Skip to main content

tv   Politics Public Policy Today  CSPAN  May 20, 2013 10:00am-12:01pm EDT

10:00 am
basis by which you decide one group needs assistance and maybe another group does not? what are some of the issues as far as the logistics? encouraging behaviors that help eliminate party and help people lift themselves out of poverty? ? it's not about the dollars. there really are not a grand difference that you might hear given the ferocity of the debate in washington. but the food stamp debate speaks to who we are as a nation and how we are asked going to promote the general welfare, as it says in the preamble of the constitution. and at the same time looking at the fiscal issues we have, the social issues that you have, some of the real challenges that the u.s. faces as a society. that is why it is important for us to talk about the stuff. >> we will see that is part of the farm bill.
10:01 am
thank you so much for being here. >> that is all for "the washington journal" this morning. have a good day. >> letitia garfield expressed frustration with the traditional rules of mother and wife of sto. she reluctantly to the host for her husband. but she returned to ohio and
10:02 am
ensured his legacy. we will look at the life of first lady lucretia garfield than that of mary arthur mcilroy who filled the role of first later when her mother chester becomes president. p.m.tonight at eight eastern on c-span, c-span3 and in about an hour. a number of print and television will be live beginning at 11 eastern right here on c-span. senatentinues on the immigration proposal as the judiciary committee continues their markup of the bipartisan legislation will stop it should be getting underway and just mom. you will build to see a live when it starts on c-span2. looking at the u.s. capitol, the
10:03 am
house is in at noon eastern for general speeches. legislative work will get underway at 2 p.m. nine the senate also gavels in at 2 p.m. there will be some judicial nominations. we have a preview of the week this in congress on open morning's "washington journal." >> what do we expect to see this week in terms of these hot button issues, including the irs's scrutiny of conservative groups? yes, there will be more hearing sand they -- more hearings and they are trying to figure out how much they want to pursue a lot of these issues. or now, aggressively.
10:04 am
it won't be like last week when everyone was watching hours and hours of hearings. they will be starting to move on some of the bread-and-butter issues, like the farm bill. tell us more on what we are watching on the farm bill. guest: as part of the fiscal cliff deal, they extended the old one until september. now a bill has passed both forbers that sets the stage a conference committee to meaningfully negotiate what the farm bill will look like. it is basically a massive, huge bill. the question right now is how much do you cut food stamps. republicans want to make significant cuts into the food stamps program and democrats are agreeing to smaller kids, ort trying to reduce the amoun
10:05 am
various crops. >> we will talk about the snap food program as part of the phone bill. , so much focus was on the immigration in the market. where does the immigration debate stand in the senate and what are you watching? guest: there will be a union of border guards that will be coming out today. are pretty much looking and watching what is going on in the before we get more traction in the senate. everyone wants to see how much the house can get done and how far the house will go. even though there is daily movement like there is a rotter
10:06 am
holdin , you canal citizenship o's website. political --st: the memorial recess the memorial day recess will be key. everyone wants to know how they have signed immigration. there will be a new legislating which i think will be a relatively quieter week than last week. i think members want to get back and make sure the they are running interference on the potential pullback on immigration. host: we have heard some of the root of the can's from sunday talk shows already -- some of the republicans from sunday talk
10:07 am
shows already this morning. they are saying that, president obama, after a couple of weeks of not knowing what to do, adopted a traditional strategy to respond to these scandals, to express great umbrage and to get rid of some people. and i think the democrats of gotten on board with that the book. outrages are expressing and distancing themselves from i think they are trying to get rid of the culture of scandal. the republicans keep trying to connect the dots and republicans last week were able to group three different things together.
10:08 am
disgroup are trying to of them and hope that the republicans stood to overreach, start to attack the president making a harder and harder to connect it to the white house. relations come out when the white house knew what and when -- new information comes out when the white house knew what and when. piece insee this politico. how are they being linked by members of the house right now? issue has given them the ability to say that we cannot implement the affordable care act.
10:09 am
now that the irs has access to all this information, will do everything. republicans have a belief that government is a sickly the irs and the dmv -- is the irs and the dmv. andissatisfaction with irs fear of the irs ulster's the republican ar argument that thee should not be some big central, strong government program. and to that extent, the public on their side against the irs, avoidry to use that to the affordable care act implementation. >> a reminder that the reporting national security begins at
10:10 am
11 a.m. a discussion on some of the recent issues at the white house is dealing with. -- : we are seeing i knew
10:11 am
host: our guest is william kristol, founder of the "weekly standard." thank you for being here this morning. we're seeing a new poll coming out asking whether or not americans thinks congress is overreaching on the obama scandal. 54% don't believe congress is overreekting but 42% say there is. there is a danger in republicans pushing us too far? guest: for now, they're undecided. there's of course a danger. they can say stupid things but so far, the hearings have be brought to light a lot of important new facts. two days into the discovery of fact about something, is congress overreacting? let's step back and say would we know what we know about if congress haven't had these hearings? no. the president of the united states has said that it's important
10:12 am
to discover what happened to the i.r.s. it was unacceptable and so forth. so so far, congress has done a public service by blinging these things to life. -- bringing these things to life. host: we heard senator say we might hear the impeachment phrase, the i-word, and then we saw reporting at "politico" writing republicans are worried one thing can screw up the political gifts of three controversies at once. guest: yeah, but this is typical to "politico." everyone's thinking ahead and how will this ricochet and all this? i think it will be safe. people can say whatever they want. it's not going to change the american people's minds that benghazi was a pretty terrible mistake by the administration about they were not truthful later. those are just facts. and facts matter, actually, and everyone in washington loves to spin and counterspin and how is this going to play out? the facts are bad for the administration. host: bill kristol, how do you tease out the facts and separate from it politics? guest: well, you can never really fully separate from it politics but in this case, we know much more today than we did a month ago or in the case of benghazi, and that's partly because e-mails were made available and they were given so congress because congress and the senate held up the confirmation of john brennan in return for getting access to
10:13 am
these e-mails which the white house had public a week or so ago and the i.r.s. case, there was a report but that was done following congressional complaints which mocked and said that's conservative paranoia that turned out not to be at all. i think the facts are coming out and the facts matter most. reality matters most and we have a situation. and a situation in domestic policy which is a real problem for the administration and the question for congress is to continue investigating and the case on the i.r.s., what can congress do? congress appropriates funds. benghazi happened. and we can investigate it. it's not clear that me that congress can do much. they can't bring people back to life or change the situation of libya overnight. but in the case of internal revenue service, congress can do things legislatively.
10:14 am
>> what would be a real scandal in washington would be if the president had been involved. this is handling the right way. what happens when the problems come to light? do you take decisive actions to fix what the president is doing? guest: i love that. that's a fantastic inside baseball point of view. just because he is president of the united states, and people in the executive branch are doing things they shouldn't do, no, he's not responsible for that. as long as the white house is not careful not to get involved so they are not accused to any kind of cover-up, then they're fine. that's not the case. he is responsible. i.r.s. is part of the treasury department which is part of his administration. it's obviously different if he ordered people to go over income tax returns or a bunch of agents
10:15 am
made a decision based on his own rhetoric and the rhetoric of the democrats to go after tea party groups and over conservative party groups and used scrutiny for them as opposed to liberal left wing environmentalist groups but what he's doing about it incidentally? i think congress should move legislatively to do certain things about the i.r.s. and put the president on the spot. has anyone been disciplined? are there new rules in place? any notice anything that the president has done. maybe he will do some things. this is a case where congress can say at least for now, we want this agency to have more power and this is where i think the health care act comes into play. they really -- in my view, the house of representatives and the senator didn't get -- should pass legislation saying that stop the i.r.s. or stripping the
10:16 am
i.r.s. of any authority to enforce the new affordable care act and just say we just can't trust this agency. let the president explain why we have to move ahead at 100 miles an hour to initiate this legislation which has all kinds of other problems. but the key part of which has to be administrated by the agency which turns out to be somewhat out of control. host: here's a cover of the "weekly standard" and we can see inside this written by our guest, bill kristol. the "weekly standard" will do its part with pleasure -- host: if you'd like to talk with bill kratzert, -- bill kristol, call the numbers on your screen.
10:17 am
"the washington post" outlook section this weekend asks a historian says you're not a true second term president until people yell watergate. is it fair to make comparisons to watergate? >> it's not particularly helpful, i don't think. suddenly, the liberal media is outraged of people using that and it's overstated. let's just look at these scandals on their own. it's simply to say and i slightly agree with some of the liberals who were saying republicans will go too far. you can't depend on scandals to win the presidency. you can't depend on scandals of the other party in power, especially if you're having your
10:18 am
own positive agenda. reagan had pretty big scandals iran contra and i was in that administration. one re-- so republicans need is appropriate. congress has to go ahead and investigate this and they have to look at remedies in the case of the i.r.s. and some of these other scandals. but they also have to be a positive republican agenda on health care and on tax reform and on a whole bunch of other issues. and at a better foreign policy. they can't just say scandal, scandal, scandal. but that doesn't mean that it's not utterly legitimate. what is congress going to do? that is a key role of congress. and one thing we have learned about this administration is they're not exactly forthcoming about their own mistakes. they were not out there when they first heard reports of the i.r.s. it's not like the president picking up the phone saying hey,
10:19 am
what's going on up there? this is why congress has big role. host: bill kristol writes in the real scandal. obama's liberal policies are more dangerous than his managerial scandals. let's hear from laura, democrats line. hi, laura. caller: hey. journalists find themselves a target, are you afraid that more of them might retaliate by speaking out in the residue found in the world trade center? host: world trade center. guest: no, i think the world trade center was attacked by jihaddists. host: you're a journalist. your magazine certainly has a message and a tone, but as
10:20 am
someone who is a founder and editor of a magazine, what do you think about the justice department's accessing reporters phone records of the "associated press"? guest: let me tie that into the story. we've had no problem. i mean, they don't actually attack those who might be able to fight back. and that's particularly creepy aspect of the i.r.s. scandal. it has nothing to do with the president but this is why conservatives do not like big go. that's why we are worried about expansions. and i think that broader theme is one that the conservatives and republicans should use the i.r.s. scandal to advance. in terms of the justice
10:21 am
department, investigation of the associated press is, that is one that is harder to judge from the outside. you don't know what they knew that led them to think they had such widespread wiretapping, i guess it was and taking a look -- not wiretapping. the looked at people's phone records. it's hard to judge that from the outside and look for all the talk about republicans overreaching. a leader saying he wasn't willing to criticize the administration on that. so that would be an easy thing to criticize the administration on and the media liked it. i do think mcconnell has been responsible and yeah, i just don't feel like -- that one is hard to judge from the outside. host: let's go to north charleston, south carolina on the independent line. vincent joins us. caller: hi. i like to say i agree with mr. kristol that i don't believe the i.r.s. should give, you know, more standard of powers with the obama care and then i also like
10:22 am
to ask him a question. does he fear that the tax will be a pretty good replacement for the i.r.s. with the system that we have now? thank you. and i will hang up. host: did you catch all that? guest: i did. host: yeah, thank you. >> it certainly makes a general case for simplifying the tax code and for simplifying and reducing the discretion that government agencies have. that is an important point. 100,000 employees of the i.r.s.
10:23 am
we're a big country if we need 100,000 employees make sure some basic fairness of the tax system i assume we would need that. the general intrusiveness of obamacare, the way the intrusions on individual liberty are striking. that's a legitimate point for critics of obamacare and may be former supporters of obamacare to allow them to rethink their support.
10:24 am
host: we have william kristol his past experience includes leading the project for the republican future. he also served as chief of staff for vice president dan quayle. he's also been a professor at the university of pennsylvania in harvard's kennedy school of government. let's go to john in livingston, new jersey who's a republican. high john. caller: since you're in the media bill. i wanted your insight on something. given that more and more people stopped trusting the government and corporate media now, what can the establishment do to keep this from googling building seven and realizing that buildings in new york were brought down in preplanned controlled demolition on 9/11. host: we already addressed that issue. let's go to gary on twitter .
10:25 am
would you agree that the department of justice and benghazi, would you agree none of these will impact the 2016 election? guest: i think generally speaking presidential elections especially if it's reelection of a president, there will be an open seat in 2016 as there was in 2008 and 2000. it happens. generally speaking it will be forward looking election of. obviously general adjustment of the obama administration will be important but that will be mostly driven by whether people think foreign policy has worked or economic policy worked. i'm optimistic about the republicans in 2016. it's unlikely for the country.
10:26 am
it's unlikely foreign policy will be judged success and his economic policy isn't working too well. obamacare is a disaster and it's a total train wreck. it's beginning to be implemented. people will be very open to a message to repeal and replace it with a real healthcare reform good for consumers, healthcare and the country. i kind of agree with the scandal, it's not the history, the scandals particularly effected next presidential election if the president himself isn't on the ballot. in off year it's the general sense how the administration is doing and spills over into the administration in congress. the democrat and the senate have not done anything in the way of oversight over the obama administration. i think they will be voters out there have been few more republicans in the senate in the senate wouldn't hurt in terms of checking this administration.
10:27 am
host: immigration gary brought that up. what's your perspective how that's shaping up in congress? senator marco rubio he's in the washington times today. he said the senator's effort to reform immigration maybe drawing skepticism from many conservatives. it allowed him to shift his message back to the one that made him a star in the first place. guest: i'm a big fan of marco rubio. i saw him a couple weeks ago and he tried to persuade me that the immigration bill is good one. i've always been somewhat liberal on immigration and open to immigration reform. i think this piece of legislation has all kinds of problems. one of the problems instead of addressing particular problems in the immigration system, this is your classic washington 848 or whatever it is page bill.
10:28 am
huge number of parts, extremely complex. turns out you have to have 125% poverty line to stay in the country. one big problem with the bill, whatever your views on immigration, i think it's unmanageable. if it pass through, it will be reported out in the senate, judiciary committee this week. i guess you'd have to bet now that it probably makes it through the senate but it will have much huge problems in the house. we've had pieces on both sides. if you step back and look at the two months or so debate, the bill began despite all the money on the side of legislation and the establishment media being in favor of the legislation, the critics are winning the debate. just a policy matter if you look
10:29 am
at the actual arguments out there and go online and read and critics and defenders, the critics have a better of the argument. i would say right now i prefer to live with status quo for a couple years or pass particular pieces of legislation rather than pass the legislation. host: let's hear from sheila in alabama from the democratic line. caller: i'm calling from wittenberg, alabama. i would like to make a comment. the american people spoke in two elections and i think it's not about benghazi and the other scandals. i just think that the republicans are scared of 2016 and they are trying to do everything in their power to bring president obama down. also hillary clinton, thank you.
10:30 am
guest: republicans have been worried about 2016 because they've lost last couple elections and lost the popular vote and the republicans have to do some work on their own party and their own agenda. the truth is the republican party has been pretty restrained in my view. if you compare it historically to democrats in 2007 and 2008 and the bush administration, compared them to media on abu ghraib. people will say those republicans are worried about this. benghazi, was that a success story of state department security or military rescue on that night or telling the truth afterwards. we not suppose to talk about it? i think it's ritual position -- ridiculous position to take.
10:31 am
they'll have to make argument on public policy. it's perfectly legitimate to look at these two issues and they are larger. benghazi is emblematic of obama's foreign policy. the president seems to have had no interest in even pushing on it. afterwards he wanted to blame some video that never turned into a movie here in the u.s. rather than blame those who were responsible. on the i.r.s. again, i said earlier, it's a certain feature of the kind of big government we set up i think it's a problem.
10:32 am
it's perfectly legitimate for members of congress for republicans and some democrats showed some concern about these things too to raise these two issues as questions both about the management by the obama administration of the executive branch but also about obama policies. either we're going to have a much larger i.r.s. implementing obamacare or not. that's a policy question. either we will have a more aggressive foreign policy. host: jill in alabama brought up hillary clinton. it looks at where some of her 2008 presidential advisors are now and what they are prospects are and whether or not they'll be aligning themselves with her in a policy 2016 run. what are your thoughts on this and how the secretary of state, the former secretary of state goes forward now? guest: there's a problem in
10:33 am
hillary clinton. these advisors in 2008 weren't going to be with her in 2016. honestly it will be a gift to her in 2016 if she's the one told them she doesn't want them with her. i would say that's a sign she's learned something from the fiasco in the 2008 campaign. i was talking a democrat who said for him that would be one way he would judge rather she will be a strong candidate in 2016. maybe by pushing these people out, she would have learned a lesson. people watching the old pros and experience, how can you push out the last people who won the last election. david axelrod and plouffe won for obama. the same is true to karl rove.
10:34 am
he did pretty well. some of the old pros in 2008 and 2012, the republicans weren't so great. i'm a fan of bringing in new people. if hillary is intelligent enough to say who the best winning races at the state level, let me have them run my presidential campaign not people who have been around 20 or 30 years ago. host: william kristol weekly editor. let's go to florida, a republican. caller: good morning. now that the congress has brought to light the issues surrounding the i.r.s. scandal, i think it's about time they step aside hold a special counsel and proceed to give instructions to special counsel to address this from a violation of civil rights. mainly title 18.
10:35 am
these are very serious allegations and they should be brought to light based on a criminal investigation. identify the individuals and bring that to a special grand jury to determine whether or not they should be prosecuted. interestingly enough, when you start doing it that way, people start talking more when they look like they're going to be facing serious indictment. the penalties are serious with regard to jail time. guest: i that the justice department has to appoint special counsel. i don't know congress can appoint special counsel. congress can pressure the obama administration to appoint special counsel. i'm not a fan generally of special counsels, they often and a lotir dependence.
10:36 am
of unlucky people have been caught up in those investigations. let's see i would say in this case, whether the justice department seem to be doing a serious job in investigating and may be criminal violation. we don't know. i come back to congress, congress can legislate. congress does appropriate. if congress wants to say to the i.r.s., we want every 501(c)(3) and c4 applications that groups trying to get the status, we want all of them dealt with in 60 days. we want i.r.s. to send people the applications granted. or they can say -- this is all legislative, these are all matters of legislation and rules regulations made pursuant to legislation. as i said earlier, they can curtail the jurisdiction of the i.r.s. -- i think congress needs
10:37 am
to be serious about its role here and the i.r.s. is not something independent of congress. host: let's go to oak hill, west virginia. caller: good morning, how it everybody. my question is on benghazi. why did the ambassador and the other three individuals go to benghazi when there was a doubt on the security of benghazi? why did they go? i have not heard anything in any of the talking points or the hearings on this. it's very curious why go into a dangerous area without an escort? host: what would you learn from that and why is that significant to you? caller: if you go into unsecured area without enough support, you are at risk for
10:38 am
life and limb or something to happen. if you just look at history, i should say, armed forces don't go into dubious areas where they cannot succeed. host: okay, william kristol. guest: ambassador stevens went there to have meetings. he felt it was secure enough to do his job. lot of americans abroad do things that are risky. he did seem so request security different times. whether he could have gone with light security, that's hard to know, obviously. i guess that can be second guest. two of the americans were the
10:39 am
team that came to help once the attack began in benghazi, they came from tripoli. there i think we were -- the question of what happened in those 8, 10 or 12 hours, who knows. once the attack began the whole u.s. government was alerted. they testified to that and had as far as -- conferences with secretary clinton. she spoke to president obama around 10:00 p.m. that night. president obama never spoke with the defense secretary or any military after that previously scheduled meeting that afternoon. he was on the phone constantly saying is there anything we can do or can we send security there. people i spoke with in the
10:40 am
military are really appalled no serious effort was made. host: question from jeff on twitter, does congress have anything to do with decisions on increasing or decreasing security on places like benghazi? guest: generally the state department security they can mandate particular level. that's mostly left up to the discretion of the state department. host: let's go to marion of north carolina. caller: i wanted to talk about the real scandal. one, it seems the republicans can't understand they lost and they shouldn't be just obstructing the president in every turn instead of trying to move this country forward. secondly, they need to understand that the healthcare is the law and wasting $52 million trying to repeal it 37
10:41 am
times, how ridiculous. they should be trying to improve it. third and lastly, it seems that congress, the republican congress is not tried to do anything to move this country forward and only goal is to obstruct. that's hurting the country and hurting individuals. guest: obviously the president won the election and no one is contesting that. i voted for congress. obviously he won the election but members of congress have their role too and i don't think it's been any lack of deference. the truth is republicans were reeling in the first few months.
10:42 am
they over interpreted the president's victory. you discussed many times, republicans were in total panic and they lost five or six elections. it's not republicans fault that president obama couldn't get gun control legislation to a democratic senate. it's not republicans fault that the actual immigration bill being debated. lot of critics are winning the argument about that bill. it's not republican's fault that benghazi happened and it's not republican fault that i.r.s. happened on the president's watch. the president is the president and he has a lot of power. we're not suppose to roll over and get the vote once every four years and be quiet. host: william kristol, here are some of his recent pieces. "losing the game" reflecting on president obama's recent press conference. how he's dealing with some of the tough issues of the day. looking at everything from middle east politics.
10:43 am
the inaction and the deception where bill kristol writes about benghazi. you can see the cover here on the latest issue of the weekly standard. let's go to everett in louisville, kentucky a republican. caller: bill kristol i think you're doing a great job. i would like to say that the president is -- why isn't anyone surprised it's not happening when the president is one of the least qualified people ever to be in office but my question is on the i.r.s. everyone is talking about the picking of the tea party list. isn't not just the picking of the tea party list, it's the questions that were posed to the tea party list and then the subsequent investigation of all of these organizations and these
10:44 am
individuals and these republican contributors to romney that happened afterwards. those are three separate things aren't they? to me that's one of the most important questions is how this huge investigation went on. thank you very much for being here today. guest: thank you for your kind words. you're absolutely right about the i.r.s. scandal. it is more than just targeting particular groups. it's the kind of questions that are asked and the list is unbelievable. no one in the i.r.s. -- if the i.r.s. is set up so that no one know about that above a certain level, above a bunch of agents, people have that kind of discretion that's the problem. that's why it's so ridiculous to say the president didn't know. it's the government out there that we have no control over.
10:45 am
really? isn't that part of the treasury department. isn't the president proud of nominee of treasury secretary. shouldn't be ordering -- it does show the testimony friday t shows the kind of arrogance the sort of people who get comfortable in a big bureaucracy that used to bullying people. the kind of arrogance that they display. it's the kind of lot of conservatives and liberals warned about. it's not the kind of government we want and deserve. i agree as congress investigates this scandal, it is really a scandal, they need to looks at different aspects the questions that were asked, individuals were asked as well as the groups denied resolution of application of tax-exempt status. congress needs to say how can we fix this. i don't think you can trust the treasury secretary or the new i.r.s. official to fix this.
10:46 am
the one that most appeals to me, this was introduced last week by congressman price and georgia and senator cornyn in the senate, until the i.r.s. is fixed, let's not expand their authority. host: we mentioned you had a recent editorial losing the game, that focused on the middle east. what should the u.s. role be in the syrian civil war going forward? were there any good things or mistakes made in the past? guest: when the president said we were committed to getting rid of assad, we didn't do anything. now it's gotten a bad situation. i still think intervention on the side of the rebels will be a good idea. assad is an ally of iran. he's butchered tens of thousands of people.
10:47 am
we have some ability to shape things there. i think we can end up with a better outcome there. we've had a little case study the last 10 years, it can be really messed up. we saved the situation with the surge and president obama didn't negotiate a deal that left the troop there is. intervention is not a recipe necessarily for success either. i think the president has been passive in respect to syria. he said from the beginning we can't do anything that would be one thing. but to say assad must go and don't do nothing, really hurts the u.s. there were all kind of instability right in the region.
10:48 am
the broader lesson i saw diplomas and different middle east in the country about a month ago, i said what do you think of our foreign policy, he said only one word answer. syria. the degree to which we look weak and not serious and the implications of that for other countries in the region friend and foe, that's pretty serious. caller: matt is from concord, new hampshire. hi matt. caller: my only problem recently, i noticed this, i'm 55 years old. when i was a kid, there was truth to reporting. you sat there and said there was no military response. there was a team sent to italy from the united states and a team sent to tripoli in the united states. the second part of that was the annex was the cia operation. mostiavei know, i
10:49 am
have a brother in the military, had military experience. so, it's not like there was nobody there to defend chris stevens. about 44 people armed. cia are heavily armed people. to keep perpetuating the fact that there was no response is not true. yes, four people were told to stand down in tripoli because they needed the support that tripoli embassy. people have a hard time finding the truth. i get in these discussions with people and you can come up with three different new stories and get three different stories and everybody contradicts each other. it will be the benefit of united states citizens for more truth and reporting. guest: i agree with that. i'm happy to debate the question. there were some military responses. there was no serious effort to activate the teams or to really at least buzz the concentrate
10:50 am
late -- consulate or the post in benghazi. the cia contractors fought very brave. two of them fought for hours a hours without getting back up. it's a legitimate question to ask. we can take the attitude there was a terrible disaster. we should just sit back and assume they all knew what they were doing. it's fine president of the united states and not talk or commander or other relevant military entities, not talk to one of them during the evening? when a u.s. ambassador is under attack that has been killed and two more contractors, cia contractors are fighting life
10:51 am
and death battle. and the president of the united states has one phone call to the secretary of state and they agree on some statement and then he goes to sleep. may be talks to his own staff. i'm not intent to say that's fine. we can't second guest all of that. the people i know in the military agency thinks there was a failure on presidential leadership. whether it would have been the right decision for the president to make to say it's too risky let's see where we were. i'm not willing to say that's the wrong decision i am willing to say he did not behave like the president of the united states. guest: gerald from new york, a democrat. caller: the real scandal is that the i.r.s. is not enforcing the law. the 501(c) 4 law was suppose to
10:52 am
be exclusively charity and welfare and not political, no politics. that's where the scandal is. they're not enforcing the law and the taxpayers are subsidizing all of these political features. what do you think of that? guest: there's a debate how we should define 501(c)(3) organizations. i don't think we're costing the taxpayers anything. look if we want to have a debate about tax policy i'm happy to have that debate and the president should have said let's have that debate. he didn't even order the i.r.s. to enforce the law. the problem with the president's defenders, they can't decide, their case is that the i.r.s. is
10:53 am
doing the right thing is their case is the i.r.s. is doing the wrong thing and the president didn't know about it. for everyone say 501(c) 4 should be prohibited from political activity, democratic groups have done this just as republican groups have. this defense is particularly unconvincing. if they were equally applying to everyone, -- first of all they should have announced if they will change the application of the law and then congress could have oversight. the whole thing was done in secret. if you look at the questions asked to these groups, they really are disgracefully and intrusive. that's the way government is going to work, we need to reduce the size and scope and discretion of government. host: would you be in favor of
10:54 am
retooling the tax code? guest: maybe. there's no tax deductions. people get no tax break for giving money. they believe -- there's something wrong that? is the tax code suppose to prevent this group in existing. i don't understand what people are saying people dislike political activity so much a free country, they want the tax code to be biased against it. host: thank you so much for joining us. we appreciate your time. to theley, we will go bipartisan center here in washington for reporting on
10:55 am
national security issues. of reporters and correspondents will take part. with the senate doubling in this afternoon, here is what is on the congressional agenda for the week. thank you for joining us. what do we expect to see this week in terms of these hot button issues we are hearing a lot about come including the irs scrutiny of conservative groups? are we expecting to see more hearings and panels convened? will try tothey draw more information on the irs. they are trying to balance how much they want to pursue all of these issues. it won't be like last week when
10:56 am
they were under the lights and everyone was watching hours and hours of. . they will be stern -- hours and hours of hearings. and they will be talking about the farm bill. what about the farm bill? guest: as part of the fiscal cliff deal, they extended the old one until september. sets the stage for a conference committee to ly negotiate with the farm bill will look like. .t is like a massive, huge bill the hold up is how much do you cut food stamps? want to makeren' significant cuts and democrats agreeing to smaller cuts, but also trying to reduce the amount that some farmers get for
10:57 am
various crops. we will be talking more about food stamps later on. immigration, so much focus was on immigration, the market where does the migration -- the marked up, where does the immigration debate go? guest: there will be a union of order guard agents the, today against the senate gang of eight compromise. i think, at this point, we are pretty much looking and watching what is going on in the house to see -- before we get more traction in the senate. everyone wants to see how much the house can get done and how far it will go. even though there is daily movement, there is a broader holding pattern. host: one of your colleagues
10:58 am
reports today congress leaves town next week for the memorial day recess. anything they have to get done before they leave town? guest guest: the memorial day recess will be key. lesson int be any legislative this week. .it will be quieter this week. i think members want to get act and run interference on the potential pullback on immigration. we have heard some of the republicans from the sunday talk shows already. how are democrats in the house and senate talking about the issues and focus?
10:59 am
guest: they are saying, president obama after a couple of days of not really knowing what to do, he adopted last week a very traditional strategy for how to respond to these kinds of scandals, which is to express great umbrage, say that he is offended that anyone, get rid of some people at the agency, and the democrats have gone on a playbook. democrats are expressing outrage, distancing himself from the president, who has not been implicated, which is a key thing. i think their turn to get rid or -- get rid of the culture scandal. the republicans are tried to connect the dots between events and republicans last week were able to group three different things together. and democrats are trying to
11:00 am
them and hope that republicans start to overreach, type the president personally, and keep pounding harder and harder when they are trying to connect it to the white house. drip by drip, new revelations come out about who in the white house new and information starts to emerge that the democratic strategy will look essentially problematic. we see this piece -- obamacare and the irs. how are they being linked by members of the house right now? it has given republicans a way to say we can't implement the affordable care act and let them implement fines if you don't have healthcare coverage because now they will have have
11:01 am
access to all of this information and abuse everything. taking a step back, and the big actor, republicans believe government is the irs and the dmv and that's in a nutshell what the problem with the big powerful, centralized government is. dissatisfaction with the irs, fear of the irs bolsters the republican argument that there should not be some central, strong tom a powerful government program. to that extent, the public is on their side of me irs. they are trying to use that to help their case on limiting obamacare implementation. thank you so much for joining us. this morning at the bipartisan policy center to hear journalists talk about finding the balance between sharing intelligence information and national security concerns.
11:02 am
some of the speakers we will hear from include the chief washington correspondent from and theyyork times" will be joined by fran townsend who served as white house homeland security adviser to former president were w bush. the form is hosted by the bipartisan policy center's homeland security project. it is expected to get underway in just a moment.
11:03 am
[captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013]
11:04 am
>> we are live at the bipartisan policy center here in washington, waiting for the start of this panel of journalists to talk about betweenthe balance sharing intelligence information and national security concerns. this should get underway in just a moment. , workwe have a moment continues this morning on the senate's immigration proposal as the judiciary committee continues their markup of the bipartisan legislation. coverage is taking place right now on our companion network, c-span2. the house and the senate dabbling in today. you can see the house live here on c-span. the senate is also in today at 2:00 p.m.
11:05 am
there will be a couple of judicial nominations that senators will work on. you can see the senate on our 2 andnion network, c-span the house here on c-span when they gavel in.
11:06 am
>> good morning tom everybody. it's a pleasure to welcome me to the bipartisan policy center.
11:07 am
it's also a pleasure to be here on behalf of governor tom keene and the hamilton, who are the chairs of our homeland security program who are sponsoring this morning's event. the core aspiration of our work on homeland security is to be active in a bipartisan voice looking at these national security questions. there are a lot of themes that animate these conversations, but there is none that is more pervasive in my mind, compelling and dynamic, then this fundamental question in the relationship in our society between security and liberty. it is a theme that has been at the core of our government imagination since the beginnings of the republic and it is one we believe we will be wrestling with for millennia to come. today's program is going to focus on the sharing of classified material with the american public. this is an issue very much in the news, highlighted recently by the aggressive efforts of the justice department's recently can investigation. and i think we have found
11:08 am
whether we are discussing watergate or wikileaks, striking the right balance is elusive. as a former new york times bureau chief says, the government hides what it can, pleading necessity as long as it can, and the press plies out what it can, pleading a need to know. the morning, we will hear from both sides of the equation. we have two incredibly well- known story and effective turn lists who have made careers finding all the facts, and a former government official in the spent years knowing a lot of facts and making tough questions about what she can and cannot discuss publicly. look forward to a dynamic and complex conversation and i'm thrilled to be joined by mike colleague, the director of the homeland security project. she will moderate today's escutcheon. >> thank you. .hank you all for coming today we have all seen over the last year a big change in how we talk about leaks and classified materials.
11:09 am
during the election, some argued the president was leaking far too many things for political reasons, whether it was on the raid that left osama bin laden dead, warfare against iran, double agent in yemen, which has created even more controversy with the justice department subpoenas for ap phonorecords. coming fromsting the bipartisan policy center is that this issue has created bipartisan, bicameral support. we had senators feinstein and chambliss come together to call for a stop to the leaks and investigation. it has brought the nation together in a way few issues have. at the same time, we have an administration that has overseen an unprecedented number of and -- of prosecutions. six officials have been prosecuted, more than other administrations combined. to very glad to be here
11:10 am
answer the questions of what does the public need to know and who decides. we have an investigative reporter at the "wall street journal." we have dana priest, a pulitzer prize winning journalist for the "washington the homeland have security adviser to president bush. david sanger is a pillow to her prize from the "new york times ." i feel honored and lucky to be able to moderate this esteemed panel. i would like to start the dana, and then we will open the question up to the public. in an interview you did, you said we tried to figure out a way to get as much information to the public without damaging national security. the question for you is how do
11:11 am
you decide what was that was was not damaging to national security? >> thank you for being here. obviously, this is an issue close to my heart and i'm sure the other journalists appear. to probet is important iss issue of the line which the public's right and my responsibility to bring information to the public in the national security realm because it is high-stakes and it is the most important thing the government does. we should know what a are doing in our name. but, there is a line where you can cross it and actually endanger lives. or in danger operations, which is a very important but controversial question because that is more difficult to assess. , since noied to do
11:12 am
person is ever quoted in the stories i've written about the cia because they would be fired or jailed or investigated at the very least, how does the public do i havebility, how credibility in the public's eye about the stories i'm writing? one of the things we try to do is give some detail about ,hatever it is, in one case the cia black sites and secret prisons, how can i give readers as much detail as i can to let them know the story is real and comes from people with experience without giving so much detail that it would actually give enemies an threaten or would personnel overseas and this sort of thing. that is where you walk up to the
11:13 am
line. , not onjudgment call just the part of me, but the executive editor of the washington post. with my input and input from the government who is trying to say please do not publish the entire article which makes it very difficult to deal with, because by that time i have invested a lot of time and we've made the decision that secret prisons is an aberration of what we believe we stand for in a lot of instances as the united states and a country governed by the rule of law. we have made the decision that the fact that there is secret prisons is something we want to write about. withmes down to sharing the government the details in the story, which is what my mo
11:14 am
and everyone i know at the washington post, that is what we do. story, wepublish a call of the public affairs person because that is where the unofficial, and that's important point, the unofficial procedure begins. that person hopefully has some experience and is taking down the details. i am not reading the story to them, but i'm telling them bits and pieces that are in the story and in the overall context of the story. take it up their chain of command. the chain of command would send the message down and it would go from there. case, it's different. in the most elaborate instances which secret prisons represent, i had conversations with a person higher than the public affairs person and we brought in our editors and had conversations with the cia director and some of his
11:15 am
advisers. thehat case, it went to president and his national security advisers who had conversations with our editor and our general counsel, all the while we are in a handicap position because the government , itdon't do this will damage national security. and we say why? and they say we can't tell you. and we say can you give us a little more concrete information. usually the answer is no, and usually what is damaging if we are not putting names or locations, precise locations, is willidea that secrets damage the reputation of the united states vis-à-vis the other intelligence services and other services will believe they can trust the united states, and therefore they won't deal with them anymore. we take that seriously, but i have learned over time with the help of what i would call mike
11:16 am
consiglio ares, people who have been in the intel business and can help think through these issues, subjects like terrorism are so important and particularly important for allies. those allies work together with the united states regardless of what happens in the more superficial public realm. while there might be bumps in the road and people might be angry that certain secrets are in the short-term, medium- term, it has not damaged those relationships because when you way, it can temporarily, but in the long run, when you way what's at stake, which is combating terrorism, countries tends to come back together. canll stop there and we get more detailed if you want, but there is a give and take. sometimes it doesn't work at all because the person has no experience doing this and
11:17 am
doesn't even know where in their agency to go or doesn't know how to think about it in a sophisticated way. puts the burden on us and i could talk about some of these stories in retrospect where we had to do our own judgment call because the government was unable and it experienced in working through these issues. >> before we get to the , i knownt perspective you probably want to respond, i want to turn to david and talk about the experiences you have had with the wikileaks negotiation where you are working through how you are going to cross-vet materials. but if you talk about how you made the decision with the pakistani news decision. other things you held for a bit of time and then released it. when the you decide that it's ok to put something out to the public. >> thank you all very much for coming here.
11:18 am
danarocess is very much as described, and i usually find it's a surprise to most people and even journalists who don't operate in this territory. while we can look at some documents and imagine something that could be a national security threat, there are moments when there is something there that is hidden from you. i will give you the example from wikileaks. wikileaks was one of the easiest cases. the pakistani nuclear case or the olympic games, the cyber program against iran were amongst the harder cases. in the wikileaks case, you almost basis of the story. the documents, we now know from to avate who had access computer system that had all the state department cables and everything else.
11:19 am
-- why theersation private needed access to every document that would come to the state department when five years before, that was only available to senior directors and above. that is in -- that is an interesting separate conversation. he then gave them to julian assange. he did not give them to the "new york times." he has some problems with the new york times, mostly concerning a profile the times had published about the way he operates and his personal life. as a result, he gave them to "the guardian." "the guardian" gave them to us for a reason -- they thought we could engage the government presented redish paper could.
11:20 am
i was a good guess. we spent three months working through 250 thousand documents, no, i did not read them all. we built a search engine that not only did what you would do in a google search, but look at the way the documents were classified, who they were going to, what length of time they were classified, and that enabled us to sort them by level of importance. a lot of things were in the documents, we were writing from about 150 cables out of 250,000. to give you a sense of how poorly the classification system works, these were mostly at the secret level, which is the lowest level. i would say somewhere in the order of 15% to 20% of these cables were, i'm not kidding, newspaper articles that had been published in the local press in
11:21 am
orchard goal or hong kong or someplace that someone in the embassy read, put into a cable, and on its way out the door stamped secret on it, even though it had appeared in a local newspaper. as we got further into the discussions, i made the point to our friends in the u.s. government that you cannot expect journalists to take seriously a classification ownem that takes their newspaper articles and stamps them secrets and puts them back in the system. as we went through the 150 documents that we were writing more asd we rode from the arab spring unfolded because i had not been smart enough to look at any cables from tunisia, thinking who would care about tunisia? as we went through them, we noticed there were things there
11:22 am
that we took out by ourselves. for example, the names of any chinese dissidents that were going into the embassy in china. not only the names, but the times the meetings took place, knowing the chinese would match those up against cameras they train on the entrances to the embassy and so forth. we were all ready to write, we gave the government six or seven days notice. it was thanksgiving week of 2011 -- 2010. we gave them to them on a monday morning. we were prepared with legal briefs if they were going to try to stop us. we figured there would be 24 hours of getting their heads around the fact that we had all 250,000 documents. it took them a little longer than that and we ended up meeting with them the wednesday
11:23 am
night before thanksgiving as everyone was trying to get out of town. we were told it would be a meeting of three or four people. there were about 40 of them in three of us. as we went around and introduced ourselves, most of the people in the back rows would not tell us who they were or where they were from. [laughter] we had a pretty good guess of what was going on. there once was a time when they said you can't publish anything. we said that's not going to happen. then they said you can't publish anything with foreign names are it there are lots of foreigners that american diplomats meet. then they tried to make the argument that something should be deleted because they were embarrassed. if something was going to threaten somebody's life, and ongoing operation that they could make a reasonable case for future intelligence or military operations, we were willing
11:24 am
abut, for example, the fact tht the saudi king told an american diplomat that the way to deal with iran was to cut off the did notthe snake, they want us to publish on the basis that it would be embarrassing to the saudi king. we said we think the saudi king can hack it. he can handle it. near embarrassment is not standard for leaving something out of print. there were some things we did take out. i got a call long after the meeting was over when we were getting ready to publish our story about libya and gaddafi was still in. he did not know he was running into a rough year the next year. one of the cables made a reference to somebody having reference to somebody i can now say this in public and could not at the time, was apparently, and it wasn't clear to -- wasn't
11:25 am
clear from the cable, an asset to the american intelligence community for many years. a government official called me thesaid if gaddafi reads name of this guy, even if he's not identified, he's going to put him against the wall and shoot them. no problem. we managed to take the name out. it wasn't central to anything we were doing. there's athis because reason the channel of private communication i refer to has to remain open. that's the most important thing. if i leave your conveying no other thought is that the biggest damage being done by the prosecution of leaks right now is that it threatens to shut down that channel of back and forth communication. if that happens, sooner or later, something pretty bad is going to happen. one government official said
11:26 am
to me in the context of another story, it wasn't wikileaks -- there is no way we can sit down and have this conversation with you about what we think our security threats without discussing classified material. and i said you are right. but the other choice is also not good, which is we are using our best judgment without the knowledge that somebody named in their could be at risk. >> this is something i wanted to touch base with you about -- talk about this it rose in of trust great >> my own personal view is that there has been an erosion of trust. to viewide world tends these conversations as it is the first amendment versus safety. there are two camps and there's a big boat between him and every now and then, someone gets thrown in the mode. -- iw it very definitely view it very differently. there is a healthy conversation
11:27 am
going on all the time as to how each side can best do their jobs without lowing up the home of the other side essentially. hasoncern is that there been an erosion of the trust in that conversation so you are getting more things like what we are seeing now which is a lot of leak investigations. a verynkly, my opinion, broad focused leak investigation. it example i always use helped you understand, i'm just a reporter from new york who got lost and ended up in dc. the comparison i use is if you look back to the d.c. sniper case which wasn't that long ago, there was a moment where there was a false report circulating that the guy had been caught. nothing more than that, just they got him. in fact, the guy had not been caught but they were about half an hour away from the nightly
11:28 am
news grade tried to think back to a time when the nightly news was the most important event of the day. there was a very serious scrambled to contact all the major news organizations and make sure they did not go on the air with the report with the guy that had been caught. it was a reasonable fear, and it was justified, that the actual gunmen would immediately go out and shoot someone to prove he was still out there. in the space of about 20 minutes, the law enforcement agencies of america were able to no that message out and get one of any substance to report there had been an arrest. you could make a reasonable argument that that probably saved someone's life. fast forward to boston, and what was most alarming to me about boston, everyone remembers there was a day when there was a false report of an arrest. and stayed lingered
11:29 am
in the public space for a number i'm not casting aspersions on anyone because we are all working on things that are difficult -- if these things were easy, i would be a happier human being in general. but there was a space of several hours where there was a lot of confusion as to whether there was a person captured or not. to me, what that says is the trust relationship has eroded to the point where there is no longer a person in each house that can call up a person in the other house who says it's wrong, take it down and kill it grade and the person and the other house says and, i believe you. we know each other. that worries me for the future because you can get a situation like the sniper case. if that happened again, my worry is does someone go out with that and does someone get killed? or think about it in a broader social media context.
11:30 am
twitter put a lot of awful things out during hurricane sandy. things that could have gotten people killed if they overreacted. 9/11 happened today. would more people's lives be saved because of twitter or with more people be killed because of twitter? these are the things i grapple with. what is responsible and what do we as the voices in the world, hopefully, on some of these things, how do we tried to do the most constructive thing to both inform the public and not jeopardize anyone? just to get back to the point i was trying to make 20 minutes ago when i started talking, i feel like the trust relationship is eroding and it's a very dangerous thing. >> can you talk a little bit about your perspective being in government and on the other side of this.
11:31 am
now as a journalist, you have got to see both sides. atould like to segue into the end of the day, we are talking about leaks and shouldn't they be prosecuted? >> to me from a government perspective. this is a subject that's of the most anonymous frustration when you're on the government side because you are being held accountable for disruption and being thrown into that difficult mission, you then media nipping at your heel looking to pull threads and they are constantly pulling on a thread that will require you to react and respond. during my time in government, i danarivileged to work with and david. talk about a trusted relationship, when we met, we hugged and i said hello. i was in the white house when
11:32 am
the issue of secret prisons was raised and there were some very mature conversations. there was a recognition when that conversation start. it begin with the public affairs officer at a particular three letter agency, but it should never say they're -- it should never stay there. if she doesn't see the head of the agency involved, she knows there's a problem on the government side. there is a recognition we are going to make a balance together and there is a dance that we do. the first step in the government dance is to say you can't publish that. nobody believes we are actually going to kill the story, the question is how long can you put it off and how do you narrow the scope? that's what the discussion becomes about because you want to persuade the journalist if there is harm to life, that is the first argument you are going to make. the second is the interruption of an operation.
11:33 am
but you are going to have to have a real, grown-up conversation that likely involves some amount of classified detail to establish my credibility on the government side with a journalist who spent weeks, months, potentially years developing sources and information. how much i am willing to share to persuade them is a function of how damaging the release of the story is going to be. showing ake sure little leg gets me somewhere, i want to be sure it's not just who areporters interested, i want the editor, i want someone more dispassionate who can try to help me make the balance listening to what i have to say. thanl tell you more often not, while it is enormously frustrating, because of a relation of credibility and trust, it gets to a reasonable
11:34 am
place. it may not be a place the government likes where the balance ultimately is, but it is reasonable. we have recent story seen just last week with the subpoenas, there is no question in my mind based on what i know about the operation that was compromised that there were lives at risk area so you ask yourself, you have heard us talk about this process, this is a piece of information to your point about an erosion of trust. this is a story that did not go through a process. it came out in dribs and drabs. there were pieces of information, background briefings that gave it enough to an experienced journalist to make the second and third step. that's a problem, but it requires people on the government side to calibrate who they are talking to. you may be able to say to a local beat reporter that you have absolute control, there is
11:35 am
never a risk to the united a national to security reporter that deals with classified information and national security, it's patently obvious when someone says to you on background, it's only two things it can mean -- you either have a source you controlled or the explosives were under. those are the only two possibilities. while the official may not have that theyo say this, had complete control over the operation so there was never any risk to this guided states told a much more finely detailed story than they could have possibly wanted out. we were talking in the green room, it is a lack of experience, it is a lack of maturity in terms of understanding who you are talking to, and understanding
11:36 am
what the implications are. i am very concerned about an erosion of trust. is a story if there out there, because i was a a former senior government official, i will be the person to get the call from the government when it has gone haywire. it's a horrible place for the government to be because you can't massage it once it is out. you've really lost your opportunity. when it goes dark, you can't go -- you can't get anything out of them and a bad story gets perpetuated. that's a problem. i think the government is within its right, especially when there is a leak of classified information that threatens life to go after it. my concern is there is also a , you heard it very clearly explained to you, a process three obligation, when
11:37 am
there is a leak investigation, there is a channel by which perfectly legally, respecting the first amendment, respecting the department of justice guidelines, that a leak investigation can be pursued. but in terms of that relationship of trust, it is important that that be narrowly defined in the government use every available means short of wiretaps, and when they are going to do that, not only do they follow the internal process, but that's when it is incumbent upon the government to open up the channel and you have to trust your counterpart not to destroy information. there has to be a relationship of trust where that conversation begins and that it is nearly as possibly drawn. >> did the ap investigation look like that to you? look like it was narrowed? >> that is the problem. as you speak to sources, if it was narrow, you missed the
11:38 am
opportunity to tell that story. you need to tell the story because you need to give people confidence that you understood why the complete restlessness over this? have sources told me it was narrowed and measured in a way, that's not the story that's out there and you don't know that. i am skeptical because i haven't seen anything that reassures me of that. >> there are two other factors -- sometimes experience reporters hear things in briefings and put two and two together and get more than four. sometimes it is outside evidence. in the case of the olympic games, what was the first big disclosure in this case? a technological
11:39 am
error got made in the summer of a worm that had somehow made it into the irani and computer systems got out and got free. imagine the zoo animal getting out of its cage. suddenly replicating around the world was the most sophisticated computer virus anybody in the computer world had ever seen. like the workook of teenage hackers. among other things, when you it hadart the program, a sell by date in it. the entire program died on a certain date in 2012. teenagers don't make programs self-destruct. lawyers make programs self- destruct. told you something. we spent a lot of timeompur anas
11:40 am
ticking apart the program because every style of program has got signatures in it like a fingerprint or dna would. by which aodology terrorist would build a bomb. why were they looking for the bombs and wanting to get unexploded bombs? because there would be a signature and how it was constructed. boy is that true when it comes to cyber cases as well. , who had a know copy of that entire program once elite doubt, the iranians. and they declared who they thought attacked them. of these cases, you have to remember that while the government likes to think it is in complete control,
11:41 am
they work with other operations, most these days in terrorism and cyber and it drones all involve other governments. other governments talk, other government officials talk and they all have different agendas. there is a model in washington that all information reporters get on these things come within of the westdius wing. that's no longer true. yet we have not adjusted our concept about what is going to get out to the fact that we have allies, partners and people make mistakes. >> all of that being said, what we are talking about here are leaks. get yourus to perspective, shouldn't they be prosecuted? i'm sure all of you agree with what has gone on with the ap,
11:42 am
that's probably not your ideal method, but what do you think the government should be doing? >> i think it should be guarding the secrets that really need to be cap in a much better way. but that means also that other things should not necessarily be secret. when georgeelf that cia for lots of reasons to go into afghanistan, and then prosecuted the war on terror in a classified realm, that is not my choice. i wanted basic information about what the government was doing, we had to go behind the wall of classification. to david's point about oversee -- overseas leakage of information, if i were inside the government, i would think a about how you are putting
11:43 am
operations together, what needs to be a secret, and what is going to remain secret. , 99% of that was publicly available information. allowed us to create a universe of materials that was it had to to us and do with agencies and how many agencies were working on counterterrorism. i think the government doesn't have a clue what is available in an unclassified realm out there in the world. then you add these factors together that we are talking about a global liaison relationship. they cannot reasonably think drone strikes are going to remain secret.
11:44 am
especially this far along after 9/11, you think they would factor that in to their own thinking about what can remain secret and what will remain secret and what is going to hurt us if it comes out. >> we will set aside the newspaper articles for a second. the drone program is the least covert covert program in america. you can tell that by virtue of the fact that the president got a yeara google hangout ago and started discussing the drone program. he also did it on one of the late-night comedy shows. where all major issues of american policy are debated. the next day, when asked about his statements, you had white house word drone, even though the the
11:45 am
president had the previous night. it's because they have wrapped themselves in this concept that everything about the program had to remain classified, even though it was winding only obvious to anyone the ground pakistan. it does raise the question of would we have cause as a government, would there have been some benefit to american diplomacy, to america's ability to explain its own policy had the ambassador in islamabad after a drone strike been able to get out on pakistani tv and say this was not a random strike. we were going after these five extraordinarily bad people who were living in your territory. instead, the american embassy had to say no comment. as i bring my government hat back on, there were legal
11:46 am
constraints on the government. i can assure you there was plenty of debate about when and how to acknowledge the drone program across two administrations. but whether or not you could have a drone program lodged in the cia is under one set of legal authorities that requires it to be deniable and requires you not to acknowledge it or whether it is operated as a military program, in which case you don't have to deny it. that is the core of the argument. >> exactly. that is what caused this odd twisting themselves into knots about not acknowledging it and trying to maintain the option to have a clandestine, covert program. s, withtwo administration fumbling and stumbling, one
11:47 am
comes out and you could talk about how you are going to transition over time because it's obvious you were going to from the beginning. the senatehink report should be classified given that you know the program exists? the thing that tends to happen when these programs are not explain this what a huge conspiracy around the world now. people think there are drones in their country run by the cia and interrogations, that there have been hundreds of people interrogated. >> it's hard for me to say because i haven't read it. i don't want to tell you i think it should be out there not knowing how much detail is in it. but in the end, why you could findings,y the that's the first thing you look at. there may be a way to get those pieces out there in an unclassified way that would
11:48 am
allow there to be this kind of debate. there ought to be a discussion and debate whether it is drones, interrogation techniques -- i can say this now with the benefit of hindsight, the government actually benefits when the public voice is heard on policy issues because absent the public debate, they are doing their level best, both parties when they are in the executive branch, to make these judgments on your behalf as best they can. you are inyou, when there and inside the bubble of the west wing, you are trying really hard to make those judgments areas it may be a dialogue with members of congress to advise you and get their input, but you are always better off understanding how does the public want those capabilities deployed on their behalf? that becomes the role and the government is trying to keep the secret, the role the national
11:49 am
security press plays in that area >> you are the only reporter here who has worked for three different organizations. thankan't hold a job, you. >> do you see any difference in how media outlets approach these issues? >> i think there is a slight variation, but when you get set of law enforcement that i write about, there is not much variation in terms of how people approach the work and the worldview they bring to it and the standards they apply to publication. unlike what is happening in the national security press, tell me if you feel differently, but i feel like you are talking about a fairly confined and limited group of people on both sides who, for better or worse, try to get to knowacttle bettert
11:50 am
amongst themselves. think there is a uniquely liberal press voice on national security and a uniquely conservative press voice on national security. essentially, you're working in the same space and it may simply be a function of you have to be a little crazy to do this stuff for a living. it's like hovering icebergs. you see some of it, you know you're never going to see all of it, and to the point you are making, a lot of these conversations boil down to i can tell you why you're wrong, but i can tell you that. they have choices to make based on how far you get before i can tell you that and what do you do when he reach the limit of i can tell you that? to your earlier question, should no leak ever be prosecuted, no leak should ever be prosecuted. part of the reason i think that is anytime you get down one of
11:51 am
these roads, the obvious question is what was the harm question mark they say we can't tell you that area my personal opinion is what are we talking about? theou can't tell me what harm is that you can't tell me what the stakes are, i don't feel much of a vested interest in just taking your word for it. maybe that gets back to the trust issue. publishingemember wikileaks, that no one would ever sit and talk to the american formats, for a few weeks and months, a lot of conversations did switch to the intelligence channel and to this day, there are people who are reluctant to talk to american diplomats for fear they will write a cable. a lot of diplomats have told me they no longer send cables, they send e-mails. and i say how did you send the cable, and they say by e-mail.
11:52 am
it has a different legal itucture to it erie it would be the big database that someone in afghanistan could download. if you go back and compare what was said when the wikileaks stuff was first published, and you ask senior government officials, let match that up with the actual lasting damage done, they will tell you about a couple of diplomats who were position,om their the ambassador to mexico lost --, the ambassador to libya she probably would have been leaving very quickly a few weeks later, but we had no way of knowing the arab spring was about to happen. large, when you compare the warnings we got to the damage done, it was pretty over the top erie it i'm not arguing
11:53 am
for a minute that it means there is never damage done by these things. thatmade a compelling case in the case of the yemen bomber, there may have been something operational. familiar with the details of it erie it certainly, damage can be done, but it's incumbent on the u.s. government to be as clear as they can be to reporters and editors and seek out the most senior editor you can. secondly, to be ready credible on that. >> i would have a lot more questions i could ask you, but i promised i would open it up to the audience. congressman carney is a member of the homeland security project. thank you for being here. >> i think you would probably agree this is one of the most edifying discussions we've held
11:54 am
a long time. thank you for doing this. the public space in 2001 was a lot smaller than it is today. how much does the public space impact what you do? how much of what you do -- i expect the answer will be, is it thoughtful versus reactive given how much media time you have to fill and how many gigs of internet space you have to fill? my experience comes mostly from federal law enforcement reporting. it's a big issue and you saw a boston and a lot of it is going to stay with us at least in terms of domestic getting out any public space that affect what we do. dinosaur companies have
11:55 am
moved into cyberspace, and that is great, and we've all brought our credibility to things like twitter. : does twitter bring to us? what happens on twitter, how does it affect what we do in real time? , but yout too cocky can listen to police scanners in almost any city through the internet. know when i was starting ever reported anything off a police scanner. it's crazy. almost none of it turns out to be true. think is a good feed to about things in the right direction and you can think about actual old-fashioned reporting. now, you see a lot of people out there listening to police scanners and putting stuff out in real time.
11:56 am
withck example, superstorm sandy, people put on twitter over and over and over that coney island hospital was on fire and no one could get to them. coney islandone in hospital i cared about, i would have just gone out. goes, all of us need to take the brats when it comes to the minute to minute stuff. human reactions that go into these things. that is where i come out of it from sandy and boston, i worry the frenetic miss of the web sometimes spills over a little into what we do. >> [inaudible] >> in the interest of finding a fourth lace to work, we have to
11:57 am
take risks. you can't say it's better to be fastened to be right. i don't know anybody who preaches that as a value in the business. you just hope there are enough people of good judgment who work together and get it right. but i think that goes back to the trust relationship. back in the dc sniper case, they talk that within law enforcement agencies that this is how you do it. you kill that thing before it hurts anyone. that worries me a lot and i don't pretend to know all the reasons why they didn't do it this time. i find it very stressful. >> a good point about being first is right. merit tostill some being right. i had bin laden raid --
11:58 am
brilliantly put myself on an airplane to brussels to go to nato when this entire thing was unfolding. how's that for a fine journalistic judgment? as i heard the account later on, when the word first. out that might be bin laden, the twitter universe was filled with this. a new york times reporter, media reporter either tweeted or retweeted an account that he had seen that might be bin laden. "new yorkt over a times" twitter account. but it was about an hour before we put up the story because they were going about the old village in thing trying to find people who would know and get enough sources on it that they were confident of the story. were we behind as a result?
11:59 am
absolutely. would this have looked a little bit different if it turned out it had not been bin laden and was what the president had feared, which was a wealthy dubai prince, which was an option that had been laid out to him and we learned later on, not the world's most wanted terrorist. there are times when you just have to say i'm going to take the hit. most of what we do is more project oriented work. , thoseies that donna did were projects of a year or more. the work that bill and i did -- we will leave this discussion now, but it does continue online at our website. as we prepare to go live to the u.s. house, members will offered general speeches this
12:00 pm
morning and then return at 5:00 to begin to just laid of business. two bills are on the agenda today, including penalties for nuclear terrorism and maritime hijacking. eastern.:30 now to live coverage of the u.s. house here on c-span. 2013. i hereby appoint the honorable jeff denham to act as speaker pro tempore on this day. signed, john a. boehner, speaker of the house of representatives. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the order of the house of january


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on