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tv   Meet the Press  NBC  January 4, 2010 12:00am-1:00am EST

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week. several more areas of high pressure to go and then a storm coming our way on thursday night and friday. that will be the next chance for precipitation and it may very well be in the form of wintry weather so we'll keep you poed on thursday night and friday timeframe. monday morning, partly cloudy and windy and cold, winds 15 to 25 miles an hour and maybe 30 at times during the day. nowhere as near as strong as today. that would be considered windy by most standards. tomorrow welcome a mix of clouds and sunshine. up toward the maryland/pennsylvania border, the more clouds and maybe a passing flurry. highs in the mid 30s around town and upper 20s north and west. the all-important seven-day forecast, chilly and dry for the first half or three-quarte of the work and school week with a passing flurry not out of the question in northern maryland. partly cloudy and 35 on tuesday. 37 wednesday. 39 on friday but then friday the clouds come back quickly and we'll have a chance top winter weather back in the picture as
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we get towd late thursday night and into the friday timeframe. we'll keep you posted. as i mentioned next weekend looks cold, windy and dry. >> something to look forward to. coming up in sports, the redskins fail to get their fifth win of the season and the clock is ticking on jim zorn's tenure as redskins hea
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well, the redskins still in the air right now and i guess the only folks who know whether or not jim zorn is working are the folks on the plane. >> lindsay is on the plane. >> maybe she knows. >> i wish they had. some planes do have why fie.
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jim zorn's korea concluded with another loss. he went 12-20 in two seasons with the redskins and likely be replaced by mike shannihan and he could be in route to redskins park as early as tomorrow. the redskins tally, 4-12 of losing in san diego. jim zorn wouldn't admit it but he knew this was his swan song with the redskins. san diego, the hottest team in the nfl, and this man is why. phillip rivers to antonio gates, rivers played less than a quarter as the chargers jumped out to a 13-0 lead. second quarter, with most of the chargers backups and the redskins get to work. third and ten, jason campbell and rock cartwright. he takes it 19 yards to keep the drive alive and, i'm sad to say this could be the last time we see rock cartwright in a redskins uniform. a few place later, jason campbell trying to do it through
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the air and lining up the tight end, filling in for chris cooley, and todd gets the touchdown catch and all he does is score touchdowns. four catch this is year and three scores. 13-7, redskins back in the ball game and how long have we been waiting to see this? jason campbell to malcolm kelley, he goes 84 yards, dragged down just inside the 5 yard line, aareer day for the big guy. five catches, 109 yards. that sets up campbell's 20th touchdown pass of the season. this time, to the full back, mike sellers and the redskins take a 14-3 lead going into halftime. the skins would hold on to the lead until late in the fourth quarter. backup quarterback, billy bollock in for the chargers and he goes to mike toll berth. where's the coverage? chargers beat the skins 23-20. after the game, jim zorn talked
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about his job status. >> i'm still reeling from this loss. anything that i say about my -- what my future might be here would just be -- just be babbling along here. i'm, you know, i'm just going to -- i'm going to be forthright and kind of get things moving but i certainly want to be the head coach here. >> i don't think anybody is really talking about this ball game. most redskins fans hoping tomorrow is the beginning of a new era and the end of more than a decade of subpar football here in washington if and when shan shannihan gets hired he'll be the seventh coach under redskins owner, dan snider. lindsay czarniak has more on the coaching situation and the final game of the season. >> jim zorn took the time to thank all of us in the media after his post game press conference leaving some to believe that he's aware his time
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is up as head coach of the redskins. after this game the players were dealing with the frustrations of another loss and the team had heavy emotions. it began before they took the field here in san diego. >> after the game, you know, guys hugging each other, because we know the team is probably going to be broken up in a lot of different ways. we just commended each other for the fight, being in there together and to keep fighting through the adversity and overcoming a lot of it. even though we didn't get a chance to win most of our gas, at least we didn't give up. >> i really fought hard to prepare, just like i always have, and because i really want our coaches to see that, you know even in our last effort to win the fifth game, my whole concentration was on winning can fifth one. i sort of left it there. i didn't try to get into any other emotion. >> this game was frustrating from the start for zorn who has answered to swirling rumors of
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his job security with dignity, optimism and the mind set of focusing on what he can control, his job. against the chargers the skins did add a couple of brigh spots. the longest pass played since 2001, when they cap aid drive with a second touchdown of the game but the game seemed to sum up their season. the chargersed that game-winning score in the final two minutes. the lossing with i recall. afterwards players talked about the possibility that jim zorn was fired. >> first time being head coach, so, you can expect him to come in and be a joe gibbs or george allen or vince lombardi. he has to learn and takes his bumps and bruises. >> i got other stuff to worry about. where i'm going to be next year. here or somewhere else, you know? that's more important to me right now. zorn getting fired, that's been speculation since detroit.
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that's nothing new. if he do, he'll be okay. >> carlos rogers one player who has no idea what his future holds with the redskins. a spoke to a team source that told me rumors are that mike shannihan could be the ed redskins new coach no deal has been done yet. from san diego, lindsay zash yak, back to you. >> the redskins will be picking forth in the nfl draft in usa you're interested. to an nfc game that mattered the most. dallas and philly playing for division supremacy and this one all cowboys. the boston shutout the eagles 24-0 to capture the division crown and set up a rematch next week in the first round of the playoffs. the first winning december/january for dallas since 1996. andy reid and the eagles coming out, flat in this one. they stunk. first drive of the game, boyd going 80 yards and the drive capped by tony romo to jason whitten touched down and then
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romo threw for 311 yard and a couple touchdowns. third quarter, dallas up and they toss to felix jones and this is why they drafted this kid. i mean, he's speedy. he has a fourth gear like nobody else in the league. 49 yards scored and cowboys win, 24-0. same two teams face off next week in the wild card playoffs and the game will be at jerry's place in dallas. love this shot. great day for brett favre. second quarter, favre to his go-to man, his second touchdown catch of the day and puts the vikings up 31-0. favre b, 316 yards, four touchdown passes and vikings win it 44- and the giants miss the postseason for the first time in five years. titans in seattle. this is a list of the single season rushing leaders. titans tail back, chris johnson, the sixth player to rush for more than 2,000 yards in a season and scores the game-winning touchdown.
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titans win, 17-14. johnson finishes with 2,006 yards, 2,509 from victim yaj breaking the record. the titans finished at 8-8 after starting the season 0-6. >> thanks. when we come back, some third graders making good on a promise to their teacher 20 years later.
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a little time travel for the last day of the new year's weekend. 20 years ago, it was 20 years ago when 20 third graders in washington state made a pledge to their teacher. they all promised to meet at high noon on january 1st, 2010. it was a lesson in positive looking into the future and at nine minutes of noon last friday his students started drikling into place under the school' flag pole. >> a lot of us remember ford years and brought it up and joked with each other. >> i finally get to get the ball and i get to go in the end zone and spike it. and i go, that's it. i did it! >> but half of the class made it and everyone said they had become big versions of the little kids they once we are and
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they would never forget this moment in odnightht.
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-- captions by vitac -- this sunday, a new year and new fears about terrorism.
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questions mount after this man slips by u.s. intelligence and airport security, nearly blowing up a u.s. airliner christmas day. what more is known about the plot? how did u.s. intelligence miss so many red flags? and is yemen a new front in the battle against terrorists? the president orders a review. >> i direed my counterterrorism and homeland security adviser at the white house, john brenan, to lead these reviews going forward and to present the final recommendations and results to me in the days to come. >> with us live this morning, john brennan. then the politics of fighting terror. republicans accuse the obama administration of letting the country's guard down by failing to treat the fight against terror as an all-out war. what more should be done to keep americans safe? are extra security measures at the airports the answer? with us, two members of the bush administration's national security team, former director of the cia, michael hayden, and
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former secretary of homeland security, michael chertoff. finally, in this new year, a crowded inbox for the president -- terrorism, unemployment, and the final mile on health care reform. insights on what's ahead for the obama agenda with our round table. nbc special correspondent tom brokaw, "new york times" columnist david brooks, "washington post" columnist e.j. dionne, and historian dori kearns goodwin. but fit some news this morning. the u.s. has closed its embassy in the capital of yemen because of what officials are calling an active security threat posed by al qaeda there. the announcement one day after the president specifically implicated the yemen based branch of al being behind the christmas day terror attempt. >> it appears that he joined an affiliate of al qaeda, and that this group, al qaeda in the arabian peninsula, trained him,
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equipped him with those plosives, and directed him to attack that plane headed for america. >> we are joined now live by the president's top counterterrorism adviser john brennan. welcome to "meet the press." >> thank you, david. >> this president's directive to close the embassies because of specific intelligence that an attack is coming? >> yes, there are indication that's al qaeda is planning to carry out an attack in the capital of yemen. i spoke to our ambassador down there. both the british and u.s. embassies have closed to give the yemeni government a chance to thwart that threat and the plans that are afoot right now. >> a threat against our embassy? >> we know they've been targeting our embassy or embassy personnel, and we want to do everything possible to safeguard our diplomats and others that are down there. that was the prudent step to take. >> the president talking about al qaeda in yemen. is yemen a new front in this battle against al qaeda? >> no, it's not a new front. we've known about it for quite some time. from the very first day of this administration, and even the
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last administration, there's been tremendous focus on yemen. i traveled to yemen twice over the past several months. spoke to president sala. we have been focused on this issue. we need to make sure we continue to provide the training and support that yemen needs to counter this very serious threat. there are several hundred al qaeda members right now inside of yemen. the fight is being taken to them. events during the last month demonstrated the yemeni government resolve, and there are a number of leaders of al qaeda in yemen that are no longer with us today because of those actions. >> is the u.s. providing fire power to the yemen government? >> the u.s. is providing a range of support that includes security, intelligence, and military support. to the yemeni government. we're doing this in close cooperation with the yemenis, we're doing the right way, and we've made some progress. >> the president said those behind the christmas day plot will be held accountable. will be held accountable. should the american public expect military attack on yemen? >> i think the american people should expect its government is going to do everything, in fact,
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to hold those individuals accountable, whether they are in yemen or other places. al qaeda pose a serious threat. they have attacked our embassy before. they carried out attacks against saudi arabia against saudi targets, and now it's very clear they're trying to bring these attacks to the homeland. we're not going to do that. we're going to take strong action against them. >> military action is possible in yemen? >> everything is possible. as far as our cooperation with the yemeni government, we want to make sure the yemenis have what they need to thwart these threats. >> let's talk about the christmas day threat. last week homeland security secretary janet napolitano said the system worked. >> clearly, the system had a crack because abdulmutalla shouldn't have gotten on that plane with those explosives. so far the system has worked. we've been able to thwart attempts by mr. zazi and others. we want to make sure we strengthen the system. it's not the system is broken. clearly there are ways to strengthen the system and put together various pieces of fox in a way that allows us to stop
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every single terrorist out there. >> let me get to that. this seems to be a big issue in terms of how could these things have happened? a lot of people remember the way the unibomber was brought to justice was his brother turned him in. when a family member says i'm worried, that should be a big red flag. in fact, abdulmutallab's father, a nigerian businessman, a prominent figure in nt to yemena radical. that doesn't shoot to the top of warning signs for u.s. intelligence. >> every day there are people who bring to our attention concerns that they have about family members or others who have jned the ranks of extremists. the five guys from northern virginia that went to pakistan, was because the families brought it to the attention of the families. pakistanis were able to put them in custody. in the case of abdulmutallab his father did express concerns to us that he cass consorting with extremists. the failure was we didn't take that information and connect it to the other bits and pieces of information that came through
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the intelligence collection systems. it's a requirement that we're able to bring to bear all of those disparate bits and pieces in a way that allows us to identify the individuals. we had some information intelligence channels that didn't give us the clarity we needed to know who the individual was that al qaeda was using. what we need the do is make sure this never happens again. >> you are an experienced professional here. were these knowable red flags, should they have been caught and put together? >> yes, they should have been. that's what we need to do. make sure this never happens. >> does somebody need to lose their job? >> the president said there is going to be accountability at all levels. he has to take a look at it. first of all, janet napolitano has done a tremendous job over the past year. i work very closely with her and i know there were a number of criticisms about her comments about the system works. what she was referring to, the system worked after the incident. what the president wants to do is make sure that we're able to take the corrective steps necessary to prevent this from happening again.
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he needs to hold everybody accountable including me. >> "newsweek" has a cover story coming out this week about the children of bin laden. in it there is reporting about specific information that you received before the christmas day plot. in terror warnings about the use of explosives being hidden in underwear to get through airport security, and other specific information prior to the act about the potential for a plot that would be basedut of yemen on a u.s. airliner. what did you know prior to this? >> i think what you're referring to is the attempted assassination against a prince in saudi arabia by an individual who had concealed on his person the same explosive used by mr. abdulmutallab. right after that attack i went out, i met with the prince, i saw the room where the attempt took place. that information was provided to us by the saudi government. we disseminated information. there was no indication, though, that al qaeda was trying to use that type of attack and that
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modus operandi against aircraft. we're concerned about it and we continue to look at all of the evidence that is out there so we can take the steps necessary to prevent any type of attack. >> are we safer than we were in the immediate aftermath of 9/11? >> i think that u.s. government has done tremendous work over the last eight years, nine years, to strengthen our system, strengthen our security perimeters. we have now a system in place that the fbi and cia, department of homeland security and others are working collaboratively together in. what we need to do is make sure that we're able to leverage that system every day and making sure it's 1,000% perfect. so yes, i think the american people can take comfort in knowing that the government has worked hard and made steady progress, not just in terms of helping to secure the country, but also disrupting and we're ultimately going to defeat al qaeda. >> i guess what a lot of people should be concerned about is that sense of you know, how did you does this thing happen where
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you have multiple in points, inputs into the system, information that looks clearer in hindsight, obviously. but neverhe less, for trained professionals to look at and say this has to be blinking bright red, has to go to the top the system. how do we get from where we are to that place? >> as i said i think we have been to that place many times with the disruption of pts whether it's overseas home run here. those dot desire come to the surface. what we need to do is do that every day. the system is working, just not working as well as it needs to constantly. >> the question of airline travel, what needs to be done to make airline traveler safer? >> one of the reviews that president obama asked for is for secretary napolitano to lead that review as far as looking at the technologies in place at airports, screening practices, the procedures, the criteria that are used right now for the different watch lists, there is no single silver bullet that's
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going to be able to allow tuesday have that type of assurance that we're going to be able to stop individuals going on planes. it has to be a package of things, technology, expertise, intelligence, it has to be cooperation with our international partners, so all of this has to come together seamlessly and on a daily basis. >> but do we have to comomise some additional privacy, like with full body scanners at the airports in order to keep up with the terror? >> i think there is a way to make sure we maintain that type of privacy that is expected by american public but also provide the security that is needed. what we're trying to do is strike that balance. is strike that balance. looking at the technology, looking at the practices that we use, but there has to be this very healthy balance.ntain that standard but at the same time do everything possible. >> body scanners, you think they should be deployed more widely? >> it has to be considered. at the amsterdam airport there were full body scanners in place. they were not used for the
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airline that was going to come here to the united states. but i think those body scanners and other things need to be part of this. >> would those scanners have detected the level of petn that abdulmutallab was carrying? >> i think it's unknown. but i think it would have enhanced our potential for actually identifying it. >> why is he being treated as an enemy combatant instead of a criminal? >> we're a country of laws and what we're going to do is make sure that we treat each individual case appr do is make sure that we treat each individual case re, the former shoe bomber, all of them were charged in criminal courts, were sentenced in some cases to life imprisonment. have tools available whether it's enemy combatant or charge them criminally. we look at the cases and in this case decided it was best to charge them criminally.
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>> would there be additional intelligence that could be gleaned by making him an enemy combatant? do you believe whatever you are learning from him was the christmas day plot part of something larger from al qaeda and the arain bran peninsula? >> we have different ways of obtaining information. a lot of people as they understand what they are facing and their lawyers recognize that there is advantage to talking to us, in terms of plea agreements we're going to pursue that. so, we are continuing to look at ways that we can extract information from him. as far as a broader plot that's one of the things that the intelligence community is working to see if we can uncover. was he a singleton. we're doing everything possible to identify somebody. >> what does your intelligence tell you now? >> i think we have to assume there are others but what we're doing is making sure we are working with our partners, with others to stop that person before they actually are able to get aboard an aircraft. >> what about guantanamo bay.
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prisoners come from yemen, have been returned to yemen in the previous and this administration as well. the democrat who runs the intelligence committee says we should stop, stop sending them back there. what's the president's position? >> first of all we have undertaken a methodical process as far as looking at all of the individuals at guantanamo bay. the last administration transferred over 530 guantanamo detainees abroad. in this administration we have transferred about 42. what we tried to do is look at each individual case, make decisions about whether they should be prosecuted under artie 3 or military court or transfer them abroad. repatriate them to their countries of origin or another country. in the case of yemen we have sent back seven individuals, previous administration sent back 13 to yemen. of the recent batch we sent back about six, many are in custody within the yemenese system now. we are looking at it every day. we're not going to make decisions that are going to put people at risk. we will determine when we should send people back.
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we're going to do it in the right way. guantanamo should be closed. it was used as a propaganda tool of al qaeda. >> a lot of things are. is this the way to keep america safe sending back prisoners to yemen who might turn around and become part of an organization becoming more robust there? >> we're going to make sure we don't put american security at risk whether in yemen or here in the united states but we need to make sure that we are a country of laws and maintain that standard so that we are able to treat these individuals the way they should be treated, prosecute them if we have the information available, transfer them back, but make sure if transferred back the countries take the appropriate steps to safeguard us and them. >> republicans have been critical of this president. and accuse him of returning to a pre-9/11 mentality, lax in the face of terror, of essentially letting america's guard down. former vice president dick cheney said this past week.
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how do you respond? >> i'm disappointed in the vice president's comments. i'm neither a republican or a democrat. i worked for the past five administration. either the vice president is willfully miss characterizing this president's position both in terms of language he uses and the actions he's taken or he's -- it doesn't speak well what if the vice president is doing. clear evidence is that this president has been very, very strong in his inaugural address he said we're at war with this international network of terrorists. we continue to say we're at war
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with al qaeda, we're trying to give it clarity and we have taken the fight to them. we continued in fact many of the activities of the previous administration. i would not have come back into this that this president was not committed to prosecuting this war against al qaeda and every day i see it in the president's face, i see it in the actions he's taken so i'm confident that this country is in fact protected by this president's position on al qaeda and against terrorist activities. we're going to continue to do this, do it hard, we're going to do it constantly. >> is it anything less than a failure eightears after 9/11 osama bin laden is not captured? >> this has bedeviled this government. we're going to continue to hunt him down, we'll get bin laden, theothers, there has been a strong track record over this past year and in fact over the past number of years of finding these operatives, these commanders and either capturing or killing them. it's going to happen with bin laden. every day we get one day closer.
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>> when is the last time he was pinned down by the u.s. or its allies or close to being killed? >> i think you know, the evidence is that tora bora we came close to finding him, getting him and capturing him. intelligence is working every day on this. i'm not going to go into that. but there are some dedicated men and women, and i think just the events of this past week, the tragic death of the seven cia officers underscores the bravery and the risk that these courageous men and women who put their lives on the line every day on behalf of their fellow americans, and we have that throughout the intelligence community. i think we have to remember who the enemy here is. the enemy is al qaeda. as this is going on in washington, the partisan politics and agendas, frankly i find it very disappointing that people would use this issue, issue of tremendous import of national security and forget that it's al qaeda that is killinour citizens. >> we'll leave it there. mr. brennen, thank you.
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we are joined by two members of the bush administration's national security team. former secretary of homeland security michael chertoff and former director of the cia, michael hayden. welcome to both of you. general hayden be, let me begin with you. reaction to what you heard here from mr. brennen, specificall on new threats being posed by yemen and al qaeda in yemen. >> i agree totally with what john pointed out. we've been watching yemen. as pressure increased in pakistan we always look to yemen and somalia as a place where the senior leadership could slip to. the senior leadership has not gone there but we've seen a steady growth in al qaeda since 2006, there was a massive jail break in yemen, about two dozen al qaeda members incarcerated escaped, from that point on we've seen the steady growth of al qaeda and their use of yemen as a safe haven. >> should there be accountability on the part of bush national security officials like yourself at a time when there were detainees from
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guantanamo released back to yemen at a time when yemen and al qaeda there was becoming more robust, that the administration did not do more to specifically target the al qaeda threat? >> no. we worked very hard on this. john pointed throughout is a continuum of action between president bush''s administration and president obama's administration with regard to these threats. we did release some folks from guantanamo despite our best efforts making this threat assessment that actually returned to the battlefield to return to terrorism. we bear responsibility for that. >> is this a new front in the war on terror, yemen? >> it is a growing front. john pointed out it's not that new. we've seen it coming for some time. it's been unsettled. and again, since about 2006 we've seen it take a more prominent role in al qaeda's safe haven, in ungoverned areas of the world. >> are you concerned if the administration decides to release additional prisoners to yemen. >> this is a difficult question.
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each has to be decided individually. the only counsel i would offer as we recognize how difficult this is, we made some mistakes, and i would not be governed by an artificial timeline. take my time with this. >> mistakes being the release of the prisoners? >> exactly. some of the people we decided to release have returned to the fight. that should give cautionary tale for president obama. >> don't close guantanamo. >> i would not be in a rush to close guantanamo. to be fair we were tryin to reduce the population at guantanamo as quickly and carefully as we could, in the bush administration. >> secretary chertoff, so much has been made of failures on the part of this administration. is the other way to look at this that it's become enormously difficult to pull off an attack against the united states, that what we're seeing are low level, incompetent people who can't quite pull it off? is that not a positive sign for u.s. intelligence, for u.s. security? >> i think that's exactly right.
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i think as john points out, first put it in perspective. as troubling as this incident is, we have seen occasion after occasion where we have disrupted plots, and we've batted almost 100%. i think this plot also demonstrates, because of the complexity and the fact they had to use a new operative that they are actually being forced to work under great deal of pressure and are handicapped in carrying out these plots because we made it difficult though not impossible to smuggle explosives on airplanes. >> what went wrong here? >> i think the review that john's going to undertake is going to be specific about that. it strikes me what we're going to look at are two possible areas. one is was there a failure, not to connect the dots in a sense of bringing them together but to understand the significance of what those dots were. i think that's an important part of the inquiry. the second piece as john pointed out, there were scanners in the airport in amsterdam not used. whirp they not used.
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the european union has banned the use of these devices because of privacy issues, i think that's going to cause another debate about where we strike the balance between privacy on the one hand and the right to life that every air traveler has when they get on an airplane. >> i want to come back to this body scanner issue. but i want to press you on this point about the gathering of intelligence, the sharing of intelligence, again accountability question for the bush administration officials like yourself. the bush administration created these extra layers of intelligence gathering and dissemination. and yet left office before they were proven effective, clearly, we have so many ways to gather intelligence and look at this and yet the government is not talking to each other. >> i have to say it was obviously effective during the seven years after 2001. we did not have an attack or anything approaching successful attack. frankly it was successful, including the five jihadis that
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went over to pakistan have been apprehended. actually, the story is the amount of success but it's not perfect. this is an occasion to look and see what do we need to do to improve the system though i think the architecture is basically sound and has served us well over the years. >> let me return to the body scanner issue. as you pointed out numerous times you are a consultant for a company that makes the type of body scanners that you advocate though it's something you advocated as homeland security secretary. would they have done the job, detected the amount of petn he had? >> i believe the answer is yes. of course no technology is perfect. but this would dramatically increase the ability to detect things that are concealed under these people's clothing on their bodies. we've known about this problem for years. in 2005 i testified about this before congress. i said we have got to deploy these kinds of capabilities or people are going to smuggle in explosives or weapons hidden on parts of their body.
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have i been through the machine myself. i have looked at the image. i think we have taken steps in the deployment that we have undertaken to protect privacy. at the end of the day, no one has come up with a better solution and keeping your fingers crossed that the enemy won't figure out this vuln is a very foolish way to manage security. >> general hayden, the same question which is are we safer as a country since the immediate aftermath of 9/11? >> absolutely. asohn pointed out it's not the question of the system broke down. it's a question that the system needs to be improved. we are facing a learning enemy. this is an enemy that adapts and we have to adapt with that enemy. one case in point. one of the -- some of the early stories that came out was the information was not shared, which was the belief that what happened prior to the attacks in september 11, 2001. that's not the case in this incident. this information was shared, it was available. what it was not, it was not
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highlighted, not connected. that's a human activity. that's a difficult task. as you pointed out this is easier only in retrospect. in prospect these are difficult things to do. >> it's interesting, secretary chertoff, you were on this program in 2006, and you touted the government's ability at that time to look for vulnabilities, to come together as a group and try to outthink the terrorists. yet, this is what the former inspector general of homeland security had to say in "the new york times" this past week. he said perhaps the biggest lesson for airline security from the recent incident is that we must overcome our tendency to be reactive. we always seem to be at least one step behind the terrorists. is that the case? >> i don't think that's true. this was a problem we anticipated, the notion of someone concealing explosives. i have to point out the screening failure was overseas and that does reflect some issues with sharing of information with the europeans are reluctant due to privacy. i think the problem has been not so much the recognition but the
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implementation. there is an enormous amount of resistance, not just on the issue of technology but on secure documentation and other things that we've done by gthat we ought to have the security measures. it took years to get the western hemisphere documents requirement in place because we had a tremendous amount of political resistance. i think this is an opportunity to reinvigorate the will power. >> are we profiling potential suspects who want to hurt the united states? >> not sure in the context in which you're asking. but with regard to intelligence -- >> isn't there a profile who we think the terrorists are? >> of course. but it's more on behavior. for example, the individual in question here, abdulmutallab, he would not have automatically fit a profile if you were next to him in the line at dulles, for example. so it's a behavior. and it's the behavior is bits and pieces of information that were in the data bases that we
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didn't quite stitch together at this point in time. it wasn't a question of ethnicity or religion. those are contributing factors, but it's what people do that we should pay attention to. >> i want to press secretary chertoff. industry spoken to officials that say it's more than a contributing factor. we know who 90% of these terrorists are. there may be other examples of women used and what not but islamic males between 20 and 30 make up roughly 90% of that profile. is is that an inappropriate or appropriate way for law enforcement to target individuals? >> i think we're relying on preconceptions or stereotypes is actually misleading and arguably dangerous. >> so that profile is wrong? >> correct. what i would say is you want to look at thing likes wheres that person traveled to, where have they spent time, what has their behavior been. recognize one of the things that al qaeda has done is deliberately try to recruit people who don't fit stereotype, western in background or appearance, a guy like adam who
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grew up in california who is one of the senior level al qaeda operatives but does not fit the normal prejudice about what an extremist looks like. >> let me ask you about politics. i read the comments by the former vice president, general hayden. do you think that it is responsible for the vice president to criticize president obama as lettingamerica's guard down by failing to treat this fight as a war on terror? >> i'm not going to comment on the current president or the former vice president, david. i do know that this is an important national issue, it does become part of the political debate but i will offer a professional's view on the current atmosphere, the highly charged atmosphere in washington. i would ask on behalff the community of which i used to be a part for everyone to kind of calm down a little bit, stop hyperventilating, letohn take this study, look at this in detail, to learn what we can learn from it without a sense of
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attribution or accusation. these -- >> that would apply to the bush administration officials -- i seem to remember covering the white house when officials thought it was counterproductive and hurtful to the country to have democrats questioning whether it was the patriotism or the the overall wisdom of some of these national security activities. >> david, there are broad policy issues that deserve intense political debate. we should let the american system handle that. but the secretary brought up an interesting one. what is the balance the american people want between their privacy and their security. you can't just keep coming back to the intel guys after bad things happen and expect them to perform miracles 100% of the time, if we don't address these more serious fundamental questions as a nation. that's part of the political process and the intel community needs to be a customer of those decisions. >> your message is, left right, republican, democrat, don't politicize this battle. >> there are policy questions
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that need to be resolved through our political process. >> do you believe the president is adequately confronting this sflet. >> i am heartened by the fact that the president consistently says we are at war with al qaeda and its affiliates. >> do i belie he is adequately prosecuting this war? >> are honest differences, clearly this past sum wer regard to cia interrogation memos from the office of legal counsel, the question of a special prosecutor, i actually think that harmed our overall effort but that's a personal view, that's a decision the president has to make. we should not overly politicize things that are essentially a security in nature but we do need political guidance that will be the product of our political process. >> secretary chertoff, you told nbc's pete williams this past week you were concerned that there was a return in this government to a pre-9/11 mentality. explain that. >> well, i'm concerned that we don't use all of the tools on the table. here i have to say i agree with mike and john, i think the
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president has articulated his belief we're at war. nevertheless there are elements of the strategy we have to ask questions about. is it chanceable to bringhake mohammed out of a foreign area to try him. i think that's a fateful decision and one i hope that the attorney general has carefully thought through. are there other elements in some of which were mentioned might send a conflicting message. this is a great opportunity for the administration to make sure that they are not leaving anything on the table that could be used to defend the american people. >> do you have confidence in your successor? >> i do. i've known her for a long time. she's got a good skill set, great experience, her heart's in the rightplace. and i endorse her. >> thank you both for being here. up next, terror, unemployment, health care, all challenges facing president obama in the new year. our round table weighs in on
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my kids will love. plus i get box tops for their school. toaster strudel. the one kids want to eat. that, on the list of things kids love, our party pizzas have just passed toy robots. awkward. kids love totino's party pizzas. 're back joined by presidential historian doris kearns goodwin, nbc news tom brokaw and david brooks of "the new york times." welcome to all of you. happy new year. tom brokaw, this christmas day plot, this this was the 3:00 a.m. wake-up call that hillary clinton talked about in the campaign. >> i think they have been more responsive. it dmen straights the vulnerability of great powers like the united states against an enemy that really is very
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nimble, cunning, and suicidal. and for all of the technology that we have in the world, all of the coordination that goes on with security apparatus in europe and the rest of the world one piece is not in place, somebody can slip through and have a devastating effect as that bomber might have had on that northwest flight that day. the administration certainly has now been responding in a much more robust fashion since then. >> we don't do a lot, david brooks, to celebrate successes in our security wall but the breaches get huge attention. how does the administration do? >> not so well but the country didn't do so well. we have people after the fact they are brilliant at diagnosing. we seem to be in a position where like teenagers we expect perfection of our parents but then throw a tantrum when they don't achieve it. i think they do probably a pretty fantastic job. i thought john brennan was impressive and saw great
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agreement between the bush officials and the obama officials. this is one area of the government that generally works but it's a human institutions. they gather huge nets of information. they are not always going to connect the dots. if we throw a tantrum or point fingers every time we're not going to be a resilient country. >> e.j. dionne, how much damage did we do as a country with this blame game? how much comfort do al qaeda operatives around the world take from the fact that bush blames clinton, obama blames bush, cheney seems to blame a lot of people. but princeably president obama. you heard john brennan lash out against the former vice president for his criticism and he's worked for both administrations. >> i think you pointed that out in the question that there is a sort of lack of fit between what republicans said when they were in power and what they said when they are out of power. but we are a free country. politics is always going to be a factor and that's something that i wouldn't want to get rid of
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even though some can be damaging and some is dishonest. i think the initial administration response was an effort to be calm and reassuring. some people viewed that as complacency. as tom pointed out they quickly corrected that and then turned it into urgency. i think the biggest favor that was done to president obama was dick cheney coming out and politicizing this the way he did. he is the gift that keeps on giving to democrats. you saw democrats critical of president obama on health care or afghanistan, suddenly they rallied to him. by the end of the week they overplayed their hand and the profession professionals showed that those folks in the fight don't want to the be politicized. >> doris, you're familiar with writing long volumes of history and if the war on terror, chapter 1 was written by president bush it's chapter 2 and beyond and it's complicated, an entire decade defined by terrorist acts on the front end and at the back end.
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and on the back end, so much different than the wars we have fought in our past. >> true. but i think there are certain lessons even though the war on terror is a war about individuals, loose organizations, it's not countries, there aren't going to be treaties. we learned things from other wars that i still think are valid. one, you have to have allies on your side. i think that's what the obama administration has begun to do. after we made the announcement about the afghan escalation nato put in 7,000 troops. that shows some work had been done at that point. i also keep thinking that somehow what we really missed in the beginning of this decade on the war on terror, what would have happened right after september 11th if president bush had called for independents, a manhattan project for middle eastern oil. what if he called for more people to join the army, we wouldn't have had the same soldiers going back three and four times. what if we had a tax increase as we have done in every other war, we wouldn't be facing the deficits now. so i think even though it's a different war, the need to mobilize the spirit and the
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energy of the american people so it's not just our soldiers fighting those wars alone over there is still relevant in history's ferms. >> what is the leadership's test now in president obama. you talked about the test that faced president bush. this is a young presidency with a new chapter in the threat matrix from terror. >> i think there has to be a new paradigm. i think what we learned is you can't win the war against islamic rage wherever it exists just militarily or even with all of the technical capacity that we have around the world. we still have not gotten at the root of thi islamic rage and how we're going to deal with that. there is that phrase that i'm not keen about called soft power but we have to have some new way of dealing with these units that can move as they do from pakistan to afghanistan to the arabian peninsula and visit great, great harm or the possibility of great harm on western nations. i think doris is right, i do think we need more help from our alli i


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