The Rachel Maddow Show | February 25, 2013
>> government are confirming this, why are you not --
>> i'm not going to get into these matters.
>> keep asking. there will be no answers. it was not just robert gibbs ' problem. it turns out it is a problem of that job, no matter who has the job.
>> reported a drone strike today along the border region . as you know, afghan and pakistani officials have been vocal about their concerns about them possibly killing civilians as opposed to terrorists. what can you say to address their concerns? and can you talk a little bit about the president's thinking about when it comes to drone strikes?
>> you know, i won't talk about anything specific like that.
>> did drone strikes make it les simple to the american people to understand when these are secret and often done without --
>> you're trying to get me to talk about things that i can't talk about from the podium.
>> the president has acknowledged the drones. why can't you?
>> again, i'm just going to point you to what he said and not discuss further this issue.
>> it's a facade. it's silly.
>> bill, i'm sorry.
>> john brennan 's firmed cia director . is it safe to assume the drone program will continue?
>> i'm just not going to. i think there have been some discussion of the drone program as it relates to the department of defense . but i'm not going to get into any further discussion of it here.
>> at the last bit there, there was a clue. as it relates to the department of defense . so maybe the department of defense is the police to ask. maybe we have been asking in the wrong place. let's ask at the department of defense . let's ask the military.
>> ask you for an update on pentagon drone operations.
>> probably not.
>> well, let's hear what you have to say when i ask the question.
>> it has now been widely acknowledged that the u.s. military earlier this year, the military, pentagon, flew drone operations over pakistan 's border region in cooperation with the pakistanis to collect reconnaissance information and show it to them. can you talk about why the u.s. military is now flying drone operations or did fly drone operations over pakistan ?
>> i can't. i know you say it's widely acknowledged. i don't know how widely anything has been acknowledged on that count. i don't think it's appropriate for me at this podium to discuss operations that may or may not be taking place.
>> what concerns do you have that these u.s. government drone strikes in pakistan may be backfiring now and simply creating more enemies of the united states ?
>> i refer your questions to other people. that's not something we speak to or are involved in.
>> who would you refer them to, jeff? where should i --
>> do you not want a question, justin?
>> i do want a question, but barbara is still talking.
>> barbara, do you have a follow?
>> would you tell me where you would refer that to?
>> you would have to talk to somebody other than the pentagon. we don't talk to those operational matters because they don't involve us. yes.
>> they don't involve us. you have to talk to somebody -- not here. i refer your questions to other people. i think he is talking about the cia . let's check with the cia then to see how the cia handles these questions at their daily press briefs. all right. they don't do that. and so that's where questions about this policy go to die. this week in addition to the chuck hagel defense secretary nomination, the senate is expected to advance president obama 's nominee to head the cia , john brennan . senator john mccain is proposing holding up the nomination of john brennan because, well, john mccain . but even in the midst of that conflict, there is an interesting confluence of opinion right now that something major should be changed in mr. brennan 's field of expertise. mr. brennan broached the subject in a " washington post " profile that ran about him last october. the acting director of the cia from whom mr. brennan would take over if he is confirmed, that acting director raised the issue in an article "the new york times" published about the cia in december. and now the man, the republican senator who is threatening to hold up the brennan nomination so the acting director has to stay on, this republican senator, he too says that he agrees that something big needs to be changed.
>> what we really need to do is take this whole program out of the hands of the central intelligence agency and put it into the department of defense where you have adequate oversight, you have committee oversights, you have all the things that are built in as our oversight the department of defense . but since when is the intelligence agency supposed to be an air force of drones that goes around killing people? i believe that it's a job for the department of defense .
>> so says john mccain . so says the man whose nomination john mccain is threatening to block. so says the man who be replaced by the nomination john mccain is threatening to block. what if drones were used like normal tools of war? what if drones were used by the military instead of by our government that makes grown men have to deny to our faces that we know something is going on. that would stop the oh, no you didn't denial that has sometimes made a joke out of the job of sometimes explaining the actions of the united states of america . let's ask a guy who is in a position to know, because he recently had that job. we'll be right back with that.