Face the Nation transcipts March 30, 2013: Inslee, Emmert, Hayden, Morell

BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, welcome back to Face the Nation. We are joined now by retired Air Force General Michael Hayden, who served as the head of both the C.I.A. and the National Security Agency and Michael Morell, who was the number-two man at the C.I.A. until last year, now a CBS News consultant. Michael Morell also served on the panel that made recommendations to President Obama about what type of reform should be made at the National Security Agency after the revelations by Edward Snowden. Gentlemen, let me ask you both (and I'll just start with you, Mike) this situation on the border of Ukraine right now, what's your take on what Putin is up to?

MICHAEL MORELL: So I think you have to, Bob, make a distinction between capability of the troops there and then Putin's intentions. The capabilities of our troops would be to take perhaps a third of Ukraine if Putin wanted to. But it would be very difficult for him to hold it. Because what would happen very quickly is an insurgency would grow up. And those troops would be attacked. It would be a very nasty situation. I don't think Putin wants that. That brings us to the intentions. I think what he's trying to do is maximize what he gets out of this diplomatically. He thinks he's in a strong position. He wants to come to the negotiating table.

BOB SCHIEFFER: So do you think he's ready to dial back?

GEN. MICHAEL HAYDEN: Yes, I think so. I agree with Michael's analysis. But I would point out one thing that we would both be cautious of. Capabilities change slowly. Intentions can change quickly. You know, we need to be concerned about this. But frankly, I think he wants to pocket the Crimean victory. I think he wants to make that a fact beyond contradiction.

I think the talks between Lavrov and Secretary Kerry will not talk about Crimea. That'll be locked in and will not change. Also, Bob, you have to understand, what tools of influence does he have? I mean, is it the magnetic attraction of the Russian political system or the Russian economy? No. His tool is that threat, that danger, that presence of forces along the Ukrainian border. So I think we'll see them there for a long time, which will be troubling and potentially destabilizing. But I agree with Michael--


BOB SCHIEFFER: That has certainly helped his position politically at home, has it not?

MICHAEL MORELL: It has. You know, what he wants ultimately is he wants to make sure that Ukraine does not become part of NATO. And probably not part of the E.U. either. And that's what he wants out of it.

BOB SCHIEFFER: But the talks that Kerry and Lavrov are having, you both see this as a good thing, as it were?

GEN. MICHAEL HAYDEN: A good thing with one caution. We cannot be negotiating over the heads of the Ukrainian people. What fundamentally matters here is what the Ukrainians will for the nature of their state. So we need to be careful not even to project the appearances that we're negotiating beyond that.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Let me ask you about what's going on. The president makes this recommendation now that he wants to, basically as I understand it, stop the National Security Agency from collecting these large banks of data, telephone numbers of Americans. You were on the panel that recommended this, Mike. I assume you're in favor of what he's done here. This is one of the recommendations. But what difference is this going to make? How will people (UNINTEL)?

MICHAEL MORELL: So this is exactly what the review group recommended, which is that the government will no longer hold the data. And that any time N.S.A. wants to query that data that they will require a court order. There is a competing proposal from the House Intelligence Committee, which is that the phone companies will also hold the data. But that that court review will not happen before, it will happen later.

I'm comfortable with that. I think we're headed in the right direction here. And I think there'll be some sort of compromise between the president's proposal, which again is consistent with the review group, and the House Intelligence Committee's proposal. They're very, very close to each other.

BOB SCHIEFFER: General, you ran the National Security Agency. Are you comfortable with this?

GEN. MICHAEL HAYDEN: I am. And as Michael suggests, there's powerful convergence between what the president's suggesting and what the House Intelligence Committee has actually embodied--


BOB SCHIEFFER: --explain to me what difference they're working with.

GEN. MICHAEL HAYDEN: Well, here's what's happening, all right? N.S.A. would get billing records on a daily basis from the American telecom providers. But over time, the percentage of overall billing records the N.S.A. was retrieving got smaller and smaller. Michael's panel pointed out that they're only getting about a third, if that, just because of changes in technology.

But N.S.A. held them. And a lot of civil libertarians were concerned about that. Not because that had been abused, but because of the potential for abuse. So what we get now is N.S.A. doesn't hold it. The telephone companies hold it. And the N.S.A. gets to query the data. And here it gets to query the data in an exhaustive way, not that one third they've formerly gotten.

And beyond that, if you look at the language in the House bill, it actually talks about all communications. So in this sense, N.S.A.'s able to query not just telephone metadata, but digital or email metadata, too. I think we've arrived at a solution that actually makes us more safe, but gives people higher comfort that the government would not potentially abuse it.

BOB SCHIEFFER: But how can the telephone company do a better job of keeping it safe than the United States Government, Michael?

MICHAEL MORELL: There is a difference between the government holding the data, which creates the possibility of abuse out of government. And the government not holding the data, which obviously doesn't create that possibility. The phone companies have held this data all along. So there's no additional risk in them taking this on.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Do you know the part that worries me is not so much that the government is spying on me, but that all these commercial enterprises are spying on me. Should I be worried about that?

GEN. MICHAEL HAYDEN: Well, you know, that line between our public self and our private self is shifting. So much more our individual knowledge/data is out there in the public domain for retrieval. It's a broad cultural question that we're going to have to come to grips with. And Bob, you and I have talked about this before. It's generational, too. Different people of different ages think differently about it.

BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, I think we are redefining our whole idea of what privacy is. I mean, people now talk about things at the dinner table that they used to not talk about behind the barn. You're seeing stuff on Facebook. We all know what we're talking about now.

GEN. MICHAEL HAYDEN: But an important window, we are (UNINTEL) in the intelligence community about the reasonable expectation of privacy. That's what the Fourth Amendment guarantees. And now that definition of reasonable is shifting. That makes this work very hard.

BOB SCHIEFFER: You're absolutely right about that. Well, thanks to both of you. And we'll be back with our panel in just a second.


BOB SCHIEFFER: Well, we're back now with our panel. And I can't think of a Sunday when we had more to talk about. We're joined by Gwen Ifill, who hosts PBS News Hour and Washington Week, David Ignatius, of course, columnist for the Washington Post who was reporting for us earlier this morning, Dave Gergen, who is with Harvard. And we want to welcome Carolyn Ryan to Face the Nation. She's the new Washington bureau chief of the New York Times. My, I don't know how I got invited to this (UNINTEL PHRASE). Well, David, what's your take right now on where we are on this situation in Ukraine?

DAVID GERGEN: Well, I think the president in going to Europe this week did make some advances. He gave a good speech. I think he has bolstered things he's done more than George W. Bush did way back when with Georgia. Having said that, as much as I detest Vladimir Putin, he's a thug, you have to acknowledge he's played his cards pretty shrewdly and pretty successfully from his point of view.

Syria, you know, we were on the verge of going in with military action. He offers a deal that we accept and to keep us out, allows Assad to expand his power, not shrink his power. He goes into Crimea. Everybody says, "There are going to be consequences." The consequences are he's nearly pocketed it. You know, basically, it's sort of in his hands. Then we said, "Well, he paid a big price for this. He's diplomatically isolated." And today, you know, we've got the secretary of state turning around to go back and engage in negotiations with the Russians. That's some diplomatic isolation.

BOB SCHIEFFER: You know, I mean, the parallels between this and the beginnings of World War I and also World War II are just striking. Yet, we find the attitude in the United States right now is very much like it was before World War II. People don't want anything to do with this, according to the polls. They're not sure we should become even involved in it, Gwen.

GWEN IFILL: One of the most interesting stories I read about this week was written by Robert (UNINTEL) at the Brookings Institution, which he pointed out that Americans in every poll show they want a light footprint. This is what they want. We're not isolations exactly. But we don't really want to be boots on the ground anywhere.

At the same time, the president's foreign policy ratings are going down. People look at him and they don't approve of his handling of foreign policy, even though he is carrying through that very ethos which is we should be pulling back. So that now the question is what is the script? Is the script the Kerry/Lavlov script in Paris? Is it the Obama/Putin phone call script and Friday in the Oval Office? Who's making the phone call? Who's not? Who's blinking? Who's not? And either way, I don't think that public opinion, especially in your second term, is going to be what drives the outcome.

CAROLYN RYAN: I do think when you talk to people (I was reporting this through the weekend), if you talk to 20 different people within the U.S. government, you get 20 different interpretations of what Putin is really ultimately up to. And I think one of the problems just in terms of reading the situation is that he is relying on fewer and fewer advisors and aides and sort of a shrunken circle of royal advisors.

And I think it was Reuters who said he just listens to his own inner voice. So as much as there's some hope or glimmers of hope given the Lavrov/Kerry meeting, I do think there's such unpredictability and volatility in that situation that it's made it very difficult for the West to read it.

BOB SCHIEFFER: David, I wanted to ask you about something you said earlier. You said you spent the last couple of days with Henry Kissinger. What was that like? And how does he feel?

DAVID IGNATIUS: Well, this was at a convocation at Yale University where Dr. Kissinger's given his papers. So there was an evening and then a day of discussion about Europe, principally about Ukraine. And Henry Kissinger's now over 90, but is the person I find most useful to listen to on crises like this, because he's actually been there. I think he knows Vladimir Putin probably better than any American.

And he kept coming back to the point that if you want to conduct diplomacy, you need to be able to see what your adversary's thinking, so as to craft a response that asserts your interests, but also listens to his. And we'll see tonight as Secretary Kerry meets with Lavrov and tomorrow as we kind of try to understand what happened, whether this is one of those moments where we went from a very tense crisis with 50,000 troops on the border into a period of diplomacy where people tried to serve out the equities. But that's kind of thing Kissinger was telling this audience we need to do more of.

GWEN IFILL: Isn't it also Henry Kissinger who said we should not engage in any kind of intervention until we know how we want it to end, not how we want it to begin? And that's exactly where we are.

DAVID GERGEN: I would just suggest that (I'm a big admirer of Henry Kissinger) but there's another view out there represented by Bob Gates, who was secretary of defense for two presidents in a row, including President Obama. And he feels that what we have to do is not only understand them, but we have to make them understand us. And that comes to action not just speeches. We need a strategic long game that shows Putin over the long term Russia will suffer.

And he may be there for ten more years under the Russian Constitution. Putin could be there for another ten years. That he will suffer. And the Gates view is you've got to stand up to him now. But my personal view is I thought the president would make a surprise visit to Kiev this week. It just seemed to me that would rally the people of Ukraine, know that the Americans were with them, just as John Kennedy and Ronald Reagan did that in Berlin. But it also shows Putin, "Hey, look, we're not just patsies in this thing. We're not here just to negotiate a way for you to get an off ramp and keep Crimea."

CAROLYN RYAN:But wouldn't that be a risk given that Putin has suggested it's the West and the U.S. that has inspired what happened in Ukraine? If the president shows up there, would it be--



DAVID GERGEN: I think it's really important to understand the mind of dictators. But you've also got to show them what you've got, what you're holding, what you're willing to do. That will influence what he thinks.

DAVID IGNATIUS: I do think Putin looking at what lies ahead if he were to invade Eastern Ukraine, if he were to move elsewhere, was looking at a pretty unappetizing set of choices. So I think the point that may be better to consolidate this limited gain in Crimea, that leaves Ukraine as a whole moving West, which is a big change. I mean, I'd say, David, this is not as if Putin's walked off with the prize. Putin's walked off with a consolation prize.

DAVID GERGEN: How would you feel if, at the end of the day, he has Crimea and Ukraine's basically neutralized--


DAVID IGNATIUS: --neutralized, but can become a member of the Europe Union? In other words--


DAVID GERGEN: --what if you don't get either one of those things?