Mitchell Reports | January 08, 2013
>> joining me now to discuss possible roadblocks to the confirmation, former senator chuck hagel and john brennan , of course, is a former colleague, tennessee bob corker , ranking member of the top republican on the foreign relations committee . ewe going to have the hearings. on john kerry . why are they so trouble and why are you not troubled by the hagel resume?
>> i think you know i start all these hearings with an open mind . i did serve with chuck and knew him for a couple of years. we served together on the foreign relations committee . look, i do have concerns. i do think as your panelists were saying earlier that the meetings and the hearings are going to be very, very important. i think as it relates to senator hagel , one of the areas, andrea , with him in particular that i want to probe is where he is on our nuclear posture. i know it's not something that, you know, people talk about on a daily basis. some of the things he said in the past about where we need to be as a country in our nuclear posture are very troubling to me, and especially at this moment many time when we're supposed to be investing in nuclear modernization as a part of the start treaty , and we're not doing that. that's an issue that's going to be very important for me. i have told people before that a lot of times you hear people expressing concerns, and you can see through it and know that it is about politics or it's about some personal issue that may have happened in the past. on hagel 's part i think there are serious policy concerns, and i think these hearings are going to make a great deal of difference as to whether he is confirmed or not. sfoo bottom line, do you think he will be confirmed?
>> i don't know. i really think there are legitimate policy concerns that people are going to have. i'm going start out in a neutral place. i heard some of these arguments put forth, but i've not heard his side and his response, and i always want to hear that. again, i'll be probing more on the nuclear component because i know, you know, in the foreign relations area that's more my area of focus. others will talk about relative to what we've done in the past. look, i think it's going to be a lively process. i think this is going to be one of those processes that is real. i mean, let's face it. with senator kerry , my guess is it's going to be like a hot mif going through butter, but with hagel , i think this is going to be a very important hearing process and individual process that's going to occur. i think brennan is going to be interesting. i just want to speak to that for a moment. stroo please.
>> the white house has portrayed him as a priestley figure that sits in a room in the white house with no windows and decides each day who is he going to execute around the world with drones. i think the left is actually going to have an interesting time interviewing him. from my own point of view that's going to be interesting, but also andrea just the intelligence community ? general has not serbed us well. i mean, the kind of briefings that we get on the hill are close to useless. i'm better off watching a program like yours or even one of the major publications, and i do think that just the intel and how we receive it, how we're able to utilize that for policy, making decisions is going to be an important aspect of what you'll be testifying regarding, and also just how we are going to improve our human intelligence gathering that hack remiss here in the past.
>> i want to talk about benghazi first of all. a prisoner was released in tunis. he was the only prisoner. the fbi, i'm told, passed questions to his questioners or interrogators, the locals, but never had direct access to him, and he was released supposedly from lack of hard evidence. does this mean we have no leads on what happened in benghazi , and when will the committee hear from hillary clinton ? will it be after the inauguration?
>> i had some very good conversation with her chief of staff, and certainly senator menendez, the chairman of the committee. my sense is, andrea , that her hearing probably will take place the morning of the 22nd. i think they feel she's going to be healthy enough to come in that day. if that were to occur, and, again, this is senator menendez's decision, we could move very quickly, maybe even that afternoon to senator kerry 's hearings and have those right after. my sense is the process that most of us would like to see could well take place, and i actually sense especially in talking to her chief just in the last few days that she's anxious to want to come up and testify on benghazi , and i think that hes an important thing for her and obviously for our country, and very important to happen prior to the kerry confirmation. i think it's going to happen that way.
>> now, senator lindsey graham has said that he wants to postpone john brennan 's confirmations for the cia until they get more answers on benghazi . do you agree with that?
>> well, i mean, that's obviously in another committee and not one i'll be having jurisdiction over. i think the process is going to be that way, and, you know, in brennan's case, you know, i'll let the other committees of jurisdiction decide when those hearings are going to happen, but, you know, i do think it's -- the country needs to understand really some of the shortcomings that no doubt occurred in benghazi . i have seen the security tapes. i have seen the drone tapes. it is pretty -- it is pretty surreal to see how much lack of security occurred at that time. no doubt there was some intelligence breakthroughs both before the incident occurred, but also just in discussing with us, in fairness, what really happened, it really breaks down your confidence in the intelligence community when the kind of answers they give are nonanswers. andrea , i have found to be the case the only place you ever get any information that's worthwhile is out in the field and talking to our station managers on site in places like libya, like i did right after benghazi . those are the places whereeal input that m atters. most of what we get in washington is pablem, and that's got to change, and it really is -- it really hurts us. it's a liability as policy making . that's one of the areas i want to talk about personally, and obviously the dni is very responsibilitiesible for some of the lack of input that we get that matters, but our entire intelligence community certainly could be shaped up and hopefully this will be one step along the way of making that happen.
>> senator corker, to be continued. thank you very much.