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May 27, 2007
No Need To Take Bill Richardson Seriously As A Presidential Candidate

I'm watching Bill Richardson on Meet the Press right now, and Tim Russert is doing a great job of making it clear that this guy is all over the map and not worth any serious consideration for President in 2008.

OMG. He just said he couldn't address the immigration bill he opposes because he's been on the road campaigning and hasn't actually read it yet. You've got to be kidding me.

I mean - I agree that it sucks - and there's lots of easy reasons to give that explain why, and I haven't read the damn thing, and even I could do that. What is with this guy?

He's done some interesting things in the past that I agree with, that I wish I had enough time to link to right now. He's not a "bad guy." But he ain't it for 2008!

That about covers it. I have it on tape, of course, if you need it. But why would you? :-)

Posted by Lisa at 11:13 AM
May 15, 2006
Newt on MTP - And Why isn't anybody outraged?

So the Repubs have brought out the big guns to deal with its latest scandal of having spent the last three years constructing a massive phone surveillance program of every phone call made by everybody in the country:
Newt Gingrich was on Meet the Press yesterday morning.

According to Newt, yes they are spying on us, and it's for our own good, and we shouldn't let "libertarian concerns" about civil rights detract from the government's #1 job of hunting down terrorists.

So if you're one of those mamby pambies who's worried about your civil liberties, fine. But he says that 90% of American's want to catch terrorists...so, basically, whose side are you on anyway?

The trouble with Newt Gingrich is that he's so good at making insane reasoning sound reasonable.

Newt, like Colin, is a good soldier. He stepped in to help his team in its hour of need and I'm sure his efforts will prove most effective in calming the storm.

So I just want to ask everybody: Where's the outrage people?

They're spying on us - all the time - every day. And they've been doing it for three years -- and they're still doing it right now.

Doesn't this bother anybody?

Is anybody there!


Posted by Lisa at 10:51 AM
February 10, 2006
MP3s Now Available Of Meet The Press Interviews Of Rove and Rummy

I've been shaping up my library a bit. Going through old hard drives and making sure that I have uploaded things before I clear off my drive.

What I'm actually finding is a file or two I forgot to upload, or sets of video files I forgot to generate MP3s for. So...

That's what I did today: generated MP3s of Rove and Rummy on Meet The Press:

Rummy on Meet The Press - February 6, 2005

Rummy MP3s

Rummy Videos

Rove on Meet the Press - November 7, 2004

Rove MP3s

Rove Videos

Posted by Lisa at 08:46 PM
December 18, 2005
Condi Rice: "I am not a lawyer, but..." - Condi Rice On Meet The Press

This is from the December 18, 2005 program of Meet the Press.

Here is a link to MTP Condi Rice video and mp3s Of Her Meet The Press Interview

it's still uploading as of 3:30pm on sunday the 18th. If it's close to then, it's still uploading...

I'm just watching this mornings Meet the Press with Condi Rice. Tim Russert is drilling her accordingly on why G.W. Bush isn't violating the same laws that Nixon violated when he authorized secret wire tapping.

She pauses, struggles with her answer for a moment (although she does get one out) and then she ends it with "I am not a lawyer."

She says it again later. ("Again, Tim, I am not a lawyer.")

Well hey. If you're not a lawyer, I guess there's no need for you to understand it completely.

Even if you are Secretary of State for the United States of America. You have people that handle that for you.

"I'm not going to talk about my role as National Security Advisor ...which of course is not a constitutionally confirmed role."

What does that even mean?

The bottom line is that Bush authorized some wire tapping (without getting a proper warrant) and she knew about it.

I'm way behind on this one guys. I just got here.

But I'll have her interview for ya in a few :-)

Oh wait. this is good:

Tim Russert: "Where in the Constitution does it say the President can eavesdrop, wiretap American citizens, without a court order?"

Condi Rice: "Tim. The President has authorities under FISA, which we are using and using actively. He also has constitutional authorities that derive from his role as Commander in Chief and his need to protect the country. He has acted within his Constitutional authority and within his statutory authority."

Posted by Lisa at 11:47 AM
October 23, 2005
Howard Dean On Meet The Press

This is from May 22, 2005.

Video - Howard Dean On Meet The Press - Parts 1-6

Audio - Howard Dean On Meet The Press - Parts 1-6

Posted by Lisa at 03:48 PM
September 05, 2005
Meet The Press Covers The Incompetence Of The New Orleans "Rescue"

Here's Aaron Broussard, President, Jefferson Parish, Louisiana on Meet the Press from yesterday morning, September 4, 2005.

Here's an article about it in the Kansas City Star.

Video (Crooks and Liars)

My archive of this video

Tim Russert: First Mr. President Broussard. Let me start with you. You just heard the Director of Homeland Security's explanation of what has happened this last week. What is your reaction?

Aaron Broussard: "The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina will go down as one of the worst abandonment of Americans on American soil ever in U.S. history."

Posted by Lisa at 09:32 AM
February 07, 2005
Rumsfeld On Meet the Press - February 6, 2005

This is from the February 6, 2005 program of Meet the Press.
Update 2/8/05: I've broken it down into 2 halfs, and made MP3s of it
I still have to break this down into smaller clips, but I wanted to make complete video and audio available for press folks and things that might need it asap.

Basically, Tim Russert is ruthless with the flinging of the fact.

Rummy loses it a couple time, although he quickly recovers. He admits that he may have "mis spoke" a couple times, and disregards those facts and figures that he wasn't prepared to respond to.

I will be putting up smaller clips and better analysis soon, promise.

For now, this stuff is here:

Video Of Rumsfeld On Meet The Press

Posted by Lisa at 09:06 AM
November 11, 2004
Karl Rove On Meet The Press

This is from the November 7, 2004 program.

Karl Rove On Meet The Press (Parts 1-3)
(19 MB, 18 MB, 9 MB)

Posted by Lisa at 01:50 PM
August 08, 2004
Condi Rice On Meet The Press - August 8, 2004

This is from the August 8, 1004 program of
Meet the Press

I've got it in two parts, and three parts (for those of you with less bandwidth) here.
The files are named accordingly:

Condi Rice On Meet The Press

I haven't had a chance to examine this too closely. I just wanted to get it up in a timely manner for those of you who need the footage for your various projects.

One thing that did stand out was Condi's insistance that they had very specific "casing reports" with regard to specific terrorist targets. This contradicts what Tom Ridge was saying a few weeks ago that they had no specifics whatsoever.

Also of interest is a question from Tim Russert about 4 minutes 50 seconds in, where he asks Condi head on if she feels whatever we accomplished over there was worth the lives of over 6,000 Iraqi's and 1,000+ soldiers that were "officially" killed in the process. (This reminds me that I need to post a Bill Moyers story on how 1,000's of American soldier casualties aren't being included in the reports because they happen during "non-combat" situations. Like all the suicide bombings - soldiers killed in those don't count...Somebody remind me if I don't get this up in the next few days, ok? - Update 8/12/04 - someone found a link to the entry and real video of the show. (Thanks, Sol!) )

Posted by Lisa at 08:50 PM
May 17, 2004
Bit Torrent Files Of Colin Powell Clips

a bit torrent file
of the clip where Powell answers some heavy WMD questions and gets into a fight with his press aide.

Here are the bit torrent files for the other two clips:

Part One

Part Two

If you don't have a bit torrent client,
get one here

Posted by Lisa at 02:35 PM
More Details About Colin Powell's Scolding Of Press Aide (For Interrupting His Meet The Press Interview)

Powell scolds aide after interview interrupted

By The Associated Press (as published on MSNBC).

Secretary of State Colin Powell chastised a press aide for trying to cut short the taping of a television interview Sunday.

Powell, speaking from a Dead Sea resort in Jordan, was listening to a final question from moderator Tim Russert, who was in the Washington studio of NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

In the broadcast, aired several hours after the interview was conducted, Powell abruptly disappears from view. Briefly seen are swaying palm trees and the water, backdrops for the interview.

Powell can be heard saying to the aide, “He’s still asking a question.” The secretary then told Russert, “Tim, I’m sorry I lost you.”

NBC identified the aide as Emily Miller, a deputy press secretary.

Russert responded: “I don’t know who did that. I think that was one of your staff, Mr. Secretary.” The host added: “I don’t think that’s appropriate.”

With the cameras still on the water, Powell snapped, “Emily get out of the way.” He then instructed the crew to “bring the camera back,” and told Russert to go ahead with the last question.

After Powell answered, Russert thanked the secretary for his “willingness to overrule his press aide’s attempt to abruptly cut off our discussion.”

Here is the full text of the article in case the link goes bad:


Powell scolds aide after interview interrupted
‘I don’t think that’s appropriate,’ host Tim Russert says
The Associated Press
Updated: 3:29 p.m. ET May 16, 2004

WASHINGTON - Secretary of State Colin Powell chastised a press aide for trying to cut short the taping of a television interview Sunday.

Powell, speaking from a Dead Sea resort in Jordan, was listening to a final question from moderator Tim Russert, who was in the Washington studio of NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

In the broadcast, aired several hours after the interview was conducted, Powell abruptly disappears from view. Briefly seen are swaying palm trees and the water, backdrops for the interview.

Powell can be heard saying to the aide, “He’s still asking a question.” The secretary then told Russert, “Tim, I’m sorry I lost you.”

NBC identified the aide as Emily Miller, a deputy press secretary.

Russert responded: “I don’t know who did that. I think that was one of your staff, Mr. Secretary.” The host added: “I don’t think that’s appropriate.”

With the cameras still on the water, Powell snapped, “Emily get out of the way.” He then instructed the crew to “bring the camera back,” and told Russert to go ahead with the last question.

After Powell answered, Russert thanked the secretary for his “willingness to overrule his press aide’s attempt to abruptly cut off our discussion.”

Five interviews scheduled
State Department spokeswoman Julie Reside said Powell had scheduled five interviews, one after another, and that NBC went over the agreed upon time limit. She said every effort was made to get NBC to finish up, but that other networks had booked satellite time for interviews with Powell.

The executive producer of “Meet the Press,” Betsy Fischer, said Powell was 45 minutes late for the interview and that “everyone’s satellite schedules already had to be rescheduled” anyway.

She said the exchange was not edited out because most taped interviews are not altered before airing.

Fischer said Miller called right after the taping to “express her displeasure” that the interview ran long. Fischer also said Powell called Russert a few hours later to apologize.

The State Department would not confirm either call or that Miller was the aide addressed by Powell.

Posted by Lisa at 02:30 PM
May 16, 2004
Colin Powell On Meet The Press

This is from the May 16, 2004 program of
Meet the Press

This is pretty unbelievable. Colin Powell's press aide attempted to put an early end to the interview by suddenly moving the camera away from Powell (right after Powell addresses the torture situation and right before Russert asks a hard-hitting question about the fake nigerian yellow cake WMD evidence he cited within his U.N. speech). Powell gets her out of the way somehow, manages to get the camera pointed in the right direction, and resumes the interview. You can hear him say "Emily, get out of the way."

Here's the clip that contains what I mention above (happens about half way through):

Colin Powell Clip - Meet The Press
(12 MB)
It happens about half way through, right after Powell's admission that he and numerous top officials, including Condi Rice and Rummy, were made aware of the torture situation via a report from the Red Cross they all received way back in mid-February 2004.

Update 4:49 pm: Use one of the three mirrors below:

Here's the first mirror (of the interview parts one and two):


Thanks Leif!

Here's a complete mirror (of all three clips):

Colin Powell On Meet The Press - Part 1 of 2

Colin Powell On Meet The Press - Part 2 of 2

Colin Powell On Meet The Press - Apology for Bogus WMD Evidence and Press Aide Interruption Highlights

Thanks Dave!

Here's a second mirror (of all three clips):

Colin Powell On Meet The Press - Part 1 of 2

Colin Powell On Meet The Press - Part 2 of 2

Colin Powell On Meet The Press - Apology for Bogus WMD Evidence and Press Aide Interruption Highlights

Thanks Reid!

Third mirror of all three clips:

Colin Powell On Meet The Press - Part 1 of 2

Colin Powell On Meet The Press - Part 2 of 2

Colin Powell On Meet The Press - Apology for Bogus WMD Evidence and Press Aide Interruption Highlights

Thanks Steve!

Here's a Fourth mirror (woo hoo!):

All three clips are located here.

Thanks Richard!

Posted by Lisa at 10:05 PM
May 02, 2004
Bob Woodward and Prince Bandar On Meet The Press

This is from the April 25, 2004 program of
Meet the Press

Bob Woodward and Prince Bandar On Meet The Press

Each interview is available in two parts. (About 35 MB each)

This ties in with the Bob Woodward On 60 Minutes footage from a few weeks ago.

Check out Bob Woodward's new book,
Plan of Attack

Posted by Lisa at 06:19 PM
Joseph Wilson On Meet The Press

This is from the May 2, 2004 program of
Meet the Press

This directory contains the entire interview in one big file and three smaller files:

Joseph Wilson On Meet The Press

Check out Joseph Wilson's new book:
The Politics of Truth: Inside the Lies that Led to War and Betrayed My Wife's CIA Identity: A Diplomat's Memoir

One thing Joseph said that sticks out in my mind is that daddy Shrub said whoever leaked the information about Wilson's wife was an "insidious traitor."
Does anyone know where he said this or when? Update: Oh okay. He said it in 1999. But it still applies -- to Karl Rove and the Cheney gang in this case:
"I have nothing but contempt and anger for those who betray the trust by exposing the names of our [intelligence] sources. They are, in my view, the most insidious of traitors."

Posted by Lisa at 05:13 PM
March 28, 2004
Richard Clarke On Meet The Press

This is from the March 28, 2004 program of
Meet the Press

This one's only available in four parts. They're too big and they overlap a little.

Richard Clarke On Meet The Press


Posted by Lisa at 07:55 PM
February 17, 2004
George W. "The Shrub" Bush On Meet The Press

This is from the February 8, 2004 program of
Meet the Press

Okay, I've got this split up into two parts and 4 parts -- in quicktime movies and MP3s.

The Parts 1 and 2s go together (The movies and audio). The 4 parters are split up more at random.

Okay this stuff should be uploaded now. Sorry for being a bonehead last night ;-)

Quicktimes In Two Parts:

Shrub On Meet The Press - Part 1 of 2
(Small - 69 MB)

Shrub On Meet The Press - Part 2 of 2
(Small - 35 MB)

MP3s in Two Parts:

Shrub On Meet The Press - Part 1 of 2
(MP3 - 44 MB)

Shrub On Meet The Press - Part 2 of 2
(MP3 - 23 MB)

Quicktimes In Four Parts:

Shrub On Meet The Press - Part 1 of 4
(Small - 25 MB)

Shrub On Meet The Press - Part 2 of 4
(Small - 32 MB)

Shrub On Meet The Press - Part 3 of 4
(Small - 25 MB)

Shrub On Meet The Press - Part 4 of 4
(Small - 24 MB)

MP3s in Four Parts:

Shrub On Meet The Press - Part 1 of 4
(MP3 - 20 MB)

Shrub On Meet The Press - Part 2 of 4
(MP3 - 32 MB)

Shrub On Meet The Press - Part 3 of 4
(MP3 - 25 MB)

Shrub On Meet The Press - Part 4 of 4
(MP3 - 17 MB)

Posted by Lisa at 08:09 PM
February 13, 2004
Daily Show On The Shrub's Meet The Press Interview

This is from the February 9, 2004 program. (Commenting on the February 8, 2004 Meet the Press.)

The Shrub was on message, as usual. Jon created a drinking game: a shot of tequila every time the Shrub says "Terror," "Danger," or "Madman."

Here's complete
video of the Shrub's February 8, 2004 Meet The Press Interview

Daily Show On Shrub's Meet The Press Appearance
(Small - 10 MB)
Daily Show On Shrub's Meet The Press Appearance
(Med - 18 MB)

The Daily Show
(The best news on television.)

Posted by Lisa at 11:26 AM
November 15, 2003
Rumsfeld On Meet The Press: More On Why Nobody Knows How Many Troops We'll Need

This is from the November 2, 2003 program of Meet the Press.

Complete Video and Photos

Rumsfeld: More On Why Nobody Knows How Many Troops We'll Need
(Small - 5 MB)

Donald Rumsfeld:
"The total number of security forces is made up of three categories: U.S. forces, coalition forces, and Iraqi security forces. Now, the answer as to how many U.S. forces will be there a year from now depends entirely on what happens in the security situation on the ground, first and foremost. Second, it depends on how fast we're able to build up the Iraqi forces. What's happening is the total number of security forces in that country have been going up steadily. We've come down from 150,- to 130,000 troops. The coalition troops of about 30,000 have stayed about level. And what's changed is the Iraqi troops have come up from zero to 100,000, heading towards over 200,000 next year.

Now, I can't -- I have trouble believing that the security situation in that country will require additional U.S. troops. We'll have to rotate our forces, and take the ones who've been there awhile out, and put additional troops in. But the total number of troops are going up, because the Iraqis are going up. And then, someone says, well, how many will we have? And the answer is I don't know. Nobody knows. And that's a fair answer."

Tim Russert:
"It could go down?"

Donald Rumsfeld:
"Oh, of course. It's come down. It's come down from 150,- to 130,000. And I suspect it will continue going down. That depends on if the security situation in the country permits it. The president's said he's going to stay there as long as it takes, and not one day longer, and he has said repeatedly we will put in as many U.S. troops as are necessary and no more. And instead of putting additional U.S. troops in, we've been able to build up the Iraqi forces, pass responsibility for security in that country to the Iraqi people, who in the last analysis had the responsibility and the obligation to provide for their own security."

Posted by Lisa at 01:01 PM
Rumsfeld On Meet The Press: No Way To Know How Many Troops It Will Take ("It Is Unknowable")

This is from the November 2, 2003 program of Meet the Press.

Complete Video and Photos

Rumsfeld: No Way To Know How Many Troops It Will Take ("It Is Unknowable") (Small - 5 MB)

Tim Russert:
"Time magazine reports this today, that this question was asked in the closed briefing with senators, "'What troop levels do we expect to have in Iraq a year from now?,' asked Senator Bill Frist, the Republican leader. And with that, the Pentagon chief began to tap dance." Do you believe that you have an obligation to tell our leaders in Congress what your best estimate is for troop levels in Iraq a year from now?"

Donald Rumsfeld:
"You know, since -- any war, when it starts, the questions are obvious. The questions are: How long is it going to last? How many casualties will there be? And, How many troops will it take?

Now, those questions can't be answered. Every time someone has answered those questions, they've been wrong. They have been embarrassingly wrong. I'll use another word: They have "misinformed." By believing they knew the answers to those questions, they've misinformed and misled the American people.

I made a conscious decision at the outset of these conflicts to not pretend I knew something I didn't know. And what I have said is just that. I have said it is not knowable.

Now, if you think about Bosnia, we were told by the administration back then that the American forces would be out by Christmas. That was six and a half years ago. They're not out yet. That was -- that -- the effect of that was not consciously misleading -- I'm sure they believed it. They were that wrong -- six and a half years wrong. I don't intend to be wrong six and a half years. I intend to have people understand the truth, and the truth is no one knows. But why is that question not answerable?

And Bill Frist knows this. He asked it because others were interested in that question. He's been very supportive and very complimentary of what we're doing, and it was not a critical question at all. It was a question that should have been raised. And I said was this: The security situation on the ground is going to determine the total number of security forces that are needed in Iraq."

Posted by Lisa at 12:51 PM
Rumsfeld On Meet The Press: On The Shrub Administration's Refusal To Cooperate With Congress

This clip includes some harsh criticism from prominent Repubs such as Frank Wolf and Chuck Hagel.

This is from the November 2, 2003 program of Meet the Press.

Complete Video and Photos

Rumsfeld: On The Shrub Administration's Refusal To Cooperate With Congress
(Small - 5 MB)

Tim Russert:
"Let me turn to some of the concerns expressed by Republicans in the Congress. This was Frank Wolf: Republican allies complain of administration arrogance towards Congress: 'Pride goeth before the fall.'

And this, a prominent Republican Hill staffer: Rumsfeld and Secretary Wolfowitz, your top deputy, 'just give off the sense that they know better than thou, and they don't have to answer our questions.'

And this from Chuck Hagel on the Intelligence and Foreign Affairs Committees, Republican: 'The Bush administration did miscalculate the difficulty of the war in Iraq. I think they did a miserable job of planning for a post-Saddam Iraq. They treated many in the Congress, most of the Congress, like a nuisance. When we asked questions, we wanted to be helpful, we wanted to participate. And now they are finding out that reality is dominating.'

'Arrogance?' 'Nuisance?' Not a full appreciation of your fellow Republicans in the Congress?"

Donald Rumsfeld:
"Well, you know, there's 535 members of the House and Senate, and you are going to find every viewpoint across the spectrum. It's always been so. You've served there -- I served in Congress. And there's always going to be someone who has a different view, and we accept that. We have spent enormous numbers of hours up there -- I do. Secretary Powell does. Others in the administration, briefing Senators, briefing House members, briefing staff members. And overwhelmingly they've been appreciative of those briefings and felt that they were helpful. We've sent up intelligence briefing people on a regularly weekly basis. I think probably there's been more information back and forth in this conflict during Iraq and Afghanistan than in any conflict in the history of the country.

Now, when people are having their constituents killed, and they see things happening that worry them, understandably they're going to be worried and concerned about it, and I accept that. And these are tough issues. These are not easy issues. And the fact that there are a variety of views in Congress simply reflects the country. There are a variety of views in the country. And that's understandable."

Posted by Lisa at 12:46 PM
Rumsfeld On Meet The Press: Did He Underestimate The Intensity Of The Resistance?

This is from the November 2, 2003 program of Meet the Press.

Complete Video and Photos

Rumsfeld: Did He Underestimate The Intensity Of The Resistance? (Small - 2 MB)

Tim Russert:
"Did you underestimate the intensity of the resistance?"

Donald Rumsfeld:
"I don't know. You know, I don't know that we -- you don't sit down and make a calibration that the resistance will lead to X numbers of Iraqis being killed per week, or that so many coalition people being wounded per week. That isn't the kind of calibration you make. What you do is you say, here's what you have to do to prevail. You have got to get the sovereignty transferred over to the Iraqi people, you have got to get the essential services going, and the economy on a path upward. And you've got to get the security responsibility transferred to the Iraqi people. That's -- because it's their country. We're not going to provide security in their country over a sustained period of time.

So we've gone from zero to 100,000 Iraqis providing security in that country, and our plan calls for us to go over 200,000 by next year."

Posted by Lisa at 12:33 PM
Rumsfeld On Meet The Press: Saddam No Longer A Threat?

The question mark's there because Rummy actually yes "no" and then later "yes."

This is from the November 2, 2003 program of Meet the Press.

Complete Video and Photos

Rumsfeld: Saddam No Longer A Threat?
(Small - 4 MB)

Tim Russert:
"The New York Times reports that senior administration officials say that Saddam is playing a significant role in coordinating and directing attacks, and that he is the catalyst for what is going on now."

Donald Rumsfeld:
"I don't know what -- how to take the word "catalyst." I don't doubt for a minute that his being alive gives encouragement to the Baathists and the regime murderers that you see in those tapes killing people."

Tim Russert:
"He may be directing the resistance?"

Donald Rumsfeld:
"If he's -- I think he's alive. I think he's probably in Iraq. He's probably in northern Iraq, and he undoubtedly has ways to communicate, imperfect ways, but probably by couriers, with some other people. Is he masterminding some major activity? Difficult to know, but unlikely. Is he involved? Possibly."

Tim Russert:
"He's still a threat?"

Donald Rumsfeld:
"Personally, no. No. I mean, is it a threat to have released 100,000 criminals in a country with 23 million people? You bet. Is it a threat to have foreign terrorists coming across the borders? You bet. Is it a threat to have the leftovers of the Feyadeen Saddam and the murderers of Saddam Hussein's regime the Baathists who benefited from his regime? Sure, it's a threat. And there's a lot of them, and there's a lot of weapons in that country. There are weapons caches all over the country. So is that a danger for people in Iraq? Yes."

Posted by Lisa at 11:59 AM
Rumsfeld On Meet The Press: "The Memo" and Winning The Hearts and Minds

This is from the November 2, 2003 program of Meet the Press.

Complete Video and Photos

Rumsfeld: What He Meant By His Memo (Small - 7 MB)

Tim Russert:
"Let me turn to your memo of October 16th, which has been leaked, and share it with our viewers and ask you to talk about it."

(Russert reading from memo) " 'With respect to global terrorism, the record since September 11th seems to be: "We care having mixed results with Al Qaida..." Today we lack metrics to know if we are winning or losing the global war on terror. Are we capturing, killing or deterring and dissuading more terrorists every day than the madrassas' the schools 'and the radical clerics are recruiting, training and deploying against us?... It is pretty clear that the coalition can win in Afghanistan and Iraq in one way or another, but it will be a long, hard slog.' "

" 'Don't know if we are winning or losing' ??"

Donald Rumsfeld:
"Let me explain that. It's not that we don't know if we're winning or losing in Iraq or Afghanistan. We know what's happening there. The point I was making is this. If there are 90 nations engaged in the global war on terrorism, and if they're out arresting, capturing, killing terrorists. If they're out there putting pressure on their bank accounts, making it harder for them to raise money, making it harder for them to transfer money, making it harder for terrorists to move across borders. All of which is true. Good progress is being made.

The question is, that I posed, and I don't know the answer, is how many new terrorists are being made. How many of these schools are being led by radical clerics and are teaching people that the thing they should do with their lives is to go out and kill innocent men, women and children to stop progress, to torture people, to prevent women from being involved in their country's activities. How many schools are doing that and how many people are being produced by that? And the question I posed was: you can't know in this battle of ideas how it's coming out unless you have some metric to judge that and there isn't such a metric. It doesn't exist. Therefore, my point was in the memo, that I think we need, the world needs, to think about other things we can do to reduce the number of schools that teach terrorism. Not just continue (stops) we certainly have to continue doing what we're doing in going after terrorists wherever the are, and capturing them and killing them. But I think we also have to think about how we, the world, not just the United States -- this is something well beyond our country or the Department of Defense -- how we reduce the number of people who are becoming terrorists in the world."

Tim Russert:
"Win the hearts and minds."

Donald Rumsfeld: (Nods)

Posted by Lisa at 10:37 AM
November 14, 2003
Rumsfeld On Meet The Press: Tim Russert asks "Do you ever say to yourself, or wonder 'My god, the intelligence information was wrong and what have we gotten ourselves into?'"

Rummy's answer: "You know, in my lifetime, I've said that many times..." (See complete answer below.)

Russert also asks Rummy about Saddam's current role, if any, in the latest wave of attacks on the troops.

This is from the November 2, 2003 program of Meet the Press.
Complete Video and Photos

Russert to Rumsfeld: Do you ever say to yourself, or wonder 'My god, the intelligence information was wrong and what have we gotten ourselves into?' (Small - 6 MB)

Tim Russert:
"Do you ever say to yourself, or wonder 'My god, the intelligence information was wrong and what have we gotten ourselves into?' "

Donald Rumsfeld:
"You know, in my lifetime, I've said that many times, because intelligence is never really 'right' or 'wrong.' What it is is a best effort by wonderful, hard working intelligence people, overtly and covertly trying to gather in the best information they can and then present it to policy makers. It's never perfect. These countries are closed societies. They make a point of denying and deceiving so that you can't know what they're doing. So it's a best effort, and it's pretty good. Is it perfect? No. Has it ever been perfect? No. It will never be perfect, our intelligence information. But we've got wonderful people doing a fine job and it seems to me that it's adequate for policy makers to then look at it and draw conclusions and make judgements."

Tim Russert:
"Do you think that Saddam Hussein intentionally rolled over in March, and let the United States roar into Baghdad, planning that he would come back six months later with an armed resistance of the nature we're seeing now?

Donald Rumsfeld:
"I don't. I think they fought hard south. When the movement was so fast. And then, when some forces came in from north, a great many of his forces decided that they couldn't handle it, and they disappeared. They disband themselves, if you will, left their weapons in some instances and unformed their formations, and went home. The idea that his plan was to do that I think is far fetched. What role he's playing today, I don't know. We don't know. Very likely, Saddam Hussein is alive. Very likely, he's in the country. His sons are killed. 42 of his top lieutenants, out of 55, have been captured or killed. So it's a skinny-downed organization, what's left. And, uh, is he interested in retaking his country? Sure. Is he going to? No. Not a chance."

Posted by Lisa at 08:41 PM
Rumsfeld On Meet The Press: Were We Safer Before The War?

Tim Russert asks a great question and Rummy manages to drop in a little disinformation about the non-existent connection between Al Queda and Iraq.

This is from the November 2, 2003 program of Meet the Press.
Complete Video and Photos

Rumsfeld On Whether We're Less Safe Since The Shrub War Started
(Small - 8 MB)

Tim Russert:
"Go back prior to the war in march, where the argument was being made that there was no need to go to war with Saddam Hussein. He's in a box. He's confined. We have sanctions. We have inspections. And then the Administration decided to go to war and opened up that box. And that America is now less safe -- less secure, than we were prior to the invasion."

Donald Rumsfeld:
"I think that that's not correct. I would say America is more safe today. If you believe the intelligence, which successive administrations of both political parties did, and other governments in the world, that he was progressing with these programs and that this is a country who's used the weapons before. That's used them on its neighbors -- used them on his own people. I don't know if you've seen any of the tapes more recently of what they do to their own people. Of cutting off people's heads and cutting off their fingers and their hands, and pulling out their tongues and cutting them off -- throwing them off three story buildings. This is a particularly vicious regime, Saddam's regime.

It is true, we have terrific young men and women being killed and wounded today, as we did yesterday, and your heart goes out to their families and to their loved ones. But what they're doing is important. What they're doing is taking the battle to the terrorists. There are foreign terrorists coming in to Iraq. That's true. We know that. We've captured two or three hundered of them from various countries."

Tim Russert:
"Stop there. Would that have happened -- would they have gone to Iraq but for the fact that we went in there?"

Donald Rumsfeld:
"Why sure. The Ansur al islam (sp) was already in Iraq. There were Al Quaeda already in Iraq. The Iraqis were engaged in terrorism themselves. They were giving $25,000 to suicide bombers' families who would go in and kill innocent men, women and children. They are a part of that. And certainly, the work in Iraq is difficult. It's tough. And it is gonna to take some time, but good progress is being made in many parts of the country..."

Posted by Lisa at 09:06 AM
Rumsfeld On Meet The Press: What Did He Mean When He Said The Coalition Could Win The Shrub War "One Way Or The Other" In His Memo?

This is from the November 2, 2003 program of Meet the Press.
Complete Video and Photos

Rumsfeld: One Way Or The Other (Small - 3 MB)

Tim Russert:
"You also reference to 'the coalition can win Afghanistan and Iraq in one way or the other.' What did you mean by that?"

Donald Rumsfeld:
"Oh, that it is (stops) We're on a track, and we hope the track works, and I believe it is working. You take Afghanistan, Mr. Karzai and Loya Jirga have produced a bonn plan -- a way ahead. It's underway. Uh, will it stay on track exactly? I don't know. I hope so. I think they're doing a good job and we're doing everything we can to help them and so are a lot of other countries, including NATO now. Um, but, but however that sorts out one way or another, that country is not gonna go back and become a terrorist training ground for the Al Queda."

Tim Russert:
"That appears to be a much more pessimistic assessment than you have made publicly."

Donald Rumsfeld:
"Not at all. I believe we're doing well in Afghanistan, and said so."

Tim Russert:
"And Iraq?"

Donald Rumsfeld:
"Well, I was gonna come to Iraq. Iraq is what it is. It is a tough, difficult situation. When you're having people killed in the coalition, and we are, and our Iraqi allies being killed that are providing security, and Iraqi people being killed by these terrorists, it isn't a pretty picture. It's a tough picture."

Posted by Lisa at 08:06 AM
November 11, 2003
Rumsfeld On Meet The Press: The War On Iraq And The War On Terror Are The Same

This is from the November 2, 2003 program of Meet the Press.
Complete Video and Photos

Rumsfeld: The War On Iraq And The War On Terror Are The Same
(Small - 3 MB)

Tim Russert:
"How do you respond to those who suggest that the War On Terror should have been focused on Al Queda and that the resources that are now applied to Iraq are misapplied. That Saddam was not the threat that he was presented as by the Administration, and that the war should have focused on Osama Bin Laden and Al Queda."

Donald Rumsfeld:
"Tim, we said from the outset that there are several terrorist networks that have global reach and that there were several countries that were harboring terrorists that have global reach. We weren't going into Iraq when we were hit on September 11th, and the question is 'well, what do you do about that?' If you know there are terrorists and you know there's terrorist states. Iraq's been a terrorist state for decades. And you know there are countries harboring terrorists. We believe, correctly I think, that the only way to deal with it is (stops) You can't just hunker down and hope they won't hit you again. You simply have to take the battle to them. And we have been consistently working on the Al Queda network. We've captured a large number of those folks. Captured or killed. Just like we've now captured or killed a large number of the top 55 Saddam Hussein loyalists."

Posted by Lisa at 06:27 PM
Rumsfeld On Meet The Press: More On The WMD (Or Lack Thereof)

Move along. Nothing to see here. (That you haven't seen and heard before.)

This clip is just Rummy saying what he's been saying about the WMD. That it's unlikely he destroyed them, etc.

So if they can't find them and Saddam didn't destroy them. It makes all that much more sense that they never existed to begin with...

This is from the November 2, 2003 program of Meet the Press. (
Complete Video and Photos

Rumsfeld On The WMD (Or Lack Thereof)
(Small - 3 MB)

Tim Russert:
"Could it be that the inspections in fact, did work. That the enforcement of the no-fly zone did work. And that Sadaam in fact no longer had a weapons of mass destruction capability?"

Donald Rumsfeld:
"The theory that he took his weapons, destroyed them, or moved them to some other country. That argument. Is that possible? I suppose it's possible that he could of hidden them, buried them, or moved them to another country or destroyed them. The "destroyed them" part of it's the weakest argument. Why would he do that if by not allowing inspectors to see what he was doing and making an accurate instead of a fraudalent declaration? It makes no sense because he was forgoing billions and billions and billions of dollars that he could of had, had he acquiesced and allowed the inspectors into the country in an orderly way such that they could see really what was going on. Other countries have allowed inspectors in. South Africa did. Ukraine did. But he didn't. He fought it and deceived them consistently. Why would he do that if in fact he was an innocent? Unlikely."

Posted by Lisa at 05:57 PM
Rumsfeld On Meet The Press: We Never Said Iraq Had Nuclear Weapons and We'll Just Keep Interrogating People Until We Find The WMD

This is from the November 2, 2003 program of Meet the Press.

Rumsfeld: We Never Said Iraq Had Nuclear Weapons and We'll Just Keep Interrogating People Until We Find The WMD (Small - 6 Mb)

Tim Russert:
"Syria. Iran. North Korea. All harbor terrorists. We were told that Iraq was unique because they possessed Weapons Of Mass Destruction. What if that has proven not to be true?"

Donald Rumsfeld:
"It hasn't proven not to be true. We've seen an interim report by David Kay, and uh it was a thoughtful report. There are some 1,300 Americans there working on the Weapons of Mass Destruction effort. He came back with an interim report that reported on the things he found thus far. It did not prove that there were (he stops) He did not come in a say "here are the weapons of mass destruction" nor did he come in and disprove the intelligence that we had had and that other countries had had before the war. Seems to me that the sensible thing to do is to let them continue their work and produce their final report and when they do, we'll know."

Tim Russert:
"But Mr. Secretary, you will acknowledge that there was an argument made by the Administration that Saddam Hussein possessed chemical and biological weapons and could have been well on his way to reconstituting his nuclear program."

Donald Rumsfeld:
"Um. Hmmm."

Tim Russert:
"There doesn't appear to be significant amounts of evidence to document that presentation that was made by the administration."

Donald Rumsfeld:
"This administration and the last administration and several other countries all agreed that they had chemical and biological weapons and that they had programs relating to nuclear weapons that they were reconstituting. Not that they had nuclear weapons. No one said that. It was believed then (stops) We know they did have them because they used chemical weapons against their own people. So it's not like it was a surprise that those programs existed."

"Furthermore, the debate in the United Nations wasn't about whether or not Sadaam Hussein had chemical and biological weapons. The debate in the United Nations was about whether or not he was willing to declare what he had and everyone agreed that that declaration was a fraudalent declaration. Even those that voted against the resolution agreed with that. So it seems to me that the thing to do is to wait, let the Iraq survey group, David Kay and his team, continue their work. You're not going to find things by accident in a country the size of California. The only way you're going to find them is by capturing people who know about them and interrogate them and find out what they think they know as to where these weapons are and what the programs were."

Posted by Lisa at 04:04 PM
Rumsfeld On Meet The Press: How The Casualties Are Worth Winning This War

This is from the November 2, 2003 program of Meet the Press.

Rumsfeld: The Casualties Are Worth Winning This War (Small - 3 Mb)

Tim Russert:
"So far, we have lost 377 Americans in Iraq. 2,130 have been wounded or injured.
How would you explain to the American people this morning that it is worth that price for the war in Iraq."

Donald Rumsfeld:
"Tim, the uh, battle we're engaged in. The global war on terrorism. Is an important one. It is a different one than we've been in previously. Although terrorism's not new. But the nature of terrorism is that its purpose is to terrorize. Its purpose is to alter people's behavior. And to the extent free people end up behaving in a way that is different from the way free people behave, they've lost. And therefore, the only thing to do is do what the President has announced he's doing, and that is to take the battle, the war on terrorism to the terrorists. Where they are. And that's what we're doing. We can win this war. We will win this war. And the President has every intention of staying after the terrorists and the countries that harbor terrorists until we have won this war."

Posted by Lisa at 03:43 PM
November 09, 2003
Donald Rumsfeld On Meet The Press - Complete Video and Photos

This is from the November 2, 2003 program of Meet the Press.

Highlights separated by subject on the way.

Somehow I had managed to forget to start a "Bye Bye Rummy" category. I'll still have to go back and recategorize things properly for it.

Rummy On Meet The Press - Part 1 of 3
(Small - 23 MB)

Rummy On Meet The Press - Part 2 of 3
(Small - 23 MB)

Rummy On Meet The Press - Part 3 of 3
(Small - 23 MB)

Rummy On Meet The Press - Complete
(Small - 68 MB)

Posted by Lisa at 06:09 PM
Donald Rumsfeld On Meet The Press - Link to Complete Directory

This is from the November 2, 2003 program.

I'll be blogging this proper-like later in the day, but I gotta go to tai chi and band practice so it's gotta wait till later.

However, for those of you that have been waiting for this, and don't need my charming commentary to get what you need out of it, here's the directory where everything's already uploaded:

Rummy On Meet The Press

See you later today. Lots of goodies in the kitty...

Posted by Lisa at 05:26 AM
October 10, 2003
Ambassador Joseph Wilson On Meet The Press Discusses "Intimigate" (The Scandal Involving The Outing Of His Wife As A CIA Agent By A Top Shrub Administration Official)

Ambassador Joseph Wilson was on
Meet The Press
(hosted by Tim Russert) last Sunday to discuss the leak from an unnamed top official of the Shrub Administration that ended up blowing the cover of his CIA-employed wife.
The interview with Robert Novak from the same show is also available.

Wilson clarifies some of his own comments over the last week, while Tim Russert takes advantage of the opportunity to clarify some of the facts of the situation in more detail. (Tim is the man!)

I've made the clip available in its entirety, in two pieces, and in four smaller pieces to make it easier to download and circulate the parts of interest to you. This is good stuff.

This is from the October 5, 2003 program.

Joseph Wilson On Meet The Press - Complete (Small - 39 MB)

In Two Parts:
Joseph Wilson On Meet The Press - Part 1 of 2 (Small - 18 MB)
Joseph Wilson On Meet The Press - Part 2 of 2 (Small - 21 MB)

In Four Parts:

Joseph Wilson On Meet The Press - Part 1 of 4
(Small - 10 MB)

Joseph Wilson On Meet The Press - Part 2 of 4
(Small - 9 MB)

Joseph Wilson On Meet The Press - Part 3 of 4
(Small - 9 MB)

Joseph Wilson On Meet The Press - Part 4 of 4
(Small - 11 MB)

Posted by Lisa at 12:26 PM
Robert Novak On Meet The Press - What He Was Told By A Senior White House Official About Joseph Wilson's Wife Being A CIA Agent, Why He Printed It, And Why He Won't Reveal His Source

Well I certainly understand why he can't reveal the source. There's no reason to throw journalistic ethics out the window completely.

This entire situation provides a perfect demonstration of how backstabbing this Administration can be. Novak is one of the few journalists that has stood by the Shrub and his cronies and consistently defended them through all of their folly. Now he has been chosen as the sacrifical lamb to "leak" a story that could potentially land him in jail. This Administration even screws over their "friends."

It sure seems like the "senior official" interviewed by Novack knew exactly what he was doing. He gave Novak classified information and then sort of half-heartedly asked him not to print it. This is a classic example of a premeditated "leak." Novak says that he tried to downplay the information by burying it in the sixth paragraph of the article. He also claims that he uses (or "misuses," by his own admission) the word "operative" all the time, and that "oops" this time he was referring to a "real" CIA operative. (Not sure what he "really" means when he uses the word "operative" incorrectly.)

You can check it out for yourself. Sorry I couldn't bring you the entire thing. My camera would not cooperate. (I really have to send it in for servicing!) I kept letting it cool down before I tried again, and did this enough times so I could get the important part at the beginning.)

This is from the October 5, 2003 program of
Meet The Press
(hosted by Tim Russert).

I've made it available in its entirety and as two smaller clips.

Note: the interview with Joseph Wilson from the same program is also available.

Robert Novack On Meet The Press - Complete (Small - 28 MB)

In Two Parts:
Robert Novack On Meet The Press - Part 1 of 2 (Small - 14 MB)
Robert Novack On Meet The Press - Part 2 of 2 (Small - 14 MB)

Posted by Lisa at 12:17 PM
September 28, 2003
Condoleeza Rice On Meet The Press

I'm too tired to blog this proper till the AM. But for those of you who might need this information NOW, I thought I'd let you know that it's available and uploaded here:

Condoleeza Rice On Meet The Press

It's available as one big 55 MB download or three smaller 18 MB downloads.

I'll have smaller clips of highlights up in the AM.

Here's a link to the usual, largely incomplete transcript. (Full text of this below.)


Here's the text of the incomplete transcript in case the link goes bad:


Transcript for Sept. 28
GUESTS: Dr. Condoleezza Rice, national security adviser
Rep. Dick Gephardt, (D-Mo.), Democratic presidential candidate
Tim Russert, moderator
This is a rush transcript provided for the information and convenience of the press. Accuracy is not guaranteed.

MR. TIM RUSSERT: Our issues this Sunday, Iraq: Still no weapons of mass destruction; little likelihood of more international troops, meaning more Reserve units being called up; and growing concern on Capitol Hill.
REP. DAVID OBEY: If you don’t, you don’t have a plan, you don’t have a clue. If you can’t give us an answer, you’re stiffing us.
MR. DAVID BREMER: Well, Congressman, I resent that.
(End videotape)
MR. RUSSERT: Where do we go from here? With us, President Bush’s national security adviser, Dr. Condoleezza Rice. Then the 10 Democratic candidates debate and this man goes after Democratic presidential front-runner Howard Dean.
REP. RICHARD GEPHARDT: Howard, you are agreeing with the very plan that Newt Gingrich wanted to pass, which was a $270 billion cut in Medicare.
DR. HOWARD DEAN: I’ve done more for health insurance, in this country, Dick Gephardt, frankly, than you ever have.
(End videotape)
MR. RUSSERT: And what does the entry of General Wesley Clark mean for the race? With us, Democratic candidate for president, Congressman Dick Gephardt.
But first, the president’s national security adviser Dr. Condoleezza Rice. Welcome.
DR. CONDOLEEZZA RICE: Morning. Thank you.
MR. RUSSERT: These are the headlines that greeted Americans this week: “Draft Reports Said To Cite No Success In Iraq Arms Hunt. An early draft of an interim report by the American leading the hunt for banned weapons in Iraq says his team has not found any of the unconventional weapons cited by the Bush administration as a principal reason for going to war, federal officials with knowledge of the findings said.” The rationale for the war, the risk, the threat of biological, chemical, perhaps even nuclear weapons, they have not been found, why?
DR. RICE: There was no doubt going into the was that successive administrations, the United Nations, intelligence services around the world, knew that Saddam Hussein had used weapons of mass destruction, that he had them, that he continued to pursue them. David Kay is now in a very careful process of determining the status of those weapons and precisely what became of them. But I would warn off jumping in to any conclusions about what David Kay’s report says. For instance, I’ve not seen David Kay’s report, and it is a progress report on the very careful work that he is doing. He’s interviewing hundreds of people. He is going through miles and miles of documentation. He’s collecting physical evidence and he will put together a coherent story and then we’ll know the truth, but it’s far too early to talk about the conclusions of David Kay’s report.
MR. RUSSERT: If we go back and examine what administration officials had said prior to the war, Colin Powell said this back in February of 2001: ”[Saddam Hussein] has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction.”
And five days after September 11th, the vice president saying: “Saddam Hussein’s bottled up at this point.”
And now, front page of The Washington Post, “House Probers Conclude Iraq War Data Was Weak.”
This is Porter Goss, former CIA agent, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, a Republican, suggesting that perhaps because the CIA couldn’t determine that the weapons of mass destruction had been destroyed, that they therefore existed. Was the premise of the war based on faulty or hyped intelligence?
DR. RICE: The premise of the war was that Saddam Hussein was a threat, that he had used weapons of mass destruction, that he was continuing to try to get them and that was everyone’s premise, the United Nations intelligence services, other governments, that was the logic that led the Clinton administration to air strikes in 1998. And one would have had to believe that somehow, after Saddam Hussein made it impossible for the inspectors to do their work in 1998, that things got better, that he suddenly destroyed the weapons of mass destruction and then carried on this elaborate deception to keep the world from knowing that he destroyed the weapons of mass destruction. It’s just not logical.
You have to put into context the period between 1998 and 2003 when indeed the information was being enriched from new information that was coming in, but it was not that alone. It had to be in the context of 12 years of deception, 12 years of finding out unpleasant surprises about his biological weapons program in 1994 and 1995, reports from the United Nations in 1999 that he had not accounted for large stockpiles of weapons. No, this was the threat that the president of the United States could no longer allow to remain there. We tried containment. We learned that he had increased his capacity to spend resources on weapons of mass destruction from $500 million in illegal oil revenues to $3 billion. No, all of the dots added up to a program and to weapons and a weapons program that was dangerous and getting more so.
MR. RUSSERT: What if the intelligence was just plain wrong? The CIA had said way back when that the Soviet Union was going to have a robust economy, surpass the United States. That proved to be wrong. What if the intelligence committees were just wrong here, and we went to war when there really wasn’t a threat of weapons of mass destruction?
DR. RICE: Well, clearly, this is somebody who had used weapons of mass destruction. So had he have been allowed to be unchecked, he might have used them again. Clearly, this is someone who, in 1991, the inspectors found was much closer to a nuclear weapon that had been believed. So I think it’s unlikely that the essence of a case that this was somebody who had weapons of mass destruction and was still pursuing them was wrong. But let’s remember, Saddam Hussein is now gone and it is a great achievement of the United States and the coalition. Nobody wants to say that we would be better off had we left him in power.
We now have opportunities before us to have a democratic and prosperous Iraq that can be linchpin of a different kind of Middle East, a region that is volatile in the extreme, and is the region from which the September 11 threat came. And so, after September 11, and I note that some quotes by Colin Powell, for instance, before September 11—after September 11, you do look at threats differently. You do look at dealing with threats before they fully materialize. That was the case the president made to the American people. With Saddam Hussein gone, the world is safer and Iraq will be stable and prosperous, and it will be a historic change in the circumstances of the Middle East.
MR. RUSSERT: The administration’s credibility is on the line, here in the country and around the world. And we still specifically cite the president’s State of the Union message in January. Now, let me go back and play that and then talk about your role.
(Videotape, January 28, 2003):
PRES. GEORGE W. BUSH: The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.
(End videotape)
MR. RUSSERT: That was in January. And in June—June 8—you were on MEET THE PRESS; I asked you about that, and this was your response.
(Videotape, June 8, 2003):
DR. RICE: The president quoted a British paper. We did not know at the time, no one knew at the time in our circles—maybe someone knew down in the bowels of the agency, but no one in our circles knew—that there were doubts and suspicions that this might be a forgery. Of course, it was information that was mistaken.
(End videotape)
MR. RUSSERT: “No one in our circles.” That has proven to be wrong.
DR. RICE: No, Tim, that has not proven to be wrong. No one did know that they were forgeries. The notion of the forgeries came in February or in March when this was—when this came to the CIA. It is true that we learned, subsequent to my comments to you, that Director Tenet did not want to stand by that statement. And I would never want to see anything in a presidential statement—speech—that the director of Central Intelligence did not want to have there.
And I’m the national security adviser. When something like this happens, I feel personally responsible for it happening because it obscured the fact that the president of the United States did not go to war over whether Saddam Hussein tried to acquire yellow cake in Africa. He went to war over a threat from a bloody tyrant in the most volatile region of the world who had used weapons of mass destruction before, and was continuing to try to acquire them. And so, of course, this should not have happened.
MR. RUSSERT: But when you say that no one in our circles, and it was maybe down in the bowels of the Intelligence Agency, a month after that appearance, you said this, “The CIA cleared the speech in its entirety.”
And then your top deputy, Stephen Hadley, on July 23, said this.
“Deputy National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley told reporters that he received two memos from the CIA in October that cast doubt on intelligence reports that Iraq had sough to buy uranium from Niger to use in developing nuclear weapons. Both memos were also sent to chief speechwriter Michael Gerson and one was sent to national security adviser, Dr. Condoleezza Rice, Hadley said.”
And George Tenet called Mr. Hadley directly and put—issued a warning on that information. Were you aware of any concerns by the CIA about this incident?
DR. RICE: First of all, the CIA did clear the speech in its entirety and George Tenet has said that. He’s also said that he believes that it should not have been cleared. And we apparently, with the—in October for the Cincinnati speech, not for the State of the Union, but the Cincinnati speech, George Tenet asked that this be taken out of the Cincinnati speech, the reference to yellow cake. It was taken out of the Cincinnati speech because whenever the director of Central Intelligence wants something out, it’s gone.
MR. RUSSERT: How’d it get back in?
DR. RICE: It’s not a matter of getting back in. It’s a matter, Tim, that three-plus months later, people didn’t remember that George Tenet had asked that it be taken out of the Cincinnati speech and then it was cleared by the agency. I didn’t remember. Steve Hadley didn’t remember. We are trying to put now in place methods so you don’t have to be dependent on people’s memories for something like that.
MR. RUSSERT: Did you ever read the memo that I referenced?
DR. RICE: I don’t remember the memo. It came after it had been taken out of the speech, and so it’s quite possible that I didn’t. But let me be very clear: This shouldn’t happen to the president of the United States, and we will do everything that we can to make sure that it doesn’t happen again.
MR. RUSSERT: The Washington Post framed the issue this way: “The remarks by Rice and her associates raise two uncomfortable possibilities for the national security adviser. Either she missed or overlooked numerous warnings from intelligence agencies seeking to put caveats on claims about Iraq’s nuclear weapons program, or she made public claims that she knew to be false.”
DR. RICE: Well, neither happens to be true. First of all, we had a national intelligence estimate on which we relied to talk about Iraq’s pursuit of nuclear weapons. I would never make claims that I know not to be true. Why would I do that to the president of the United States? The president of the United States has to be credible with the American people. I have to be credible with the American people. This was a mistake. The memories of people three months before did not trigger when they saw the language in the State of the Union. When I read the line in the State of the Union, I thought it was perfectly fine. And I can assure you nobody was trying to somehow slip something into the State of the Union that the director of Central Intelligence didn’t have confidence in. The State of the Union address was about the broad threat that Saddam Hussein posed. That remained the case when we went to war. That remains the case today. And it was a strong case for removing him from power.
MR. RUSSERT: A hundred and eighty members of Congress cited the potential nuclear threat when they voted for the war. If that threat did not exist, if Saddam was not as far along as had been expected or had been reported by intelligence agencies, do you believe Congress would have voted to go to go war with Saddam absent the notion that he had weapons of mass destruction?
DR. RICE: Well, weapons of mass destruction, of course, come in two other types, chemical and biological. And on chemical and biological, the national intelligence estimate was unequivocal, that he had biological and chemical weapons. He’s, of course, used chemical weapons. His biological weapons program was, of course, discovered in ’94, ’95.
MR. RUSSERT: What happened to them? Where are they?
DR. RICE: Well, David Kay will determine what happened to these programs. But on the nuclear side, this was always a matter of uncertainty, about his nuclear weapons program. In ’91, he was closer than the International Atomic Energy Agency had thought. They were about to give him a clean bill of health, only to find that he had the designs, he had the scie ntists, he had all of the means. He was only lacking the fissile material. And the estimate, the national intelligence estimate gave the following judgment: That left unchecked, Saddam Hussein would have a nuclear weapon by the end of the decade. That’s something to which the president had to react, but by no means was this case made on a nuclear case alone. It was made on the weapons of mass destruction as a whole, his ability to deliver them in the past and the dangers of having those weapons, particularly biological and chemical weapons, which he was known to have had, in the hands of this bloody tyrant.
MR. RUSSERT: There was dissent of that analysis, however, but the administration emphasized the threat?
DR. RICE: Well, the dissent—not on biological and chemical weapons. There was widespread agreement that the biological—but...
MR. RUSSERT: On nuclear. On nuclear there was the dissent.
DR. RICE: On nuclear there was dissent on the extent of the program and how far along the program might be. How much had he gone to reconstitute? But the judgment of the intelligence community was that he had kept in place his infrastructure, that he was trying to procure items. For instance, there’s been a lot of talk about the aluminum tubes but they were prohibited on the list of the nuclear suppliers group for a reason. So the case was very strong, that this was somebody who had weapons of mass destruction, had used them in the past. The Clinton administration had launched air strikes for that reason in 1998, citing the fact that if he were allowed to keep his weapons of mass destruction, he would be a grave threat, and there was no reason to believe that this got better after 1998, after he made it impossible for inspectors to work there.
MR. RUSSERT: Ambassador Joe Wilson was sent over to Niger by the CIA to look into this whole matter of selling uranium to Iraq. He came back with a report which was given to the administration. Then there was an article by columnist Robert Novak which cited two administration sources and identified Ambassador Wilson’s wife by name. She was an undercover agent at the CIA. There is now an investigation. The CIA has requested the Justice Department to look into this. It’s a crime to identify an undercover agent. And in this article in today’s Washington Post, a senior administration official said that White House officials called six reporters to identify, to out, if you will, Joe Wilson’s wife. What can you tell us about that?
DR. RICE: Tim, I know nothing about any such calls, and I do know that the president of the United States would not expect his White House to behave in that way. It’s my understanding that when a question like this is raised before the agency, that they refer it as a matter of course, a matter of routine to the Justice Department. The Justice Department will now take appropriate action, whatever that is, and that will be up to the Justice Department to determine what that action is.
MR. RUSSERT: What will the president do? Will he bring people in and ask them what they did?
DR. RICE: I think it’s best since it’s in the hands of the Justice Department to let it remain there.
MR. RUSSERT: Will the president go to the CIA and other intelligence agencies and say, “What happened? Why did you give me these analysis, these estimates and it hasn’t yet borne out?”
DR. RICE: The president is waiting to see what the story really is on the ground. David Kay is a very well-respected former weapons inspector. He now has a lot of people, teams of people, working on the considerable documentation that we’ve been able to find. For instance, we now have access to the archives of the Iraqi Intelligence Service. That’s an important source, as any of us know who’ve studied authoritarian systems. Programs like this were likely to be under the Iraqi Intelligence Service. And so now we have access to that documentation. Wouldn’t have had it before the war.
We are now able to interview people, although there are a lot of people who are still frightened by threats of retribution, and it’s one important reason that we have to protect the people who help us. He is gathering physical evidence, and he will put together a complete picture of the status of Saddam Hussein’s weapons programs, of how he intended to use them. He will put together a picture of what became of the substantial unaccounted-for weapons stockpiles and media. He’ll do all of that. And then we can see what we found on the ground after the war and how that compares to what we knew going in. But going in, this president relied on the same basis of intelligence that three administrations relied on, that was gathered from intelligence services around the world and that the U.N. itself relied on in keeping Saddam
Hussein under sanctions for 12 years.
MR. RUSSERT: But what if it was wrong? If the president determines that the intelligence he was given was faulty or that members of his staff or administration outed a CIA agent, will heads roll?
DR. RICE: Tim, let’s wait and see what the facts are. I think in the case of the weapons of mass destruction, David Kaye is going to make a progress report but it is only a progress report. Saddam Hussein spent 12 years trying to deceive the international community. It’s not surprising that it’s going to take a little time to unravel this program.
MR. RUSSERT: George Will, the conservative columnist, wrote this. “Some say the war justified even if WMD”—weapons of mass destruction—”are not found nor their destruction explained, because the world is ‘better off’”—with Saddam Hussein. Of course is better off. “But unless one is prepared to postulate a U.S. right, perhaps even a duty, to militarily dismantle any tyranny ... it is unacceptable to argue that Hussein’s mass graves and torture chambers suffice as retrospective justifications for preemptive war.
Americans seem sanguine about the failure—so far—to validate the war’s premise about the threat posed by Hussein’s”—weapons of mass destruction—”but a long-term failure would unravel much of this president’s policy and rhetoric.”
DR. RICE: Torture chambers and mass graves are definitely very good things to have gotten rid of, so is to have gained the opportunity of having a stable and democratizing Iraq in the Middle East...
MR. RUSSERT: But that’s not a basis for a pre-emptive war.
DR. RICE: ...but let’s remember that the intelligence going into the war—it’s quite separable from what David Kaye now finds, but the intelligence going into the war was intelligence that led the United States to strike in 1998 against Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction, that led the Congress to support that action and to actually pass a law called the Iraqi Liberation Act, because Saddam Hussein was thought to be a threat to this country, that the United Nations itself had kept Saddam Hussein under sanctions for 12 years because of his weapons of mass destruction program. So the premise on which the president launched this war was one that was shared by a number of people, including former administrations.
MR. RUSSERT: But Mr. Will’s point is if the president came to the United States today and said, “We have a problem with Iran. They have an advanced nuclear capability, we have to launch a pre-emptive strike,” or “We have to launch a pre-emptive strike against North Korea,” would the country, would the world, say, “By all means, Mr. President, we know your intelligence is sound, go forward”?
DR. RICE: The important thing is that the president has always said that the use of military force is, of course, an option that has to remain, but that’s a rare option. The president in Iran and in North Korea is pursuing other courses, and Iraq was in many ways a very special case. This was an international outlaw for 12 years. We forget that he fought a war in 1991, lost the war, signed on to a series of obligations that were supposed to keep him boxed up, because people knew he was dangerous in 1991. But when the decision was made not to overthrow him and indeed to stop the war, he signed on to an entire group of resolutions, of obligations that were supposed to keep him contained. He then systematically, over 12 years, started to wiggle out of them, ignored them, defied them. He was an international outlaw.
I think you have to look hard to see whether even this was a war of pre-emption. We were in a state of low-level conflict with Saddam Hussein from 1991 until 2003. He was shooting at our airplanes with regularity. We were trying to patrol his forces through no-fly zones in the north and the south. This was a unique case.
MR. RUSSERT: The costs of the war, administration’s top budget official, Mitch Daniels, the former director of the OMB, estimated that the “cost of a war” would be “$50 billion to $60 billion...he said...estimates of $100 billion to $200 billion” by Lawrence Lindsey, the president’s former chief economic adviser, “were too high.”
We’ve already spent, when the additional $87 billion is allocated by Congress, some $150 billion to $160 billion. Why did the administration so dramatically underestimate the cost of this war?
DR. RICE: We did not have perfect foresight into what we were going to find in Iraq. The fact of the matter is that this deteriorated infrastructure, one that was completely covered and covered over by the gleaming pictures of Baghdad that made it look like a first-world city, what we’re learning now is that, for instance, the entire country had maybe 55 percent of the electrical generating power that it needed, but what Saddam Hussein did was force all of that generating power into the Sunni areas and to simply starve the rest of the country. The country was probably 80 percent low on the ability to provide sanitation to the country.
Now, I’m reminded that East Germany, which was, of course, sitting right next door to West Germany and well known to the West Germans, when they unified East and West Germany, West Germans were appalled and shocked by what they found as the deteriorated state of the East German infrastructure. So it’s not surprising that one might underestimate that.
But the key here is you cannot put a price tag on security. Iraq was a threat. Saddam Hussein was a threat to the region, he was a threat to America, to American interests, he was a haven and a supporter of terrorism around the world and he had launched wars, used weapons of mass destruction. He was a threat. He is now gone. The goal now is to put in his place, in the place of that horrible regime, a stable, prosperous, and democratizing Iraq. That will pay off many, many, many times over in security for the American people. What happened to us on September 11th should remind us that we have to fight the war on terror on the offense. We can’t fight from preventive defense. It’s fine to try and defend the country, but the president believes that we have to fight this war on the offense and Iraq is part of fighting that war.
MR. RUSSERT: But Iraq was not part of September 11th.
DR. RICE: No. Saddam Hussein—no one has said that there is evidence that Saddam Hussein directed or controlled 9/11, but let’s be very clear, he had ties to al-Qaeda, he had al-Qaeda operatives who had operated out of Baghdad. The key, though, is that this is—our security is indivisible, and having a change in this region, in the center of the Middle East, is going to make a tremendous difference to our long-term security.
MR. RUSSERT: Congress will approve the $87 billion?
DR. RICE: I am certainly hopeful that they will because the American forces deserve the support, and everything in the supplemental that is there for reconstruction is for one of three purposes. It is to provide, so that the Iraqis can provide security to themselves, police forces, the army, and acceleration of bringing Iraqis into their own security. It is to provide infrastructure so that—and basic living services so that it doesn’t become a breeding ground for terrorism, the kind of poverty that is there. And third, it is to put in place infrastructure for foreign investments, so that Iraq can emerge as a functioning member of the international economy.
MR. RUSSERT: Here’s the cover of Time magazine coming out tomorrow: “Mission Not Accomplished: How Bush Misjudged the Task of Fixing Iraq.” We all remember on May 1, the president landed on the USS Lincoln, where he was greeted by a banner “Mission Accomplished.” The image, the message that sent to the country was, “Iraq, mission accomplished.” Was that premature?
DR. RICE: Well, the mission of those forces that he went to greet had been accomplished. They were involved in the major military operations. I can remember getting briefings on the carriers of the bombing missions that they flew in those horrible sandstorms. So their mission had been accomplished. And the president wanted to congratulate them on that. But he said in that same speech, the dangerous times were still ahead, and that we still had work to do in Iraq. And we are, indeed, still doing that work in Iraq.
The advantage is that we have forces there that are now being reconfigured to deal with the tasks that are not major combat tasks, and we’re making good progress. It’s a hard job. And reconstructing or participating in the reconstructing of a country like Iraq is a hard job. But it’s very much worth it. Much as the reconstruction of Europe was worth it to our long-term security. The reconstruction of Iraq is worth it to our long-term security. And we’re going to stay the course.
MR. RUSSERT: And it is nation-building?
DR. RICE: It is helping the Iraqis to build their nation. And they are more and more involved every day. I’ve met, just in this past week, with ministers, minister of electricity, minister of public works, I’ve met with members of the Governing Council. They are now very involved in their future. And Iraq is going to emerge better for it. The Middle East is going to emerge better for it and, therefore, American security is going to emerge better for it.
MR. RUSSERT: How long is that going to take?
DR. RICE: I don’t want to put a time frame on it.
DR. RICE: The work of the Iraqis in building their own future certainly is going to take years, and we’ll try to help them and assist them. But we expect that by accelerating in this next period of time, over this—the next frame of time, which is why the supplemental is so important, in accelerating the most important task toward reconstruction, that we will hasten the day when Iraqis are able to control their own future and when American forces can come home.
MR. RUSSERT: Dr. Condoleezza Rice, we thank you for your views.
DR. RICE: Thank you very much, Tim.
MR. RUSSERT: Coming next, can Dick Gephardt stop the insurgent challenges of Governor Howard Dean and General Wesley Clark? Dick Gephardt, Democratic candidate for president. He’s next on MEET THE PRESS.
MR. RUSSERT: Our interview with Democratic presidential candidate Dick Gephardt after this brief station break.
MR. RUSSERT: And we are back. Congressman Gephardt, welcome back to MEET THE PRESS.
REP. DICK GEPHARDT, (D-MO): Good to be here.
MR. RUSSERT: Let’s go back to October 2, 2002. You were the leader of the Democrats in the House. You supported the president on the war, voted for a resolution to give him the authority, appeared with him in the Rose Garden and said this to the American people. Let’s watch:
(Videotape, October 2, 2002):
REP. GEPHARDT: In our view, Iraq’s use and continuing development of weapons of mass destruction, combined with efforts of terrorists to acquire such weapons pose a unique and dangerous threat to our national security.
(End videotape)
MR. RUSSERT: “A unique and dangerous threat.” We have not found any such weapons. Were you wrong or misled?
REP. GEPHARDT: Tim, I didn’t just take the president’s word for this. I went out to the CIA three times. I talked to George Tenet personally. I talked to his top people. I talked to people that had been in the Clinton administration in their security effort. And I became convinced, from that, all of that, that he either had weapons of mass destruction or he had components of weapons or he had the ability to quickly make a lot of them and pass them to terrorists.
Look, after 9/11, we’re in a world, in my view, that we have to protect the American people from further acts of terrorism. That’s my highest responsibility, that’s the Congress’ highest responsibility, and the president. And I did what I thought was the right thing to do to protect our people from further acts of terrorism. We cannot have that happen in the United States, and I will always do that.
MR. RUSSERT: But what happened to the weapons of mass destruction? What should be done now to find out why the intelligence was misleading or just plain wrong?
REP. GEPHARDT: Obviously, Tim, we need a blue-ribbon commission. If there hasn’t been one before I’m president, when I’m president, we will have one. The American people have to understand and believe that the information they’re getting from their government is credible, is true. And if there was a failure of intelligence, we’ve got to have more than just the intelligence committees look at it. We’ve got to have a blue-ribbon commission. We’ve got to get to the bottom of it.
MR. RUSSERT: The Washington Post reports today that a senior administration official said that White House officials called six reporters to identify the wife of Ambassador Joe Wilson, who is doing a report for the CIA on this matter, that she was an undercover agent and therefore was outed, which breaks the law. What should the president do?
REP. GEPHARDT: Well, the president ought to investigate what happened. The Congress probably ought to look at it as well. If the law was broken, if something was done that was improper and wrong legally, you know, the law ought to be enforced and people ought to be punished for doing this.
MR. RUSSERT: The Congress will have an opportunity to vote for $87 billion more for the operation in Iraq. Will you vote for that?
REP. GEPHARDT: I’m going to support our troops in the field. We have to do that. They’re performing a very, very dangerous mission and I’m in admiration of what they’re doing. We’ve got to support them with the money they need. On the $20 billion or so of this $87 billion that is for the reconstruction of Iraq, there are a lot of tough questions that the Congress needs to ask and will ask, both Republicans and Democrats.
One of the things we’ve got to look at is: What are we going to get from other countries? What are other countries going to bring to the table? What is the president doing to get other countries to help our taxpayers? And finally, what loans are out there that could be relieved or forgiven by other countries to Iraq so that this money for reconstruction could, in effect, be a new loan so that we don’t have to just ask the American taxpayers to do this.
Finally, I want some moneys for America, if we’re going to be using money for the further work in Iraq.
All of our states pretty much are bankrupt. They need help. They’re cutting health care, they’re cutting veterans, they’re cutting all kinds of important programs. We’ve got to make sure that the American people are taken care of here as well.
MR. RUSSERT: We’ll get to the domestic issues in a second, but in terms of Iraq, you just heard Dr. Rice say we’re going to stay the course. If you were the president right now, and other countries in the world said, “Mr. President, we don’t have any troops to give you. Maybe another 20,000, but this is an American operation,” what would you do?
REP. GEPHARDT: Tim, I have been terribly frustrated by this president’s inability or unwillingness to get the help that we need. I told him a year and a half ago that if he wanted to deal with Iraq or Afghanistan or any of these situations that he had to get us help. I encouraged him in February or March of last year to go to the U.N., to start the inspections so that it can bring our allies with us.
The U.N. had inspectors there for eight years, they were out for five years. The only way you could get the U.N. with you was start up the inspections and get it done. He finally went to the U.N. In truth, he went too late. He jammed them. He didn’t get the agreement he needed. But put that all aside, here weare four or five months after the conflict has ended, and he still has not gotten us the help that we need. He went to the U.N. last week.
Look, we ought to turn this over to the Iraqis as soon as we can. Secondly, we ought to have U.N. civil authority. The U.N. ought to take over the civil issues that are involved in Iraq. And we ought to get NATO and other allies helping us on the security front. If this president was doing his job right, he would be getting us the help that we need. This is costing a billion dollars a week. We’re losing people every day. People are being injured. This is unacceptable and he needs to get us the help that we should have gotten a long time ago.
MR. RUSSERT: But if the Iraqis are not prepared to take on the security themselves and other countries don’t have the troops to give us, to turn it over to the Iraqis now, you could create an extremist, fundamentalist, Islamic regime.
REP. GEPHARDT: Oh, no. I’m not saying turn it over to the Iraqis now. I’m saying get it turned over to the Iraqis as quickly as you can. In a practical way, do that. But in the meantime, we need help. We need money. We need troops. It is unacceptable that he has not gotten us the help that we need and it can’t go on.
MR. RUSSERT: In July, this is about nine months after supporting the president on the war, you said this, “...I believe George Bush has left us less safe and less secure than we were four years ago.” What do you base that on?
REP. GEPHARDT: A number of things. First of all, the homeland security effort is not what it ought to be. We have not looked in one container coming into this country. What are we worried about? We’re worried about an A-bomb in a Ryder truck in New York or Washington or Los Angeles. It cannot happen. We cannot allow it to happen. We have not looked in one container. That’s the most likely way it would come in. We’re not doing what we need with the local police and fire departments. The money that they need—they’re the new front-line troops in the war against terrorism. They have not gotten the training or the equipment that they need to do their job right.
Finally, he is not doing the job with regard to the loose nukes that are out in the work, in Russia, India, Pakistan. We should be very aggressively trying to stop this fissile material from getting into the hands of terrorists. I’ll say it again: 9/11 was the ultimate wake-up call. If we don’t understand that, I don’t know what we understand. And our government has a solemn responsibility to do everything in its power to keep these materials out of the hands of terrorists. When I am president, I will make it my highest priority to see that it’s done every day.
MR. RUSSERT: There’s a sense from some critics, Congressman, that you’ve watched Howard Dean rise to the status of front-runner of the Democratic primaries because he opposed George Bush on the war and opposed George Bush on the tax cut, and that you now are trying to make up for lost ground by imitating some of Howard Dean’s positions by saying the president’s a miserable failure or this: “This phony macho business is not getting us where we need to” go. Is that appropriate, to accuse the president of being a phony macho?
REP. GEPHARDT: Tim, I try to say what’s in my heart and what’s right, and I don’t mince my words, I don’t, you know, try to find the political high ground. I try to do my job, and I’m going to say what I think is right and what’s in my heart. I believe the president was right to try to deal with Saddam Hussein and weapons of mass destruction, not because of what he said, as I said, but because of everything that I learned and understood. I’ve never wavered from that position and never will. Because I did what I thought was right.
MR. RUSSERT: What’s the phony macho?
REP. GEPHARDT: Well, saying “Bring them on,” and you know, saying to our allies, “We’re going to do this with or without you,” and just—arrogance doesn’t get you anywhere, as a country, as a leader. And I think in some cases this president demonstrates arrogance. Look, I was in Germany a few years ago, the foreign minister said to me, “The reason we so respect America is that there’s never been a country in the history of the world that’s had this much military power and always used it so responsibly.” That’s what we’re in danger of losing with the way this president is leading. So if he’s right, I’m going to say it, and if he’s wrong, I’m going to say it, and that’s what I try to do. I try to say what’s in my heart.
MR. RUSSERT: Let me turn to your race for the presidency. This is your Web site, which is on the Internet: “It’s Time to Show Howard Dean who’s the Real Democrat, A Message from Steve Murphy, Campaign Manager”—that’s your campaign manager—”...I’ve had enough. Howard Dean still insists that he’s the candidate from ‘the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party.’ Well, where was Howard Dean when we needed him?” Do you think Howard Dean’s a real Democrat?
REP. GEPHARDT: He is a Democrat, but we have some legitimate differences of belief, on trade, on health care, on Medicare, on Social Security, and that’s what elections are about. That’s why we have campaigns, and I’m going to talk about the differences, not only with Howard but with other candidates, as well.
MR. RUSSERT: Another Web site, and I’ll show you this one, called DeanFacts.com: “Howard Dean on Social Security: ‘I absolutely agree we need to...increase retirement age.’”
Dean on Social Security, Dean on Medicare, and who’s paying for this Web site? Gephardt for President. You’re devoting an entire Web site to Howard Dean.
REP. GEPHARDT: Well, these Web sites are inexpensive. Look, some of the statements that Howard has made about Medicare demonstrate, and are hard to believe, frankly, but demonstrate the deep difference that we have on this issue. Let me just tell you two of the statements. He said Medicare is the worst federal program ever. He said Medicare is the worst thing that ever happened. Now, I just couldn’t disagree more. I think Medicare is one of the best things this country’s ever done. A third to a half of the elderly in this country were in poverty before Medicare. Now, every senior citizen has the benefit of Medicare.
And in our darkest hour, the day before we took up the Gingrich budget in 1995, Howard was the head of the National Governors’ Association. He made a speech in which he endorsed, basically, the Republican position on the $270 billion cut in Medicare, that Bill Clinton called the biggest cut in Medicare’s history. It would have decimated the program. And so later in the year, they even shut the government down over this. They were trying to do big Medicare cuts to give tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans.
Now, we just couldn’t disagree more on this. He’s had a number of other statements in which he’s severely critical of Medicare as a horribly run, terrible program. I just—we disagree on this. I think it’s an important issue. Look, the Republicans have always been after this program. From the beginning they haven’t liked this program. We need a candidate to go up against George Bush and articulate this issue, defend our proudest achievement, which is Medicare and Social Security, and re-explain to the American people why we cannot allow the Republicans to privatize and ruin these programs.
MR. RUSSERT: But if you say that Howard Dean stood with Newt Gingrich, why couldn’t Howard Dean say, “Dick Gephardt, you voted for the 1981 Ronald Reagan tax cut. Back then you voted against increasing minimum wage. You stood with Ronald Reagan.”
REP. GEPHARDT: Look, there are always times that we make judgments that in retrospect we think weren’t the right judgment. There have been things in my past that, you know, I later on decided that wasn’t the right thing to do. Howard’s not backing off this. He said just a week ago, or two weeks ago, that he still thinks we ought to slow down the growth of Medicare by 7 to 10 percent. That was the $270 billion cut. And he continues to say it’s a horribly run program, and that it’s not a good program.
MR. RUSSERT: But the number of people on Medicare is going to double, we’ve gone from 35 workers per retiree to two workers per retiree. We’re going to have to do something with Medicare and Social Security or those programs will go bust or we’re going to have to double the payroll tax.
REP. GEPHARDT: Tim, I have always been for doing what it takes to save Social Security and Medicare. I led the fight in 1983 to fix the Social Security program so it would have much longer time to run without having to dip into general revenue. I’ve always been for improving Medicare but I’ve never said Medicare is the worst thing that ever happened. I mean, this is a great program. We need to improve it but we sure don’t need to adopt the Republican rhetoric on this, that it’s a horrible program. It’s not. It’s a great program.
MR. RUSSERT: The centerpiece of your campaign thus far has been your proposal on health care, to subsidize businesses so they will provide health care to their employees. You would pay for it by repealing the Bush tax cut. This is how one commentator reported on that. “Gephardt’s Tax Hike. To finance government funding for business-provided health care, [Gephardt] would roll back Bush tax cuts...”
“This is heavy going for that $40,000-a-year family of four. ... The extra taxes paid over six years, starting with President Gephardt’s first year, total $6,800. If this family’s breadwinners work for a company that now provides health care, they”—only get—”pain”—for—”Gephardt.”
How do you say to the American people, “I’m going to raise your taxes anywhere from $1,500 to $2,000 a year, because I’m subsidizing businesses that give you health care.” But they already have health care?
REP. GEPHARDT: Well, what’s missing in this analysis is that companies that already give health care are cutting back benefits. People have anxiety that they’re going to lose their benefits altogether or that they’re not going to be able to afford the family plan or that they can’t ever get a wage increase. It’s the only thing that’s talked about between employers and employees today. I intend to solve that problem. My plan does more for the average family than the Bush tax cuts. And if you want to calculate it, I’ve got another Web site, mattsplan.com, named after my son, or gephardt2004.com. And you can calculate, on the Web site, what you get from my plan as opposed to the Bush tax cuts. I think if you go on and look at it, you’ll find that my plan is pretty good.
MR. RUSSERT: I’ve seen it. But people will pay more taxes. You have to be straight up and honest about that.
REP. GEPHARDT: But, Tim, it’s a tradeoff, between the tax cut you get and the economic benefit you get from my plan. And what I’m arguing is even if you have insurance now, you’ll get a huge economic benefit from my plan. And my plan is the only plan that helps everybody, not just one kind of employee.
MR. RUSSERT: But if you’re repealing the Bush tax cut to pay for your health-care plan, earlier in the program you said we have to have more money for Homeland Security, we have to have more money to rebuild the infrastructure, we need more money to take care of medical and Social Security because those programs are going to explode with the baby boom generation, we already have a $500 billion deficit, probably $600 billion. How can you possibly balance the budget or reduce the deficit when all you want to do is spend?
REP. GEPHARDT: Let me tell you what I learned in 1993. I led the fight for the Clinton economic program. It’s the proudest day that I was in the Congress. Because we got Democrats. We Democrats voted for a plan to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans, cut taxes on middle class. Raise spending in some areas, cut spending in other areas that were necessary. And we got the platform created on which the American people created the best economy in 50 years. Twenty-two million new jobs created in a seven-year period. You cannot balance budgets just by raising taxes and cutting spending. You have to have a set of ideas that work together, that get the American people to create economic growth and then you get your budget balanced. We took a $5 trillion deficit and got a $5 trillion surplus until this president came along and turned everything in a wrong direction.
MR. RUSSERT: Can you tell the American people we have to raise taxes?
REP. GEPHARDT: I will tell the American people that we need an economic plan, a lot like we had in the early ’90s. It’ll be different because we had different circumstances. But an economic plan that does all the right things to get us to the right economy. There was an article yesterday in The New York Times, Roger Gibboni of Mexico, Missouri, lost his job. He was making $19 an hour with benefits; now he’s making $8, $9 an hour without benefits. And he said in the article, “The tax cut isn’t helping me. I need a job that has good benefits.” That’s what we need to produce and I will as president. That’s what I want to do.
MR. RUSSERT: Even if it means raising taxes as part of that puzzle?
REP. GEPHARDT: I’m gonna have an economic plan that is gonna be fair, that is gonna move us in the right direction. I’ve done it. This is no mystery anymore. We know how to do this. The Republicans mess it up every time they get a chance. We know how to do this and I will do it.
MR. RUSSERT: John Kerry and Howard Dean, two of your competitors for the Democratic nomination, have called for the resignations of Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz for their handling of the Iraq war. Do you join in their call?
REP. GEPHARDT: I’m out here trying to replace George Bush. That’s the person that needs to be replaced. This is his administration. He decides who’s in the administration. The buck stops on the president’s desk and the president has to stand the responsibility for the failure or the success of whatever is done. So I’m not interested in trying to give him advice on who his Cabinet ought to be. I’m gonna replace him and I’m gonna bring you a Cabinet that won’t have the policies of this administration.
MR. RUSSERT: Congressman Gephardt, this is your 40th appearance on MEET THE PRESS, which puts you in second place behind Bob Dole in terms of history of most appearances. This is what you looked like back in 1983, your first appearance. And here you are today. Twenty years.
REP. GEPHARDT: It’s starting to show.
MR. RUSSERT: Be safe on the campaign trail.
REP. GEPHARDT: Thanks so much.
MR. RUSSERT: And we’ll be right back.
MR. RUSSERT: Start your day tomorrow on “Today” with Katie and Matt, then the “NBC Nightly News” with Tom Brokaw. That’s all for today. We will be back next week. If it’s Sunday, it’s MEET THE PRESS.
Bills, bounce back. Get those Eagles.

Posted by Lisa at 10:21 PM
September 16, 2003
Dick Cheney On Meet the Press - Subject: The Forged Nigerian WMD Evidence

This clip is a Dick Cheney classic.

According to Cheney, he doesn't know anything about anything. He doesn't know who Ambassador Joseph Wilson is. He doesn't know who the CIA is. He must not know what a newspaper is either.

This is from the September 14, 2003 program of
Meet The Press
, hosted by Tim Russert.
(Link goes to a complete very incomplete transcript.)

Russert: "Were you briefed on his (Joseph Wilson's) findings of February-March of 2002?"

Cheney: "No. I don't know Joe Wilson. I've never met Joe Wilson...Joe Wilson? I don't know who sent Joe Wilson. He never submitted a report that I ever saw when he came back...I don't know Mr. Wilson. I probably shouldn't judge him...I have no idea who hired him."

Tim Russert: "The CIA did."

Cheney: "Yeah but who are 'the CIA?' I don't know."

Cheney On The Forged Nigerian WMD Evidence (Small - 8 MB)

Posted by Lisa at 02:14 AM
Dick Cheney On Meet the Press - Subject: The Missing WMD

This is from the September 14, 2003 program of
Meet The Press
, hosted by Tim Russert.
(Link goes to a complete very incomplete transcript.)

Cheney On The Missing WMD (Small - 10 MB)

Posted by Lisa at 01:55 AM
Dick Cheney On Meet the Press - Subject: The Halliburton Contracts

This is from the September 14, 2003 program of
Meet The Press
, hosted by Tim Russert.
(Link goes to a complete very incomplete transcript.)

Cheney: "I don't know any of the details of the contract because I deliberately stay away from any of that information."

Cheney also said that he has "no idea" why there was no bidding process, and to "go ask the Core of Engineers." He also said that he "has no financial interest of any kind" with the company and hasn't "for over three years."

(Can someone please find me a link to the fact that he still receives deferred income from Halliburton every year? I know I've seen that several times in different publications. It's bound to be somewhere else besides in a Daily Show clip. -- Thanks! UPDATE! 9/16/03 -- Well, that didn't take long (see snippet below from Chris Floyd in Counterpunch.)

Update: 9/17/03 - New story in Reuters with all the details.

Cheney On The Halliburton Contracts
(Small - 6 MB)

From Counterpunch, March 2003:

Old news, you say? Irrelevant to the current crisis? Surely, now that Cheney has been translated to glory as the nation's second-highest public servant, he is beyond any taint of grubby material concerns? Au contraire, as those ever-dastardly French like to say. At this very moment, while the smoke is still rising from the rubble of Baghdad, while the bodies of the unburied dead are still rotting in the desert wastes, Dick Cheney is receiving one million dollars a year in so-called "deferred compensation" from Halliburton. That's a million smackers from a private company that profits directly from the mass slaughter in Iraq, going into the pockets of the "public servant" who is, as the sycophantic media never tires of telling us, the power behind George W.'s throne - and a prime architect of the war.

(Thanks, Jim.)

Here is the full text of the Counterpunch article that seems to complement this video clip so nicely. (In case the link goes bad.):


March 29, 2003
Bushist Party Feeds on Fear and War
Blood on the Tracks


Before the first cruise missile crushed the first skull of the first child killed in the first installment of George W. Bush's crusade for world dominion, the unelected plutocrats occupying the White House were already plying their corporate cronies with fat contracts to "repair" the murderous devastation they were about to unleash on Iraq. There was, of course, no open bidding allowed in the process; just a few "selected" companies--selected for their preponderance of campaign bribes to the Bushist Party, that is - "invited" to submit their wish lists to the War Profiteer-in-Chief.

It should come as no surprise that one of the leading beneficiaries of this hugger-mugger largess is our old friend, Halliburton Corporation, the military-energy servicing conglomerate. Halliburton, headed by Vice Profiteer Dick Cheney until the Bushist coup d'etat in 2000, is already reaping billions from the Bush wars--which Cheney himself tells us "might not end in our lifetime."

Cheney is an old hand at this kind of death merchanting, of course. In the first Bush-Iraq War, Cheney, playing the role now filled by Don Rumsfeld--a squinting, smirking, lying Secretary of Defense - directed the massacre of some 100,00 Iraqis, many of whom were buried alive, or machine-gunned while retreating along the "Highway of Death," or annihilated in sneak attacks launched after a ceasefire had been called. When George I and his triumphant conquerors were unceremoniously booted out of office less than two years later by that radical fringe group so hated by the Bushists--the American people--Cheney made a soft landing at Halliburton.

There he grew rich on government contracts and taxpayer-supported credits doled out by his old pals in the military-industrial complex. He also hooked up with attractive foreign partners - like Saddam Hussein, the "worse-than-Hitler" dictator who paid Cheney $73 million to rebuild the oil fields that had been destroyed by, er, Dick Cheney. And while the Halliburton honcho became a multimillionaire many times over, some of his employees were not so lucky - Cheney ashcanned more than 10,000 workers during his boardroom reign. (At least he didn't bury them alive.)

Old news, you say? Irrelevant to the current crisis? Surely, now that Cheney has been translated to glory as the nation's second-highest public servant, he is beyond any taint of grubby material concerns? Au contraire, as those ever-dastardly French like to say. At this very moment, while the smoke is still rising from the rubble of Baghdad, while the bodies of the unburied dead are still rotting in the desert wastes, Dick Cheney is receiving one million dollars a year in so-called "deferred compensation" from Halliburton. That's a million smackers from a private company that profits directly from the mass slaughter in Iraq, going into the pockets of the "public servant" who is, as the sycophantic media never tires of telling us, the power behind George W.'s throne - and a prime architect of the war.

This is money that Cheney wouldn't get if Halliburton went down the tubes--a prospect it faced in the early days of the Regime, due to a boneheaded merger engineered by its former CEO, a guy named, er, Dick Cheney. In a deal apparently sealed during a golf game with an old crony, Cheney acquired a subsidiary, Dresser Industries--a firm associated with the Bush family for more than 70 years--which was facing billions of dollars in liability claims for its unsafe use of asbestos. Dresser's bigwigs doubtless made out like bandits from the deal, and Cheney left the mess behind when the grateful Bushes put him on the presidential ticket, but there was serious concern that Halliburton itself would be forced into bankruptcy - unless it found massive new sources of secure funding to offset the financial "shock and awe" of the asbestos lawsuits.

Then lo and behold, after September 11, Halliburton received a multibillion-dollar, open-ended, no-bid contract to build and service U.S. military bases and operations all over the world. It also won several shorter-term contracts, such as expanding the concentration camp in Guantanamo Bay, where the Regime is holding unnamed, uncharged suspected terrorists in violation of the Geneva Convention. With this fountain of federal money pouring into its coffers - and Bushist operatives in Congress pushing legislation to restrict asbestos lawsuits--Halliburton was able to hammer out a surprisingly favorable settlement deal with the asbestos victims. The company--and Cheney's million-dollar paychecks--were saved. Praise Allah!

Halliburton is just the tip of the slagheap, of course. Daddy Bush's popsicle stand, the Carlyle Group - which controls a vast network of defense firms and "security" operations around the world - is also panning gold from the streams of blood pouring down the ancient tracks of Babylon. Junior Bush - who like a kept woman made his own influence-peddling fortune through services rendered to a series of sugar daddies--has conveniently gutted the national inheritance tax, swelling his own eventual bottom line when his father joins the legions of Panamanian, Iranian, Afghan, Iraqi--and American--dead he and his son have sent down to Sheol.

Never in American history has a group of government leaders profited so directly from war--never. Like their brothers-in-arms, Saddam's Baathists, the Bushists treat their own country like a sacked town, looting the treasury for their family retainers and turning public policy to private gain. Like Saddam, they feed on fear and glorify aggression. Like Saddam, they have dishonored their nation and betrayed its people.

But the money sure is good, eh, Dick?

Chris Floyd is a columnist for the Moscow Times and is a regular contributor to CounterPunch.

Posted by Lisa at 01:41 AM
Dick Cheney On Meet the Press - Subject: Misleading, Inaccurate Estimates For How Much The War Will Cost

This is from the September 14, 2003 program of
Meet The Press
, hosted by Tim Russert.
(Link goes to a complete very incomplete transcript.)

Cheney On The Misleading, Inaccurate Estimates For How Much The War Will Cost (Small - 8 MB)

Posted by Lisa at 01:26 AM
Dick Cheney On Meet the Press - Subject: The Congressional Budget Office's Claims That Our Forces Are Already Overextended

This is from the September 14, 2003 program of
Meet The Press
, hosted by Tim Russert.
(Link goes to a complete very incomplete transcript.)

Cheney On The Congressional Budget Office's Claims That Our Forces Are Already Overextended (Small - 7 MB)

Posted by Lisa at 01:18 AM
Dick Cheney On Meet the Press - Subject: Misjudgements By The Shrub Administration and Its Primary Concern Over In Iraq (Oil)

This is from the September 14, 2003 program of
Meet The Press
, hosted by Tim Russert.
(Link goes to a complete very incomplete transcript.)

Cheney On Misjudgements By The Shrub Administration and Its Primary Concern Over In Iraq (Oil) (Small - 5 MB)

Posted by Lisa at 01:07 AM
Dick Cheney On Meet the Press - Subject: The Plan For Iraq (Or Lack Of One)

This is from the September 14, 2003 program of
Meet The Press
, hosted by Tim Russert.
(Link goes to a complete very incomplete transcript.)

Cheney On The Plan For Iraq (Or Lack Of One)
(Small - 7 MB)

Tim Russert: "What is our plan for Iraq? How long with the 140,000 American Soldiers be there? How many international troops will join them? And how much is this gonna cost?"

Cheney: "Well, some of those questions are unknowable at present. They will depend on developments -- depend on how fast it takes us to achieve our objectives."

Posted by Lisa at 12:45 AM
Dick Cheney On Meet the Press - Subject: The War That Wasn't Really Over When The Shrub Said It Was

This is from the September 14, 2003 program of
Meet The Press
, hosted by Tim Russert.
(Link goes to a complete very incomplete transcript.)

Cheney On The War That Was Supposedly Over May 1, 2003 -- And The Soldiers Who Are Still Dying
(Small - 5 MB)

Posted by Lisa at 12:32 AM
Dick Cheney On Meet the Press - Subject: 140+ Saudis Flown Out Of The Country Immediately After 9-11

This is from the September 14, 2003 program of
Meet The Press
, hosted by Tim Russert.
(Link goes to a complete very incomplete transcript.)

Cheney On The 140+ Saudis Who Were Flown Out Of The Country Right After 911 (Small - 3 MB)

Posted by Lisa at 12:17 AM
September 15, 2003
Dick Cheney On Meet The Press - Subject: The Confused American Public That Thinks Iraq Was Responsible For 9-11, Saudi Involvement In 9-11, And the "Classified" Pages of the 9-11 Commission Report

This is from the September 14, 2003 program of
Meet The Press
, hosted by Tim Russert.
(Link goes to a complete very incomplete transcript.)

Subject: The Confused American Public That Thinks Iraq Was Responsible For 9-11, Saudi Involvement In 9-11, And the "Classified" Pages of the 9-11 Commission Report

Note: There is no mention whatsoever of this segment in the transcript. (Except for the part in the end about Cheney thinking another attack is imminent.)

Cheney On Iraq and 9-11 (Small - 7 MB)

Posted by Lisa at 11:18 PM
Dick Cheney On Meet The Press - Complete Video

This is from the September 14, 2003 program of
Meet The Press
, hosted by Tim Russert.
(Link goes to a complete very incomplete transcript.)

I also have this footage edited into smaller clips, organized by subject, that I'm in the process of uploading right now.

Cheney On Meet The Press - 1 of 2
(Small - 55 MB)

Cheney On Meet The Press - 2 of 2
(Small - 49 MB)

Here is the full text of the article in case the link goes bad:


Transcript for Sept. 14
Sunday, September 14, 2003
GUEST: Dick Cheney, vice president
Tim Russert, moderator
This is a rush transcript provided for the information and convenience of the press. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
(Note from Lisa -- boy, that's the understatement of the year! This transcript is very abridged.)

MR. TIM RUSSERT: Our issues this Sunday: America remembers September 11, 2001. In Iraq, six months ago, the war began with shock and awe. Vice President Dick Cheney appeared on MEET THE PRESS:
(Videotape, March 16):
VICE PRES. DICK CHENEY: My belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators.
(End videotape)
MR. RUSSERT: Did the Bush administration misjudge the level of organized resistance, the number of American troops needed, the cost of securing Iraq, and the existence of weapons of mass destruction? Those questions and more for the vice president of the United States, Dick Cheney. Our exclusive guest for the full hour.
Mr. Vice President, welcome back to MEET THE PRESS.
VICE PRES. CHENEY: Good morning, Tim. It’s good to be back.
MR. RUSSERT: Two years ago, September 11, 2001, you went to New York City, just the other day, attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, the crash in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Has this nation recovered from September 11, 2001?
VICE PRES. CHENEY: Well, I think in many respects, recovered, yes. On the other hand, there are some things that’ll never be the same. I look back on that, and I think about what we’ve been engaged in since.
And in a sense, sort of the theme that comes through repeatedly for me is that 9/11 changed everything. It changed the way we think about threats to the United States. It changed about our recognition of our vulnerabilities. It changed in terms of the kind of national security strategy we need to pursue, in terms of guaranteeing the safety and security of the American people.
And I’m not sure everybody has made that transition yet. I think there are a number of people out there who hope we can go back to pre-9/11 days and that somehow 9/11 was an aberration. It happened one time; it’ll never happen again. But the president and I don’t have that luxury. You know, we begin every day reading the intelligence reports from the CIA and the FBI on the nature of the threat that’s out there, on the plotting by al-Qaeda members and related groups to launch attacks against the United States and contemplating the possibility of an attack against the U.S. with far deadlier weapons than anything we’ve seen to date. So on the one hand, I’m sure everybody wants to get back to normal, and we have in many respects. But on the other hand, we all have to recognize as a nation that 9/11 changed a great deal in our lives.
MR. RUSSERT: You fully expect that there will be another attack on the United States.
VICE PRES. CHENEY: I have to assume that. The president has to assume that. It would be nice to be able to say that that can’t happen. But if we’ve learned anything, if we look back now, it seems to me that we’ve learned that there was a campaign of terror mounted against us. Before 9/11, we tended to think in terms of a terrorist act as a criminal enterprise. And the appropriate response was a law enforcement response.
You go find the bad guy, put him in jail, case closed. What we’ve learned since is that that’s not the case at all; but, in fact, a lot of the terrorist attacks we’ve suffered in the 1990s were al-Qaeda directed. That’s certainly true in the World Trade Center in ’93, in the East Africa Embassy bombings in ’98, and the USS Cole in 2000 and obviously on 9/11.
It’s very important we make that transition in understanding that we’re at war, that the war continues, that this is a global enemy that struck in not only New York and Washington but in Bali and in Djakarta, in Mombasa, in Casablanca, Riyadh since 9/11, that this is an enterprise that is global in scope and one we’ve had major success against it. And the fact of the matter is there were thousands of people that went through those training camps in Afghanistan. We know they are seeking deadlier weapons—chemical, biological and nuclear weapons if they can get it. And if anything, those basic notions that developed in the early days after 9/11 have been reinforced by what we’ve learned since.
MR. RUSSERT: There’s grave concern about surface-to-air missiles shooting down American commercial aircraft. Should we not outfit all U.S. commercial airliners with equipment to detect and avoid that?
VICE PRES. CHENEY: Well, there are technologies available. They are extremely expensive if you’re going to put them on every airliner. You’ve got to make choices here about, you know, when you’re dealing with a risk, there may be certain aircraft flying into certain locales that are especially vulnerable that you may want to deal with. But I wouldn’t automatically go to the assumption that we need to put the most sophisticated system on every single airplane.
MR. RUSSERT: The Washington Post asked the American people about Saddam Hussein, and this is what they said: 69 percent said he was involved in the September 11 attacks. Are you surprised by that?
VICE PRES. CHENEY: No. I think it’s not surprising that people make that connection.
MR. RUSSERT: But is there a connection?
VICE PRES. CHENEY: We don’t know. You and I talked about this two years ago. I can remember you asking me this question just a few days after the original attack. At the time I said no, we didn’t have any evidence of that. Subsequent to that, we’ve learned a couple of things. We learned more and more that there was a relationship between Iraq and al-Qaeda that stretched back through most of the decade of the ’90s, that it involved training, for example, on BW and CW, that al-Qaeda sent personnel to Baghdad to get trained on the systems that are involved. The Iraqis providing bomb-making expertise and advice to the al-Qaeda organization.
We know, for example, in connection with the original World Trade Center bombing in ’93 that one of the bombers was Iraqi, returned to Iraq after the attack of ’93. And we’ve learned subsequent to that, since we went into Baghdad and got into the intelligence files, that this individual probably also received financing from the Iraqi government as well as safe haven.
Now, is there a connection between the Iraqi government and the original World Trade Center bombing in ’93? We know, as I say, that one of the perpetrators of that act did, in fact, receive support from the Iraqi government after the fact. With respect to 9/11, of course, we’ve had the story that’s been public out there. The Czechs alleged that Mohamed Atta, the lead attacker, met in Prague with a senior Iraqi intelligence official five months before the attack, but we’ve never been able to develop anymore of that yet either in terms of confirming it or discrediting it. We just don’t know.
MR. RUSSERT: We could establish a direct link between the hijackers of September 11 and Saudi Arabia.
VICE PRES. CHENEY: We know that many of the attackers were Saudi. There was also an Egyptian in the bunch. It doesn’t mean those governments had anything to do with that attack. That’s a different proposition than saying the Iraqi government and the Iraqi intelligent service has a relationship with al-Qaeda that developed throughout the decade of the ’90s. That was clearly official policy.
MR. RUSSERT: There are reports that the investigation Congress did does show a link between the Saudi government and the hijackers but that it will not be released to the public.
VICE PRES. CHENEY: I don’t know want to speculate on that, Tim, partly because I was involved in reviewing those pages. It was the judgment of our senior intelligence officials, both CIA and FBI that that material needed to remain classified. At some point, we may be able to declassify it, but there are ongoing investigations that might be affected by that release, and for that reason, we kept it classified. The committee knows what’s in there. They helped to prepare it. So it hasn’t been kept secret from the Congress, but from the standpoint of our ongoing investigations, we needed to do that.
One of the things this points out that’s important for us to understand—so there’s this great temptation to look at these events as discreet events. We got hit on 9/11. So we can go and investigate it. It’s over with now.
It’s done. It’s history and put it behind us.
From our perspective, trying to deal with this continuing campaign of terror, if you will, the war on terror that we’re engaged in, this is a continuing enterprise. The people that were involved in some of those activities before 9/11 are still out there. We learn more and more as we capture people, detain people, get access to records and so forth that this is a continuing enterprise and, therefore, we do need to be careful when we look at things like 9/11, the commission report from 9/11, not to jeopardize our capacity to deal with this threat going forward in the interest of putting that information that’s interesting that relates to the period of time before that. These are continuing requirements on our part, and we have to be sensitive to that.
MR. RUSSERT: Vanity Fair magazine reports that about 140 Saudis were allowed to leave the United States the day after the 11th, allowed to leave our airspace and were never investigated by the FBI and that departure was approved by high-level administration figures. Do you know anything about that?
VICE PRES. CHENEY: I don’t, but a lot of folks from that part of the world left in the aftermath of 9/11 because they were worried about public reaction here in the United States or that somehow they might be discriminated against. So we have had, especially since the attacks of Riyadh in May of this year from the Saudi government, great support and cooperation in going after terrorists, especially al-Qaeda. I think the Saudis came to realize as a result of the attacks of last May that they were as much of a target as we are, that al-Qaeda did have a foothold inside Saudi Arabia—a number of the members of the organization are from there—that there have been private individuals in Saudi Arabia who provided significant financial support and assistant, that there are facilitators and operators working inside Saudi Arabia to support the al-Qaeda network. And the Saudis have been, as I say in the last several months, very good partners in helping us go after the people in the al-Qaeda organization.
MR. RUSSERT: Let me turn to the situation in Iraq. We all remember this picture from May 1. The president on the USS Lincoln on May 1; mission accomplished. Since that time, these are the rather haunting figures coming out of Iraq. We had lost 138 soldiers before May 1, and 685 wounded, injured. Since that time, since the president came on the carrier and said major combat was over, we’ve lost 158, and 856 wounded and injured. Those numbers are pretty troubling.
VICE PRES. CHENEY: Well, it’s significant, Tim. Any loss of life or injuries suffered by American military personnel is significant. Everyone wishes that that weren’t necessary. But from the standpoint of the activity we’re engaged in over there and what we’ve been able to accomplish over the last two years, I think it’s important to keep all of this in perspective. I looked at some numbers yesterday. I had them run the numbers, for example, in terms of our casualties since we launched into Afghanistan, began the war on terror a little over two years ago now. And the number killed in combat, both in Afghanistan and Iraq, as of yesterday, was about 213. When you add in those from non-hostile causes—the plane crashes, helicopter goes down without hostile fire—we’ve got a total of 372 fatalities since we started the war.
Remember, we lost 3,000 people here on 9/11. And what we’ve been able to accomplish—although I must say we regret any casualties. You’d like to be able do everything casualty-free. When you think about what we’ve accomplished in terms of taking Afghanistan—we had a total of 30 killed in action in Afghanistan—taking down the Taliban and destroying the capacity of al-Qaeda to use Afghanistan as a base to attack the United States, launching an attack into Iraq, destroying the Iraqi armed forces, taking down the government of Iraq, getting rid of Saddam Hussein, capturing 42 out of the 55 top leaders, and beginning what I think has been
fairly significant success in terms of putting Iraq back together again, the price that we’ve had to pay is not out of line, and certainly wouldn’t lead me to suggest or think that the strategy is flawed or needs to be changed.
MR. RUSSERT: Do you believe that Saddam Hussein had a deliberate strategy, a deliberate calculated plan, not to have the big battle of Baghdad but rather to dissolve away into the mainstream population and then mount this guerrilla war?
VICE PRES. CHENEY: I don’t. I think that, in effect, he lost control at the outset. If you look at what transpired during the course of the campaign, the campaign that Tommy Franks mounted, the speed with which they moved, the element of surprise that was involved here, the fact that we were basically able to sever communications between the head, Saddam Hussein, and his forces, now, I don’t think he had any choice ultimately but to flee Baghdad as he did. The level of resistance continues out there, obviously, but I think we’re making major progress against it, and I think it’s important not to let anecdotal reporting on individual resistance conflicts somehow color or lead us to make misjudgments about the total scope of the effort.
The fact is that most of Iraq today is relatively stable and quiet. There are still ongoing incidents, attacks on coalition forces or on others, on the Jordanian Embassy, on the U.N. delegation, on the Shia clerics in Najaf, from ones of—two sources, I believe: either from the remnants of the old regime, the Ba’athists, the Fedayeen Saddam, or terrorists, al-Qaeda types, many of whom were in Iraq before the war, some of whom have arrived since the war. Those are the main two sources that we’ve got to deal with. We are dealing with them. The actual number of incidents, according to General Abizaid, this month is significantly below what it was last month on a daily basis. So we just have to keep working the problem, and we’re doing that.
MR. RUSSERT: Joe Lieberman, the senator from Connecticut, running for president, had this to say: “...what President Bush gave the American people on Sunday night was a price tag”—$87 billion—”not a plan. And we in Congress must demand a plan.”
What is our plan for Iraq? How long will the 140,000 American soldiers be there? How many international troops will join them? And how much is this going to cost?
VICE PRES. CHENEY: Well, some of those questions are unknowable at present, Tim. It’ll depend on developments. It’ll depend on how fast it takes us to achieve our objectives. Remember when we went there, that we went there specifically to take down the Saddam Hussein regime, to wrap up all WMD capability he had possessed or developed, to deal with the threat that his regime represented to the region, and the United States. Very significant challenge. But we have, in fact, I think, been very successful at achieving that.
In terms of where we’re going now, we’re moving aggressively to deal with the security situation. We’re continuing those efforts. We’ve got some first-rate troops undertaking those efforts, and, needless to say, we’ve had major success, major progress when you think about the number of Iraqi bad guys that we’ve eliminated or captured. We’ve—working very aggressively, Bremer is, to stand up a new government. We’ve now got a 25-man governing council in place made up of Iraqis, a broad representative group of Iraqi officials.
We’ve got Iraqis now in charge of each ministry in the government. We’ve got 90 percent—over 90 percent of the cities and towns and villages of Iraq are now governed by democratically elected or appointed local councils. We’ve got all the schools open; we’ve got all the hospitals up and functioning. We’re making major progress in restoring the electricity to pre-war levels. We’re rebuilding the oil system and infrastructure in the country. So all of that’s happening. And it’s a very important part of our total strategy. We’re also working to stand up an Iraqi security force. And in four months we’ve put together a force now of some 55,000 Iraqis serving in the police force, serving in the border security force and so forth at the local level. But that will continue to grow. The second largest security contingent in Iraq today behind the U.S. is Iraqi. We’ve been successful to some extent in getting international support. We’ve got a Polish division. We stood up a Polish-led division a few weeks ago that has troops in it from 17 countries.
With respect to the financing, the $87 billion we’ve asked for is—about 3/4 of that is to support our military and security operations. About 1/4 of it will go specifically to helping make the investments Bremer believes we need to make in order to get the Iraqis back and functioning on their own capability.
So how long will it take? I don’t know. I can’t say. I don’t think anybody can say with absolute certainty at this point. We’ve achieved already, when you consider that we’ve only been there about four months, a great deal, and we are well on our way, I think, to achieving our objective. But the key here for us is to stay committed to get the job done, to get the guys on the ground the resources they need, both from a military as well as a civilian standpoint, and that’s exactly what the president is doing.
MR. RUSSERT: Let’s go through some of those things because there have been suggestions of misjudgments by the administration. When you were on the program in March, I asked you about troop levels. Let’s watch:
(Videotape, March 16, 2003):
MR. RUSSERT: The army’s top general said that we would have to have several hundred thousand troops there for several years in order to maintain stability.
VICE PRES. CHENEY: I disagree. To suggest that we need several hundred thousand troops there after military operations cease, after the
conflict ends, I don’t think is accurate. I think that’s an overstatement.
(End videotape)
MR. RUSSERT: We, in fact, have about 140,000 troops, 20,000 international troops, as well. Did you misjudge the number of troops necessary to secure Iraq after major combat operations?
VICE PRES. CHENEY: Well, you’re going to get into a debate here about—talking about several years, several hundred thousand troops for several years. I think that’s a non-starter. I don’t think we have any plan to do that, Tim. I don’t think it’s necessary to do that. There’s no question but what we’ve encountered resistance. But I don’t think anybody expected the time we were there to be absolutely trouble-free. We knew there were holdover elements from the regime that would fight us and struggle. And we also knew al-Qaeda was there, and Ansar al-Islam, up in northeastern Iraq, which we’ll come back to, talk about in a minute.
So I don’t think there was a serious misjudgment here. We couldn’t know precisely what would happen. There were a lot of contingencies we got ready for that never did happen. You know, for example, one of the things we spent time worried about was that Saddam would destroy his own oil industry, that he’d do in Iraq what he did in Kuwait 12 years ago. The consequence of that, if he’d gone in and blown up those wells, as they contemplated doing, in fact wired some of them for destruction, would have been that the oil industry would have been shut down to zero production, probably for several years, while we tried to restore it. We were able to defeat that. That didn’t occur. We had plans for it that we didn’t have to execute or implement. So it’s like any other process. A plan is only as good until you start to execute, then you have got to make adjustments and so forth. But I don’t think there has been a major shift in terms of U.S. troop levels. And I still remain convinced that the judgment that we’ll need “several hundred thousand for several years” is not valid.
MR. RUSSERT: The Congressional Budget Office said that: “That the Army lacks sufficient active-duty forces to maintain its current level of nearly 150,000 troops in Iraq beyond next spring. In a report that underscores the stress being place on the military by the occupation of Iraq, the CBO said the Army’s goals of keeping the same number of troops in Iraq and limiting tours of duty there to a year while maintaining its current presence elsewhere in the world were impossible to sustain without activating more National Guard or Reserve units.”
Can we keep 150,000 troops beyond next spring without, in effect, breaking the Army?
VICE PRES. CHENEY: Tim, we can do what we have to do to prevail in this conflict. Failure’s not an option. And go back again and think about what’s involved here. This is not just about Iraq or just about the difficulties we might encounter in any one part of the country in terms of restoring security and stability. This is about a continuing operation on the war on terror. And it’s very, very important we get it right. If we’re successful in Iraq, if we can stand up a good representative government in Iraq, that secures the region so that it never again becomes a threat to its neighbors or to the United States, so it’s not pursuing weapons of mass destruction, so that it’s not a safe haven for terrorists, now we will have struck a major blow right at the heart of the base, if you will, the geographic base of the terrorists who have had us under assault now for many years, but most especially on 9/11. They understand what’s at stake here. That’s one of the reasons they’re putting up as much of a struggle as they have, is because they know if we succeed here, that that’s going to strike a major blow at their capabilities.
MR. RUSSERT: So the resistance in Iraq is coming from those who were responsible for 9/11?
VICE PRES. CHENEY: No, I was careful not to say that. With respect to 9/11, 9/11, as I said at the beginning of the show, changed everything. And one of the things it changed is we recognized that time was not on our side, that in this part of the world, in particular, given the problems we’ve encountered in Afghanistan, which forced us to go in and take action there, as well as in Iraq, that we, in fact, had to move on it. The relevance for 9/11 is that what 9/11 marked was the beginning of a struggle in which the terrorists come at us and strike us here on our home territory. And it’s a global operation. It doesn’t know national boundaries or national borders. And the commitment of the United States going into Afghanistan and take down the Taliban and stand up a new government, to go into Iraq and take down the Saddam Hussein regime and stand up a new government is a vital part of our long-term strategy to win the war on terror. America’s going to be safer and more secure in the years ahead when we complete the task in Iraq successfully, and we will complete it successfully. And whatever the cost is, in terms of casualties or financial resources, it’s a whale of a lot less than trying to recover from the next attack in the United States. So what we do on the ground in Iraq, our capabilities here are being tested in no small measure, but this is the place where we want to take on the terrorists. This is the place where we want to take on those elements that have come against the United States, and it’s far more appropriate for us to do it there and far better for us to do it there than it is here at home.
We talk about $87 billion. Yeah, that’s a significant expense. No question about it. But it’s going to be much more expensive down the road if we wait. And it’ll be uch more expensive—it’s less money, frankly, than the events of 9/11 imposed on us here in the United States.
MR. RUSSERT: In terms of costs, Mr. Vice President, there are suggestions again—it was a misjudgment by the administration or even misleading. “Lawrence Lindsey, head of the White House’s National Economic Council, projected the ‘upper bound’ of war costs at $100 billion to $200 billion.”
We’ve already spent $160 billion after this $87 billion is spent. The Pentagon predicted $50 billion: “The administration’s top budget official [Mitch Daniels] estimated that the cost of a war with Iraq could be in the range of $50 billion to $60 billion...he said...that earlier estimates of $100 billion to $200 billion in Iraq war costs by Lawrence Lindsey, Mr. Bush’s former chief economic adviser, were too high.”
And Paul Wolfowitz, the deputy secretary of Defense, went before Congress and said this: “We’re dealing with a country that can really finance its own econstruction, and relatively soon. The oil revenues of that country could bring between $50 and $100 billion over the course of the next two or three years.” It looked like the administrations truly misjudged the cost of this operation.
VICE PRES. CHENEY: No, I didn’t see a one-point estimate there that you could say that this is the administration’s estimate. We didn’t know. And if you ask Secretary Rumsfeld, for example—I can remember from his briefings, he said repeatedly he didn’t know. And when you and I talked about it, I couldn’t put a dollar figure on it.
MR. RUSSERT: But Daniels did say $50 billion.
VICE PRES. CHENEY: Well, that might have been, but I don’t know what is basis was for making that judgment. We do know that we are prepared and need to be prepared to do whatever it takes to make it work. But this is not a situation where, you know, it’s only a matter of us writing a check to solve the problem. Iraq sits on top of 10 percent of the world’s oil reserves, very significant reserves, second only to Saudi Arabia.
The fact is there are significant resources here to work with, and the notion that we’re going to bear the burden all by ourselves from a financial standpoint I don’t think is valid. We’ve got a donor’s conference scheduled coming up next month, where the international community will come together and pledge funds to cooperate and supported with the Iraqi operation. The U.N. resolution now that Colin Powell’s been working on this weekend involves, as well, authorization for the international financial institutions to come support that. There’s money at the U.N. left over in the oil-for-food program that’s going to be available.
There are funds frozen, Iraqi assets in various places in...
MR. RUSSERT: How much is all that?
VICE PRES. CHENEY: I don’t have a final dollar figure. We don’t know who will...
MR. RUSSERT: Is the ei...
VICE PRES. CHENEY: ...pony up for that. The $87 billion, again, remember, about 3/4 of that is to support the U.S. military operations or about 1/4 of it actually goes to Iraq operations, and a portion clearly will be used in Afghanistan and for the war on terror.
MR. RUSSERT: Is the $87 billion the end of it? Will the American people be asked for any more money?
VICE PRES. CHENEY: I can’t say that. It’s all that we think we’ll need for the foreseeable future for this year. I guess people shouldn’t be surprised that the request is coming now either. What we’ve done consistently since we started this enterprise, working with the Congress, is we did not want to incorporate the Iraq cost within the baseline DOD budget. So we’ve always dealt with it on the side as a separate appropriation. That’s what we’re doing here. The reason we’re going now is because we’ve had the work done in Iraq. Bremer’s been there long enough to put together a good budget looking over the next year. He’s got a pretty good idea of what it’s going to cost him. We’ve got more information now than we’ve had before about what our continuing needs and requirements are going to be. So now we’re making the request.
We have not tried to hide it under a bush. The president has been very direct. We’re working closely with the Congress in putting a request together, but I come back again to the proposition of what’s the cost if we don’t act, what’s the cost if we do nothing, what’s the cost if we don’t succeed with respect to our current interest operation in Iraq? And I think that’s far higher than getting the job done right here.
MR. RUSSERT: Democrats have written you letters and are suggesting profiteering by your former company Halliburton and this is how it was reported: “Halliburton, the company formerly headed by Vice President Cheney, has won contrast worth more than $1.7 billion under Operation Iraqi Freedom and stands to make hundreds of millions more dollars under a no-bid contract awarded by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, according to newly available documents. The size and scope of the government contracts awarded to Halliburton in connection with the war in Iraq are significantly greater than was previously disclosed and demonstrate the U.S. military’s increasing reliance on for-profit corporations to run its logistical operations.” Were you involved in any way in the awarding of those contracts?
VICE PRES. CHENEY: Of course not, Tim. Tim, when I was secretary of Defense, I was not involved in awarding contracts. That’s done at a far lower level. Secondly, when I ran Halliburton for five years and they were doing work for the Defense Department, which frankly they’ve been doing for 60 or 70 years, I never went near the Defense Department. I never lobbied the Defense Department on behalf of Halliburton. The only time I went back to the department during those eight years was to have my portrait hung which is a traditional service rendered for former secretaries of Defense. And since I left Halliburton to become George Bush’s vice president, I’ve severed all my ties with the company, gotten rid of all my financial interests. I have no financial interest in Halliburton of any kind and haven’t had now for over three years. And as vice president, I have absolutely no influence of, involvement of, knowledge of in any way, shape or form of contracts led by the Corps of Engineers or anybody else in the federal government, so...
MR. RUSSERT: Why is there no bidding?
VICE PRES. CHENEY: I have no idea. Go ask the Corps of Engineers. One of the things to keep in mind is that Halliburton is a unique kind of company. There are very few companies out there that have the combination of the very large engineering construction capability and significant oil field services, the first- or second-largest oil field service company in the world, and they’ve traditionally done a lot of work for the U.S. government and the U.S. military. That expertise has stood the military in good stead over the years, but it’s a great company. There are fine people working for it.
I also have a lot of confidence in the people in the Department of Defense. Nobody has produced one single shred of evidence that there’s anything wrong or inappropriate here, nothing but innuendo, and—basically they’re political cheap shots is the way I would describe it. I don’t know any of the details of the contract because I deliberately stayed away from any information on that, but Halliburton is a fine company. And as I say—and I have no reason to believe that anybody’s done anything wrong or inappropriate here.
MR. RUSSERT: Let me turn to one of the most quoted passages from MEET THE PRESS when you were on in March, and that was trying to anticipate the reaction we would receive from the Iraqi people. Let’s watch:
(Videotape, March 16, 2003):
VICE PRES. CHENEY: I think things have gotten so bad inside Iraq from the standpoint of the Iraqi people, my belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators.
MR. RUSSERT: If your analysis is not correct and we’re not treated as liberators but as conquerors and the Iraqis begin to resist particularly in Baghdad, do you think the American people are prepared for a long, costly and bloody battle with significant American casualties?
VICE PRES. CHENEY: Well, I don’t think it’s unlikely to unfold that way, Tim, because I really do believe we will be greeted as liberators. I’ve talked with a lot of Iraqis in the last several months myself, had them to the White House. The president and I have met with various groups and individuals, people who’ve devoted their lives from the outside to try and change things inside of Iraq.
The read we get on the people of Iraq is there’s no question but what they want to get rid of Saddam Hussein and they will welcome as liberators the United States when we come to do that.
(End videotape)
MR. RUSSERT: We have not been greeted as liberated.
VICE PRES. CHENEY: Well, I think we have by most Iraqis. I think the majority of Iraqis are thankful for the fact that the United States is there, that we came and we took down the Saddam Hussein government. And I think if you go in vast areas of the country, the Shia in the south, which are about 60 percent of the population, 20-plus percent in the north, in the Kurdish areas, and in some of the Sunni areas, you’ll find that, for the most part, a majority of Iraqis support what we did.
MR. RUSSERT: People like Ahmed Chalabi, former Iraqis who came in and briefed—you talked about—did they sell us a bill of goods? Did they tell us this would be easier, that we’d be welcomed with flowers, and not the kind of armed resistance we’re being met with?
VICE PRES. CHENEY: No. I think they felt—certainly, they were advocates of the U.S. action because they wanted to liberate Iraq from, you know, what has been one of the worst dictatorships of the 20th century, the Saddam Hussein regime. And I see and receive evidence on a fairly regular basis. I mean, if you go out and
look at what’s happening on the ground, you’ll find that there is widespread support.
There was a poll done, just random in the last week, first one I’ve seen carefully done; admittedly, it’s a difficult area to poll in. Zogby International did it with American Enterprise magazine. But that’s got very positive news in it in terms of the numbers it shows with respect to the attitudes to what Americans have done.
One of the questions it asked is: “If you could have any model for the kind of government you’d like to have”—and they were given five choices—”which would it be?” The U.S. wins hands down. If you want to ask them do they want an Islamic government established, by 2:1 margins they say no, including the Shia population. If you ask how long they want Americans to stay, over 60 percent of the people polled said they want the U.S. to stay for at least another year. So admittedly there are problems, especially in that area where Saddam Hussein was from, where people have benefited most from his regime and who’ve got the most to lose if we’re successful in our enterprise, and continuing attacks from terror. But to suggest somehow that that’s representative of the country at large or the Iraqi people are opposed to what we’ve done in Iraq or are actively and aggressively trying to undermine it, I just think that’s not true.
MR. RUSSERT: You also told me, Mr. Vice President, in March that you thought Saddam would be captured or killed, turned in by his own people. Why hasn’t that happened if they view us as liberators?
VICE PRES. CHENEY: Well, we’re working on it, and we’ll continue to work on it. His sons were turned in by the Iraqi people. A great many of the folks that we’ve captured of those top 55, the 42 we’ve got, a great many of them were turned in as a result of tips from the Iraqis. And as we’re there longer and get an Iraqi government stood up, get more and more Iraqis involved in the security service and the security force, the intelligence, I think, will improve and people will be willing to come forward and offer even more information than they have in the past that’ll help us wrap up these bad guys, and that includes get Saddam Hussein.
MR. RUSSERT: You have no doubt you’ll find him.
MR. RUSSERT: Let me turn to weapons of mass destruction. I asked you back in March what you thought was the most important rationale for going to war with Iraq. There’s the question, and here is your answer:
“...the combination of [Saddam’s] development and use of chemical weapons, his development of biological weapons, his pursuit of nuclear weapons.”
VICE PRES. CHENEY: And the tie to terror.
MR. RUSSERT: Where are they?
VICE PRES. CHENEY: Well, I think that the jury is still out in terms of trying to get everything pulled together with respect to what we know. But we’ve got a very good man now in charge of the operation, David Kay. He used to run UNSCOM, a highly qualified, technically qualified and able individual. He’s in charge of the operation now. And I also think, Tim, that if you go back and look at what we found to date, that we—there’s no doubt in my mind but what Saddam Hussein had these capabilities. This wasn’t an idea cooked up overnight by a handful of people, either in the administration or out of the CIA. The reporting that led to the National Intelligence Estimate, upon which I based my statements to you, that was produced a year ago now, the essence of which has since been declassified, that was the product of hundreds of people working over probably 20 years, back at least to the Osirak reactor in 1981. The conclusions in that NIE, I think, are very valid. And I think we will find that in fact they are valid. What we’re dealing with here is a regime that had to learn after we hit them in ’91 that anything above ground was likely to be destroyed in an air campaign. They’d gone through many years of inspections. They knew they had to hide and bury their capabilities in this region inside their civilian structure. And I think that’s what they did. And if you look—we’ll talk about the nuclear program. The judgment in the NIE was that if Saddam could acquire fissile material, weapons-grade material, that he would have a nuclear weapon within a few months to a year. That was the judgment of the intelligence community of the United States, and they had a high degree of confidence in it.
What do we know ahead? Well, we know he had worked on the program for 20 years. We know he had technicians who knew how do this stuff because they had been working on it over that period of time. We believed, the community believed, that he had a workable design for a bomb. And we know he had 500 tons of uranium. It is there today at Tuwaitha, under seal of the International Atomic Energy Agency. All those are facts that are basically not in dispute. And since we got in there, we found—we had a gentleman come forward, for example, with full designs for a process centrifuge system to enrich uranium and the key parts that you’d need to build such a system. And we know Saddam had worked on that kind of system before. That’s physical evidence that we’ve got in hand today.
So to suggest that there is no evidence there that he had aspirations to acquire nuclear weapon, I don’t think is valid, and I think David Kay will find more evidence as he goes forward, interviews people, as we get to folks willing to come forward now as they become more and more convinced that it’s safe to do so, that, in fact, he had a robust plan, had previously worked on it and would work on it again.
Same on biological weapons—we believe he’d developed the capacity to go mobile with his BW production capability because, again, in reaction to what we had done to him in ’91. We had intelligence reporting before the war that there were at least seven of these mobile labs that he had gone out and acquired. We’ve, since the war, found two of them. They’re in our possession today, mobile biological facilities that can be used to produce anthrax or smallpox or whatever else you wanted to use during the course of developing the capacity for an attack.
So on CW and chemical weapons, my guess is it’s buried inside his civilian infrastructure. That’s not an unusual place to put it. And, again, David Kay’s task is to look for the people that were involved in the program, to find documentary evidence to back it up, to find physical evidence when he can find that. It’s a hard task, but I have got great confidence that he can do this. And again, the whole notion that somehow there’s nothing to the notion that Saddam Hussein had WMD or had developed WMD, it just strikes me as fallacious. It’s not valid now. Nobody drove into Baghdad and had somebody say, “Hey, there’s the building over there where all of our WMDs stored.” But that’s not the way the system worked.
MR. RUSSERT: There’s real debate about those labs. But I want to talk about something very specific. And that was the president’s State of the Union message when he said that the British had learned that Saddam was acquiring uranium from Africa. That was in January. In March the head of the International Energy Atomic Agency, ElBaradei, issued this statement: “A key piece of evidence linking Iraq to a nuclear weapons program appears to have been fabricated, the United Nations’ chief nuclear inspector said in a report...Documents that purportedly showed Iraqi officials shopping for uranium in Africa two years ago were deemed ‘not authentic’ after carefully scrutiny by U.N. and independent experts, Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, told the U.N. Security Council. Also, ElBaradei reported finding no evidence of banned weapons or nuclear material in an extensive sweep of Iraq using advanced radiation detectors. ‘There is no indication of resumed nuclear activities,’ ElBaradei said.”
Eight days after that, you were on MEET THE PRESS, and we...
MR. RUSSERT: ...talked about that specifically. Let’s watch:
(Videotape, March 16, 2003):
MR. RUSSERT: And even though the International Atomic Energy Agency said he does not have a nuclear program, we disagree.
VICE PRES. CHENEY: I disagree, yes. And you’ll find the CIA, for example, and other key parts of our intelligence community, disagree.
And we believe he has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons. I think Mr. ElBaradei, frankly, is wrong. And I think if you look at the track record of the International Atomic Energy Agency and this kind of issue, especially where Iraq is concerned, they have consistently underestimated or missed what it was Saddam Hussein was doing. I don’t have any reason to believe they’re any more valid this time than they’ve been in the past.
(End videotape)
MR. RUSSERT: Reconstituted nuclear weapons. You misspoke.
VICE PRES. CHENEY: Yeah. I did misspeak. I said repeatedly during the show weapons capability. We never had any evidence that he had acquired a nuclear weapon.
MR. RUSSERT: Now, Ambassador Joe Wilson, a year before that, was sent over by the CIA because you raised the question about uranium from Africa. He says he came back from Niger and said that, in fact, he could not find any documentation that, in fact, Niger had sent uranium to Iraq or engaged in that activity and reported it back to the proper channels. Were you briefed on his findings in February, March of 2002?
VICE PRES. CHENEY: No. I don’t know Joe Wilson. I’ve never met Joe Wilson. A question had arisen. I’d heard a report that the Iraqis had been trying to acquire uranium in Africa, Niger in particular. I get a daily brief on my own each day before I meet with the president to go through the intel. And I ask lots of question. One of the questions I asked at that particular time about this, I said, “What do we know about this?” They take the question. He came back within a day or two and said, “This is all we know. There’s a lot we don’t know,” end of statement. And Joe Wilson—I don’t who sent Joe Wilson. He never submitted a report that I ever saw when he came back.
I guess the intriguing thing, Tim, on the whole thing, this question of whether or not the Iraqis were trying to acquire uranium in Africa. In the British report, this week, the Committee of the British Parliament, which just spent 90 days investigating all of this, revalidated their British claim that Saddam was, in fact, trying to acquire uranium in Africa. What was in the State of the Union speech and what was in the original British White papers. So there may be difference of opinion there. I don’t know what the truth is on the ground with respect to that, but I guess—like I say, I don’t know Mr. Wilson. I probably shouldn’t judge him. I have no idea who hired him and it never came...
VICE PRES. CHENEY: Who in the CIA, I don’t know.
MR. RUSSERT: This is what concerns people, that the administration hyped the intelligence, misled the American people. This article from The Washington Post about pressuring from Cheney visits: “Vice President Cheney and his most senior aide made multiple trips to the CIA over the past year to question analysts studying Iraq’s weapons programs and alleged links to al Qaeda, creating an environment in which some analyst felt they were being pressured to make their assessments fit wth the Bush administration’s policy objectives, according to senior intelligence officials. With Cheney taking the lead in the administration last August in advocating military action against Iraq by claiming it had weapons of mass destruction, the visits by the vice president and his chief of staff ‘sent signals, intended or otherwise, that a certain output was desired from here,’ one senior agency official said.”
VICE PRES. CHENEY: In terms of asking questions, I plead guilty. I ask a hell of a lot of questions. That’s my job. I’ve had an interest in the intelligence area since I worked for Gerry Ford 30 years ago, served on the Intel Committee in the House for years in the ’80s, ran a big part of the intelligence community when I was secretary of Defense in the early ’90s. This is a very important area. It’s one the president’s asked me to work on, and I ask questions all the time. I think if you’re going to provide the intelligence and advice to the president of the United States to make life and death decisions, you need to be able to defend your conclusions, go into an arena where you can make the arguments about why you believe what you do based on the intelligence we’re got.
MR. RUSSERT: No pressure?
VICE PRES. CHENEY: Shouldn’t be any pressure. I can’t think of a single instance. Maybe somebody can produce one. I’m unaware of any where the community changed a judgment that they made because I asked questions.
MR. RUSSERT: If they were wrong, Mr. Vice President, shouldn’t we have a wholesale investigation into the intelligence failure that they predicted...
VICE PRES. CHENEY: What failure?
MR. RUSSERT: That Saddam had biological, chemical and is developing a nuclear program.
VICE PRES. CHENEY: My guess is in the end, they’ll be proven right, Tim. On the intelligence business, first of all, it’s intelligence. There are judgments involved in all of this. But we’ve got, I think, some very able people in the intelligence business that review the material here. This was a crucial subject. It was extensively covered for years. We’re very good at it. As I say, the British just revalidated their claim. So I’m not sure what the argument is about here. I think in the final analysis, we will find that the Iraqis did have a robust program.
How do you explain why Saddam Hussein, if he had no program, wouldn’t come clean and say, “I haven’t got a program. Come look”? Then he would have sanctions lifted. He’d earned $100 billion more in oil revenue over the last several years. He’d still be in power. The reason he didn’t was because obviously he couldn’t comply and wouldn’t comply with the U.N. resolutions demanding that he give up his WMD. The Security Council by a 15-to-nothing vote a year ago found him still in violation of those U.N. Security Council resolutions. A lot of the reporting isn’t U.S. reporting. It’s U.N. reporting on the supplies and stocks of VX and nerve agent and anthrax and so forth that he’s never accounted for.
So I say I’m not willing at all at this point to buy the proposition that somehow Saddam Hussein was innocent and he had no WMD and some guy out at the CIA, because I called him, cooked up a report saying he did.
That’s crazy. That makes no sense. It bears no resemblance to reality whatsoever. And in terms of asking questions, you bet I do. I’ve seen in times past when there’s been faulty intelligence, because they don’t always get it right; I think, for example, of having missed the downfall of the Soviet Union. And so I ask a lot of questions based on my years of experience in this business, but that’s what I get paid to do.
MR. RUSSERT: We have to take a quick break, be right back with more of our conversation with Vice President Dick Cheney and talk about the economy right after this.
MR. RUSSERT: More with the vice president after this quick station break.
MR. RUSSERT: And we are back.
Mr. Vice President, the economy and the Bush-Cheney record. The day you took office, Inauguration Day, as compared to now. Dow Jones is down 11 percent. Unemployment rate is up 49 percent. A $281 billion surplus is now a $500 billion plus deficit. Jobs, net loss of 2.6 million. The debt is up 20 percent and still growing. How can you run for re-election on that record?
VICE PRES. CHENEY: Well, Tim, right there we were starting into a recession and we certainly didn’t bear responsibility for creating the circumstances that led to the recession. The combination of the recession, the economic slowdown, the terrorist attacks of 9/11, the war on terror have obviously created economic problems for the country, but we’re making significant progress. The president’s policies in terms of—especially the tax-cut package that we’ve passed now three times does offer very bright prospects for the future. The forecast by nearly everybody I’ve talked with for the last half of this year is we’re looking at 4 percent to 5 percent real growth, a significant boost over where we’ve been. Going into next year, we anticipate most forecasters’ growth on the order of 4 percent or better in GDP. So I think we’ve turned the corner and we’re making significant progress. And that’s part of the normal business cycle as well as the added unusual factors of a national emergency.
MR. RUSSERT: If you froze the tax cut for the top 1 percent of Americans, it would generate enough money to pay for the $87 billion for the war, if you did it for just one year. Would you consider that?
VICE PRES. CHENEY: I think it’d be a mistake, because you can’t look at that without considering what its impact would be on the economy. An awful lot of the returns in that top bracket are small businesses, and they provide an awful lot of the job growth in this economy. If you’re going to go increase taxes on small businesses, you’re going to slow down the extent to which we’re able to reduce unemployment. So I think it’s a serious mistake; the wrong time to raise taxes.
MR. RUSSERT: The president said in 2002 the tax cut would generate 800,000 jobs; in 2003, he said—be another million jobs. None of that has happened. What has happened is the deficit is skyrocketing, over $500 billion. You used to be a real deficit hawk. We went back when you were a leader in Congress. This is what you said about Ronald Reagan’s deficit. You said that “‘The continued failure of the administration to deal with the deficit puts at risk everything Ronald Reagan believes in,’ said Rep. Richard Cheney of Wyoming. ‘...The deficit “potentially” is Mr. Reagan’s Vietnam,’ he told reporters.”
And then this: “‘Some of us frustrated by the failure of the administration to do anything about deficits,’ said House Republican Policy Committee Chairman Dick Cheney. Asked how the president looked after his cancer surgery, Cheney said, ‘He looks good; he’s just a little soft on deficits.’”
That’s when the deficit was below $200 billion. What happened to Dick Cheney, deficit hawk.
VICE PRES. CHENEY: I was just looking at the picture you got there, Tim. I hadn’t seen it in a long time. I am a deficit hawk. So is the president. The fact of the matter is, we’ve always made exceptions for recession, national emergency, time of war. The deficit that we’re running today, after we get the approval of the $87 billion, will still be less as a percentage of our total capacity to pay for it, our total economic activity in this country, than it was back in the ’80s or the deficits we ran in the ’90s. We’re still about 4.7 percent of our total GDP. So the notion that the United States can’t afford this or that we shouldn’t do it is, I think, seriously flawed. One of the reasons the deficit got as big as it did, frankly, was because of the economic slowdown, the fall-off in deficits, the terrorist attacks. A significant chunk was taken out of the economy by what happened after the attacks of 9/11.
MR. RUSSERT: And tax cuts.
VICE PRES. CHENEY: Tax cuts accounted for only about 25 percent of the deficit.
MR. RUSSERT: But we see deficits for the next 10 years, big ones. How do you deal with that, when you have Social Security, Medicare, coming up?
VICE PRES. CHENEY: We anticipate even with the added spending that we’ve asked for now we’ll cut the deficit roughly in half from where it’ll be next year over the next five years. So we’ll be moving in the right direction. We’ve got to have—without question, we’ve got to make choices, we’ve got to have fiscal discipline on the rest of the budget. But the idea that we can’t defend America or that we can’t go do what needs to be done in the Middle East with respect to Iraq and Afghanistan, support the troops, rebuild those countries so they never again become safe havens for terrorists to threaten our safety and our security, is silly. The cost of one attack on 9/11 was far greater than what we’re spending in Iraq.
MR. RUSSERT: What do you think of the Democratic field?
VICE PRES. CHENEY: Haven’t really, frankly, paid a hell of a lot of attention to it, Tim. I’m awful busy with my normal day job. And I just haven’t—really haven’t looked at it. I know some of them; Joe Lieberman, Dick Gephardt are people I’ve known for some time. Others, like Howard Dean, I frankly don’t have any relationship with. And I’ll watch with interest. Whoever they nominate, we’re ready to take them on.
MR. RUSSERT: Do you think the president is betting his presidency on the war in Iraq?
VICE PRES. CHENEY: This president is betting his presidency on the importance of fighting the war on terror, of recognizing that 9/11 changed everything, of adopting a strategy that’s going to make this nation safer and more secure for our kids and grandkids. And it takes a president willing to take a risk, willing to use the power of the United States, to make that happen. And this president’s done it.
MR. RUSSERT: Mr. Vice President, we thank you for joining us and sharing your views.
VICE PRES. CHENEY: Thank you, sir.
MR. RUSSERT: And we’ll be right back.
MR. RUSSERT: If it’s Sunday, it’s MEET THE PRESS.

Posted by Lisa at 10:10 PM
August 19, 2003
Meet The Press Transcript - July 27, 2003 With Paul Wolfowitz, Leader Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Bob Graham and others...

I'll be putting up the video for this later -- hopefully this week. I'm still backed up through most of the summer on these -- but I am catching up and should have video and transcripts of every show on it's way to you. I'm trying to get a system in place so I can turn these around quicker.

Meet the Press - July 27, 2003

This is from NBC News - Meet the Press on July 27, 2003.

MR. RUSSERT: John Deutsche, former director of the CIA, testified before Congress on Thursday and said something that was quite striking, and I’ll put it on the board for you and our viewers: “If no weapons of mass destruction or only a residual capability is found, the principle justification enunciated by the U.S. government for launching this war will have proven not to be credible. It is an intelligence failure, in my judgment, of massive proportions. It means that our leaders of the American public based its support for the most serious foreign policy judgments—the decision to go to war—on an incorrect intelligence judgment.”

DR. WOLFOWITZ: Well, it’s interesting. He’s the former director of the C.I.A, and I’m sure if you go and read the intelligence judgments made when he was director, they would be equally emphatic about the existence of those weapons and those programs. President Clinton spoke in 1998 in words that are almost identical to President Bush that he has these weapons and if we don’t do something about it, I guarantee you someday he will use them. I think people should be a little careful about throwing around words like intelligence failure. It’s easy to to go around and play this blame game. I mean, let’s stop and realize that in a country like Iraq—and let me repeat—where children are tortured to make their parents talk, secrets are kept in a way we can’t even imagine. And let’s take some things that aren’t secret at all. We know that for 12 years Saddam Hussein did everything he could to frustrate U.N. inspectors. He sacrificed $100 billion in money that he could have spent on palaces and tanks and all those things that he loved so much in order to frustrate those inspectors. Isn’t that in itself an indicator there was something there? Let’s be patient and let’s figure out—wait until we can find things out.

MR. RUSSERT: But maybe the inspectors’ inspections worked, and if, in fact, we do not find significant amounts of weapons of mass destruction, should we be willing to say our intelligence community missed this and we have to go back and re-examine why?

DR. WOLFOWITZ: Well, we always ought to compare what we thought from our intelligence with what we discover later, and it’s a difficult job to do, especially if every time somebody discovers a discrepancy it is described as a “failure.”...

Here is the full text of the article in case the link goes bad:


NBC News
Sunday, July 27, 2003
Deputy Secretary of Defense
Senator BOB GRAHAM, (D-FL)
Co-Chmn., Joint Inquiry into 9/11 Terrorist
Attacks; Former Chairman, Senate Intelligence Committee
Representative PORTER GOSS, (R-FL)
Co-Chmn., Joint Inquity into 9/11 Terrorist
Attacks; Chairman, House Intelligence Committee
Vice Chmn., Joint Inquity into 9/11 Terrorist
Attacks; Fmr. Vice Chmn., Senate Intelligence Committee
Representative NANCY PELOSI, (D-CA)
Ranking Democrat, Joint Inquity into 9/11
Terrorist Attacks; Minority Leader; Former
Ranking Democrat, House Intelligence Committee
This is a rush transcript provided for the information and convenience of the press. Accuracy is not guaranteed. In case of doubt, please check with MEET THE PRESS - NBC NEWS (202)885-4598 (Sundays: (202)885-4200)
MR. TIM RUSSERT: Our issues this Sunday: Uday and Qusai Hussein are dead. But where is their father? And where are the weapons of mass destruction? And how long will the guerrilla war against American troops continue? With us, a major architect of the war in Iraq, the deputy secretary of Defense, Paul Wolfowitz. Then, we will never forget September 11, 2001. Could it have been prevented? Could it happen again? With us, the chairman and vice chairman of the congressional joint inquiry into the terrorist attacks of September 11 that produced this 850-page report, Bob Graham, Porter
Goss, Richard Shelby, and Nancy Pelosi, together, only on MEET THE PRESS.
But, first, he has just returned from a four-day trip to Iraq, the number-two man at the Pentagon, Paul Wolfowitz, welcome.
DR. PAUL WOLFOWITZ: Nice to be here, Tim.
MR. RUSSERT: Since Uday and Qusai have been killed, there seems to be an outbreak of more violence against our troops. Fifteen American soldiers killed over the last seven days. Has the killing of Saddam Hussein’s sons made Iraq more dangerous for our troops?
DR. WOLFOWITZ: Well, first of all, let’s take just a moment to thank our troops for the sacrifices they’re making and the condolences to the families of those who’ve been lost. In fact, what—the battle to secure the peace in Iraq is now the central battle in the global war on terror, and those sacrifices are going to make not just the Middle East more stable, but our country safer for our children and grandchildren. This is very important work they’re doing. And the spirit of the troops out there is fantastic. When Uday and Qusai were killed, we acknowledged there would very likely be a spike in violence, but what we also said was this is going to build the confidence of the Iraqi people to give us
information. In fact, if you see the headline in yesterday’s New York Times, it says: Iraqi Informants’ Tips Grow After Brothers’ Deaths. In the last week alone, we’ve picked up 660 surface-to-air missiles.
That’s a product of the increased intelligence the Iraqi people are providing us.
MR. RUSSERT: Let me go back to May 1. And this was the scene on the USS Lincoln. President Bush arrived on it. And as he is walking to the podium, you see that banner, “Mission Accomplished.” Since that date, 400 U.S. soldiers have been wounded or injured, 107 killed, 48 from hostile fire. Was the president too premature in suggesting that the mission in Iraq has been accomplished?
DR. WOLFOWITZ: Look, the mission for those Navy pilots, and it was a magnificent mission, was accomplished, because, as the president said, major combat operations were over. But you know what the president also said, Tim—Why don’t we quote it: “We have difficult work to do in Iraq. We’re being ordered to parts of that country that remain dangerous. We’re pursuing and finding leaders of the old regime who will be held to account for their crimes. The transition from dictatorship to democracy will take time. But it is worth every effort. Our coalition will stay until our work is done. And then we will leave and we will leave behind a free Iraq.” This is a criminal regime that smothered that country in an unbelievable blanket of fear for 35 years. It’s difficult for Americans to imagine what it’s like to live in a country, not only where they can grab you at night and torture you, but they’ll grab your children and torture them in order to make you talk. It takes time to root out that kind of criminal gangs.
MR. RUSSERT: General Tommy Franks said the other day that he expected Saddam Hussein to be captured within 60 days. Do you concur?
DR. WOLFOWITZ: Look, Tom is truly a brilliant general. He has the luxury now of being able to speculate freely. I hope he’s right, but we are going to go after him until we get him, and it’s a mistake to put timetables on these things.
MR. RUSSERT: Military men on the ground said we have his scent and there were reports they came within 24 hours of getting him yesterday. Do you believe we are close to getting Saddam Hussein?
DR. WOLFOWITZ: We’ll only know when we get him, but let me take another minute, Tim, to explain this link between the atrocities of that regime and our ability to get information. We met with the inspector of the police academy in Baghdad, a newly selected leader, training this new police force, and I’m always a little suspicious about whether these people, if they were in the old police, that we could trust them, and it turned out he had been in jail for a year. I said, “Why were you in jail?” He said, “Because I denounced Saddam Hussein.” Well, I was a little surprised at that. I said, “Are you crazy that you denounced Saddam Hussein?” “Well, I said it to my best friend.” You say it to your best friend and you spend a year in jail. That’s the kind of country people have lived in, and it takes time for them to trust us to give us the information but they’re giving us more and more, and I think what happened last week with the deaths of those two miserable creatures is encouraging more people to come forward.
MR. RUSSERT: If we kill or capture Saddam Hussein, are you confident the resistance will then come to an end?
DR. WOLFOWITZ: No, I don’t think you can be confident. Look, it’s a criminal gang of many thousands of rapists, murderers and torturers. There’s no question, though, that getting rid of Saddam Hussein will have more effect than any single thing we can do.
MR. RUSSERT: Let me turn to our commitment to Iraq. Richard Lugar, Republican, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations committee, said this: “Senator Richard G. Lugar, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, criticized the Bush administration’s reconstruction efforts in Iraq as haphazard and called on the president to request supplemental spending legislation committing American taxpayers totens of billions of dollars in aid over the next four years. ... Lugar’s remarks were striking because he
is a respected figure on foreign affairs who staunchly supported the war and generally avoids publicly challenging fellow Republicans in the White House. The Indiana senator said war supporters who originally predicted U.S. troops would be embraced by Iraqi civilians were guilty of ‘naivete.’... The gap between the cash needed to rebuild the country’s economy and revenues from oil, estimated at $14 billion in 2004, could be as high as $16 billion year, Lugar said.”
Is the president prepared to go to the American people and say, “Senator Lugar’s right. We’re going to be there at least four years at a cost of $16 billion. This is a long, difficult, expensive undertaking.”
DR. WOLFOWITZ: Let me quote the president again. He said, “The transition from dictatorship to democracy will take time, but it is worth every effort,” and I think that’s a fundamental point to bear in mind is that this is—it’s a big task, it may be an expensive task but it is a very, very important task. And something else to keep in mind, ultimately the resources of Iraq will pay for its own reconstruction. It’s some period of transition—we don’t know how long—before they can really get on their feet. I remember in the hearing before the senator’s committee one senator said to me, “It’s going to cost $5 billion just to get oil production back up to the million-barrel-a-day level.” We reached a million barrels a day a week ago with an investment of just a few hundred million.
MR. RUSSERT: But is Senator Lugar wrong in saying that we should appropriate $16 billion a year for the next four years now?
DR. WOLFOWITZ: Tim, I don’t know the exact figure. Ambassador Bremer is trying to come up with a best estimate for the next 12 months. There’s a basic point here maybe about planning that people need to understand. You can’t write a plan for a military situation, and this is basically a military situation. It is like a railroad timetable. There are too many things that you learn as you go, and it may be exactly what Senator Lugar says. It could be more. It could be less. There should be no underestimating the task in front of us but there should also be no underestimating its importance.
MR. RUSSERT: Senator Lugar said naivete for those who thought that we would be embraced by the Iraqis. This is what Paul Wolfowitz said in February, and I’ll show you and our viewers: “It’s hard to conceive that it would take more forces to provide stability in post-Saddam Iraq than it would take to conduct the war itself and to secure the surrender of Saddam’s security forces and his army. Hard to imagine.” The fact is, we have just as many troops there now as we did during the war. When General Shinseki...
DR. WOLFOWITZ: I believe that’s what I said. It’s hard to imagine it would take more. Tim...
MR. RUSSERT: You said “hard to imagine.” And when General Shinseki said that it would take the number of troops who were currently in the region, about 200,000, you said it was...
DR. WOLFOWITZ: I’m sorry. He said several hundred thousand.
MR. RUSSERT: And there—and he said...
DR. WOLFOWITZ: Most people understand several hundred thousand, Tim, to mean twice the number we have there.
MR. RUSSERT: No, no, no, no. But this is very important.
MR. RUSSERT: Because there were 200,000 troops in the region at that time. General Shinseki said it would take the number of troops we had in the region, several hundred thousand, meaning 200,000 troops. And you said it was wildly off the mark. Based on what we have seen over the last several months, would you not acknowledge today that General Shinseki was right, that it does take just as many troops as it took to win the war as to secure the peace, and, as you acknowledged the other day, that some of your assumptions were wrong and you vastly underestimated the number of troops necessary to secure the peace?
DR. WOLFOWITZ: Tim, you’re inserting words like “vastly,” which I never said. We can get into a—we can fill up air time...
MR. RUSSERT: No, that was my word.
DR. WOLFOWITZ: I know that. Let’s be clear. But you said it was my word. Look, I think it’s nonproductive to spend a lot of time arguing about what several hundred thousand means. I said very clearly it was hard to imagine that we would have a number which I thought of as twice what we were planning for winning the war. The difference between 200,000 and 150,000, obviously, is not wildly different. But the important point is, our troops, our commanders will get what they need. They have been asked repeatedly, “Do you need more?” They say, “Right now, at least, we don’t want more. What we want more of, and we’re working to get it, is foreign troops.”
I visited the Polish brigade that’s going to take over a whole province of Iraq. An Italian brigade’s going to take over another whole province. And here’s the most important thing, Tim, which we really need to focus on. It’s time, and I probably should have started sooner, to enlist Iraqis to fight for their country. They are part of the coalition. Many of them are willing to die for their country. It is much more appropriate to have Iraqis out guarding banks and guarding power lines than to have Americans or even Poles or Spaniards, and that’s where we need to go.
MR. RUSSERT: Let me turn to the rationale for the war. You gave an interview in Vanity Fair magazine, and the Pentagon released a full transcript of your remarks, which we’re going to use because they are your words. And let me share them with our viewers: “The truth is that for reasons that have a lot to do with the U.S. government bureaucracy we settled on one issue that everyone could agree on which was weapons of mass destruction as the core reason” for the war in Iraq, if you will. “But... there have always been three fundamental concerns. One is weapons of mass destruction, the second is
support for terrorism, the third is the criminal treatment of the Iraqi people. The third one by itself, as I think I said earlier, is a reason to help the Iraqis but it’s not a reason to put American kids’ lives at risk, certainly not on the scale we did it. That second issue about links to terrorism is the one about which there’s the most disagreement within the bureaucracy.”
If you just analyze your comments—one, weapons of mass destruction. Thus far, we have not found weapons of mass destruction. Two, in terms of support of terrorism, as you acknowledge, there’s broad disagreement within our intelligence community about that and whether there’s any direct link of Saddam to al-Qaeda. And the third, as you said, Saddam’s treatment of his people is not a reason to go to war.
MR. RUSSERT: So if you don’t have weapons of mass destruction and you don’t have a direct link to terrorism, and you do have the third, which the administration has been emphasizing, but you yourself said it’s not a rationale to go to war, what now is the rationale for having gone to war?
DR. WOLFOWITZ: OK. Let me have as much time to answer as you took to ask the question.
MR. RUSSERT: Please.
DR. WOLFOWITZ: It’s important. I appreciate it. And, by the way, you know, you go to war based on your best assessment before the war. You will. Especially in a country like Iraq, you will learn things afterwards that may be different. But, first of all, the fundamental thing I was saying, and I wish people would pay attention to it, is there was no disagreement before the fact whatsoever on weapons of mass destruction. It was unanimous, and, frankly, the Senate and House Armed Services Committee, the
Senate and House Intelligence committees, had access to all the intelligence that people are now debating about.
MR. RUSSERT: But not on nuclear. It was not unanimous on nuclear.
DR. WOLFOWITZ: It was unanimous that there was a program. There was disagreement about how far along it was or how long it would take him to get there. And—OK. That’s point number one.
MR. RUSSERT: Well, this is important because this is what the State Department said. And this is from the National Intelligence Estimate that the White House declassified and released. This is what they said: “The activities we have detected do not...add up to a compelling case that Iraq is currently pursuing what INR [State Department bureau of intelligence and research] would consider to be an integrated and comprehensive approach to acquire nuclear weapons.”
DR. WOLFOWITZ: OK, I don’t have the text in front of me, Tim. But everyone, including the State Department—you know, look at those qualifiers, “comprehensive, integrated.” Everyone agreed there was a program of some stage and that it would become comprehensive, integrated, and real the minute he got rid of inspectors. There was no disagreement in the government about that. The nature of terrorism intelligence is intrinsically murky. And while I haven’t had a chance to read the 900-page report that was released last week, my understanding from what has been said about it, is that the basic conclusion there is that we should have connected the dots. We should have seen in this murky picture of terrorism intelligence what was coming to hit us.
Well, if you wait until the terrorism picture is clear, you are going to wait until after something terrible has happened. And we went to war, and I believe we are still fighting terrorists and terrorist supporters in Iraq in a battle that will make this country safer in the future from terrorism. It is—as I said, I think winning the peace in Iraq is now the crucial battle in the war on terrorism. And the sacrifices that our magnificent troops are making is for the children and their grandchildren, for our children and our grandchildren. And it is for our security.
MR. RUSSERT: Porter Goss, who be will our guest in the next segment, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, led a delegation to Iraq and wrote a report. This is what his conclusion came to. “The evidence does not point to the existence of large stockpiles of chemical or biological weapons.” That’s the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. Do you agree with that?
DR. WOLFOWITZ: Look, I don’t know how he knows. I flew over Baghdad. It’s a city, I believe, as large as Los Angeles. You look at all those houses and realize that every basement might contain a huge lethal quantity of anthrax.
I don’t know how anyone can know yet. It’s a difficult job. And people are working hard at it. But since we’re quoting things, I mean, as the vice president said, the NIA, and this was a unanimous judgment, “We judge that Iraq has continued its weapons of mass destruction program in defiance of U.N. resolutions and restrictions. If left unchecked,” he quotes, “the NIA probably will have a nuclear weapon during this decade. It has currently chemical and biological weapons, as well as missiles with ranges in excess of U.N. restrictions.” And, as the vice president said it would be irresponsible for an American leader to ignore that kind of judgment.
MR. RUSSERT: Many people are now asking why the urgency in going to war. If, in fact, we have not found the weapons of mass destruction, could not we have waited a few months with more coercive inspections and have resolved this without a war?
DR. WOLFOWITZ: Let me say a couple of things, Tim. People act as though the cost of containing Iraq is trivial. The cost of containing Iraq was enormous. Fifty-five American lives lost, at least, in incidents like the Cole and Khobar Towers, which were part of the containment effort. Billions of dollars of American money spent so...
MR. RUSSERT: Was Iraq linked to those?
DR. WOLFOWITZ: Absolutely. Oh, no, not to the—I don’t know who did the attacks. I now that we would not have had Air Force people in Khobar Towers if we weren’t conducting a containment policy.
I know we wouldn’t have had to have the Cole out there doing maritime intercept operations. And worst of all, if you go back and read Osama bin Laden’s notorious fatwah from 1998 where he calls for killing Americans, the two principal grievances were the presence of those forces in Saudi Arabia, and our continuing attacks on Iraq. Twelve years of containment was a terrible price for us. And for the Iraqi people, it was an unbelievable price, Tim.
I visited a village of Marsh Arabs, people have been driven nearly to extinction by 12 years of Saddam’s genocidal policies against them. They would not have survived another three years, much less another 12. We went to that mass grave in Hela. The people who are buried in those mass graves, the people who were executed in this industrial-style execution factory in Abu Ghraib Prison for them, every year was a terrible cost. Every year under sanctions was a terrible cost.
So the question is: What did you gain by waiting? And I think one of the things that would have come by waiting, frankly, is more instability for the key countries in our coalition, including Arab countries that, unfortunately, still prefer not to be named. But we had the coalition we needed when we went to war. There was no knowing if six months later some of those countries would still be with us.
MR. RUSSERT: John Deutsche, former director of the CIA, testified before Congress on Thursday and said something that was quite striking, and I’ll put it on the board for you and our viewers: “If no weapons of mass destruction or only a residual capability is found, the principle justification enunciated by the U.S. government for launching this war will have proven not to be credible. It is an intelligence failure, in my judgment, of massive proportions. It means that our leaders of the American public based its support for the most serious foreign policy judgments—the decision to go to war—on an incorrect intelligence judgment.”
DR. WOLFOWITZ: Well, it’s interesting. He’s the former director of the C.I.A, and I’m sure if you go and read the intelligence judgments made when he was director, they would be equally emphatic about the existence of those weapons and those programs. President Clinton spoke in 1998 in words that are almost identical to President Bush that he has these weapons and if we don’t do something about it, I guarantee you someday he will use them. I think people should be a little careful about throwing around words like intelligence failure. It’s easy to to go around and play this blame game. I mean, let’s stop
and realize that in a country like Iraq—and let me repeat—where children are tortured to make their parents talk, secrets are kept in a way we can’t even imagine. And let’s take some things that aren’t secret at all. We know that for 12 years Saddam Hussein did everything he could to frustrate U.N. inspectors. He sacrificed $100 billion in money that he could have spent on palaces and tanks and all those things that he loved so much in order to frustrate those inspectors. Isn’t that in itself an indicator there was something there? Let’s be patient and let’s figure out—wait until we can find things out.
MR. RUSSERT: But maybe the inspectors’ inspections worked, and if, in fact, we do not find significant amounts of weapons of mass destruction, should we be willing to say our intelligence community missed this and we have to go back and re-examine why?
DR. WOLFOWITZ: Well, we always ought to compare what we thought from our intelligence with what we discover later, and it’s a difficult job to do, especially if every time somebody discovers a discrepancy it is described as a “failure.” But let me tell you a story which I think puts this in some perspective. I mentioned visiting the police academy. It’s an impressive operation there where they’re training a new police force, and Senator Lugar, whom you quoted earlier, Senator Biden visited it a couple of weeks ago, and I know they were impressed by this training of the civilian police force. Since their visit but before mine, a woman came forward and described how she had been tortured hideously in a small compound behind the police academy, and I visited that. I was taken there. When I went to the academy, they not only showed me the training, they also showed me this unbelievable torture chamber, the back gate of which leads into Uday’s compound. He used to come in at night to personally torture prisoners. Think about it, Tim. I mean, for weeks, we were using that police academy, we were training people there. Probably someone knew about it. We didn’t discover it until this woman came in and told us her story. There must be thousands of hidden, secret things in that country that we are only just starting to get a grip on.
MR. RUSSERT: Let me go back to Deutsche’s testimony and share this with you: “The next time military intervention is judged necessary to combat the spread weapons of mass destruction, for example, in North Korea, there will be skepticism about the quality of our intelligence.” Is that fair?
DR. WOLFOWITZ: If people keep treating every intelligence uncertainty as an example of failure, I guess we will have a problem. But I mean, stop and think. If in 2001 or in 2000 or in 1999, we had gone to war in Afghanistan to deal with Osama bin Laden and we had tried to say it’s because he’s planning to kill 3,000 people in New York, people would have said, well, you don’t have any proof of that. I think the lesson of September 11th is that you can’t wait until proof after the fact. I mean, it surprises me sometimes that people have forgotten so soon what September 11 I think should have taught us about terrorism, and that’s what this is all about.
MR. RUSSERT: Will we be sending another billion dollars to Afghanistan to shore up our commitment to that country?
DR. WOLFOWITZ: We’ll wait and see, but clearly, what’s going on in Afghanistan is another battlefield in this war on terrorism. It’s very important. Again, the best thing we can do in Iraq is help the Iraqi people help us. The best thing we can do in Afghanistan is help the Afghan people help themselves, which helps us.
MR. RUSSERT: But a tripling of the amount of money in Afghanistan is an indication that things aren’t going as well as we thought.
DR. WOLFOWITZ: Sometimes things go well. Sometimes things go better, Tim; sometimes things don’t go as well. Again, the nature of military planning is not to have a timetable. It is to be able to adjust your plan as circumstances change. I think that was what was so brilliant about Tom Franks’ military plan. He called about six or seven major changes in the course of things that produced major results. Ambassador Bremer and General Abizaid are doing the same thing right now, both in Iraq, and, in the case of General Abizaid, in Afghanistan.
MR. RUSSERT: Will our troops be going into Liberia?
DR. WOLFOWITZ: As the president said, we are prepared to assist the United Nations to establish a cease-fire, to evacuate Charles Taylor from Liberia, to bring in regional troops. And that’s the key to this, Tim, is to not have the United States taking on every task in the world but for us to help other people take on their role. And in this case, I think what they call the ECOWAS countries of West Africa are prepared to step up.
MR. RUSSERT: But we will join them on the ground in Liberia, if need be.
DR. WOLFOWITZ: We will help them to get there.
MR. RUSSERT: Before you go, we’re going to talk about the September 11th, 2001, report with our members of Congress. There’s another national commission looking into what happened on September 11, headed by former Republican Governor of New Jersey Tom Kean. And he has said this: “This is a critical time for the Commission. We have worked hard to stay on schedule to complete our work by the end of May 2004...but the coming weeks will determine whether we are able to do our job within the time allotted. ... Time is slipping by. ... Extensive and prompt cooperation from the U.S. government, the Congress, state and local agencies, and private firms is essential. This report offers an
initial evaluation of this cooperation. ... The problems that have arisen so far with the Department of Defense are becoming particularly serious.”
Governor Kean’s saying he can’t get information from NORAD, from the Joint Chiefs of Staff, from the Defense Department. Will you take steps so that you will cooperate fully with Governor Kean immediately so his commission can do their work?
DR. WOLFOWITZ: We’ve already taken steps to try to accelerate it. But we have no—we want to cooperate fully with the commission.
MR. RUSSERT: And you will?
DR. WOLFOWITZ: Absolutely.
MR. RUSSERT: Dr. Paul Wolfowitz, we thank you for your views.
DR. WOLFOWITZ: Thank you.
MR. RUSSERT: Coming next: the chairman and vice chairman of the congressional joint inquiry into the terrorist attacks of September 11, Senator Graham, Congressman Goss, Senator Shelby, Congresswoman Pelosi. They are next, together, only on MEET THE PRESS.
MR. RUSSERT: Four leaders of Congress drew up this joint inquiry into September 11. They are all here next, on MEET THE PRESS, after this station break.
MR. RUSSERT: And we are back. This is the joint inquiry that Congress has written about what happened on September 11. We are joined by the chairman and co-chairman who helped organize this enormous effort. Let me read from the report, for you and our viewers, and start this way: “A former chief of the unit in the DCI’s Counterterrorist Center formed to focus on [Osama] bin Laden put it succinctly: ‘In my experience between 1996 and 1999, CIA’s Directorate of Operations was the only component of the intelligence community that could be said to have been waging the war that bin Laden declared against the United States in August of 1996. The rest of the CIA and the intelligence community looked on our efforts as eccentric and, at times, fanatic.’”
Senator Graham, one small group of intelligence officers took the threat against our country by Osama seriously?
SEN. BOB GRAHAM, (D-FL): That’s, Tim, why the number one recommendation in our report is to put somebody in charge of the intelligence community. Right now there are about a dozen agencies and they see each other more as competitors than as colleagues to achieve a common purpose. The head of the CIA issued a declaration of war which none of the other agencies in the intelligence community apparently paid any attention to. We paid a price on September the 11th.
MR. RUSSERT: Senator Shelby, are we now better organized as a government in terms of intelligence gathering and analysis now than we were before September 11th?
SEN. RICHARD SHELBY, (R-AL): Maybe just a little bit. I think we’re going down the right road. We’ve got a long way to go. I’d say we were about a two then; we might be a three and a half or four.
We’re a long way from 10.
MR. RUSSERT: Chairman Goss, do you agree with that consensus?
REP. PORTER GOSS, (R-FL): I do. I think we’re on the right track. I think that if you read the recommendations of the report, you’ll find a very good road map. It would be my observation, and appropriately, the executive branch has done more on our 19 recommendations than the legislative branch. Our process is a little slower. But we are under way, and our authorization bills in the Senate and the House this year will be dealing with some of the legislative sides. So I would say that every day’s a better day, and I agree generally with Senator Shelby’s assessment.
MR. RUSSERT: Congressman Pelosi, are we better off now in terms of intelligence analysis and gathering than we were before September 11?
REP. NANCY PELOSI, (D-CA): Well, we certainly have seen the shortcomings as the report points out. Our very creative staff, whom I want to commend, they did an excellent job, not only in putting an idea together about how this might have come to be but they showed that information was in the files of the FBI that they were not even communicating among themselves on and certainly not reporting up to the director, and not, of course, not therefore to the CIA or other agencies of government. There’s a long way to go, really.
MR. RUSSERT: Two hijackers living with an FBI informant. That information stays within a small cell within the FBI, if you will. Are the CIA and the FBI now talking to one another?
REP. PELOSI: Well, they’ve improved their communication, but I don’t think it should be left to them. I think the oversight committees of the Congress, working with some of the recommendations that we have, have to weigh in on is. I know that the FBI under Director Mueller made some drastic changes in how they conduct their business. But that’s simply not good enough. Prior to 9/11, the committees were on their way to re-evaluating our entire structure and the community, making judgments about the
community. General Scowcroft did a report which, before it came to us, 9/11 occurred. There was always a recognition that there was a need for improved communication, more humit—many of the recommendations that were there, but before that got to the president’s desk and our desks, 9/11 occurred. The need to restructure the intelligence community was important then, it’s even more important now, and it cannot be internal to the organization. It has to be accountable.
MR. RUSSERT: In May, the director of the FBI—May of 2002—testified that the hijackers lived in social isolation. Your report finds something much different, Senator Graham.
SEN. GRAHAM: Yes, we point out some 14 instances in which hijackers had close contact with people who were or had been in the past under FBI surveillance. As Congresswoman Pelosi just said, a lot of the information that is in this report is information that was in the FBI files which they were unaware and which our staff determined surfaced and put the dots together.
MR. RUSSERT: Why didn’t we know that, and why is it that there are so many al-Qaidas who are able to penetrate our country, and as you told me several weeks ago, you’re convinced there are a large number of al-Qaida still living in this country.
SEN. GRAHAM: The reasons that it has happened, first, the FBI has had a practice of distributing decisions among its various field offices and they don’t talk very well to the central headquarters and they certainly don’t talk very well with each other. I hope that some new reforms of Director Mueller are moving to correct that situation. There is a significant presence of al-Qaida in the United States. There’s disagreement between the intelligence agencies as what the precise number is. But even on the low side, it’s a number capable of carrying out major actions against the people of the United States.
MR. RUSSERT: One of the more controversial parts of your report is a part that, in effect, doesn’t exist. If you turn to page 395 in it, and I’ll show you and our viewers on the screen, it talks about here: “The Joint Inquiry developed information suggesting specific sources of foreign support for some of the September 11 hijackers while they were in the United States...” And you turn the page, and for the next 28 pages, all you see are blank lines. Senator Shelby, shouldn’t the American people know who are the
foreign sources of support for the hijackers?
SEN. SHELBY: Absolutely. They should know and I figure the American people will figure out who’s supporting who and who’s our real ally and who has a transactional relationship with us. I’m not at liberty to get into who it is on this show, but I can tell you on the Banking Committee, which I now chair, we’re getting in and going to investigate who’s financing the terrorist operations, because the key to all of this is the money. Who’s financing? Who’s carrying them through? How are they living? How
are they traveling? How are they getting there? It’s money.
MR. RUSSERT: Based on your work in the Banking Committee, not your work on this joint inquiry, who is doing it?
SEN. SHELBY: Well, I’m not at liberty to say that today. I’m going to let you figure that out. You see the blank pages. They’re classified. I think they’re classified for the wrong reason. I went back and read every one of those pages thoroughly two, three days ago. My judgment is 95 percent of that information could be declassified, become uncensored, so the American people would know.
MR. RUSSERT: Why are they classified for the wrong reason? What’s the wrong reason?
SEN. SHELBY: Well, I think it might be embarrassing to some international relations.
MR. RUSSERT: The front page of The New York Times says: Classified section of September 11 report faults Saudi Arabia. And it seems to be confirmed by the ambassador to the United States from Saudi Arabia, who issued this statement: “In the 900-page report, 28 blanked-out pages are being used by some to malign our country and our people. It is my belief that the reason the classified section that allegedly deals with foreign governments is absent from the report is most likely because the information
contained in it could not be substantiated. Saudi Arabia has nothing to hide. We can deal with questions in public, but we cannot respond to blank pages.”
Chairman Goss, can those 28 pages be substantiated?
REP. GOSS: I believe that the reason the 28 pages are blank—and not to give everybody an opportunity to write their own script, and a lot of that is going on. There are three reasons we classify information. One is protect sources and methods. Another is protect ongoing investigations. And another is to protect what I will call sensitive foreign liaisons. There’s no question that we are concerned about foreign government support. And it is not just one country. It is many countries. Now, these particular pages, I believe, are justified in being held back now, and if you read recommendation 19 of our
recommendations, it specifically says that we request an active investigation. That investigation is under way. We do not want to contaminate that investigation. I believe that these pages will be made available publicly at some point when that investigation is completed. In the meantime, if there’s concern that we are not following the necessary crumbs on the trail to protect ourselves from foreign government activities supporting terrorists, please dismiss those concerns, because we are aware of these things and pursuing them actively.
MR. RUSSERT: We know, Congresswoman Pelosi, that money from the Saudis went to some of the hijackers. It’s been widely reported. Why not share that in your report?
REP. PELOSI: Well, I have a bigger concern about the declassification than just those pages. It took us nine months to do our entire investigation, have our hearings, interview persons of concern. The whole thing took about nine months. It took six and a half months to get the declassified—to get this declassified version out. It was a struggle every step of the way. I think the administration has an obsession with secrecy, that they do not want to reveal information that should be available to the public.
I respectfully disagree with my distinguished chairman. It is true, sources, and method, ongoing investigations, certainly, our national security interests have to call for classification. But to protect that, we do not have to protect reputations. So there are many places in the book that I think more information should become forthcoming. We have to always remember our responsibility to the families of 9/11. They need answers. We need to protect the American people into the future. This secrecy does not serve that purpose.
MR. RUSSERT: Let me show you something that you wrote in your report on this very subject: “The White House determined, and the DCI and CIA agreed, that the Joint Inquiry could have no access to the [President’s Daily Briefing].”
This was the briefing President Bush was given in August of 2001.
“Ultimately, this bar was extended to the point where CIA personnel were not allowed to be interviewed regarding the simple process by which the PDB is prepared. Although the inquiry was inadvertently given access to fragments of some PDB items early on, this decision limited the inquiry’s ability to determine systematically what Presidents Clinton and Bush, and their senior advisers, were being told by the intelligence community agencies, and when, regarding the nature of the threat to the United States from Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda.”
And the very day I read that in the report, I read this in The Washington Post: “Cheney laid out a detailed rationale for the war Bush launched on March 20, quoting at length from declassified sections of a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iraq issued in October. White House officials have cited the NIE as the basis for prewar pre-war speeches about Iraq. ... As part of an effort to rebut criticism that it had exaggerated the threat, the White House last Friday released eight pages of excerpts from the intelligence report,” which had been classified.
Senator Graham, why would we declassify the National Intelligence Report to buttress arguments about the war in Iraq but keep classified some information that could help us find out what our leaders knew was coming down before September 11?
SEN. GRAHAM: Well, I think one of the fundamental reasons for that is to avoid accountability. We have another major recommendation that we should have a process by which it is determined if there’s been performance below standard, people are sanctioned, and if—their excellent performance is recognized.
None of that has happened since 9/11. Nobody’s lost their job. Nobody has been—had an adverse letter put in their files. All the kinds of things that flow from accountability. One of the ways you avoid accountability is by secrecy. If the people are not allowed to know what happened, if people are not allowed to know what the president knew, then it’s more difficult to hold him or anyone in his administration accountable.
MR. RUSSERT: Is this a selective declassification, Senator Shelby?
SEN. SHELBY: Oh, I think so. I think most declassifications are very, very selective, and done in a tortuous way.
MR. RUSSERT: But is this politically motivated?
SEN. SHELBY: Well, it’s hard to separate politics from declassification of anything at times.
REP. GOSS: I spent most of the last seven months trying to negotiate these items as sort of the remaining of the four of us still on the committee. And I think the biggest problem, frankly, is the culture. We indoctrinate our intelligence people on the need-to-know principle and on compartmentation. Don’t tell anybody unless there is a reason that you have to tell them. And consequently when you measure that up against the jointness and the cooperation and coordination that we all pointed out so properly in this report is missing in this, we’ve got a conflict between the culture of intelligence, and, basically, the efficient operation of fighting the war on terrorism. We have to change things.
MR. RUSSERT: Then why declassify the National Intelligence Estimate?
REP. GOSS: Because I think it helps public understanding. We are going through a big change right now in how we deal with information.
MR. RUSSERT: Wouldn’t declassifying what President Clinton and President Bush knew before September 11 help public understanding?
REP. GOSS: I think that most of the PDB has actually been declassified. If you go to some of the actions of the House committee, and Ms. Pelosi was then the ranking member, we actually had a press conference on that, because one of our task force had actually all the information on that PDB. The only thing we didn’t have was the binder that it came in or the conversation that took place between the president and the people briefing him. But we had the material. Now, the material wasn’t exactly the PDB. But it was the same material.
MR. RUSSERT: Do you agree with that?
MR. RUSSERT: I’m surprised.
REP. PELOSI: With all due respect to my distinguished chairman, when we say it wasn’t quite this and it wasn’t quite that, that’s the heart of the matter. Unless the National Security Council minutes of the counterterrorism working group and other communications between the National Security Council and the intelligence community are made known to the committees, we will never have the answers, and while we may say they had this information, we had information but the fact that it was reported to the
president was an issue that they would not allow us to go forward and talk about. So here’s the thing. As I testified at the 9/11 commission in May, if we’re going to have a real and complete and thorough investigation, if we are going to get the job done for the families and for the country, and protect the American people into the future, the National Security Council records must be available to the committees and to the public. The Congress is responsible. We have oversight responsibilities; we cannot have this gap. It goes—the whole declassification point is a very central one, and the public deserves better.
REP. GOSS: I don’t disagree with that point, that we should have access. But we don’t have access and we have not had access. Our oversight remit does not carry us, either the House or the Senate, into the National Security deliberations and that has been the practice.
MR. RUSSERT: Let me turn to Iraq in our remaining moments here. Senator Richard Lugar, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, said step forward, Mr. President, and tell the country we’re going to be in Iraq for several years, four years at least, $16 billion per year, and tell that to the American people. Chairman Goss, you came back and reported from the House Intelligence Committee that, “large numbers of U.S. troops are likely to remain in Iraq four years.”
REP. GOSS: I believe.
MR. RUSSERT: Senator Shelby, should the president tell the American people this is a multiyear expensive commitment?
SEN. SHELBY: Well, that will be up to the president. I believe myself it’s going to be a multiyear commitment. I’ve always thought that. We couldn’t go in and stay a few months and leave. We’ve got to be committed. We’re losing a lot of troops over there day by day in guerrilla warfare. We’ve got to stabilize the place and we’re committed to stabilizing Iraq.
MR. RUSSERT: Should we send more troops in to stabilize?
SEN. SHELBY: Well, that would be a decision for the secretary of Defense, our deputy secretary of Defense Wolfowitz ultimately should make.
MR. RUSSERT: Mr. Goss, this is what else your report said, and I showed it to Mr. Wolfowitz; I’m going to show it again: “The evidence does not point to the existence of large stockpiles of chemical or biological weapons.”
REP. GOSS: That’s absolutely true. The evidence does point to a lot of denial and deception to hide and disperse those weapons, and that is what we’ve run into. We underestimated quite seriously and quite badly the denial and deception capability of the Saddam regime. They did a brilliant job of taking things and hiding them. When you start finding weapons of mass destruction plans under rose bushes in scientists’ back yard, you begin to understand a little built the depth of the distances they went to.
MR. RUSSERT: But the president quoted the British as saying that Saddam could launch a chemical or biological attack within 45 minutes. If, in fact, there are not large stockpiles of weapons, was that accurate?
REP. GOSS: I cannot speak for the British intelligence. The British maintain that it was accurate and the president quoted the British report.
MR. RUSSERT: In 1998 when President Clinton launched missiles into Iraq, Congresswoman Pelosi, you said then that there were weapons of mass destruction that existed in Iraq. Are you now questioning that intelligence?
REP. PELOSI: Well, the point is is that there is weapons of mass destruction, chemical and biological, in the region. The imminence of the threat, though, to go to war is the question. If the intelligence community was so certain of the fact of this threat and of the existence of these weapons, why didn’t they know anything about the location of them? So it’s not a question of if this region has chemical or biological. It’s a question of the imminence of the threat, and that’s where I think we have—the American people deserve some answers. And certainly on the nuclear issue, the evidence, the intelligence did not
support the claim that the administration was making. I think that we have to take a step back and say
we must stop the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. I commend the president for making that
an important issue. But we can do it with international cooperation, which is exactly what we have to do in Iraq. If we need more troops on the ground in Iraq, we have to have international cooperation to do it. We are not going to change or improve the situation in Iraq, Afghanistan or any of these places unless we have cooperation from countries not selling the kind of technology to those who would be irresponsible and cause terror.
MR. RUSSERT: If that means going to the United Nations for another resolution and asking for the support of the French and Germans, you would do it.
REP. PELOSI: I absolutely think we have to internationalize. Nothing is more important now than the Iraqi situation being settled and managed in a much better way. It’s clear while we had a military plan to go to war, our postwar Iraq planning was either a disaster or nonexistent, and we have to internationalize what is happening there.
MR. RUSSERT: Senator Graham, I want to ask you to talk about some comments you made on July 17 in a question-and-answer session. And I’ll read it back and forth so our viewers know exactly what we’re talking about.
Question for Senator Graham: “Question: Senator, if your party were in charge would you let them pursue impeachment?” This is about the intelligence problems confronting the Bush administration.
Answer from Senator Graham: “Well the Republicans set a standard for impeachment with what they did with Bill Clinton, who committed a serious, personal, consensual action. This is case in which someone has committed actions that took America to war, put American men and women’s lives at risk, and they continue to be at risk.”
“Question: So is this more serious?”
“Graham: I think this is clearly more serious. ...My opinion is if the standard that was set by the House of Representatives relative to Bill Clinton is the new standard for impeachment, then this clearly comes within that standard.”
You’re suggesting that, under the standards created by the House for the Clinton impeachment, that the president of the United States, George Bush, could be subject to impeachment for his comments in the State of the Union message about American intelligence, uranium in Africa?
SEN. GRAHAM: The answer is this president is not going to be impeached. The current leadership of the House of Representatives, regardless of what standard they set for Bill Clinton, are not going to apply the same standard to George W. Bush. The good news is that, in November of 2004, the American people will have an opportunity to both impeach and remove.
I would suggest, going back to your previous question, that this issue of secrecy is an endemic one within this administration, and it’s not just secrecy after the fact. It’s not just the secrecy of all these blank pages. It’s secrecy before the fact. This president failed to tell the American people what he knew about the consequences of military victory in Iraq. He understood what the cost was going to be. He understood the casualties. He understood the duration of time. None of that was shared with the American people, and so that we went to war not only on the basis of weapons of mass destruction that we may or may not find, but went to war without the knowledge of what the full consequences would
MR. RUSSERT: But was it a mistake for you to engage in a conversation about impeachment?
SEN. GRAHAM: No. I believe that that’s a legitimate question for the journalists to have asked. It is a legitimate exploration of what is the standard for impeachment now, and then apply that standard against the facts of this president and his administration.
SEN. SHELBY: Well, I totally disagree with Senator Graham. He’s my friend. We work together. But when you reach the threshold of impeachment for stuff like this, I think you’re off base. I think President Bush has shown leadership, courage, and I think he’s on the right road.
MR. RUSSERT: But you heard Mr. Wolfowitz talk about weapons of mass destruction—we haven’t found them—intelligence and direct link of Saddam with al-Qaeda or terrorism. That still is debatable within the intelligence community. And it’s not worth going to war, risking American lives, simply because of Saddam’s treatment of his people. Is the administration now obligated to come forward with a rationale for why they went to war? And do you believe they were properly prepared for winning the
SEN. SHELBY: Well, I know they were properly prepared for the war. There’s always surprises dealing with the peace. I believe they will stabilize Iraq and we will win the peace. But I believe the cause for war, the case for war, that it was sound policy then; it’s sound policy now.
MR. RUSSERT: We have to leave it there. A lot more to discuss. I hope you’ll all come back in a future program. This is the real issue confronting all of us. Senator Graham, Senator Shelby, Congressman Goss, Congresswoman Pelosi, thank you very much.
We’ll be right back.
MR. RUSSERT: Star your day tomorrow on “Today” with Katie and Matt, then the “NBC Nightly News” with Tom Brokaw. That’s all for today. We’ll be back next week. If it’s Sunday, it’s MEET THE PRESS.

Posted by Lisa at 10:32 AM
August 05, 2003
Ambassador Joseph Wilson On The Shrub Administration's Lousy WMD Intelligence

This is an interview with Ambassador Joseph Wilson on Meet the Press from July 6, 2003.

Joseph Wilson On The Shrub's Inaccurate WMD Intelligence
(Small - 22 MB)

Posted by Lisa at 12:57 AM
July 27, 2003
Howard Dean On Meet The Press - June 22, 2003

Someone sent me this thinking it would do nicely in my Dean archive.

NBC News Transcripts
SHOW: Meet the Press (10:00 AM ET) - NBC
June 22, 2003 Sunday
LENGTH: 9614 words

DR. DEAN: Well, I wasn't aware that Senator Kerry said it. I knew Senator Graham had said it in Iowa. But I believe that. I think we were misled. Now, the question is did the president do that on purpose? Was he misled by his own intelligence people? Was he misled by the people around us? Or did he, in fact, know what the truth was and tell us something different. I've called for an independent investigation headed by Republicans and Democrats who are well respected in the country to find out what the president did know and when he knew it. We essentially went to war, supported by Senator Kerry, Representative Gephardt, Senator Lieberman and Senator Edwards, based on facts that turned out not to be accurate. I think that's pretty serious and I think the American people are entitled to know why that was.

NBC News Transcripts
SHOW: Meet the Press (10:00 AM ET) - NBC
June 22, 2003 Sunday
LENGTH: 9614 words

HEADLINE: Dr. Howard Dean, Democrat, former governor of Vermont, discusses his 2004 presidential candidacy and his stand on such issues as the economy, foreign policy and Iraq

MR. RUSSERT: And tomorrow, Dr. Howard Dean, the former governor of Vermont, plans to formally announce for president. He is here first this morning on MEET THE PRESS.

Governor, welcome.

DR. DEAN: Good morning.

MR. RUSSERT: Tomorrow, you will formally announce for president of the United States in Burlington at noon. Will you be joined by your family?

DR. DEAN: I will. My son Paul, who's gotten a little scrap over the weekend, is not going to be there, but he wasn't planning on that in the first place. We have four very independent-minded people in my family. My wife is a physician. She's going to continue to practice medicine. She'll do interviews and so forth but won't campaign. My daughter's actually working in the campaign, so she's in a different place. And then my son is very guarded about his privacy and so forth. And so he's chosen not to come and I said that's fine.

MR. RUSSERT: You said that your son got in a scrap. He was arrested for driving a car in which some of his friends broke into a beer cooler and stole some beer...

DR. DEAN: Right.

MR. RUSSERT: ...and was indicted. How are you...

DR. DEAN: He hasn't been indicted, but he...


DR. DEAN: He's been cited, right.

MR. RUSSERT: But how are you as a father dealing with that?

DR. DEAN: Well, I'm not very happy about it. I think that 17-year-olds sometimes do extraordinarily foolish things and this is an example of that. We had a very difficult weekend at home, and I think it was a good thing for me to go back and try to get this straighten out and he's going to have to pay the price. If you do things and make mistakes like that, you have to pay a price.

MR. RUSSERT: He's grounded?

DR. DEAN: He's more than grounded; he's going to have to go through the judicial system and they're going to figure out what to do about him and his four friends.

MR. RUSSERT: Let's turn to the campaign. This is what you said last month about the Bush tax cut and I'll show you and our viewers. "It has become clear what this president is attempting to do and why we must repeal the entire package of tax cuts." The Department of Treasury, we consulted and asked them: What effect would that have across America? And this is what they said. A married couple with two children making $40,000 a year, under the Bush plan, would pay $45 in taxes. Repealing them, under the Dean plan, if you will, would pay $1,978, a tax increase of over 4,000 percent. A married couple over 65 making $40,000 and claiming their Social Security, under Bush would pay $675 in taxes. You're suggesting close to $1,400, a 107 percent tax increase. Can you honestly go across the country and say, "I'm going to raise your taxes 4,000 percent or 107 percent," and be elected?

DR. DEAN: Well, first of all, were those figures from the Treasury Department, did you say, or CBO?

MR. RUSSERT: Treasury Department.

DR. DEAN: I don't believe them. This administration has not been candid about the impacts of this tax cut. A few months ago they had the deficit coming in at $290 billion. It's at $400 billion. The administration simply has not been forthcoming and factual about the impact of their tax cuts.

Setting aside whatever the real numbers might be, the accurate numbers, let's look at what the tax cuts have done. Property taxes are going up in places in New Hampshire because the president has cut services, because he has not given the right amount of money to the states for special education, for No Child Left Behind, for all these unfunded mandates that he's passed.

The real effect of the Bush tax cuts has actually been to raise taxes on most middle-class people and to cut their services. Their public schools are suffering. Health care is suffering for middle-class kids. And that's because of these tax cuts. These tax cuts are incredibly bad for the economy. I believe their purpose is essentially to defund the federal government so that Medicare and Social Security, the icons of the New Deal, will be undone.

Karl Rove and others have talked about going back to the McKinley era before there was any kind of social safety net in this country. Really that's what the campaign's about. It's to undo what I consider radical Republicanism.

MR. RUSSERT: But in the middle of an economic downturn, Howard Dean wants to raise taxes on the average of $1,200 per family.

DR. DEAN: So says the Republican Treasury Department which I think has very little credibility in this matter. Let's look at the record.

MR. RUSSERT: But you would raise taxes?

DR. DEAN: I would go back to the Clinton era of taxes because I think most Americans would gladly pay the same taxes they paid when Bill Clinton was president if they could only have the same economy that they had when Bill Clinton was president.

MR. RUSSERT: Ted Kennedy says that we should have a prescription drug plan. It's the first step, a compromise. Democratic leader Tom Daschle says he's right. Are you with Ted Kennedy?

DR. DEAN: Well, this is a tough one. I've actually talked to Ted Kennedy about this, and also talked to Tom Harkin, and Jay Rock--well, I haven't talked to Jay Rockefeller, but who I deeply respect, who are on different sides of this issue, and let me speak about the dilemma. First, this is an opportunity to set up an entitlement program for people who need a prescription drug benefit. We need to do that. Secondly, the bill won't work. And it won't work because it uses the private insurance companies to deliver the health-care benefits. They actually signed a bill like this in Nevada. Kenny Guinn signed a bill like this two years ago, Republican governor, and nobody got health insurance or got prescription benefits out of it because no insurance company would sign up to insure a product that's going up at five times the rate of inflation.

So the bill won't work. It's clearly an election-year sop, but what Senator Kennedy says, and he has probably the most extraordinary record on health care of any United States senator, what he says is this is the opportunity to get this in the door. We know it may not work. But let's do the best we can. And we'll try to fix it later once the entitlement is established. So I think the bill is not a particularly good bill but I--out of respect for Senator Kennedy, it's hard to really completely trash his position.

MR. RUSSERT: Would you vote for the Kennedy proposal?

DR. DEAN: I'd want to see what is in the bill, the amendment. There are more amendments. And one of the critical amendments is what's going to happen to Iowa and New Hampshire and Vermont and so forth, Medicare assessments. I was the 50th in the country, Vermont is 49th in the county--there's talk about Senator Grassley putting some money in Senator Harkin for Iowa and to fix Medicare reimbursement. That makes it more attractive. So I don't know how I'd vote on this bill right now, and I'd want to see the last amendments before it goes out the door.

Here's the other problem. This is a political trap for the Democrats. What will happen I'd flatly predict now is that it will pass the Senate, it will go to the House, the right-wing majority in the House will pass some unacceptable piece of nonsense that's clearly nothing but election year goodies, it'll go to a conference committee that the Democrats will have no say in, and then the Democrats in the Senate will be forced to vote up or down on unacceptable bill and it will be positioned by the Bush administration to say they killed drug benefits for seniors even though it won't be true. So it's a political Washington type of trap and it's a terrible, terrible dilemma for the Democratic senators to be in.

MR. RUSSERT: Are you still in favor of a constitutional amendment to balance the budget?

DR. DEAN: You know, I go back and forth on that. It's not very good public policy but I'd love to see the Republicans hem and haw about what they would do about a constitutional amendment to balance the budget. The constitutional amendments to balance--we don't have one in Vermont. We're the only state that doesn't require a balanced budget, and we actually have the best fiscal record, or one of the best, of any state. But a constitutional amendment might--has forced Republicans who are really the party of fiscal irresponsibility, borrowing and spending, and borrowing and spending, and borrowing and spending, has forced them to balance the budgets when they otherwise wouldn't. So what I--I really don't like the idea of a federal balanced budget amendment, but I am very tempted.

MR. RUSSERT: But through your entire career you have been for a constitutional amendment to balance the budget.

DR. DEAN: Yes, because I just--I have, and it's because I think that there's so little fiscal discipline in the Congress that you might just have to do it. I hate to do it because we didn't have to do it in Vermont, but, God, the guys in Washington just never get it about money.

MR. RUSSERT: Well, in 1995, when you were advocating that position, you were asked how would you balance the budget if we had a constitutional amendment...

DR. DEAN: Yeah.

MR. RUSSERT: ...calling for that, and this is what Howard Dean said. "The way to balance the budget, [Gov. Howard] Dean said, is for Congress to cut Social Security, move the retirement age to 70, cut defense, Medicare and veterans pensions, while the states cut almost everything else. 'It would be tough but we could do it,' he said."

DR. DEAN: Well, we fortunately don't have to do that now.

MR. RUSSERT: We have a $500 billion deficit.

DR. DEAN: But you don't have to cut Social Security to do that.

MR. RUSSERT: But why did you have to do it back then?

DR. DEAN: Well, because that was the middle of--I mean, I don't recall saying that, but I'm sure I did, if you have it on your show, because I know your researchers are very good.

MR. RUSSERT: Well, Miles Benson is a very good reporter for the Newhouse News.

DR. DEAN: Yes, he is. No, no, no. I'm sure I did. I'm not denying I said that. I have...

MR. RUSSERT: But you would no longer cut Social Security?

DR. DEAN: But you don't--no. I'm not ever going to cut Social Security benefits.

MR. RUSSERT: Would you raise retirement age to 70?

DR. DEAN: No. No.

MR. RUSSERT: Would you cut defense?

DR. DEAN: You don't have to do that either. Here's what you have to do. You got to get rid of the tax cuts, all of them, and then you have got to restrict spending. You've got to control--well, here's what we did in Vermont. We had some mild tax cuts in the '90s, not the huge ones that most other states did. Secondly, we put a lot of money into a rainy day fund, and I never let the Legislature spend more than the rate of growth of the economy, so the biggest increase I think we had in the almost 12 years I was governor was I think 5.2 percent or something like that. And then we paid off a quarter of our debt, which is what Bill Clinton did when he was president.

Now, we're not cutting higher education, we're not cutting K through 12, we're not cutting Medicaid for kids, and we have a balanced budget. So if you restrain spending, which is long-term spending, that's the key to balancing the budget. But you've got to get rid of the tax cuts because the hole is so very, very deep. And Social Security, I--the best way to balance Social Security budget right now, other than stop taking the money out for the tax cuts, is to expand the amount of money that Social Security payroll taxes apply to. It's limited now to something like $80,000. You let that rise. I also would entertain taking the retirement age to 68. It's at 67 now. I would entertain that.

MR. RUSSERT: But the deficit's $500 billion. Half the budget goes to Social Security, Medicare and Defense. They asked Willie Sutton why he robbed banks? He said, "That's where the money is." You could close down the entire United States government, other than Social Security, Medicare and Defense and interest on the public debt, and you still wouldn't balance the budget.

DR. DEAN: But the problem for Social Security is that it is actually in fine shape until, I don't know, 2040 or something like that.

MR. RUSSERT: No, no, no, no, no, no.

DR. DEAN: Well, it's in fine shape--it's actuarially fine until 2025 or '23 and then the trust fund doesn't run out...

MR. RUSSERT: Receipts and outlays begin...

DR. DEAN: That's right. Around--in the middle of the 2020s.

MR. RUSSERT: When the baby boomers retire, we have a real impending crisis.

DR. DEAN: That's right. But, in some ways, that's unrelated from the budget problem because what the people in Washington have been doing is taking money out of Social Security to balance the budget and then spend enormous amounts and run huge deficits. So there's two separate problems. First of all, you've got to fix Social Security and you've got to fix the budget. Fixing Social Security is an independent problem from the budget. And that's what I talked about.

You've got to look at expanding the amount of money that gets taxed for Social Security. You know, if you make $100,000 a year, the last $15,000 doesn't have to pay Social Security tax for it.

MR. RUSSERT: But, Governor, if you don't go to near Social Security or Medicare or Defense and you have a $500 billion deficit, if you're not going to raise taxes $500 billion to balance the budget, where are you going to find the money? Which programs are you going to cut? What do you cut? Education? Health care? Where?

DR. DEAN: Here's what you do. As a veteran of having to do this, because this is what I did in Vermont, Social Security, you fix actuarially. It's just like an insurance policy. Right now there's--eventually, in the middle of the 2020s you're going to see more money going out than coming in. You've got to fix that. We've talked a little bit about how to do that. Maybe you look at the retirement age going to 68. Maybe you increase the amount that gets--payroll tax--I'm not in favor of cutting benefits. I think that's a big problem.

MR. RUSSERT: But you would consider increasing the payroll tax?

DR. DEAN: Absolutely. You don't have to increase the amount of the payroll tax, you increase the salary that it's applied to. You see what I mean?


DR. DEAN: $85,000, maybe you raise it to $100,000 or whatever the numbers are. We've got to look at the numbers to figure out what you do. You get the Social Security problem off the table first by fixing it and then not allowing the Congress to keep taking money out of the trust fund. The president's financing his tax cuts by taking money out of the Social Security trust fund. That's ridiculous--first. Secondly, what do you do about the budget? You restrain spending. You do not have to actually make cuts in things like Medicare or in things like Medicaid or even in Defense. What you have to do is restrain the increases in spending.

MR. RUSSERT: When the Republicans tried to limit the growth, the Democrats said that was an actual cut.

DR. DEAN: Well, they're going to say what they're going to say. All I...

MR. RUSSERT: You would be willing to limit the growth...

DR. DEAN: Absolutely.

MR. RUSSERT: ...in Defense, in Medicare and Social Security?

DR. DEAN: You have to do that. If you don't go where the money is--Social Security, we're going to fix differently. We're not talking about Social Security. We're talking about Medicare. We're talking about Defense and we're talking about all the other things the federal government does. But I want to put the tax cut back into that budget. They need it to balance the budget.

MR. RUSSERT: That's raising taxes, though. Let's be honest.

DR. DEAN: Here's what I say to people. You have a choice. Do you want to have the president's tax cut or would you like a health-care program that nobody can ever take away? Do you want to have the president's tax cut or would you like to fully fund special education, which is an obligation to the states, which is raising your property taxes? Do you want the president's tax cut or would you like to go back towards a balanced budget so we can actually create jobs and have a healthy economy again? Because a balanced budget, I believe, is the key to turning the economy around, as Bill Clinton showed.

So, if you ask that to most Americans, they're going to say, "I would much rather pay the taxes that I was paying when Bill Clinton was president if I could have health care and my property taxes would go down and we could have jobs again." Because they never got the president's tax cut. The vast majority of people in this country either got no tax cut or got a small few hundred dollars.

I had a guy in New Hampshire one time who stood up and said, "Governor, you may make some sense here." This is New Hampshire. "I got a $600 check from the president, but my 401(k) went down $60,000. I think I was better off before the president's tax cut." Most people got hurt by the president's tax cut and they're paying more property taxes because of what the president's tax cut has done to their state and local government.

MR. RUSSERT: Let me turn to an issue that you've been very identified with and that's gay rights. Here you are on the cover of Advocate magazine, put out by the National Gay and Lesbian Newsmagazine. Canada--and this was the way the papers reported it this week: "The Canadian cabinet approved a new national policy today to open marriage to gay couples, paving the way for Canada to become the third country to allow same-sex unions. ...The policy opens the way for same-sex couples from the United States and around the world to travel here to marry, since Canada has no marriage residency requirements. Canadian marriage licenses have always been accepted in the United States."

And hundreds of American gay couples are now going to Canada to be married. When they return to the United States, married in Canada legally, should that marriage be recognized?

DR. DEAN: You know what we do in this country? We focus so much on gay marriage that I think we've missed the real point of what this debate is about, which is equal rights. As you know, in our state we have a civil unions statute which says that gay couples, while they can't get married, have the same rights as everybody else, exactly the same rights--inheritance rights, insurance rights, hospital rights--that's what this is all about. So the answer is, "Will I recognize the equal rights of people who get united in Canada, whether it's married or anything else?" Yes. I think that it...

MR. RUSSERT: Yeah, but will you recognize them as a married couple, as President Dean? A couple is married in Canada, comes in the United States, legally married in Canada, are they legally married in the United States?

DR. DEAN: I can't answer that question because it's a legal question, but I can tell you what I will definitely do. I will definitely make sure they have exactly the same rights as married people, which is what we've done in Vermont. I can't tell you about the marriage question. I think the answer probably is they are legally entitled to be recognized, but I don't without--I'm not a lawyer and I don't know the answer to that.

MR. RUSSERT: Would you--do you think they should be?

DR. DEAN: Well, that's a very difficult issue. The position I've always taken is that it's the church's business to decide who they can marry and who they can't marry.

MR. RUSSERT: Well, there's civil marriage. A judge marries people in the United States.

DR. DEAN: We have civil unions in Vermont. I will recognize the legal--it's the federal government's and the states' business to recognize the fact that everybody has the same legal rights as everybody else. That's why we did civil unions. Marriage is also a way of getting those exact same legal rights, so the question is, "Is a marriage in another country recognized in this country here?" My guess is the answer is yes. I don't know the answer, but I can tell you what I stand for. I stand for equal rights for every single American.

MR. RUSSERT: Would you seek...

DR. DEAN: And so the legal parts I would definitely support, then I've got to get some opinions about, you know, what we're doing to the Catholic Church and other churches that oppose this kind of stuff. But I definitely believe that you have to recognize equal rights. So if a couple goes to Canada and gets married, when they come back, they should have exactly the same legal rights as every other American.

MR. RUSSERT: Would you, as president, seek the same kind of legislation that now has passed in Canada, allowing formally gays to marry?

DR. DEAN: No, because I don't think that is the right of the federal government. I was very much opposed, unlike some of the folks I'm running against, to the Defense of Marriage Act. I did not support the Defense of Marriage Act, because I do not think it's the federal government's business to get involved in what has traditionally been the matter for the states to deal with. But by the same token, I would not tell other states that they had to have a civil union statute or that they had to have a marriage statute. That is the not the province of the federal government. What I will go as president of the United States is insist that every state find a way to recognize the same legal rights for gay couples as they do for everybody else. Equal rights under the law is a fundamental tenet of America, and that's where we need to be.

MR. RUSSERT: Another debatable and controversial issue is the death penalty. This was the headline in your home state paper the other day: "Dean Aligns With Bush On Death Penalty. Former Governor Howard Dean appears to be shedding some of the liberal tendencies that have won him national attention as he now expands his support for the death penalty...His shift on the death penalty...has some questioning his motives."

"'This doesn't surprise me. I think Dean's willing to do what he has to do to win,'" said Frank Bryan, a political science professor at the University of Vermont and longtime observer of Dean. 'I really believe he's very ambitious and he wants to win badly. He has to get to the final plateau, and I think he will take risks with his inconsistencies being discovered in order to get to the next step.'...

"Eric Davis, a Middlebury College political science professor," also from Vermont, "summed up Dean's change in two words: South Carolina. ...'I think what's going on here is Dean is trying to appeal to electorates in more conservative states...'" South Carolina being the third primary after Iowa and New Hampshire.

DR. DEAN: It's a very interesting article, and turned out to be wrong, which was kind of embarrassing. In fact, I figured I was going to get asked this. In 1964--excuse me, in 1994, in the very paper that this was printed in, they ran a series of articles saying I was rethinking the death penalty. This has nothing to do with running for president. It happened while Bill Clinton--before Bill Clinton had even run for his second term. I began to rethink the death penalty in 1994 because of the Polly Klaas case. The Polly Klaas case was the case of a young girl who was kidnapped from her house, abducted and raped, and murdered by a felon who never should have been let out of jail. We had a very similar horrible case in Vermont a few years earlier, and I began to rethink my position on the death penalty as a result of that, and the article was just plain wrong.

MR. RUSSERT: But in terms of rethinking--let me show you what you did say in '92 and think about...

DR. DEAN: That's right. You don't have to show me. I know what I said in '92.

MR. RUSSERT: But I want to talk about it...


MR. RUSSERT: ...because I want the country to see it because it's important. "I don't support the death penalty for two reasons. One, you might have the wrong guy, and two, the state is like a parent. Parents who smoke cigarettes can't really tell their children not to smoke and be taken seriously. If a state tells you not to murder people, a state shouldn't be in the business of taking people's lives." The Catholic bishop up in Vermont has said this, and I'll show you and our viewers. "I am sorry that Governor Dean has expressed second thoughts on his support for the physicians' pledge to 'do no harm.' ...as Governor Dean himself said: 'I truly don't believe it's a deterrent.' What then would be the motive for the death penalty except vengeance?" Do you believe there's still a possibility, as you said, the wrong guy could be executed?

DR. DEAN: Yes.

MR. RUSSERT: And number two, as you said, if a state is like a parent saying don't kill, why is the state killing?

DR. DEAN: It's a deeply, deeply troubling issue. Let me explain to you why I changed my position and why I've began that process in 1994. These were two horrible murders of young children and I oppose the death penalty in most instances. Here's the areas I've changed and here's why, and I'm very supportive for exam--we don't have a death penalty in Vermont just so most of your viewers know that we're one of the states that doesn't and we don't need a death penalty.

But here's the problem, Tim, the state executes people improperly if they're improperly convicted--Illinois was the classic case. There were a number of people that were death row that turned out to be innocent. Deeply trouble. I came to realize because of the Polly Klaas case and because of similar other cases that sometimes the state inadvertently has a hand in killing innocent people because they let people out who ought never to have been let out. And so the judicial system's imperfection hurts us in two ways. It executes innocent people because they were convicted and put to death, which is a terrible thing which is why I support Pat Leahy's innocents protection bill, but they also allow people to get out of jail when they're supposed to be in there for life and then those people go and repeat their crimes, oftentimes sex offenders.

So I came to the conclusion that a person who murders a child shows a depraved indifference to life which will never be--incapable of being rehabilitated. Secondly, that a mass murderer, such as a terrorist, is someone who can't be rehabilitated and to let these people out is too dangerous and it's too high likelihood that they'll repeat their crime. And thirdly, I don't believe the death penalty is a deterrent, but I think there may be one instance where just possibly it could be and that's the shooting of a police officer. If you're about to pull a trigger on a guy who's in uniform and you know that you're going to get the death penalty and if you don't pull the trigger something different will happen, maybe that might save the police officer's life.

The only three instances that I support the death penalty are, one, murder of a child, two, a mass murder like a terrorist and, three, the shooting of a police officer, and that's how I came to the position that I came and I began that process in '94 which is...

MR. RUSSERT: What's wrong with life imprisonment without parole--it's $2 million per inmate cheaper than the death penalty when you consider and factor the cost of all of the appeals?

DR. DEAN: You know, I had said this before and I'll say it again: I don't think what's cheap and what's not cheap has a bearing on whether you use the death penalty or not. Other people have said it's cheaper to do the death penalty because you get rid of them. You don't have to give them room and board for life. Those kinds of arguments are irrelevant here.

So I just--life without parole, which we have which I actually got passed when I was lieutenant governor--the problem with life without parole is that people get out for reasons that have nothing to do with justice. We had a case where a guy who was a rapist, a serial sex offender, was convicted, then was let out on what I would think and believe was a technicality, a new trial was ordered and the victim wouldn't come back and go through the second trial. And so the guy basically got time served, and he was the man who murdered a 15-year-old girl and raped her and then left her for dead and she was dead.

So life without parole doesn't work either. If life without parole worked 100 percent of the time, there'd be no need for the death penalty because I agree with the bishop. Vengeance should never be a piece of this. As human beings, we all want to get revenge. That should never part of public policy, to get revenge, but the trouble is that life without parole is not perfect either and the victims in that case are 15- and 12-year-old girls. That is every bit as heinous as putting to death someone who didn't commit the crime.

MR. RUSSERT: We're going to take a quick break and come back. More of our conversation with Howard Dean about defense issues; Iraq. A whole lot more right after this.


MR. RUSSERT: More with one of the Democrats who wants to take on George Bush in the fall, Governor Howard Dean, after this brief station break.


MR. RUSSERT: And we are back, talking to Governor Howard Dean. Texas Democrat Martin Frost said the other day, "We need a candidate who is credible on national security. I think Howard Dean has the appearance of being another McGovern." Worried about your national security experience and views. The headlines: "Foes Warn Of Dean Debacle; Will Dean '04 Be A Disaster For Hill Democrats?" And they talked--they point to comments like this, Governor, and I'll show you and our viewers, from April. "We have to take a different approach [to diplomacy]. We won't always have the strongest military." Do you, as a potential commander in chief, really believe that the United States will not always have the strongest military?

DR. DEAN: What I said was, if we don't begin to use diplomacy as part of our foreign policy, we won't always have the strongest military. And that's absolutely true. And there have been many other people who know a great deal about national security, including President Clinton, who have said that's true. We have got to take on a different posture in the world where we don't simply push everybody aside who disagrees with us without trying to actually accomplish some things through diplomatic means.

MR. RUSSERT: But we will always have the strongest military under President Dean.

DR. DEAN: Oh, under President Dean, we certainly will always have the strongest military, because this is a long-term phenomenon, not a short-term phenomenon. In foreign affairs, there's a phenomenon called encirclement, where--and it's a historical phenomenon. A single, very great power with no obvious rivals in the world who exercises that power unilaterally and in contempt of other countries will result in the formation of an alliance of other second-tier powers to contain the power of that great military power. That's exactly what I was talking about in that quote, and that's absolutely true. It will happen over a period of years. Should I become president...

MR. RUSSERT: It will happen? We will have a secondary military power?

DR. DEAN: If we continue following George Bush's military policy and defense policy, will become a secondary military power. Under President Dean, that won't happen for two reasons. First of all, it's a long-term phenomenon. And secondly I will begin to set us on a path where cooperation as part of our foreign relations and our diplomatic policy. This president has essentially pushed aside people who disagree with him, using our military might, and using threats and intimidation. In the long run, that does not work.

MR. RUSSERT: Let's talk about the military budget. How many men and women would you have on active duty?

DR. DEAN: I can't answer that question. And I don't know what the answer is. I can tell you one thing, though. We need more troops in Afghanistan. We need more troops in Iraq now. I supported the president's invasion of Afghanistan for the obvious reasons, what had gone on and the murder of people. But I do not support what the president's doing there now. We need more people there. We cannot be making alliances with warlords in the hope that we're one day going to have the democracy in Afghanistan. And what I would do in Iraq now is bring in NATO and bring in the United Nations, because our troops on the ground deserve better support than they're getting.

MR. RUSSERT: But how many troops--how many men and women do we now have on active duty?

DR. DEAN: I can't tell you the answer to that either. It's...

MR. RUSSERT: But as commander in chief, you should now that.

DR. DEAN: As someone who's running in the Democratic Party primary, I know that it's somewhere in the neighborhood of one to two million people, but I don't know the exact number, and I don't think I need to know that to run in the Democratic Party primary.

MR. RUSSERT: How many troops would have in Iraq?

DR. DEAN: More than we have now. My understanding is we have in the neighborhood of 135,000 troops. I can't tell you exactly how many it takes. General Shinseki thought that we were undermanned by roughly 100,000. Maybe that's the right attitude.

Tim, you have to understand, and I know you do understand, that as you run a campaign and as you acquire the nomination and as you go on to be president, you acquire military advisers who will tell you these things. And, no, I don't have a military background. Neither did Bill Clinton. George Bush had a National Guard background. Ronald Reagan did not have a military background. I will have the kinds of people around me who can tell me these things. For me to have to know right now, participating in the Democratic Party, how many troops are actively on duty in the United States military when that is actually a number that's composed both of people on duty today and people who are National Guard people who are on duty today, it's silly. That's like asking me who the ambassador to Rwanda is.

MR. RUSSERT: Oh, no, no, no. Not at all. Not if you want to be commander in chief. But we now have 9,000 troops...

DR. DEAN: So your perception--your position is that I need to know exactly how many people are on duty today in the active military forces...

MR. RUSSERT: Well, have a sense...

DR. DEAN: ...six months away from the first primary?

MR. RUSSERT: If somebody wants to be president of the United States, have a sense of the military.

DR. DEAN: I do have a sense of the military.

MR. RUSSERT: ...of how many people roughly...

DR. DEAN: I know there are roughly between a million and two million people active duty. I know that we don't have enough people in Iraq. I know that General Shinseki said that we need 300,000 troops to go into Iraq, not 200,000 troops, and I'm prepared to assume the burden and have the proper people around me advising me on what needs to be done.

MR. RUSSERT: All right, Afghanistan, we have 9,000. You would bring it up to what level?

DR. DEAN: Well, I believe that we need a very substantial increase in troops. They don't all have to be American troops. My guess would be that we would need at least 30,000 and 40,000 additional troops. They don't all have to be American because we have got to start taking over the security functions from the warlords in order to prepare the way for a unified Afghan police force that's a national police force.

MR. RUSSERT: There is concern about your awareness and positions on national security. You must acknowledge that.

DR. DEAN: Sure there are. Because just like President Reagan, President Clinton, and President Bush, I do not have extensive experience in national security.

MR. RUSSERT: Let me turn to a Boston Globe article about the military service during the Vietnam War as it applies to you and I'll put it on the screen. "Dean did not serve in the military during the Vietnam War because he received a medical deferment for an unfused vertebra in his back. Several articles in the last year have noted that after his deferment, Dean spent 80 days skiing in Aspen, Colorado."

And then The Aspen Times wrote this profile. "In Howard Dean, we could have a president who spent the winter of 1971-72...pounding bumps on Aspen Mountain. 'I paid $250 for a ski pass and skied 80 days on Ajax. It was the greatest mountain. ... I went to work pouring concrete for a small company.'"

Why were you able to ski on Ajax Mountain, pounding your back, and pouring concrete, and not serve in the military?

DR. DEAN: First of all, let me say that there's only one person who's contending for the Democratic nominee for president who did serve in the military, nomination for president, and then let me explain the circumstances of my draft classification. I went to my physical in Ft. Hamilton in Brooklyn, which was a great deal like the scene out of Alice's Restaurant in terms of the different sizes, shapes, colors, and all kinds of people were there. I was given an examination. I had a previous back problem, which is evidently congenital, which prevented me from doing any sustained running, a problem that I've had since then, since that time, which requires that when I get out of the car I often have some pains up and down my leg and back and so forth.

But I have been able to exercise at--ry vigorous athletic life except for some things. One of those is long-distance running, which is how the problem came to my attention in the first place. I noticed the pain when I was in high school running track. In any case, the--after the physical, I received a one Y deferment. That's how the United States government decided that they would use me. One Y deferment means you can only be called in times of national emergency. I didn't have anything to do with choosing any draft deferment. I didn't try to get out of the draft. I had a physical. The United States government said this is your classification. I'm not responsible for that. I didn't have anything to do with the decision. That was their choice.

MR. RUSSERT: A military physical.

DR. DEAN: Yeah. I had a military physical. I had a draft induction physical in Ft. Hamilton. I think it was, perhaps, during my senior year. I don't remember the exact date.

MR. RUSSERT: If called, you would have served?

DR. DEAN: Of course.

MR. RUSSERT: Let me turn to Iraq, and this is what you said in April. "We've gotten rid of [Saddam Hussein], and I suppose that's a good thing."


DR. DEAN: Here's the problem. We don't know whether in the long run the Iraqi people are better off, and the most important thing is we don't know whether we're better off. This president told us that we were going to go into Iraq because they might have--they had atomic weapons. That turned out not to be so. The secretary of Defense told us that he knew where there were weapons of mass destruction around Tikrit and around Baghdad. We've been in control of Iraq for 50 days. We haven't been able to find any such thing.

MR. RUSSERT: But you also said...

DR. DEAN: So...

MR. RUSSERT: ...and I'll show it to you. You said in January, Governor, "I would be surprised if [Saddam Hussein] didn't have chemicals and biological weapons."

DR. DEAN: Oh, well, I tend to believe the president. I think most Americans tends to believe the president. It turns out that what the president was saying and what his administration's saying wasn't so. We don't know why that is. So...

MR. RUSSERT: But the Iraqi people are not better off without Saddam Hussein?

DR. DEAN: I think right now they are. Here's the problem. If we can't get our act together in Iraq, and if we can't build Iraq into a democracy, then the alternative is chaos or a fundamentalist regime. That is certainly not a safer situation for the United States of America. And we don't know for sure if it is or not. Saddam Hussein is a dreadful human being. He's a mass murderer. I think it's terrific that he's gone. But the fact is, that in the long term, we went into Iraq for reasons the president of the United States still has not made clear. And because of that, we really don't know what the outcome is going to be.

MR. RUSSERT: What did you think of Senator John Kerry's comments that President Bush misled the country.

DR. DEAN: Well, I thought it was Senator Bob Graham that said that and I agree with that. And Bob Graham is in a position to know. He's a senior senator on the Intelligence Committee and...

MR. RUSSERT: No, John Kerry said the president misled us and...

DR. DEAN: Well, I wasn't aware that Senator Kerry said it. I knew Senator Graham had said it in Iowa. But I believe that. I think we were misled. Now, the question is did the president do that on purpose? Was he misled by his own intelligence people? Was he misled by the people around us? Or did he, in fact, know what the truth was and tell us something different. I've called for an independent investigation headed by Republicans and Democrats who are well respected in the country to find out what the president did know and when he knew it. We essentially went to war, supported by Senator Kerry, Representative Gephardt, Senator Lieberman and Senator Edwards, based on facts that turned out not to be accurate. I think that's pretty serious and I think the American people are entitled to know why that was.

MR. RUSSERT: Let me show you something in April you had to say about your competitors. "I think we're going to beat the living daylights out of these other candidates because they need a backbone transplant."


DR. DEAN: Oh, you know I never would say on this show.

MR. RUSSERT: But you believe some of your Democratic contenders, opponents need a backbone transplant?

DR. DEAN: At that time what was going on was that a number of people had voted for the war and were going to Iowa saying "Well, I only"--some of them are still doing it. I...


DR. DEAN: I'm not going to mention them by name. There's no need to do that.

MR. RUSSERT: But, Governor, if you're a straight-talking, blunt-speaking candidate and you're saying some of your opponents need a backbone transplant, who needs a backbone transplant?

DR. DEAN: There are a number of people, Tim, who have gone out on the campaign trail, one as recently as last week, and said "I only voted for the resolution to go to war with Iraq because I knew that the resolution would force the president to send the matter to the United Nations." That is false.

MR. RUSSERT: Who said that?

DR. DEAN: I'm not going to tell you who said that.

MR. RUSSERT: Well, why--if you're going to make a...

DR. DEAN: Because I'm doing my best to try to keep some semblance of unity in this party. We are all going to need each other by the end of the day. I'm the non-Washington candidate. I'm going to run very hard against all the candidates who are inside the Beltway from Washington because I think they're going to have a hard time convincing the American people that somebody from Washington ought to beat this president. But to s...

MR. RUSSERT: Well, you--do your best. Let me show you...

DR. DEAN: I know. I haven't always done my best.

MR. RUSSERT: Well, let me show you exactly--here's the headline from today's Washington Post and I'll show everybody: "Misfires From The Hip Creates Problems Dean Discovers. ...[Dean ] is finding that his outspokenness can get him in trouble. Last week, Dean issued what was his third apology to a rival presidential candidate. After telling the Associated Press that he did not consider Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fla.) a 'top tier candidate,' Dean recanted, telling the news served that he regretted the remark. Earlier this year, he apologized to Rep. Richard A. Gephardt (D-Mo.) for tagging his broad health care initiative a 'pie in the sky' plan. Beefier that, Dean apologized to Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) after accusing him, during a Democratic gathering in California, of muddling his position on the war in Iraq."

This is what an aide to John Kerry had to say about all of this. "What we haven't figured out yet is whether these harsh, personal attacks are part of a long shot's strategy to get noticed, or whether this unpleasantness is just intrinsic to his personality. Or both." A very serious question. Do you have the temperament to be president?

DR. DEAN: Not only do I have the temperament to be president but I have the honesty to be president. When I make a mistake, I'm very pleased to apologize for it. The fact is that a lot of this stuff is about what goes on spinning, and I'm surprised the reporters take the bait all the time. I've issued one apology, and it was an apology I ought to have issued. I mischaracterized John Edwards' position in March at the California convention because I didn't know what he had said.

MR. RUSSERT: Well, you apologized to Bob Graham.

DR. DEAN: No, I didn't.

MR. RUSSERT: You called the AP and recanted the statement.

DR. DEAN: I called the AP and said, "I'm sorry I said that."

MR. RUSSERT: Well, that's an apology.

DR. DEAN: No, it's not.

MR. RUSSERT: "I'm sorry I said it" is not an apology?

DR. DEAN: I didn't actually say I'm sorry. I said, "I shouldn't have said it because it's not my business to handicap the races." Look, Tim, if I make a mistake, I'm happy to say so, and I'm happy to say why I made a mistake. But to say that I don't have the temperament to be president, I actually think maybe I have a better temperament to be president because wouldn't it be nice to have a president who's actually admitted he was wrong when he made a mistake. If I insult somebody by mistake and it's my fault, I'm very happy to say so. I'm not afraid of that. I will not be the scripted candidate who is going to do all the things that their handlers tell them to do. I suppose my own handlers have a nightmare over that fact.

MR. RUSSERT: But is there...

DR. DEAN: But the fact is: Wouldn't it be nice to have a president who wasn't on the one hand or on the other hand who said, "Well, I voted for the war, but I only did it to send the thing to the U.N.," when, in fact, the resolution didn't require the president to go to the U.N.? I'm tired of hearing politicians that make--that do those things deliberately. I'm going to say what I think. Sometimes I'm going to be wrong, and when I'm wrong, I'm going to say so.

MR. RUSSERT: Is there a risk, though, that you'll be seen as described in Time magazine today as a bomb thrower and not have the statesmanlike qualities necessary to be a president?

DR. DEAN: I think that's up to the American people to decide. What they're going to decide is that I'm going to say what I think. I have a long record in Vermont of running the budget better than any of these other folks could because they haven't run a budget with the exception of Bob Graham. I have a long record in Vermont of delivering program that they all talk about at election time that we've all actually done like health insurance stuff for all kids in our state. And I think the American people get to decide. That's what the primary's about: Do you want somebody who inside the Beltway people consider a statesman because they hedge on every issue and they are scripted and they never say anything that the focus groups don't approve of or do you want somebody who's going to lay it on the line?

This whole campaign really has been about it's time for Democrats to be proud of being Democrats again. Stop voting with the president and then try to justify your actions, stop supporting stuff that makes no sense and stand up for what you believe in. That's the basis of this campaign, and I think that's the basis of a reformation of this country. We need to take this country back. This country's in a lot of trouble. It's in trouble because we have a radical right administration that are dismantling the New Deal and it is not telling the truth about a lot of things that they say.

The Clear Skies Initiative which basically allows you to put more pollution into the air, No Child Left Behind, a slogan cribbed from a liberal activist group and then the tax cuts are funded and health care's cut for kids. That's what this campaign is about. It's not about arguing with some inside the Beltway person about whether I did or did not apologize to Bob Graham or not. Bob Graham is a terrific guy. If I wronged him, I'm happy to apologize to him. The real issue is what is this country going to stand for and what is this party going to stand for.

MR. RUSSERT: In terms of who you are, I want to refer you to your comments at the National Abortion Rights Action League in January. And I'll read it to you and our viewers. "One time a young lady came to office who was 12 years old, and she thought she might be pregnant. And we did the test and we did the exam and she was pregnant. ...And after I had talked to her for awhile, I came to the conclusion that the likely father of her child was her own father. You explain that to the American people who think that parental notification is a good idea. I will veto parental notification." And then this in USA Today. "Dean told a powerful story but left out a key fact. ...What Dean didn't say was that he knew the father was not responsible, someone else was convicted." That's a pretty big omission.

DR. DEAN: What do you mean?

MR. RUSSERT: To say to people at NARAL, "Leave us a suggestion"...

DR. DEAN: I don't think it's--omission. A pretty big omission, you mean? Yeah.

MR. RUSSERT: Yeah. That's a pretty--to say that...

DR. DEAN: I don't think it is at all.

MR. RUSSERT: To suggest her father may have been...

DR. DEAN: I thought it was. At the time, I thought it was.

MR. RUSSERT: But when you told that story, you knew otherwise.

DR. DEAN: That's right.

MR. RUSSERT: Why didn't you say that?

DR. DEAN: Because it didn't make any difference. Because the fact that I thought that at the time, that that girl had been made pregnant with her father, under a parental notification law, I would have then been required to report that to her family.

MR. RUSSERT: But parental notification for a 12-year-old--this woman wants an abortion. According to Vermont law and all the laws I've checked across the country, a minor needs parental consent to get a driver's license, a tattoo, see an R-rated movie. When we talked about the death penalty, you talked about the 12- and 15-year-old young girls.

DR. DEAN: Right.

MR. RUSSERT: And you said we need a death penalty as a way of dealing with those kinds of situations. Why not tell a parent, notify a parent that their 12-year-old girl is going to have an abortion, or if it's an abusive situation, go to a judge. Why not?

DR. DEAN: Here's what you do, and here's what we do. You know, I, as an internist, saw a number of--I took care of all kinds of ranges of people. I saw a number of girls like this, none of whom I suspected what I suspected about this girl. I always tried to get the parents involved. Usually I knew the parents, and I would--the way I would do it is I would bring them in my office and I would say, "Look, the smartest thing to do is call your parents." "My parents are going to kill me." I said, "They're not going to kill you. I know them. They're going to be very upset. We need to get them involved." I would never pick up the phone against their will and call them. Sometimes they'd say, "I can't deal with it. You call them." Once in a while, when a child says "My parents are going to kill me," they're not kidding.

MR. RUSSERT: But you go to a judge in that situation.

DR. DEAN: But judicial bypass has been shown not to work. There's been a lot of studies about it in Massachusetts. It just doesn't work. You have to rely--look, nobody's going to take a 12-year-old child and give her an abortion without being--I hope without being sensible, thoughtful and trying to get an adult involved. But to have rigid parental notification laws make it more difficult to practice medicine. This young girl that I talked about turned out--of course, we reported the whole situation--turned out the person who had sexually abused her was convicted. Fine. That's the right thing to have happened. But suppose we'd had a parental notification law, and suppose under the law I was then obliged to call up her parents and say, "I have this young girl here who, you know, is pregnant" and so forth and so on. What would have been the fate of that girl when she went home?

MR. RUSSERT: If you, in fact, thought it was an abusive situation, you can go to a judge. That's the point of notification laws.

DR. DEAN: Yeah, but you know what?

MR. RUSSERT: And if you have one for tattoos and driver's license and movies, why not for something as serious as abortion?

DR. DEAN: Every doctor knows that you should get a responsible adult involved, and I hope that every doctor fulfills that mission. I'll give you an example. There have been judges that say, "Under no circumstances will I provide certification that this girl should have an abortion, because I'm against abortion." Now, there are bad judges in the system, and some of them rule on these cases. Why can't this be a matter between the doctor, the family and the patient? Why can't it be like that? Why do we have to have politicians always wanting to practice medicine? Whether a woman can have an abortion, what has to happen...

MR. RUSSERT: But some 12-year-olds don't want to tell their mom and dad, and you are supporting that.

DR. DEAN: No, I'm not. What I'm saying is if the 12-year-old doesn't want to tell their mom and dad because they're afraid of their mom and dad is going to hurt them, then you have an obligation to make sure that you talk with that 12-year-old and work--first of all, 12-year-olds don't get pregnant, usually speaking, unless there's a real problem. But if the 12-year-old has a legitimate reason, then there has to be a different way to do this.

MR. RUSSERT: Talking about politics and saying what you believe in, you said in July of last year that Al Gore should have taken the gun issue off the table. It cost him three states and he lost the presidency. Why would you be afraid to take--stand up for any issue? Why take issues off the table if you really want to...

DR. DEAN: Because I don't think it should be on the table.

MR. RUSSERT: Why not?

DR. DEAN: We have no gun control in Vermont.

MR. RUSSERT: Well, you're for the Brady Bill...

DR. DEAN: Yep.

MR. RUSSERT: ...which means there's a waiting period before you buy a gun. You're against...

DR. DEAN: Well, I'm for--it's backgrounds.


DR. DEAN: The Brady Bill's InstaCheck. It's not a waiting period.

MR. RUSSERT: But you...

DR. DEAN: Well, there's a small waiting period, that's true.

MR. RUSSERT: Well--and loopholes at gun shows, there is a waiting period if you have it on a weekend.

DR. DEAN: Background check, right.

MR. RUSSERT: And you're for a ban on assault weapons, so you are for gun control.

DR. DEAN: Look, what I've said is we should keep the federal laws and support them, and we should apply background checks, InstaCheck, to gun shows, right?

MR. RUSSERT: But why take the issue off the table? Debate it.

DR. DEAN: Because--well, you can debate it all you want.

MR. RUSSERT: Because it may hurt Democrats politically?

DR. DEAN: No. Different states are different. My state, we have no gun control. We also have one of the lowest homicide rates in the country. We're a rural state with a lot of hunters in it. Right? In New York and New Jersey and California, they ought to have as much gun control as they want. My position is this is a state issue. Keep the federal laws. Enforce them vigorously. And then let every state decide what they want. Because when you say gun control in my state, people are going to think you're taking the squirrel rifle their parents gave them away. When you say gun control in New Jersey and California and New York, they say "Great. Let's get the machine guns and the handguns off the streets." They're both right. So why can't each state decide for themselves over and above the federal law what they want or don't want? What the result will be, you won't get more gun control than what you've already got in Wyoming or Montana and Vermont, and you'll get a lot more in California and New Jersey. Fine.

MR. RUSSERT: We got 15 seconds. How's this race going to play out?

DR. DEAN: Who knows? That's up to the voters. I'm going to work. My message is be strong for the Democratic Party. The only way to beat this president is to be proud of who you are and stand up for what you are and who you are, and that's how we can beat George Bush. And I don't think the other guys from Washington are going to be able to do that.

MR. RUSSERT: Governor Howard Dean, we thank you for joining us this morning, sharing your views. And be safe on the campaign trail.

DR. DEAN: Thank you.

Posted by Lisa at 01:32 PM
July 13, 2003
Donald Rumsfeld On This Morning's Meet The Press

I have some stuff to do this afternoon, so I can't put this up proper until tonight (or even tomorrow morning maybe).

But I did want to make it available for everyone immediately, so the clips from today are loading up to this directory right now.

The directory will contain the interview with Donald Rumsfeld in two parts and a bunch of stills from the program. (uploding now)

I've also got stuff from the July 6, 2003 Meet The Press in this directory.
(These are arranged in 7 clips by category.)


Posted by Lisa at 02:21 PM