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tv   [untitled]  CSPAN  June 7, 2009 7:30pm-8:00pm EDT

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of the united states appropriated money for the purposes of supporting groups that tried to overthrow saddam hussein. that was the policy of the united states even before we got elected. i will stand by my statements that there was a role in a dimension to saddam hussein's policy that was supporting terror. >> but given your own acknowledgement that some of the information about the connections to 9/11, for example, it turned out to not be as accurate as originally thought, are you now saying that the case of war that was being made in 2002 was not as strong as you thought it was at the time? >> no, i would not put it that way. i thought it was strong at the time, and i still believe so. i do believe the president made the right call when he made the decision. as i say, it was a very
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important decision, if you look at it in the aftermath of 9/11. the problem we were forced with in the aftermath of 9/11 was the possibility of another 9/11- style attack, only with much deadlier technology. 9/11 with nukes or some biological agents, and that concern drove a lot of our thinking in those months immediately after 9/11. we were faced with the situation where we felt we had to take action, pursuit an aggressive strategy, which we did, to reduce the possibility that terrorists could ever get their hands on that type of capability. they might share that technology. i think it was a sound decision to make. i think it was an important part in our overall strategy with the global war on terror. saddam hussein is no longer in iraq.
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there is a functioning democracy, and there have been major, major changes in that part of the world that i think will be deemed very significant. >> one thing you have made reference to in your dresses and in your characterization in that time immediately after 9/11 that you're speaking of was the feeling of america being under attack, and prospective changes that that brings. on sunday in "the washington post," and reporter who was also there at that time characterized the bush administration as being in a state of shock, and i wonder what is your recollection of what those post-9/11 days were like, and what was the immediate reaction, whether they're any adjustments made toward policy, given this. >> the -- um, i am trying to
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think of how to respond carefully and cautiously here. i looked at the world, the morning after 9/11, and what i saw was 16 acres of ashes in downtown new york city in manhattan. i saw the pentagon which had suffered a severe blow. if you looked closely enough on television to the footage of american citizens jumping out of windows in the upper stories of the trade center because they were going to be burned to death, and i knew for a fact if we had not been successful, the passengers on flight 93 had not been successful, they probably would have taken out of the white house or the capitol building. it was the worst attack on a homeland in the history of the republic. we lost more people than we did at pearl harbor. we had good reason to believe that there would be following attacks. we saw tax in 1993 on the world
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trade center in new york, in 1985, in 1986 indeed khyber 10 hours, -- in the tower is, and others, and then there comes 9/11 in 2001, and there was an accelerating pace in the frequency and the scope and scale of the attacks. we would of been absolutely totally irresponsible if we had not taken the view that we had to do everything in our power in order to prevent that. that is exactly what we did. now, we look back at it, and to some extent, our success allows some of our fellow citizens do not have to worry about it. you guys emphasize how serious was. there was the counter-terrorism program in the run-up to 9/11.
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the fact is we did what we felt we had to do, and if i had it to do all over again, i would do exactly the same thing. i would be just as tough and aggressive as i could to make sure that those individuals who wished us harm, try to achieve a political objective, -- i think it was the right thing to do. i do not have much tolerance or patience for those who with the benefit of hindsight eight years later and who have forgotten what in fact happens on 9/11 -- it was the right thing to do. the threat is still out there. we need to maintain our kid abilities, and it is absolutely essential that we do not forget what happened. just imagine what would happen if you had 19 men in cities not armed with airline tickets and box cutters but with a nuclear weapon or a dose of the plague
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or some other deadly biological instrument. that is the kind of world we live in, and any administration our government that does not deal effectively with that threat i do not think would be doing his job. [applause] -- doing its job. >> your point on nuclear proliferation is a well taken one, mr. vice president, and there is one topic. when the bush administration took office, north korean plutonium production was frozen. during your time in office, north korea restarted its nuclear weapons program, conducted its first-ever underground testing, and there were 6000 centrifuges, and considering during the 2004 presidential debates, there was the nation's great security threat. do you still contend that the
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bush administration kept the united states and its allies say for? >> well, i would contend that for several reasons. first of all, i think we had a significant impact on al qaeda when we took down the saddam hussein regime, we eliminated one of the great sources. they had previously produced and used weapons of mass destruction. we also took down muammar qaddafi's program in libya. he did that just a few days after we captured saddam hussein. we took out a.q. khan, the man, the prime sponsor of pakistan's nuclear program, who then went into business for himself in the black market, so the technology that was being sold to libya and terror -- and it iran, i think
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we had some success. they are still out there. my guess is that there is a lot of attention being focused specifically on those, the weather is in the white house is going to have to address this. north koreans have a demonstrated once again that they are not prepared. they have tested a nuclear weapon, it looks like they are getting ready to test another mosul -- missile, as well. we have to make certain that north korea nor iran acquires these capabilities with nuclear weapons. i wish we had done more, but those are the problems that wiere passed on to the next administration, and we will do
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everything to support their efforts. >> as proof of the bush administration actions on the war of terror, you also report a lack of terror on u.s. soil since 2001 is part of your success. you criticized "the new york times" decision to publish information, the terrorist situation that said it can only help al qaeda. since it was repealed, the u.s. has since to sustain an attack, so following your logic, can we then say that the terrorist surveillance program did not need to not be public because there has been no attacks since? >> i am not sure i understand the question. [laughter] [applause] i will answer my version of your question. how is that? my complaint about what "the new york times" did, this is one of
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the things we set up in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. we are working with the national security agency. we made it clear to intercept. there is khalid shaikh mohammed when he was intercepted and pakistan. the program was set up a very, very cautious way, and it had to be reviewed every 45 days. it had to be personally signed by the presence of the united states. it was a very valuable program. it was evaluated by congress and got legislative authorization to continue. the reason for my comment about "the new york times" was the program was classified, and there was a source of a good
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deal of information that allowed us to find out who inside the united states was talking to al qaeda folks outside of the united states, and we found ourselves in a situation where the new york times leaked it. we called them into the oval office, and the washington bureau chief and others came down to the oval office, and the president said, "look, please do not publish what you are about to publish, because you will tell the anyhow we are reading their mail, which would not be good. in fact, there is a lot against it." -- a law against it." and they went ahead and did it, and they ended up winning a pulitzer award. it was damaging to the united states -- and it made possible for the al qaeda ties to know
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how we were intercepting their communication. we might be the speculate that we had been able to catch even more al qaeda senior managers then we have is, in fact, the secret had been maintained, but it was not, and "the new york times" made a decision, and my own personal view is that that damaged our security. >> a question came from the audience about one of your previous responses. was not one man warning the white house for months about an attack? >> that is not my recollection, but i have not read his book. [laughter] >> we have a couple of questions about guantanamo bay. first of all, what would you say to those who want to close guantánamo? >> hmm. [laughter] the guantánamo issue is a
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serious issue, and i do not mean to downplay the significance at all. if we had not had guantánamo, we would have had to take captured terrorists, people we picked up on the battlefield trying to kill americans, and bring them to the united states, and that created all kinds of problems, because once they came into the united states, they would have all sorts of legal standing that they would not act at guantanamo, and then you would have been faced with the possibility that if a judge had ruled that if we had to release them, then we would of had no choice but to release them within the united states, so we used guantánamo, which has been there for a long time. i remember when i as secretary of defense, we used to hold haitian refugees that we collected, and we would house them at guantanamo, feed them, provide medical care, etc., and
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this seemed like a good decision at the time. we could house the people we captured in the war on terror at guantanamo, and the facility down there is a fine facility. these people are very well treated. remember, again, they are unlawful combatants. they are terrorists. they are being treated in a manner that you would expect americans to treat prisoners from other conflicts, and that is certainly what has been done. i think it is going to be very difficult to close guantánamo. now, the current administration is finding that out. we found that out. there were debates about guantanamo in our illustration. the president said at one point that he would like to close guantánamo. no one could never figure out what you're going to do, because you could not figure out what to do with bad actors at guantanamo -- no one can never
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figure out how to close it. the other day, the inmates at guantanamo were referred to as "abductees." this sounded like people who were kidnapped on the way to the movies. these are bad actors. these are the worst of the course. during the bush administration, we had reviewed all of the cases of the people down there, and they are all entitled to an annual review of their case, and several hundred of them, i believe, 500 of them, they were released, sent back to their own country on the grounds that they no longer constituted a threat to united states or no longer had any intelligence value for us. now, as i understand, 14% of them have gone back into the jihad business. the ones that are left, khalid shaikh mohammed, and so forth, these are the worst of the wars.
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-- worst of the worst. these are the people that would, and blow themselves up and take as many americans with them. that is what they believe. there is not a great demand out around the country to have those folks shipped to your nearest facility. i have not seen a lot of members in congress stand up and say that. that is not going to happen. this is the same problem we have got with friends overseas the oftentimes have been critical of us having guantánamo, telling us to close guantanamo, but they say, "not in my backyard." they do not want them to be housed there. so we need guantánamo. if we did not have is, we would have to buy it. it is a good, well-run facility. the press has access to it. other countries have access to it.
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it is a good facility, and if you are going to be engaged in a world conflict, such as we are, if you do not have a place where you can hold these people, we do not operate that way. these folks are being treated as prisoners of war. i think guantánamo is a good facility. the administration made a mistake, i think, of the present issuing an order that he wanted to close it within a year and did not have a clue as to how to proceed, and now, they are having trouble, because they have to come up with a plan of some kind to allow them to achieve that objective. it is going to be hard. >> you mentioned the people at guantanamo bay right now as the worst of the worst.
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it is true that there are people who are the worst of the really, really really bad better already serving on u.s. soil. understanding the rationale that -- congressional delegations do not always get what they want. there is, obviously, and hearts and mind element to a war on terror, as such, and it would clearly be very unpopular among allies to close guantanamo bay, and i am wondering if you see any value as a benefit of closing its, and whether it is really impossible, given that we do have terrorists on u.s. soil who are serving in federal prison? >> well, i would not want to deal with that. i think the facts speak for
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themselves. towards the tail end of our administration, we had chinese muslims, and they were picked up from training camps we agreed to release them, and we spent months trying to find a place where they would be received. the only place was albania that would take them, so we did that. they went to albania, and that is where they are today. in spite of all of the arguing and the statements of criticism, they have not agreed to take any of those folks, and they are not likely to. especially if the situation continues here in the state's where members of congress and
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the great number of people do not want to have them in the states, either. we bring them here and incarcerate them, and then a judge rules that cannot hold them anymore. you have to release them from the united states, and once you do that, you're going to have a problem. >> this is a question from one of our viewers on c-span. as a person who is never served in the military, why should the u.s. accepts your position about waterboarding when john mccain, who was a prisoner of war, says that it is torture? >> what we look for and adhere to is the one provided by the justice department. we went and said, what are the guidelines? what can you do that is appropriate? what do you have to do to stay away from? we drew a red line to explain it
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to the central intelligence agency. that is the guidance that i would take. that is inappropriate way to proceed, and i believe that it was, and i do not believe the we engaged in torture. there were three people that we waterboarded, not a large number, and, in fact, it was done under the guidance of the central elements of the cia and the department of justice. >> final question on national security topics. why did not your administration capture osama bin laden? >> well, i believe he is still out there someplace. he is, i am sure, probably buried deep in the ground, hiding. he does not communicate, obviously. he has learned that he should not communicate. we will continue, i am sure,
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with the current administration, continuing the search for him. he is an important figure, obviously. we would have loved to have captured him during our what. i am sure the obama people feel the same way. unfortunately, i do not think he will have much impact in this organization, because the link is pretty fragile. i do not think he has the capacity to do as much carmahars he did at one time, but we should still continue to look for him. >> what do you think of today's general motors bankruptcy and the fact that the u.s. government is not actively involved in managing two of the three big automakers? >> i am sorry, i guess, is the way i would put it. once you get into the business
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of having the government runs a major corporation by general motors, and it looks to me like they own it general motors, certainly a major shareholder, and then all of these political pressures come to bear, and decisions begin to be made not for economic reasons or for business reasons but rather to appease certain political interests. when it is time, for example, to make a decision to close a plant in city x and open a plant in city y, there will be an outcry about closing that plant in city x. back in the early 1970's, at the time, we, in effect, at the direction of the president, with the approval of congress, took on responsibility of determining wages and profits for every economic enterprise in america, and we got ourselves into a fix, because all of a sudden, we were responsible, for example, for
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the price of hamburger. if the price of hamburger goes up 20 cents at the store, that is their fault. you allowed the price of hamburger to go up 20 cents. we quickly ended up in a situation where the government was being expected to make decisions, and the decision making process is more subject to politics than is the private sector, and it also makes decisions, i believe, for reasons that are not in the economic best interests of the country. there is a reason why the u.s. has prospered as much as we have over the last 200 years, and a big part of that is our private free-enterprise system, because people are able to make decisions based on economics and on good business sense, and some companies succeeds, and some companies fail. if government is going to get
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into the business of bailing out all the big corporations, you end up committing a huge resources to trying to keep somebody like general motors alive, when, in fact, the right answer will be, and we will find out when we get a shot at it, that they will go through chapter 11 process, and the shed themselves of some of those old obligations. that is a healthy process. we create new things and destroy all things on a continuous basis. that is the way it works, and it is fundamentally healthy. now, we have a situation where i am concerned, because we see the government stepping in, and there are supposedly going to preside over a chapter-11 process. we will see how that works, but i do not like the president'cede
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are setting, where the government steps in and starts to misjudgments that i think are best left to the private sector. >> . when did you first discussion with president bush and the need for the advanced interrogation techniques? was there a specific list of tactics? where the legal? >> my recollection is the way the process works is that the agencies came to us. members of the national security council. there were a couple of situations where they thought that the enhanced interrogations would provide information from individuals that we would not otherwise get it from, i am a
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strong believer in it. the justice department was asked for its legal guidance in terms of what could and could not be done. that is basically as i recall it at the time. the ones in control of and in possession of these prisoners, they were the ones in charge of the interrogations, and i think they handled it very well. i think it was well done, exactly the right way to proceed. >> just a couple more questions. first, what do you think of president obama's nomination of judge sonia sotomayor? do you support the nomination? >> well, i do not have a vote, and if i could nominate someone to the supreme court, i think i may have gone more with someone like john roberts or samuel
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alito. that is my view of the world. i would like to see conservatives nominated to the supreme court. nothing personal to the nominee. the president has made his call. he won the election. there will be a debate in the senate over whether or not she ought to be confirmed, and i look forward to the hearings. just like a lot of other people do. it is not my nomination to make, but if it were, i think i would never nominated somewhat more conservative. >> the question on social issues. given iowa and elsewhere, is some form of legalized gay marriage inevitable in the united states? >> well, i think freedom means freedom for everyone. as many of you know, one of my daughters is gay, and that is something that we have lived with for a long time. .
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>> tonight on "q&a" indiana republican governor mitch daniels. later, prime minister gordon brown on the resignations of cabinet members.


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