tv Charlie Rose Bloomberg August 18, 2016 7:00pm-8:01pm EDT
♪ >> from our studios a new york city, this is "charlie rose." a contributor from cbs news but reside in order to endorse hillary clinton. you wrote an op-ed in "the new york times" that donald trump poses a threat if elected president. was released in paperback yesterday. i'm pleased to have him back at the table. welcome. you?does this book mean to
you had how many years in the cia? captures the second half of my career. was entirely focused around the terrorism question, first with al qaeda than at the end with isis. it captures what i did every day for 18 of those 33 years. the most important piece of this to me is the last chapter which talks about the commitment and and amazing work that the men and women of the cia do every day and the sacrifices that they make, from the family beingices all the way to lost on the battlefield. and how we deal with that at the agency.
this was a life's work, in some sense. i wrote it very quickly. my heart is in there, my soul is in there. i really hope you all enjoy it. you also talk about national security threat. give your sense based on the career you have had, the make, theons you research and data you look at. threats tosee the the united states today? into twoivide things categories. national security threats, those people who are actually trying andarm us in some way, those issues that are national security challenges. right,o not manage them
they could become threats. i have two different categories. charlie: challenges and threats. threats, number one on the list, international terrorists. isis is at the top of the list today, al qaeda was at the top 10 years ago. al qaeda is still part of that international terrorists. that is number one on the list. we are at greater threat for a terrorist attack in the united states than we were at any time since 9/11. that threat persists. i added a new introduction to the paperback version that brings all of this story up to date. number two and a rising rapidly is the cyber threat. the threat posed by nationstates, by criminal groups , by hacktivists, by insiders to
our computer networks, our irp networks, from stealing information to fraud to doing damage to networks. in a war situation. cyber is number two. closing down so many of the grades that influence the way you live your life and could destroy the capacity to function. mike: absolutely. number three, i would put north korea on the list of threats because north korea has the capability today to launch a ballistic missile with a nuclear that could reach the united states of america. my think that is going to happen? no, but the risk exists. charlie: why don't you think it will happen? i think he is rational and
he understands if he did that it would be the end of his country. we have significant missile defense capabilities, so one could be fired in confusion, one could be fired as a miscalculation and we could deal with it. what i really worry about are two things. that there could be some sort of conflict between north and south korea that could even evolve into a nuclear strike into north korea by south korea. the reason i'm worried about that is because south korea used to simply take the blows that were given at by north korea. submarinean saying a years ago. they killed a number of people so years ago. south koreans did nothing in response.
politically, that is coming to the point and south korea were that is no longer acceptable. koreanally, a south regime is going to have to respond. just a couple months ago, a couple north korean operatives came across the border, planted some mines, a south korean soldier walking along was killed by one of the mines. the old south korea would just let that go. the new south korea, charlie, 50 -- by i firing firing 50 artillery shells back into north korea. you can see how this could snowball into something bigger. that is one thing i worry about. something getting out of control between north and south korea. probably the biggest thing i north korea has already demonstrated it is willing to sell ballistic missile technology and actually sell ballistic missiles, and they have shown they are willing to sell nuclear technology,
which they did to the syrians and a syrians were in the process of building a nuclear reactor weapons grade uranium. charlie: this is what was destroyed? the israelis destroyed it. my concern is at some point you north koreans were decided is in their interest to sell for nuclear weapons and nuclear devices. that is why it is on my list of threats. charlie: we depend on the chinese to do more, don't wait? -- don't we? mike: yes, but china is in a tough spot here. people beat them up a lot on this but they are in a really tough spot. here's a spot bearing -- -- here is the spot they are in -- and by the way, there is any major change in how they look at north koreans. five years ago to chinese look at the korean peninsula and said the biggest threat to stability on this peninsula is the united
states of america. that is what the chinese thought five use ago. now they think the biggest threat to stability is kim jong-un. the crazy stuff he does. charlie: but you just said he was a rational man. ake: i think there's difference between thinking a severing, showing a south korean city -- he thinks he could get away with it, in firing a nuclear weapon at the united states. china is not a threat, it is a challenge. as we talked about many times, whether it ever did -- becomes a threat depends on how are our leadership in washington and the leadership in beijing manages this relationship in east asia and around the world. and how we deal with this fundamental problem that they want more say in the world around them because they are getting stronger, and we have that say today. they want more say in
the world around them or they want more say in the world, period. not just that they see the pacific region and their -- mike: both. but i would make a distinction. in the world around them, and east asia, they want considerable influence across the board. in the rest of the world, what they want their influence primarily for his economic reasons. access to raw materials, resources, and access to markets. the goal is difference -- dif ferent in the two different parts of the world. in russia is number two on that list. we're not ready to go to war with russia. we're not afraid at vladimir putin launched nuclear weapons at us. charlie: what are we afraid of? of him doingafraid
in the baltics what he did in the ukraine. in crimea. you know, we were not willing to crimea andver western europe was not either. i think we might be going to go to war over the baltics. you think hillary clinton would go to war over the baltics? for: i do not want to speak her but president who has set in office i believe would go to war over the baltics because of our nato commitment. charlie: donald trump says it depends on how they have contributed to nato. speaking of trump, i read an article saying that you were doing something you had not done before. you were retreating from a position of being bipartisan to endorse hillary clinton because you thought the stakes were that serious and it was a matter of principle. here's what donald trump said
today, because he has just today received the first intelligent wo major that the t party candidates receive from the cia or the director of intelligence or whatever it comes from. he receivedbefore everything donald trump says he does not trust information coming out of the agencies, and he will rely on the massive workforce. he gave an interview to fox and friends wednesday. he was asked whether he trusted intelligence, not so much the people doing it for our country. look what has happened over the last 10 years. it has been catastrophic. mike: wow. wow. i saw that. i have so many reactions to that, charlie. does note -- he appreciate how important
intelligence is to keeping our country safe. i would argue that intelligence is more important today than it ever has been in american history. let me kind of prove that point to you. if you look at all of the national security issues facing the president of the united states from international terrorism to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, to all the things we were just talking about terms of china, human, north korea, iran, trafficking, narcotics trafficking -- b list goes on and on. i do not think there has been a time in our history when it has been so many national security issues on the front burner of a president of the united states. that is .1. -- that is point one. that most of these
are first and foremost issues.ence if you're the president of the united states, if you cannot understand his issues, you cannot make policy on those issues, and you cannot carry out that policy without first-rate intelligence. i will give you a specific example. we can go to columbia university and we could grab ourselves and academic expert in chinese politics and bring them in here and they could provide your viewers with real insight on chinese politics. withuld do the same thing one of the banks here in new york and bring somebody in and give them really in sight on the state of the european economy. but if you wanted to give your viewers real insight on the status of the iranian nuclear weapons program, or the status of north korea's icbm capabilities against the united states, or al qaeda in yemen's
plans and capabilities to conduct terrorist attacks in the united states -- you cannot provide insight without intelligence. intelligence, as i said earlier -- charlie: let's assume donald trump knows that principle. mike: he clearly does not. charlie: let's assume he is speaking to the quality of intelligence that has been fair and he is questioning whether -- i'm not sure what he is questioning. discussion about the cia put a question about intelligence and why d-of this. a assume he said this -- might have said this. i assume he said this for clinical reasons. let's say he said the caa got it wrong with weapons of mass destruction in iraq. the caa got it wrong in terms of what might happen if in fact there was not a plan in place to stabilize iraq after the collapse of saddam hussein. let's say the cia has not got it
right. somebody is telling him this. mike: i would quibble with all of what you said but one thing, but i get your point. me like you to understand the importance of intelligence. it sounds to me like he does not have a clue about how effective the united states intelligence community is. things: when receiving they might have missed but not the things they have succeeded in. mike: absolutely. trust sense, i do not u.s. intelligence -- he has in one sentence dismissing the work of thousands of people, including people who have sacrificed significantly for this country and have prevented by collecting and analyzing intelligence multiple terrorist
attacks against the united states since 9/11. he has just dismissed those people. right? the third b -- the third point i would make is a leadership point. he wants to be the commander-in-chief. he wants to lead these people. is this the kind of thing you say to a group of people you want to lead? is this the kind of thing you say right before you walk in the room and meet them for the first time? charlie: you want them to go the extra mile. mike: absolutely. these are patriotic, dedicated people. what you see these guys of things to them and they might not work as hard for you as it would for someone who would actually lead them in the right way. it is very, very dangerous when he said. charlie: bob gates in an interview about a month ago said about vladimir putin -- of which he said i look into his eyes and see a cold-blooded killer. george bush said he looked into
his eyes and saw something else. he also was in the situation room with you when president obama and president bush -- president bush made hard decisions. then later under president obama, when he was secretary of defense as well, lori clinton was secretary of state. he's -- secretary clinton -- he isd about putin, playing a bad hand well. do you agree with that? mike: yes. he has an incredibly weak economy. the prognosis for that economy is bad to worse in terms of what is happening to their demographics. he has over invested in oil and gas. he does have a weak hand. is the things he wants,
russia's secret the table, russia is as a great power, constraining the united states and trying to do things around the world. himself so being seen as a major power. hand prettyg a weak well. interestingly, in playing that hand he is weakening his hand down the road. charlie: korean airbase open to russia. moscow's footprint expands in the middle east. iranian airbases. these plans -- these planes no longer have to fly from russia -- meaning the payload can be much bigger. a big deal because you have iran -- and russia being -- deep in a relationship with iran, including supplying nuclear materials, which it does in part. mike: yes. it is a big deal. it is a big deal for two reasons. one positive for russia, one not so positive for russia.
is positive is that deepening its involvement with the middle east. with a huge player. that is not in our interest. downside is that russia does want to have a relationship with the suni gulf states. this is going to be noticed in and alli and cairo, those other places, right? their big enemy in their mind is iran. for putin to be doing this, will be made -- making it more difficult for putin -- it will endanger your relationship with erin -- arab counties? mike: here's the point i would make -- a lot people see putin
as this chess player, a great strategic center. no, he is not. it is much more of a long-term interest of the united states to have a strong relationship with the arab states. --se are not the narratives the air state narrative, they are very different in terms of their relationship and the potential of their relationship. am asking how you see relationship with iran and measure -- and i'm using this any carefully -- equivalency in a relationship to the arab states? the president has basically been saying to the air states, you have to talk to these people. you have to find common ground otherwise we're looking at -- that is what president obama's position is as i understand it. mike: that's a great question. thereof all, i would say
is no equivalency between what the iranians do and what the gulf arabs do. the iranians want to dominate the region. the gulf arabs do not. they do not have an interest in dominating iran. they are pushing back against an iranian attempt to dominate them. there is a fundamental difference between the two. -- and i thinkt this is a really important difference -- a revolutionary to dominate the region, that wants to spread its particular brand of extremism, that wants to spread its particular brand of religious irannments -- that is an
point. that kind of iran is unacceptable and we should all oppose it because you are trying to change the countries around them. theseporting all of insurgent groups, supporting terrorist groups, all that stuff. that is unacceptable. it should be unacceptable to the united states. the air states are going to have to except sunday -- let's say we can change iranian behavior so they no longer want to dominate the region. let's say we can get to that point. iran is still going to be a powerful regional player because of its size, its economy, because of the western orientation of many of its people. many iranians admire the united states. it is going to be a significant player. those suni states are going to have to accept that kind of iran. there is a fundamental
difference between the two. back to the question, great question. islamicrn -- modern extremism again in 1979, and it began in 1979 in twi places. -- two places. an began in toronto -- terh with the takeover of the united states embassy by two thugs. and the takeover of the grand mosque by a bunch of terrorists. view,n extremist point of both of those were successful. so, in iran, the result was the strengthening of the ayatollah at the expense of the new secular government.
actually, the central overthrow of that secular government by the ayatollah and the putting in place of the system that still exists there were the vast power rests with the supreme leader. that takeover of the embassy created the political dynamic that allow the ayatollah to grab the power he did. big win for the extremists. same thing at the grand mosque. wanted togovernment go in and clear out the grand mosque. but in order to do that they needed a religious fat walk -- fatwa. they needed to be able to go in and kill people inside the grand mosque. did thesethese -- why terrorists do this? they did this because they thought saudi arabia was modernizing too quickly.
that is why they did this. guess who agreed with them? the clerics. when the saudi government came to the clerics and said we need a fatwa to clear out these terrorists, they said we will what youyour fatwa have to slowdown modernization, you have to go backwards -- the fundamental clerics since then. you -- what you just said is absolutely true. you have both of those dynamics. in saudiappening arabia is you have a young who i have met, and who who very impressed by, understands that saudi arabia has to change. charlie: it has to change in
several ways in terms of what state it is and what kind of economic base it has. mike: exactly. and he is already taken steps that nobody thought possible, charlie, including no longer the religious police to arrest people. huge. charlie: maybe he would like to sit at the stable and talk to the american people. now let's talk about the interview you did with me here. tell me about what you intended to say so we understand it, because some people interpreted it that he wanted to do three things. you wanted to see iranians and russians punished so that they would be more willing to engage in peace talks to stop the destruction of the state, and -- and you felt the same thing about asaad, that he
had to feel some fear about -- in order to agree to some kind of transition. you -- as a result of that, some people who might not have seen the interview said you were in bed with neocons. mike: they called me a warmonger. charlie: that you were trumpian,. all these things came down on you and be asked because you do not speak as precisely as you should have, or that i did not ask the right questions. you asked the right questions. while the things you are taught as a young analyst at the cia is precision of language. clarity of message. it gets be into you. you.at into
sometimes you do not do what you were taught. clearot think i was as with you and your viewers as i should have been. so, let me try to make this clear. war has to end. is the reason it has to end because it is feeding extremism in iraq and syria. arms aroundet our and squeeze isis down and down and down, the civil war will continue to breed extremism. isis will go away and some other group will replace it. the syrian civil war needs to end. in my view, there is not a military solution to that.
and the reason there is not a military solution to that is because a military solution would end up with the destruction of the syrian military, the syrian security services, syrian intelligence services, etc. syrian police. if you destroy all those in the attempt to and the civil war, you are left with a complete vacuum, security vacuum, stability vacuum. you end up with libya. or iraq. charlie: after the fall of saddam. mike: which is what caused the whole thing. you do not want to do that. so, there's not a military solution to this. there is only a political solution to this. that political solution is, in my view, a transition of power a transitional
government that represents all of the syrian people. that is only going to happen if asaad wanted to happen, if russia wanted to happen, and if iran wanted to happen. so, what we knew -- we need to do, is we need to increase our leverage over those three people those three people and countries in order to get them more interested in having a conversation about a transition to a new government. charlie: that is exactly what the 51 diplomats said in their letter. mike: right. w, sometimes you use military force for military and -- ends.
sometimes you use military force to give you political leverage. and one of the reasons to be isolved with syria -- which what vladimir putin is now discovering -- when you get involved militarily, all of a sudden you are a player in how the game gets discussed around the table. when i try to say is, look, we need to find some ways to put to pute on asaad, pressure on russia, and pressure on iran. iran,egard to russia and what i wanted to say was the moderate opposition, which the united states is supporting, and everybody knows that -- the modern opposition is already fighting the syrian government and they're already fighting russians and iranians who are fighting with -- charlie: that is to those bombers coming from iran are bombing in syria. the moderate opposition, they are fighting the bottom --
battle where there is so much human catastrophe. mike: the syrian military supported by russia and the iranians fighting the moderate opposition. the moderate opposition is already killing iranians and syrians. what i said is, that is an ok thing, because it puts pressure on iran and russia to try to see some value in ending this thing politically. what isaid is, that's wanted to say is we should encourage the moderate opposition to continue to do that and perhaps -- charlie: you are suggesting that the moderate forces on the ground -- mike: i think i came across as saying u.s. special forces should go in there and start killing them. i did not mean that. that is russia and iran. asaad, how do you put some
pressure on asaad? here i did argue, charlie, that the u.s. military itself should take some action. ist i would see as valuable limited, very, very limited u.s. airstrikes against those assets that are extremely important to asaad personally. levine that you destroy one of his offices. you do not kill anybody. zero collateral. same rules of engagement we use against terrorists. charlie: zero collateral is hard to do. mike: it is hard to do but you go into that with that goal. and you take it seriously. his presidential aircraft, his presidential helicopters in the middle of the night. just to send him a message.
attention, that maybe your days are numbered. just to put some pressure on him to think that maybe, maybe i need to think about a way out of this. now, these issues that i'm talking about here are talked about in national security circles all the time. these are debates that people have you and i certainly understand there are people on other side of the argument from was not talking about the u.s. starting a major war with iran and russia. in all the risks that would take. charlie: this is an editorial today about syria. as the level has destroy the united states responds to floor, wring hands, review. , the editorial in "the washington post" today. the cries with the syrian
government and its russian ally must therefore be shared by those including the united states who allow them to continue. a point i have made with the president of the united states about the judgment of history. this administration failed to do enough at several critical junctures to have perhaps made this war come to an end. mike: we have talked around this table a number of times -- charlie: about what has to be done, what has been done. we have missedk some opportunities. i cannot guarantee you, have we provided significant assistance to the moderate opposition in wasfall of 2012 when asaad a little shaky, that would have resulted in in fall. i cannot guarantee that, but we did not try.
the president's decision not to -- he said,d line the syrians use chemical weapons, that will be a red line. his decision not to follow through on that, it was very asaad movedthat very quickly to give up his chemical weapons. why? because he knew that if the united states acted, if the united states took a number of air against his military facilities where there were chemical weapons, it that it would put his rule and risk. whats frightened about such an airstrike would do to him politically. i think we missed another opportunity there. the president said, we did not know what would follow asaad, and that is a huge bet.
mike: yes, he is absolutely right about that. and it is my argument that you have to have that trip -- that transition. back in 2013, the syrian army, the syrian security services were much, much stronger than they were today. there was less risk of them fracturing the way they had in libya or they had in libya or the when he had in iraq. i think it was a different story. but that is looking backwards, let's look forwards. post"k "the washington op-ed today which was very interesting, it is one of the reasons why secretary clinton last fall came out and said it is really time for a no-fly zone. it really time for a no-fly zone to stop the kind of activity that the syrian military is doing. barrel bombs and some
were saying chlorine gas. mike: chlorine gas, etc. etc. c is saying it not only to protect the lives of those innocent people, but even more importantly because like i said earlier, that syrian civil war is causing national security issues for the united states of america. , extremismit exists will flourish in the middle east in syria and iraq, and the risk to the united states and those extremists reaching out and attacking us and our interests is going to remain. is ais happening in aleppo national security issue for the united states of america and that is what she took the stance she did. ♪
♪ charlie: the last surviving physicians -- this is the editorial. the last surviving's positions have begged president obama for help as the world has stood by and remarked how complicated syria is while doing little to protect us. he continued to say the burden of responsibility includes the united states and those who allow these things to continue. it continues to be a huge problem for the world. to deal with it. we are looking at the flow of
refugees into europe and all that that suggests. it does in terms of the rise -- charlie, i listened very close into donald trump's speech on isis, hoping to hear something interesting. in terms of what to do that -- to do about it, i heard two things. one is a bunch of stuff we are already doing. for example, getting our arms around their finances. we're trying to do those things. he also said we should -- it is important to kill terrorists but it is even more important to capture them so you can actually learn what they think. that is the policy of the obama administration. capture is preferred to kill. in much of what he said it was not anything new. i was disappointed by that. and the things that were new,
they are unworkable. when so many wants a visa or somebody wants to enter the united states and you whip out a questionnaire -- charlie: extreme vetting. mike: are you a terrorist? a terrorist were not going to answer that. it is ridiculous, it does not work. extraordinarily troubling things for me in his speech. one was that we should not have gone -- lineas thel ine -- the that we should not have gone into iraq, but we should have grabbed the oil. two was to the victor goes the spoils. those two statements by themselves to they are damaging to the national security of the united states because they feed every fear and every conspiracy theory that everybody in the
world has about the united states. that is exactly the way we think, and now somebody has -- charlie: they believe our middle east policy was guided by one thing -- out of desire and need for fossil fuels. mike: exactly. and boy, did he say to them you're absolutely right. the other thing i found terribly know, hisng is, you having thought tests. u.s. them if they believe -- his talk about having neighbors spying on neighbors. if a neighbor sees a somebody building a bomb and cause the fbi or neighbor sees a bunch of weapons and calls the fbi. i am ok with that. but if somebody is talking about ,heir admiration for sharia law
i'm not ok with that. we have first amendment rights here. stopping his limiting of immigration, his talk about viciously, viciously cutting out extremist from in our midst, it sounds to me like the terrorists have won. the terrorists have accomplished in the united states exactly what they wanted to accomplish. charlie: to your credit and others, you said this -- we also have a huge challenge to figure out what it is that is appealing to young people to be inspired by the kinds of rhetoric that comes from fundamental extremism. and offer from within those countries, the alternative
narrative. the absurdity of the narrative, which somehow makes young people who may be at a very bad place because of rulers who were coming out of -- who come from see nors, and they future and they see nobody to join, and so therefore they do it. and they're are influenced by people with some capacity to theirnce their sense of religious place. we have talked about this around this table. the difference between the guys who are already terrorists -- you have to stop them. there's only want to do that. kill them, capture them. -- howere's the long war do you stop the creation of them in the first place? it is extraordinarily
complicated. one of the ways i break it down, charlie, is to save the leaders of the groups -- is to say the leaders of the groups, the leaders of al qaeda, the leaders of isis is about a twisted interpretation of the teachings of the prophet. it is really about a believe that the modern world is inconsistent with their religion . it is really a belief that the modern world poses a threat to their religion. for the leaders of the group. right, is layer, those young men and young women in muslim young men countries who are attracted to e of themders -- som are checkered by the religious message but usually the religious message is -- they do not understand islam very well and it is used as a recruitment tool. but they are drawn to it because
they are deeply frustrated about their place in their society and their lack of a future and the ills of their society, and the poor governance. might be attractive because they are trying to protect a particular group or get revenge for some past wrong. they are attracted for all different reasons. the new third group are the people in the left in the united states, western europe who get attracted. largelythose folks are attracted by the belonging to something bigger than themselves. they are alienated in their communities and their societies and schools, and they want to belong to something, and these guys reach out to them and say you can belong to something pretty important here. charlie,now, we have, in the united states we have people like that would turn to gangs or turn to drugs.
these young muslim kids turn to terrorism. these, we all have alienated kids. and so, getting your arms around that long war is really, really important. it is something hillary clinton did when she became secretary of state. i think the u.s. government needs to invest a lot more money , and i know she agrees with that. charlie: a lot of people say the following -- how good was hillary clinton as secretary of state? tell me were her successes were? tell me something we do not know about her. you know her, you have seen her. charlie, i will tell you a story. i think the whole world knows that when dave petraeus left government, that the president was considering two people to
replace him as a director of the cia. one was john brennan and one was michael morel. and he chose, obviously, john brennan. president toldhe me in the oval office that he was given the job to john, he was extraordinarily gracious with me. the day after, there was a routine principals meeting in the situation room. i was still the acting director of the cia so i was representing the cia. and she walked in the room. when the secretary of state walks into the situation room, there are people who want her time come up people who want to ask her all sorts of questions. have five bar conversations with her. that happened, as usual, which he walked in. and she ignore them all. -- ignored them all.
she walked over to me and she sat down next to me, and she put her hand on my arm and said, are you ok? there is humanity there that i think the public needs to know. she is tough and decisive but there's an awful lot of humanity there, too. charlie: as you know, that goes to one of the questions most often raised about here, which is not her humanity, but also a sense of trust. how does someone communicate the skies of things without talking about yourself? she has never been able to do that -- she would be the first to emit. -- to admit. that is a kind of thing you would hope to come out and the process of this. people would understand what is at the core of a person's being. it is, in small matters in which it is not the glare of
publicity, that one shows their integrity. mike: it is interesting, charlie, i was with her for four years. we trusted her word, we trusted her judgment. director panetta and director petraeus and i provided her with some of the most sensitive information at the cia. she never gave us one reason to doubt how she was handling that. , communicateds with us forthrightly. when she agreed with us, she told us. which he disagreed, she told us. she did not play bureaucratic games. when she said to do something on our behalf, she delivered. i saw her make judgments about tough issues, i saw her think
them through decisively. here, i trust her word in a trust her judgment. charlie: thank you for coming. michael morel. say from this broadcast and this table, we have invited donald trump to come here many, many, many times. we hope he will come. he has an open invitation to sit at this table. to people who advise him and would like to write an editorial saying that the worst thing that could happen would be for hillary clinton to be president and that they would like to see donald trump resident. this is an important election. -- it is important for us to understand what the stakes are. we all need to address it. there are also questions of national security need to be