Face the Nation Transcripts February 9, 2014: King, Durbin, Ayotte

(CBS News) --  Below is a transcript of "Face the Nation" from February 9, 2014. Guests included Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., Sen Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., Mark Phillips, Jeffrey Goldberg, Mark Mazzetti, Margaret Brennan and John Dickerson.

SCHIEFFER: Today on FACE THE NATION, the security precautions are unprecedented and tension over terrorism remains high, but the Americans continue to win gold at the Olympics. So close your eyes and ears if you don't want to know. Americans picked up their second gold medal in snowboarding and Sage Kotsenburg said he was, well --

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SAGE KOTSENBURG, OLYMPIC SNOWBOARDER: So stoked to be here. I'm just like representing the USA for sure and being part of the first snow style (ph) team for the U.S. is pretty cool. And then bringing home the gold is just icing on the cake.

SCHIEFFER (voice-over): As stoked as the competitors may be, the threat of terrorism still hangs over the Games. We'll have a report from Sochi and get the latest on the security precautions from New York Congressman Peter King, a key member of the House intelligence and Homeland Security committees. Back home, Washington seemed to be falling back into to familiar gridlock. And we'll talk about that with the number two Democrat in the Senate leadership, Dick Durbin of Illinois, and New Hampshire Republican Kelly Ayotte. Plus analysis on all of this and more from our panel of experts. And --

ED SULLIVAN, TV SHOW HOST: Ladies and gentlemen, The Beatles!

SCHIEFFER (voice-over): We'll look back at the invasion of America that happened 50 years ago today; 60 years of news, because this is FACE THE NATION.

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SCHIEFFER: And good morning again. We're going to start this morning with our CBS News correspondent covering the Sochi Olympics, Mark Phillips. Mark, what's up?

MARK PHILLIPS, CBS NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well I'm happy to report that what up is sports. With all the run-up to these games and the talk about security and corruption and expense and, of course, the gay rights issue for the last few days since the Games have actually started. Sports has raised its head and people are pretty relieved around here about that. The Games have been running pretty smoothly; the fears of really tight security on the ground here have not materialized, as we know the Russians have about, they say, 40,000 people involved in making these Games safe. But most of them, I'm happy to say, are not visible in the Olympics site that's spread through the hinterland around the whole district in Sochi. If you drive up the road between this coastal cluster here, as they call it, up to -- into the mountains where the skiing events are, there's a long 40 or so mile road that goes up there. And it is very carefully protected, soldiers in the woods, big military camps along the way as you go here. But so far the great fear of these games, of course, it has been security and thus far nothing's happened, which is -- which is good news. What has happened is the sports, a couple of good wins for the U.S. team in snowboarding, this new upside-down over-the-snow slopestyle, they call it, event, two American golds in the men's and women's is that; bit of a disappointment in the big downhill ski race for Bode Miller. It was hoped the New Hampshire -- long-established New Hampshire skier was the fastest in the practice runs. He finished eighth in the actual event. But a good smooth start to the sports of this Games, which hopefully is the way it will continue.

SCHIEFFER: Mark, you've been to about as many Olympics as I've been to political conventions. How does this one shape up?

PHILLIPS: They're all different, just as the conventions -- probably not quite as many as you -- but just as the conventions are different, so are these games. And you have to distinguish between the pre- and post-9/11 games. All of the post-9/11 games have been pretty tight security issues, fear of attack, of course, the case in London, not so much in Beijing, of course. But all of these games now have to invest heavily in security. Here there's the added issue that this game is in the very southern part of Russia in the North Caucasus. There are groups around here in Dagestan and in Chechnya that are not happy with the Russian presence here, and so that's added an extra layer of concern. But the Games themselves, the Russians have made a gigantic investment, both financially and politically and reputation-wise in these games; the figure being thrown around is billion bucks, building this site out of nothing. They pretty well better do well in the medal table, too, to make it success for them. But it's an awful lot riding on these games for them and of course for Vladimir Putin.

SCHIEFFER: All right. Mark Phillips, our man at the Olympics. We always like it when Mark Phillips is our man at any big story. Mark, thanks so much.

PHILLIPS: My pleasure. SCHIEFFER: Now we want to go now to Long Island and New York Republican Congressman Peter King, who sits on both the House Homeland Security and Intelligence committees. You've been keeping a close eye on this, Congressman. Anything new to report on the security front this morning?

KING: No, Bob, so far so good. I mean, it's a long haul; there's still several weeks to go. It's still, I believe, a dangerous situation, but up until now there's been no incidents at all. And again, hopefully this will continue over the next few weeks so we can focus on the Games. But the worst thing we can do in any way is to -- if anyone let their guard down between now and the end of the games.

SCHIEFFER: Are the Russians cooperating any better than they were in the beginning with our people?

KING: Somewhat better but still not at the same level as the Chinese, the British or the Greeks. They are still reluctant to give intelligence that they feel would allow us to determine their sources and methods, and also there's still a certain amount of pride, I believe, that they feel they can handle a lot of this on their own. But there's been some more sharing than there has been, still not what it should be. But like as we saw last week with the toothpaste, there was some sharing there. And, again, it's so far so good. But again I have real concerns because the Russians themselves, like the Russian police and the military, there is a lot of corruption there, that's what led to some of the previous attacks. And they have more of a heavy-handed approach and are not as able to pick nuances the way we are, the British are, the French, the Germans, that type thing.

SCHIEFFER: Congressman, I want to shift to Edward Snowden, big story in "The New York Times" today that says that he used a tool called a scraper to get information from the computers at his post out there in Hawaii. There has been some talk that he may have asked for the assignment in Hawaii because he knew the security there was not as good as it was in some other posts. Have you heard that?

KING: I have heard it. It has not been verified fully as far as I know, but that is part of the ongoing investigation. I mean, this was unprecedented, what Snowden did here. It can never be allowed to happen again. I know already there's been a number of reforms the NSA has instituted, but I think this is very reminiscent of what happened with Hanson, the FBI spy, where the FBI, the NSA are so concerned about outside forces penetrating their system that they just did not take the proper precautions internally. And part of that also is because people such as Snowden and others in his position, they want them to have the facility to be able to move quickly, to get things done. And so there were not the restrictions on them that there should have been.

A lot that have has been changed; there is monitoring now of what goes on. Snowden would not be able to do it again in the future. But now, of course, it's too late for that. But at least there are some precautions being taken, but, again there has to be a full, exhaustive report and analysis. We can't allow something like this to happen again. There's so much we do, so much is done to prevent even the slightest bit of information to come out, then you have millions of documents just tumbling out under Snowden.

SCHIEFFER: Do you think Snowden knew what documents he was getting?

KING: Yes, I think so. He was doing a pretty thorough search to see what he was looking for. Now he may not have known when he started exactly what he was going to find, but I believe he knows again, you know, what he's been turning over. Again, I can't say that for certain, but I would think this seems very systematic, very coordinated. I'm sure there was some overlap, there's some extra documents he got maybe that he wasn't planning on and he didn't get all he wanted to get. But the thing is, on balance, unfortunately for him, this was extremely successful in the documents that he was able to get.

SCHIEFFER: The chairman of the committee you sit on, Mike Rogers, said on this broadcast, FACE THE NATION, that he believed that the Russians had helped Snowden at several points along the way. What is your take on that?

KING: I don't think there's anything to disprove that. I think that is still the subject of investigation. Mike Rogers has very good sources. Again, though, that is still the subject of investigation and certainly it's something that cannot in any way be ruled out.

SCHIEFFER: Why do you think, if I can shift to another subject, and that is immigration, a week ago the Speaker, John Boehner, said he thought there was a real chance for immigration reform; then Friday he kind of stunned everybody in Washington by saying, nope, not going to happen this year. We just don't trust President Obama. What happened?

KING: Yes, there was a Republican retreat last week; this would have been tough in any case to get a majority of Republicans to support this. In Republican districts, this is not a very popular issue; I think nationwide it's something the Republican Party should do. But when you take it district by district, it's hard to get a majority of Republicans to sign onto it. John Boehner wanted to make every effort to do it; I think Paul Ryan did. Certainly the national leadership would like it done. But then the president's State of the Union didn't help matters and so you started getting a real pushback from the Republican base against members in these districts where there is no real strong support for immigration reform and certainly not what would be called legalization or pathway to citizenship. And so I think John Boehner just felt, with everything else going on this year, especially with all the emphasis on Obamacare, it was not worth having an internal fight going into the election, when, right now, things seem to be going the Republican way.

SCHIEFFER: All right. Well, Mr. King, we want to thank you very much for joining us this morning. Thanks so much.

KING: Bob, thank you. Thank you.

 

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