tv Charlie Rose WHUT June 6, 2012 10:00am-11:00am EDT
>> rose: welcome to the program tonight david sanger of the "new york times" talks about his new book, confront and conceal obama's secret wars and surprising use of american power in which he tells us how the president uses his role as commander in chief. >> what have we learned about barack obama. the fascinating thing about this president is the paradox. that he has no problem pursuing an engagement approach while also quietly pursuing, secretly pursuing these covert activities quite hawk hillary -- hawkish.
you've got to be squeezing their economy and attacking their sent feudges. only that combination will bring them to the tain. >> rose: we conclude with morgan freeman talking about his science series through the wormhole and his passion for flying and sailing and playing golf. >> that's very much the way acting works. you design, you forget it and then you do it. i don't want to know your lines. >> rose: why not. >> because i want to hear what you have to say. i don't want to be waiting for my cue. >> rose: you want to resonate within you. you want to listen. >> i want to list. >> rose: david sanger and morgan freeman when we continue.
>> rose: barack obama won the 2008 presidential election bound to repair america's image abroad. his promise to restore traditional american engagement led to accusations that he was soft on national security. but his three and-a-half years in office the picture that emerges is one of a president whose hawkish decisions mirrors those of his predecessor. the reliance on drone and cyber warfare has culminated a new chapter of american's foreign policy. david sanger a chief washington correspondent of the "new york times." in his new book he looks at the ways president obama's foreign policy has surprised his supporters and opponents alike. >> it is called confront and conceal obama's secret wars of the american power. i am please to do have david sanger back at this table. welcome. >> thank you, charlie. >> rose: as you sat down i said often good books begin with
a good question. what question began this. >> the question that began this book, charlie, was can anybody explain the surprises in the obama doctrine, in the obama policy. and it is full of surprises. you have a president who as you said talked about engagement but was taken aside by president bush just days before the inauguration in 2009 and was told there are two programs you're going to find are absolutely critical. one of them is drones, the other is a secret cyber program called olympic games. and not only did president obama embrace those, he doubled down on them, he tripled down on them in some cases. so one question was how do you get to those surprises. the other question was, can the obama light footprint strategy which is to say that the united states will no longer go in and do an afghan or iraq-like
conflict. won't spend a trillion dollars and send in 100,000 troops, won't occupy a country in resentments. can that work for anything more than just taking out a small group of terrorists or a nuclear centrifuge some place. can it actually be in to reformulate american power. and that question is still unsettled. >> rose: what will decide it. >> what will decide it is whether over the long term we find ourselves merely engaged in a series of low confrontation wars where we are trying to attack from afar, whether it's using a predator, using special forces or using a cyber weapon. or whether sooner or later, we decide that there are certain kinds of conflicts where nothing substitutes for americans being on the ground. that's the one thing barack obama has declined to do, put americans on the ground. a really interesting example here is syria.
what worked in libya isn't working in syria. the geography's different, the problem hasn't been tried but no one will dare try it because in libya, you could deal with this remotely by finding the libyan forces out in the desert and bombing them. in syria, this is all taking place inside cities. you can't use remote air power without causing terrific casualties and no one wants to take the risk of getting in the midst of the civil war. so there are some things for which the light footprint strategy works and there are others which is not well suited. >> rose: well but there are people who worry about the syrian policy if the administration and others do nothing, the things they fear most eventually happen. >> that's right. and that's the big concern here. so you know, we've got a strategy right now that is good for keeping terrorists off balance and may be good at
slowing down countries seeking unconventional weapons. it does not do a whole lot for changing societies. remember, it was just a few years ago we would sit at this table and we would talk about whether or not counterinsurgency was the great, the future where the greats would go in, make populations feel secure, bring in sources of food and business, a government in a box, to use that phrase we heard early in afghanistan. and whether that over time could change a society. well part of what i do confront and conceal is track how barack obama who came into office pretty sympathetic to counterinsurgency, quickly came to the conclusion that at least in afghanistan, it would not work. and so after spending a year getting ready to do the surge by bringing in everybody in the government and talking of the whole of government effort, he pulled out of afghanistan or made the decision to pull out with about five close aids and
froze out. >> rose: between the time of having this huge discussion about afghan policy, ever was involved in countless meetings over six weeks or so. >> six weeks, eight weeks and leaks every week. >> rose: this time, four people, none of them military made a decision they had to get out. >> that's right. one of them, just retired military. >> rose: cart right. >> well cart right was in it but i was also thinking of general douglas luke. >> rose: he was at the whitehouse. >> was at the whitehouse and still is. >> rose: the other question that comes that has to do with this book the richness of some of the things you have learned like the conversation between the president of egypt mubarak and the president of the united states. when the president of egypt was under intense pressure to leave. >> that's right. and the debate that took place inside the whitehouse, charlie, was how hard do you push mubarak out. and you had a faction led by
hillary clinton and bob gates the defense secretary at the time, you don't want to push president mubarak out until you have a pretty good understanding of what's going to follow. you know, what gates always used to say before he left washington is the question, the three words never heard in washington enough and then what, okay. and he raised that same issue i think when you spoke to him a few weeks ago. in this case, the and then what looked pretty scary to them. there was a younger group within the whitehouse that could imagine themselves in tahrir square with those students. and they said you have to get on the right side history. >> rose: who is in that group? >> well that group included ben rhodes, the deputy of the security advisor and speech writer, dennis mcdonau, a fairly large group of sort of mid 30's,
early 40's advisors who believed that at this point mubarak couldn't be saved. >> rose: national security advisor. >> mr. dawn lynn in the course of that sided more with you got to give him a push. but he seemed to have, you know, some sympathy for the position that secretary clinton was advocating very hard. when i went to see hillary clinton after this was all over when i was working on the book, i asked her about this conversation. i sort of expected her since mubarak was long gone to sort of say well you know it was a complicated period you want to move cautiously. instead she said you know, i was really worried about how this is going to turn out and i told the president i think this will be okay. but it may be okay in 25 years. and it's very hard to call right now how this one is going to happen. is going to play out. when you go back over the conversation the president had with mubarak, it's a fascinating conversation because mubarak is
saying literally at one point, just give me ten days, a nasser put down an uprising out there. he's basically saying give me ten days to shoot everybody out in the square. president was saying you've been around 30 years i respect my elders but i don't think you understand the situation. given the view the administration gave me was that president obama didn't think he was pushing mubarak under the bus, but he thought that mubarak had put himself under the bus. but he certainly rolled the bus back and forth over him a fewer times. meanwhile what was happening at the whitehouse, the israelis and saudis were calling in saying whatever you do you have to protect mubarak. the israelis because they wanted to protect the peace treaty, the saudis because they thought if mubarak went, they could well be next. and having the united states abandon a long term ally was not
what the king of saudi arabia thought was a pretty good idea. this put saudi relations in the deep freeze for a long time. >> rose: they've come out of it. >> they have. >> rose: the saudis would pay more attention to china but all of a sudden they seem to be back on the same page having to do with the future of the middle east. >> and particularly because the iranian threat focuses the saudi's minds. >> rose: as far as we know there's no arab spring in saudi arabia yet. >> yet. maybe it will never happen. one of the interesting thing the president did was about eight months before the arab spring started, he secretly issued a presidential decision directive or study directive asking whitehouse staff to do a study of the future of the middle east and the likelihood of these uprisings. and they were still at work on it -- >> rose: before tunisia started. >> this was summer of 2010. so it was six months before tunisia happened and they were state work on it. at one point the president got a
security briefing in the middle of the tunisia uprising and asked the question, what are the chances this is going to spread to egypt. and the answer he got, very tiny chance, sir. likely to stay right where it is in tunisia. this is from our own intel community. >> rose: let's go to the crises because that's getting a lot of attention here. explain what the president found when he came to the office. what president bush said to him and what the president did to double down. >> president bush had started a program called olympic games which was an effort to find a way to slow the iranian program without bombing them and without having the israelis bomb them. it started around 2006 and 2007 when general cartwrite and some intel owe fcials we discussed before came to president bush and said we think we have a way to do this.
but it's risky, we've never tried it before and it involves using cyber weapons which the united states -- remember to this day charlie, even after her friday excerpt in the "new york times," the unites has admitted to using cyber weapons, it has never admitted to using them once. so what did president bush say. he said well you can go out and try this, see what happens. whal cartright, the intel community, worded some centrifuges obtained from libya which turned over it's nuclear weapons complex including the centrifuges, what they sold to the iranians. they set them up and tried to replicate the facility inside some national laboratories.
they spread it over over several lab tease in the united states so it wouldn't be evident what they were doing. they inserted a cyber weapon through the computers that controlled these devices and eventually figured out how to issue instructions that would blow these things up. >> rose: what do you mean blow them up. >> centrifuges spring at incredible super sonic speed. there's a column that runs inside them that separates out the iranians. if you can speed it up faster than it's designed to go or you can slow it down suddenly, it's like sending an airplane into a dive. it becomes unstable, it begins to spiral and it literally blows apart. if you're standing next to one when it blows apart, it's all over. and they can take out many others within the region. so they tried this in the u.s. they took the rubble from one of the centrifuges brought it to
washington and dumped it in the conferencation and president bush looked at this and said okay go ahead and try it. the first thing they had to do was figure out how the centrifuges in iran are connected to all the computers that run this. it's completely walled off. so they had to insert a beacon basically and that would have to go through walking it in, through an engineer, scientist. that mapped out and made a blue print of the plant and then phoned home back to the nsa and to the israelis and said here's what it looks like. then they designed a weapon based on that blue print and they designed many variants of it and they began around 2008 to hit the iranians with this but in a very small way so that the iranians thought that these centrifuges were just breaking down because of bad design. the pakistanis gave it up and
they didn't know what was hitting them. the virus the worm was redesigned very carefully with subsequent hits so that something slightly different went wrong. this worked beautifully. president obama saw what was going on. they would come down in the situation room early in the obama presidency and lay out a giant fold out map of the plan called a horse blanket and they would show him where the centrifuges were and he would basically decide whether he was willing to take a risk in doing a bigger and bigger attack. worked well until the summer of 2010 when inevitably something went wrong. what went wrong in this case ws they had overhyped one of the worms. the initial fault was the israelis had done it, there's some dispute about who made the mistake. they inserted it. again through either witting or
unwitting scientists. one day they came in and hooked his computer up, he was just doing work. unbeknownst to him, the worm left the board his laptop because it was part of the environment. he then unplugged, went home, plugged into the internet and the worm didn't realize the environment had changed. and it started propagating itself which it was designed to do. but out across the internet thinking it was still in natans. and suddenly we all saw what people later named the stuck net virus. we didn't know where it came from. in fact bill broad and i who were writing about this at the time and john markoff of the times we had it run initially. we thought it was a virus that had been spread generally around iran and other countries in hopes it would get into natan. we had it exactly backwards,
charlie. it started there and spread out. >> rose: how did they get it started, the necessity of having something come in from outside. >> they had to get it across the air gap. the iranians like many american companies separated their computers from the rest of the internet so nobody could get inside. somebody had to work in with a usb, flash drive or laptop computer something else that -- >> rose: who do they think did that. >> well it looks like it had to be somebody with access to the plant. the only people with access to the plant would be iranian engineers, iranian scientists, perhaps though the u.s. government says that it would never do this kind of thing. perhaps the engineers who worked at seemans, the german company which made many of the controllers and still keeping them up and running for the iranians. they may have come in completely unknown. >> rose: where is olympic games today? >> people are a little bit
skittish. they came in when i said i was writing about olympic games but there's no indication this has ever stopped. there are indications it has changed nature. obviously after stuck net happened, the iranians suddenly sicked out what was hitting them and they had a pretty good idea who was doing it. so now the question is, is there a way to do something similar to other parts of the iranian program or does one just focus on the centrifuges. >> rose: united states and israel have both said it is not acceptable for iran to have nuclear weapons. in order to have nuclear weapons they have to have enriched fuel at a certain level. >> that's right. and lots of it. >> rose: and lots of it. and the question is, if in fact they did not have the stuck net virus success, would the iranians have been at a point in which they would have had to make a choice much earlier and face the biggest crises of the
obama administration? >> this is the 64,000 centrifuge question, okay. because the official u.s. intel estimates are that this program slowed the iranians down by 18 months to two years. there are some outside experts who have looked at it who think that is overly optimistic but it's an interesting time period charlie. because the u.s. estimates of how much it would set back the iranians if israel came in and bombed facilities is also 18 months to two years. so what were the olympic games about. well first it was about slowing down the iranians but it was also about bringing the israelis in and working with them so tightly that the israelis would be convinced there was a way to slow natans without sending in f16's. >> rose: there was a rumor for a while that said the israelis were thinking about the fact they had to go in the summer of 2012 where we're in
now. but i was told recently they no longer believe that, that they backed away from that. do you know anything as to whether they are or are not looking at that kind of timetable. >> i have heard the rumor too that it's extended. on the other hand if i was the israelis and i was trying to get everybody to look the other way, i would spread the word that we think we've got more time. the history of this has always been that the israelis have said there's a crises by this summer but they'll come to the conclusion the iranians have gone too far. we don't know where that point is. >> rose: what else is in this book that you think is relevant as to how this president conducts foreign policy. >> let me just say one more point about the warfare. why would you reveal something like this. it's a secret program. my view is the iranians already knew they were being hit by this. there's a big big issue, charlie. if the united states is using cyber weapons and not even
acknowledging it because the rest of the world know we have these weapons. they've seen what happened to iran, they have a pretty good guess. one of the big concerns that president obama had in the room when we were in these discussions were are we as a country legitimizing cyber war when we're the most vulnerable. it's our power plants, it's our air traffic control system, it's our banking system, it's our stock exchanges that can get hit. and i think there's a debate that we're now ready to have as a country, partly because of these revelations, partly because it's just the time has come about whether or not we want to be using cyber weapons, whether it's more like the atomic bomb which you don't use or more like a predator that you use every week. and you ask the broader question though which is what else did we, what else do i find in going to do this. the interesting place to start is the arab spring. the american view of how the
united states reacted to the arab spring is president obama reacted very quickly and that we have been in supporting democratic movements. when i got to egypt and i went deliberately a year after the uprising, the reaction on the street was what took you so long and where are you now. and in fact, the where are you now is a pretty good question. we give egypt $1.3 billion in military assistance, we give them that $250 million in civilian assistance. we're thinking a year later that we might up that as far as $300 million. not a big difference in a country that in january when i visited was spending $2 billion a month just to support their currency. so we come along and say, what are you doing. so we went to the muslim brotherhood headquarters one day or their party headquarters and at the end of an interesting conversation with them, official we were talking about you know
it's interesting you're here in this room because a few days ago, the chinese, oh yeah, what did they have to say. well, they think the suez canal is looking rathery, 50 years old, the locks don't work so well. they have an interesting plan to rebuild all the ports. okay. maybe the chinese do and maybe they don't. the chinese say a lot of things they don't do but they also do a lot. you can suddenly realize that we're not in the game over there. we're not in the game really on the democratization side. we have to be careful, remember the ngos that got into trouble. not only have we done a marshall plan we have done very very little. we're in the age of austerity, came out of two wars. most think the foreign aid is a huge part of the budget. they don't want it to be. the interesting scene at the end
of the book where president obama calls in his military leadership just last december, puts them in the east room when the christmas trees are still up and sits around and says basically the era in which you get unlimited pentagon budgets, it's over. the pentagon had come to the obama whitehouse quietly, and asked for funding last year for 100,000 troops to conduct stability operations. basically what we do in afghanistan. the president's staff including mr. donalden i mentioned before, i don't think you guys got the memo. we're out of the stability operations business. we don't want 100,000 troops because we don't want to be doing stability operations. there's a disconnect when a pentagon that's been on sterois on the past ten years with a whitehouse saying no. >> rose: give me your sense
of barack obama as commander in chief. >> what did we learn about barack obama. the first thing, the fascinating thing about this president is the mayer dock -- paradox that he has no problem secreting pursuing these as quite hawkish and he sees them as complementary. his view is you've got to be squeezing their economy and attacking their centrifuges. and only that combination is going to bring them to the table. there are others who would argue no, that will harden their position. he is very comfortable with the use of unilateral american power when he believed there was a direct threat against the u.s. if he believes it's just a general good, a general threat, libya was not a strategic threat
to the united states. syria is not. he says the era in which the u.s. goes in and cleans up everything for everyone else, the world's policeman. that area is over. >> rose: what are the circumstances in which he says a unilateral threat against the united states. >> we can only do it by example. >> rose: iran's one. >> iran's one. bin laden was clearly a second one. al-qaeda operating in pakistan, okay. even though the pakistanis have barred these drone strikes. i mean think about this. we have spent years including the obama administration saying we want to democratically elected pakistan not run by the military. now the pakistani president, pakistani prime minister and pakistani parliament. what does the parliament do the other day about two months ago overwhelmingly votes, almost universally votes to ban all drone strikes inside their territory. i've lost count of how many we've had since that vote was
taken, took place. so you know, barack obama is not sitting around thinking the democratically elected government of packstein, our great ally has said no. so we're not going to do it. now the book opens with a scene of mr. donalden meeting general -- head of the pakistani military and basically saying we know you hated the bin laden raid. this is a secret meeting they had in dobai you're going to hate after the hakani network. >> rose: are you suggesting they think drone strikes will stop the hakani group from being able to have an impact on the afghan war, results of the afghan war. >> i think they think that the drone strikes will contain the threat inside pakistan. whether it can help the afghan war, i doubt it. i found what was most surprising about the president's policy on afghanistan what he was willing
to let go. so they narrowed their goals in afghanistan and they narrowed them down to three. two of them had nothing to do with afghanistan. one of them was secure pakistan's nuclear weapons, and a second one or make sure they don't get this. and a second one was to feed al-qaeda. the third one was keep the taliban from taking the central government in kabul. everything below that line falls apart. building schools and so forth in afghanistan. you don't hear the president talking about that in his speeches anymore. one more on the nuclear side for pakistan. there's a chapter in the book called bomb scare. which is about an astounding four days early in the obama presidency in 2009. based on intercepts they thought the taliban had the bomb. >> rose: wow. >> okay. they thought that a unit of the pakistan taliban had gotten hold of dirty bomb material or enough
foo a nuclear weapon. they sent a nuclear search team into the gulf, they didn't dare send them into pakistan itself. the pakistani response was disheartening to say the least. they didn't have the equipment. they wanted to go do it but they couldn't really resolve the issue. in the end it turned out to be a false alarm. but it really changed the way the administration looked at the problem. and it made them realize, charlie, more than ever before that what we have called af-pak was backwards. it's pak-af. they couldn't say so publicly because it would send the pakistanis off. >> rose: how will they deliver that kind of bomb? what will they do to make it lethal. >> the biggest concern and the reason they tried to get the pakistanis to this, they didn't think it would be used in pack span against pakistanis. maybe in islamabad.
in the end what happened here, either they mistranslated what they were hearing or an account given to me by one senior official may back scammed by some russians or others who told them they were selling them nuclear material and what happens more often than you think. so we got lucky. but they're deeply worried. all those times the president gets out and says i'm not worried about pakistani nuclear security. when you go back in the wiki leaks stuff, they're worried about pakistani security. you ask the people who are doing this for a living, what do they tell you. they tell you the pakistanis are develop agnew very mobile version of the nuclear weapons so they can roll them right up to the indian border. because they are so mobile, they are more vulnerable to being stolen. and so they're pretty revved up.
>> rose: it's a pretty scary world. >> it is indeed. >> rose: david, thank you. >> thank you. >> rose: back in a moment. stay with us. >> rose: morgan freeman is here the oscar winning actor just turned 75 and he is busier than ever. this summer he stars in a new film by rob ryaner called the magic of bell aisle and he appears in the last batman when the dark knight rises but his passion remains a signs passion called through the wormhole with morgan freeman and explores some of the deepest mysteries of the universe and questions that have puzzled human kind forever. the energy times calls it quote a commercial for wonder, something real life seems to offer less and less with each passing day. here is the teaser for through the wormhole. >> you've got questions, right. we all do. all seven billion of them circling a single star.
and there's over to billion stars in our galaxy, there's a whole lot of questions out there. so you might as well start asking now. >> rose: m pleased to have morgan freeman back at this table. welcome. >> thank you my friend, glad to be here. >> rose: good to see you. now tell me where you put through the worm hole as kind of, is it something you have real passion for is this something you really care about. >> yes. i have -- it doesn't have to be passion except that i don't have a passion for science but i have a passion to know things, questions. >> rose: curiosity. >> yes. it's huge. when i went to high school, i was introduced to physics. and trying to be an a student though i wasn't scientifically minded, i was an a student because my teacher said i questioned. >> rose: right. you asked questions. >> i asked questions. >> rose: same thing was true
of me. i lived above a store and my parents had this country store and i was associated with adults. the only way you could connect to adults, you had to ask them questions about their world and therefore if you ask them question about sports or politics or the weather or the crops. >> they were trying to give an answer. >> rose: so you have a dialogue there. and it sort of whetted my own curiousity to know things about everything so that i would be treated with a certain respect by the grown ups. that's the way it works. >> it is. in this series, this is one of the, i don't know, what i like a lot about it is the fact that i personally get to ask questions too, you know. we sit around a table and we would brainstorm about some of the things that we could ask. and then we go to the experts with the questions. scientists who are doing all
kinds. >> rose: they'll tell you how to explain it. >> they explain it. >> rose: they answer the questions. what kind of questions are we talking about? >> can we live forever. is there a soul. >> rose: did we invent god. >> did we invent god. >> rose: you say we invented god but we didn't invent the universe. >> right, right. however, when you look at the universe, when you look out, what you're seeing is not there. what you're seeing is billions of years old. >> rose: what do you say if scientists can't explain something to you. >> that's the god question. >> rose: that's the god question. >> yes. >> rose: that's what they say. >> that's what they say. >> rose: but most of them i know say if they can't prove god, then they believe god doesn't exist. most of them i know. >> yes. although einstein famously said the universe is proof that
there's god. >> rose: so he believed. >> apparently. >> rose: one of the questions that you ask is what makes us who we are. >> yes. now that -- >> rose: that's biology, isn't it. >> no, it isn't. it's only partly biology. we ask that question but i don't think a lion asks that question. i don't think even a chimpanzee would ask that question. we ask. so it isn't so much biology as neurology. every civilization on earth people perform religious rituals, buddhists chanted, behind dues draws things in chalk, christians baptize. scientists now believe our spiritual behavior stems from our advanced intelligence. if this is the case do other
intelligent creatures experience god? daniel-of the university of louisiana is a world renown experth in comparative psychology. he's a meticulous scientist who intimately studies the mind of chimpanzees. >> i first became interested in chimps when i was 16 and i had read all of the work how they could do sign language, do do all of these fab luls things with tools. the scientific story was they weren't self aware. for young introspective teenager that meant there might be another organism out there on earth asking the same existential questions i was about what it meant to be alive. >> now this is mine. come on, you got one.
for danny the most exist tension question a creature could ask was, is there a god out there. >> rose: the more you understand about the brain the more you understand about what makes us human. >> yes. >> rose: at the same time if you look at the biology, the dna is 95% the same. >> more than 95. it's very weird. i was reading the book about the bonobo and they decided, they used to say bonobo is not a chimp at all it's a separate branch of primates. it is intense. >> rose: do you spend time in search of things. yet you clearly do. you were a pilot until you hurt your arm. you were a sailor. you loved the act of exploration. >> yes. >> rose: doing new things and
being able to have tools that can give you the capacity to do new things. >> well, you know, i used to be really really avid reader, and so all of these adventures really serious adventures in the world starts the seed does then from there you can go to the air. when i was a kid, i really really wanted to be a pilot, i wanted to fly. and i liked being on the ocean. >> rose: you became a good sailor before you became a good pilot. >> oh heavens yes. for years. i just started flying. >> rose: not now because of your -- >> i can't. >> rose: so that disqualifies you because you need both hands. >> absolutely. >> rose: are you impressed with the safety requirements to fly. >> absolutely.
not only am i impressed but i'm very thankful. airplanes are lethal things. my copilot, he's my pilot, he taught me how to fly. one night he had a friend of mine up in a small plane and the engine just quit. back 2000 feet up. the engine quit. the only place he could land was on the highway. at night. so he lands the plane safely. >> rose: with no engine. >> no engine. it's a small plane, big wings. but then before they could push the plane off the highway, a lady came along and tore it up. >> rose: in a car. >> in a car. [laughter] >> rose: it was at night so
there was no light. >> well the plane had all the lights were on in the plane. she just couldn't believe what she was looking at, you know. >> rose: it looked like a plane, it must be a dream. >> it can't be a plane. >> rose: i'm imagining this. >> exactly. faa has a firm grip, i fly jets. so it means i fly high. up in the air, amongst -- we go up to 45,000. the best is 43 for fuel concentration. and there are very few people up that high. most of the commercial jets fly right around 35, 37,000 feet.
they used to be separated, different planes separated by 2000 feet. for aircraft coming this way, you have 2000 feet separated between us. >> rose: you got 2000 feet from here to here. >> yes. two years ago because of the crowdedness of the air they reduced that. it's called rbsm. so your aircraft has to have exact knowledge of where it is. >> rose: who is within a, 1,000 feet of it. >> yes. we have radar which paints the aircraft in your neighborhood at that altitude. there's a safety factor all around that. and at the faa, it has to be that safe. >> rose: you still read as much as you always did. >> no. >> rose: you stopped.
>> yes. >> rose: or just less. >> i read quite a bit less. because i shouldn't say that, it's not really true. i have to read a lot of scripts. i have to read books if they are submitted for consideration. you never know where you're going to find your next good project. but that's what i call gone to the head reading. >> rose: you got to do things. are you one of those people who looks down at anybody who comes to the set not prepared. you don't know your lines, you don't know what you're doing there, you haven't thought about this so you're not ready. >> i hate it. >> rose: do you see much of it. >> no. >> rose: you don't. you're impressed by the professionalism you see. >> i'm always impressed. >> rose: with the people you work with. >> yes. i suspect that as you get older, older than i am, your memory, your short term memory isn't
maybe not as good but i'm still very good at learning lines. >> rose: did you have a technique that always worked for you. >> no. >> rose: you would repeat it and repeat it. >> well the way we work now, our lines, i can look at the script five minutes and i know it. >> rose: how do you do that. >> well it's only a page or two. >> rose: you only shoot a page or two at a time. >> sometimes it's three pages if it's just dialogue. >> rose: in five minutes. >> five to ten minutes. >> rose: it has to make sense to you. >> of course. >> rose: it's not like rote memory like looking at a coin. >> it's more like a conversation. >> rose: you know what that character would say, therefore ... >> i'm going to say this and you're going to say something and i'm going to answer you. so the trick really is once i know what i'm supposed to i is a, i'm supposed to say, listen to what you're saying. >> rose: that will key it for
you and stimulate your memory. >> always stimulates your memory. >> rose: bill and i once said and i've said this before, you have to say things as if you have just thought them. that's the secret to acting. >> yes. where did i hear that. how do you play, when they ask one of these really difficult composers. >> rose: i remember that. >> you remember that. first you learn it, then you forget it, then you play it. that's very much the way acting works. you learn it, you forget it and then you do it. because i don't want to know your lines. >> rose: why not. >> because i want to hear what you have to say. i don't want to be waiting for my cue. >> rose: i see. so you want it to resonate within you. you want to listen. >> i want to listen. >> rose: how do you know when to go if you don't know exactly what the line is. >> you do know what the line is.
i just don't want to, how do i say this so it makes sense. i know what the line is, i know what we're supposed to say. >> rose: you know what you're supposed to say and what i'm supposed to say. >> if i'm not listening, you may not say exactly the same thing that i learned. then i will be confused. >> rose: i got you. you have to know the essence of it. >> yes. >> rose: if i screw it up, you're not going to be confused. >> if you work with jack nicholson for instance. >> rose: you did bucket list. >> bucket list, yes. he's not one to go off book. >> rose: never. >> no. but the way he will phrase things for you, what maybe you thought you were going to hear. >> rose: so the rhythm is different. >> yes. i just think acting, all acting
to me is listening. >> rose: listening for what? >> for your cue. not waiting, i want to make a difference to this is an act of class. don't listen for your cue. i mean don't wait for your cue. listen for what's being said. >> rose: do you learn still from working with actors that are really good like nicholson. >> heavens, yes. that's part of the joy of working with these guys. you always learn something. and i'm changing deep. >> rose: and proud. >> yes. >> rose: a proud thief. >> i'm a proud thief. >> rose: because if it's something, there's a great story i don't know whether it's true or not but it was about hunter thompson at the new york public library and he was pouring over
shakespeare and they said hunter what were you doing according to the legend and hunter said i'm trying to get the ribbon. it's amazing. that the best people -- i've often found that the best always care the most, you know, about getting it right. >> yes. >> rose: you go see the best painters, picasso was obsessed. >> obsessed. >> rose: about how somebody did something. >> yes. >> rose: and to continue to grow and to continue to experiment. and never, i mean that's why i think you're so young, it is this notion of continuing to learn exploring and ask questions. >> i think when you stop, you should lie down. >> rose: it's time. i'm curious, famous bill buckley
at this table who i admired, he was a renaissance man. in fact he also sailed. >> i know the name of thinks boat. he didn't own the boat he sailed across the ocean. oh gosh but anyway he wrote bit. >> rose: oh, he did. he wrote a back on sailing. he said to me once at this table, he said i'm ready to die. and i thought no you're not. he said i'm not going to commit suicide or anything like that but he said i'm ready because i can't do the things i want to do. i can't make speeches anymore which i love going around the country talking to students. i can't edit my magazine which was a joy of mine. i can't sail anymore. you know, i really can't go and ski anymore. all the things i care about doing, i can't do. so i'm ready. accomplished muchf what i -- >> meant to do. >> rose: it was satisfying to me and sustaining to me.
and his son quoted somebody famous and said the three things you need to do to have a complete life is you mead to -- need to plant a tree, write and book and father a child. >> i'm not likely to write a book. >> rose: it's never too late. will you ever retire. >> i don't plan to retire, no. >> rose: slow down. >> i'm going to be one of those people who will probably drop dead on stage. >> rose: i think so. me too. are you going to be happy if you're not working. does someone like you who has all these other interests, sailing, flying, all the you things you do. >> i can't answer that. i don't know. >> rose: because you've never that worked. >> right. well i have not worked but i was working trying to get work. >> rose: is there one character that defines you that you thought this character is closer to me than anybody i played?
>> yes. >> rose: and? >> i always say it's a character that was the furthest away from me. >> rose: who was further est away from you. >> that was the pimp i played. >> rose: why was that. not because of what he did -- >> no, because he was a role playing very mucurial character. >> rose: had a great personality. >> yes, had a great personality and was a serious role player. just walked into a room and start charming all the women. he was dangerous around men and he felt he had to be, you know. >> rose: he was furthest as well as closest. >> yes. >> rose: some of you was there. >> a lot of me was there.
>> rose: and a lot of you is far away from what you would do. >> yes. >> rose: what do you think most people would like for you to say was closest to you? i'll tell you what i think. probably red. >> oh really. >> rose: don't you think. they love that movie. >> i know they loved that movie but a lot of people loved driving miss daisy. >> rose: that's true. >> very simple and dignified old man. i should put that in my head and start to think who that might be for me. >> rose: you will never write a memoir, you'll never dictate it to anybody. >> no. >> rose: why not. the thing you've done, who you've known, how people have respected you. the life you lived. >> somebody else will write it. >> rose: you could talk it to somebody. you don't care. >> i don't care. >> rose: you don't really care. >> no.
>> rose: what do you care about. >> living. >> rose: being healthy. >> i would rather do it. >> rose: the fact that your hand is not what it was, and that's a really downer for you. >> that's a real downer because i can't fly, i can't sail my boat. i can play golf. >> rose: is golf a passion to you. >> yes. >> rose: we have all the same passions. >> do we. i picked it up late. and i guess like all people who find themselves pushed by it, i realize that it is really a metaphor for life, the game of golf. >> rose: i had on cbs this morning, i had butch harmon. and gaifl was sitting here and i said butch tell gale why you
like golf. >> my granddaughter, are says you play golf. >> rose: it's like being an artist. it's much more than even playing tennis which is getting to the ball. but the things you can do because the ball is stationary. it's like a canvas is stationary. and the things that you can do is like work as an artist. and the more skilled you are, the more things you can do. >> how long did it take you to get killed. >> rose: 10,000 hours. [laughter] >> right. >> rose: season three up through the wormhole of morgan freeman premirrors on the science channel on january -- premiers on june 6th at 10:00 pm. the magic of bell aisle it will be in theatres on friday july 6th. the dark knight rises comes out on friday july 20th. that's batman returns with chris nolen. thank you sir. >> thank you. >> rose: thank you for joining us.