tv Book Discussion CSPAN December 25, 2014 5:45pm-7:01pm EST
physically fit to be president. he had stripped before he ever became president of new jersey. >> you seem to forget that world war i was just 100 years ago. to me it seems like a million years ago. but when you get in depth, we see how that war was so powerful for the soldiers. so we forget to this sort of a part to karen for world war ii. i never thought of it that way. but it is all tied together. i am sure in the distant future we will see this as our one more. >> what is the process you used to determine the stories that are the past? >> well, as an old newspaper
reporter, i like to read a good story. not good in the sense of uplifting necessarily for cheerful or bright, but what makes a good story. it is something that is really unusual. so we write about mostly little personality stories about little people caught up in the war for whatever history it is. or even little sidebars about the famous people. >> actually, an award-winning newspaper man here in 10 and i was doing washington writing about alabamans on the magazine. and then we both move jobs at the same time and met. the really a good story from his newspaper days. i love to write. between the two of us, we have written 10 books about mostly
american history. however, one of our books is on winston churchill and that came not of the lecture at oxford. so we have had so much fun doing this and it's such a valuable contribution. we don't feel like were just having a good time. we all feel that these books are really valuable and we are finding that many of the good readers of 14-15 love to read our books because it is an introduction to each different period of our history. but mostly, i think they are happy i have a special section on the women. >> in the fact is you can't make this stuff up here if we tried to get across the idea that history is sometimes more fascinating, more fantastic in art. and most of our world war i book
is serious stuff. i want to point out we also wrote about debbie the dog went to came back a decorated sergeant. >> next, former cia operative robert baer talks about political assassinations in his own connection to them. the also discusses what goes into achieving the perfect kill. this is about an hour 15. >> is one person in the world that can say that george clooney won an oscar played in and that would be our guest tonight, robert baer. syria on a was adapted from his seat in the double. bob is one of the most accomplished operatives in each is history. he has won the career intelligence that i'll speaks eight languages. he spent much of his 21 years at the cia and the middle east and one of his most notable assignments of which there are
plenty was attempting to assassinate saddam hussein. he is currently national security affairs analyst for cnn and one of the world's foremost authorities on the middle east. he takes us on a lot of venture through the history of assassination in his latest book, substitute. and think about who the perfect fit would be to interview tonight, obviously we need someone with the appropriate prophesies and experience to date knowledge of complex cia and political history and clearly we also needed someone for trade by a major movie star in a movie based on their work. so we are deeply honored to have lowell bergman here to interview bob. lowell is that the investigative reporting at you see berkeley where he is the where he said davidow can distinguish sharing investigative journalism. spent r with abc and cbs and is currently a correspondent and producer for pbs and frontline. and his investigation into the tobacco industry for 60 minutes
was chronicled in the film the insider and al pacino played him. [laughter] so please join me in welcoming the name george clooney and al pacino could only pretend to be, bob and loel. [applause] >> good evening. before i came here tonight i e-mailed the first time i heard jenny was in the early 1990s and then was your supervisors in washington said to me we have this maniac out in the middle east. how did you get into the cia?
it was actually berkley . fault i was studying chinese and giving to the graduate program. i was out of money and looking for a job part time. my roommate said get a good job. so i thought this was funny and i said maybe the cia committee hearings and he said there would be hilarious so that would be hilarious so i called a federal center in san francisco and that was a long pause. and i think the operator thought this was a joke but anyway it was in lawndale california, just down in orange county. it's out in the middle of nowhere. i called them up and they sent me an application and only somebody unemployed would have the time to do without. [laughter] and i said look there was no way i was going to get hired.
my mother used to teach at ucla. i'd grown up in aspen and the only thing i knew how to do was to ski race and barely got through college. they called me up one night and said let's go into 21 years later i was still in. expect hispanics make sure that everybody understands, you said let's go you were a cia lobster. >> s.. i was what was called a case officer. when i applied for the job they described it to me when he or she works for the cia on the resume they have carved, everybody knows they go to academic conferences and they go to schools and things like that. they say without the m.a. you can't have that but we have this other job where people go
overseas and they drive around at night and pick up agents and they debrief them and steal secrets and carry guns and things like that. >> is that if it's a year from now, let's go but when it comes time to go -- so anyhow the cia is divided from the analysts that work from the academics and operatives who go here to places weird places like iraq and afghanistan and collect intelligence or as the fbi describes the cia we catch bank robbers and they robbed banks. [laughter] connects a basically got a license to steal, to lie. >> if you ever want to do a break-in, let me know.
if you are expected to lie from the time you got up in the morning to the time you went to bed you figured your phone was tapped and you tell the utopia statistic stories. if you do well to the drugstore you would say something completely the opposite in the conversation to throw people off, which was mr. action your entire life. >> so you go into this in the wake of the church committee meetings into the reforms of the 1970s related to the intelligence community. many things which are now by the board, the national security law and so on. so how did that restrict you at that time in anyway? >> i think they had a hard time getting people the time. >> like i said i came from a liberal family. my mother ran for county commissions in the county and color out of. any other half of the tickets was hunter thompson.
she was a socialist and he wanted the sheriffs to drop the don't ask me how the cia missed this, but they did. >> they missed a lot of things. this is a security guy out of the neighborhood with his suit and tie in everything. and i lived with this -- and berkeley used to be fairly liberal at one time. [laughter] i put a picture on the wall and they owned a boa constrictor. there was a knock on the door. i was home alone and there was this guy that said that you know mr. and i said that's me. so anyway i got through security. [laughter]
>> to make sure that all of you understand who we are dealing with. >> okay. so let me fast forward to this book because you have had a number of books. when you were in the cia, you couldn't kill anybody. >> know you couldn't assassinate anybody. when you came in and you have to sign an agreement that you had read and understood the meaning of executive order 123 which means you can't kill anybody as a cia officer. you go directly to jail and if you talk to anybody for proposed merger you have to break off contact. it was clear cut. you go back in the 40s and 50s and see this castro stuff of course that never but that never really got off the ground. 61 bay of pigs but that i was never very serious going to the
mob. we sort of held off that whole assassination and that it is a dumb idea and we are never going to do it again. and if the officer whether they were an analyst with operatives have to sign the order and they were very serious about it. >> succumb in your 21 years, you -- and we will get to the saddam hussein incident and in your 21 years you never got to kill anybody is that i? >> i never killed anybody or threw told anybody or threw the grenade into the school bus. i never -- i was issued pistols but didn't like it. i was always afraid it was going to shoot myself in the foot. [laughter] they gave us machine guns and mortars and all this stuff and a lot of training, military training jumping out of airplanes, but it was more like this is what it's all about. so when you talk to people, you
have a familiarity with gun. but you're never going to go out and shoot anybody. if you have talked about shooting anybody they would run you out. >> how do you wind up going to lebanon because that becomes your obsession. >> i studied arabic and i worked in a consulate and studied arabic for two years. it has gone to hell. the chief had been kidnapped kidnapped at the embassy had been blown up in april of 83, the marines in october, and they have a list of one of people that spoke arabic and would go to beirut and that's me. >> don't ask me why i got thrown
out of the division. >> i was walking down -- >> don't you speak arabic? >> so, it was another prank like joining the cia. >> it was a blackhawk and there were two of them. they had come out into the whole idea of communicating in the helicopter was a bit strange but when they got to beirut, the helicopter drop down ten to 15 feet off the ocean floor. so, they spring into their vests on. they came in and they were going right into the sure and it turns on its side. they were from delta force. they said you have ten seconds to get off the helicopter otherwise i'm going to push you out.
it's like apocalypse now. >> i was sent there mainly to look at hostages to cause a completely disappeared. bill buckley that the ap reporter covered the university of beirut, they had disappeared. >> of a completely disappeared. he was hit over the head in his apartment coming out throwing in the back of a car, disappeared in the suburbs. it was the first suicide bombing against the united states which was a huge mystery to us at the
time. it mystified the fbi and actually wrapped around the firing device. there was no signature on the bomb which there are always signatures on bombs. there were none on that. the truck had been stolen, the suicide bomber we couldn't identify. even there was such a thorough explosion that there were no traces on the law, and this clearly is of such professionalism that nobody in the united states government had ever seen this, period. so you are presenting me with a mystery. >> and they blew up the french barracks. spit along with the marines. i believe that they were involved in the locker. they were clearly at a level way beyond bin laden or isis in
terms of communications. they didn't have any communications. >> so, at this point, the shia can either hezbollah or the iranians were killing more americans than any other terrorist group in history. >> if you don't remember this, they took a step in and drove it right to the guards and up the steps and into the barracks and caused reagan to pull out of lebanon. they lost the marines since world war ii in a single day. until this day i have never seen professionalism like this in a group. >> and you are the secret weapon on the ground? >> so what did you do? >> you have to figure out
lebanon. i wasn't serious about anything until i got to this one. they are using low-power communications and it's sort of a base in beirut. if you pick these up, we have a site it was very complicated. we call them nature sees at the time and today they call them algorithms, but at the time i have stacks and stacks. >> in the process you start to zero in on basically the perfect killer. >> lebanese come aboard to 62. he'd gone to the battlefront when he was about 15 to study
business affairs. don't tell me why. and then in 1982, he was recruited by iran and put on the front line in the side to start killing americans. >> this is continuous shedding american blood for 20 years. this is the israeli embassy. >> they set off the bombs in the department stores and in london. >> there was nobody like him in terms of simple capabilities to disappear into stale telephones
and talk about misdirection. he was simply brilliant at what he did. so in a sense he is the white whale. he is the guide you hunted. >> don't ask me when does depp switched. we had a sealed arrest warrant from the department of justice and if we ever got in a position to arrest him, we were supposed to notify the marshals and the fbi and the rest could go through the whole procedure. someone like this isn't going to be arrested by the marshals were the fbi and they aren't going to come to beirut and the lebanese police aren't going to arrest him if he had the password file stolen from the police over his records. he had all of his records but he'd never gone out of the beirut airport he raced from the
physical records. so, at that point i sat down with the ambassador and a couple other people inside we could get close to this guy that he is going to resist and he is going to probably die. and the ambassador said well, that's a hypothetical. i don't deal with hypotheticals. when you get to that point, arrest him, but for me that was opening season on the night. i could -- hypothetical. there was no longer an executive order 123. >> when we get to iraq if somebody is resisting arrest and this is how bin laden was killed he was considered enemy combatant and dangerous. its lawyers come its definition. it's against the law to assassinate people, but if you describe the situation as a war
zone and you can do it anywhere, you can kill somebody. >> from seal team six piece out and i was living in berkeley at the time and i said tell me about your authorities. he said if we get a pid on somebody come a positive identification we can go in unless there is on the ground, no threat to anybody at all, if it's short of that, they can shoot you. if you are living in berkeley and a seal team six comes through the window they can kill me? yes. now the context for that is the united states law controls part of the country in some conflict, but if you take that idea, as much as i understand it, and i
didn't go to law school, things like the iran that was killed committee latin, seal team six is critical. but in your book the way that you described, you described him as being focused. he knows his enemy and what he is going to accomplish in this particular action and is a political objective. he doesn't waste energy. it's almost a love poem to him in the sense of seeing an expert to do what he does. but you said exactly the opposite about what they are doing. i mean, -- ima can't or a n. and i don't like the foreign policy.
i think that they assassinated bin laden in 2011 and we have something a lot worse than isis because we will not acknowledge that we are dealing with an insurgency, sunni insurgency and the assassination isn't going to do you any more at all. we've taken political murder to the middle east hoping that it is a detour around the war, but it's not what we've got because in iraq we are going to the 100 year war i don't see any sense playing into iraq and that is what we are doing. they are selecting the targets and we are hitting them. it's just not going to work. but if you take the lebanese context in 1999 to force the israelis out of lebanon, what he did was in a very technically
brilliant operation, he hit the israeli commander with the shaped charge traveling at high speed and hit them directly. we were better at pulling the four suspected and in israel and the security zone which was hitting them hard. it's too expensive and it will simply hit them with massive force. so, what he did, the purpose is to preserve the force and avoided the war. but if but if you are assassinating people and it's getting deeper into the war, you are going against the whole intent of the database is the argument i make. we simply cannot project american power around the world using political murder. if we were combined in a space
like lebanon where there were only 4 million people and it was with a very specific purpose and intelligence but then i to deny going further in the story and they work for the united nations on the assassination investigation and that was the premise of a skilled the in 2005 command but happened that killed him with a car bomb bombing at the 20th of people come he'd gone from taking this tactic to avoid the war to a sectarian conflict and killed a man that was a symbolic head of the sunni and lebanon and got more violence. so he broke always rules. he did very well for about 20 years. he made other mistakes, too.
he started using a cell phone and he then set himself up as a target. >> are you saying that in 2008 he managed to avoid the nsa, the cia, the military intelligence people, smoking -- seal team six. >> he completely disappeared. he used to write a motorscooter. he was unknown even in hezbollah which nominally was under that umbrella. there maybe three may be three or four people.
>> nobody that could be turned? >> never a defector from the other side. we had one of the other hostage takers, from the iranians, but never in his group was there anybody that came out that betrayed him. >> in your book you were worried one point but you're going to get hit by him. >> definitely they were looking at us. the problem is i grew up in middle-class and i didn't grow up in a war zone. you take people that have been in the civil war and their families are getting killed and they are killing people. they tend to figure out what you're they are doing and it's the darwin effect. i talk about the admiration for his skill, but i certainly wouldn't trade my life for his growing up in the southern suburbs in beirut and as a
teenager leaving school with the collection and shooting at the other side. >> this part of the world that's falling off, progress and anything that we taken the civilization is growing by the day. you look at nigeria and isis which is truly pre- islamic. cutting off heads with knives is tribal or kidnapping women. so it is the murder of people to political ends there are more and more people capable of doing this. if it is my interest and i write my mother into the story. i was going to ask what is your mother doing in the middle of lebanon? >> she's a great character
assassin. [laughter] >> she's should have had my job, but that's beside the point. i want to make it personal how far i am from this world and even how far the cia is. >> you write the best assassins were the best kills our local. >> the best were in sight of the family. it is local. take one of the greatest assassination historically determining the assassinations in 1995. i think that if anybody could have cut to the chase on a middle east settlement and he was a hero, well respected.
but if you take the place of his enemies removing him a truly made a difference but that's local politics, i don't understand that for but for them it made sense. and i have to go back to the idea of killing hitler. clearly this would have saved lives and avoided destruction i'm told especially if it had been done in 33. there are occasionally figures in history which are cancerous and they should be cut out. we hate assassination. as americans we just hate the idea. >> but we've done it to lincoln and mckinley. the most dangerous drop in the products warily as president of the united president of the united states. >> that's why we hated so much. its lunatics and the rest of it. what we are missing is the ability to change history at a
particular moment in a particular context. it does save lives. the reason i wrote this book is to examine the modern assassination. i found out that there were political assassinations. they had to kill certain people and they did and he found that it was a successful route to conflict resolution. >> we had a local assassin here named james the weasel who was a mafia guy and eventually he became a semi-celebrity. he wrote a book and became a government witness and i had an
experience of having been soothed by him. they never killed anybody that didn't deserve it. >> at the heart of assassination has to be a just act. and i think not only for the assassin, you can't be making money off this for things like that. it has to be an active justice. preserve the organization and discipline. >> i started talking to crazier people and some more biologists. they said that there is a thing that correct me if i'm wrong,
the cells will kill another solid cancerous. is that the detail of your nightmares about it to try to figure it out? >> its engagement. me and my team are the first americans that are brought up under the charge of the assassination of the world leader by the department of justice and the fbi. so to me if i'm in the middle of something i start to understand it. i can get engaged and think about it. i was in iraq in 1995. the general came general came to me and said i represent five officers and a dad, general officers and we would like to get rid of saddam hussein and lift the sanctions.
would you support a coup d'état and i said it sounds good to me. i was the chief in iraq, saddam, wrote it up, sat down on the tax that's classified and it didn't get an answer and eventually they came to me and said well he's going to go to his palace and we dropped 12 tanks we are going to ask them to step down. is the main gun and assassination obviously you didn't know that, so i sent a message back to washington saying this is their plan. some of the militia that i was
working with over and the divisions, and i got a message from washington saying if you have become a lawyer, don't talk to him, come home and trust us on this. there's been a problem so we could come back. >> they said we are hauling them even for the attempted murder of saddam hussein. they go through this investigation and even though we never actually helped to pull the trigger it gave me an insight in the way of thinking about what it's like in the field and how hard it is to target somebody like saddam hussein just as it would be these days, no communications.
this is an examination of the assassination and it's sort of a funny title, but the perfect kill is nearly impossible. >> what you do talk about is the use of indiscriminate violence whether it's drones or cruise missiles as a tactic that is only going to backfire and isn't going to succeed. >> we are doing what is called signature strikes if you have a drone flying above and a couple of guys that are clashing and doing exercises in the field and somebody back in washington says they are near this village, this doesn't look right to us. we have entered a drone strike in a month. in some of the years we would
have 750 drone of strikes and not a single name would appear. it's amazing. it was overused. we have overused it. the whole point is to make it very precise. you really scare the enemy when you get to the one guy that was causing you a problem rather than somebody that appears to be legal. >> in november of 2002 i was doing a story in the so-called sleeper cells and they were recruited by someone who lived in saudi arabia for a long time that was but was an american citizen and in november of 2002 h. rowan fired a missile at a vehicle in yemen and blew the car up and he was the first
american citizen killed. and at that time the u.s. government backed off. he was collateral damage can he was in the wrong car at the wrong time. today we take credit for it. >> it's so complicated people are just jaded. they don't care. they don't care but the accuracy of drones just like they don't care about enhanced interrogations. they have the documents that say that it doesn't work and you have a few people involved that say that it does and i want to make up my mind as an american whether torture makes it safer
or not. that doesn't justify it morally, but we still don't know. there are two sides to this. but i can't imagine that the senate would just come to these conclusions that torture doesn't work. it's because they are basing it on evidence. and the war on terror, it is in sali -- somalia. who knows where it's going to go next. but do we really stopped to see what it's getting us? >> in your experience i remember people that came into the fbi in to the fbi in the mid-70s are back then and they learned about what could go wrong in the
church committee hearings and there was a sense that we have to be more focused, we have to be smarter about what we do. have we lost that caution, are they no longer alive in spite of the intelligence committee? >> we had to recruit a russian military officer to tell you when they were going to send armored divisions. it was that simple. >> it became very complicated but for me it was more complicated this made things a lot worse in the middle east it's gotten so dangerous that he locked up in a bubble in a couple in the green zone and we are looking at the world through
drones and i'm not sure if you can understand it. now they are doing it in c-reactive iraq and i don't think they do it particularly well. i think that they are missing a lot if the nuances. the attack apparently was messed. the president called up the team. he was misled. it wasn't his fault. >> the president who was a constitutional law scholar so he taught. >> i think you have a president who was a fairly liberal democrat and has to cauterize the rights. he has to take actions beyond
bush. >> they would set the message i don't play around with national security and this is what a lot of the strikes are trying to be strong without sending the troops back to the middle east. >> said it so it is a way of saying you are a tough guy. >> do we ever see people going in and taking pictures or keeping track of this >> i'm talking about between san francisco and new york there is a big part in the united states that assumes we have to be doing this. they don't look very deep into that. i have to get back to the notion of the assassination it's been
part of american history. >> that you are looking at canada, john wilkes booth. clearly assassinating lincoln wasn't going to do any good. it was an act of revenge. but they could dismiss as criminal acts and not carry it out by a coherent political organization. >> so our assassinations have no plan plans of our enemies focused, is that the lesson that you are telling us? >> 1989 this year he ends in the united states agreed on the new president. new president. they were going to close down what was has the law at the time. they were going to more or less
slow down and stop the war in the south. >> it's where they put explosives in the charge in a close down candy store and the president's convoy was going down and that was the end of any talk about closing hezbollah down or any talk of restoring the lebanese state. >> he didn't have a grievance against the president meant that they felt in their interest we are talking about their interests, not ours they felt it was a danger to what they were doing and that is the islamic resistance in the south. he did have a plan and they followed his plan consistently. and once they committed violence
they didn't go on to commit more symbolic violence. and the avoided things like car bombs which as you know everybody was using them. they went out of their way never to use one and a built-up areas. they were sending enemies to use violence responsibly and then we get what we want and people hold to the agreement. >> they did it with the french and 85 and 86. i'm going to until you stop supplying weapons to iraq and that is exactly what happened. after the french he stopped killing frenchmen which is something you don't see from al qaeda or isis. so the french felt that they had a rational player at the other end.
>> so you're saying that he was a master of using political violence to get a political end. >> to get a political end and then once he got back, he stopped. >> succumbing you and your friends in lebanon decided he wanted to take him out. what was so difficult? the sunni wanted to have no part of it. he stayed off any sort of communications move from night to night. he completely disappeared into the suburbs which he could do. that's what they called a denied area.
we used to send cars through. >> there was off the grid but he had his own up in the air of the generators on the corners, nobody would go down. >> the sea greens are scared. they refused to set foot in the suburbs and they were scared of him. that's the whole point of the book we were not qualified to do this and he was afraid to come after us. he paid any attention to me at all he could have found me and got rid of me that he probably didn't think it was worth it. >> he closed the americans down, got rid of the marines, closed
the embassy down, it was a bubble. the central intelligence wasn't a threat to him. >> he blew up the embassy and killed six cia people. but in the embassy bombing they were going after the ambassador because they were trying to make a peace between israel and lebanon. he opposed that clearly. it was narrow grievances and everybody knew who everybody was and it wasn't some grand strategy. when he did move to bigger targets and he was involved in saudi arabia in 1996 he also
tried to kill his brother-in-law and that failed. so he looked at the ability to protect political violence in long way away and it doesn't really work and he withdrew and came back. he would continually learn about what worked and what didn't. >> so she could do this and survive until he was apparently assassinated in 2008 that he could survive so long. >> which is absolute other discipline. i mean, we found the same thing with our special operators, the delta force.
they first went into it in afghanistan where the helicopter went down and they lost a bunch of guys. they learn how to fight the war and they are very good at what they do. they changed the tactics for instance in iraq where they come into a house. it used to come a great technical term, the dynamic was hostage rescue and then they were ambushed one time and they said we are going to do combat entering into this shoot anybody in the house because we learned how to fight a war. and you know, we are -- they've still got in his ability to do this. getting to the morality of it, i'm looking at human nature and a bunch of assassination and explaining why they work or didn't work.
this is very much a political science book, but what i did was when i first wrote it, there were 21 laws and i didn't want to break an anthology. it was probably boring subway so they rode through the samaritans of trying and failing and then i had to throw in some stories about my mother. >> that it is 21 lessons for something that you see in the end you don't be leave. >> it is 21 conditions that you have to meet before you can carry off a successful political murder. but if you read each one carefully, they get harder and harder and harder. like don't ever miss. it sounds funny but when they
tried to kill henry fight and they failed he just became a stronger king and it was considered a divine ordinance that he was chosen and he became a strong and conveyed france and took the rest of it. the same leaves and we can't afford and i gave the attempt to margaret thatcher when they put a lot of explosives into a room and there was no chance of ever killing her husband was so far away. and at the end of that i don't think they got anything out of it. i mean if things would have been different. the ones that work, call it terror if you like but a capable ssn is something that you have to worry about and you have to change your behavior. that is an obvious rule.
not leaving your fingerprints on an assassination is also scary. blowing up the embassy in april, 1983. it certainly scared the fbi and the cia when they saw this complete exclusion. it destroyed the firing device. i mean, we knew what we were up against as opposed to bin laden who goes on tv it's not a form of the organization but he clearly wasn't as capable. >> you say that it's not a formidable organization, but the pentagon would say that's because we are taking their leadership out of the worthless territories and we tracked them down. >> qaeda was a pic of operation. and i'm just reflecting what people tell me.
it's a little bit of money from bin laden, al qaeda. they got very lucky. our paradigm changed on 9/11 with flight 93. in a sense once they heard about the world trade center that changed. i don't think you can look at it as an assistant threat. not only will it be a tragedy but an incentive to go into the war in the middle east that we ultimately cannot win. and i think that's really the problem with sunni violence in the middle east is that it is so
indiscriminate setting off car bombs in baghdad. this is a varying degree whose survival is at stake and you have a fringe lashing out with his extreme violence. it was as opposed to changing the american way of life were striking out at us. i think that he could have set off a bomb in new york or chicago and we traced the groups, they just didn't want to. it was the narrow channeling of violence is much more efficient and people are ready to go on because would we do with lebanon? we bombed it in the spring of little bit and we just laughed. there is no real damage
>> you can hear them explode into the lebanese were convinced that we were firing blanks but it didn't detour anybody. >> sold-out theater of so that leader of the islamic state apparently was just wounded. is that going to make any difference click >> no. we tend not to listen to enemies which is always a big mistake. i listen to his sermon in those -- basel. you have to look at isis and it's a manifestation of the grievances of people in that
area. when we have that much chaos default is to some imaginary point in history which these people are trying to return to. they said you can get rid of it but it's not going to do any good. so that's not going to work there. you could get rid of the leadership and would speed up the price now it is here to stay >> i think that we should open up for questions. >> if their questions in the audience.
>> thank you both. i'm curious what your mother knew about the profession and what she thought about it. spirit she was living in venice california at the time and said if you tell anybody that you work for the cia, i will cut your throat. [laughter] [laughter] [laughter] 's connection is very liberal. she just was not amused. >> there were liberals in the cia. >> i've just got my friends, don't ever say it. my daughters didn't know until he went on 60 minutes and they were watching tv and they said that is on tv. >> the next question is also on your left. >> what would you propose that we do with isis or nothing at all what is your fact on that? >> i'm sort of involved in the sense that i keep up with the
tribes in and our province and they are quite adamant that they will not deal with the government of their. they said that he is just a clone of the previous premaster and what we want is partition. we want the same right as the kurdish republic which is owned by federal troops didn't. we get a percentage of the oil, we keep iraq that are allies to commit essentially breaking it up. they want to take baghdad to the sunni suburbs to go to the region. baghdad itself would be an open city and it will be divided between the kurds, but there's nobody in washington who wants to hear the word partition. >> it seems to me that everyone has forgotten that iraq was not a country at the time of the first world war.
>> we are going to hold them together with the air force or drones but nobody wants to admit it, that iran is actually picked up a country. the new defense minister is approved by the iranians probably know this for a fact the militia was our moving into a all al anbar and on the ground in uniform. no one wants to admit that we lost iraq can and at, and that democrats don't and neither do the republicans. you know i would just say partition it or at least stand out of the way but if we've become identified with the
iranians, then we've taken sides in the civil war civil war that goes back to the 17th century. it's hard for me to do the difference between the sunni and the shia. the deeper you get into the into it, the more confusing. and you ask people is it really worth killing yourself over the small doctrinal changes coming and apparently it is. >> next question over here on the right hell do you propose that we fight this war were to be just modified it and let them take care of it themselves and clean up the mess afterwards? >> the asymmetrical warfare. what do you do about serious? the fact is it is and so asymmetrical in the fact that there is a country. there is the islamic caliphate
or whatever you want to call it goes from bothell to mosul. i would do it covertly. i could go back to the partition and start sending arms to the sunnis who disagree with us. but at the end of the day, what is going to destroy the jihad is other muslims. it's unsustainable. the islamist republic cannot govern and definitely. it is violent. it's irrational. there are too many foreigners, north africa and africa and even the west. ..
we don't want to ally with iran. that's the last thing this president wants to do. he has been forced, we have been forced into that corner and the further we go, the more we support iran the more the saudis are going to send money and there's no way to stop it. they are not exactly rational either. i'm not their best friend. i wrote a book about saudi arabia and if you go to riyadh you carry in your hand i guarantee you'll be arrested at the airport.
so there are no good guys in this conflict. >> we have another question in the front. >> you alluded to this before that the cia has become increasingly militarized. i'm wondering if you see any point in the future that the cia becomes more of a human intelligence center once again and finally if you have any advice for aspiring case officer? >> i tell people i would go back into the cia in a heartbeat simply to understand our national security establishment but it's one of those questions smart enough enough to give them, wise enough to get out. you will spend four or five years. i think it will go back and i came -- for public office is
paint the worst picture. there are a lot of people doing good work in their islands of excellence. if you stick to those islands you can stay out of counterterrorism but anything that is politically tainted in washington you don't want to go there. which is a big part of the world but nonetheless there other things you can do there. >> i would bet the director of intelligence headquarters next to the counterterrorism center for the fbi and the cia which is right next to the agencies headquarters and it's a new and a vast expansion of a physical facility, state-of-the-art which interestingly enough when i was allowed in to meet with a group of people there were little signs up in the hallway saying be aware, journalist and building. i like it when i read light
starts flashing. again, come on. sort of a joke. >> but a lot of this seems like a joke. >> abc distortion washington? they are much more like serious than fifth avenue or beverly hills or anywhere. there is more money flowing to that city than ever. >> going into the intelligence apparatus. he listened to snowden for instance any worked for booze allen. he didn't graduate from high school. made according million-a-year. he had a pole dancer also as a girlfriend. >> i never had one of those. >> it's amazing it's amazing you work for booze allen and make a quarter million because you
could quadruple that. booze allen is giving melling -- getting a million for that contract. >> that is for all the counterterrorism people go. >> he had been fired from the cia. he was doing white hats in geneva apparently. he was saying i'm going to show you but you can't be the cia but rather than telling the national security agency what he had done because they want to get rid of him and snowden has done some good throwing a light on the spot on the other hand in the government you don't get to decide what you are going to expose. when i write my books even today i send it to the cia and there at some comments and some are good and they take up what's classified. it's a process but i can go out and say i'm going to take everything i know, expose assets and agents and codes.
you can do that on an individual basis. that is what you are supposed to have congress four. >> the next question on your last. >> it's a good segue. earlier on you talked about your security clearance and you touched upon that process again. i worked for an organization where i have to go through the renewal for the security clearance every five years. it's a very interesting process as you know. you touched on there can be some conflict between your daily work in the security clearance process. they are not totally aligned so i was wondering if you wanted to comment on that a little bit more. >> the problem with the system is top-secret security clearance. the cia would and should be in my humble view, it should be
sending people out abroad that really grasp local cultures and countries and the mentality of it. to do that you pretty much have to go native and a large sense. you can't lock yourself up in an embassy or any facility and understand what's going on. i understand why people with top-secret security clearance that really know stuff, they don't want them going to lebanon and moving into the cobb valley and learning arabic for dealing with drug dealers or the rest of it. one of the greatest liberating things for me was leaving the cia in going and meeting people. it's like my vision, completely open but once you're in that system you don't want to have friends out there. you can have journalist friends. anybody who has a criminal record or the mafia you can't talk to them unless it's in a
certain environment. so by force of the security clearances you really do limit yourself and you limit your vision which is not good for the cia case. what i would do which is over simplistic to simply bring people when they go up to the secret level. they see certain stuff but they can't really expose stuff. they could still do their jobs. it's amazing and by the way journalists, the secrets that leak out i know more about the cia today, about scandals and the rest of it than when i was in because the journalists talking to the journalist, i know people are transferring. these are undercover people. what they do and what they did on the last assignment and whether they have a fake case or not, i never used to hear that stuff. >> it's better to be out. >> it's much better.
you just show up. >> a senior counterintelligence person that i know when he left the government retired but got tired back the contract level. he said to me that people out here are a lot smarter than the people inside. >> it's true. it's an unfortunate system and the kgb suffered the same thing. this inbreeding and washington is a bubble because people stay there and the top-secret security clearance, it's a commodity and there's a price on it. there's actually a market for what it's worth. you can walk into a job. you have ts clearance? you can have this job. whether you are qualified or not. people don't want to lose that so they tend to stay in that area. >> a question down here in the front.
>> in one of your books you spoke about the iranians and patients so with that as a background can you speak about the leadership of the iranian people in the nuclear ambitions? >> while i have a lot of respect for iranians in the sense that they did go to war with the united states after the revolution, after 1980. they took over the embassy. they were responsible for the marines. they were responsible for lockerbie. it's just a fact. maybe with the libyans. they went through this revolutionary period in the same same people that got through it have now moved into this thermidor where they understand
us. they understand how far we are going to go. there are negotiations going on in him on now. they know how far they can go on pushing us. so we won't react. they also have learned to deal with sanctions. they are evading the sanctions through banking and oil and the rest of it. i wrote a book about iran about six years ago called the devil we know about how one day we would end up effectively allied with iran which is what we have done which has served their purpose. i had lunch today with an iranian. he said if you look at the borders you include lebanon and syria and iraq and the rest of it. or even yemen. south of the borders are almost established and this was a
country that wasn't going to make it. it was going to collapse under its own irrationality and so i find them very pragmatic. i went there in 2005 and this was after i wrote my book. ex-cia officer landed at the airport. they let me in. it was within irish film crew with a british television. they let me go anywhere. call me any's tomb. they let me interview the chief of staff. because they understood their paranoia, while they are paranoid but not to the point that i -- they thought that i was a threat. it's a country of 70 million people that survived long time. it will survive a lot longer in air countries. >> by the way when you see these rogue operations like the "new york times" article on sunday