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Face the Nation transcripts February 10, 2013: Graham, Reed and Rogers

(CBS News) Below is a transcript of "Face the Nation" on February 10, 2013, hosted by CBS News' Bob Schieffer. Guests include Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Jack Reed, D-R.I., Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., Woodrow Wilson Center's Jane Harman, CSIS senior fellow James Lewis and CBS News' Bob Orr; plus, a political roundtable with David Leonhardt and Kevin Merida.

SCHIEFFER: Today on Face the Nation, blizzards, drones, and cyberattacks, and yes, there's more. Still recovering from super storm Sandy, the heavily populated northeast was pounded by a monster blizzard that stretched from New Jersey to Canada. Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, whose state was among the hardest hit, will give us the latest from there. And as the northeast is digging out, Republicans are digging in: demanding more information on what the president knew about the terrorist attack on Benghazi that left four Americans dead.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GRAHAM: Are you surprised that the president of the United States never called you, Secretary Panetta, and say how's it going?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHIEFFER: Republican Senator Lindsey Graham is with us is this morning and he is prepared to take new steps unless he gets some answers. With Washington awash with controversies over the president's nominees to run the Pentagon and the CIA new reports of computer hacking, and the threat of cyberattacks. We'll also hear from Mike Rogers, chairman of the House intelligence committee, Senator Jack Reed of the armed services committee, former Democratic congresswoman Jane Harman, now with the Woodrow Wilson Center, James Lewis of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and our own Justice Department correspondent Bob Orr. For analysis, we'll talk with Kevin Merida, a managing editor of the Washington Post, and David Leonhardt, a Washington bureau chief of the New York Times. It's cold outside, but getting warmer inside because this is Face the Nation.

ANNOUNCER: From CBS News in Washington, Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer.

SCHIEFFER: And good morning again. Well, the blizzard of 2013 may have set records in some areas for snowfall. Five states received over two and a half feet of snow. 40 million people in the region have been affected, over 350,000 are still without power in the northeast. And so far, eight deaths have been attributed to the storm. It is bound to get worse as weather forecasters tell us another storm is on the way. Massachusetts is among the states who were hardest hit. And we're joined now by the Massachusetts governor, Deval Patrick. Good morning, governor. I know you're in Plymouth this morning, but it looks likes you're somewhere in the Swiss Alps. How did the state come through the night?

PATRICK: We came through pretty well. We are holding our own. We have about 240,000 customers without power. That's down from a high of around 400,000 yesterday. About 1,000 people in shelters, some coastal damage. But considering want severity of the storm, the amount of snow, and the wind, we've come through this pretty well.

SCHIEFFER: How about flooding?

PATRICK: We've had some coastal flooding with high tide yesterday around 10:00. There is some structural damage, which we're still assessing now that we can get out and get eyes on things. But no serious injuries from those -- from the flooding, which is a blessing.

SCHIEFFER: What do you -- at this point, what is the major challenge you have?

PATRICK: It's cleaning up, getting the power back on. We're trying to make sure that public transit is fully functioning in time for tomorrow's commute, tomorrow morning's commute. We've had the MBTA, our transit system, in suspended operations really since Friday and that will continue through the day. I think we'll be able to get the subways going and the commuter rail. It's a challenge to get the buses going because some of the secondary roads still need to be cleared, but we're working on that today.

SCHIEFFER: What do you need from the federal government?

PATRICK: Well, support and encouragement. They've been great. Our fellow governors in neighboring states have sent equipment and people to help as well, which is most welcomed and appreciated. We have really, really terrific coordination by our own state emergency management, with all of the state agencies local agencies, and the federal government. So I think it's too soon to say exactly what we need from the federal government, but they continue to check in and have routinely to make sure that we have what we need as we go along.

SCHIEFFER: There are reports that there's another big storm coming. Are you ready for that?

PATRICK: I don't even of the to think about it, to tell you the truth. I've heard that we may get a Valentine's Day storm. I'll tell you what's more concerning in the shorter run is that we may get rain tomorrow. Warmer temperatures, which will be great, but rain on top of snow that is so far pretty light on flat roofs and so forth can be a hazard. So we are encouraging people as they can do so safely to use snow rakes and so forth to start to move the snow off of their roofs.

SCHIEFFER: Well, governor, we want to thank you very much and all the best to you.

PATRICK: Thank you so much, Bob, all the best to you.

SCHIEFFER: And joining us two key members of the senate armed services committee, Republican Lindsey Graham is in Miami this morning where the weather is a little better, and Democrat Jack Reed is here with us in the studio, far away from the snow this morning in his home state of Rhode Island. How is your state doing, senator?

SEN. JACK REED, (D) RHODE ISLAND: We took a very major blow, but the state's responding very well. We have about 70,000 people still without power. That's a key issue because power and boilers operate together, typically. The governor, our adjunct general, general McBride, our state police commander Colonel O'Donnell did a superb job preparing, and the utilities are doing all they can to get the power back on. I'm headed up there immediately after this show.

SCHIEFFER: All right, Senator Graham, I want to talk to you about indoor activities because it's gotten warmer here on Capitol Hill last week during all those confirmation hearings. It was pretty obvious during those hearings, senator, that you are still not satisfied with the administration's version of what happened on that night when four Americans died in Benghazi. You brought it up during the hearings that the president was briefed on all of that about 5:00 in the afternoon and then had no other contact with the secretary of defense, with the joint chiefs chairman, or with Secretary of State Clinton. We also understand that on that night, the State Department, or the government, chartered an airplane in Tripoli, and flew some security agents in to Benghazi. But it's my understanding, they were held up at the airport. Tell us what you found out about that.

GRAHAM: Well, there's a six-person rescue team left Tripoli to reinforce the annex in Benghazi. They left at 1:30 -- excuse me, they arrived at 1:30 in the morning Libyan time. And it was not until 5:00 that they could get to the annex. They were held up for three and a half hours at the airport, had problems with the militias releasing them and a lot of bureaucratic snafus. Here's my question -- did the president ever pick up the phone and call the Libyan government and say, "let though people out of the airport. They need to get to the annex to protect our people under siege?" Did the president at any time during the eight-hour attack pick up the phone and call anybody in Libya to get help for these folks? Secretary Clinton said she was screaming on the phone at Libyan officials. There's no voice in the world like that of the president of the United States. And I do believe if he had picked up the phone and called the Libyan government, these folks could have gotten out of the airport to the annex and the last two guys may very well be alive. And if he did call the Libyan officials and they sort of blew him off, that would affect whether or not I would give foreign aid in the future to Libya. But if he failed to call on behalf of those people under siege, and I think that's a massive failure of leadership by our commander in chief.

SCHIEFFER: Well, have you tried to find out if he did call?

GRAHAM: I've tried. We know he had a 15-minute briefing by Secretary Panetta and the chairman of the joint chiefs right after the attack happened. It was a preplanned meeting. It just happened that Benghazi came up at the meeting. I don't know what the president did that evening. I don't know if he ever called anyone. I know he never talked to the secretary of defense. I know that he never talked to the chairman of the joint chiefs. And they never talked to anybody at the White House. I know the secretary of state never talked to the secretary of defense. This was incredibly mismanaged. And what we know now, it seems to be a very disengaged president. Again, if he had lent his voice to this cause, I think it would have made a big difference. And I'm not going to stop until we get an accounting. I've pushed back against the Bush administration when they said Iraq was just a few dead enders. We know nothing about what the president did on the night of September 11 during a time of national crisis, and the American people need to know what their commander in chief did, if anything, during this eight-hour attack.

SCHIEFFER: What can you really do about it? You can ask them what the president was doing. If they don't give you an answer what, can you do?

GRAHAM: I don't think we should allow Brennan to go forward the CIA directorship, Hagel to be confirmed for secretary of defense, until the White House gives us an accounting. Did the president ever pick up the phone and call anyone in the Libyan government to help these folks? What did the president do? We know he talked to the Israeli prime minister from 8:00 to 9:00 on September 11 about a dust-up of a Democratic platform and the fact he didn't meet the prime minister of Israel when he came to New York to visit the UN. But that's not related to Libya. What did he do that night? That's not unfair. The families need to know. The American people need to know. SCHIEFFER: But let me -- I'm not sure I understand. What do you plan to do if they don't give you an answer? Are you going to put a hold on these two nominations?

GRAHAM: Yes. Yes. Yes. I'm going to ask my colleagues, just like they did with John Bolton. Joe Biden said no confirmation without information. No confirmation without information. You know, when Secretary Clinton said she had a clear-eyed assessment of the threats in Libya, that proved, after this hearing, not to be true. The Department of Defense knew about the cable coming from our Libyan ambassador saying he couldn't defend the consulate. This was on August 15th. They knew about the deteriorating security situation. But the secretary of state didn't know any of this. So she was blind. The president was disengaged. And the Department of Defense never launched one airplane to help these folks for seven and a half hours. This is a complete system failure. And I'm going to get to the bottom of it. I don't think it's unfair to ask these questions. Quite frankly, how could they say, after Panetta and Dempsey said they knew it was a terrorist attack that night, how could the president say for two weeks after the attack it was the result of a video? How could Susan Rice come on to your show and say there's no evidence of a terrorist attack when our secretary of defense and chairman of the Joint Chiefs said they knew that night? I think that was a misleading narrative three weeks before our election.

SCHIEFFER: Let me just make sure, because you're about to make some news mere, I think. You are saying that you are going to block the nominations -- you're going to block them from coming to a vote until you get an answer to this?

GRAHAM: Yes.

SCHIEFFER: Now, John McCain has already said he doesn't think the Republicans ought to filibuster this. What will you do?

GRAHAM: I'm not...

SCHIEFFER: You're just going to put a hold on it?

GRAHAM: I'm not...

SCHIEFFER: And what...

GRAHAM: Yeah, I'm not filibustering.

(CROSSTALK)

SCHIEFFER: What would they have to do then to bring this to a vote?

GRAHAM: I want to know who changed the talking points. Who took the references to Al Qaida out of the talking points given to Susan Rice? We still don't know. Richard Burr and Saxby Chambliss have found e-mails discussing changing the talking points. So I think her story, after what we found out at this hearing, was incredibly misleading. I want to know what our president did. What did he do as commander in chief? Did he ever pick up the phone and call anybody? I think this is stuff that the country needs to know. We pushed back against Bush. We asked for Rumsfeld to resign when Iraq went into shambles. This is a national security failure of monumental proportions and I'm not going to stop until we get to the bottom of it. If it hadn't been for this investigation...

SCHIEFFER: All right.

GRAHAM: ... and these hearings and your show, we would still think this was a video that caused a riot and the president was hands- on.

SCHIEFFER: All right. Senator Reed, I've got to ask you, can Senator Graham do this?

REED: This is unprecedented and unwarranted to stop or attempt to try to stop the nomination of a secretary of defense and a CIA director. We need the men and women -- the men and women of the Department of Defense need a secretary of defense. Chuck Hagel is eminently qualified to be that secretary of defense. He has been supported by Bob Gates, by Brent Scowcroft, by Bill Perry, by Madeleine Albright, by a host of individuals that are knowledgeable of national security and patriots who served both Republicans and Democrats; the same way with Mr. Brennan in the Central Intelligence Agency. I think that the issues of Benghazi are important. The report that Ambassador Pickering and Admiral Mullen did, quite thorough, indicated the situation, the confusion. And I think something else that has to be recognized is that, almost simultaneous to the situation in Benghazi, there was attacks on our embassies in Cairo. In fact, mobs were storming the gates. There was threats throughout the region. So the idea that the president was not engaged is, I think, completely wrong. He directed the secretary of defense, as Secretary Panetta testified, to begin moving assets into the region to provide any response. Ambassador Pickering, Admiral Mullen concluded that a military response would have been difficult if not impossible because of simply time and space.

SCHIEFFER: Well, explain to us. Because a lot of people don't know the rules of the Senate in all that. Senator Graham says he's simply going to put a hold on these nominations.

REED: Well, what...

SCHIEFFER: You say that's unwarranted. But what will happen next if he does that?

REED: Well, I would hope that we would have, in regular order, a hearing and a vote on Senator Hagel and -- and Brennan that then we would bring it to the floor. I can't recall a secretary of defense that has not at least had an opportunity to have their nomination brought to the floor of the Senate. The last example was Senator Tower. It was brought to the floor. It was defeated. But it received an up-or-down vote. These are critical offices. The secretary of defense, at a time when we're looking at sequester, looking forward -- we're looking at crises across the globe, to dwell on a tragic incident and use that to block people is not appropriate. To try to find information, to ask legitimate questions, as Senator Graham is doing, is completely appropriate. But then to turn around and say, "I'm going to disrupt, essentially, the nomination of two key members of the president's Cabinet," I don't think that's appropriate. I don't think it's warranted. I think it is an overreaction that is not going to serve the best interests of going forward, of the national security of the United States.

SCHIEFFER: All right, Senator Graham, short -- I'll give you a short response. I'll give you the last word here.

GRAHAM: Jack's a very dear friend. We're going to get to the bottom of Benghazi. The administration has been stonewalling before the election and after. They've been misleading. They've been deceptive. And they have been delaying, and they haven't been forthcoming. In a constitutional democracy, we need to know what our commander in chief was doing at a time of great crisis, and this White House has been stonewalling the Congress. And I'm going to do everything I can to get to the bottom of this so we'll learn from our mistakes and hold this president accountable for what I think is tremendous disengagement at a time of national security crisis.

SCHIEFFER: All right, we have to end it right there. I want to thank both of you.

GRAHAM: Thank you, Bob.

SCHIEFFER: We'll be hearing more about this, and we'll be back in just a minute with the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Mike Rogers.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHIEFFER: Back now with Michigan Republican Congressman Mike Rogers. He chairs the House Intelligence Committee. Mr. Chairman, you just heard what Lindsey Graham and Jack Reed were talking about there. Of course, people in the House don't vote on the confirmation. That's the Senate's business. But Senator Graham sounds pretty -- set that he's going to do everything he can to block this unless he gets some answers.

ROGERS: Well, I do think answers are appropriate. There was catastrophic failure in the decisions from -- on the security perspective from the State Department on keeping the ambassador and the employees in Benghazi safe. That, to me, is clear. We've done our intelligence investigation in the House, some 4,000 cables and documents. It was clear that the threat stream was very real, which is why I think the -- Secretary of Defense Panetta said, yes, they knew that night, and the joint chiefs said in testimony, yes, they knew that night it was a terrorist attack, just by the sheer volume. So the question here is what happened? Why did the State Department fail those people that were in the field in Benghazi? That is not clear yet, and I think the American people deserve at least to understand what failures happened and how we're going to prevent that moving forward.

SCHIEFFER: Let me ask you about something that former Vice President Dick Cheney said last night. Dick Cheney has had that heart transplant. He seems to be up and running and going full steam. He told a group of Republicans last night, talking about the nominees that the president has put forward so far -- he said, "The performance now" -- this is a direct quote. "The performance now of Barack Obama as he staffs up the national security team for the second term is dismal. Frankly, what he has appointed are second-rate people." What would you say about that?

ROGERS: Well, I know one thing. We have first-rate problems. When you look at the disintegration of security in northern Africa, the growing and metastasizing of Al Qaida in the northern Maghreb area...

SCHIEFFER: But, I mean, do you think these people are up to the job? Do you think Mr. Cheney is right or is that maybe a little beyond where you would -- how you would...

ROGERS: It may be a little beyond where I'm going. I do believe that the policy formation that we're walking into here, when it comes to Syria, which is -- by the way, there is now no good solution in Syria today. It is -- the best thing we can hope for is the best worst option moving forward. We need very quickly to turn the tide in Syria. And I don't mean to win it. I mean just to get us in a position where we can mitigate what bad things are going to happen in Syria in the months ahead. Same with northern Africa. We have got huge, dangerous challenges approaching the United States, and I don't believe we've configured ourselves, our resources or our policy to confront them in a way that will make an impact.

SCHIEFFER: I want to ask you this whole situation about drones, when we should use them, how we should use them. First off, has the administration been straight with Congress in sharing information on what the rules are about using these weapons?

ROGERS: I think they have. Listen, for months -- there's a change in 2008 in July under the previous administration, George Bush, that changed the way we could use air strikes to target belligerents or al Qaeda, who are planning to kill Americans. That changed in July of '08. And it ramped up. And that was taken over when Barack Obama became president. And as the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, even as a member, was aware and part of those discussions. And now as chairman, even before they conducted that first air strike that took Awlaki -- and remember, this is the guy that was trying to kill some -- a whole bunch of U.S. citizens over Detroit on Christmas Day. This guy was a bad guy. So our options were limited. This was a tool that we could use to stop further terrorist attacks against Americans. I supported it then. Monthly, I have my committee go to the CIA to review them. I as chairman review every single air strike that we use in the war on terror, both from the civilian and the military side when it comes to terrorist strikes. There is plenty of oversight here. There's not an American list somewhere overseas for targeting. That does not exist. And I think there has been some sensationalism, Bob. This is a serious matter, but I do think that the oversight rules have been, I think, consistent...

SCHIEFFER: It is an extremely complicated matter. But what about the argument that civil liberties groups make that if a person is a U.S. citizen, even if he's a bad guy, he has certain rights under the Constitution. And you can't just say, OK, we're going to kill him.

ROGERS: In the United States, that's true. If you join forces with the enemy, we have a long-standing tradition in this country that, that in and of itself, you lose your constitutional protections. You are engaged in belligerent activities against the United States. And this happened in World War I, in World War II, where Americans would join forces with people who were in -- at war with the United States, and when you do that, you sacrifice your rights. So this is someone who had sworn off his citizenship, had been actively planning terrorist attacks against the United States, the most notable was the one over Detroit on Christmas Day. And but for a quarter of an inch of an injector, that would have gone off and killed hundreds on the plane, and if not thousands on the ground. This was a -- he was a serious al Qaeda player. He picked his team. This is not an American citizen of the United States. Does not apply, none of this. This is only enemy belligerence, joined forces with the enemy overseas. SCHIEFFER: We're going to ask you to stick around for "Page Two," because we're going to talk about this whole idea of, is the United States vulnerable to a cyber attacks and how much of a problem that is. I know you have some thoughts about that. So we'll be interested to hear what you have to say. You'll be with us with a panel of experts on "Page Two." Mr. Chairman, until then, thanks. I'll be back in a moment now with some personal thoughts.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHIEFFER: Those of us in journalism spend a lot of times worrying about the wrong things, such as whether newspapers and books of the future will be printed on paper. It's an important question, but one over which we have little control. The truth is, technology will decide how we get the news. What we need to be thinking about is not the delivery systems but the information being delivered, all of which was underlined this week by the inexcusable hacking of the Bush family's personal email accounts. In the past, when journalists got personal information about public figures, we normally didn't publish it, unless we determined it was, first, true, and, second, was in the public's interest to know. Did it show the person was dishonest? Did his private life impact on his public responsibility? Publishing the Pentagon Papers revealed a government making public statements about the Vietnam War that it knew to be false. The Watergate revelations revealed a cancer of government corruption. Making public personal phone numbers and family conversations about the health of an ill father are no one's business but the family. For the most part, the mainstream media handled the Bush email hacking with restraint. We reported the hacking. That is news, but little else. Still, the episode is a less-than-gentle reminder of how technology is redefining our culture, the whole idea of privacy, and, yes, the respect or lack of it that honest citizens should have for each other. These are the things that all of us, not just journalists, may want to think about. How the news is delivered will take care of itself. Back in minute.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHIEFFER: Some of our stations are leaving us now but for most of you we'll be right back with a lot more of FACE THE NATION.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHIEFFER: Well, welcome back to FACE THE NATION "Page Two." The House Intelligence Committee chairman, Mike Rogers, has stuck around for some more. He is joined by his former colleague on that committee, California Democrat Jane Harman, now the head of the Woodrow Wilson Center here in Washington. Also with us, James Lewis, senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. And our own CBS News justice and homeland security correspondent Bob Orr. Jim Lewis, I want to start with you, because when I was trying to get myself read in and studied up about what the questions I ought to ask before the presidential debate, I went to see you, and we talked for a while. And I asked you how serious was threat of a cyber attack on the United States? And I asked you what kind of what kind of defense we have. And I will never forget what you said.

JIM LEWIS, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC AND INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: That we had a faith-based defense. And a lot of it is like asking people...

SCHIEFFER: Basically we pray that it will never happen.

LEWIS: Yeah, it's like asking people, "hey, are you a good driver?" And of course everyone says yes. And when we test them, well, you live in Washington. And that's where we are. In fact, it's gotten worse since we talked, because since then the Iranians have picked up the pace.

SCHIEFFER: And you said, I think at the time that everything we can do in cyber, the Russians can, and the Chinese can.

LEWIS: Yeah, it's good to think of them as near peers if not peers in this space. And they've done the reconnaissance. They've thought about how to use it. We're really not in a good place.

SCHIEFFER: Mr. Chairman, how do you see all this? How serious is the threat of an attack and when we talk about an attack, what are we talking about?

ROGERS: Well, there's really two different things happening here. One, we're getting robbed every single day. We have, as the U.S. government, set up lawn chairs, told the burglars where the silver is in the bottom drawer, and opened the case of beer and watched them do it. And it means everything from personal identities, to Social Security numbers to money from banks, to intellectual property. The blueprints for jobs in the next generation with nation states like China. And it has gotten exponentially worse, even since the presidential debates. It is unbelievable and breathtaking. The second part of that is the attack part which is what we're talking about that we're so vulnerable for, is actually shutting down our financial services or finding other ways to destroy material in companies that won't allow them to function on a day-to-day basis. And that is very, very concerning. We've seen that recently with Iran.

SCHIEFFER: Jane, what-- are we being attacked now?

JANE HARMAN, WOODROW WILSON CENTER: Yes. Keith Alexander, who is the head of cyber command and the head of the National Security Agency says that there have been -- I forget now, 19 or 20 really substantial cyber attack in the last several years, more to come. I think we're much more vulnerable to a catastrophic cyber attack than a catastrophic terrorist attack in the homeland. We have done a better job of decapitating al Qaeda. even though it's metastasized around it's not capable, I don't think any more of mounting the kind of attack we on 9/11. But in the cyber business, it's different. But something else to put on the table, Bob, is that congress has not acted. There have been several bills introduced, including one by my colleague and friend, Mike, but they haven't moved. And now the White House is mounting an executive order, which will not do enough. But it's not that the government is sleeping through this exactly, it's that the government has so far proved incapable of protecting all of us. And one last point-- I think everyone has read about the hacking of the Bush family's e-mails and so forth, just in the last days. It's not only our .mil space, our defense space and our .gov space, what the government does, but it's our .com space, what private individuals do, and it is really a serious -- if you want to think about it, incursion on individual privacy in this country at this point. And we have to act.

SCHIEFFER: And Bob, companies are not all that keen on telling us when they are attacked. And in fact, American businesses are being attacked.

BOB ORR, CBS NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, in big terms. Chairman Rogers said I think in the past this is a great pillaging of wealth. It's hard to put a number on it. Some estimates $250 billion a year, up to I think Chairman Rogers bill said $400 billion a year. The reason this goes on, Bob, is because let's say you're company A, you have to report to stock holders. You have constituents, you have competitors, you don't want to come out full face and say, look, my systems were attacked because it suggests you might be vulnerable. So to protect a competitive edge, these companies I'm afraid to say are kind of writing off these losses as the cost of doing business.

SCHIEFFER: Well, what are some of the things that they do to these companies when they attack them?

ORR: Well, for example a major manufacturer here lost paint formulas, some schematics for military hardware have been stolen. I mean, the Chinese basically are replicating these products about as fast as they can. And we're not doing very much about it. This is the first stage of what could be a very, very big problem if they turn this pillaging of wealth into attacking key systems.

ROGERS: Two things, one, they're stealing the next generation of jobs. They're taking blueprints back, not just military documents, but civilian innovation that companies are going to use to create production lines to build things. They're stealing that, repurposing it back in nations like China, and competing in the international market. And to be fair, however, there was a bill that passed, bipartisan, my ranking member Dutch Ruppersberger and I wrote a bill, passed the House of Representatives, it did languish in the Democrat- controlled Senate. We're going to try that again as a matter of fact as early as this week. And it's very simple -- share information, share cyber threat information. The senior leadership in the intelligence said they think we can stop 90 percent of our problems by just sharing classified cyber threat...

SCHIEFFER: Let me ask you, Jim, let's just say somebody decided they wanted to attack the United States. I mean, somebody that wished us ill. What would they do?

LEWIS: You have a whole range of things you could do. If you just wanted fun, you could have all the traffic lights turn green at the same time here in Washington during rush hour. But...

SCHIEFFER: Turn all the traffic lights would turn green.

LEWIS: Of course so many of us would say who would notice. The real target is the electrical grid and it would be really easy to cause a blackout. We saw this in 2003, that was an accident. But you could destroy electrical generating capability through cyber attack and people say that as the target. The financial system, and the wave of Iranian attacks against the leading banks, not that successful, but the Iranians haven't brought their A game to that. So, electrical grid, financial system, maybe a couple of other places. You could really disrupt things here if you want to.

HARMAN: But there is a legislative issue. There was a competing bill last year by Susan Collins, a Republican, and Joe Lieberman, an independent, in the senate. And their bill did two things differently. It started out by saying the private sector has to cooperate on a mandatory basis, and some feel that's only way the whole private sector will cooperate, because they'll be tipped off first about these incursions. And the second thing it did was it gave the Department of Homeland Security jurisdiction over the .com space. It can't all be in the Pentagon. And that was different from this bill. And so...

ROGERS: The problem is, it couldn't get out of committee, and couldn't get passed on the floor. We have one bipartisan solution. My argument is let's start with what we know, given all the threats. And by the way, if you want to see what else could happen on an individual company basis, Iran attacked a Saudi oil company, the state-owned Aramco, and did something fairly remarkable-- they destroyed 30,000 machines, computers, manipulated data, and made it so they couldn't reconstruct the data. Now, if you apply that to businesses around the country, think of the economic chaos that that would cause. So what you saw with the banks -- this is interesting -- Iranians doing a probing action trying to look for vulnerabilities, and what we know is now they have this other capability that's laying on the table. That's concerning. And so we've admired this problem long enough. It is time it take action and do something about it.

SCHIEFFER: Well, let me ask you this, is part of our defense, should part of our defense be we have an offense? And in fact don't we already have an offense? And haven't we launched attacks on, for example, the Iranian nuclear facility?

ROGERS: You know, I have a life lesson that if you want to go punch your neighbor in the face, Bob, you ought to hit the weight room for a few months, first. We are not prepared for what happens with a robust offensive capability. 95 percent of our network here's in the United States, private-sector networks, are incredibly vulnerable, most of which are penetrated already.

HARMAN: But you raise something, Bob, and it's the whole subject of remote-control warfare. Drones are part of this, too. Congress needs to enact a legislative framework around all these activities. I think it's past due. Oversight by congress is essential, but I also think court review in the way that the courts review the FISA, the intelligence...

SCHIEFFER: Wiretapping, things of that nature.

HARMAN: Correct. And that can be the whole plan on the front end, and then an after-action report, not all the individual targeting decisions. But I think that this idea that surfaced in congress is a valid idea and FISA is the right model for both of these.

SCHIEFFER: Jim.

LEWIS: The thing to watch in the upcoming weeks, probably before the end of the month, is the White House will probably put out an executive order that will try and do some of the things that were in the bill, information sharing, protecting critical infrastructure. And until we see that executive order we won't know what the entire legislative agenda will have to look like. Your bill is great, but we have to say what else do you need? And that's what the executive order will tackle.

ORR: There's great resistance to this, though. Because -- I mean, Congresswoman Harman mentioned the Lieberman bill. It started out as a mandatory sharing of information about attacks?

ORR: That was then softened, I believe, to a voluntary sharing of information. And even that couldn't get through because the business community kicked back on, this is our business, this is a privacy issue.

SCHIEFFER: Too much government regulation.

ORR: Well, I mean, it's a real problem in trying to find a solution that everyone will accept.

ROGERS: But -- and you have to understand this problem, if done correctly, you're sharing information in real time. This moves at the speed of light. Name one government regulation that moves at the speed of a Stanley Steemer in 1908. This is 100 million times per second. And so you're -- these are zeros and ones that make up As, Bs, and Cs on the computer, moving at light speed, hundreds of million times a second. If you are going to do this right, you can't set up these arbitrary standards so that companies manage to a standard that the government has dictated. What they'll tell you is, too slow, too cumbersome. By the time you get them inked in law, they don't work. So that's why we created a voluntary system to share classified information.

HARMAN: But if they don't play, it's only as strong as the weakest link. And if some companies don't cooperate, then you have the vulnerability that we already have. And that was the problem last year, and a lot of serious people, including Keith Alexander, thought we needed the mandatory...

(CROSSTALK)

SCHIEFFER: I guess...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's not true.

SCHIEFFER: ... one of the things that we can be thankful for, if that is the word, is that nobody, with the possible exception of us, has a greater interest in the success of the American economy than the Chinese do, because they're so heavily invested here. But it seems to me the danger is not China or Russia. It's some private actor or one of these terrorist states that get this access, and as yet they do not seem to have the capabilities of the big powers. LEWIS: One of the things that has changed the story since August when the legislation failed is the Iranian activities. And I think the Iranians -- you know, the Chinese -- some Chinese officials once said to me, you don't have to worry about us disrupting Wall Street because, you know, we own it, so why would we do that? Fair point. Same for the Russians. But the Iranians are a little crazier. And I think you're seeing a shift in industry as they think about we're facing a much more dynamic opponent. There has been another development, too, which is both NSA, the National Security Agency, and their Australian counterparts have identified some basic measures that really reduce risk. So we can now say, here's what you need to do to make us safer. The question is, how do you get companies to go along? And that's going to be a debate.

SCHIEFFER: Let's just go around the table here, starting with you, Jane. What do we need to do?

HARMAN: On cyber? I think the Collins-Lieberman bill was the place to start. And I think we should restart it looking at new threats. And I also think we need a legislative framework around drones.

ROGERS: Go for what we can pass in a bipartisan way. There is only one vehicle that can do that. And by the way, those same senior intelligence officials say, you pass this bill, a bipartisan bill, solves 90 percent of our problem. That's a good first step. Then I would go and try to tackle these regulatory standard issues later in the year.

LEWIS: Get the executive order out. Make critical infrastructure. Do what they need to do. And, also, think about how you engage the Chinese at a senior level, and tell them, you know there has got to be a limit and we haven't done that enough.

ORR: The other thing is, everyone has to take this seriously. I mean, for too long, cyber has been the subject where eyes glaze over. People have to come to table and realize, this is real. It's serious. It's imminent. And we need to pay the same kind of attention to this, Bob, as we do to terrorism.

SCHIEFFER: All right. Well, thank you all very much for a very good discussion. We'll be back with a little "Reporter Roundtable" in just a minute.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHIEFFER: And we're here now with David Leonhardt, The New York Times Washington bureau chief. Welcome to Washington. This is a new assignment for you. And Kevin Merida, our old friend all the way back to The Dallas News when I first knew Kevin. He is now the -- I guess, the number two guy at The Washington Post, managing editor and so forth.

KEVIN MERIDA, MANAGING EDITOR, THE WASHINGTON POST: Thanks a lot, Bob.

SCHIEFFER: Glad to have both of you here. Well, we've had quite a discussion this morning, starting with Lindsey Graham saying he is going to try to block the nominations of both Chuck Hagel and John Brennan, unless he gets some answers. Is he being serious here, David?

DAVID LEONHARDT, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, THE NEW YORK TIMES: Well, I think we don't know. I think, clearly, Republicans have sent signals that they're really worried, particularly about the Hagel nomination. And obviously the Senate is a place where a single senator can often really hold things up. It is true both that there are serious questions about what went on in Benghazi and also that this would be a deeply unusual thing to do. There were often serious questions about foreign policy betweens the parties. And the idea of holding up a nomination for a secretary of defense...

SCHIEFFER: Two of them.

LEONHARDT: Two of them, would be deeply unusual.

MERIDA: These are very big appointments. This kind of things happens all the time with smaller nominations and often we don't even find out who the senator is who is holding up the nomination. But this is, obviously, a very public play by the part of Senator Graham and I suspect that there will be a lot of negotiations behind the scenes to make sure that doesn't happen.

SCHIEFFER: Do you think the Republicans will back him on this? John McCain has already said he does not favor filibustering Chuck Hagel. He says that he may vote against him. But he doesn't favor a filibuster. I wonder if Graham will have the backing for this. Of course, I mean, one senator can hold it up. And I guess, clear me up on Senate procedures. They'd have to have 60 votes, wouldn't they, to break that hold?

LEONHARDT: Oh, and I think a hold actually can even sometimes keep away a vote of any number. I think that what Republicans are torn about here is the fact that on the one hand, they do think they have serious questions to raise about Benghazi and that the American people have serious questions. On the other hand, when you get involved in Libya, there are always going to be things that go wrong. And I think Republicans are worried about polling that have shown that voters in general see them as the party that has been more obstructionist. And so I think one of the reasons you -- we have seen them compromise more since the election is they want to -- they want to sort of sand off the rough edges of their image. And so my guess is they're really torn here between continuing to push this Benghazi, for both substantive and political reasons, and also not wanting to seem like "the party of no," which they know that they do to many Americans.

MERIDA: And maybe it's just a question of trying to get some answers from the administration that they feel like they haven't gotten, and there could be some negotiation. But I would be surprised if the nominations don't go forward.

SCHIEFFER: We have the president's State of the Union message coming up this week. It seems to me the partisan divide is about as wide and about as deep as it was before this election. What's your take? Is anything going to happen here this year?

MERIDA: Well, it's a tremendous divide but there are a lot of big subjects that have been thrown on the table. I mean, certainly the social issues like immigration reform, also guns in America and whether or not gun violence can be curbed. But there is the larger question I think of just the state of the economy going forward. And that gets into the haves and have-nots, and can you have a debate about income inequality in the country without it descending into class warfare? I think that's one of the big questions facing the country.

LEONHARDT: I think one of the really key things to look at going forward from the State of the Union is this, my colleague, Ashley Parker, has called them the "hope yes, vote no" caucus of Republicans in the House. And this gets to what I was just saying about Republicans worried about their image here. And so there are a pretty substantial number of Republicans in the House who, because of the politics back home, want to vote against bills, but because of the party's national standing, want them to pass. And I think immigration -- less so guns. I think guns have -- we have less chance of a really sweeping gun bill. But immigration I think, it's going to be really interesting to see, can Obama move a substantial immigration bill through? And in fact, Republicans, including some who vote against it, actually want that to go through.

SCHIEFFER: Both of your organizations have had your email hacked. We saw this inexcusable hacking of the Bush family's private emails, inexcusable certainly in my view. I thought the way both of your organizations handled it reflected well on you. I mean...

LEONHARDT: Thank you.

SCHIEFFER: ... you reported the hacking, but you didn't go ahead and use the results of it. Well, what went into those decisions, David?

LEONHARDT: Well, with any of these issues, whether it's the national security issues or whether it's these issues of privacy, you have got to balance a lot of things. We're not just in the business of reporting everything, right? We don't report everything about crime victims and so you often have to balance these things. In the case of the hacking against us, we did what we do with stories involving other people. First, we tried to put in place tougher security measures. There is suggestive evidence that official people in China were involved in the hacking and that it followed our reporting on senior leaders' families. And we put those measures in place and we went and can reported the story and essentially laid bare what we found out.

SCHIEFFER: Kevin, why didn't you print the pictures and all of that from the Bush family...

MERIDA: I think we felt like we needed to report the fact that it happened, but wanted to be very discreet about the information that we put out for the public. And we thought that, you know, the idea that it was being investigated, this is a criminal investigation, that was important for people to know. But we didn't need to invade the privacy. There was nothing at stake national security-wise, or anything else related to the Bush administration.

SCHIEFFER: Generally, as I was growing up, the rules we all followed when we came upon personal information, if we thought it impacted on the person's public responsibilities or if it showed him to be someone other than he pictured himself to be, then that was -- it was fair and the public needed to know about that, but there's a difference in what is in the public interest and what is just in someone's self-interest who is just trying to get back at somebody for doing something. Is that still pretty much the rules you all follow?

LEONHARDT: I think clearly the rules have shifted, right? I mean, when people talk about what we know about president's personally versus what we knew about JFK and LBJ when they were in office. And I don't there are easy answers, right. Was it better then not to know about some of these personal behavior or is it better now? But I think the standard you lay out in the general sense is the standard we should continue to follow. We shouldn't report things for the sake of reporting it, just because it's public. We should think about does it have news value to make the judgments.

MERIDA: And what we call the media culture, as you know, Bob, has shifted so dramatically. I mean, we have sites like Deadspin in sports and, you know, Smoking Gun, and TMZ. And I just think that there is a broader range of people operating out there.

SCHIEFFER: All right. Well, listen, I want to thank both of you, these are questions that we all talk about when we're not on television just as reporters and we all try to grapple with it. And they are questions that we still have to deal with every day. Thank you. Thank you both. We'll be back in a moment. We'll have a final update on the monster blizzard. So stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHIEFFER: Back now. We want to take one last check on that massive blizzard that hit the northeast. Our CBS News correspondent Terrell Brown is in Boston. Terrell, what do you know?

TERRELL BROWN, CBS NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Bob, good morning to you. Crews will work today to clear roadways and try to restore power to about 345,000 customers that are still in the dark this morning. And it was a tough night if you do not have any heat. We're talking temperatures here in the Boston area, really all across the northeast, down into the teens and single digits and power officials are saying it may be Monday or Tuesday before power is restored. Nine deaths are now being blamed on the storm including an 11- year-old boy overcome by carbon monoxide as he sat in a car while his father shoveled snow off that vehicle. Transportation slowly crawling back to normal here. We're seeing planes taking off and landing at Boston's Logan Airport. Amtrak restoring partial service to the northeast corridor, and mass transit will likely be back up and running in the Massachusetts area, the Boston area tomorrow. And while all of this is happening, there are hints in the forecast of more wintry weather, maybe another winter storm, coming up later this week for the northeast, Bob.

SCHIEFFER: OK, thank you, Terrell. Hang in there and we'll be back in a moment.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SCHIEFFER: ...we'll be talking to Charlie Rose on CBS This Morning at 7:00. Then at 9:00 p.m., I'll be joining Scott Pelley and the rest of the CBS News team for live coverage of President Obama's State of Union Address. Be sure to join us for both of those. And we'll see you right here next Sunday on Face the Nation.

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