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Hardball with Chris Matthews - Terrorism and The Boston Marathon Attacks


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MATTHEWS: U.S. Congressman William Keating represents parts of Boston.
He`s a member of the Homeland Security Committee.

Mr. Keating, thanks for joining us. As a political figure watching this
whole thing, and with your oversight, what have you come up with, and what
we`re looking at here, the role of the FBI, the role of the Homeland
Security Department and their stovepiping, perhaps, keeping information
separate from each other. What do you think you see here so far?

REP. WILLIAM KEATING (D), MASSACHUSETTS: Well, there`s been nothing in any
briefing and nothing in any conversation that hasn`t said the FBI hasn`t
done their job. They played -- they played it by the book. There`s no
doubt about that.

The question we`re going to have as we develop more information on this
incident and look at the broader picture here in Congress is, Do we change
the book? And that remains an open question. How far can we go in some of
these issues?

And we`re going to be looking at that. We`re going to be -- as they deal
with the trace evidence at the scene and processing investigation, look at
his computer records, look at his associates, maybe travel, and see what
happened in the six months he`s away, the investigators will do their job.
But in Congress, we want to see what can be done on the broader scale to
make sure that the communication is there and to make sure that we`re doing
all we can. That`s why one of my staff people on the Foreign Affairs
Committee is going to Russia the end of this week, and we`re going to talk
to Russian staff people there, Russian officials, so that we can determine
if we can use their knowledge better because one of the things that`s clear
that you just described was the lack of communication between Russia and
the U.S.. And that`s the one thing that is clear, wasn`t as full as it
should have been.

So we`re going to go there and see if there`s -- check their pulse and
assess the -- a country that`s very close-vested about information can,
indeed, begin to share things with us.

Now, that region, the Caucasus region, is one where terrorists are trained,
where they`re recruited, where they`re educated. And that`s a real area.
Russia is concerned about that area, as well. So we have that common
interest that we can build on.

And certainly, that was an issue with our committee before because --


KEATING: -- we`re going to be withdrawing from Afghanistan, going
through some of that region, which might incite more terrorist activities.

MATTHEWS: OK, you`re a Democrat. Here`s what the Republicans are saying
today. They`re also -- some of them are trying to pin the blame on the
Obama administration here. Here`s Senator Lindsey Graham trying to --
well, as usual, tying it to Benghazi, to make the point the administration
is letting its guard down. He`s always talking about Benghazi. Now he`s
tying together Boston with Benghazi. This has become almost an MO with
him. Let`s watch.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Something`s not right here. I
don`t want to be judgmental, but I want to make sure that we`re safe.


GRAHAM: Between Benghazi and Boston, we`re going backward in national
security. This administration is letting -- letting its guard down, and it
is beginning to show.


MATTHEWS: Well, more aggressive and more partisan still is Republican
congressman Tom Cotton today. He went further. He compared the record of
the last four years under President Obama negatively to that of President
George W. Bush. Interesting choice there. Let`s listen to his conclusion.


REP. TOM COTTON (R), ARKANSAS: In barely four years in office, five
jihadists have reached their targets in the United States under Barack
Obama, the Boston Marathon bomber, the underwear bomber, the Times Square
bomber, the Ft. Hood shooter, and in my own state, the Little Rock
recruiting office shooter.

In over seven years after 9/11 under George W. Bush, how many terrorists
reached their target in the United States? Zero! We need to ask why is
the Obama administration failing in its mission to stop terrorism before it
reaches its targets in the United States!


MATTHEWS: Well, that`s the strangest presentation I`ve ever heard on this
show in all the years I`ve been doing it. We had no terrorists reach our
shores under the George W. Bush administration. Check back to 9/11.
And even in the craziest world, how can you compare what happened to us on
9/11 with four airplanes being hijacked and all those thousands of people
being killed, to all these -- almost all these other cases he mentioned,
this guy, Cotton, who I hope I never hear of again because he`s not worth
listening to.

This guy is talking about, basically, homegrown people, not got to the
United States. He`s acting like they snuck in the border. They`re here.
And that`s one thing we have to focus on.

That`s my question to you, Congressman Keating. This tricky part here --
it`s one thing to uncover a sleeper cell which is somewhat connected to,
say, al Qaeda. How do you uncover a mindset that`s picked up over the
Internet? How do you find the danger in the individual lone wolf?
KEATING: Oh, I think we can go in that regard, but I`m not going to not
address another issue. A few minutes -- it was actually a short period of
time after the bombing, my phone rang. And it was the White House staff
calling me, saying, as they did other Boston officials, the full assets of
the United States of America are there to help you.

You just came from Boston, Chris. This is not a Democratic-Republican
issue. To bring the president into this is really -- this isn`t the right
time to do it.


KEATING: And it`s really disingenuous. And you know, back to your
question. We will learn a lot. It`s been a progression. We have made
such progress in the last 10 years. I had a field hearing in Homeland with
my chair, Mr. McCaul, in Boston looking at where we`ve been in the last 10
years. It`s one of the best centers, anti-terrorist centers in the
country. They do their job every day. We have improved dramatically.
What we have to address is, it`s harder. We`re under greater risk from
these homegrown and domestic terrorists.

MATTHEWS: Yes. It`s common sense.

KEATING: So it`s improved, but the risk has gotten worse. That`s what we
have to acknowledge. We still face risks living in this country. We have
to do our best to minimize it. And we don`t do that by playing politics or
assessing blame.

MATTHEWS: I agree.

KEATING: We do it by working together, just the way the law enforcement
officials did in Boston last week.

MATTHEWS: I agree with you there. People like Nidal Hasan are very hard
to detect. Not everybody goes around shouting from a rooftop that they`ve
become a jihadist. It`s not the way it works.

Thank you so much. It`s great to have you on the show, Congressman William
Keating of Massachusetts.

KEATING: Thank you, Chris.

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