David Plouffe defends White House response to security leaks
Senior adviser to President Obama on 'Fox News Sunday'
- Duration 17:22
- Date Jun 17, 2012
Senior adviser to President Obama on 'Fox News Sunday'
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Hello again and happy Father's Day from Fox News in Washington.
We're going to focus today on the extraordinary series of disclosures in recent weeks of highly sensitive secrets in the US war on terror.
And a few minutes we'll talk with a former head of the CIA and the chairman of the senate homeland security committee.
But first David plot senior advisor to the president is here to talk about the leaks and much more mr.
-- welcome back to Fox -- -- -- immigrants.
Let's start with the disclosure of top secrets and what the president said about that nine days ago Curtis.
The notion man.
My White House it would purposely.
Classified national security information.
But of course the president can declassify.
Any information any classified information that he wants simple question.
Did the president or any other top officials declassify.
Any of the information that appeared news articles.
While the president was very clear about this -- and and that interview that.
He has zero tolerance for this kind of national security -- There is now banned by the attorney general United States attorneys appointed to investigate this including a bush appointed.
We take this as seriously as anything to be taken no one more than the president relies on this information.
To make good decisions and keep this country safe I believe the person who wrote -- the book in question.
Has said that no one in the White House provided this information but noted -- thorough enough to you know he has not -- that.
David Sanger sad that in fact he did talk to top White House officials he said it wasn't leaks.
That he's been investigating for months he did not say though he had actually did talk to -- -- well for the book sure he's probably a national security reporter obviously was writing about these important issues -- in the country.
But there's -- going to be a very thorough investigation the attorney general -- spoken -- this United States attorneys -- will look under every rock here this ought to be investigated thoroughly as anything can.
And we ought to -- the results that investigation but I do want to ask you because you didn't answer my direct question did the president or any other top official.
Any of the information that appeared in these articles.
Now I don't listen to the president and his national security team first of all these are the folks who have waged just a relentless and effective.
Effort against al-Qaeda and its leadership we decimated most of the top leadership including the line.
These national security information is so critical for president his administration making right decisions nobody takes -- more seriously.
-- the president -- -- it's there it's a yes or no question.
Did the president declassify any of this and from -- horse -- of course he did not do it now a cut.
Let's go through some of the secrets that were disclosed in these articles.
The CIA had a double -- inside al-Qaeda in Yemen who foiled a new bomb plot.
The president personally approves -- kill list of terrorist suspects for drone drone strikes and the US and Israel launched a cyber attack against Iran's nuclear program.
Here are -- some of that some of the people quoted in the article not saying that they gave up these secrets but they're quoted -- -- articles.
National security advisor Tom Donnelly former White House chief is down bill -- Members of the president's national security team who were in meetings with him in the situation room.
And the president has no idea who divulge these secrets.
-- in our administration of course they're gonna talk about the president's strategic approach to keeping this country safe.
Our foreign policy but to suggest somehow that the people that he relies on Ford vice every day.
Would leak information like this is just -- -- it's highly objectionable and listen but the verdict did well let's let's I'm not saying as -- Leonard daily but but there are people quoted.
But by these reporters and they say that they were members of the national security team who were in the situation room with the president going with a source -- putting up pictures of Tom Donnelly and bill -- Suggesting somehow.
Did they did something untoward I just said that Dick -- About these -- -- -- as members of the national security today well.
Listen I I see the capitol behind you right now.
What part of what's going on here the Republicans in congress are pretty clear -- beginning this year what do they say one of their core strategic priorities was.
Was to engage investigations.
To damage this president politically Republican congress talked openly about this so what you have here is a situation where.
An investigation has been announced by T United States attorneys including a an appointee of President Bush.
What -- let that investigation proceed.
Rather than turning in this in the sum game a distraction.
Because what we really need to focus on your we have to continue to fight against al-Qaeda went to -- the progress -- made.
We also have to turn our attention as forcefully as we can -- the economy creating jobs which are seeing in Washington right now by the way there was an amazing article the other day I believe there was -- Wall Street Journal.
Where Republican congress openly we're saying.
We're not gonna do anything until the election on the economy.
Because we want to help Mitt Romney has an amazing -- economy that needs help right now.
-- the middle class is struggling it's an amazing thing I think you're gonna see increasingly these kinds of distractions coming from Republican congress we're gonna we're gonna -- You think these are distractions.
Well my point is and investigations been announced.
So let's let that proceed rather than trying to suggest not let me ask a couple of specific questions.
Back on the Valerie Plame investigation -- 2003.
President Bush ordered any and all members of business administration knew anything about the outing of Valerie Plame to come forward.
How's President Obama made that same kind of order to all of you -- everyone is obviously gonna participate in the investigation you've got to again to United States attorneys.
They have been appointed by attorney John the United States who gonna look thoroughly -- -- they're gonna talk to but -- anybody they want as the president ordered his staff to come war.
Obviously everyone is gonna participate in the investigation.
Let me ask you you -- everyone's that -- does -- the investigation back in the Valerie Plame case.
President Bush agreed to and sat down -- thorough interrogation by federal prosecutors.
Will President Obama sit down to be interrogated.
By prosecutors in this -- listen -- I'm not gonna get into that right now the question is this investigation.
Should be treated seriously.
This is gonna wanna say yes if he's asked -- I'm not I'm not running the investigation okay.
We've got career.
Law enforcement professionals and prosecutors.
Who are aggressively looking of this the president -- -- administration want this investigation is -- if possible but will the president cooperate.
And I -- I'm not gonna answer and his particular involved right now Chris okay that the point is.
Everyone in our administration and I think this probably goes for the agencies while of course.
He's got a cooperate in this past the White House says that there is no need for an independent prosperity you've mentions a couple of times now.
That the US a chart to US attorneys have been appointed by attorney general holder to look at that.
I want to ask -- others because back in 2006.
In the case of lobbyist Jack Abramoff senator Barack Obama sent a letter.
That's -- -- a special counsel will ensure the public's confidence in the investigation and prosecution.
And help to restore its faith in our government.
If an independent prosecutor was necessary in the Abramoff case.
Which quite frankly was not a matter of national security.
Why not an independent prosecutor.
In the in the case of our top national secrets.
Well the attorney general who's our top law enforcement officers you know has made a decision about the best way to proceed here this is a very serious investigation.
As again these are two United States attorneys.
One bush appointee who were gonna have the ability as they should thoroughly look at that so why not an independent prosecutor to as as Senator Obama -- To ensure the public's confidence in the investigation listen I think most Americans would rightfully think -- United States attorneys.
Looking -- this -- thoroughness.
With resource Senator Obama didn't think so -- in 2000 sex well that that was a different case Chris and by the way to making -- -- SK zero.
There's an investigation proceed OK so let's let that investigation happened let the facts come out.
-- -- Let's move on to something else the president announced a new immigration policy this week to stop deporting illegals who have been brought into this country.
As children and who have good records no criminal records law abiding.
Here is what mr.
Obama said last year about not having the power to do exactly that -- look.
I know some people want me to bypass congress and change the laws on my own and that's that's.
How -- how our democracy functions that's not how our constitution is written.
What's changed from last year although in the fact that the president now needs Hispanic voters to get reelected nothing's changed president can't change along zone.
This is not a permanent fix.
This was prosecutorial prosecutorial prosecutorial discretion announced by the Department of Homeland Security not a change in the law.
So this is gonna allow our law enforcement agencies to focus on deporting criminals.
That's up 80% by the way we need we need to focus on the real threat here people are endangering our communities not people are studying and school working part so you have.
People who are here brought here many cases very young ages by the parents who are studying our schools working our businesses who want to serve our military.
This allows them -- -- just for two year period for work authorization so there's one way to fix this permanently only one way.
And that's for congress to pass the DREAM Act which is something that unfortunately governor Romney has said he would be -- if he becomes president.
So this is very very important that this is a two year period.
So that people can apply.
-- allows our enforcement officials to focus on criminals those that really pose a threat that ought to be the focus here.
But the only permanent way to fix our immigration system and certainly to provide permanently for DREAM Act.
Eligible populations is for congress to -- you you.
Mentioned governor Romney I don't wanna get into a whole thing about the differences will get and the economy in a minute but specifically for Hispanic voters.
-- that there's a clear choice between Obama and Romney.
I mean there's a clear choice for every -- well I'd like I'm I'm asking about his -- well first of all on this issue of immigration -- well first of all Hispanic voters.
Support the health care bill.
What we're trying to do an education for an immigration yes this is a president who's try to get immigration reform done -- a comprehensive way.
We came close to getting the DREAM Act -- So this is someone who believes that we are nation of laws but also nation of immigrants.
And that people who want to staff our laps and start our businesses and serve their country ought to be able to do that governor Romney has said he would veto the DREAM Act.
Governor Romney essentially said the eleven million people here ought to just go home they ought to self deport.
So this is someone you're not gonna build the trust and -- -- one of the important choices the president talked about earlier this week in Ohio.
The president Romney if he -- elected.
Is not going to fix our immigration system he's been very clear about that you watch Republican debate after Republican debate many of them on your network.
Where governor Romney was very clear he would veto the DREAM Act.
He thinks he's eleven million people ought to just be sent home so I think that's a -- it was just -- for the Latino community but for the American electorate at large right let's.
-- into the economy the president gave a major economic speech this week in Ohio.
In which he called for targeted investments for things like energy and education and state workers.
First responders and and as teachers and tax hikes for the wealthy but there was forgive me nothing yet.
Is -- the president's agenda for the next four years pass the jobs plan that I've been pushing for over.
The last twelve months and that will fix the economy.
-- what the president laid out as the clear choice facing the American people.
And the contrast could not be clear this is a president -- need to grow the economy and put in the middle class first.
-- middle class jobs by reducing the deficit and a fair and balanced way.
And making sure then we're able to invest in things like innovation and infrastructure and science research.
The congressional Republican approach governor Romney's approach by the way it's -- here's -- John Boehner today.
Because governor -- is gonna rubber stamp the congressional Republican agenda.
Which is basically -- huge tax cuts for the wealthy they believe the economy works best from the top down.
By the way governor -- would reduce the deficit every independent economists is looked at his plan says he would add to the deficit.
He would -- investments in education.
He would allow our infrastructure -- to it to jury even more.
This is not a recipe for growing the economy reducing the deficit.
We're helping -- what is -- -- the stark choice that is in the president's agenda because I did not hear anything new in Ohio is the president's agenda for the next four years.
More -- decide well what what what is is what this country needs to do which is reduce the deficit in the right way fair and balanced way.
I like the fact he keeps -- -- -- it's the right way which is we are we need to cut more spending this president already signed into law by the way over to almost two trillion dollars in spending cuts.
We have to focus on what is gonna grow this economy.
For the middle class and that's going to be continuing to focus on our manufacturing -- it does Hillary do it but you what -- great there's no new agenda beyond what he's been pushing.
For the last d'isere this is the direction he thinks the -- don't know let's look at the other direction Chris it failed miserably.
When governor Romney -- Massachusetts number one and get the country think about that added debt.
For all -- talk about government for every private sector job created -- Massachusetts by governor Romney six public sector jobs.
This is someone who would -- stay with 47 -- operation and he wants to return to the same policies that led to the Great Recession.
You know caused such a huge harm to our businesses our economy people in this country so the choice is clear here -- choice is clear.
I a couple of minutes left and wanna get this couple a campaign questions you -- Obama campaign manager in 2008.
I asked about whether there's anything new because you're taking hits right now -- the campaign.
From some notable Democrats like James Carville and Bill Clinton.
Who were saying that you need to stop talking about the progress we've made and start talking -- a new agenda.
How things in the next four -- gonna be different than they were in the last four are they wrong.
First of -- President Clinton he's appeared with President Obama.
He said very clearly that that we are beginning to grow again we're beginning to make progress we can't return to the same policy President Clinton someone who knows who knows something.
About reducing the deficit about creating jobs and he's been very clear.
He thinks Mitt Romney would be a disaster for this country so listen -- other Democrats are paying attention what the president -- which is every day.
Not just -- what he says but what he does he understands our economy is not as strong as it needs to be.
That this is gonna do this didn't happen overnight it's gonna take us a long time to recover there's a lot of people out there hurt so.
We we are making progress we need to make a lot more so that's very.
Clip that you said just a few months ago the trajectory of the economy is is going well.
We've we've had fewer and fewer jobs each of the last four months GDP growth -- one point 9% 69000.
Jobs the -- in the year created.
The trajectory is not going like this anymore -- -- it's going like that.
Well compared to where we were in recession we've had over four million jobs created it over over the last 26 months.
We have had private sector job that's great and so here's let's fix it well listen this -- a deep hole caused by the same policies Mitt Romney wants to go back to.
This is what folks need to focus on we just went -- a recession.
Remarkably what they're running a congressional Republicans want to do -- say hey I guess that worked out well let's go back to the same policies let brawl street write its own rules.
Make it easier for what polluters to power and water -- huge tax cuts people like Mitt Romney.
And basically paid for by raising taxes on working Americans and making -- harder for people to go to education.
Not believing and -- new energy future not rebuilding this country so that listen this is a tough.
Of recession were recovering from.
We're making slow and steady progress nobody satisfied with it the president most of all those -- we have to recover more quickly create jobs more quickly.
But the choice here is 100 we gonna continue.
And -- for -- -- go back to the same policies that caused the recession I got one last question it is -- important nothing's more important and that's from what one more question real quickly any chance you'll leave the White House go back to Chicago and run this campaign.
Now that could listen to campaign is being run brilliantly by Jim Messina.
By David -- -- and most importantly our campaign is at its core two and a half million Americans have already contributed millions volunteer.
To elect this president teachers retirees students.
Compare that to Mitt Romney whose entire campaign right now seem to be on the backs of these big super pacs and billionaires trying to purchase the White House the terrible thing for our country.
But -- -- -- -- I I can't let that -- he raised sixteen million dollars more in the last month than you did well.
First of all and those -- small contributors limited contributors they weren't the big super pacs are any way relate the Romney campaign in the RNC.
Raise sixteen million dollars more -- six million you raised sixty million.
Well what I'm -- our campaign.
What -- -- recent well first of all -- won't even release who raises -- money.
-- -- -- if you're not separate questions are not.
All right campaign is that what we're limited contributions those weren't ten million -- -- -- -- if you compare -- art fund raising -- -- -- we have a lot more grassroots volunteers.
In Ohio in Virginia in North Carolina.
The most active entity right now on the campaign is not governor Romney's it's the super pacs do -- record people have to I don't like the panel have time to talk with -- It's always a pleasure to talk to you enjoy -- happy Father's Day we'll go -- the US open thanks for coming in as always.