President's secret terror 'kill list' raises new questions
Fmr. Bush officials react to details on President Obama's secret list
- Duration 10:17
- Date May 30, 2012
Fmr. Bush officials react to details on President Obama's secret list
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New questions this hour following a report on how the president's chief political advisor is weighing in on national security decisions.
David Axelrod apparently sitting in on meetings where life and death decisions are being made on terror targets.
So the question is what if President Bush had done that what if Karl role.
When he was in the white house with President Bush was deciding are helping to decide.
On raids terror targets and repercussion that's what would the backlash have Ben then.
Joining me now to discuss it Bradley the former deputy assistant to president George W.
Villager a Wall Street Journal columnist News Corp.
VP and former chief speechwriter for president George W.
And Dana Perino former white house Press Secretary to President Bush and co host of the five.
Panel thank you -- so much for being here Dana I wanna start with you on this one.
The New York Times has a comprehensive report they talked to three dozen former and current administration officials and the consensus is that this was -- meant to be.
Something that would -- the president make him look tough on terror.
A bit but 4000 words into this piece.
They they they mentioned that the president's chief political advisor is sitting in on the president's so called terror Tuesday meetings or at least was for.
Potentially up to two years.
And the question is what on earth would he have been doing there and what would the reaction have been if rove had been doing that with President Bush.
When it was criticism of Karl went when Karl Rove was in the White House and when I joined as press deputy Press Secretary January 2005 he.
Also is elevated he became around that time.
Deputy chief of staff as well.
I didn't ever been on a foreign trip where the president the -- second ago Carl went and in the chief of staff position.
And the left went crazy because why is a political director on a trip.
He was also serving as the deputy chief of staff.
So I don't know exactly what -- arrives clearance was at what time he was provide providing insight and counsel to President Obama perhaps he sat in the back seat and watched.
But then you see eventually.
This -- -- haven't written -- -- New York Times front page yesterday above the fold.
That would have been all the rage for them right this person somehow.
This story got shape input into the New York Times which to me it begs the question of why are we talking about this at all they have a hundred people.
On a conference call to talk about -- should be next to me that's not often volatile webinar a hundred people.
You know that -- there article raises all sorts of questions about whether President Obama.
Is fulfilling his campaign promise that he was going to be a different kind of national security president.
Then President Bush was and I want to take our panel and our viewers back to president Obama's inaugural address.
In January of 2009 where he echoed a sentiment he would -- many times on the campaign trail listen here.
That's more common defense.
We reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals.
Our founding fathers.
Our founding fathers faced with perils that we can scarcely -- match.
Drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man.
A charter expanded by the blood of generations.
Those ideals still light the world and we will not give them up for expedience sake.
And yet now -- the times article points out that President Obama has effectively continued President Bush's policies of rendition.
Indefinite detention and it has gone a step further in get it adopting a very broad definition of what's a civilian.
Killed in these drone attacks and what is not.
And and yet he told us that read it -- would reject as false the notion that you had to choose between national security and being true to our ideals.
Let me let me say something at two different levels of the general level what you're talking about.
I'm I'm four -- certainly aggressive pursuit of America's enemies wherever they are I think I would probably justify most of what President Obama is doing here.
The point is I can justify it based on my beliefs -- -- The president my serve put in place it's very hard to square this with in the rhetoric that candidate Obama use to get into office.
And a lot of that rhetoric on the specific level was about an abuse of executive authority in review -- the executive.
And that that was the real criticism of President Bush and one of the leading critics was -- code the dean of the Yale Law School.
About the president's use of executive authority in his claims -- now we read in this times piece that mr.
-- is OK with these.
Targeted killings because John Brennan's in the room and it's like having -- a quote priests in the room.
-- I mean if that's not a definition of executive authority and an expansive executive authority I don't know what is -- -- we should have the Pope and there approving the let's read what.
How does President Obama effectively get away with this type of you know terror program national security program without getting anywhere near the amount of flak.
That you're a former boss did.
Well because the media who created Obama's not going to be the media who takes him down and let's face it I agree that the Obama of 2008 is not the Obama we have today.
The person wanted to be known.
As as a man of peace and a man who could bring countries together is is not the same guy as we have as president who now wants to be known as an executioner.
I wonder -- the Nobel Peace Prize committee.
Would have awarded that same price the Obama of today the fact that he even called the meetings terror Tuesday.
The fact that he has -- kill list the fact that he has actual writers keep political advisor now -- campaign manager in effect.
In on making calls -- -- what terrorist lives what terrorist -- but my nephew was lost in nine elevenths I have.
Every confidence our country is doing everything they can.
Two take on terrorists the problem I have is the duplicity of a president who got into office saying one thing and then doing the other flouting the law.
-- with the -- rendition Guantanamo.
-- -- -- people to trial there's no need for habeas corpus -- you know it's an attorney if the people are dead and that the fact that this president.
Excoriated President Bush and Vice President Cheney for the great work that they did he keeping our nation safe and then he goes and and doubles down.
-- on executive authority that is that is clearly iffy at best with regard to collateral damage and -- to innocents that are being killed in these drone strike -- Not that Dana because you know they talk about it to his standard now for determining what is a civilian deaths in these drone attacks and it it's effectively that if you are a man of military.
Ager you know of majority.
And you are near a terrorist in you get killed in these drone attacks they say they say those men who are near the terrorists are quote probably up to no good.
So they get killed meantime President Bush got ripped for imprisoning people at one time of these people -- just getting -- old.
Right and -- -- read the article it talks about how.
This kill list really test his principles and this in this in his ferocious war and it's pretty over done and meant to be melodramatic.
But it says that was -- the President Obama probably was wrestling with the issue -- -- if I'm going to carry out these drone strikes and civilians are going to be killed I wanted to limit the number of civilians were killed innocent people but how do you get those numbers down.
Well then you might call over to the CIA or DOD and asked them in -- of adult age count even if they're not involved but we can't prove that we might not have time to prove that.
-- -- -- and -- -- -- a civilian casualties and the answer was -- -- -- that might have been the same -- that President Bush and Vice President -- -- it would've gotten back from the CIA and that and DOD -- well.
The outrage and probably senate hearings -- -- calls for impeachment had they done -- And yet you mention the title the title of the article is secret kill list proves -- test of Obama's principles and will.
-- later on Brian Burke stopped all about the imperial presidency under President Bush as well I wanna ask you.
Because he -- president -- now -- -- -- of this attack at this report is taking attacks from both sides.
Here's a former Bush Administration officials saying.
His Obama's liberal reputation and softer packaging have protected him -- the media and then salons green Glen Greenwald as a very interesting piece -- saying he he has put a prettier and more palatable face.
On extremely ugly policies and his argument is that these policies are now mainstream because somebody who's more acceptable to the -- To -- and you know left is behind them.
Yeah I think that's exactly what it comes down to.
President Bush when he was making these decisions was very consciously trying to give.
Future presidents tools to protect the country's -- and he did many of the same things and now we see that the criticisms of President Bush.
We're not about his policies they were because people didn't like President Bush whereas the the willingness to look the other way with president Obama's because they like President Obama.
There's a few scattered criticisms -- it.
By the way but it's nothing like the relentless 24/7.
-- Attack the President Bush -- endured that -- had to deal with that every press conference you'll get the occasional critical piece you will have some on the left that there have been very disappointed.
But there there is no comparison.
Between what President Bush and -- in the second guessing and so forth the New York Times just exposing a program.
Four -- for no reason at all.
And and what we have today -- -- last word your former boss and the vice president were called war criminals and murderers by many on the left we are not really here in that so much.
You're not and you know what's worse about.
The decisions that are being made in the people were making these decisions is the fact that these decisions are being made.
For politics they're being made in a PR setting as opposed to a national security setting on how they can use this to bolster the president's credentials for reelection we've seen it in the movies that are being made in the capture bin Laden we're seeing it now with -- release of this information.
This is all about protecting and advancing the president's agenda.
And has very little to do.
With protecting America.
Dosage because he's got a lot of praise actually and some of the right for these policies some on this panel but there is pushed back now.
Panel thank you all so much thank you.