Return to Transcripts main page
Piers Morgan Live
Interview with Dan Rather; Interview with John Walsh; Interview with Reza Aslan; Interview with Ken Hanson
Aired July 29, 2013 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PIERS MORGAN, CNN HOST: This is PIERS MORGAN LIVE. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world.
Tonight she's back. Hillary Rodham Clinton returns to Washington, meeting with the president today. The vice president tomorrow. She's even getting her own network miniseries and a documentary right here on CNN.
Newsman extraordinaire Dan Rather reads the political tea leaves. Also get his take on everything from scandal to spying and security in a changing America.
Plus John Walsh on shocking comments from Arial Castro's son and the rescue of over 100 children from prostitution.
Also the interview that's being called the most embarrassing ever aired on FOX News which is certainly saying something.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LAUREN GREEN, FOX NEWS: Right. You're a Muslim, so why did you write a book about the founder of Christianity?
REZA ASLAN, AUTHOR, "ZEALOT: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF JESUS OF NAZARETH": Well, to be clear, I am a scholar of religions with four degrees including one in the New Testament and fluency in biblical Greek, who has been studying the origins of Christianity for two decades who also just happens to be a Muslim.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Which is quite a good answer really, isn't it? His new book is number one on Amazon and author Reza Aslan is here.
And the return of "The Grill" tonight. I'll talk to the man who's giving George Zimmerman $12,000 to buy a new gun because we all want George Zimmerman to have a new gun.
There's a lot going on tonight. And who better to talk about all the big stories of the day than Dan Rather, anchor and managing editor of AXS TV's "Dan Rather Reports."
Dan, great to see you.
DAN RATHER, AXS TV'S "DAN RATHER REPORTS": Always good to see you.
MORGAN: I spent a week watching cricket, playing cricket, drinking beer. Feeling very, very British. So it's good to be back with an American icon tonight to realign me.
RATHER: Appreciate it. Thank you.
MORGAN: Let's talk about Hillary Clinton. I don't want to bring in Anthony Weiner and his wife Huma. Obviously who works for Hillary and so on. Let's start with Hillary herself. She's having lunch with the president and the vice president tomorrow. Many people saying, look, this is the 2016 warm-up, this is the first sign that she's definitely going to run.
Do you think that?
RATHER: Well, I don't think it's the first time she's definitely going to run. The signs have been around for quite a little while. In this case, perhaps I'm naive, it's been a long time since anybody could accuse me of being that.
But I would take the White House at their word. I do think that we all know Hillary Clinton and President Obama were fierce competitors during the primary campaign. After she became secretary of state, however, first they got mutual respect and then I think they became real friends.
I do think this was basically two friends catching up. No doubt they talked about events in the Middle East, no telling what else they talked about. It's clear that if her health holds, and no reason why it shouldn't, Hillary Clinton is the odds on favorite for the Democratic nomination in 2016. She certainly would have liked to have Barack Obama and Michelle Obama's support for that race.
They would like to have her support for the off-year election coming up in 2014. So certainly politics is part of it. Whether they discuss something like the Weiner case in New York, I tend to doubt it, but among friends, who can say they didn't discuss it.
MORGAN: Is it unhelpful to Hillary Clinton, as some people are saying, that her right-hand woman is embroiled in just the kind of sex scandal that she and Bill Clinton would have wanted to move on from a long time ago? It sort of -- it brings it all back, doesn't it?
RATHER: Well, obviously the answer is yes, it brings it all back. And give the Clintons credit, both the president and Hillary Clinton credit. They stick by their friends and they stuck by Huma and her husband and family. They stuck by them to the point. Remember that the damage control just built along the lines of the Clintons in the 1990s worked pretty well until the second time around. That is to say, he was forgiven by a large section of the voting public in New York. But then more pictures provided on the scene. At that point it began to get creepy. Too creepy even for New York.
MORGAN: And that is creepy.
RATHER: Yes. And, well, you know, my hometown of -- adopted hometown of Austin has kept Austin weird. Nobody in New York wants a T-shirt that says, keep New York creepy. We don't want to joke about this that once it reached that point, then it began to have at least the potential of harming not only Hillary Clinton's campaign in 2016 but also the Democratic Party, to say nothing of Democrats in New York and the city as a whole.
So now the signals are being sent out. You probably saw Dee Dee Myers, former White House press secretary, yesterday.
RATHER: She would not have said the things she said, suggesting that Weiner needs to get out of the race with -- there's no way that she had to have some signal if not indeed actually talking to Clintons before she did. So that's where that is. However, if you're Weiner, look at his situation. The only thing he can do is stick in the race.
MORGAN: But you say that, Dan, I mean, doesn't there come a point when everyone is laughing at you? I mean, I've tried to defend Anthony Weiner, and actually, you know, I quite like the guy, but to actually reveal rather nonchalantly last week, by the way, there were another three women at least after I had to resign. And as I was doing "People" magazine at-home interviews about my ability to have become a great husband again and father and so on. He becomes a laughingstock.
RATHER: Well, he is a laughingstock.
MORGAN: In the old days in politics, at that stage, it's exit stage left. Now he just plows on.
RATHER: Well, those were the old days. And you can bet that in his heart of hearts he wants to plow on because the only thing he can see for redemption is go straight ahead. But the pressure point is on him is his wife Huma and the child. That's the pressure point.
If she sticks with him and stays with him, then I think what you're looking at is he'll stay through the primary because he has nothing to lose. His family has a lot to lose. And I repeat, for him this is, Huma and the child are the pressure points on him. And that pressure is going to be greater, even today the tabloids again have another, if you will, dump of fairly creepy information and material. You can bet more is coming. So this is more than drip-drip it's --
MORGAN: I reckon there are thousands out there. He's never stopped. Let's move on to Edward Snowden and also Bradley Manning because they're sort of interlinked even though they don't know each other.
You've got Bradley Manning facing his sentencing tomorrow. You know, I've always thought the slight difference between Manning and Snowden is this, is that you have the guy who's working in the military, clearly breaking the law, indiscriminately putting out almost everything he can get his hands on. And WikiLeaks popped the whole thing into the ether. Clearly very damaging. There's no judicious editing really.
In Snowden's case, you know, to be fair to the guy, he can try and be quite judicious in what he put out there, do you see that distinction?
RATHER: I do see that distinction. And let me say straight out, Piers, this is difficult for me, I go -- I have gone back and forth on this issue. One we have to have a rule of law. The government must be able to keep some secrets. There are some legitimate secrets --
MORGAN: But where do you draw the line there particularly in a modern era?
RATHER: That's the point.
MORGAN: With modern technology.
RATHER: Right. Bull's eye, when I started in the craft of journalism, there was a line, it was a very fine line, thin line between honest whistle blowing and treason between the government. But we all knew where the line was.
Now in the Internet era, in the new electronic deadline every nanosecond era, and also quite frankly, the corporatization of the government, all of this, nobody knows where the line is any more. So in a close call, and I grant you it's a close call, I stand with those who say, it's better for the public to have too much information than not enough.
And when someone makes a moral stand on conscience, as Snowden says he's doing, then you have to -- however reluctantly, at least in the short term, come down on his side, let's have too much information as if both not enough.
However, I do think, to be preachy, that one has to be willing to face the consequences eventually. And for him, as some say, he should come back and say, I'm prepared to face a jury of my peers and make my case, my personal opinion is that's a good idea, but maybe not right at the moment.
MORGAN: We're talking of facing consequences, there's a Nixon documentary airing this week on CNN, "OUR NIXON." It's based on the home movies from some of the key architects of his downfall, as it turned out. You covered that whole scandal of presidency. And before we go into that, I want to play you a clip. This is -- actually not a clip. It's a tape of Nixon talking about you in which he says, pardon my language, Dan Rather is a son of a bitch. Don't ever see him, I say. Don't ever, ever, ever, ever see him. I can assure you, because he would cut you up. I would not see him at all."
Badge of honor, Dan?
RATHER: Frankly, yes.
He said that to Patrick Gray, who had just been appointed head of the FBI. By the way, I didn't know that at the time. And it was only revealed recently, there were other statements from him which were to say the least not complimentary. But I think it told you something about President Nixon and some of those around him. That he would say that and take that himself.
Badge of honor, look, I was a White House correspondent. I did my job, I did it the best I could. And for those who think I was guilty of something, I asked tough questions of, if you will, the only president in our history who personally led a widespread criminal conspiracy. And when we see this documentary film of the home movies of H.R. Haldeman, John Ehrlichman, Dwight Chapin, and others who were involved. It's easy to forget the background and the context in which those movies were made.
MORGAN: At least you came out quite well compared to John Chancellor, your colleague. He said, Nixon, "Chancellor, you can get by with. Chancellor is so dumb, he isn't very smart. Rather is a smart rat, but he's clever."
Had nothing to do with CBS. Sorry, I thought it was funny, but it's quite funny.
RATHER: By the way, one line in that, President Nixon said Hoover hated CBS News.
MORGAN: Was that true?
RATHER: Apparently so. Who would know better than Richard Nixon?
MORGAN: Is it healthy, do you think, to be called a smart rat by a president? (INAUDIBLE), isn't it?
RATHER: No, I don't think so. But in case of this president, as I say, Richard Nixon accomplished some things in his presidency. However, it's inescapable that he led this widespread criminal conspiracy, more than 40 people were charged, indicted, and many dozens faced hard prison time. And the only reason President Nixon didn't do so is he was allowed to resign as a, quote, "unindicted co- conspirator." And I know that was -- in the context of seeing these home movies, saying well, they're getting out from underneath -- President Nixon is coming out from under the shadow of Watergate, not true, and historically, there's no way he can get out from underneath that shadow.
Keep in mind, Piers. Not a lot of people know that evidence had surfaced fairly recently that President Nixon actually signed off on a plan to murder at least one Washington reporter. Exclamation point.
MORGAN: Amazing. Well, Dan, you're not a rat, but you are very smart. It's always good to have you.
RATHER: Thank you.
MORGAN: Thanks for coming up.
MORGAN: Dan Rather. And the documentary airs on Thursday, the Nixon presidency, as you've never seen it before. Footage the FBI locked away for 40 years revealed in the film "OUR NIXON." It premiers right here Thursday at 9:00 Eastern.
When we come back, John Walsh, what he thinks are some shocking comments by the son of Ariel Castro and the daring rescue of over 100 children from prostitution.
Also ahead, the interview everyone is still talking about. The author who tangled with a FOX News anchor. Very, very unhappy about a Muslim daring to talk about Christianity.
Shame on you, Reza Aslan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RONALD HOSKO, ASSISTANT DIR., FBI CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIVE DIVISION: I can tell you that we've had significant activity around the NCAA Final Four, around Super Bowl in the past. And we have had children recovered from each of those events. Multiple children from each of those events in the past.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: The FBI announcing an unprecedented crackdown on prostitution rings that prey on underage victims. A hundred and five children were rescued in a series of raids across the country.
My next guest is a man who's devoted his life to catching criminals and helping endangered children. John Walsh is the former host of "America's Most Wanted" and he joins me now.
John, a very, very big day for the FBI, and this investigation. Tell me about it. JOHN WALSH, FORMER HOST, "AMERICA'S MOST WANTED": I think it's wonderful. It's not just the FBI who have worked with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children since 2003, but it's their 270 other partners, local and state law enforcement agencies who got together to catch about 150 pimps who bring these underage girls from state to state, terrorizing them.
And released and got 105 children out of this nightmare. Many of them are for other countries and brought in here. FBI said at least 50 countries bring children in here to be used in sex trafficking and child prostitution.
MORGAN: We know that 76 cities were involved. I mean, it seems a huge number. But are you surprised by that? Is this basically going on in every city in America?
WALSH: Absolutely, Piers. I mean, people expect it to go on in India, Cambodia, gun shows from there, Malaysia, Vietnam, yes. Those are third world countries and it does exist there. But the United States is the number one offender of sex trafficking of children, and the number one buyer of exploitation of children involved in sex trafficking.
And it -- I think people have really got to realize that this is just the tip of the iceberg, that these law enforcement agencies really don't have the resources, and when you think about it, lots of these kids were runaways, about 500,000 kids hit the streets every year. Running away from physical or sexual abuse at home, and one of the three of those are either kidnapped or forced into it by gangs.
And when they recover these girls, and I've done these cases before, they're terrified to testify against these pimps. So where do they go? They have nowhere to go. It's really something, this first world richest, most powerful country in the world is ignored for years.
MORGAN: And your final thoughts on Arial Castro because he'll be sentenced later this week, his son was on television this morning. Let's watch a clip of that interview.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTHONY CASTROL, ARIEL CASTRO'S SON: I think it's the best possible sentence. I think that if he really can't control his impulses and he really doesn't have any value for human life the way this case has shown, then behind bars is where he belongs for the rest of his life.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: I assume you agree with that, John?
WALSH: I think his son turned out to be a way better man than this coward was. And I think he got off light. I think it's wonderful that those three women do not have to testify, but you think particularly what he did to Michelle Knight, raped her and impregnated her five times, and beat her until she miscarried, life imprisonment is a little too good for that creep.
MORGAN: John Walsh, always good to talk to you. Thank you very much indeed.
WALSH: Thanks, Piers.
MORGAN: Now I want to turn to the interview that everyone is still talking about. But not in a good way. Listen to a bit of what happens when author and scholar, Reza Aslan, stops by FOX News to promote his new book on Jesus.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GREEN: This is an interesting book. Now I want to be clear, you're a Muslim, so why did you write a book about the founder of Christianity?
ASLAN: Well, to be clear, I am a scholar of religions with four degrees, including one in the New Testament and fluency in biblical Greek who has been studying the origins of Christianity for two decades, who also just happens to be a Muslim. So it's not that I'm just some Muslim writing about Jesus, I am an expert with a PhD in the history of religions. But I've been obsessed with Jesus --
GREEN: But it still begs the question, though -- it still begs the question, why would you be interested in the founder of Christianity?
ASLAN: Because it's my job as an academic. I am a professor of religion, including the New Testament. That's what I do for a living.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: The book, "Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth," reached number one on Amazon today. As you can see the interview went pretty well from Reza Aslan's point of view. And he joins me now.
And, Reza, I mean, what were you thinking as that interviewer was asking those ridiculous questions?
ASLAN: Well, look, I mean, truly I was kind of embarrassed. I mean, there's nothing more distasteful than an academic having to, like, trot out his credentials. I mean, you really come up as a jerk when you do that. But it was very hard not to keep mentioning that I'm actually qualified to write this book so let's talk about the book instead.
MORGAN: Yes. I mean, it's obviously worked pretty well for you in a sense they must be talking about, you're number on Amazon. It must be -- it must be a good feeling.
Tell me this. Cut to the book itself. What is the premise of the book and what is the conclusion that you reached?
ASLAN: Well, the book is a historical biography of a man named Jesus of Nazareth. It tries to sort of separate him from the Christology that arose around him and the generations that followed. And it's really an attempt to figure out what can we know about this man? And although we can know very little about him, we know a lot about the world in which he lives.
So I just take what little we know about him, that he was a Jew, that he started a Jewish movement, and that he was crucified as a state criminal as a result of it. Put in the world in which he lived and the picture that arises of Jesus is of a far more revolutionary figure than the kind of detached celestial spirit than I think most people think Jesus was.
MORGAN: Taking the FOX interview as the basis for this next question, but do you think it would be helpful generally if more Muslims read more about Christianity, more Christians read more about the Muslim faith?
ASLAN: I think for sure. I mean, look, knowledge is key to figuring out who we are and how we feel about each other. But I just want to say, like, I completely understand where Lauren Green is coming from. I kind of feel bad for him. I mean, the truth of the matter is that when you write about religion like I do, you're writing about something that people take very seriously, and I understand that a lot of people, whether it's Muslims or Christians or Jews or what have you, feel sometimes like academics like myself are attacking their faith, attacking their very identity.
But nothing can be further from the truth. I mean, as I've said repeatedly, you know, the most important people in my life are Christian, my wife and my mother. And Christianity is a very important religion. I have no interest in attacking it. And frankly, this is not a book about Christianity, because Jesus was a Jew. It's about Judaism.
MORGAN: Tell me, Reza, about your own religious journey, if you like, you got in your life. It was quite interesting, isn't it?
ASLAN: Yes. I was -- you know, came from a Muslim family, came to the United States in 1979 at a time in which it wasn't such a great idea to be a Muslim in the '80s. You know, not much has changed, I guess, nowadays, but really when I was 15, I heard the gospel message for the first time, and it had a profound effect on me. Converted to evangelical Christianity, spent the next three or four years of my life really preaching the gospel.
And then when I went to a Catholic Jesuit institution, Santa Clara University, it really began an academic in-depth study of the New Testament, with my Jesuit professors, all of a sudden I realized that there was this distance between the historical figure that I was learning about and the Christ that I was introduced to in church.
And although I really kind of went away from the Christian faith and really went back to the faith and practice of my forefathers, I became incredibly interested in Jesus, the man, and spent the next 20 years studying him, really trying to mold my life after him. I mean he truly is my hero.
MORGAN: Well, Reza, it's good to talk to you. And the book is called "Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth." You should be thanking FOX News, really, because they have spring-boarded you to the number one best-selling book in the country.
Many congratulations. It's a terrific read. You don't need any hype from me, it's already doing it itself. So good to talk to you.
ASLAN: Thanks, Piers. Great to talk to you again.
MORGAN: Coming next, the return of "The Grill." This man says the real injustice in the George Zimmerman case is that he lost his gun. So he's raised $12,000 to buy him a new one.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARK O'MARA, GEORGE ZIMMERMAN DEFENSE ATTORNEY: He has to be very cautious and protective of his safety because there is still a fringe element who have said at least in tweets and everything else that they want revenge.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: George Zimmerman's attorney Mark O'Mara says his client has been getting death threats since he was found not guilty of murdering Trayvon Martin. Now an Ohio gang group has raised more than $12,000 so Zimmerman can buy himself another gun.
On "The Grill" tonight, a man who's helped raise all that case, Ken Hanson is the legal chairman of the Buckeye Firearms Foundation.
Mr. Hanson, welcome to you. Why do you want George Zimmerman to have a gun so badly?
KEN HANSON, BUCKEYE FIREARMS FOUNDATION: Well, I mean, the first thing to point out is the purpose of the fundraiser was not just to buy a gun. It was to buy gun, ammunition, gear, training, security systems, personal protection, whatever he felt was appropriate to defend himself, defend his family, defend his parents, and that was what the money was raised for.
MORGAN: Have you offered to do the same for the family of Trayvon Martin, given it was obviously their unarmed teenaged son who was shot dead by George Zimmerman? Have you thought about their security going forward?
HANSON: I'm not aware of any threats against Mr. Martin's family for the fact that Mr. Zimmerman was acquitted. If there are people threatening his family, certainly with African-Americans up in Cleveland, lawmakers up in Cleveland that have been going through threats after they were involved in court cases, we've stepped up to the plate and provided those people with resources also.
MORGAN: Right. But you get my point is that obviously they lost their teenage son who was unarmed to a gun, a gun that was owned by George Zimmerman. Many people would feel the last thing George Zimmerman should be having right now is another gun.
HANSON: Well -- but the point is, two different levels of government review. The initial police review. The initial prosecution review. And then second a jury trial with a handpicked prosecutor that didn't even go through a grand jury, acquitted Mr. Zimmerman of those charges.
MORGAN: Right, but what if he does it again? What if Trayvon Martin's older brother is walking in the same area in a few month's time, George Zimmerman happens to be passing, finds him suspicious again, as he did Trayvon, decides to engage him in the street, and decides to shoot him as well? Where does that leave you if you're the one that supplied the gun?
HANSON: Well, if we're the ones that supplied the gun -- and again remember, we provided money, not a gun. But if someone is on top of Mr. Zimmerman, again, repeatedly bashing his head into the concrete, and he acts in self-defense, that's incredible bad luck that he found himself in that situation twice. But we'll sleep soundly.
MORGAN: You will sleep soundly if he did that again?
HANSON: If he's acting legally in self-defense again, absolutely.
PAGE: And at what point does he have to take responsibility for not pursuing, some would say stalking unarmed teenagers who are walking home?
HANSON: Well, again, two different levels of government review have found no fault with Mr. Zimmerman's actions. At a certain point...
MORGAN: I'm asking you -- I'm asking you if you -- I'm asking you if you do, if you think at any point he has any responsibility for his own actions. In other words, if you're going to arm this guy again, give him a gun that he's recently used a gun to shoot an unarmed teenager, if you're going to arm him again, and that's what you've actively done, he raised $12,000 into a group to deliberately arm him, as you say, with guns, with ammunitions, security and so on, that's fine.
But what if he then does it again?
HANSON: Well, I mean, we can go through all the hypotheticals that you'd like to go through. But what it comes down to is that he's gone through a government review again in the second hypothetical situation that you're raising, then he acted within the law.
And I just don't see why that's a problem.
MORGAN: I think that I would -- if I lived in that area, and I had a -- you know, particularly, if I was a black family who had a son like Trayvon Martin, maybe aged 16, 17, 18, who liked to wear hoodies, I'd be pretty nervous at the thought of George Zimmerman walking around with another gun. And I think they would be right to feel nervous.
HANSON: Well, the problem is, when we go out and help the pink pistols, a gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender group, who's being denied against, denied their gun rights, when we go up to a young African-American male up in Cleveland who was wearing a hoodie who acted in self-defense. When we go up to Cleveland for an elected legislator who acted, voted against every single piece of program legislation that was introduced in the Ohio general assembly, when we're acting on behalf of those people, it's not a problem.
It's only in this case, when the villagers have gone out with the torches and the pitchforks that it somehow becomes a problem. This is not an issue of -- of race.
It's an issue of self-defense law. And your hypothetical second situation, I mean, god forbid it happens. I hope it doesn't. I hope it doesn't ever happen to anyone.
But if they go through that same level of review -- of review again, and it's found self-defense, that's the law.
MORGAN: What is your view of Florida's stand-your-ground law, and indeed a law that many other states have embraced?
HANSON: Well, the United States did not have a duty to retrieve in its laws in -- in most states until the 1920s, the 1930s. And I think it's important for people to understand that whether we're talking duty to retreat, stand your ground or whatever, that doesn't arise until the lethal physical confrontation already has occurred.
Mr. Zimmerman was not standing his ground. The evidence shows he was laying on the ground and having his head bashed into the concrete.
MORGAN: Well, but I asked you what your view of the stand-your- ground law was, not about George Zimmerman.
HANSON: Well, again, the United States did not have a duty to retreat in its laws until the 1920s and 1930s. We looked at it extensively, in many court cases throughout the United States.
And it's only then that some states start to introduce a -- a duty to retreat. And at the point that someone's on top of you, pummeling you into the ground, there's no option to retreat.
So whether it's stand your ground or whether it's a state that doesn't have stand your ground and has a duty to retreat, it just doesn't make a difference.
MORGAN: So just to clarify, you don't think there should ever really be a situation where you have a duty to retreat?
HANSON: Oh, the taking of a human life is the last resort -- morally, religiously, ethically and legally. And whether there's a duty to retreat or not, the first step in a self-defense test is always, do you have an alternative way out of this situation?
It could be pressing an alarm button. It could be using a taser. It could be using pepper spray -- anything like that.
It's not a physical retreat that is key. That's always the first step in a self-defense case is can you avoid the taking of the human life?
MORGAN: Have you ever thought that you could reduce the taking of human lives if you reduce the number of guns. Has that thought process ever crossed your mind?
HANSON: Oh, certainly, as a prosecutor for over 12 years, as someone who has been a court-appointed counsel in murders, rapes, kidnappings, that thought has crossed my mind. And I have not ever found the number of words put down on a -- on a piece of paper that saves a human life.
MORGAN: What do you mean by that?
HANSON: You can write all the laws you want down on a piece of paper. The criminals are still going to get the guns. We've seen that repeatedly.
The United States did a national experiment with magazine bans, certain ugly rifle bans, things like that. It had no impact on crime, you know...
MORGAN: Well, actually -- actually, that's not true, though, is it, because in the last assault weapons ban, there was a seven and a half percent drop in -- in gun deaths. So that's not true.
HANSON: No -- no, actually, I don't think that's true.
MORGAN: That -- that is true. It's a fact.
HANSON: The conclusion (ph) presented to Congress was that there was no reputable academic study that showed it's had any impact on crime.
MORGAN: What about all the countries abroad in tough gun control laws like Great Britain, like Australia, Japan and others, where they have incredibly low numbers of gun deaths because they have very strong gun control? How do you explain that if your theory is it makes no difference?
HANSON: Countries are based upon the culture of the country. We cannot begin to examine the United States versus Japan, for instance, where they have a cultural heritage of expecting to be caught, expecting to confess, things like that, that the idea that you can compare the United States to some other country's gun laws has just been so thoroughly debunked in the literature, that I don't know how to respond to it.
MORGAN: No, you're right. Words fail me, too. Very good to talk to you. Ken Hanson, thank you very much.
HANSON: Thank you for having me, sir.
MORGAN: Let me come -- let me come back. I wanted to get my legal eagle's take on all that, plus all the biggest cases of the day from Bradley Manning to Edward Snowden and Dutch (ph) and Gloria Allred go head to head.
MORGAN: On the document, tonight's law and disorder, sex scandal, surveillance and more, joining me now, civil rights attorney Gloria Allred and lawyer Alan Dershowitz. Alan Dershowitz is a consultant of the Julian Assange's legal team.
And Gloria Allred represents a woman who's suing San Diego Mayor Bob Filner's sexual harassment.
So you, two, are right in the thick of it as I would expect from my legal eagles. Let's start here if we can what (ph) team (ph) has conducted there with the man who -- who wants to arm George Zimmerman.
Alan Dershowitz, is this a good idea, do you think, having George Zimmerman back on the streets with a gun?
DERSHOWITZ: No, I don't think -- I don't think it's a good idea. I think it's a good idea if you're going to get police protection. In our society, if you are at risk, the police are obliged to protect you, self-help almost always results in more rabid (ph) than fewer (ph) crimes.
So I think the police ought to protect him. And he deserves that. But he doesn't deserve at this point to get a gun to protect himself. He has certainly not proved his capacity to use the gun in a safe and effective manner.
MORGAN: Gloria, I mean, he referred that to the culture -- American culture being so steeped in guns. There's almost no alternative than for everyone to be packing heat to defend themselves.
How do you change that thinking?
ALLRED: Well, I -- I mean, there are a lot of people -- I'm not saying he's one of them who have an economic stake in making sure that the gun industry not only survives, but thrives. People are making a lot of money off of that.
And there are people who legitimately are concerned about their own security. So I think that people have to make their decisions about the options that they have to be secure.
But sometimes perhaps, they're not considering other options other than guns. Four, I would differ with -- with Alan, because I don't think generally the police do provide private protection services for people. I doubt that they're going to provide them for George Zimmerman.
He's going to be pretty much left on his own to make sure that he's secure, that his family is secure.
MORGAN: Right. Well, let's move onto Bradley Manning.
DERSHOWITZ: I don't (ph)...
MORGAN: Well, let's -- let's move to Bradley Manning. I just want to get your quick take on that. If Bradley Manning is found guilty, you've -- you've been helping Julian Assange.
He was quite vocal today, saying this is a -- it's a huge test case. And they're going to make an example of him, and he's outrageous and so on.
But as Dan Rather said, doesn't there have to be some line drawn as to what kind of information people can put into the public domain?
DERSHOWITZ: Yes, but we've drawn a line at the wrong place. We overclassify. Ninety percent of the material classified should be public and should be out there.
Now, we have to make a sharp distinction between two categories of people. On the one hand, we have the people who have taken the material, the Bradley Mannings, the Snowdens, the Daniel Ellsbergs.
And no the other hand, we have the people who published it -- the Assange's, the "New York Times," Seymour Hersh, people like that. Our law treats them all the same.
Our law treats the same somebody who like "The New York Times" publishes material that should be in the public domain. Our laws don't make the kinds of distinctions that Dan Rather correctly pointed out have to be made.
We have to go back to the drawing board. We have to classify less. We have to have much more openness. And we have to recognize that if we have a system, the way it is today, there are going to be more and more Mannings.
There are going to be more and more Snowdens. And there are going to be more and more Ellsbergs. We -- if we want to stop it, we have to do it in a rational calibrated fashion.
MORGAN: Gloria, what -- what do you think? ALLRED: I would translate what Alan just said so eloquently like this, that we really need to change it on a legislative level. Congress needs to address this issue.
But for people to engage in self-help, for people to decide for themselves individually, I'm going to release classified information because I don't think it should be classified. It's very dangerous.
It is dangerous to them. It is dangerous to others. Lives are being put at risk by the release of classified information. And I think it is just not the way to do it.
And I -- and I'm very concerned that now, there seems to be a trend and a wave of individuals deciding for themselves. I'm going to just do a dump of classified information if I can.
MORGAN: Well, and the problem, Alan Dershowitz, is surely the -- the modern technology means organization like Wikileaks or even Edward Snowden with the help of various news organizations, it can go all the around the world incredibly fast. And whichever side of the debate you're on, there could be no doubt that that is not going to be completely in the best interests of America and its security.
DERSHOWITZ: I agree with you. As Julian Assange once said, the best way to keep a secret is not to know it. People like Bradley Manning never should have been given access to the kind of information that he had.
Certainly, Snowden, who didn't even work for the United States government and had a relatively low level of security clearance should not have been given the -- the information that he had. We have to keep our real secrets more secure.
And we have to openly allow the press to get access to things that should not be secret. We're doing it all wrong on both sides. We're not sufficiently protecting the things we have to keep secret.
And we're overprotecting the things we shouldn't keep secret. But we have to start from scratch. We need Congressional hearings. We need new laws.
We need a new approach to classification and security. Right now, it's not working. It's not protecting us. And it's over- punishing people like Bradley Manning.
MORGAN: OK, let's take a short break. When we come back...
ALLRED: And we have to also...
MORGAN: ...sorry, Gloria, last words from you?
MORGAN: ...I was just going to say, I just have one thing that's -- that I will also add, that we have to explore the role of independent contractors who are gaining information to classified information.
MORGAN: Yes, I completely agree with that. That seems to be one of the biggest flaws in the whole system. When we come back, let's get into sex and politics.
Elliot Spitzer, Anthony Weiner, San Diego Mayor Bob Filner -- can they convince voters to forgive and forget their personal behavior?
MORGAN: Back with me now, for more law and disorder, Gloria Allred and Alan Dershowitz. Let's move onto sex and politics. We've got Elliot Spitzer, Anthony Weiner and Mayor Filner in San Diego, all trying to make comebacks after sex scandals have -- have rocked them, I mean, in fact, in some cases, in fact, all of them at the moment or most during.
Gloria, what is your view of the public's, I suppose, willingness to forgive and forget in these situations? And of these three men, who has the greater chance of survival?
ALLRED: Well, at this point, it might be Elliot Spitzer. I think as to the others, as to Anthony Weiner and of course, I represent Ginger Lee (ph) who received sexting from former Congressman, Mayoral hopeful Weiner.
Weiner, I think, in his original therapy or attempt to get help was not really I think forthcoming with the public afterwards about the fact that he really either hadn't gotten the kind of effective help he wanted to get or maybe didn't want to get effective help. But essentially, he wasn't helped because he continued.
And I think the fact that he was not as forthcoming as he should have been is really going to hurt him. And -- and that's why he suffered a drop in the polls. As to Mayor Filner, whom I am suing on behalf of Irene McCormack Jackson, we are -- basically opened the floodgates with our lawsuit and our news conference last Monday, where we alleged that he had asked her -- she was director of communications for him, to come to work without her panties on, that he liked to see her naked, tried to kiss her and all of that.
I -- I think he's going to have a hard time surviving. We're calling on him to resign, just about everybody else, including Senator Feinstein and Nancy Pelosi and -- and others are calling on him to resign.
I think it's really just a question of when he's going to have to go, not if he's going to have to go.
MORGAN: Alan Dershowitz, I mean, sex and politics is not an unusual occurrence in America. You know, JFK was one of the most famous and popular presidents in history but was a notorious womanizer.
What is the difference really between what he used to get up to and what Anthony Weiner gets up to other than Weiner never actually met these women?
DERSHOWITZ: Well, one thing that should be pointed out is all three of these people are progressive, liberal, civil rights advocates, supporters of women rights. And yet, they engage in this kind of conduct.
Now, you have to distinguish Filner who has victims from the others whose victims really are their wives and their families and perhaps their constituents because their conduct seems, at least on the surface, to be voluntary. But it -- it seems to me that Elliott Spitzer -- you know, he worked for me.
He was my research assistant so I may have a bias here, too -- is the most qualified person ever to run for controller in the city of New York. And I suspect his competence will overcome his past mistakes whereas, you know, Weiner's candidacy was always very questionable and Filner is a hard case because he was a good mayor and -- and popular and progressive.
And yet, what he did was the worst of what all of the people did. And I'm sure Gloria will take him to test and make him pay very heavy consequences for what he appropriately deserves to pay consequences for.
MORGAN: Well, Gloria, I mean...
ALLRED: And he should.
MORGAN: ...yes, on that point, though, that Alan made about the difference between JFK, say, and Anthony Weiner, what is the difference?
ALLRED: Well, I mean, I want to differ with Alan on the fact that the allegation that all of the women were voluntarily involved in this, my client, Ginger Lee (ph), did not send any sext to Anthony Weiner and nor did she send any photos of herself. And, in fact, Weiner then, however, sexted her and sent photos of himself.
And so -- and she's been drawn into this. And now, there are, you know, reports out there that she is making an adult film, that she -- the suggestion is somehow she wants to profit from this.
She hasn't made adult films for five years. She is not interested in -- in the adult film business at this point. She's not going to profit from it. She has not profited from it.
She's been kind of sucked into this scandal and hasn't wanted to be part of it and -- hopes that he will withdraw so she could go back to her life and never hear the words Anthony Weiner again.
MORGAN: OK but -- but my point, though, that -- that -- explain to me the difference really between the behavior of an incredibly popular president like JFK and Anthony Weiner who's being pilloried and crucified right now for what many would say wasn't quite as bad. He never actually met these women.
DERSHOWITZ: We didn't know about Kennedy.
MORGAN: Yes, but we know...
ALLRED: We didn't have the internet then.
MORGAN: ...we know now, don't we?
DERSHOWITZ: We know now but we didn't know then. I was a young lawyer at the time. And we all idolized Kennedy. And I think many of us were shocked to learn about some of this activity.
ALLRED: I agree. I agree. And we didn't have the internet. So we didn't have all the blogs. We didn't have all the reporting. As a matter of fact, those people who did know, those reporters -- some of them may have been reluctant to, in fact, decided not to report on what they knew.
It's a whole different world now. All bets are off. Everything is on the table. If anyone knows anything, they're going to report it.
And if they don't know anything, they may make up stuff anyway.
MORGAN: I don't think...
DERSHOWITZ: But Gloria...
MORGAN: ...I don't think -- I don't think JFK would have survived very long in the age of mobile phones. I've got to be honest with you. But we're going to leave it there.
Gloria and Alan, always good to talk to you both. Thank you very much. And we'll be right back.
MORGAN: Tomorrow, Hillary Clinton's comeback in the scandals in New York's mayoral race damage her possible presidential run? I'll talk to a woman who says Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin's problems are not private and a matter of judgment.
Star Jones joins me tomorrow. That's all for us tonight. "Anderson Cooper" starts right now.