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CONNECT THE WORLD
FBI Director Admits to Investigation into Trump Campaign Ties to Russia; Remembering Northern Irish Political Leader Martin McGuinness; U.S. Bans Most Electronic Items on Flights from 10 Middle Eastern Airport. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired March 21, 2017 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[11:00:13] BECKY ANDERSON, HOST: The sky is the limit, right? Well, not quite. Restrictions on personal electronics on flights to the U.S. from 10
international airports in the Middle East and Africa is rolled out. We are live in Dubai and Washington and in London as the UK considers a similar
ban. We'll break down what this all means for travelers and for the airlines.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES COMEY, FBI DIRECTOR: The FBI, as part of our counterintelligence mission, is
investigating the Russian government's efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: As U.S. intelligence agencies ramp up their allegations against Russia. We get the take of an ex-Soviet spy on the new cold war.
Plus, from armed struggle to peace negotiations -- we look at the life and legacy of the Irish politician, Martin McGuinness.
It is just after 7:00 in Abu Dhabi. Hello and welcome to Connect the World. I'm Becky Anderson for you.
Well, no one really seems to know what's going on. A lot of people are going to be caught up in it, though, and some are wondering if it will even
work. Yep, there is a new ban flying out of the White House. And this time, it is not about who you are, but about what
In just four days from now, anybody taking any direct flight to the United States from any of these eight Muslim-majority countries will be stopped
from taking many of their electronic devices to their seats.
Now, they'll have to go in their checked luggage instead. So, how do you know tell if you're
allowed your stuff? Well it's bigger - if it's bigger than a cell phone and it uses a battery, the answer is almost definitely no.
And we're hearing that Britain could be about to bring a similar ban. So why is this happening?
Well CNN's Muhammad Lila is down in Dubai for us. Dubai caught up in all of this, of course, and John Defterios has the bigger picture with me here
in Abu Dhabi.
Let's start with you, Muhammad, what's in the fine print here and what's behind all of this.
MUHAMMAD LILA, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, one of the ways to understand this electronics ban is that it's not targeting specific
people, but what those people are carrying with them on to certain aircraft. So, for example, it doesn't matter where you're from, what
nationality is, what passport you hold or religion is, if you are getting on a plane from one of these
affected airports with a direct flight to the United States, you won't be able allowed to carry any electronic device onto that plane's cabin if it's
larger than a smartphone.
Now, in terms of the number of airports, there are 10 affected airports involved, including, Ishould say, some of the world's busiest. For
example, the Dubai airport right behind me, bills itself as a major transit hub, one of the busiest airports in the world, certainly in this region.
While the Dubai airport is affected by this as is the airport in Abu Dhabi, other airports affected include Istanbul, Amman, Jeddah, and Doha. So, we
could talk about thousands of people in these flights that are flying on direct flights to the United States every day that will be affected by this
Now, we could talk about the confusion that this creates at check-in. We could talk about the lack of productivity that this means, as well as the
security of the electronic devices.
Now, the Trump administration says this is in response to a very specific terror threat that they've received, but the only problem with that is that
there's no expiration date given on when this electronics plan will be lifted.
So, effectively what this means is that this electronics ban is indefinite for now at least until the Trump administration decides otherwise.
ANDERSON: So, Muhammad, I hope you can hear me, you look as if you're having slight
problems with your earpiece. But if you can hear me, how is this ban briefly going to be implemented?
LILA: Well, that's the big question, right. I mean if you think about the last travel ban that the
Trump administration tried to implement, it was accused of being very haphazard and it wasn't organized and the rollout was very confused.
Well, in this case they're offering, the Trump administration says, there will be a 96-hour
implementation period. So, the directive was given today on Monday. What it means is that by Thursday or Friday, certainly by the weekend, all of
the airlines are expected to be complying with this. And for those that don't, the Trump administration has threatened to
withdraw the travel certification. In other words, if those airlines don't comply, their travel rights to operate those direct flights to the United
States will be withdrawn.
So, certainly, there's a very big threat there involved as well.
[11:05:11] ANDERSON : Muhammed Lila is down close to Dubai International Airport. John is with me here in the bureau. You've been hitting the
phones to all the big players all day, John. How are they responding?
JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: Well, we've had a variety of responses, Becky. But before we jump into that, I think we have to look at
the very wide scope of it all. They've had eight hours to digest the information. They have 96 hours to comply. So, the hard deadline, if you
will, to the sources I've been speaking to, is Saturday.
Let's see the pace of implementation here, both Etihad and Emirates say they'll all the time and go into place on Saturday, that's the same for
Turkish Airways. Egypt Air said they'll be ready to go on Friday.
Now, the early movers are royal Jordanian. They said it goes into effect today. Then I spoke to the head of sales and marketing. And he told me,
look, we're lacking some information. There's a lot of confusion, more questions raised from the statements from the TSA, the Department of
Homeland Security than answers. So, they pulled the extra information off of their website.
Saudi, which is based is Jeddah, has a flight a day to New York. They said they will start
implementation on Wednesday.
But to give you a sense of the challenge, Qatar Airways, who I spoke to at least five or six times during the day said, look, we feed passengers in,
say for example from India, or Pakistan. Perhaps they get on the flight with the laptop because the authorities in those airports aren't aware of
what's going on. We want to have a situation set-up so we can take that laptop or another electronic device and put it into the hull of the plane
and still not have to take them off the flight.
Trying to do that within a 96-hour window is not simple. So, it gives you a sense of the chaos
that could be covered here. But the carriers not wanting to lose passengers because of this, what they see as a last-minute implementation
of a very difficult task here with electronic bans.
ANDERSON: I mean, Muhammad pointing out that these airports are global hubs. The airports are incredibly important to the economies of this, the
Gulf region. We've been talking about the idea of what happens to somebody in transit here.
And we have very little information, like you say. What happens to people who fly from one place, say Pakistan into Dubai or Doha or Abu Dhabi and
then on? It's really not clear.
DEFTERIOS: No, it's not clear. So, the reality is if you're a carrier that's flying from any of those countries that have been identified, you
have to make sure you adhere to the directive coming from those two agencies in the United States.
But Muhammad brought up a very good point. They thought it was never- ending this directive. I talked to sources at Emirates Airlines in the last two hours. They've repeated the email to me saying we see it as a
directive that goes through October 14, 2017, for about six and a half months right now.
But this raises other questions, Becky. And some political issues as well. First, two temporary travel bans. That scared off a lot of passengers. If
you look at the Emirates details they sent to me today, they said that the pace of bookings from the very first travel ban, the second travel ban and
now the electronic ban has slowed down by 35 percent. They're not saying revenues right now, but the rate of bookings that they're watching very
carefully have slowed down.
So they're saying one hurdle, two hurdles. Now this is the third hurdle.
And this is a political issue. You know all about it, because that's the open skies agreement. You know that President Trump has been lobbied by
the major U.S. carriers to do something about what they see as unfair competition by the Gulf carriers. Nobody is saying it right now, but it's
a question mark being raised. Why is this being implemented at this stage
after those two temporary bans?
ANDERSON: All right, that's the view, then, from this part of the world there will be
those who say this stinks of protectionism. We have, though, been told this is a credible threat and a reaction to that.
Let's get the wider picture for you now, including as I just mentioned, that there is some news out of Britain right now. Downing Street,
considering a similar ban to that coming from the White House.
CNN's Samuel Burke is at the center of that. He's joining us on the phone because he is on his
way out to Heathrow Airport as we speak to get reaction from them. And Rene Marsh is in Washington for us.
Stand by Rene.
Samuel, tell us more about what the British government is mulling here.
SAMUEL BURKE, CNN MONEY: Well, Becky, government sources are telling us that the
UK could follow the United States in preventing passengers on direct flights from some of these countries in the Middle East and Africa, just
like the United States, on carrying almost all types of electronic devices. And in fact, the source telling us that a decision may be announced later
today, Prime Minister Theresa May has been privy to the same information and intelligence as U.S. officials, Downing Street source is telling us
that when you step back and look at this.
And indeed if other European countries follow suit after this, this could be a huge sea change in how people travel. Think about how it changed
after they banned liquids flying to the United States and some countries. And now imagine how that could all change if people are not allowed to
bring on their devices.
And keep in mind, people have become accustomed to traveling depending not only on working on these devices during these flights, but also using them
once they get there, whether it's using Uber, to communicate with people would be a seismic shift in how people have become accustomed to traveling
the year 2017.
ANDERSON: That's Samuel on his way to Heathrow Airport with the British leg of this story. Rene, what do we know about this intelligence behind
this ban of personal electronic devices out of 10 airports, which are from Muslim majority countries? And why are no U.S. carriers affected?
RENE MARSH, CNN CORREPSONDENT: All right, so the Department of Homeland Security is saying officially that this move was prompted by intelligence,
that suggests that terror groups are continuing their efforts to build unetectible explosives that could essentially slip past
airport security and be smuggled on to a commercial airliner. That is what the Department of Homeland Security is saying is really pushing this move.
CNN's Barbara Starr is reporting that another U.S. official says that the ban on some of these electronics is believed at this point, just believed
to be related possibly to al Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula or AQAP.
But as you know, Becky, the intelligence community has been tracking this threat concerning AQAP for quite some time. So, this official is saying
that perhaps it's that longstanding concern coupled with a recent U.S. special forces raid in Yemen that essentially led to where we are today.
Again, just back-story on AQAP, they have been very active in their effort to build these bombs with little to no metal in its content. And that
would make it very easy to slip past a metal detector and on to a commercial aircraft.
So as far as the reasoning goes, the government is not giving a lot of detail, but they are saying this is based on their intelligence assessment
of terror groups continuing to try and build these advanced bombs.
And very briefly, Rene, I've heard criticism in this region today that this smacks of protectionism given that this is -- to all intents and purposes,
skewed at the - well it's not skewed, it is a directive for airlines from this region where I am in the Middle East rather than for U.S. carrier who
might be traveling from this region.
Is there any intel on that?
MARSH: Right. So to answer your questions, which I didn't yet, you're right there are no U.S.
carriers that are impacted by this. And the reasoning, we are told, is because there are are no U.S. carriers that do these direct flights that
we're speaking about here.
And the other issue is, we're told, that there is a level of confidence in airports here in the United States that they TSA has the checks and
balances that are necessary to detect some of these very highly advanced explosives.
We are told that the concern is, the insider threat at some last-point of departure airports overseas, as well as whether they have the proper
controls in place to detect explosives before they actually get on to an aircraft.
So, that is the line of reasoning that we are getting here from the federal government.
ANDERSON: Fascinating. All right, it's a preasure. Thanks out of Washington, Rene and Samuel Burke on the phone with with you earlier on.
On his way to Heathrow with the British leg, as I say, of this story.
Still ahead on Connect the World, the director of the FBI says he has no information to back up an explosive claim by President Trump. And that is
not all. The details from Washington and from Moscow for you up next.
[11:16:34] ANDERSON: You're watching CNN. This is Connect the World with me, Becky
Anderson. Welcome back.
And for those who are just joining us, you are very welcome.
U.S. President Donald Trump is facing the hardest test of his young presidency so far. A public rebuke from the FBI director. On Monday,
James Comey hit the White House, saying he had no information to suggest the Obama administration wiretapped Trump Tower during the campaign. And
that wasn't the only bombshell to come out of Monday' intelligence hearing on Capitol Hill. Joe Johns with this report.
JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Donald Trump dodging the biggest challenge to rock his administration at a campaign rally Monday
JAMES COMEY, FBI DIRECTOR: The FBI, as part of our counterintelligence mission, is investigating the Russian government's efforts to interfere in
the 2016 presidential election. And that includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the
Russian government and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia's efforts.
JOHNS: FBI Director James Comey and NSA director Mike Rogers facing five hours of questioning before the House Intelligence Committee.
REP. ADAM SCHIFF, (D) CALIFORNIA: President Obama could not unilaterally order a wiretap of anyone?
COMEY: No president could.
JOHNS: Comey rejecting Mr. Trump's baseless claim that former President Obama wiretapped his Trump Tower campaign headquarters.
COMEY: I have no information that supports those tweets. The answer is the same for the Department of Justice and all of its components.
JOHNS: The White House trying to dismiss much of Comey's testimony.
SEAN SPICER, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think there's a lot of areas that still need to be covered. There's a lot of information that still
needs to be discussed.
JOHNS: Continuing to deny any coordination.
SPICER: You can continue to look for something, but continuing to look for something that doesn't exist, doesn't matter.
JOHNS: And incredibly, refusing to back off the president's bogus wiretapping claim.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is the president prepared to withdraw that accusation and apologize to the president?
SPICER: No, we started a hearing. It's still ongoing. And then, as Chairman Nunes mentioned, this is one in a series of hearings that will be
JOHNS: President Trump's official government Twitter account firing off defensive tweets in real time throughout the hearing, leading one lawmaker
to press Comey to clarify the record.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is the tweet, as I read it to you, "The NSA and FBI tell Congress that Russia did not influence the electoral process," is that
COMEY: We've offered no opinion, have no view, have no information on potential impact, because it's never something that we looked at.
JOHNS: Comey also revealing the intelligence community has come to at least one clear conclusion. Russia's interference in the election was primarily
driven by Vladimir Putin's disdain for Hillary Clinton.
COMEY: Putin hated Secretary Clinton so much that the flip side of that coin was, he had a clear preference for the person running against the
person he hated so much.
JOHNS: Meantime, Republicans trying to deflect from the investigation. Instead, focusing on leaks and who revealed former national security
adviser Michael Flynn's identity.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One thing you and I agree on is the felonious dissemination of classified material, most definitely, is a crime.
JOHNS: With the president's government account even suggesting Obama might have played a role in the leaks, tweeting, "FBI Director Comey refuses to
deny he briefed President Obama on calls made by Michael Flynn to Russia."
[11:20:10] ANDERSON: Well, that was Joe Johns reporting for you. And we are getting reaction from Russia to the FBI director's bombshell. The
spokesman for the Kremlin says the government is, quote, tired of commenting on allegations that Russia meddled in the U.S. election.
Matthew Chance with more inside for you. Joining us out of Moscow.
What are we hearing from Moscow this hour?
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDNET: Well, pretty dismissive comments, Becky in the sense that, yes, you just mentioned one of them,
Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman saying he's simply tired of answering this allegation and this criticism. He said that the inquiry, the
congressional inquiry is not constructive for bilateral relations between Moscow and Washington and previously spoken about the hysteria and the
witch hunt that is, he believes, underway in American politics at the moment, which has made the Russia issue toxic and poisonous.
And so I think it's fair to say there's a good deal of frustration amongst the Russian political establishment at the moment about how Russia and how
this issue and how the Trump administration and its relationship with Russia is playing out politically.
And behind that frustration I think there's a good deal of fear as well, because they're sitting here in Moscow watching these developments unfold
in Washington and watching a relationship that was already very rocky get potentially even worse.
And of course that's even more galling because they believed when Donald Trump when the candidate and when he was elected and when he was
inaugurated that that important key diplomatic relationship, the relationship between Washington and Moscow was going to improve in a whole
range of areas, but that doesn't look politically possible in the current climate.
ANDRESON: Meantime, the new Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reportedly heading to Moscow in April. Do we know what that trip is likely to be
CHANCE: Well, I mean, gosh they've got such a lot to talk about, haven't they, form NATO expansion, to Syria in particular, to the situation in
Ukraine because of which Russia is under U.S. sanctions. Its annexation of Crimea and its fueling that the conflict in eastern Ukraine as well.
So, there's no shortage of topics for Rex Tillerson, the former CEO of Exxon, the big, massive U.S.-based oil giant to talk with the Russian
government about. You know, but it's a controversial visit as well, not least because Rex Tillerson announced that he won't be going to the NATO
summit, he'll be going to Moscow at a different time, but nevertheless it raises those concerns that the State Department is shunning NATO in favor
of better relations with Moscow.
Matthew Chance is in Moscow for you today. Thank you.
To some of the other stories on our radar for you today. And President Trump's oldest daughter Ivanka will soon have an office in the West Wing of
the White House. An administration official says she'll also seek a security clearance so she can access classified information even though she
is not a government employee.
A Syrian rebel group claims there have been more clashes in Damascus. This drone footage
published by al Rachman (ph) shows thick clouds of smoke over the city. CNN can't confirm its
authenticity. But the group claims violence there is continuing after a surprise attack on Sunday.
Investigators are questioning South Korea's ousted president over the corruption scandal that
let to her impeachment, Park Geun-hye apologized to the nation as she arrived at the prosecutor's office and promised to cooperate.
South Koreans go to the polls in May to elect a new president.
Well a violent commander turned pivotal peace-maker, friends and former foes paying tribute to Northern Ireland's Martin McGuinness, who has died
at the age of 66. A divisive figure, McGuinness retired from politics just weeks ago.
My colleague Nic Robertson looks at his journey from IRA leader to peaceful politician.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice-over): Martin McGuinness was never in any doubt about what he wanted, an end to British
rule in Northern Ireland.
MARTIN MCGUINNESS, FORMER NORTHERN IRELAND DEPUTY FIRST MINITER & FORMER IRA COMMANDER: In Ireland, they believe the British government should have
no part to play and in the life of the silent, that we believe the silent should be free.
ROBERTSON: McGuinness was born into poverty in Londonderry, in a city that would become the cradle of the Republican movement in the province. In the
late 60s, Londonderry's Catholics took to the streets demanding civil rights and an end to Protestant dominance in Northern Ireland.
McGuinness joined the IRA to fight, the Irish Republican Army to fight.
MCGUINNESS: The first time I picked a phone was during the battle of the (inaudible), which was 1969, whenever they (inaudible) they erupted.
[11:25:33] ROBERTSON: By 1972, on Bloody Sunday, when British paratroopers fired on angry demonstrators, killing 13 unarmed civilians, McGuinness had
risen to be an IRA commander.
In early '80s, McGuinness became an elected politician for Sinn Fein, the political wing of the IRA.
But even as the IRA launched bombing attacks in Northern Ireland and mainland Britain, McGuinness was talking with British officials, a risky
MCGUINNESS: We were dealing with very devious people who had the capability if they chose effectively to destroy me, as a Republican, and the fact that
they bring back a set of circumstances where I could lose my life as a result of my participation in these talks.
ROBERTSON: His risk eventually paid off. The 1998, Good Friday Peace Agreement called for power sharing between Catholics and Protestants.
Vindication came at the ballot box. Sinn Fein's popularity soared, the most powerful Catholic party in Northern Ireland. In a new power sharing
government, McGuinness rose to be deputy first minister, the first in his party to shake hands with Queen Elizabeth. A testament to how far this
Republican terrorist had come.
But after years of power sharing with Protestants, he abruptly resigned.
MCGUINNESS: I believe it's the right time to call a halt.
ROBERTSON: It was all the more shocking, because he appeared so visibly weak. He was ill. It was the last roll of the political dice. A Republican
through and through.
MCGUINNESS: I've always believed in myself. From the day that I stood with the young people and the old people of Londonderry and through storms
during the battle of the bog side, it was from that moment on that I believed in myself, that I believed that we could achieve important things.
ROBERTSON: A belief he never let go.
ANDERSON: The latest world news headlines are just ahead. Plus, he lived a secret life
working undercover for the KGB. Now this former spy gives us his insight on Russia's alleged meddling with the U.S. election.
[11:32:19] ANDERSON: Well, back to our top story now. New security restrictions on
certain flights coming into the U.S. or going into the U.S. I want to break down for you swhat's included in this new electronics ban.
Passengers flying direct from eight countries in the Middle East and Africa will have to check in any electronic device bigger than a smartphone. Now,
that includes laptops, cameras, gaming devices and tablets such as iPads, medical devices required during the flight will still be allowed in the
cabin after security screenings.
For more on the reason behind this ban and the impact that it could have, I want to bring in CNN aviation correspondent, and my colleague, of course,
Richard Quest. He is with us tonight from Kuala Lumpur.
Richard, before we talk about whether this ban can effectively be implemented, let's just talk about what we understand to be the
intelligence and the reason for this latest collective from the U.S.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: An excellent place to begin. Bearing in mind the nature of the ban, Becky.
The U.S. says there's no specific threat. There's no order, there's no - and investigation, into a particular attack that is supposedly being
planned. Instead, it's believed that they have received information over some period of time that has led them to conclude that there's a greater
and increasing risk from these larger electronic devices which could be turned into explosive devices on board the
And the best way the U.S. has decided to deal with it is to put them in the hold.
The critics say it won't make much difference. They can still be activated by other means. They could be timers, Bluetooths, whatever. But that's
why the U.S. say it's important to act now.
So what we understand, what we know is these airlines from mostly Muslim majority countries
have been targeted as it were, with this ban. And I use that term loosely. I mean, targeted as in those are the airlines, 10 airlines from eight
countries who are have been asked to enforce these stricter security measures.
The question is really this -- because so many of those airlines fly passengers in transit, as it were into the U.S., passenger who is may not
have started either at Abu Dhabi or Dubai for example. But maybe flying through for an Emirates flight, for example, to the U.S., how do these
airlines implement this new security measure? And how long will this last? Do we know?
[11:35:07] QUEST: Yes, we do know. It's believed that this is going to last from March the 25th to the middle of October. That's what we're
hearing so far.
How they will do it, if you started your flight somewhere such as Lagos or Kuala Lumpur or Bangkok, wherever it might be, you would be required to
check in your electronics at your original point of departure, because you wouldn't have access to your luggage once you're in transit.
But, Becky, I do understand that there are plans to try and construct some way that would let passengers keep their electronics all the way to the hub
and only on transfer put them into some secure part of the hold.
But Becky, there is a much greater issue tonight than just the U.Ss. flights. And this is the rumor not confirmed, but expected, that some
European countries are also going to join in, particularly the United Kingdom. Now, if that happens, Becky, you're talking about a much greater
operation. The number of transfer flights over Abu Dhabi, Dubai, or Qatar is huge, same for Turkish Airlines out of
Istanbul. So, keep your eye tonight that this could get much larger, much deeper and much wider.
ANDERSON: And to that point, just so that our viewers are bang up to date and you won't probably have seen this, because you've been talking to me,
but I'm looking at a ping now on my phone, just news that Germany is not considering measures on electronic devices, but clearly there is
speculation out there that others might do. And as you rightly point out that includes the UK. But just to read what we have - thank you, Richard -
Germany, not considering taking measures on electronic devices, on Germanbound flights like those asked for by the U.S. That is according to
a spokesman at the German interior ministry.
The statement also went on to say that the German government had prior notice of these U.S. measures.
This is, of course, a developing story. As we get the information that is pertinent to you folks, we will of course bring it to you. But you can, as
you can see, with our correspondents around the world, you are bang up to date on what we know and what these airlines out of these countries that
have been asked to enhance their security measures what they have been told as well.
Right, we've got a breakdown of what you need to know about this electronics ban. For all key details, do use the website. You'll find a
list of which airports are affected and which devices are included in the ban. That is the website of course, CNN.com.
Let's get back the dramatic fallout from the hearing - or the fallout from the quite dramatic
hearing on Capitol Hill on Monday. For the first time, FBI Director James Comey said that the bureau, the FBI, is investigating possible collusion
between the Trump campaign and Russia, and whether any crimes were committed.
Now, the White House seems to be trying to divert attention away from Comey's bombshell with President Trump continuing to call allegations of
Russian meddling in the election fake news.
CNN's Clarissa Ward joining me now live from Washington where you were, last night, listening in to what was fascinating testimony on The Hill.
Just reflecting on what you heard. Your thoughts?
CLARISSA WARD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it was five hours or more than five hours, even, of testimony and questioning throughout the hearing. But
the real bombshell, Becky, happened in the first five minutes, honestly, when we heard the director of the FBI, James Comey, announce in something
of an unprecedented turn, he announced that an investigation was ongoing.
That it began in July, and that the investigation was not just into Russian interference or
hacking or meddling in the U.S. election, but into possible coordination. He used the word, Becky, coordination, not collusion, but still, very
serious, into possible coordination between the Trump campaign and elements of the Russian government.
From that point on, he was very circumspect for obvious reasons. This is dealing with very
sensitive classified information. So he was not really able to divulge any details of the investigation, so he was not really able to divulge any
details of the investigation, though he was keen to try to impress upon people that just because he was not giving any details, he was not
providing much perspective about who specifically within the Trump campaign, maybe the focus of the investigation, how seriously
they think the likelihood is that Trump campaign members were talking directly to the Russian government, how seriously incriminating that might
look just because he wasn't giving any details about those specifics he wanted to impressive upon people that doesn't mean anything. And nothing
should be read into the fact that I cannot speak on these issues. I simply can't.
But certainly, fair to say, Becky, that nobody really expected this from Comey. What was expected is that he would address President Donald Trump's
accusations that former President Obama had actually been wiretapping Trump Tower. He did do that, but then he went one step further, as we said, and
actually said this as an ongoing investigation and it began in late July.
So, quite a bombshell. And not a great day for President Trump, Becky.
Out of Washington tonight, Clarissa Ward with the details. Clarissa, always a pleasure. Thank you.
You're in Abu Dhabi with us and Connect the World. Coming up, an incredible story of international espionage. We speak live to a former
Soviet spy who has lived in the United States now for decades. Hear what he has to say up next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COMEY: They were unusually loud in their intervention. It's almost as if they didn't care that we knew what they were doing or that they wanted us
to see what they were doing. It was very noisy.
Their number one mission is to undermine the credibility of our entire democracy enterprise of this nation, and so it might be that they wanted
us to help them by, by telling people what they were doing. Their loudness in a way would be counting on us to amplify it by telling the American
people what we saw and freaking people out.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Well, a fascinating assessment there from the director of the FBI. James Comey.
told congressional hearing that Russia apparently wanted the U.S. to know it was meddling in the election. So it could rattle public confidence in
the democratic process. And that wasn't the only warning. Comey also said the Russians succeeded in stirring up chaos,
division and discord. So the U.S. intelligence community can only conclude they'll be back.
Well, our next guest has inside knowledge of the shadowy underworld of Russian espionage. He was a Soviet spy himself sent to the United States
decades ago to be the eyes and ears of the Kremlin, or for the Kremlin.
Jack Barsky now speaking out about his double life. He gave a recent interview to The Guardian detailing his secret operations and how
everything eventually came crashing down.
He said, quote, "all those years I had a little man up here pointing to the hair swept across his scalp in a side parting he would constantly watch
what I was saying, he said, and stop me from going into certain territory. And then the little man got killed off and it was like an explosion."
well, Jack Barsky joins us live from New York. He has got this new book out, which is just hitting the shelves. It's called "Deep Undercover: My
Secret Life and Tangled Allegiances as a KGB Spy in America." Joining us now.
Jack, let's start with the roiling news here. And it's great to have you on. What do you make of
U.S./Russia relations at the moment, and everything that we heard out of Mr. Comey last evening?
[11:45:49] JACK BARSKY, FRM. KGB AGENT: Just to - one comment. The little man is still there, except I shut him down when I'm speaking personally.
But when it comes to like situations like this one, you know, I have to really think clearly what I can say and what I can't say. And not to
But with regard to what Mr. Comey just said, the quote that you had on, he is so right on. And fundamentally, there isn't much of a difference
between what the Soviet Union did in the old days and what Russia is doing now.
We were never friends. We were at one point allies with the Soviet Union to you know, fight Hitler, but we were never friends and even during times
when things were a little, after the fall of the Soviet Union, when things looked a little better, we were still adversaries.
ANDERSON: So, what you're saying, Jack, is that you do not find these allegations that Russia were meddling in this election strange at all? In
fact, you're saying the focus on Russian spying is rather strange, correct?
BARSKY: So let's just make sure that we understand what you mean by meddling in the election. What we know is that for sure that there have
been trying to do what they can to destabilize us, whether they succeeded or even attempted to meddle in the election,
that's a different story, that depends on your definition of what meddling means.
Clearly, our election machines can not be hacked. So meddling directly in the election was not possible.
ANDERSON: So what do you -- let me put this another way -- what do you think might have happened? What is possible?
BARSKY: What is possible, to raise doubt about a democratic process, to egg people on left and right, to you know, throw bombs at each other. And
if that indeed was the attempt, then they succeeded beyond their wildest expectations.
I have been following the news cycle here. And what's happening right now is we have arguments on either side of the aisle, the Democrats and the
Republicans, and both of them may be wrong to some extent, but neither there is no civilized discourse happening. Neither side is addressing the
argument of the other side. We are just like talking past each other, which is not good.
ANDERSON: Jack, I want to share with our viewers another very revealing remark from your
interview with The Guardian. You were asked if you could go back in time, what would you say to yourself before you got entangled with the KBG? Your
response, don't do it, you're going to mess yourself up. It's a scheme that is bound to fail. And it has failed in most cases. And the adventure
aspect is completely overrated, you said. Being undercover is very often quite boring, it's 99 percent waiting and 1 percent action. It is lonely,
What insight did you gain into the Russian mindset in your years as a KBG spy, which might be useful to the folks watching as they consider watch and
consume the narrative that is out there at present?
BARSKY: The Russian mindset, and I don't think it has changed much from the days when I was there, with some, some changes for sure. But
fundamental ignorance of what it's like to live in an open and free society. Obviously, in those days, there was an arrogance
about the eventual outcome that was inevitable that Communism would carry the day and rule the world, but there's sort of a mindset is somewhat still
rooted in the peasant heritage that Russia has been carrying for since as long as it has existed as a country.
[11:50:17] ANDERSON: Jack, it's been a pleasure having you on. Insightful stuff. Jack Barsky, "Deep Undercover: My Secret Life, Entangled
Allegiances as a KGB spy in America." A read which is as important today as Jack's interesting life all those years ago. Thank you.
Well, live from Abu Dhabi, you're watching Connect the World. Coming up, connecting the world through photos. We meet a man behind the lens,
exploring some of life's biggest questions.
ANDERSON: Now, Nowruz Mubarak to those of you who are celebrating.
Now that you know about the history of Nowruz, here's a look at some of this year's celebrations. Here's, for example, how people in Azerbaijan
are marking the holiday. They held a festival featuring tight rope walkers and other entertainment welcoming the end of winter and the beginning of
Well, we heard a lot this hour about travel restrictions, haven't we, whether it is what's in your
passport or what is in your luggage, it seems we are always being presented with new restrictions. For your parting shots, then, this hour, a
photographer whose work reminds us that some of those boundaries could all be, well, just in our minds.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My name is Yannis Bousakis (ph). I'm a Greek photographer and this is my latest exhibition called Songs for Everyone.
It is a series of portraits and photos of people from Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and (inaudible).
The aim is to talk about the common human experience.
We think that our lives are so unique and special and complex. But I believe that in reality, a
big part of our behavior as human beings is defined by two or three basic questions: why am I here, what is happening, why am I going to die? This
is a shepherd from Pakistan.
As a photographer, I don't steal moments from people's lives. I'm interested in the culture
and the connection some people perceive this as a spiritual image, other people are just impressed by the fact that a member of this culture allows
this sort of intimacy with a photographer.
It is a great lesson for me to see people from different backgrounds, different education levels, finding a place of calm observation, which
leads them to a place of peace. And I think there's a lot to learn there.
Our lives are not that different that there is a common thread ofdestiny that connects us all. And I try to capture that.
ANDERSON: Which just leaves me to say a very good evening.