Published on May 16th, 2011 | by Scott Hennen

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Former Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld on the Scott Hennen Show

TRANSCRIPT:

Scott Hennen: “Now, we obviously knew an operation like that would be special operations. But should we know it was Seal Team 6? Should we know as much as we know about what happened that day? I know some officials that were briefing on background refused to identify them, but actually Joe Biden – the Vice President – went to a public event and specifically pointed out the Commander of Special Ops, and mentioned (by name) that it was the Navy Seals…do we know more than we should as the American public right now about this operation?”

Donald Rumsfeld: “Let me put it this way: the press handling of this operation was the one short fall. And it was all out of the White House – it was not out of the Pentagon. The Pentagon knows the people there are a lot more careful, they know that lives can be lost. I quite agree with you that this victory lap of disgorging all these details (and then having to change ten or fifteen of them because they were wrong) is unfortunate. It seems to me that there’s a way to handle this. That it’s been accomplished – and it’s been accomplished by a very fine joint operation between the intelligence community and the United States military – and I think the people know an awful lot more than they need to know, because what happens is of course that the enemy out there reads all this, and then they can adjust how fast they have to move and what they do and have greater certainty as to what they have to change, and that’s unfortunate.”

Scott Hennen: “What should President Obama do – knowing what he knows now about the value of the interrogations – General Hayden told us the other day, “Scott, you can go from a straight line where I was advised ‘We ought to focus on the couriers’ to what happened Sunday. You go from a straight line there, and it happened with black sites, and interrogations, and went right down the list – all the things that have been undone by the current administration (and certainly the role of those interrogators played an important part) what should he do now? Should he go to the Attorney General and say, ‘let’s just make this go away,’ should he publicly say something? What should he do?”

Donald Rumsfeld: “Well what I think he should do is to realize the damage that’s being done to the country and to the morale of the people in the intelligence business and the military business. He also maybe ought to reflect on the fact that a new administration could come in in two or three years and open investigations on him, and the drone killings that are taking place, and the killing of Osama Bin Laden, and the other orders he’s given. Is that the kind of way we want to run or country, where every new administration comes in – on a partisan basis – opens investigations, and effects peoples’ morale? Who would want to undertake those kinds of tasks if they’re going to be second guessed, and third guessed, and fourth guessed, and have to devote many, many months or years of their lives to defending themselves? Now, if somebody does something wrong that’s one thing. But in this case, I would think the President should simply just call up Holder and say, ‘look: you’ve got a week. And if you don’t get back to me with justification as to why you think what you’re doing is right, I want you to stop doing it.’”

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