out. >> i said by friday, if the chairman doesn't want to release them like he promised, what we will do is redact them and then submit them to the public and media so that you all can make your own judgment. there is nothing in those transcripts that i'm afraid of. >> along with threatening to put out the transcripts himself, congressman cummings has revealed key elements of what is in the transcripts. he has revealed the man in charge, the irs manager who supervised the team of tax-exempt status, describes himself as a conservative republican, with 21 years of experience at the irs. the transcripts reveal exactly who was the very first person to focus review attention on a tea party application. application one, in this case. and it was indeed a local level screener working for that conservative republican manager. and when that screener told his conservative republican manager
about that application, the conservative republican manager agreed that it should be reviewed. the transcript quotes the manager saying, we would need to know how frequently or of the total activities, 100% of the activities, what portion of those total activities would you be dedicating to political activities, and in this particular case it was not addressed. the conservative republican manager then instructed his team to identify similar cases, and so there you have it. mystery solved. but now, darrell issa doesn't think the mystery is solved, even though he did announce his conclusion about the case a month ago before he heard a word of testimony. yesterday, darrell issa wrote a very angry letter to elijah cummings saying "there is still much we do not know about how and why certain applications for tax exempt status were delayed or received heightened scrutiny from the irs."
but of course none of them were actually denied. but there is darrell issa, the guy who knew everything before he heard a word of testimony before the committee saying there is much we do not know. and so darrell issa has finally said something that is true. yes, darrell issa, there is much that you do not. ♪ [ male announcer ] moving object detection. ♪ blind spot warning. ♪ lane departure warning. safety, down to an art.
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are rand paul and ted cruz ramrodding the republican party? let's play "hardball." ♪ good evening. i'm chris matthews down in washington. let me start tonight with this. it's in the a hard thing separating the two parties today if you think about it. the democrats are led by the president, a progressive. the republicans are led, well, it's a moving question there. there's the hard right majority in the house that moves john boehner about at will. there's mitch mcconnell the republican senate leader. then there's the half the republicans in the senate who are clearly to mcconnell's right. then there are the three on the hardest right of course, rand paul, ted cruz, and mike lee who are the loudest noises out there. when the vice president joe biden said the other day it's the party, the republican party is cowering to paul and cruz, i say he's on the money. just as every republican senator fears a primary challenge from the right, so does the republican party as a e