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tv   Face the Nation  CBS  May 8, 2011 8:30am-9:00am PDT

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>> schieffer: today on "face the nation," osama bin laden is dead. what next for the war on terror? evidence seized when bin laden was killed suggests he was still running al qaeda from his hideout in pakistan. will the intelligence he left behind put an end to al qaeda? and why didn't the pakistanis know he was right under their noses? for did they? we'll hear what president obama told "60 minutes"'s steve kroft about that and we'll bring in john kerry, chairman of the senate foreign relations committee. then we'll talk to the man who launched the hunt for bin laden, former defense secretary donald rumsfeld. it's all ahead on "face the nation." captioning sponsored by cbs "face the nation" with cbs news chief washington correspondent
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bob schieffer. and now from cbs news in washington, bob schieffer. >> schieffer: good morning again. well, the question on everyone's mind is, what did the pakistanis know and when did they know it? is it possible that bin laden could have been living near a pakistan military compound and no one knew he was there? it is a question that's on president obama's mind as well. steve kroft asked him about it in an interview that will be broadcast tonight on "60 minutes." >> do you believe people in the pakistani government, pakistani intelligence agencies, knew that bin laden was living there? >> we think that there had to be some sort of support network for bin laden inside of pakistan. but we don't know who or what that support network was. we don't know whether there might have been some people inside of government, people outside of government. that's something that we have to investigate and more
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importantly the pakistani government has to investigate. we've already communicated to them. they have indicated they have a profound interest in finding out what kinds of support networks bin laden might have had. but these are questions that we're not going to be able to answer three or four days after the event. it's going to take some time for us to be able to exploit the intelligence that we were able to gather on site. >> schieffer: senator john kerry is in pittsburgh this morning. senator kerry, you just heard the president. what do you think about this? how could the pakistanis not have known that bin laden was there? >> well, i think it's, excuse me, i think it's very, very hard to believe that at some level there wasn't somebody or some group as the president alluded to in pakistan that wasn't aware of this. as of now, even according to tom donlan this morning, the national security advisor to the president, there is no evidence that at the highest level the generals and the
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president of pakistan knew this. there's no evidence at this moment, but there are very serious questions and it is extraordinarily hard to believe that he could have survived there for five years or more in a major population center without some kind of support system and knowledge. >> schieffer: what do we do about that? i mean is it time re-evaluate aid to pakistan? where do we go from here on that? >> i think this is a time of enormous opportunity. it's opportunity for our relationship in pakistan and an opportunity for our policies in afghanistan. obviously they are very, very lame. you have to understand that for a period of time our interests in pakistan have not converged. the pakistanis have had a different set of interests about india, a different set of interests about what kind of afghanistan they want to see. they're apprehensive about a 350,000 person army being built up in afghanistan on their
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border. they have a different interest on nuclear weapons, for instance, and a nuclear policy. all of that has to change. all of that, i believe, can change. i've had some early conversations with high level officials of pakistan. there's an indication to me there is an enormous amount of introspection going on and some very deep evaluating within pakistan. i know for a fact they are thinking of a government inquiry outside of the military. for the first time there is major criticism in pakistani papers of the intelligence network and the military in pakistan. so i see this as a time for us to be careful, to be thoughtful, to proceed deliberately but determinedly in order to lay on the table the things that we know have to change. the relationship with the i.s.i., the double dealing, the attitude and frankly wastefulness of resources
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towards india. the question of cooperation with respect to afghanistan. i see opportunity in all of this to sort of punch a reset button and frankly serve our interests and theirs much more effectively. >> schieffer: what if they don't? what if they don't see it that way? do we just go it alone without them? >> here's the difficulty. i think don rumsfeld will ratify this. you know, we rely on the pakistanis for the transfer of our major supplies to afghanistan through karachi and through pakistan. we have opened a northern route but it's not capable of doing what we need to do. secondly, everybody has to understand that even in the getting of osama bin laden the pakistanis were helpful. we have people on the ground in pakistan because they allow us to have them. we actually worked with them on certain parts of the intelligence that helped to lead
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to him and they have been extraordinarily cooperative and at some political cost to them in helping us to take out 16 of the top 20 al qaeda leaders with a drone program that we have in the western part of the country. so it's a mixed bag. it always has been. to some degree may be. i believe this opportunity now allows us to urge them to see the ways in which their interests really are not where they have perceived them to be and hopefully there can be a readjustment. if there isn't, then we're going to have to sort of decide how we meet the interests that we have to the best degree possible, not raise the expectations on other things and kind of muddle along. >> schieffer: the national security advisors told meet the press this morning that the information gathered at bin laden's hideout was the largest- - this is a quote-- the largest
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single cache of intelligence from the scene of any single terrorist. do you think this means that's the end of al qaeda? >> well, i don't want to speculate. what i do know is that this is an unbelievable treasure of information, number one. number two-- and i think this is really important, bob, for people to factor in-- you know, some people in some parts of the world have been questioning the shooting of osama bin laden. let me tell you. those seals had no idea what they were going to meet in there. they had no idea whether osama bin laden was lunging for a button that would blow up the entire building. there were weapons in the room. he was reaching for them. what we do know is he was not surrendering. it was the dead of night. that is as tense and as hairy an operation as you can have. i think those seals did exactly what they should have done. we need to shut up and move on about, you know, the realities
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of what happened in that building. the information that comes out of it absolutely underscores the degree to which osama bin laden was actively running, plotting, organizing, recruiting, engaged in, the entire management of al qaeda. this man was not retired. he had not stepped back. he had not receded into the shadows. he was not irrelevant. he was, in fact, the center. this was the home office that we succeeded in now putting in our possession and in pakistani possession. hopefully it will lead to the breaking up of plots that may have been imminent. it will lead to their operatives. it will lead us to people in other countries who may have been supportive. there may be information about financing. there may be information about their operatives in pakistan or elsewhere. it's extraordinarily important. >> schieffer: we're told there was information there in documents enough for a small library.
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do you think we should have told that? i mean, how do you evaluate the way the administration is handling this? >> i think they're handled it superbly with, you know, the small hick cup of really racing out with a little bit too much information before everybody had been thoroughly debriefed. that is not unusual in a war- time event where as you get more information things kind of come together. i don't fault for them for that at all. i think it's the nature of the beast. but in every other respect i think they have done this strategically, thoughtfully. i think the burial at sea. the fact that they have not released the photo. all of that i completely agree with. i think frankly letting these folks know that we have this information is actually a way of deterring certain activities from taking place. they may go underground a little more but their going underground at a time where we have greater knowledge as to who they are, where they were, what they were
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planning and what they were doing. i think they're on the defensive significantly so. and i think strategically the administration has done very, very well. >> schieffer: you're headed to afghanistan next weekend. the president's promised to draw down troops there this summer. he says we will be totally out of there by 2014. do we need to scale back our efforts or get out sooner now that we found bin laden? has the mission, i guess, what i'm saying here, has the mission changed? >> well, the mission hasn't changed. the mission is the same which is to disrupt al qaeda and prevent them from using afghanistan as a sanctuary. the question is, can we perform that mission more effectively? can we do it in a way with less troops, with less footprint in afghanistan? and one of the things i'll be looking for particularly in my conversations with president karzai is how they may view our ability to be able to change the posture in ways that work for them and for us more effectively. i think we have the ability to have a different footprint and
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still accomplish our goals. >> schieffer: what do you see happening there now? do you see a scaling back though, senator? do you see... shall we move more quickly than they have? >> that's the judgment... that's exactly why we're holding the hearings that we're holding, bob. we've had two hearings out of some three weeks of hearings that are planned. secretary gates, secretary clinton are supposed to testify. one of the reasons for going there next week is to get the latest input from afghans and from our military personnel and ambassador and his team on the ground. it is possible i will also go to pakistan and see what could come out of this effort as i've described. and all of that, altogether, will help decide what we can do. what's important is i've said this since the beginning. what pakistan chooses to do and what happens in pakistan in fact can have more to do with
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determining the course of events in afghanistan than almost any other single thing. if out of this osama bin laden event pakistan now decides to really engage in a very different strategic relationship, if they go after the fatah, if they were to say we're expelling all foreign nationals who are here illegally, if they have a different i.s.i.-relationship with us, if they were to move to engage in a different kind of cooperative effort on the ground, that could significantly-- and i do mean significantly-- change the dynamic with the taliban, the possibilities of reconciliation, the possibilities of negotiation, and ultimately the numbers of troops that are in afghanistan. remember, no military leader of ours-- and i think no civilian person has said there is anything but a non-military solution to afghanistan. we have to have a political solution. >> schieffer: all right. >> and i think we have a better chance of getting that now. >> schieffer: senator, thank you so much.
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good luck on that mission. we'll be back in just a minute to talk to don rumsfeld.
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>> schieffer: and joining us now is the former secretary of defense during the bush administration, donald rumsfeld who has just recently released his memoir entitled known and unknown. he's donating all proceeds to charity. he's on the eastern shore of maryland this morning. mr. secretary, nice to have you back on face the nation. let me just start with this. how do you think the administration is handling this? are you pleased with the way they're doing it? >> well, my goodness. the close coordination between the intelligence community and our special operations forces is absolutely perfection. it's been a truly a joint operation which speaks well to the capabilities that have been
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developed over a period of time. i would have to add that the decision by the president was, in my view, the right decision. >> schieffer: what do you think about the way they've handled this information? they seized this big cache of documents. some people say maybe they should have kept some of that to themselves at least for a while. >> well, i wasn't there. so i can't say precisely what my reaction would be. but looking at it from afar, it seems to me that most of the information about the intelligence has come out of the white house by people who later have had to change their mind because of the fog of war and not out of the pentagon. of course the people in the pentagon worry about the lives of the men and women who serve. and the more information that goes out about intelligence, the greater the risks to our people and the less likelihood we're going to be able to capture and or kill some of the people who would result from the intelligence-take there.
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so i would have preferred a lot less discussion out of the white house about intelligence personally. my guess is that people in the pentagon feel that way. >> schieffer: we learned yesterday that bin laden was still very much at the center of the al qaeda operations. did that surprise you? i mean a lot of us thought, well, he was, you know, hiding in some cave somewhere. maybe he wasn't a factor but clearly he was a factor we now know apparently. >> it certainly appears that that's the case. i think most people realized that he was enormously important. he was the face of al qaeda terror. he was important in fund raising, recruiting, and clearly a master mind in terms of operations. now obviously he had to spend a lot of time not being caught. so he wouldn't get down into the nitty-gritty one would think. but clearly a critically important factor in the success al qaeda's had. >> schieffer: what do you think of the fact that here he was right in the middle of this town
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right next to a military facility and the pakistanis didn't seem to know about it? do you think that's possible or did they know? >> i think it is possible. i don't know whether they knew. i think we ought to be asking the questions that you're asking and that senator kerry is asking. however, if you go from the pentagon up the potomac river and look at those big estates up there with gated walls and trees and hidden from sight, we don't know what's going on there. it is possible that someone like that with a support system al qaeda support system in my view very likely could hide in plain sight. i mean if you think about it, a spy for the soviet union was in the central intelligence agency for years. and the people who were responsible for rooting out spies saw him regularly and
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didn't know he was a spy. i mean these things are possible now. nonetheless, i think senator kerry is correct we do need to make sure we ask the questions and find out if there were people in the i.s.i., most likely, who had knowledge of that. i have no way to know whether or not that's the case. we do know that people in the i.s.i. from time to time have had dealings with the taliban and with other al qaeda leaders. >> schieffer: do you think, mr. rumsfeld, that this does justify the use of enhanced interrogation that was such a controversial thing during your administration? >> well, if you think about it, you've had three directors of the central intelligence agency who have said that the intelligence take from the three people that the c.i.a. water boarded, the department of defense water boarded nobody and nobody was water boarded at guantanamo despite the myths,
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but three c.i.a. directors, george tenet, porter goss, and general hayden have all said that the take from those three people that were water boarded constituted a major fraction of all our knowledge about al qaeda. the fourth c.i.a. director, panetta, leon panetta, has said very recently on television that some of that information was part of a patchwork or mosaic that led to the attack on osama bin laden. so i think that it's clear that that... those techniques that the c.i.a. used worked. and to have taken them away and ruled them out i think may be a mistake. i would add, however, that i think that the department of justice investigation into the c.i.a. operatives who were involved with enhanced interrogation techniques is a most unfortunate thing. these people were operating at
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the direction of the president. they were doing things that had been approved by the department of justice and it sends a chill throughout the government in terms of not just the c.i.a. people but also the military people that they're going to have to get lawyered up if they do something. i imagine if a year from now or two years from now there's a new president in and he decides to have investigations on the decision that president obama had to attack obl and have him shot. i agree with senator kerry. they did the right thing. the navy seals and the special operations people. we ought to set that aside and go with life. >> schieffer: where do we go with pakistan now? >> well, we need to ask the questions that are being asked and we need to recognize as was said that we supply our coalition forces in afghanistan from pakistan. we have damaged our relationship
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with uzbekistan on the northern border. we need to maintain those relationships. we've been able to do a great many things, some with their open cooperation, some with their silent acquiescence and it's a complex problem they've got. it's a muslim country. they have nuclear weapons. they have problems with the tribes on both sides of the border between pakistan and afghanistan. it is not an easy thing. they've lost a lot of their soldiers trying to get control of the federally administered tribal areas. they do legitimately worry about india. i should say not legitimate. it may not be a legitimate worry but it is very true that they do worry about the kashmir area. that's a problem. we have to work with them and recognize the complexity. >> schieffer: all right. mr. secretary, it's fun to have you back on the broadcast today.
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thank you so much. i'll be back in a moment. with some final thoughts. >> thank you, bob.
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>> schieffer: finally this month we begin my 21st year as the moderator of face the nation. as i was looking over our broadcast for the past ten years i was struck by how much time we've devoted to 9/11 and its after math. from that sunday when we heard these chilling words from the president.... >> we're at war. >> schieffer: we have devoted more time this story and its after math than any other single story. we spent 50% of our time on this one. the bush administration told us early on what was coming. >> we're coming i think to the end of the diplomatic phase, if you will. >> schieffer: we saw a build-up of american forces in iraq, afghanistan. the in's and out's of policy. the things we did right and the things we did wrong.
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we never found iraq's weapons of mass destruction. but we found the iraqi tyrant saddam hussein. for most of that ten years osama bin laden eluded us. >> we don't know where osama bin laden is but we do know one thing. he is on the run. >> schieffer: washington argued over policy. >> we should be prepared to do what is necessary. >> schieffer: in the end we did. through two administrations we pursued osama bin laden and finally last week we got him. does that mean the war on terror is over? most certainly not. but the terrorists of the world have been dealt a mortal blow. they have learned again what is and has always been our core strength. we never give up. back in a minute.
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>> schieffer: that's it for us today. be sure to tune in to the early show on thursday where erica hill and i will be hosting a special town hall with president
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obama on the economy. find out how you can submit a question to the president. visit for details and we'll hear more from the president on next week's face the nation. thanks for watching. hope you have a happy mother's day. captioning sponsored by cbs captioned by media access group at wgbh ,,,,,,,,
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