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PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT
Interview With Jesse Ventura
Aired April 9, 2011 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PIERS MORGAN, HOST: Jesse Ventura is not your average politician unless your average politician was also a Rolling Stones bodyguard, a Navy seal and a professional wrestler.
JESSE VENTURA, FORMER MINNESOTA GOVERNOR: There is a reason that they call me The Body, Piers.
MORGAN: Jesse is also a Hollywood action hero, a visiting fellow at Harvard, and a noted conspiracy theorist.
VENTURA: I speak my mind, whether anyone likes it or not.
MORGAN: He's seen it all, he's done it all. What's left for Jesse Ventura? Could The Body be planning a run for the White House?
VENTURA: You'll be the first to know, Piers.
MORGAN: Tonight, Jesse Ventura on JFK, conspiracy theories, and what he says the American government is doing behind closed doors.
VENTURA: All the people that question me, I turn around and say well, how much independent investigation have you done?
MORGAN: Jesse Ventura for the hour. This is PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT.
VENTURA: Thank you.
MORGAN: Now you are a man --
VENTURA: Piers, welcome to you.
MORGAN: Oh, thank you. Thank you.
MORGAN: You did Larry so many times.
VENTURA: Yes. And you replaced a legend.
MORGAN: Well, Larry hinted to me the reason he loved you as a guest was that you always caused trouble.
VENTURA: Well, I -- you know, if telling the truth causes trouble in the United States today, then yes, I do. MORGAN: Excellent.
MORGAN: I'm trouble.
VENTURA: To me, truth telling shouldn't be trouble. But if it is, so be it.
MORGAN: What do you make of this extraordinary news cycle we're currently in with incredible uprisings all over the Middle East, with the continuing global recession, with earthquakes and tsunamis and nuclear crises.
It's been an extraordinary period. What have you made of it from your vantage point?
VENTURA: Well, you probably shouldn't ask me that considering my TV show is called "Conspiracy Theories."
MORGAN: Well, exactly.
VENTURA: Which of course we have a thing up in Alaska called HARP that can create all these things with the weather. I went and discovered that. It's located up in Alaska.
MORGAN: What would you --
VENTURA: I think -- you know, it's --
MORGAN: It's just that. You've got to say it. I mean, you've got a place in Alaska that can create --
VENTURA: Yes, it's called HARP.
MORGAN: What do they create there?
VENTURA: Well, it's -- what it is, it's 50 antennas basically that put out 50,000 watts, which is the maximum you can for radio, and it combines and shoots it up into the atmosphere, and they ricochet it off back he ground. They can knock planes out of the air with it. They can control cloud movements and all that with it, with the weather and all this stuff.
And they call it an unclassified research center, but I know that that's a lie, because when I went up to go inside, they wouldn't let me in it. So clearly it is classified. So they're lying on the classification to begin with, which is -- you know, governments do that. They lie a great deal, it seems, today.
MORGAN: Well, it's also the theme of your book.
Coming back to what's going on in the world --
VENTURA: Yes. I think that, you know, you're always going to see a rise up of the workers, of the people at a certain point when they've been oppressed long enough. And it seems in the Middle East they've been dealing with these dictators and they've been dealing with dictators and not fair elections, or not having elections, and generally it's the youth, which I think it is over there a great deal, too.
Young people. Young people are traditionally always not satisfied with the status quo. And if there's wrongs being done, young people have the courage at times to rise up against them.
MORGAN: I mean the way that America has dealt with each of these respective uprisings has been very different. Some would say inconsistent, to put it mildly. What's your take?
VENTURA: Well, my take is that we're only worried if there's a corporate interest. Take Rwanda. We had no interest in that because there was nothing there corporate to gain from it.
I've said publicly that we're -- I refer to this -- to us now as the fascist states of America. Because if you look at the simple definition of fascism, it's when corporations team up with organized religion to run a government. I think we're there.
MORGAN: I don't see Barack Obama's administration as being run by organized religion. Do you?
VENTURA: No, I see it being run by corporations, though. Clearly. Barack Obama ran on change. Change that people can -- what was the quote? Well, what change have we seen? Nothing. He ran to close Gitmo. He ran to get us out of the wars. We're more in the wars than we've ever been and Gitmo is still there.
I got a feeling he got taken to the woodshed.
MORGAN: I mean you mention Rwanda. And that was obviously scandalous that people didn't get involved sooner that they did. Millions died as a result.
MORGAN: When you see what was apparently about to happen in Benghazi in Libya where it appeared that Gadhafi was about to slaughter possibly hundreds of thousands of his own people, is there not a humanitarian duty for countries like America to try and prevent that if they can?
VENTURA: Yes. But I think that you have to go maybe on the perspective that it has to -- the first shot has to be fired first.
MORGAN: And it was being fired. He was killing people.
VENTURA: Oh, he was?
VENTURA: Well, then sure. Then obviously there should be an intervention of some sort. But why is it always the United States?
MORGAN: Well, it's not. It's NATO as well. You've got an alliance of countries. Why are you laughing?
VENTURA: What the coalition of the willing? Is that what we have? Like Iraq.
MORGAN: To be fair -- to be fair in Libya, it was French and British planes that went in first.
VENTURA: OK. Good. Let them go. It's about time they go.
MORGAN: Yes? Do you think America has for too long been the world's policemen?
VENTURA: Yes. If I became president, the first thing I would do is shut down the 248 bases that are located throughout the world. I always put it in this perspective.
MORGAN: But that wouldn't help security for America, would it?
VENTURA: Why and why not?
MORGAN: We shut down all the bases overseas?
VENTURA: We can get anywhere. We have nuclear missiles. When you look at -- OK, let's reverse this for a moment, Piers. We don't like --w e don't like Hugo Chavez very much because he nationalized oil. He kicked corporations out of the Venezuela. That's why we don't like him.
Now he's got a lot of money. How would the United States feel if Hugo went, say, by Palm Springs and bought 100 acres of land and moved the Venezuelan military into there?
MORGAN: So you're saying the mere presence of American bases is inflammatory?
VENTURA: Yes. Why do we have bases in foreign countries?
MORGAN: Well, the argument is to try and prevent uprisings of the --
VENTURA: Or is it -- or is it the opposite? Colonization and world dominance. I could make that argument, too, for it.
MORGAN: Has it been healthy for America to be the number one superpower for so long? And is it actually perversely -- could it be helpful now that places like China are emerging ahead of us?
VENTURA: Well, I think it's very easy to see what's going on. The United States is following textbook example of the Roman Empire, getting itself involved now in three wars.
MORGAN: When you served in Vietnam.
MORGAN: You didn't -- I don't think actually have live combat there, right? You were serving, is that correct?
VENTURA: I don't -- when I got back -- I'm a Navy SEAL, when I got back from my service overseas in my first deployment, the My Lai massacre had just happened. I was just in the headlines. I was brought in by my commanding officer, my entire team, and we were ordered, we were to discuss nothing of anything we did or any ops we were on, because normally the SEALs are all part of a top secret operation.
So I do not discuss anything I did in the military. Other than to say I served honorably and received an honorable discharge and I showed up, which is more than what George Bush can say.
MORGAN: Yes, I mean the point I was going to make is what lesson did you learn being in the military about the reality of war?
VENTURA: Probably the biggest lesson I learned happened in 2004 when I was teaching at Harvard. And McNamara came through and admitted the Gulf of Tonkin incident never happened.
That was the incident the false flag operation that got us into the Vietnam War with ground troops over something that never happened. They made it up. Well, if you start studying history closer, you'll find that most all wars are based on false flag operations to get people -- to convince the people that they're under attack in some way so that they will support the wars.
MORGAN: I mean do you think as a matter of principle as with Vietnam, (INAUDIBLE) in Libya, that America and the West generally should stay out of civil war?
MORGAN: Let countries fight it out if they want to?
MORGAN: Could be a more sensible and dare I say a cheaper foreign policy?
VENTURA: Well, I don't know, it would certainly be cheaper. And again, what made us the policemen of the world?
MORGAN: What do you do then about somewhere like Iran? Where they have uprisings in Iran, they have a form of civil war and the bad guys get in charge? The extremists take hold the country --
VENTURA: Well --
MORGAN: -- and then they -- they become a genuine threat, not just to America, but Israel, other countries. VENTURA: That's true, but look at all the bad guys we support. Simply because they're our puppets.
MORGAN: Well, support, start control, perhaps.
VENTURA: Well, but we -- well, let me put it to you this way. I was in the Philippines the day that Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law and became a dictator. He didn't do it without our permission. We gave him permission to become a dictator because, what, he was our boy, he was our pawn. As long as they answer to our corporations, we're good with them.
MORGAN: But isn't that the nature of the beast? Isn't that the way it has to be?
VENTURA: Does it?
MORGAN: Well, the alternative is you just let every country get on with it. And as you --
VENTURA: Well, shouldn't --
VENTURA: Shouldn't countries determine their own destiny?
MORGAN: Possibly, so you end up then with the possibility of further Irans, which is dangerous to world peace. No one dispute that. You have a huge country run by a guy who's publicly said that he wants to annihilate Israel.
Now these are dangerous people who then have the power to do what they say they're going to do. That can't be allowed to happen, can it? Isn't that why America and the West generally has to do dirty deals with the devil occasionally?
VENTURA: Do they? I don't know.
MORGAN: Well, is it the alternative is just to have open season everywhere? America has no influence over any part of the world. That can't be healthy, surely.
VENTURA: Well, it isn't America having the influence, it's the national corporations have the influence. We're the puppets to them.
MORGAN: What would you do about oil then?
VENTURA: What would I -- what do you mean what I would do about oil?
MORGAN: Well, for example, by your yardstick, if you don't go and get involved in places like Egypt, when there's an uprising as there was, and you get extremists in charge who decide they want to punish America and they want to get together with the Syrians and the Yemen -- Yemeni and the Iranians, and they're going to stop any oil coming out of the Middle East to America, then what?
VENTURA: Well --
MORGAN: That would devastate your economy here.
VENTURA: No, not necessarily.
MORGAN: And it would devastate America --
VENTURA: I don't know. I live in Minnesota and we don't get any oil from there. Ours comes from Canada. The point I'm making is there's oil all over the world.
MORGAN: But the world is running out.
VENTURA: And -- but our dependence -- don't you think we need to shed our dependence on it. All the money we're spending in these wars to get oil, if we turned around and spent that on solar energy and moving that forward, things of that nature forward, the amount of money we're spending to secure this oil, if we took half of it and just spent it on alternative energy, we could break this resistance and then we wouldn't be compelled to have to go over there and ensure --
MORGAN: Do you --
VENTURA: Do you want to know why we're in Afghanistan?
MORGAN: I'm fascinated.
VENTURA: It came to me six months ago when a story came out that they found a vein (ph) of lithium there that they say is worth $1 trillion. Now what is lithium used for? Every cell phone, every computer and soon to be electric cars.
So why don't they just, Piers, tell me the truth?
MORGAN: But Jesse, that's not --
VENTURA: We're going there to get lithium so that we can live like we live. Don't sit and try to sell me --
MORGAN: Jesse, Jesse.
VENTURA: -- we're going to give democracy to the world.
MORGAN: Jesse, it sounds a bit like you' been on lithium. I mean you can't seriously imagine we've gone to war in Afghanistan over lithium. Don't. Be serious.
VENTURA: I am serious.
MORGAN: My brother just served a seven-month tour in Afghanistan.
VENTURA: I am serious.
MORGAN: He did not risk his life for lithium. VENTURA: What did he risk it for?
MORGAN: He risked it because everybody knows Osama bin Laden was training people to commit atrocities in Afghanistan.
VENTURA: We all know that?
MORGAN: That's a fact.
VENTURA: You're talking to the wrong guy.
MORGAN: You're a conspiracy theorist.
VENTURA: I don't believe --
MORGAN: Well, you don't believe in anything.
VENTURA: No. I believe --
MORGAN: You believe everything has an ulterior motive.
VENTURA: Not true. Not true at all.
MORGAN: I've read your book.
VENTURA: Not true at all.
MORGAN: Let me have a short break. When I come back --
MORGAN: I'm going to throw at you a few stories. I want to see what you think happened. Test these conspiracy theories.
VENTURA: All right.
VENTURA: How come -- Piers, how come 2,000 architects and engineers met in San Francisco demanding a new investigation?
MORGAN: Jesse, you're the first guest I've had where we're still arguing in the breaks.
MORGAN: Let's get to your conspiracy theories.
VENTURA: I'm unique.
MORGAN: Let me ask you.
MORGAN: John F. Kennedy's --
MORGAN: Who did that?
VENTURA: It was done by William Harvey, who was the head of the CIA's assassination unit at the time. David Morales was directly involved in it. He likewise is the man -- the gentleman who killed Che Guevara down in Bolivia in '67 where they put him up against the firing wall and killed him and shot and killed him. Morales was a part of that.
I believe that because I saw, heard and read a confession from Lee Howard Hunt on a death bed to his son. And when he confessed, it was not a confession of remorse, it was a confession of pride.
MORGAN: Yes, but people say --
Che Guevara, he wanted to know that we helped you out. We killed John Kennedy, this communist sympathizer.
MORGAN: But Jesse, aren't you being slightly naive? People can say anything on a death bed to immortalize themselves. When I die, I might say, you know what? I don't want anyone to know about my longstanding love affair with Elizabeth Taylor.
VENTURA: Well, Piers, I can be --
MORGAN: Doesn't mean anything, does it?
VENTURA: I can be slightly naive. Except the fact that you're not going to convince me he could make those shots.
VENTURA: Because I tried them and I'm an expert marksman, he wasn't. And I couldn't do them. I couldn't even work -- the fastest I could work the Mannlicher-Carcano bolt was 8.5 seconds and they're telling me he got three shots off in six seconds with that bolt action piece of crap weapon?
I tried it. We simulated the whole thing. I couldn't do it.
MORGAN: Then did they --
VENTURA: And I'm qualified expert when I was 50 when I was the governor of Minnesota.
MORGAN: Did Neil Armstrong land on the moon?
VENTURA: I don't know. I'm sure he did.
MORGAN: What do you think? VENTURA: Yes, I think he did.
MORGAN: Why would you believe that?
VENTURA: Because we have the technology to get there.
MORGAN: We have the technology to investigation an assassination.
VENTURA: Sure, we do, but we don't.
MORGAN: We have authorities.
VENTURA: When a -- when a coup d'etat takes place there can be no trial. There can be no investigation.
MORGAN: But --
VENTURA: -- the reason why it's a farce? I'll tell you why personally. My mother before she died, she had a big trunk.. And when she died, in the bottom of that trunk she had every Minneapolis paper of that weekend that John Kennedy was killed. This was in Minneapolis' Monday morning paper. That mean -- this is '63, so it had to go out early in the afternoon, a Sunday, to be in the Monday morning paper.
And you know what was down in the bottom, Dallas Police declare case closed.
MORGAN: Come on, Jesse. You're being --
VENTURA: It's right in the paper.
VENTURA: Oswald -- Kennedy is killed on Friday, Ruby kills Oswald on Sunday and the Dallas PD says the case is closed. They haven't interviewed a witness, there was no confession but the case is closed.
MORGAN: Well, news --
VENTURA: Come on, Piers. What type of investigation is that?
MORGAN: I have never, ever heard anybody suggest the investigations were closed on the Monday within hours --
VENTURA: It was in the paper. Dallas Police declare --
MORGAN: Well, do you believe everything you read in the papers?
VENTURA: I did -- I did then.
MORGAN: I have rarely encountered a man who believes less about what he reads in the papers and now you want to base your whole theory --
VENTURA: Not my whole.
MORGAN: -- from the fact that you've read one line --
VENTURA: Are you kidding?
MORGAN: -- in your mother's newspaper from the time?
VENTURA: I've studied John Kennedy for 25 years, Piers. You're not --I'm not basing this on reading one line in the paper. I'm basing this on reading everything I could get my hands on.
MORGAN: Let's move to 9/11. Your theory of 9/11 is what?
VENTURA: My theory of 9/11 is that we certainly -- at the best we knew it was going to happen. They allowed it to happen to further their agenda in the Middle East and go to these wars.
MORGAN: But just to clarify, President George Bush knew that 9/11 was going to happen, that 3,000 people were going to get murdered.
VENTURA: They had all the information. If you looked at NSA document --
MORGAN: Are you suggesting he knew?
VENTURA: If you look -- well, put it to you this way, the August 6th memo was pretty clear.
MORGAN: Are you -- do you genuinely believe, Jesse Ventura, that President George W. Bush knew 9/11 was going to happen?
MORGAN: Why do you say it then?
MORGAN: Well, why do you say it?
VENTURA: But I believe Dick Cheney knew it.
MORGAN: You believe he knew it was going to happen?
VENTURA: I believe they had -- well, why did John Ashcroft quit flying commercial planes that summer and switch only to private planes. Why did that happen?
MORGAN: You don't honestly believe this, do you? I don't believe you believe that. Do you honestly think Dick Cheney knew it was going to happen. You can't do.
VENTURA: So you really believe -- MORGAN: It's not rational.
VENTURA: It's not irrational. Excuse me.
MORGAN: I said it's not rational.
VENTURA: Excuse me. Do you really believe that evil people can't be in charge of governments? If you do, go talk to the Germans. They know a little about that. That evil people can get in charge. Governments are run by people. People can be bad.
MORGAN: So Dick Cheney is involved? Ashcroft is involved? All these people got together and planned 9/11. Come on. It's madness.
VENTURA: Oh, that's madness. But you'll fully accept that 19 Islamic radicals armed with box cutters taking orders from a guy in a cave in Afghanistan could defeat our multibillion dollar security system.
MORGAN: Yes. Yes.
VENTURA: Which the Russians couldn't do,
MORGAN: Jesse that's exactly what happened. It's exactly hat happened.
MORGAN: Unfortunately they exposed a massive flaw Homeland Security.
VENTURA: Then what was it?
MORGAN: They floor was that these guys have been trailing and often aiming to go one way, aiming to land planes in a certain manner. Wanted to take off, but not land. All of these were clues that this was a weird set of circumstances. I'm afraid that's exactly what happened.
But you're being a conspiracy theorist, I have great respect for you and your book is very readable. The problem is, once you start buying into these theories, you never stop. And with the Internet these days, there's a theory on everything.
MORGAN: I mean do you believe Princess Diana was murdered?
VENTURA: No, I don't look that.
MORGAN: But what do you think?
VENTURA: I don't know. I haven't studied it.
MORGAN: Isn't the tendency of a conspiracy --
VENTURA: I only -- MORGAN: It brings out the conspiracies. No, no, no. I only go into things I studied. I studied 9/11 for 3 1/2 years, no. And it's my expert opinion as a demolition expert. I was trained by the best the U.S. government has. I served three years on underwater demolition team 12. Two years I was attached to SEAL team one.
When I look at the buildings and how they fall and the way they fell, they couldn't have come down without being assisted in some manner. And then I --
MORGAN: You don't believe that when two large planes hit the World Trade Center, hit both towers and they explode that that couldn't bring down two buildings?
MORGAN: And the --
VENTURA: The Empire State Building was hit by a plane and it didn't collapse.
MORGAN: It was a tiny plane that hit the Empire State building.
VENTURA: No, it wasn't. Not that tiny.
MORGAN: Yes, it was. Well, the World Trade Center buildings were tested against Boeing 707s which are bigger than the planes that hit it. And the way it was designed -- if it was punctured, it was like the screen door. It would cause damage right where the hit was.
But this uniform collapse? And then if you look at the powder, if it collapsed, it would collapse in big chunks.
MORGAN: Jesse, you're --
VENTURA: Wait. Then I was at the site two weeks after it happened with Governor Pataki, right? And they had to cease digging that day. You know why? They were finding pockets of molten liquid metal underneath. Now if everything took place, Piers, 150 floors up, why was there molten metal underneath?
MORGAN: You wrote --
VENTURA: It requires 1,000 degrees to melt metal.
MORGAN: Jesse, you're a patriot.
VENTURA: I don't know if I am.
MORGAN: You consider yourself to be a good American?
VENTURA: I've been a mayor, I've been a governor, and I served six years and was honorably discharged from the United States Navy. MORGAN: Do you accept that some people, many people, will be listening to this and consider it to be quite offensive what you're saying?
VENTURA: What, to question government? I think it's quite offensive not to question government.
MORGAN: It's more than question --
VENTURA: I think it's offensive --
MORGAN: But Jesse --
VENTURA: -- to sit back like a zombie and accept everything you're told.
MORGAN: I get that. I get that. When you're telling the American public, as you are right now, and indeed the wider world, this airs around the world, that Dick Cheney, vice president of the United States --
VENTURA: Well, I'd like some answers from him.
MORGAN: Well, but you didn't say you wanted some answers. You said --
VENTURA: No, no.
MORGAN: He knew and was responsible for the biggest atrocity in American history on his own ground. Do you believe it happened?
VENTURA: No, no, no. I'll just say it happened on his watch. So they're responsible for it.
MORGAN: So he didn't know?
VENTURA: I don't know.
MORGAN: We're going to take a break so we can all just -- deep breath calm down. Before we go --
VENTURA: I'm calm.
MORGAN: Before we go, just clarify for me one more time that you said Cheney knew and then he didn't know. Did he know or not?
VENTURA: I don't know.
MORGAN: You don't know.
VENTURA: I don't know. I wasn't there. I wasn't there.
MORGAN: We'll be back after --
VENTURA: But I certainly have questions for him that were not answered. MORGAN: I get it. We'll be back after the break. Thank you, Jesse.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. RON PAUL (R), TEXAS: WikiLeaks released classified information has generated a lot of attention worldwide in the past few weeks. The hysterical reaction makes one wonder if this is not an example of killing the messenger for the bad news.
(END OF VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: That was Congressman Ron Paul talking about WikiLeaks.
I'm back now with my next guest Jesse Ventura.
Jesse, you said exactly. Do you agree with Ron Paul there?
VENTURA: Absolutely. In fact if you would have continued with that statement, Representative Paul, as you know, I dedicated his book to him. He's the only one there that has the courage that will stand up.
He made the great statement that in a free country, when telling the truth, you can get charged with treason, we're in big trouble.
MORGAN: Even if you've stolen the information?
VENTURA: Stolen information? Excuse me, we all pay taxes. All that information is paid for by my tax dollars. I have every right to know how my taxes are spent, how every single penny of it is spent. I have the right to know that. They're using my money.
MORGAN: You served in the Navy. Would you have been absolutely happy for every private memo involving your Navy SEAL group to come out.
VENTURA: No. No. There's a difference.
MORGAN: Why not? What's the difference? You're paid for by the tax payer.
VENTURA: But it could jeopardize the mission initially.
MORGAN: Wikileaks couldn't?
VENTURA: Once the mission is over, we're not jeopardizing --
MORGAN: You don't think anything published in Wikileaks could possibly jeopardize lives or military operations?
VENTURA: Let's go to this young man that's in prison right now.
MORGAN: Bradley Manning.
VENTURA: I hope they're giving him his rights, which I don't think they are. They're holding him. He can't talk to a lawyer.
MORGAN: On that I agree with you.
VENTURA: The first thing he released was that helicopter murdering those people, murdering them. So now Bradley Manning is in jail, but the helicopter murderers are still free. They're fine. So apparently leaking this is more important than committing murder.
MORGAN: Like I said to you --
VENTURA: Answer that for me. Answer that for me.
MORGAN: You haven't answered my question. My question --
VENTURA: I've been answering all of them. You haven't answered one yet.
MORGAN: I'm interviewing you, Jesse. That's the way this works.
VENTURA: Not with me.
MORGAN: Well, that's the way it works with me.
MORGAN: We'll butt heads then.
VENTURA: I can perhaps answer for my brother, who's a British Army Colonel. When I discuss Wikileaks with him, he says that the impact of releasing private memos, private reports from the military when they're in operations is incredibly dangerous.
VENTURA: All right, go to my book --
MORGAN: I believe you agree with that.
VENTURA: I agree with that. But go to my book and see. Currently, our government, every year, declares 16 million things top secret -- 16 million. I would say that's about everything. So what do we get to know about?
MORGAN: But my point --
VENTURA: My point is when they're abusing what's secret by classifying everything they do, the public can't see? Read what -- read in the back of the book what some of the great founders of this country said about secretive governments.
MORGAN: Did you believe it was in the public interest that Wikileaks reveal, for example, that Colonel Gadhafi had four mistresses?
VENTURA: I could care less how many women Colonel Gadhafi has.
MORGAN: But is it in the public interest to reveal that information?
VENTURA: I don't know. It's gossip. It doesn't bother me.
MORGAN: But when you were governor, you hated that kind of gossip against you and your family. In fact, you detested the media that spread that kind of gossip.
VENTURA: They didn't spread gossip about my family.
MORGAN: They did about your son, right?
VENTURA: They trumped up charges.
MORGAN: What I'm saying is that kind of family gossip, private life stuff, isn't that where the line should be drawn with Wikileaks? Why do you support everything they put out. You were so vocal about any private material coming out about you.
VENTURA: OK, then why is it OK for our -- why is it OK for them to expose my private stuff?
MORGAN: I'm not saying it is. But I'm saying if you felt strongly that your private life was your private life, however much you think badly --
VENTURA: Somebody had to have write about it, didn't they? This is a classic -- what you're at here is a classic example of killing the messenger , not the message. If it wasn't written in the first place, there would be no message, would there?
So somebody wrote it to begin with. Shouldn't they be the ones who have put America in danger, the ones who wrote it?
MORGAN: No, because the whole point of being a diplomat is that when you report to your government, around the world -- wait, wait, let me finish.
VENTURA: Then we're in sad shape when diplomats have to sit and lie, when they have to write things that people aren't allowed to read, and if they do read, they take offense to. I would say that's part of the big problems in the world today. .
MORGAN: Which were the lies in Wikileaks.
VENTURA: I don't know.
MORGAN: You just said they were lying.
VENTURA: I didn't say they were lying.
MORGAN: You said it's a sad day when diplomats lie. Where were they lying.
VENTURA: I'm saying when they're saying bad things about other people. They wrote it. All it was was exposed.
MORGAN: My point was they may not be lies.
VENTURA: You figure let government keep everything secret. It's all OK.
MORGAN: No, I don't. VENTURA: Yes, it's all OK, because somebody in government has deemed this top secret, so therefore hands off, because we don't dare know a thing --
MORGAN: Don't put words in my mouth.
VENTURA: That's what you're doing to me.
MORGAN: I started the debate by asking you when you were a Navy SEAL, did you believe that a number of private reports should have stayed private. You said yes.
VENTURA: Only until after the op is over. When the op is over, you can go public with all you want.
MORGAN: Really? You think it's good for the world to know exactly how the Navy SEALS conduct their covert operations around the world.
VENTURA: They already know.
MORGAN: Would you agree if the CIA discovered tomorrow that they knew where Osama bin Laden was, that he should be assassinated?
MORGAN: What about Gadhafi?
MORGAN: You don't care?
VENTURA: No. I think they should be arrested and tried in a court of law. Since when do -- what are we in the wild west? Do we just go out and people we don't like, we kill them. Everyone is willing to be killed.
MORGAN: Jesse, with respect, isn't that exactly what Navy SEALS do all the time?
VENTURA: No. We're at war. War's different.
MORGAN: We're at war with Osama bin Laden.
VENTURA: We are?
MORGAN: Aren't we? We're taking a quick break. We'll continue this when we come back.
MORGAN: I'm back with my special guest, Jesse Ventura, who is on, to put it mildly, feisty form this evening.
VENTURA: I've been gone to Mexico for four months and hadn't had no one to talk to, Piers. So you're the guy. MORGAN: Glad it was me, Jesse. Let me put you in a hypothetical position, Jesse. You are president of the United States. By the way, this wasn't at one stage a fanciful notion. You were doing very, very well as governor of Minnesota.
VENTURA: There's already a movement out there, grassroots right now that wants me for president.
MORGAN: OK, so let's take it one step forward, maybe three steps forward. You're president of the United States. And you've had an attack like 9/11 happen on your watch.
MORGAN: And the whole country, in fact, the world is desperate for this not to happen again. And you capture three, four people who you absolutely believe from all intelligence, not just yours, but every other country involved, are senior al Qaeda terrorists --
VENTURA: Kind of like Curveball?
MORGAN: Wait, wait. Actively plotting to commit similar atrocities but they don't want to talk. How do you get it out of them?
VENTURA: You just have to do what you can to attempt to get it out of them, but torture is not the answer. Because torture -- why do you think we don't allow it in a court of law? Because if you're being tortured, you're going to say anything to stop the torture. It has no credibility to it.
And I'll counter you with this: we had a terrorist attack in Oklahoma City. Many people thought there were more involved than Timothy McVeigh and Nichols, the two guys. Why didn't we water board them? Why weren't they water boarded so we could find out what they knew, could find out whether more attacks were looming? Was there more conspirators in this? How come?
MORGAN: So you think it's inconsistent?
VENTURA: I think it's very inconsistent. I think the only people that get water boarded are people of the Muslim faith, because nobody else is getting water boarded. Why didn't we water board McVeigh and Nichols. We had them. In fact, we put one to death and the other is in prison for life.
Why weren't they water boarded to find out what they knew?
MORGAN: What do you think of Guantanamo Bay --
VENTURA: You haven't answered my question, Piers.
MORGAN: I'm not answering any of the questions. You're the one being interviewed.
VENTURA: But it's a good question, isn't it? Why were these guys water boarded and these guys not water boarded? MORGAN: Yes, but remember the dynamic of the interview. I'm interviewing you. It's your views I'm trying to get.
VENTURA: Remember, I've been in your seat. So it's hard.
MORGAN: Cool. What did you think of Guantanamo Bay?
VENTURA: I think it's atrocious. I think it's awful. I'm so disappointed that Barack Obama didn't close it. In a court of law, every one of these guys is going to walk, because anything gotten by torture is inadmissible.
We are a supposed civilized nation who should not stoop to that regardless of whatever the results would be, because if you stoop to that level, you can never get back what you have.
MORGAN: Jesse, a remarkable thing has just happened. I agree with you. Let's move on. Do you believe President Obama is a puppet of the CIA, as you've suggested?
VENTURA: A puppet of the CIA? I didn't suggest that.
MORGAN: Let me play a clip to you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VENTURA: What's your saying Barack Obama was a CIA agent.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was what they call a CIA asset. He was enrolled in the early 1980s by Zbigniew Brzezinski. Mr. Brzezinski is the head of the trilateral commission.
And Mr.Obama had been pre-identified as one of their candidates to be U.S. president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Now, did you look at my face there. That was a face of stunned. So when you're asking me do I believe that? I -- this is this guy telling me this.
MORGAN: Let me tell you my face. What the hell are you talking about, you idiot, is what I would have said to this guy.
VENTURA: No, because you have a TV show to do. You can't be calling guests idiots.
MORGAN: You can.
VENTURA: Well, you shouldn't.
MORGAN: Why not?
VENTURA: Your style is different than mine.
MORGAN: You allowed this crack pot air time on your show to spout complete nonsense.
VENTURA: Crack pot? It's an entertainment show.
VENTURA: Yes. "Conspiracy Theory" is an entertainment show.
MORGAN: It's also very dangerous.
VENTURA: We just use reality. It's dangerous?
MORGAN: You let this guy spout off that President Obama is a member of the CIA.
VENTURA: Can you say he's not?
MORGAN: Yes! He's not!
VENTURA: Never was.
MORGAN: He's not.
VENTURA: How do you know that?
MORGAN: Just call it a gut feeling, Jesse.
VENTURA: When George Bush was made vice president --
MORGAN: I need to catch my breath, never mind yours. Let's take a short break. When we come back, I want to talk about your other great conspiracy theory, which is that the TSA want to do you in.
MORGAN: Now, Jesse, we've had a lot of lively discussion here.
VENTURA: And we're still smiling at each other. We can get along and have lively discussions.
MORGAN: Absolutely right. Tell me about your battle with the TSA.
VENTURA: Well, it's still in court. It's pending court, because it's with Homeland Security also. And Janet Napolitano, the head -- I have brought a federal lawsuit against them on the Fourth Amendment, the Bill of Rights. And I do this as an individual.
MORGAN: What do you object to?
VENTURA: I object to the fact that I have metal in my body. And therefore I could go through the metal detector naked and it's going to set it off.
MORGAN: You have a titanium hip implant. VENTURA: Yeah, which sets off all of the metal detectors, which then means I'm subjected to these further searches. And the man from San Diego is completely correct that if they give you the body search -- I had it done once to me -- it is a sexual assault on the street. You would be charged with a crime on the street.
And my belief -- I'm suing -- it's all -- you can get it on the Internet, my whole complaint. It's only for me. I ask for no money. All I ask for them is to stop. Do not search me anymore, because I believe that the Fourth Amendment, the key word is reasonable.
MORGAN: Should nobody be searched?
VENTURA: No, I'm saying only me.
MORGAN: Who would you search?
VENTURA: No, you asked me about my court case. That's what I'm discussing.
MORGAN: Why just you?
VENTURA: Because of who I am. It is reasonable to believe Jesse Ventura, former governor, former mayor, six-year Navy veteran, poses any threat to anyone.
MORGAN: You believe in profiling, basically?
MORGAN: Who would you search? Describe the person to me.
VENTURA: Well, first -- I don't know.
MORGAN: Well, you're in charge.
VENTURA: No, no no, no.
MORGAN: You can't cop out. You can't say I want to be excluded.
VENTURA: I'm just saying I'm suing on my behalf, no one else's.
MORGAN: Would you only profile Muslims at airports?
VENTURA: I don't know. I've never done that before.
MORGAN: Well, it's not like you to have no opinion.
VENTURA: Well, on this one I don't have one.
MORGAN: Why? Because you're worried about being inflammatory?
MORGAN: Don't be a coward. VENTURA: I'm not -- you're calling me a coward? Young man. I've done things that would make the hair on the back of your neck stand up.
MORGAN: Like what?
VENTURA: You cannot insult me into thinking you're going to get something out of me by calling me a coward.
MORGAN: I'm not suggesting --
VENTURA: My track record, nobody goes through BUDS and is a coward.
MORGAN: I was pointing out that your failure to answer that question may be a cowardly response, because I think -- I know what you think the profiling should be. You just don't want to say it in public.
VENTURA: I have no problem saying it in public. Have they caught anyone?
VENTURA: Have they caught anyone?
VENTURA: With what they're doing at the airports. If they caught someone, it would be in the headlines, wouldn't it? So they're doing all this and they haven't caught a soul.
MORGAN: But also there have been -- touch wood, there have been no further uses of planes as weapons.
VENTURA: Right. Well, they're not going to do the same thing again. How stupid would that be?
MORGAN: Most terrorists do the same thing again and again. Do you accept, though, that in your fury against the TSA --
VENTURA: I have no fury against them. I just want them to stop because they're violating my Fourth Amendment.
MORGAN: I haven't made my point. In your complaint good them, actually you identify why they have such a hard job, haven't you? Because you yourself have no idea who they should be profiling. You just know they should be profiling.
VENTURA: No. I just don't want to answer the question. Because I have a court case pending and I don't like to talk about things that could affect the court case.
MORGAN: OK. You're reserving your right to silence.
VENTURA: Because of my court case.
MORGAN: An unusual position for Jesse Ventura. VENTURA: When you're if federal court, waiting for a judge to rule, I probably spoke too much today on it that I shouldn't have.
MORGAN: Excellent. We're going to take one more break. And when we come back, I want you to say a little bit more than you should again.
MORGAN: My special guest, Jesse Ventura. New book, "63 Documents The Government Doesn't Want You To Read." I'd imagine this program could become document number 64.
VENTURA: No, you know why we picked 63?
MORGAN: Go on.
VENTURA: Could have probably gotten 263. I picked 63 because that was the year they killed President Kennedy.
VENTURA: And I think the significance would be good, 63.
MORGAN: Will you ever be running for president?
VENTURA: Would I? You know, you never say never. I mean, I've learned that in my 59 years now, that you never shut a door. Do I have an intention of running? No. Not at this time. Unless they want to move the White House to the Baja.
Right now, I like my life down there. Also, I think that if I ran for president, it would be very dangerous for me and my family.
VENTURA: Well, because I don't believe the power structure would allow a rogue like me to get in there. Because one of the things that disturbs me the most was when President Obama and all these guys, whenever they come into office, the first thing they tell the public is it's time to move on. We can't look behind us anymore, no matter what's been done. We're going to move on.
Well, that's the government's way of covering their asses, so that anyone that's in office can do anything they want and the people that come after them, they're all part of the same system. We'll never look back or do anything to anyone that --
MORGAN: What are the other barriers to you being president, do you think?
VENTURA: The fact that I -- well, I hate the fund-raising. Because to me it's panhandling or bribery. If you panhandle, you say give me money so I can do this job. That's panhandling. If you give back a favor, then it's bribery. And we have an entire system built upon panhandling and bribery.
MORGAN: What about religion?
VENTURA: Well, I have a problem there too, because I've now admitted I'm an atheist. And in this country of the United States, which is fascist now in my opinion, is organized religion teaming up with corporations to control the government. In the United States, there's some prevailing feeling out there that because you don't believe in the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, or God, this being you can never see -- it exists only in your mind -- that somehow you don't have values.
MORGAN: Jesse Ventura doesn't actually exist, of course. It's a fictitious character that you created.
MORGAN: Are you going to stay with Jesse Ventura?
VENTURA: No, I'll kill him.
VENTURA: I don't know yet.
VENTURA: But the day's coming.
MORGAN: How are you going to --
VENTURA: I can't answer.
MORGAN: How are you going to kill him in.
VENTURA: I will disappear.
MORGAN: So this might be the last interview Jesse Ventura gives.
VENTURA: No. Because I'm on the book tour. I'll be giving interviews for another 12 days.
MORGAN: So the death of Jesse comes in a year?
MORGAN: And that's it. Gone?
MORGAN: All over?
VENTURA: All over.
MORGAN: Well, I'm glad to have caught you before it was too late, Jesse.
VENTURA: Well. And then again, I don't want you, Piers, calling me a liar because I could be here 15 years from now and be the president.
MORGAN: You know what? Stranger things have happened.
VENTURA: That's right.
MORGAN: Jesse Ventura.
VENTURA: My friend, thank you. It's been a pleasure. And like I said, you're very good at hitting buttons.
MORGAN: Thank you.
VENTURA: I see why they hired you.
MORGAN: I'll take that as a compliment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A candid and revealing interview with Simon Cowell.
MORGAN: Do you think it was a mistake to get rid of Paula?
SIMON COWELL, REALITY SHOW JUDGE: Certainly. Yeah. They didn't get rid of her. I mean, they just couldn't agree a deal with her. But it was never the same show.
I mean, me, Randy and Paula had this unbelievable chemistry. And that's what I always think of, you know, as "Idol."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Simon Cowell for the hour on PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT.
MORGAN: That's all for tonight. Now here's my colleague, Anderson Cooper, with "AC 360."