The Daily Rundown | February 08, 2013
>>> what do you think needs to be done to ensure that members of the public understand more about when the government thinks it's allowed to kill them?
>> what we need to do is optimize transparency on these issue but at the same time optimize secrecy and the protection of our national security . i don't think that it's one or the other. it's trying to optimize both of them.
>> that was john brennan trying to thread the needle between the government's need to keep covert operations under perhaps and the public's right to know what's going on. it's been a key focus for oregon democratic senator ron wyden , member of the intelligence committee . senator, i know it's a busy time. thank you for taking the time. i want to ask you about that sound bite we just played. are those things an either/oregon both in? can you have increased transparency and sort of keep what needs to be covert covert is this how does that work? nominee brennan suggested it can work and you agree with him.
>> absolutely. there's no question we can protect our country in a dangerous time like this and at the same time ensure more transparency and more accountability. and, in fact, that's what our special system of government is all about . it's about checks and wal balances. the founding fathers thought the president of the united states ought to have extensive power in the national security arena about but it is not unfettered power and striking that balance is the key question.
>> senator, i want to play a little sound bite about trust between the white house and congress and let's come back and talk about it.
>> if i am confirmed, a trust deficit between the committee and the cia would be wholly unacceptable to me. i like to think that mikan dore and bluntness will reassure you you will get straight answers from me, maybe not always the ones you like, but you will get answers and they will reflect my honest views.
>> senator, you've been one of the most high-profile critics of the administration for not giving as much information particularly the legal documentation underpinning the targeting of u.s. citizens . is there a current trust deficit between the senate intelligence committee and the administration, and can someone like john brennan heal it or not?
>> he did move in the right direction in a number of areas. i was very pleased when he said that if a mistake was made on a targeted killing matter, he'd make a public acknowledgement, something like that. i think he did take some steps in the right direction and the president did as well when he called on wednesday night and said he would reverse course and make additional materials available with respect to the legal analysis for targeted killings . i'm still not convinced we have all that we need to do to do our job of vigorous and robust congressional oversight . i made it clear yesterday we need to have that full legal analysis about of the vote.
>> now without something as public as a confirmation hearing for the next cia director , how do you keep pressure and focus on the issue? they released the documentation you had been asking for the day before the brennan hearing for fear of potentially of it either being delayed or blocked. the prospect of a hearing for a cia director , how do you as a member of the senate intelligence committee ensure that you're continuing to use your leverage and power to make more of that information you said hasn't come out yet?
>> chris, it is a challenge to have points of leverage and a confirmation hearing is absolutely key. i also did it on the recent intelligence authorization bill. there are provisions there in the name of fighting leaks which would have done great damage to the press. i put a public hold on the bill and those provisions that went too far were dropped. but i do believe this is a critical time for our country. we're trying to figure out a way to apply the principles of checks and balances to modern warfare . that's why it's so important that the committee, and there's bipartisan concern about this, get the documents we requested.
>> quickly, senator, have you had any assurances outside of this confirmation hearing with mr. brennan ? have you had any assurances from the administration that your request for more information, for more transparency will be met?
>> the president certainly indicated he is committed to that. in fact, in our conversation on wednesday night when he called to say that he was going to reverse course , make these documents available, and i said i was encouraged by that, he said he was going to begin an extensive discussion with the american people on these issues to look at fleshing out how to play the public into the discussion of the guidelines with respect to modern warfare where we can both protect our nation and be true to our principles and our checks and balances. i think that would be very helpful right now to have that discussion.
>> ron wyden , member of the senate intelligence committee , thanks for your time.
>> thank you.