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Need to Know, July 2, 2010

This week on Need to Know, we take a look at the alleged Russian spy ring broken up by federal authorities. Jon Meacham reports from Washington, D.C. on the TedxOilSpill conference, and talks to experts there about the future of American energy. And Need to Know correspondent Rick Karr examines the latest attempt by big pharma to create a “female Viagra.”


And watch the individual segments:

Can we stop the spies?
Author and reporter Tim Weiner talks to Need to Know about the alleged Russian spy ring, and whether its members posed a legitimate threat to the U.S.

Drilling down: Conversations on the Gulf oil disaster
Need to Know reports from Washington, D.C., on the TEDxOilSpill conference, where innovators from the worlds of technology, entertainment and design discussed the future of American energy policy.

The little pink pill
After Viagra became a blockbuster drug, Big Pharma began searching for a version of the pill for women. Need to Know takes a look at the latest effort to create a “female Viagra.”

Essay: Hope and sacrifice
In this essay, Jon Meacham considers how past presidents have inspired national sacrifice — and what’s needed to revive hope for the present.

Next Week’s News: Independence Day edition
The Fourth of July is a time to be with family and friends, to celebrate our freedoms as Americans, and to ask this question: “Are my neighbors Russian spies?”


  • Carole Mackin

    I was amused by “Can We Stop the Spies?” In 2007, I was asking the same thing. I wrote the book, Five Years Lying, and put it on my website Then I alerted the FBI about the content of the book which described the following: 1. How Soviet teens easily hide secrets from their parents by inserting messages into the computer code of photographs. 2. How Soviet operatives go out of their way to befriend Joe Sixpack so they can sculpt British accented English into American Motley. 3. How American and Israeli operatives cooperate to extract information from Americans working abroad. 4. How business cards are used to identify American contacts for terrorist operatives entering the United States. 5. How funds and supplies are collected, laundered and shipped across the Canadian border to assist groups fighting against Israel. 6. How the INS and FBI work together to entrap business people and unwittingly create a simmering Homeland Terrorism.

    I have no idea if the FBI paid the slightest attention to me and my writing. But somehow I think they may have.

    Carole Mackin

  • danny costello

    I think when the topic of discussion is so unclear, as in the Russian spy story, any reporting or discussion on it just makes the participants look foolish. Tim Weiner resembled a birther/truther with his paranoid stories. I have worked with many Russians for years, and they are not only incredibly dear, but very similar to Americans in their basest desires and aspirations. This kind of boilerplate Cold War rehash just has no place in a show striving to be incisive and cutting-edge. In my opinion (which is surely as educated as Mr. Weiner’s), the “Russian spies” were probably sent here to gather information on a foreign, but not enemy society (something America, in all likelihood, does in every G-20 country, at least). Once here, they realized how good they had it, and found and gave just enough information to keep their government renewing their commitment to their project, without endangering their comfortable American lives. Enough with the faux Rod Serling act.

  • Ellyn Sutton

    Right now, our planet is enduring an ecological crisis brought on by an unabated dependence on fossil fuels. This dependence needs to stop, especially since we already possess the technology, initially created by Nicola Tesla, to transform this antiquated setup. Long ago, our society obtained a number of critical inventions based on zero-point energy. They created the foundation for an electrical system that can run our homes, offices, and factories, and power vehicles that do not need constant fueling. These inventions were sequestered by our governments and developed only in secret government projects. These technologies need to be made public as they contain the solutions to our present difficulties.

    We demand that these already-existing technological solutions be released. They can solve our economic and financial woes, and revive our dying manufacturing sectors, giving a huge boost toward ending the current global financial doldrums.


    This week I was shown a wonderful, suppressed invention
    The biggest obstacle to world prosperity has been energy. This week I was shown an invention that could change all that. The Ryukyu Electric Power Company showed me a battery they have developed that can store large volumes of electricity at over 90% efficiency. These batteries would make it possible to start up the business model of handing out free solar panels and batteries to households and collect a small monthly fee for a couple of years. After that the households would own it and would never have to pay an energy bill again.

    For some mysterious reason no Japanese bank will lend them money and no big corporation will help them get this into production. The reason of course is that up until now anybody who tried to market products of this sort was killed or otherwise suppressed by the big energy companies. According to the American Academy of Science over 6,000 patents have been suppressed in the US alone for “national security reasons.” Once this suppressed technology is released we will be able to live in a science fiction reality.

    ARTICLE BY BENJAMIN FULFORD, February 10, 2010

    Japanese banks openly admit loyalty to an evil cabal by refusing to finance free energy

    The major Japanese banks revealed their evil nature this past week by refusing to lend money to free energy technology. After I mentioned the Ryukyu Electric Power Company had developed a battery that could store large amounts of power with close to 100% efficiency, they were flooded with orders. When the company went to MitsuiSumitomo Bank to ask for a loan so it could fulfill the orders, a banking official came out and told the president: “you are an anti-government company and no matter what bank you go to you will not get a loan.” There we have an open admission by a major bank that they are not interested in human progress and prosperity but only in supporting a cabal that illegally rules over humanity by controlling its finances.

  • Voice of Reason

    I greatly enjoyed the Tim Weiner interview. I found it even funnier than your segment “Next Week’s News: Independence Day edition: Are my neighbors Russian spies?”. Mr. Weiner is in true Oscar-winning form in his portrayal of a mentally challenged clueless cold war monger from hte early 1950s, and Ms. Stewart is perfect in her deadpan role as an even more clueless sidekick. Makes me think of Natasha and Boris, only less intelligent.

    Remember Winston Churchill’s famous “Russia is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma”? Well, Mr. Weiner skillfully parodies this sentiment by claiming that Americans understand the Russian soul with its Dostoyevskys and Gogols very well, while the mysterious American soul remains totally impenetrable to any foreigner even after 20 years of living here.

    But with all this fun and games, we forget that there are lives of 11 people involved here, people who haven’t stolen a single American secret and whose only “crime” is that they are unaware of J. Edgar Hoover’s 1938 witch-hunt law that throws people in prison for 5 years for being friendly towards a foreign country. While this law was understandable in 1938 as a way to fight a pro-Nazi lobby in USA, in 2010 it seems outrageously anti-libertarian.

    The Foreign Agents Registration Act is a United States law (22 U.S.C. § 611 et seq.) passed in 1938 requiring that agents representing the interests of foreign powers be properly identified to the American public.[1] The act was passed in response to German propaganda in the lead-up to World War II.

    This law defines the agent of a foreign principal as someone who:

    1. Engages in political activities for or in the interests of a foreign principal;
    2. Acts in a public relations capacity for a foreign principal;

    In other words – say anything good about Castro, Putin or Chavez – go to jail for 5 years.

    Worse than that. Not all arrested people were even Russians. As part of their witch hunt, the FBI also arrested a Hispanic-American journalist, who has nothing to do with Russia and whose only “crime” is her and her husband’s “disagreement with the U.S. foreign policy” and “being fans of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez”:

    Spy Case: Meet the Russian 11

    A look at the suspects:

    Vicky Pelaez and Juan Lazaro, Yonkers, N.Y.

    Who they are: The married couple lived in Yonkers, outside of New York City, with their son, Waldo Mariscal. Pelaez is Peruvian born.

    Mariscal told The Wall Street Journal today that the only connection his mother had to Russia was a passion for Tchaikovsky.

    Alleged cover: Pelaez was a well-known columnist with El Diario/La Prensa, one of the country’s oldest Spanish-language news outlets. Lazaro was a professor at Baruch College in New York.

    The kicker: Lazaro’s students told The New York Times he was a fan of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and vehemently disagreed with U.S. foreign policy.

    If this is not an intimidation attack on the freedom of the press in America, what is? Imprisoning a journalist for 5 years for being a fan of the democratically elected Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and for disagreeing with U.S. foreign policy?!

    What is happening to our country?

  • David Raaflaub

    There is no need to be dependent on oil. The United States has enough natural gas to be entirely independent of oil and energy from other countries.

  • Ira M. Brinn

    On the July 2 show, Tim Weiner commented (erroneously) that the Russians stole the secret to the atomic bomb. This was based on the misinformation that the US government spread to condemn and eventually execute the Rosenbergs in the 1950′s. Since then, the supposed “secret” drawing of the bomb, the major evidence against the Rosenbergs, was published in the New York Times. The drawing was obviously what one would expect from its author, David Greenglass, a mentally challenged adult, and of NO VALUE. Our government used this trial to fuel its ambitions to get the American public to support our Military-Industrial Complex, as President Isenhower aptly called it.

  • danny costello

    I apologize. I was too hasty in writing my first comment; I hadn’t even completed the show, which proved to be actually quite good, and I thoroughly enjoyed the segment about the Gulf oil spill. Sorry, again!

  • Yellowbird

    OMG what a paranoid Faux Newsie type of program.

    I knew the RNC took over PBS… but this show?



  • james wynhausen

    Your story on the ‘Russian Spies’ was an excellent example of keeping the public in fear over absolutley nothing. Thank you for reminding me how abhorrent the atmosphere of the McCarthey Era was to critical thought.

    I am sure if Moyers watched that episode, he must have been shaking his head in derision of your so called journalistic integrity and responsibility to what matters in our collapsing democracy.