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Welcome to -- country I -- -- for a week we dig a little bit deeper in a national security issues of the day and we want you to join the conversation.
You can find me on Twitter at -- -- a crowd -- our live chat right here right below in the video window.
Well we've got a special guest joining the chat as James Rosen.
He will -- today would be president Richard Nixon's 100 birthday.
-- will be taking your questions that he our wrap up the show taking a look back at Nixon's life and legacy.
Well today we're going to talk about the new appointments president Obama's going to put his national security team.
He's nominated senator hey -- be secretary of defense and we've got Fred -- president of the Atlantic Council.
Joining us from our DC bureau it about whether Chuck Hagel is going to be the next secretary of defense and what kind of a secretary of defense he's going to be.
-- thank you so much for joining us -- you work very closely.
With senator hagel because he's chairman of the Atlantic Council where your president.
-- you're what do you think is gonna happen what kind of a secretary of defense would sat rate well senator hagel -- That's right I've I'm somewhat biased here and I've worked with them very closely for the last four years and I respect him enormously as a person of principle and integrity but I think the only thing you see if you work as closely as I have with them is he's tough.
He's not afraid of decisions.
He demands high performance and he has very high expectations I think all of those things are good things to bring to the Pentagon.
In terms of in terms of what he'll be in in in.
He'll be the president's secretary of defense and I think what's really different about this team national security team site.
Senator Kerry senator hagel I would include Vice President Biden in the national security team.
And John Brennan.
What's different about them as they are the president's personal choices his personal imprint is on this thing I think we're gonna see an Obama foreign policy for the first time even though he's been commander.
And -- for four years.
Second Secretary Clinton.
Was chosen no matter what you think of how good or bad she was she was chosen largely for political reasons at that time.
Secretary Gates at the Pentagon he inherited from the Bush Administration so this is the first thing time he's really going to have.
His team and the team he wants reflecting his priority.
OK look these are his choices and it what do you make of the choice of OK -- here's someone -- talked about Iran sanctions are really working he's -- Quite skeptical about the relationship -- -- in Israel.
And he's been very outspoken in his criticism of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars and how they were handled what kind of changes you think we'll see in a second Obama term.
I know that senator hagel.
Over the holidays -- his name firstly maybe three or four weeks ago and has been out there for awhile.
And he feels that a lot of the criticisms of his positions have been distorted and he's actually looking forward to the confirmation hearings where he can set.
The record straight.
On -- run.
It he has not been in favor of US unilateral sanctions.
He has been very supportive of -- tough multilateral sanctions and as coach urban Olympic council task force on.
Has has pushed for even tougher.
He certainly is not the type of person who will rush to war.
In that sense he's from the Eisenhower tradition of the Republican Party.
Where you've got to be very careful where the wars you get into lead to.
He does believe.
That one has to explore all sorts of possibilities through engagement and that war should be.
-- -- a last.
A last option.
And I think -- there's also something to be learned.
Through engagement of the right sort you can create fissures in your adversary.
And his view was also that one doesn't make.
Peace with friends one makes peace with adversaries with enemies and you don't get there without a mixture of sanctions and pressures and an engagement so.
But but again at this Defense Department.
That's not what he'll be doing he'll be doing the defense in the military side of things and the diplomatic side of this will be Senator John Kerry -- very much on the same page.
I pays for that fax news dot com website about senator hagel and I happen to agree with him on a lot of the policy issues that particular Afghanistan and Iraq.
But I question his management ability.
Secretary of defense is a large management function not just of the nicest armed forces but of the entire defense industrial base.
If the center and then secretary -- outcomes -- Of the first things he's got to do is deal with massive cuts.
Two defense -- -- To the size of the armed forces to.
All of that person now.
Benefits pension issues with the United States -- -- breathing he's coming out on the house.
Let let me take that on a bit because.
Having had him as -- chairman.
I've seen him.
Look at the numbers I've seen him assess where we're going I've seen him ask the right questions that he's gonna have a much -- -- job.
At the Pentagon and a job where you know after war time.
Presidents have always engaged in defense cuts and among consume that's going to happen this time as well and they will have to preside over that.
In terms of management.
It is a huge bureaucracy.
One of our top diplomats Ryan Crocker -- and Wall Street Journal.
But he thought that hagel was the sort of personality who would not be run by the Defense Department.
He will run the Defense Department my guess is he won't be the person in the green eye shades doing the number crunching he'll have that done for him.
He'll have some very good management around him perhaps ash Carter will stay.
In the deputy position or someone else will come -- But he has operated as a very very successful business leader and businessmen.
Pres Obama mentioned that in his nomination.
And -- be able to take a look at that defense budget with a fresh and somewhat skeptical set of eyes knowing he has to preserve national security.
But also knowing that there might be a little bit of fat here in there that might be that might be addressed.
If present critics have said that -- -- point came and nominating.
Senator hagel president Obama's early signaling.
That it's okay for -- run to get nuclear weapons that the United States may talk about.
Having all options on the table including a military option a preemptive strike potentially against Iran's nuclear -- but nobody really believes that anymore what do you make about.
Well let's take a look at what a secretary of defense those -- want -- secretary of defense doesn't do.
I think if the reports can be believed.
Secretary Gates was not eager to go into -- to be involved done militarily in Libya.
And was not.
-- either if reports are true.
-- regarding the Osama bin Laden attack.
That's -- president's decision so what what secretary.
Secretary -- will be doing.
Is giving the president his best advice.
And I think his best advice will be.
Let's figure out all the angles of this thing.
Let's look at the complexities.
Of let's look at the strategic context of where we want to get this done.
Senator hagel has never taken military force off the table.
And I think one thing -- Iranians will know.
If you get to the site through to the -- of military force with people like senator hagel and Senator Kerry.
In the Obama administration it is serious and you better look out so so they could -- calculate if they are betting on the fact.
So they can go forward with nuclear weapons.
President Obama is also got to make a decision.
He has said that he will not allow.
Iran to acquire nuclear weapons not on his watch.
He now has to decide what what does that mean what is the Red Line.
Do I actually think there's a containment or deterrence strategy to fight don't what his -- tragic -- this is going to be one of the biggest issues in my second term.
Okay Iowa -- spread camp president of the Atlantic Council now Fred I've got to tell you one of the great and values of this kind of format.
An online show is that our viewers can look at us look at our conversation and then weigh in and we have.
One of our viewers has set a point they want -- to raise with you not to comment about but the point they want to make.
Is is hey eagle -- so that it would be a Republican who's going to be downsizing the Defense Department.
You've got to come back -- -- in a couple months time and tell us what you think okay.
I'd be I'd be happy to do it let's just take a look at his opposition notice from the Republicans so I think Obama didn't pick him for his party but for his character and for whom he has.
OK well thank you very much for joining us thank you very -- it and I certainly am sad is a new guests of the show -- hockey.
Hate who is the founder of spirit for America it's an organization that's a public private partnership.
That helps when you tell us what -- spirit for America do.
Well spirit of America's a nonprofit organization funded entirely by American citizens.
That provides assistance that's exactly what our troops on the ground say is needed to help them be more successful on their mission to be safer to build -- -- make faster progress you do that in Afghanistan Africa and South America I -- Afghanistan -- me for instance what we are we provided dust side machines that help file soldiers -- Marines with Afghan women that are a key part of stability operations there.
We provide a team of Navy SEALs with water pumps to help in a mountain village.
We're providing a lot of assistance with Afghan security forces dirt bikes metal detectors.
Winter clothing all of which is requested by our troops to help them help the local people.
And then with the Afghan security forces wherever we provided this support.
There's never been one of these so called green on blue attacks against our forces.
Well no but suddenly -- humans have -- why it -- -- -- great guy you're jury in this.
Great and you know organization to help Americans troops do the job that they're.
Trying to do why isn't he has his government Terrence why didn't need you.
-- spirit of America fills gaps in what can be done with government funds here with with taxpayer funding there are inevitable restrictions on what can be done.
And in the large system things don't always get where they need to be when they need to be there.
The government does a huge amount of this and so were filling the gaps where it isn't being done -- can't be done with taxpayer money.
And has it been received by the battle -- US forces that the Afghans.
Well by the Afghans it's one of of the key things that.
That the relationships that are built over there are critically important as they are anywhere.
And so much depends on the personal relationship it's built between US forces and the local people.
The things we've done our directly what's needed there it's not one size fits all approach it's very -- things vary by village from village to village.
And person to person.
And so US forces let's say it's.
A group that in Helmand Province and they get into securitizations.
Say what we need help -- a well we need sewing machines for so Afghan widows can.
Make a livelihood is at the sort of thing and -- Exactly and we provided funding for job training programs.
That help Afghan men get jobs that'd be on the battlefield fighting our troops.
We've provided sewing machines and other assistance to help Afghan women generate income for themselves sometimes it's simple humanitarian aid warm clothing in the wintertime.
Is a huge thing -- if you really need.
Now you're guy -- come out of private industry very successfully -- what what brought to events well like many people after 9/11 I wanted to do something to help.
And it took a little while to figure out what to do I didn't have any government or military background.
I got the idea for spirit of America understanding what US special operations forces were doing on an informal basis in Afghanistan.
And before I start of the organization the highest level military person I spoke with was sergeant first class.
And he said this as -- -- I won't what do you what he said was the support wall literally save lives.
And when he told me that -- and he helped me understand what it actually happened with his team and Afghanistan.
And and I understood what that the difference at the American people could make.
Literally being able to reach halfway around the world have impact not just on the goodwill.
But on the lives of our troops.
I knew that I had to start the the organization you during this initially because you thought it would save American lives but in doing this what you really got to start creating mini industries within -- while that is.
And also understanding how US security operations in this.
Irregular warfare environment really work.
And what that wars and conflicts and security challenges of the 21 century -- I understood that this kind of support didn't come uniquely from the private sector -- American people.
Is a great compliment to what our troops and US personnel on the ground to do with government resource -- so understanding that fit.
It's it's one of the things if you if you're concerned about the future of our country which you are we all are.
It's a fundamentally better way for the United States to defend our interests and ideals.
And and the American people and private sector what we can do alongside.
US troops in US personnel is always going to be better than what the government alone can do.
Okay -- America dot net what happens to you guys.
When we pull out of Afghanistan.
Well -- our support right now is focused and Afghanistan we have 68000 troops that are still serving there most Americans aren't aware of that I think.
But as the troops -- down we we've already been providing support to US security and stability operations in West Africa and South America in the Middle East.
And elsewhere and what our troops are doing there is really remarkable again it's most of -- is out of the public guy and not because it's secret it's just unknown to most Americans.
They don't -- people don't hear about the the media for example.
What they're doing is working on addressing small problems before they become big problems to really try to avoid -- prevent the next Afghanistan from happening.
So right now spirit of America's providing that fast flexible -- centralized support more and out outside of Afghanistan.
Toward the end of preventing conflict.
So this is there really ultimate example of Smart power how does somebody get -- -- -- get involved with your attention well if people visit our website at spirit of America gotten that.
It lists many of the things that were working on and people what they choose to donate they can provide funding exactly for specific project.
And a 100% of the funding goes to that project so they can choose where their money get.
Great -- up on our web site now so people.
And get in touch with you and do some awfully good deeds that's a great way to start the new year to anything it is thank you so much for your hands you -- -- -- and spirit of America.
-- thank you thank you governments -- -- -- Well now we're gonna your -- -- DC bureau where we got Bill Harlow former.
Spokesman -- -- join us and he's gonna talk to us about the new movie zero dark thirty which is opening this weekend.
If I have time abuzz in fact I even -- spot.
In the torture scenes which is what everybody's talking about.
I looked at those first -- scenes in the movie and I thought well you know you see a lot worse than that on the average.
Television crime show at night.
I hear we're those torture scenes that are in the new movies are under thirty.
Not very accurate at all in the filmmakers torture the truth with.
What they show.
The movie while quite entertaining and worth seeing I think.
Accurate -- and accurate depiction of the way we treated -- Qaeda detainees in -- CIA's interrogation program.
What you see in a movie.
Is way over the top things that that just we're not done to al-Qaeda detainees.
They show them being beaten bloodied nation of them being hung from the ceiling if I change -- show them being led around and dog collars that simply did not happen.
Well what are the questions that I think this is really over for debate as some people have said well what do you call this stuff torture or not let's just caught enhanced interrogation.
Some people say very effective that's how we got -- -- in fact the movie makes the case.
But on the ever -- others including Senator McCain who himself was tortured in Vietnam says look if -- being tortured he'll say anything about.
Anybody anything any time and so the information that's going there's really not very effective -- you come out.
Whether people who -- me that we did not get good information from enhanced interrogation that we.
Conducted simply don't know the facts yet there's a misconception they think.
That you ask a question twists -- arm ask another question twists and other crime and if you're -- that kind of pain yes you you may say anything that's not the way this program work.
Worst of the worst terrorists were in this program.
And for a few days or a few weeks in their first month of the of the tension they might be subjected to these techniques if they didn't cooperate willingly.
Once they agreed to cooperate.
They were never again subjected those techniques Khaled Sheikh Mohammed was in our custody CIA's custody for about four years.
And for less than four weeks he was under these enhanced interrogation techniques.
He told us a lot of information thousands of intelligence reports were filed -- on his information.
Infant and these reports were things that -- checked out and prove to be true.
At the movie shows in implies that bin Laden was was located solely because of enhanced interrogation techniques are primarily.
And that may be a stretch but but in history -- -- group played a very important role.
In helping lead -- to bin Laden but it's not just a single.
The thing not just in it variation but also human intelligence.
Expert analysis signals intelligence a lot of things went together the ten year operation in order to get bin Laden.
Okay bill I mean you're in the history of the CIA and now I'm obviously your -- -- -- -- -- your -- cost.
We're not doing this and whatever you call -- we're not doing this kind of enhanced interrogation.
Going for is that correct.
That's correct and and one of the many myths about this people think that we were doing a lot of this stuff.
Up until that change of administrations.
The last person who would waterboarding with a -- -- in 2003.
The piece that Jose Rodriguez might go -- right and I had in the Washington Post this Sunday we pointed out that Barack Obama gets credit for.
And being waterboarding was a state senator in Illinois the time the last waterboarding.
But he when he came into office he removed even the most lowest level of techniques that were available to the CIA.
Minor things and look like slapping.
-- detainee one time with an open hand.
There is no longer.
Allowed it to be done he also close at the black sites the CIA -- where we were able to hold some of these people.
So many of those those techniques which were useful are no longer available.
Let me ask you one final question you've spent a career of the CIA.
And you wouldn't come across John Brennan who has -- CIA career CIA officer.
Before he went to the White House says president Obama's counterterrorism advisor and now has been nominated to go back to the CIA.
What's your impression of him he's a guy who was involved -- enhanced interrogation during the Bush Administration.
And during the Obama administration he's the author.
For the guy who's been the biggest proponent of the drone wars what's your take on -- Well actually it's not correct to say that John was involved in an enhanced interrogation that's been widely reported but it's simply wrong.
At the time to be seen his -- program was developed in and implemented.
He had a job that was administrative in nature and really didn't have anything to do with the enhanced interrogation program.
Subsequently he said that he is.
Opposed to the of the program I personally very much think it was well worth while.
But what do you think people should get blame or credit for the EIT program.
It's inappropriate to attribute that to John because he just really wasn't involved -- it.
I think he's highly qualified person -- is very Smart.
Hard working person and the president has confidence in him and you want your president have confidence in your CIA director so I think he'd be an excellent choice for the job.
OK well thank you so much for joining us -- Carlyle co author of hard measures and former spokesman for the CIA thanks for joining us thank you.
I want every one extremely good chat that's just come across.
Is anyone listening as the name of the person -- Saturday and and is talking about the idea that we talked about three years three months ago at.
The September 11 attacks and -- -- that it was a YouTube video gone bad.
So we want to know how come the administration is a concern that their new movie zero dark 38 which is going to be released in -- -- might now have a similar fact.
Have they beefed up security US embassies well we'll see in a few days -- -- take a break and then come back and talk about.
Cyber attacks and -- electromagnetic.
-- Washington DC Michael -- -- is a former senior security policy analyst for the office of the secretary of defense at the Pentagon.
And -- author of a new book called and nation divided.
-- recent rounds of cyber hacking show how vulnerable the US.
Civilian economy and infrastructure to attack now you've -- you've written about EM -- attack which is very similar.
To a cyber attack explained to us what it is.
It's electromagnetic pulse is.
-- -- burst of energy which is generated by area.
Electromagnetic energy which is caused by -- supercharged particles.
Accelerated it very fast speeds.
And they they can come from the sun that can come from a nuclear weapons explosion and they can.
Eliminate our our electronics and our.
Electrical electrical grid system that if if if the not protected and anyway what is there any protection at all the civilian infrastructure.
There's a little bit in some cases against maybe lightning strikes and what have you but for the most part.
The answer is no and I would add that are military depends upon electrical grid system by nine -- 9%.
And we're talking -- very critical infrastructures that form the basis of our entire.
Modern society because we're all very technology based.
And we have very critical infrastructure such as our our electrical grid are telecommunications our energy our.
Our food and delivery systems all of these.
And our financial assistance for example where they're all.
-- underlined the abide by our electrical grid system and if that electrical grid system goes out as well as automatic control systems that that.
Are the basis of our entire industry and commerce of those go out the United States to be hurting very very badly.
I'm Michael what I -- nuclear weapons of MIT and one of the things that nobody had ever for seeing what we did the first nuclear weapons test.
Was this whole electromagnetic.
Pulse saying all of a sudden we tested.
A nuclear weapon and the scientists looked at their watches and -- washes and stuff they tried to start the engines of their cars and those wouldn't work those it basically been fried.
By the electromagnetic pulse that came from a nuclear weapon.
Now now is fifty years ago.
-- and not much of our society here our culture really rested on those kinds of high technology thanks.
But today we as you just pointed out and you point out -- your block.
A nation for sake and we are completely dependent upon that is -- thing we can do I know we're not doing anything now but is there anything we.
Could do to protect the infrastructure.
Well I think we're gonna have to put a major investment of something like when he fifty billion dollars in there and start getting in the industry that.
A -- some of the costs as well to try and -- and these sites.
Pardon these facilities and I've -- there's there's a political debate about that going on right now frankly there's.
We've had previous administrations and congress is looking at this but nothing's been done.
Some there have been bills introduced but they language.
I think at this point it's gonna have to be a grassroots effort where people.
-- are gonna have to be working with their local authorities there there emergency coordinators.
Given the urgency now from.
Predictions from -- NASA.
That we're in -- in four a and intense period.
Of solar storms that and solar flares.
Where the -- -- -- this Levin your intensity between now and next year.
And if we get a direct hit some of these solar flares in the two to three times as large as the earth.
And if we get a direct hit.
They're estimating that it will cost upwards of two trillion dollars the first year.
Affect more than a 160 million lives and take anywhere from four to ten years to recover.
We have transformers that would be knocked out these -- transfer of some 350 transformers NASA's predicting -- those transformers and knocked out.
It will take years to -- to reform to replace.
And there and they're all made overseas now and we don't kick in the stock because -- specially designed.
Yeah well thank you so much my family the former advisor to secretary of defense and I managed just written a book that actually is really scary is called a nation.
For say can I have a feeling that the topic you -- which is the vulnerability of our infrastructure to electromagnetic.
Pulse -- caused by nuclear weapon.
By solar flare or even a cyber attack is something we're gonna hear an awful lot about going forward thanks so much for pointed out bring it to our attention.
Thanks for having me.
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