tv Face the Nation CBS June 2, 2013 8:30am-9:31am PDT
>> schieffer: today on "face the nation," more tornadoes in oklahoma, john mccain's secret trip to syria, and washington at the boiling point over news leaks. just when we thought the bad news was over for oklahoma, more tornadoes tore through the country's heartland. as the cleanup begins, we'll get the latest from oklahoma governor mary fallin. overseas, the news from syria was worse than ever. we'll hear about that from senator john mccain, just back from a secret meeting with the syrian rebels, and senator jack reed of the armedded services committee. the president with a quick visit to the jersey shore with governor chris christie. >> mr. governor, you want to give it a shot, sir?
schieffer: the president lost to christie, but his luck was running even worse in the capital, where his attorney general was accused of lying to congress over his handling of news leaks. >> with regard to the potential prosecution of the press for disclosure of material, that is not something that i've ever been involved in, heard of, or would think would be a wise policy. >> schieffer: we'll get analysis on that and the other news from a distinguished panel. jill abramson, the top editor at the "new york times." the legendary bob woodward of the "washington post." dan klaidman, national political correspondent for the "daily beast." "washington post" columnist david ignatius. and our own john dickerson. it's summertime in washington, and the temperature's rising because this is "face the nation." captioning sponsored by cbs
from cbs news in washington, "face the nation" with bob schieffer. >> schieffer: and good morning again. well, it is the weather again, violent tornadoes and storms claiming 12 lives and at least 100 were reported injured this weekend as a result of the violent storms and tornadoes in the midwest and the south. most of the fatalities occurredded just outside oklahoma city where a tornado killed nine people along interstate 40 friday night. we're going to start this week exactly how we started last week with the governor of oklahoma, mary fallin. she joins us this morning from el reno. governor, i must say, we didn't think last week we'd be talking to you again this week, but oklahoma, just when we thought the bad news was passedded, the tornadoes struck again. how is everybody doing this morning? >> well, we're doing well, bob. it's been a very trying couple of weeks in the state of oklahoma, but once again it's
the oklahoma strong resiliency, compassion, neighbor helping neighbor that we're seeing again. we're still pulling up from our boot straps and we're getting busy doing what we need to do, just take care of our people. but we were surprisedded. we knew the weather was going to be bad, but to think this could happen two weeks in a row is quite remarkable. we had loss of life again. we know at least nine people. we are hoping there will not be more but there are still some people missing and we're doing some rescuing and searching for that, but class a lot of cleanup to be done around oklahoma. >> schieffer: last week it appeared a lot of people were trapped in various buildings and things. this week it appears people got in their cars and so forth and were trying to outrun this thing and a lot of the deaths were on the highways. is that basically what happened? >> i'll tell you, bob, i was watching at night as the storm was coming through this area. >> and could see i-40 highway from here, which we're real close to, bait lot of people--
well, businesses let their employees off at 2:00, 3:00 4:00 early to be prepared for the storm because we knew it was going to be coming up. nothing going on at that time, just cloudy, overcast, but no major storms up. but then about 5:00, it started hitting, and there were some people who were just trying to go some other place and get in your car and go and try to get away from the storm itself. so we had a lot of people from rush hour traffic. we had people who were just trying to leave their community and maybe go somewhere else that might be safer, and the highways do get cloggedded up. so as i was watching the news that night and monitoring the situation, the horizon were just packedded. i-40 highway just had miles of cars lined up. i-35 down by moore, where we had the other damage, it was right during the rush hour, it was packed, the too. so i called our department of transportation, our highway patrol, and our local officials, our emergency management director and said we have to do something to get these cars off
the highways because they're in peril because there were several different storm tracks, about three to four different tornadoes that were going through the areas, not anything like what the moore tornado, but they were heavy storms, and these people were in their cars. so we did have some loss of life from those who were in their cars. >> schieffer: well, let me-- that was my next question. how are the folks over in moore doing? >> well, the folk folks in moord a lot of rain, some hail, some winds, but thankfully no tornado came through there. the debris pickup is going extremely well. it's remarkable to drive through there. i've been driving through there the last couple of days. there are a lot of people on the ground. they're cleaning up the debris. i've seen a lot of the businesses reopen. the warren theater, which was in the area where the hospital was hit, the post office, which is the damage is still there, but the warren theater is now open and there were a lot of cars there, even yesterday afternoon and the night before, so that's encouraging to see that open. the businesses are beginning to
open. there were a lot of businesses that were shut down because the electricity and water was off for several days. but it's starting to come back to life. commerce is coming back. people are getting their debris pushed aside, it's being picked up now. a lot of construction companies and different debris removal companies. so we're feeling much better about that. we're thankful that the storms didn't do more compared to what was coming through the other night with the traffic on the horizon and just the different storms in oklahoma. it could have been mump, much worse, but we ared sad that we did lose, that we know of, nine lives. >> schieffer: well, governor, i want to thank you very much for taking the time this morning, and i want to tell you, i hope we do not begin next week's broadcast with a report from you. you've been very good to keep us up to date on this. but i hope the next time we talk to you, it will be about some good news. >> well, i hope so, too, bob. i just want people in america ton that oklahoma is a great
place to live. just like states have wildfires in california, or earthquakes or they might have tornadoes in other areas of the country, this is really a great, great state. our economy is doing beautifully, and the people are wonderful. so i hope they are able to come back and see us when we have one of our up moments, and we are very strong. we're going to come back strong. >> schieffer: all right, thank you so much. >> thank you, bob. >> schieffer: and from the storms to war, we go on now to senator john mccain. he is in san francisco this morning but he is just back from a secret trip to sir yoo. i understand, senator, even your daughter didn't know you were there until she readed about it. so you went. you met with some of the rebel forces there. i guess the first thing to ask you is what did you find out? >> well, i found out that these individuals are very tough. they're battle hardened. they're very dedicated. they are not al qaeda. they are not extremists. i met with some 19 battalion
commanders, both in turkey and in syria. but they're badly out-gunnedded now, and there's a lot of really serious stuff going on that is just-- just breaks your harder. they're surrounded by bashar al-assad's forces. they're pounding them from the air and artillery. some 400 and more people are wounded that they can't get out. that's a key battle because strategically it's vital to success or failure of bashar al-assad. so i met them. general idris, the commander of the military inside syria, escorted me in and out. he's a fine leader. and so all i can tell you is that, yes, alnasra is there. more and more extremists are pouring in. every day it gets worse, but we have some very strong and good people who are fighting for freedom and are being massacred as we speak.
and remember all this talk we've heard for the last year or two, it's inevitable that bashar al-assad will fall? well, i think we can't make that statement today as the iranians, hezbollah is now invaded. iranians are there. russia is pouring weapons in. and anybody that believes bashar al-assad is going to go to a conference in geneva when he is prevailing on the battle field it's just ludicrous to assume that. >> schieffer: so you think he is now-- has the upper hand. >> i think that every assessment that you get from any intelligence agency is that thanks to increased weapons, thanks to hezbollah fighters, thanks to shi'a coming in from iraq. the russians pouring weapons in. iranians revolutionary guard that we are seeing, unfortunately, a battlefield situation where bashar al-assad
now has the upper hand and it's tragic. while we sit by and watch. >> schieffer: have you talked to anybody at the white house about this or given any kind of report to the administration? >> i haven't given a report yet. i did talk to john kerry earlier before i went in, but i have been over here at my son's wedding in san francisco, but i'm sure i will-- i will hopefully-- hopefully we will go to the floor. the administration knows this. they have the same information i have. it's a slaughter. and the refugee camps are full. the jordanians cannot last under the present situation. lebanon is more and more tilting into chaos. the israelis are threatened. this is now has every likelihood of turning into a regional conflict rather than just one in syria. >> schieffer: what can we do,
senator? some people say there's not much, including bob gates, the former secretary of defense. is there just is not much we can do about this right now? what will you tell the administration they need to do here? >> well, we need to give them a no-fly zone. the israelis have shown us we can take out their facilities without-- from a distance. we don't have to risk our pilots. we can crater their runways. we can provide them with a safe zone so that the syrian opposition council, which is outside syria, can come in to syria and accord with the military. general idris, and militia and military inside of syria, and we can establish that safe zone, and i'm confident that we can prevail. but air power, a classic example is kusiar.
they have it surrounded. bashar al-assad's forces have it surrounded, and then they pound it from the air. the scud missiles and with helicopter gunships and with fixed wing aircraft. air superiority is a key element in any conflict with this terrain and this climate and it's devastating to them. >> schieffer: so you're talkintalking about u.s. air po, using u.s. bombers to go in there and bomb these runways and so forth. >> no, i would use stand-off cruise missiles to crater the runways. i would use the patriot missiles close to the border to protect the safe zone. but, no, i would not send u.s. manned aircraft over syria. and by the way, the israeliss just showed that the defensive capabilities of bashar al-assad are not nearly what our military were claiming it to be. and that's unfortunate. >> schieffer: let me ask you this, senator, what is our
strategic objective in syria? what should it be? what do we want to see there? obviously, we'd like to see the shooting stop, but beyond that, what do we expect or want or think should be there? >> well, it is in our strategic interest to see bashar al-assad go. gonzales madis, who is the head of our central command, said the fall of bashar al-assad would be the greatest blow to iran in the last 25 years. it would cut off their connection with hezbollah. the reason why hezbollah is now all in there, because they know if syria goes they lose their connection with iran, and that would have very serious consequences for them. so we want a syria that can have a very long and difficult path to a democracy and governing themselves without being massacred by bashar al-assad. and that's going to be more and more difficult every day.
i admit that. sloos there's jihadists from all over the the middle east pouring in there, and it's going to make it extremely difficult. but compare that to the status quo. the status quo, the nas kerr good gz on, and bashar al-assad stays in power, and the spillover in the region turns it into a regional conflict. there's no good options here. the options were better a year to two years ago than they are now. and every day, it gets worse, and there's no doubt that this is going to become a regional conflict if it continues like this. >> schieffer: all right. let me just shift to some of the controversies going on back here in washington, number one being attorney general eric holder. he's now being investigated by a house committee. republicans claim he lied to congress about having no participation in tracking down these new leaks. do you think that the attorney general has overplayed his hand
here? >> i think he's made-- taken action that demand explanation. i'm more than happy to give him that opportunity to explain the obvious contradictions between his statements of not having anything to do with these investigations and the obvious fact that he did. but i also think that the attorney general has to ask himself the question is he really able to effectively serve the president of the united states and the american people under the present circumstances? that's a decision he'd center to make. >> schieffer: in other words, do you think he ought to resign? >> again, i think that would be up to him, but i don't-- i think it would be tough for him to answer the question whether he can still effectively serve the president of the united states. >> schieffer: do you think he lied when he made that statement? >> you know, i've always avoided, bob, that word because it's-- it's so definitive.
but i don't think there's any doubt there are significant contradictions between what we now know were his action as regards to these media people and what he stated before congress. he's going to have to resolve that, not only to congress but to the american people. >> schieffer: all right, well, senator, wement to than we want. we're glad you're home safe and we look forward to talking to you again. we'll be back in one minute [ male announcer ] let's say you pay your guy around 2% to manage your money.
that's not much, you think. except it's 2% every year. go to e-trade and find out how much our advice and guidance costs. spoiler alert: it's low. it's guidance on your terms, not ours. e-trade. less for us. more for you. now with senator jack reed. he is one of the senior democrats on the senate armed services committee. he's home in providence, rhode island, this morning. senator reed, you heard senator mccain. what is your thought on a no-fly zone? he seems to think that's one of the first things we ought to do here. >> well, first thing i think senator mccain's trip
indicates the kind of dedication to duty and personal courage he exemplified through his entire life and his impressions are valuable. i think a no-fly zone is not going to effectively deter the ashawd regime. thae they can use artillery. they can use helicopter gunships. i think the issue is not a military issue. it's the organizational and institutional coherence of the opposition military forces. senator mccain is right. they're extremely brave, dedicated fight fighters. there are some good leaders but without the training, if they have weapons or they have the freer skies they still i don't think will be a decisive factor. the key here is a political resolution. that's why the conference in geneva is so critical. and it's critical that the syrian opposition atend, and also that we convince-- and this is a difficult task it's
russians, that despite their attachment to assad, their support for assad, that some of the things senator mccain talked about-- regional spillover, disintegration, chaotic sectarian warfare, would be as detrimental to the russians as anyone else and for they have to be mump more responsible and much less provocative. >> schieffer: what then, should we do? what do you think the united states could d do at this point? some people say there's not much we can do. >> well, first of all, we have to provide humanitarian assistance, particularly to jordan and to other countries. we have to reiterate that the introduction of more sophisticate weapons, particularly the sophisticate anti-aircraft weapons would be a regional threat and particularly a threat to israel. we have to be very conscious of that. and that's another reason why we talk about arming the opposition in syria, that might be a signal to the russians that they can just go ahead and continue to amcellerate the arms race here.
that's another reason we have to come back, i think, to geneva. i think it's a very difficult negotiation process. the sense -- and i think senator mccain is right-- that assad, who appeared months ago to be on his last legs has regrouped, reformed. i think there's a fragmentation going on territorially in syria, in getting outside assistance. but this calls, i think, for ultimately a political solution, and our energies should be directed, at least through this geneva conference the next few weeks, of trying arrive with our allies-- the european union, particularly-- with a political arrangement and the russians have to be a key part of that. i think we take any options off the table but the first priority is to see if we can make a breakthrough politically. >> schieffer: do you agree with senator mccain that assad now has the upper hand, that he is winning? >> i think he has stabilized his position significantly.
in the first few weeks of this revolution, which began peacefully, there were massive defections from the syrian army, many of them sunnis who are leaving the forces. since that time, he's been able to reconstitute his forces. as senator mccain rightly pointed out he has received technical and military assistance from the iranians and the russians, but i don't think he has a decisive position where he can control all the syria. i think my fear is what you get say fra fragmentation, what yout is a spillover into other areas. and as a result, again, in the long term, the ruz liewgz must come from political cooperation and cooperation from parties that to this point, particularly the russians, have not been helpful. i don't think there's a major expectation that the iranians will be constructive. and, in fact, they see this as an existential sort of battle. but if we can get the russians to be more responsible, and they'll only do it in their own
self-interest. they won't do it because they want to see a secular, decent regime in damascus. we have to be able to convince them that this is too dangerous, this potential spillover effect, this potential humanitarian crisis, and particularly the escalation of arms that it would threaten them. and that's the case, if we can make that argument, as secretary kerr sewell versed and well fleepped we do have a chance, i think, of lowering the threshold of violence, and, also, trying to arrange some type of political transition. you know, months ago, the russians were even conceding that assad was gone, and they were looking beyond that. now, if we can make such a transition in a way that is guaranteed supported and cooperated by the major powers, that not only might end the fighting or at least diminish it but it would be a much more stabilization after the
hostilities come to an end. >> schieffer: i wanted to ask you quickly, the controversy surrounding eric holder. do you think he ought to step aside? do you think he's the one that ought to be investigating this situation about the news leaks and all of that, since he is, obviously, involved? >> i don't think he should step aside. i think he should be very careful in terms of delegating responsibility, so even the appearance of conflicts are avoided. i think as senator mccain indicated he has the obligation as every public servant to fully explain to the american public and the congress what he dwhat was his rationale. that i think is incumbent with being the attorney general of the united states. >> schieffer: senator, thank you so much. >> thxz, bob. >> schieffer: i'll be right back with my personal thoughts on all this. n success story. i'm a teacher. and i shop at walmart. truth is, over sixty percent of america
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everything. there was a time when washington shut down for vacation season and congress went home about now. now, they go home all the time, and when they're here they don't do anything so it's hard to know if they're here on not, but i guess they're on schedule. for a while there, summer was the season for washington scandals. it was summer when the burglars broke into the watergate. summer when richard nixon finally left. so maybe we shouldn't be surprised that right on schedule, the second-term doldrums are set in at the obama white house, bringing with them a scandal or two. it's that time of year. storm season is right on schedule, too, but the weather seems more unpredictable whenever-- hot when it should be hot, cold when it should be hot. but just when you saw the thought this was the season for just bad stuff, there was this. a plane crashed nose first into the home of a herndon, virginia, family, friday night. amazingly, none of the four
people in the apartment was hurt. a six-year-old boy slept through it all. the pilot was hurt but he and his passenger climbed out, asked the startled homeowner if he was okay, and the homeowner said, "we're good." he then woke up the six-year-old and they all walked outside. back in a minute. [ both ] ugh! were so confused. how much is too much water? too little? until we got miracle-gro moisture control. it does what basic soils don't by absorbing more water, so it's there when plants need it. yeah, they're bigger and more beautiful. guaranteed. in pots. in the ground. in a ukulele. are you kidding me? that was my idea. with the right soil... everyone grows with miracle-gro. with the right soil... the blisters were oozing, and painful to touch. i woke up to a blistering on my shoulder. i spent 23 years as a deputy united states marshal and i've been pretty well banged up but the worst pain i've experienced was when i had shingles.
when i went to the clinic, the nurse told me that it was a result of having had chickenpox. i wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. >> schieffer: some of our stations are leaving us now, but for the rest of you we will be back with our panel on the news leaks and other controversies that have engulfed washington. ,,,,,,,,,,
>> schieffer: welcome back to facenation. we'd like to welcome jill abramson. i doarnt believe you were the top person at the "new york times" the last time you were on "face the nation." the legendary bob woodward who has been legendary fair while now. dan klaidman, the national political correspondent with the "daily beast." david ignatius, also of the "washington post," and our own john dirker son. well, we had a little break over memorial day because congress has been on vacation again. but this promises to be another rough week for the administration with more congressional hearinginto the i.r.s. scandal. a new report coming out this week on excessive spending at the i.r.s. they've been spending money on things like parties and dance instruction videos.
i could have taught them to do that distance. the attorney general has come under intense criticism for the way he's handling leaks of classified information to reporters. there is stale controversy over the now-famous talking point on the benghazi attacks. let's just start right in. jill, the attorney general asked the bureau chiefs at the various news organizations here in washington to meet with him to discuss his handling of all of this. the "new york times," cbs, and some others decide not to attend. the reason we didn't go is because they told us it would be off the record. we also wanted to have our counsel present. why did you decide not to do it? >> for many of the same reasons, bob. to have this private meeting with the attorney general not be able to share anything about it with our readers didn't seem to have a point to me. but the "times" and our readers are quite concerned about the
six active criticism leak cases that the obama administration has pursued. that's more than all the other administrations combined. and, you know, we are concerned that the process of news gathering is being criminalized. the first amendment is first for a reason. thomas jefferson and james madison thought it was crucial for our country to have a free and robust press to help keep the government accountable. and that's the job that "times" reporters and other reporters here in washington are trying so hard to do. >> schieffer: bob woodward, you know a little something about leaks down through the years. your editor went to this meeting. what did he find out? >> well, i don't know that you find out anything in a session like that. what you do-- and i think you have to step back a little bit
and say what's going on here? and this isn't just a legal issue or a journalism issue. it's a practical issue for the administration. and what they're doing here i think is self-defeating. since pentagon papers decision, 1971, which said there can be no prior restraint on publication, the media-- and i know myself-- several dozen times have gone to the white house or the c.i.a. or the pentagon and said, "i have these details about this operation. what do you think?" and then they make their arguments about what parts shouldn't be published or it shouldn't be published at all. and it actually humans the government and helps the press, if and if you can say it, helps national security. and to chill all of this by saying oh, if you go, if they find out that you have got some state secret, they're going to get your phone records, they're
going to sever that relationship. >> schieffer: dan, you actually interviewed the attorney general. as far as i know, you're the one single reporter who has interviewed him since all of this. what did you come away from the interview-- what did you think about it? >> well, look, i think he wanted to publicly acknowledge that, that balance that the justice department says it wants to strike between cracking down on national security leaks but at the same time protecting the free flow of information, allowing reporters to do their job of aggressively reporting on the government, that that balance had gotten out of whack, and that he and his department wants to try to recalbright it, wants to update and reform the guidelines that cover interactions between the justice department and the press. they've begun that process. >> schieffer: did you think they knew what they were getting into when they launched into this? >> that's the interesting question.
and i think it's complicated. i think for one thing, the administration, the justice department, comes under enormous pressure to crack down on leaks. and holder himself was hauled up before the senate intelligence commit-- some of that pressure comes from congress-- to go after leakers-- this was in december of 2009. but i think there's a larger kind of cultural issue at play here, which is prosecutors think in a certain way, which is they're going to cast as wide a net as possible, get as much evidence as they can, so they can have a sustainable case in a court of law. and eric holder is a prosecutor most of his career. what should happen is when you get to that higher level, the political leadership at the justice department, they need to have peripheral vision, not the tunnel vision that sometimes these prosecutors have, and that's where i think he fell down. >> just to jump in on dan's point about the prosecutors going after these leaks.
in one of them, in an affidavit that holder signed off on, they named james rosen of fox news, a coconspirator. holder in front of congress said, with regard to potential prosecution of the press" -- >> we have that. let's just listen to that. ( no audio ) >> with regard to the potential prosecution of the press for the disclosure of material, that is not something that i've ever been involved in, heard of, or would think would be a wise policy. >> schieffer: so there you have it. he said he didn't know anything about it. >> or heard of. that is a pretty broad -- >> and yet he signed the subpoena. >> this affidavit. it goes back to dan's point, they were going after in every way-- what they say at the justice department, they had they were never intending to
prosecute the journalists. they did it as part of the paperwork. so the attorney general is consistent in his remarks. the problem is doesn't sound consistent with regular people. >> i don't think there really is a particularly good chance that this is going to be a sustainable perjury case for the reasons that you explained. but one prosecutor who has done these leak investigations said to me all the justice department would have had to have done was put a footnote in that affidavit to say, "look, we have no intention of prosecuting this reporter." this was essentially a legal tactic to get a search warrant approved. that's really what it was. >> schieffer: saying, well, we really didn't mean to do that, that's kind of a thin suit. >> in all of these cases i think the important thing is there's supposed to be a balance between the needs to prosecute leakers and a free press. and it appears that in the pursuit of these cases, i agree with dan and his point about a
prosecutorial mindset, that balance doesn't seem to have been applieded in the department. and i wonder who was speaking up for the free press side of that. >> i just think this is a panel of journalists and we, obviously, focus on the case that involves several of our own. but in terms of the critique of eric holder, the problem is that eric holder has been a weak attorney general. he has not exercised the kind of judgment on the broad range of criticism prosecutions. he's not organizedly the justice department to pursue white collar crime after these enormous scandals as a lot of public wants. people who deal with the department every day say he has consistently been a weak manager, and this is an example of that. the judgment that should have been brought to bear before you subpoena 20 phones from the associated press surely you know you're going to get a firestorm
response. you call up the associated press, and you talk to them about it. the notion that you're going to sort of slip it through, which they act as if they thought, was wrong. so i do think that the larger question about eric holder is has he been a good attorney general? and i hear an awful lot of very knowledgeable lawyers say no, he hasn't. >> well, the "new york times" this morning was quoting people from the white house saying they would really like him to resign but then, on the other side of it they say, this is all politics. and you have to decide in this case. but it's all very troubling. and you lump all these things-- the i.r.s., benghazi, and this together-- and what you've got is a feeling that no one's coming clean, that we aren't getting straight talk. and this goes to president obama. he's got to find a way to unravel this. we live in an age of distrust.
i think it's more severe now, and he has to find some way to clean this up and say, "this is what happened. this is what it means." so people will say, "ah--" remember at the beginning of his administration, he got involved-- a mistake with senator daschle, and barack obama as president came out and said, "i screwed up." if that's happened, we need to hear it again. >> schieffer: let me just ask you this, does anyone here think this investigation, this review of all of this, that the president said he wanted to conduct, should the attorney general be the one conducting this review, david? >> well, the issue here really is what standards is the justice department going to use when it subpoenas reporters' materials? we do not have a separate category of citizenship. we sometimes wish we did, but we're like any other citizen. our records can be subpoenaed. we can decide to resist that. and go to jail, as some
reporters have, to protect our sources. but the justice department has for years had guidelines to try to reduce the incidents of encroaching on reporters and their source. and one big question about the behavior of the justice department here-- holder recused himself-- did the department follow its own guidelines. what is happening now is perhaps an attempt to make stronger guidelines so it's less likely they'll go after reporters and i think that's a good thing. >> one of the problems is those guidelines have been flawed. they have big gaps in them. for one thing, there's no mention of e-mails or text messages or social media. for another thing, search warrants, like the one in the rosen case, are not covered by those guidelines. so there are some things that can be done to make those guidelines tougher and perhaps work better. >> it's not about guidelines. it's go common sense. >> schieffer: it's also about nobody seems to know anything. officials about the white house didn't know about the i.r.s. and
the troubles they were having. who knows who knew what was going on in benghazi when they were trying to draw up these things. and then we get to this leak investigation. it seems to me this might go beyond the justice department. >> it's very easy to lump all of these issues together. i know that they absorb journalists inside of washington. but i'm not sure how much any of these particular issues has absorbed the american public who i think are hoping against hope that the economy is at least showing some strength and maybe giving the president some credit for the fact that there are some hopeful signs and who are concerned about things like the continued soaring costes of health care, which the "times" had on the front page today. >> schieffer: but you don't-- you wouldn't say that you think it's not something we ought to be concerned about? >> no, i mean, clearly i'm very
concerned about the leak cases, which is why i came here to talk to you this morning. but i'm just not sure they come together and create know-- quote, unquote-- an atmosphere of scandal. >> no, that's absolutely true. but we need facts. we need evidence, and this is not something that-- i mean, in this politicized environment, people who don't like obama just jump on it and say this is the worst we've ever had. and people who like him say, oh, no, this is just politics, and this is just nonsense. what we need are facts and not political rhetoric on each side because these are serious issues, and i disagree with you that people aren't tuned in to the sense of are we getting the truth from the white house in washington? >> well, i think it's the old cliche that the scandals that have traction are the ones that were the-- where the facts reinforce a preexisting
perception of a problem with the white house or the president or the administration. and that's why i think some of these probably don't. but the i.r.s. controversy has the potential of creating that kind of problem for this administration. because part of the president's image has been one that he's cultivated is one of competence in running the governor. >> pinkston: if people think that somebody is sicking the i.r.s. on them, i think they're going to be concerned. >> that's personal. >> schieffer: we haven't seen any evidence yet that somebody is. >> that's right. >> schieffer: we haven't connected what's going on there with the white house or anything beyond the agency. but i think people are concerned about it. let's take a break here and we'll come back in just a minute.
whole controversy? >> i think the main thing to keep in mind is this is not a group of journalists complaining because of attacks on the press, per se. it's not only journalists or politicians who are raising this issue. two of the judges in these leak cases have criticized over-zealous procedures that the justice department has used against reporters. and the reporters who work for the "times" in washington have told me many of their sources are petrified even to return calls. >> schieffer: that was my next question. you are already feeling this. >> it has a real practical effect that is important. >> schieffer: and, john, back to the i.r.s. thing, where do you see this going? >> two things, one, the report you mentioned that is going to talk about spending at the i.r.s. $49 million spent on the conferences and there is now this video on dance
instructions. more headaches for the i.r.s. and i have talked to a lot of republican senators who are hearing this from their constituents, what we know is tea party groups that got extra scrutiny from the i.r.s. that's one scandal. but there is reporting from individuals who have given from conservative groups who neil like they were targeting, and if that's true, if--t turns out there was somebody at the i.r.s. going after individuals it's more serious. we don't know it for sure. the "wall street journal" had a piece on it on friday. that's something to watch for. >> schieffer: i want to talk a little about syria. you heard john mccain. do you think a no-fly zone is the answer? >> i think this administration is not prepared-- not even close to being ready to impose a no-fly zone. so the question in a sense is moot. i thought the discussion with mccain and then senator reed really tead up what a nightmarishly difficult problem this is. you couldn't listen to this and not feel this is a horrible
humanitarian tragedy. it's a bloody battle every day. and yet, the options the u.s. is presented with are all bad. and i-- i mean, i think what the white house is trying to do-- the president does not feel comfortable going to a no-fly zone, going into anything like u.s. direct military involvement. what they are doing is building up the option, trying to train them-- the opposition, trying to train them, give them better weapons, not to shoot down airplanes. for right now, i think that is what we should be doing. >> schieffer: we don't really know what the impact of that is going to be. i'm not sure we know or have-- i would like to hear somebody say to me, "this is our strategic objective in syria. this is what we want to see." and i never hear that. >> they want to get assad out of there. >> schieffer: that's just step one. we wanted to get saddam hussein out of iraq.
>> right now, that's a harder step than it was months ago. >> or even years ago. that is part of the problem. >> if you create a stronger opposition that maybe can defeat assad, but more important can stop the extremists and govern a future syria. i mean, that's what this period should be about. is trying to build up the forces that some day will govern a new, better, stronger syria. that's a ways off. but we shouldn't-- it doesn't mean we shouldn't start workok it now. >> schieffer: go ahead. >> there's a phrase that the president used to use with his former vice chairman of the chiefs of staff, ""requirement creep." used interchangeably with "mission creep." this is a thing the president has been worried about. once you start this process, will there be new requirements? can you control that? he's very wary of getting embroiled in a civil war, another civil war in the east. >> he doesn't like war. that is very evident pulling out
of iraq and pulling out of afghanistan. he just does not like war and does not like another war, and in a sense, i think the public is with him on that. >> schieffer: are we in a second-term dole drums here? it just seems to happen. people get re-elected and just kind of trouble comes. you've seen a lot of this, bob. >> first, i think there's a strain of hope here. and jill was saying, i mean, that calling people sometimes in the national security area, they don't want to talk, it is a chilling environment. but i have found that even this week and last week, that the white house will respond to legitimate inquiry in a serious way. in other words, they are not yet in the bunker with the full canopy pulled over their head. and i hope that we will see more engagement and we get the data that we need and the answer to the questions. and i think that's possible.
>> and the thing that they are happy about, unlike the last few years, has been the economy. consumer confidence highest number in five years. >> right. >> housing seven-year high on spending. so you talk to the white house, and they say, "go look at the economy." every conversation over the last four years they would talk about everything but. >> schieffer: we'll be back in a moment with our "face the nation" flashback.
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call or go online now to get answers. >> schieffer: tiananmen square is in the heart of beijing, but it was 24 years ago tomorrow that a crackdown on pro-democracy forces there made it a name that will always be remembered in the struggle for human rights. that is our "face the nation" flashback. >> this is a cbs news special report. >> good day. the situation around tiananmen square in beijing grows more explictd more tense with each passing hour. for nearly seven weeks, chinese student and citizens had been protesting peacefully in beijing's city center, calling for democracy and political reform. but on june 3, the situation took a violent and nasty turn.
soldiers are firing into the crowds. they're not firing into the air. you're saying you saw casualties. >> soldiers are firing into the crowd. large crowds of women, children, old people. >> schieffer: we're told now there were so many casualties doctordoctors in beijing are uno treat all of them. the army turned on foreign journalists, but cbs reporters on ground brought us this story have a still photographs and a new device, cell phones. correspondent richard roth was on the phone to us when the authorities went after him. ( gunfire ) >> you hear that gunfire? >> we do hear it. >> reporter: okay, we've got to get out of here. they're ripping away his camera, and they're coming for us. we're trying to move-- move back and move away. oh, no! oh, no!
oh, no! oh, no! ( gunfire ). >> schieffer: we just lost communication with richard roth. shots are being fired in the square. it would be 20 hours before we knew that roth was safe and had been released, and while the chinese military did break up the protests, it failed to break the spirit behind the movement. just one day later, the world watched a lone protester block a line of tanks in that same square, a peaceful act of defiance that would symbolize the courage of those who had been silenced. our "face the nation" flashback. ,
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