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tv   Face the Nation  CBS  September 11, 2016 8:30am-9:01am PDT

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captioning sponsored by cbs >> dickerson: today on "face the nation," 15 years after the attacks on 9/11, how safe are we, and what challenges face the next president? it's a day for sober reflection about the most horrifying day in modern american history. what happened to the spirit that united the country after 9/11? we'll talk to the head of the c.i.a., john brennan, plus the chairman of the house intelligence committee, devin nunes, about where we are in the fight against terrorism. then we'll unveil new cbs news battleground tracker results about what voters say they're looking for in a commander-in-chief. on the campaign trail, another week of negativity was capped by this comment. >> to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of trump's supporters into what i call a basket of deplorables.
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right? the racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, islam phobic, you name it. and unfortunately there are people like that. and he has lifted them up. >> dickerson: just how bad was that moment for hillary clinton? we'll ask our political panel. our battleground tracker update will show whether the presidential race is tightening in the key states. plus a preview of the new african american history museum opening in washington. it's all ahead on "face the nation." good morning. welcome to "face the nation." i'm john dickerson. today the nation honors those killed when terrorists hijacked planes and crashed them into the world trade center, the pentagon and a field in shanksville, pennsylvania. [bell tolls] moments of violence were observed at the three sites and around the world. the names of those killed in new
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york after the planes hit the twin towers were read at ground zero. both donald trump and hillary clinton paid their respects. here in washington, the president attended a memorial ceremony at the pentagon. >> we remember an we will never forget the nearly 3,000 beautiful lives taken from us so cruelly. >> dickerson: and we begin our coverage on this anniversary with the head of the central intelligence agency, john brennan. director brennan, what have we learned in 15 years? >> well, good morning, john. what we've learned is that these groups, whether it was al qaeda or isis, can cause much death and destruction as they pursue their mindless agenda. and so what we've learned over the last 15 years is to make sure we do everything possible as a nation to protect this great homeland and our people around the world, as well, from the scourge of terrorism.
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we've done a lot in terms of making sure that different parts of government are able to work together, be able to share information, increasing our information technology systems so we can get the information to where it needs to go to so we can prevent those attacks. we've learned a lot. we've done a lot. that's why today i believe it's much more difficult for these groups to carry out this type of attack that they did 15 years ago. >> dickerson: the c.i.a. now nears a new commemoration of the 9/11 attacks. what do you want employees at the c.i.a. to think about when they see and remember 9/11 in terms of when they do their job? >> well, on first floor of c.i.a., we have flag that was taken from the rubble of the world trade center towers as well as a shanitqua girder. it is in full view of our employees as they go about their daily activities. i want to make sure they understand we have a solemn obligation to make sure we do everything in our power with our full authority and capability
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around the world to prevent these terrorist groups from carrying out these types of heinous acts of violence and murder. so the agency takes veryer isly is what our responsibilities and obligations are, and i do believe that c.i.a. has been i would say probably the most instrumental agency since 9/11 in degrading, dismantling al qaeda and making sure that that organization and now isis are unable to carry out attacks here in the homeland. >> dickerson: one of the military officers that i talked to about the 9/11 history said one of the things that he thought was that restraint was not talked about as much. there's a lot of talk about actions that are taken here to stop this threat or that threat, but sometimes the actions taken have their own consequences. how much is restraint a part of what we have learned about the response to terrorism? >> i think we're very mindful that the actions we take overseas really need to take into account what the consequences are going to be.
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we're trying to be as careful as a surgeon's scalpel in terms of taking out the cancer of these terrorist organizations. we have to make sure, though, that we're not going to damage the surrounding tissue, and whether or not we're operating in the middle east or south asia or other areas and parts of the world, we have to work first of all very closely with the government, this ones we're able to work with, but to ensure that it's being done in a careful manner, that we're able to arrest and detain individuals as we can, that we're able to take advantage of whatever material we're able to seize. and this has to be done in a very deliberate way. >> dickerson: do drones help or hurt in that effort to be surgical, because some people say the drones are a recruitment tool for terrorists? >> well, the drone platform that have been in the u.s. military arsenal for quite some time are tremendously capable platforms that can carry out intelligence and surveillance and reconnaissance, the i.s.r.
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responsibility we have in terms of collecting intelligence, but also being able to be exceptionally precise as far as putting ordinants on targets when that is called for. so they are piloted. it just happens to be remotely piloted. >> dickerson: but in terms of that collateral issue, creating more terrorist, what role do you believe it creates as a recruit. tool for new terrorists? >> i think frequently our adversaries will point to it as a recruit. tool, but the facts are that is an exceptionally powerful and capable means of taking kinetic action against terrorists when that is called for. so i think there's a lot of misrepresentation and mischaracterization that a lot of the propaganda spews in terms of how those drones are used. >> dickerson: what's the state of the fight against isis right now as you see it? >> there has been significant reversal of their battlefield successes over the last six to nine months. we have seen that they've within pushed out of a number of areas inside of iraq as well as syria. a number of their lead verse
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been removed from the battlefield. they do not have the same type of patrol over territory they had this time last year. so this is all part of the strategic effort that has been under way to try to get the intelligence that is necessary in order to give the coalition the opportunity to take strikes from the air and also make sure that the iraqi forces and other and those elements that are fighting on the ground against isis are empowered and able to do that. >> dickerson: the argument made by the administration that as they lose that territory, the foreign fighters disperse and that's an even greater threat, is that right? >> well, they've been dispersed for a while. one thing isis has done is to develop these franchises around the world. a lot of these terrorist organizations that have raised the isis flag in different parts of africa and the middle east and south asia, they were already existing terrorist groups and they tried to jump on to the bandwagon of isis, but even those organizations have suffered serious setbacks. when i look at nigeria, in terms of the islamic state of west
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africa, also the heads of these organizations, whether it be in saudi arabia, algeria, afghanistan, they have been taken off the battlefield. progress is not being made just in iraq and syria, but also beyond. >> dickerson: the "washington post" has reported that the attraction to isis is also diminishing. the number of foreign fighters wanting to join the cause. is that the way you see it? if so, why? >> i think initially when i was able to roll across a number of these ungoverned spaces in iraq and syria, that momentum generated quite a bit of attraction. that's why the foreign fighters were flowing there. they thought it was a winning organization. it's now a failing organization. their narrative has been refuted. their claims of great victory have been debunked. and that's why i think fewer and fewer people are looking to isis as being an organization they want to belong to. >> dickerson: i'd like to switch to ask you about russia now. packing into different parts of the american electoral system -- hacking. what role is russia playing into
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hacking u.s. institutions? >> russia has exceptionally capable and sophisticated cyber capabilities in terms of collection as well as whatever else it might want to do in that cyber sphere. so we have known this for quite a while. their intelligence services are quite active around the world. this is something we have to make sure we're on guard for, not just for national security purpose, but also for making sure that our system of government here is going to be preserved. >> dickerson: they have the potential, but what's the real ty? >> they're very active worldwide. in the u.s. the f.b.i. is looking into the hacking of the dn cnetwork, the release of these e-mails. this is criminal activity, and i would defer to the f.b.i. as this continues to look at all of the different forensics as well as intelligence that we might be able to provide the bureau, as well, in terms of execution. >> dickerson: when you think of national security threats, where does russia fit in that
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picture? >> russia is a world power, clearly. they are involved in many different parts of the world. they have military capability. they're involved in the middle east right now. obviously in ukraine, central asia. so russia is a formidable adversary in a number of areas. also there are areas that we need to be able to work with russia, specifically in syria. as you know, john kerry and prime minister lavrov announced an agreement the try to move forward once again with trying to bring some sem -- semblance of peace to syria. we'll have to see whether or not the russians will follow through on their commitments in terms of putting pressure on the syrian regime. >> dickerson: and vladimir putin, how do you read him? >> he's very aggressive, very assertive. i think his intelligence background gives him a certain perspective. a lot of senior russian officials are also former k.g.b. he's someone i think we need to be very wary of in terms of his ability to manipulate environments for russia's advantage.
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>> dickerson: is he manipulating the election? is that abenvironment you think he's trying to manipulate? >> i think we have to be very, very wary of what the russians might be trying to do in terms of collecting information that cyber realm as well as what they might want to do with it. >> dickerson: is he an adversary? should we think of russia as an adversary? >> i think in certain areas they are adversary, yes. but in ways we need to cooperate with them because they also have a vested interest in trying to bring stability and trying to dismantle these terrorist organizations. >> dickerson: jumping around the globe, north korea appears to have tested another nuclear weapon. what's the danger? they put it on a missile or there is a black market for nuclear weapons? >> i think north korea under kim jong-un is an international concern because they continue to develop nuclear capabilities with the test that was just done last week, but their continued development of missile capability, marrying up those
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nuclear devices or warheads with blimps that -- ballistic missiles that can reach great distances is a cause of concern not just for the east asia region but for the united states. >> dickerson: saudi arabia, a bill entered the house and senate which allowed suing saudi arabia with respect to 9/11. how does that affect the work you do with saudi arabia? >> saudi arabia is one of our closest partners on counter-terrorism. i've worked very closely with the crown prince over the last 15 years. they are truly a good example of how foreign intelligence services can work against these terrorist organizations. saudi arabia faces a very serious threat from terrorism. >> dickerson: final question. donald trump has been briefed now, swells briefings. he said that he read through his briefers' body language that they conveyed disapproval of barack obama's policies. what do you make of that? >> i know the briefers that have been briefing the candidates. they are the quintessential
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professional intelligence officers. they do their work very well and they know as professionals they are to deliver substance. we don't comment on policy. we don't give policy recommendations. so i am fully confident that they comported themselves with the utmost professionalism and demonstrated their real breadth and depth of intelligence capabilities. >> dickerson: all right. director john brennan, thank you so much for being with us. >> thank you, john. >> dickerson: one positive to come out of the terrorist attacks that september day 15 years ago was the coming together of all americans to grieve, to honor those lost, and the unify as one nation. what happened to that spirit of unity? we went to the voters in the 13 states that are part of our battleground tracker and found that more than half, 52%, said that spirit has vanished. 32% say the post-9/11 spirit is still a little bit there, and only 9% say that spirit is very
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much there. as to the war on terror that began 15 years ago, americans are not optimistic, only 15% feel america is winning with close to 75% saying america is either losing or in a stalemate. cbs news director of elections anthony salvanto joins us now. anthony, i want to talk about the voters in these 13 background states and how they see the candidates, but before we do that, how do voters see this question of terrorism differently? >> well, 15 years on, everybody agrees it's still a threat. the differences are how do you approach fighting it. and where you see big splits are is it all just a military approach, and it's not, although most americans say that's at least art -- part of it. but others say it has to be a combination of promoting human right, promoting tolerance. what you don't see much of is any appetite for what you might read as nation building. that is promoting democracy, promoting economic systems
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around the world. and i think that's part of the lingering effect of, you know, a little bit of wariness after two long wars that the public has definitely said, but also a resignation that the fight has to continue and big differences between trump voters who definitely favor that more military approach as well as stronger restrictions on immigration here at home and clinton voters who say that should be a part, but just a part, but much more emphasis on those promoting global tolerance, promoting human rights around the world. >> dickerson: and diplomacy. let's look at the two specific candidates. how do voters see them on this question of commander-in-chief? >> up until now donald trump has been lagging hillary clinton on this idea of being prepared to be commander-in-chief. and in fact, that's what we've seen over the weeks has sort of weighed down many of his poll numbers, but we wanted to know what goes into being prepared, and we asked voters about that?
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one of the things you've seen over and over is knowledge. do you need to know a lot to be prepared? what we find is it is not always that voters think that a candidate has to have a lot of knowledge, because what some voters, in particular trump voters, are saying is they want a president who goes for the big picture, the big ideas, sets a large course, and then the details they say will take care of themselves. it's not always just judging on total vehicular homicide umass of details and knowledge. clinton voters by contrast are looking for a president who starts with specifics, who starts with fine details, they say, and then they think the big picture will take care of itself. >> dickerson: as we head to these debates and see the two candidates side to side, voters will be looking for different things. what about on the donald trump thing, if he doesn't have all the details that hillary clinton has, what do they think about his ability to learn on the job, have advisers tell him what to do? >> you fill in the gaps with advisers.
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that's how they see it. both are seen as potentially going to listen to advisers and experts. trump voters think he will. although there is a core of them, a smaller core, about a quarter, who say they want a president who listens to his own instincts, because experts are often wrong. we see some of that cynicism out there still about what experts really actually know. >> dickerson: bottom line question: who do voters feel more safe with, and who do they think can hand alcrisis in >> right now a majority neither. neither candidate has convinced a majority of voters that they can hand alcrisis well and that they can make those voters feel safe. i think this tells us that although the can cates have been trying to disqualify the other, neither one has connected back home for voters to what it matters to them, to the voters. yes, there may be knowledge. yes, there may be big ideas, but how does that make you, the voter, feel safe. that connection not there yet.
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>> dickerson: still battling that out. quickly, where does the actual race stand in terms of the state and the polls? >> a little bit of tightning in florida. clinton is only up by two points. that's down from five. ohio stays about where it was. and just a little bit of tightening across all the battleground states. i do not expect all the polls to move that quickly here. we should just take a look at the big picture, which is a fairly tight race in which clinton still has electoral college edge. >> dickerson: hillary clinton up by seven in ohio. we'll be back in one moment with the chairman of the house intelligence committee, devin nunes. stay with us. slept...
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you're not you. tylenol® pm relieves pain and helps you fall fast asleep and stay asleep. we give you a better night. you're a better you all day. tylenol®. >> dickerson: we're back. we welcome the chairman of the house intelligence committee, devin nunes. mr. chairman, in june of 2015 when you and i talked, you said you thought we were at 2 -- the highest threat level we've ever faced. what's your feeling about that now? >> i think we're even worse today. i think the threat level is even higher, because the radical
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islamic problem, whether it's isis or al qaeda, they continue to add followers. so even though isis is having problems controlling some territory within syria and iraq, they have spread globally now. they have moved fighters into europe, where our allies are having considerable problems, if you notice, on just over the weekend, both the german government and the french government came out pluckily and said that they are concerned about the numbers of fighters there in the country. so the al qaeda... what al qaeda started on september 11, 2001, continues to metastasize. i'm concerned that we're not paying close enough attention to the growth of radical jihadism globally. >> dickerson: is that concern a geographical concern, or do you feel in america... obviously we've seen home-grown, the kind of allure of joining up with isis, even if you're just a lone wolf. is that what worries you? >> i think when you look at the
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lone wolf question, a lot of times they will get younger people, people that have issues, and they're more susceptible to the radicalization over the internet. but i think there's another problem, and that is that al qaeda's very, very good at seeding people in and waiting. they're very patient. so if you notice when isis kind of broke off of al qaeda, merged with some of the old saddam baathist les mileses to -- loyalists to put their caliphate together, so al qaeda is much more patient. al-zawahiri is still out there. he's bin laden's number two. they're spreading very, very slowly. al-zawahiri came out in the last few days and issued a statement, a public statement. and i think he's going to continue to this that. so we don't know where these guys are hiding, and it's hard to track them because of encryption now and the internet,
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it's not as easy as it once was a decade ago. >> dickerson: moving on the russia, do you think they're trying to influence u.s. elections? >> i think russia is very good at influencing elections all over the world. it wouldn't surprise me that they try to do it here. it wouldn't surprise me they tried the break into the dnc and rnc. i think we shouldn't panic that the russians would try to do this because they always try to do it. they try to do it all over the globe. they tried to do it in ukraine. would they try to do it here? absolutely. if you leave your computers vulnerable, they're going the try to get in and get information off there, and not just the russian, chinese and others. >> dickerson: i guess what i'm trying to figure out is there a entered sense they might do it or is there any specific sense in your mind that they're accurately trying to do it, separate and apart... >> this is where we don't know, and i think we have to be very careful, because we don't want to panic the american people.
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a as you said, generally speaking, the russians are probably the number-one service around the "globe" that tries to influence elections. but other nation states try to do it, too. so they're always trying to do it. now, is that anything different this time? is there... do they have more information that they have had in previous elections? it's possible, but at the same time, i have confidence in our system, and i think that the elections will be free and fair, and as long as there is a paper trail, if there is any issue, we'll get to the bottom of it. >> dickerson: donald trump said he thought vladimir putin is a better leader than barack obama. do you have a view on that? >> well, the refreshing thing about donald trump is that he's a first-time candidate, and first-time candidates, when they do interviews with folks like yourself, they can easily get tripped up. but when you look at... let's take what putin has done, right? barack obama said he wanted to work with putin.
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secretary kerry is working with putin right now. hillary clinton set the reset button. george w. bush said he saw into putin's soul. so we want to be friends with the russians. the problem is that putin just doesn't seem to be a guy we can trust. >> dickerson: all right. mr. chairman, we're going to have to leave it. there we're out of time. thanks so much for being with us. >> my pleasure. >> dickerson: stay with us. we'll be right back. sting? well, i've been doing some research. let me introduce you to our broker. how much does he charge? i don't know. okay. uh, do you get your fees back if you're not happy? (dad laughs) wow, you're laughing. that's not the way the world works. well, the world's changing. are you asking enough questions about the way your wealth is managed? wealth management, at charles schwab. be the you who doesn't cover your moderate to severe plaque psoriasis. be the you who shows up in that dress. who hugs a friend.
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>> dickerson: stay with us. in our next half hour, gayle king will be here the preview tomorrow's "cbs this morning" live from the new smithsonian national museum of african american history. and culture here in washington. it's been in the works for 13 it's been in the works for 13 years and opens next week. ca it was an idea. an inspiration. a wild "what-if." so scientists went to work.
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