These are the questions for the Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Pat Roberts and the ranking Democrat on the Armed Services Committee, Carl Levin. Mike Duffy of Time magazine joins in the questioning and we'll talk about the rest of the week's news with Adam Clymer of The New York Times. But first the situation in Iraq on Face The Nation.
ANNOUNCER: Face The Nation with CBS News Chief Washington Correspondent Bob Schieiffer. And now from CBS News in Washington, Bob Schieffer.
SCHIEFFER: Good morning again. From Williamsburg, Virginia, this morning, Senator Pat Roberts, in Detroit, Michigan, Senator Carl Levin. Joining in the questioning this morning Michael Duffy, the Washington bureau chief of Time magazine.
Gentlemen, I want to begin with something that was just said this morning on the Fox show and that is Senator Richard Lugar just said that the situation in Israel has deteriorated to the point that it may now be necessary to send U.S. troops into that region and that they may have to be used to track down the Hamas terrorists.
Let me begin with you, Senator Roberts. Do you think that's a good idea?
SEN. PAT ROBERTS, R-KS; Chairman, Select Intelligence Committee: Well, as part of an international force, we have already had Senator Warner indicate the possibility of using NATO troops and bringing that up to the NATO partners if, in fact, there were a peace to be kept. I think most of us have been thinking about a peacekeeping force. The problem is if there's no peace to be, why the individuals concerned simply become targets.
I respect Dick Lugar. He is the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. He's followed this very closely, but I think what he is suggesting is a far different role other than peacekeeping. I think he's suggesting we actively take on Hamas. That would be a rather dramatic step, to say the least.
SCHIEFFER: Well, let me ask you, Senator Levin, do you think there's a possibility that the Congress would go along with something else because Senator Levin did say that this would be part of an international force --Senator Lugar said this would be part of an international force but he said they might have to be used to track down Hamas.
SEN. CARL LEVIN, D-MI, Select Intelligence Committee: Well, I think the Congress would be very cautious. We would, first of all, want to know whether the parties would want an international force there. But I think more importantly, we've got to get the Palestinian Authority to track down Hamas and we've got to do what we can to support any efforts on their part to track down Hamas. They have got to keep the peace in the Palestinian areas and I think that that should be our major focus.
SCHIEFFER: Should I interpret your answer to be at this point you'd be reluctant to use U.S. troops in that kind of role?
LEVIN: I'd want to know what the parties, both of them, thought about it. It's important that they reach conclusions on their own, but I'd be very cautious about it in any event.
SCHIEFFER: OK. Let's talk a little bit about Iraq. Senator Roberts, the president said on the aircraft carrier that military operations were more or less over in Iraq, but since then, more than an American a day on average has been killed in Iraq. There seems to be more and more turmoil.
Do you sense that this war is not over but has now moved into another phase, something like we faced in Vietnam, where, instead of facing an organized force, we're now involved in a guerrilla war?
ROBERTS: Well, I think you pretty well summed it up. I don't think I'd call it a guerrilla war. I think what the president said when he said aboard the USS Lincoln that the major battle is over.
This is a different kind of battle. You have isolated groups, whether it's the Fedayeen or the Ba'ath Party or whoever it is, we are making every effort to stabilize that. But I know Carl and I, before we went in, we were discussing what do you win, you know, once you win. And I think both of us understood, and I think basically there have been numerous intelligence reports indicating that there would be problems until you achieved stability. Now the mission of the military is going to be somewhat different in regards to this new kind of challenge, but I think we will be able to stabilize it over time.
SCHIEFFER: Well, Senator Levin, because both of you have access to intelligence information, have you seen anything to indicate that this guerrilla operation, as it were, is being directed by any one person or group of people, or is this a group of free-lancers who are doing this?
LEVIN: I don't know whether it's being directed by any one person. I think that it's mainly Ba'ath Party at this moment. But there are a lot of other folks involved who are fanatic in their religious views who have also attacked American forces.
What I find very troubling here is that the administration has not been able or willing, more importantly, not been willing to say exactly or even approximately how long we're going to need to be there with how many forces. And when the chief of staff of the Army, General Shinseki, who just retired, estimated hundreds of thousands of troops for some indefinite period of time, he was slapped down by the Defense Department. But the Defense Department and the administration together have refused to give any estimate, no matter how many times they've been asked, as to 'OK, you said Shinseki was wrong. About how many forces will it take, and will it be for years? What's your estimate? Just give us a best estimate.' And that refusal to play it straight and to make that estimate is very troubling to me.
MICHAEL DUFFY, Time Magazine: Senator Roberts, your committee is briefed by intelligence officials every couple of days on everything going around the world. What are they saying now about whether Saddam Hussein is alive and whether he's directing these increased operations against U.S. troops in Iraq?
ROBERTS: Well, the school's still out as to what the status is as regards to Saddam Hussein. The big three on the deck of cards that we have to locate are Saddam and his two sons. I doubt seriously if there's been any -- I have not seen any intelligence indicating there is a very direct contact between Saddam or any lines of communication with the Ba'ath Party -- what -- holdouts and the Fedayeen, and just plain looters and the people who are doing that. So I don't think there's a direct contact. At least I've not seen any intelligence to that fact.
DUFFY: Senator Levin, as you know, in the last couple of days U.S. forces in Iraq have taken a more aggressive posture against these strongholds around the country that seem to be loyal to Saddam.
At the same time these raids are causing a fair amount of damage and some civilian casualties. Some folks have suggested that this is partly designed by Saddam's sympathizers to create anti-American feelings. Is that part of the risk in this new aggressive posture?
LEVIN: That's always the risk, yes. But I think what we ought to be doing is focusing on getting other countries to join us there. The administration has been reluctant to get other people to come in and to help police or to get other military in. It was much too much of a 'go it alone' policy. We seem to be saying, 'Well, look, you weren't with us going in, Germany, or you weren't with us going in, Canada, or you weren't with us going in, Russia, therefore we're not sure we want you in here at all.'
I think we ought to urge other countries, even if they weren't with us in the military operations against Iraq, to join us now in trying to get a peace going and to try and maintain the peace. This approach of the administration that we don't welcome countries just because they didn't join us before, it seems to me, is a mistake. We should be asking others to share the risk with us and share the cost with us.
SCHIEFFER: Well, let me ask both of you, and this goes to this question of these weapons of mass destruction, where are they and so forth. And that goes to the whole business of intelligence and the information that the administration is basing its decisions on.
Senator Roberts, you have opened what you call closed hearings. I don't know exactly what title you'd put on it, but you have decided that -- you've asked the CIA to give you all the documents about what they knew before the war started, you're asking all the members of your intelligence committee to go to a highly classified room, and read through these documents to try to establish what exactly happened. Were there really weapons and so forth. Have you gotten into that far enough to come to any -- at least make any assumptions yet as to whether the intelligence was wrong or whether it was hyped?
ROBERTS: Well, number one, I'm in a quarrel with Carl Levin. I'm not going to get into real quarrels, but it seems to me at the G8 meeting why the administration did make a very determined attempt to invite all nations to take part in the Iraqi reconstruction.
I just don't share the picture that he does in terms of the administration's effort to have inclusion in regards to the Iraqi reconstruction.
Now let me say in regards to the documents, we have the documents now in the appropriate place in the Capitol, where all members of the Intelligence Committee can go up and take a look. At first, all of the documentation involving any terrorist activity in Iraq, more especially the al Qaeda, there are some that say that that case simply wasn't made. We have that documentation. We also have the documentation, the national intelligence estimate, whether it's the Defense Intelligence Agency, whether it's NSA, whether it's CIA, all of the intelligence agencies that led to the statement by Secretary Powell, the president, the vice president. It is voluminous, but we do have it in that room, and my hope is that we can go ahead on a bipartisan basis.
We have seven staff members attached to all of this and they're working through it. I want all the Intelligence Committee members, if they possibly can, to have the time to come up and review that documentation so that when we make statements that simply have been made out of the political context that it's an informed judgment, not a personal opinion. Bottom line is, we know the weapons of mass destruction were there. The real bottom line is what has happened to them from the standpoint of national security? We are going to have administration officials.
I issued an open invitation to anybody who thinks that their analytical product was skewed in any way, or if they were intimidated or if they were coerced, that they can come to us. We've already had one individual say that he'd like to do that. We will have hearings. At the end of the hearings we will probably have a classified report and an open report, and possibly a public hearing if we think it is warranted.
SCHIEFFER: So basically you're saying you're going to have classified hearings, you are going to have some of these officials. And it won't be just reading documents? I would just...
ROBERTS: Oh, no, no, no, no. No, no, no. That was never the case. Senator Rockefeller and I sat down.
ROBERTS: He had seven goals he wanted to achieve, and I had about six.
ROBERTS: We've agreed to that, and so I don't think there's going to be a problem. What we did not do is open up a formal investigation and do like the 9/11 committee did in terms of their investigation, and that is have public hearings first...
SCHIEFFER: All right.
ROBERTS: ...and then do our homework.
SCHIEFFER: All right. They...
ROBERTS: I want us to do our homework first.
SCHIEFFER: OK. Well, let me ask Senator Levin. Do you think this is going the right way, Senator Levin? Should there be more?
LEVIN: I think we need a thorough bipartisan investigation, and to be truly bipartisan we have to do what they did in the House, which was to have the Republican and the Democratic leaders decide on what the agenda is, what the issues are, what the steps will be, to do it jointly, to issue joint releases, to jointly pick staff to work on this. That is what I'm hoping that Senator Warner will agree to on the Armed Services Committee. I asked him to do that.
I think it's critically important that these decisions as to who will be interviewed, for instance, as to getting joint staff to do the interviews so we don't have both Democratic and Republican staff doing separate interviews, but that we link these staffs into one inquiry.
Now there's been a real a reluctance to call this an investigation or an inquiry. It seems to me whatever it is, whatever we call it, it's important that it be thorough, it be bipartisan, and clearly it is not routine. This is not a routine inquiry. This goes to the heart of our intelligence. Is it objective, or has it been shaded, has it been stretched by the intelligence community to reach some conclusion? Because the dangers for the future are great if we cannot rely on the intelligence community to give us objective, credible evidence.
DUFFY: Senator Roberts, some people...
ROBERTS: Bob, let me just -- you know, let me just correct this. Nobody said it was routine. We said that this was our regular congressional oversight responsibilities. That doesn't make it any less important. Porter Goss, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, and Jane Harmon agreed exactly the way we are conducting this so-called review over on the Senate side. They joined us in regards to -- well, not Jane Harmon -- but certainly Porter Goss.
In addition, there's nothing here that's saying there is a Republican review or a thorough review of the documentation or a Democrat. We're both together. We have seven employees. It is bipartisan, and it will be bipartisan.
ROBERTS: I don't know what the question is about stationary and whether it's joint stationary or something. I think that's a little silly.
LEVIN: Well, that...
DUFFY: Senator Roberts...
LEVIN: That's a very important question.
DUFFY: Senator Roberts...
LEVIN: That's a very important question, as a matter of fact. It should be jointly decided upon, and that is not yet true in the Senate Intelligence Committee. There have not been joint decisions as to witnesses, hearings, to having the staff work together on who will be interviewed. I'm hoping that Senator Warner will agree to that in the Armed Services Committee. And there is a contrast here, and I think Senator Roberts has always been straight and I think he'll acknowledge it. In the House, the Intelligence Committee issued a joint statement between the Republican chairman and the Democratic leader in the Intelligence Committee, Jane Harmon.
LEVIN: It was jointly announced, joint press release...
SCHIEFFER: All right.
LEVIN: ...joint decision.
SCHIEFFER: I'm making...
ROBERTS: Yeah, but the joint decision favored what the Senate is doing, Carl. Don't try to skew it that way.
SCHIEFFER: OK. Well, I'm going to make a decision here. We've run out of time. I'm sorry, but thanks to both of you. We'll be back in a minute to talk about some of the...
LEVIN: Thanks a lot, Bob.
SCHIEFFER: ...the other events of the week, in a minute.
SCHIEFFER: And Mike and I are joined now by my old friend, Adam Clymer of The New York Times, who is retiring in a couple of weeks after what?...
ADAM CLYMER, The New York Times: Twenty...
SCHIEFFER: ...26 years at The New York Times; Washington correspondent for The New York Times. Michael, to start -- I think we made a little news here.
DUFFY: I think that was the first time Senator Roberts has said, 'We will not only have open hearings, but also some kind of report at the end of it.' They weren't willing to say that before -- and maybe even an open report, an unclassified one. So they're under pressure to actually come a little more open and public with folks about what actually happened.
SCHIEFFER: How important is it, Adam? You've been watching these things for a long, long time. How important is this question of whether or not there were weapons there?
CLYMER: I think it becomes very important the longer it drags on. CBS News did a poll last night which showed that people think it's important. Even if they think the things were hyped, they think the war was a good idea, but that might dissipate if we keep looking and can't find anything.
DUFFY: And it's also important because there are other places this administration wants to go looking for weapons of mass destruction, and we need to have faith in the process by which they decide.
SCHIEFFER: I think it is important as long as Americans continue to die in Iraq. I think right now perhaps the American people would forgive the president if it looks like that this was hyped just a little bit. But if we continue to lose one American a day, six months from now, nine months from now, this may be a question -- as you say, Adam, as every day passes, more and more people, the surveys show, find this more important.
SCHIEFFER: I want to ask you: Looking back on it all now -- you've watched all of this a long time. You and I have known each other since the McGovern campaign. Has Washington changed?
CLYMER: Oh, I think it has a lot, Bob. And people keep talking about how much more partisan the Congress is, and that's a big part of it. I think congressmen and senators are independent actors more than they were when we got here. They don't depend on anyone in their party particularly to help them.
And I think the other thing that has changed most dramatically is that they spend very little time with each other, except perhaps on the floor or in committee meetings, in part because they go home for weekends that last from Friday through Monday. That gives them two or three nights when they're having dinner in Washington, and they hardly ever have dinner with somebody from the other party.
SCHIEFFER: And as a result, they don't know anybody and the reason they have to go home -- and to me, this is the biggest change -- is because they have to raise the money that is so necessary to get elected now.
You and I have been covering these campaigns--you before me I guess, even before McGovern. Now money is the overwhelming factor, is it not?
CLYMER: It's money, and it's also the ability to say, 'You know, I was home every weekend.' Now that there are enough airplanes and they've given themselves enough tickets, they can go. I mean, how would you like to be a senator from Alaska and go home every weekend?
SCHIEFFER: Talk a little bit about the Hillary book. Michael, what's been the impact? What will be the impact?
DUFFY: Well, I haven't read the book, but you can see that this is her first sort of stepping out apart from her husband in her own political career. It's a political manifesto. I always thought that the 2000 campaign was the triumph of one dynasty and the birth of another. And this is really the beginning of her political career and we have to watch it. It's the first chapter. So it's important.
SCHIEFFER: Do you think she's going to run?
CLYMER: At some point, yeah. Probably. If I had to guess, I'd guess 2008. 2004 doesn't look like a great year for a Democrat at this point. You'd have to break your promise not to run, and what's the sense?
DUFFY: I wouldn't have wanted to be a Democratic contender for this coming race this week 'cause you couldn't get any attention at all.
SCHIEFFER: The Washington Post today runs the headline: 'Is There A Credibility Gap?' We really haven't seen that since the old Vietnam days. I wonder if that will be an issue by the time we get to the next election.
CLYMER: I kind of doubt it, but I don't know. I mean, as we started talking about the weapons of mass destruction, if you still have people getting killed occasionally and we still haven't found anything -- I mean, the president made a sort of desperate attempt to claim we had found something a few days ago when we found a couple of trailers that might have been those mobile weapon labs but didn't have any weapons in them.
SCHIEFFER: There's been so much attention focused on the war. In fact, there are some other things going on on Capitol Hill right now.
CLYMER: Well, I think something really dramatic happened this week when the Senate Finance Committee voted 16-to-5 with Tom Daschle in the majority to adopt a prescription drug plan for Medicare. I mean, when Medicare was founded in 1965, we didn't use drugs to treat anything like the illnesses we do today. This is an idea that stood -- I mean, it first saw the light of day in Bill Clinton's ill-fated national health insurance plan in 1993 and he renewed it in '99. And it's been a political football ever since, but I think with a vote like that, something is going to be enacted and the Democrats who vote against it will say it's not adequate and Ted Kennedy will say, 'No, it isn't adequate at the moment, but when we get back in, we'll put more money in it.'
SCHIEFFER: You leave -- you're retiring at a kind of a tough time for your newspaper. How are things at The New York Times these days?
CLYMER: Oh, it's been a hard several weeks. I think everyone is sort of wondering who's going to be the next executive editor, but I think most of us think we put out a very good newspaper and we'll get out of this and continue to.
SCHIEFFER: Thank you very much, Adam. Glad to have you. Thank you, Michael.
DUFFY: You bet.
SCHIEFFER: Back with a final word in just a minute.
SCHIEFFER: Finally, there is plenty of bad news, but in thousands of homes across America last week, it could not match the good news, because in those homes a tiny face looked into a big face, smiled, and said, 'Da-da.'
Ask anyone who heard those words if anything more important than that happened.
If you heard it for the first time, you were officially eligible to celebrate Father's Day. But there's more.
Those words begin the process of renaming everyone in the family. Grown-ups who thought they did the naming soon come to understand it's the little people who co-op the naming rights.
My wife didn't want to name our daughters after her, because she didn't want to be known as Big Pat. So we named our youngest after my sister, who soon became Big Sharon, which Little Sharon shortened to Biggie, which stuck. That could change, however. At age four, Little Sharon said that when she had a daughter, she would name her Little Sharon, so she could be Big Sharon, which would make Biggie, Old Sharon. The hazards of the name game.
We name our pets, but it is said that pets give each other names that only they know, which makes me wonder. Whatever our worldly fame, are the names given us by the innocent the names by which God knows us? We won't know that for a while. So to all the grandpas and granddads and big daddies and big papas and papaws and poopsies and pops, popos and bobos and all the dads and daddies, don't let the bad news take your mind off the good news.
Have a great -- well, have a great Bobo Day.
That's it for us. We'll see you next week on Face The Nation.