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Face the Nation transcripts June 23, 2013: Feinstein, Corker, Sessions, and more

Immigration reform, Syria, the NSA and more with Senators Dianne Feinstein, Bob Corker and Jeff Sessions
June 23: Feinstein, Corker, Sessions 47:06

(CBS News) Below is a transcript of "Face the Nation" on June 23, 2013, hosted by CBS News' Bob Schieffer. Guests include: Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Cal., Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and Jeff Sessions, R-Ala. Plus, a panel featuring The Wall Street Journal's Gerald Seib, USA Today's Susan Page, Time Magazine's Bobby Ghosh, and CBS News' John Dickerson, Bob Orr, and Major Garrett.

REPORTER: Heading for what supporter say is political asylum, the fugitive whistleblower leaves Hong Kong.

SCHIEFFER: Big news overnight. Edward Snowden fled Hong Kong on a Russian commercial airliner, and there are reports he may be headed to another communist country. We'll get the latest from CBS Justice Correspondent, Bob Orr. And we'll talk to the Head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Diane Feinstein. Plus, we'll talk about the battle over immigration. Tennessee's Republican Senator Bob Corker says this.

CORKER: We have an opportunity to do something that America needs, and that is to solve the immigration issue that we have.

SCHIEFFER: Alabama's Republican Senator Jeff Sessions has a different take.

SESSIONS: We all favor a good immigration reform package. This bill is just not it.

SCHIEFFER: They'll both be here to talk about it, and whether House Republicans will sign on to any immigration bill. We'll have analysis from Susan Page of USA Today, Gerald Seib of the Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine's Bobby Ghosh and our own John Dickerson. We'll cover it all, because this is Face the Nation.

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

SCHIEFFER: And good morning again. Well, we're going to start with the big news from overnight. Edward Snowden has gone to Moscow. We want to go first to Moscow, and Kevin O'Flynn who is on the ground for CBS News.

O'FLYNN: Yeah, I'm at Sheremetyevo Airport, and that's right, with -- Edward Snowden arrived just over an hour ago. There are reports actually saying that there were two cars waiting for him outside the plane, and he was taken off the plane and put in one of those cars and (inaudible) in the other car and then taken off, but we don't know where. I mean the plan is supposed to be that he will fly out of this airport tomorrow to Havana. Technically he -- he can't come into the airport himself, he must stay within the transit zone. So where he actually is in the transit zone, nobody knows. At the moment there are -- well, there's more than a hundred journalists waiting for the passengers of the Hong Kong Moscow flights, asking people if the new him, if they saw him on the flight. But to be honest, just nobody really realized that he was on the flight with them. So at the moment, people are just wondering where he is right now. There have been reports that it was the Venezuelan embassy which took him away, or maybe Ecuadorian embassy, but nobody really knows right now.

SCHIEFFER: Nobody really knows right now. Bob Orr and Major Garrett are with us this morning. Bob, you've been on this story from the very beginning. I mean -- I mean what other weird turn could this -- this thing take? It's like now reports that he's going to other communist -- like sort of a tour of communist countries around the world?

ORR: Yeah. I don't underestimate the next strange twist. I mean this movie isn't over yet, Bob. I don't know where it ends. But the reporting out of Moscow, if we can believe that, says either he's headed for Cuba, and then ultimately Caracas, Venezuela, or he might be headed to Ecuador. In either case, it's highly problematic for the U.S. The Justice Department has put down charges that include charges under the Espionage Act. And I don't think either of those countries would want a play on it.

SCHIEFFER: And Major Garrett, just -- just yesterday we had this extradition request to Hong Kong. What happened?

GARRETT: The United States doesn't know what happened. It put together what it said, and thought were really good charges, that represented everything that we could legally prosecute Edward Snowden for. Thought there was an agreement with the Hong Kong authorities. After Tom Donilon confirmed to our Mark Knoller yesterday that in fact we have put this whole process together. The administration let it be known if Hong Kong did not cooperate, it would complicate all of our relationships with Hong Kong, and by extension, China. Well, now obviously those relations are complicated, and yet another relationship is severely tested, that with Russia. Because clearly Vladimir Putin is allowing the services of his airport, and the various perimeters that are being placed around Edward Snowden, to exist in the first place. He's put himself, at least for 24 hours, in the middle of this story.

SCHIEFFER: I think Chuck Schumer -- Senator Schumer of New York said this morning, Putin just kind of likes to stick his finger in our eye. And it looks like this -- there may be something to that?

ORR: I think that's right. I think the problem here, Bob was that the U.S. Justice Department had to craft charged that would fit under the extradition treaty. Charges that would be applicable in Hong Kong. They thought they had a deal. But when we learned on Friday, when they unsealed this, when we learned the charges were, two that were under the Espionage Act, I think some people raised eyebrows saying, will that really fly over there? Because that can be construed, depending on your viewpoint, as a political prosecution. That's not the way the U.S. authorities see it. But if the Hong Kong authorities and the Chinese authorities view that as a political prosecution, then they would stand back and not make the arrest. And apparently that's what happened.

SCHIEFFER: Well -- well, Major did we drop a stitch here? Or did in fact the Hong Kong authorities just use a technicality to do what they wanted to do?

GARRETT: It looks right now as if there was a technicality. That there was a lack of an Interpol warrant in addition to the charges rendered by the United States government and that might have created a seam, a very small seam in which the Hong Kong authorities could allow themselves to get Edward Snowden get out of there. It's also a belief within the administration that Hong Kong was getting a little wearisome of this whole saga, and would have preferred Edward Snowden to get out. He has now gotten out, and is now somebody else's problem, chiefly the United States.

SCHIEFFER: We understand there may be someone from Wikileaks, this is the group that helped Julian Assange...

ORR: It's the latest...

SCHIEFFER: traveling with him?

ORR: It's the latest extraordinary development here. I mean this was carefully orchestrated, this escape, if you will from Hong Kong. Think about what happened here. You have the Wikileaks attorneys. You have that organization involved in trying to spirit him out of the country. They make arrangements apparently to take him through Russia. They go through all of those diplomatic channels, and they reach out to the authorities of Ecuador, and the authorities in Venezuela. All willing participants in here, but this is quite a scheme. And for this to have happened as an arrest warrant was being requested by the U.S. government, is an extraordinary development, Bob.

SCHIEFFER: All right.

GARRETT: The only benefit -- or the pursuit of free speech, but we're going to countries that are nominally democratic, Russia. Cuba, not democratic at all. Caracas, nominally democratic. More authoritarian than democratic. It seems to be an odd symbolic clash.

SCHIEFFER: No report yet he's going to North Korea?

ORR: Haven't heard that yet.

GARRETT: Only one not on the list yet.

ORR: I wouldn't rule anything out though.


SCHIEFFER: Who knows on this. I want to thank both of you. Stick around, we've got a big roundtable coming up on Page Two we want to get back to you about this. Want to turn now to Senator Diane Feinstein, the Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee. What do you make of this, this morning?

FEINSTEIN: It's hard to know. I think it's a very big surprise. I had actually thought that China would see this as an opportunity to improve relations, and extradite him to the United States. China clearly had a role in this, in my view. I don't think this was just Hong Kong without Chinese acquiescence. I think his choice of Moscow was interesting. I think what's interesting is that he was taken off in a car and his luggage in a separate car. I think it will be very interesting to see what Moscow does with him. Thirdly, he clearly was aided and abetted, possibly by the Wikileaks organization. I heard a rumor that he was traveling with someone, and so this had to have been all pre-planned. Now what the destination is, no one really knows. But, I -- I think from the point of view of our committee, something that concerns me more is that we get an understanding in this nation that what this is all about is the nation's security. I think we should take -- on July 10, Director Clapper and General Alexander are due to prevent -- present some adjustments, to our...

SCHIEFFER: And these are the...

FEINSTEIN: ...our committee.

SCHIEFFER: ...our top intelligence man and the man who heads the National Security Agency?

FEINSTEIN: Well, that's right. And if there are changes that should be made, we will make those changes. I think the front page story in the Washington Post with respect to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, probably put more transparency on that court than anything in history of a secret organization. And it's all out there now. Pictures of the judges, who appointed them to the federal bench. I -- I think we need to enable people to see the process that's followed. How we do that, I need to think out. I'd like to talk to Chairman Leahy of the Judiciary Committee and see if we can't do, together, some work to really take a good look at the process that's involved in this. On Friday, the 50 cases, and I just spoke to General Alexander before he went on television, the 50-plus cases where this information was helpful came this weekend to the Intelligence Committee, so we -- it's classified, but we will be taking a good look at that as early as Tuesday.

SCHIEFFER: Do you -- do you believe, Senator Feinstein, we know and we have learned a lot about the capabilities of the U.S. government. Do you -- have you at this point come to any conclusion about whether those capabilities and that power was abused by these agencies?

FEINSTEIN: No. I have seen no abuse by these agencies, nor has any claim ever been made in any way, shape, or form, that this was abused. You know, it's interesting to me, because -- I mean, I've been going to China for 34 years now trying to increase relationships between our two countries. There is no question about China's prowess in this arena. There is no question about their attempts to get into our national defense networks, as well as major private businesses. And I think the first public revelation of this was the Mendiant report. And it's interesting to me that this report drew no reaction from the Chinese government. I know they have it. Our president has sat down with Xi Jinping. And latest is, well, we need to address this. And we really do need to address it. It is key to the development of a relationship among our-- between our countries.

SCHIEFFER: Do you think -- what do you think of Mr. Snowden? I want to get back to that. Glenn Greenwald of the Guardian who was the one who first broke this story said, the reason he fled is he thinks the government, basically is unfair to whistleblowers. This seems to me to go a little beyond your basic whistleblower case here.

FEINSTEIN: Well, I don't think this man is a whistleblower. Whatever his motives are -- and I take him at face value -- he could have stayed and faced the music. I don't think running is a noble thought. I don't think there's anything noble. He has taken an oath, and these oaths mean something. If you can't keep the oath, get out. And then do something about it in a legal way.

SCHIEFFER: Well, do you think he's a traitor?

FEINSTEIN: Well, I don't want to go into this right now. I want to get him caught and brought back for trial, and I think we need to know exactly what he has. He could have a lot, lot more. It may really put people in jeopardy. I don't know. But I think the chase is on. And we'll have to see what happens.

SCHIEFFER: Do you think -- you talked to General Alexander this morning -- does the government have some idea of what it is that he has?

FEINSTEIN: Not to my -- not to my knowledge. The only thing I've learned is that he could have over 200 separate items and whether that's true or not, I don't know. That's what's been relaid to me.

SCHIEFFER: But do you know what damage he has done? What has General Alexander told you about that?

FEINSTEIN: Well, the damage he's done is essentially to reveal a program which has worked well and disrupted terrorist plots. And there are more than 50 terrorist plots that it has played a role in. I happen to believe that this program is carefully watched by the Justice Department, but independent inspectors general, by the NSA. Only 22 people at NSA have access to it. In the year 2012, it was only queried 300 times. If they need a warrant to get content, that's sent to the FBI and the FBI gets a court warrant before any content of any conversation is looked at.

SCHIEFFER: All right, well, senator, thank you so much for coming. We're going to come back in a minute. We'll talk to two more senators about this and about immigration.

SCHIEFFER: With Senator Bob Corker, who joins us from Chattanooga. We asked him to be here this morning to talk about immigration, but he is also the ranking Republican on foreign relations. So, I want to start with this Snowden story, senator. Were you surprised to hear Senator Feinstein say we may not know what secrets that Edward Snowden is carrying around with him?

SEN. BOB CORKER, (R) TENNESSEE: Well, I don't know how we would know, since we haven't had the opportunity to talk to him directly, but there's no question that he's jeopardized the safety of Americans. And I hope he'll come back and I view as a criminal. If he views himself as not one, I hope he'll come back and make his case. But certainly he's not exuding the characteristics of any kind of hero, if you will, to anybody in our nation, I hope.

SCHIEFFER: Yeah well, I suppose hope springs eternal. But what if he does end up in Venezuela? What do we do about that?

CORKER: Well, I guess we'll go through the normal procedures that we go through to try to extradite someone. Our relations there, obviously, are not good, although better with this most recent election. But I don't know what we'll do. I'm sure we'll do everything we can to get him back into this country to testify in court and to be challenged for I think breaking national laws that have jeopardized our citizens. And this -- regardless of what you feel about our NSA laws -- and certainly we should debate those and we should have tremendous oversight to make sure the civil liberties we all care about stay in place. But I don't know how anybody can view this person as anything other than a criminal. Again, if he feels differently, I hope he'll back in our nation at some point to argue otherwise.

SCHIEFFER: Let me ask you about the other big story going on this week, and that is you were one of the Republicans on the bipartisan group of eight that got through this amendment to add an enormous number of security agents, bring it up to, what, 40,000 agents along the border. And you think this is going to help get this bill passed, the immigration bill. Do you really think now you can pass this bill and get a substantial majority in the senate?

CORKER: I do, Bob. And I think what this amendment that we worked on together, and it's been vetted by many, it certainly should put to rest any issue regarding border security, a doubling -- 20,000 new border patrol agents, finishing the 700-mile fence, spending over $4 billion on technology that the chief of the border patrol has asked for, making sure that e-verify systems are in place, and entering/exit visa program. All those have to be in place, Bob, prior to green card. But here's what I would say, to those people who tout themselves as fiscal conservatives -- and I'll put my credentials up against anybody -- to be able to pass a bill that spends $46 billion on border security know know that over a -- over a 10-year period -- but know that you're going to have a return of $197 billion without raising anybody's taxes, that will reduce our deficit ought to also entice people to this bill. And what it does to those who want to come out of the shadows, know that they have a path forward to be a productive part of our country, it answers that, also. So, I think if this amendment passes on Monday night, certainly it improved in the House. There are some interior security issues I would like to see enhanced. But I think this is a very, very good immigration bill, and I"m glad to support it if we can pass this amendment on Monday night.

SCHIEFFER: All right, we have to end there, senator. We, obviously, had a little extra news that cropped up overnight but thank you so much for being here.

CORKER: I understand.

SCHIEFFER: Alright, I want to turn now to Jeff Sessions, senator from Alabama. He is also a Republican. And he doesn't want any part of this bill. Senator, I've just got to ask you this question, do you think Republicans get it on immigration? Because people like Lindsey Graham are saying if you don't do something, reaching out to Hispanics, you -- it might not -- you might not need to run anybody for president next time, because with the demographics changing in this country, it's going to be impossible to elect a Republican president if you don't get substantial Hispanic support.

SEN. JEFF SESSIONS, (R) ALABAMA: Bob, we need to do the right thing, right thing for America and I think appeal to all people, particularly Hispanics and African Americans and minorities that are here.

SCHIEFFER: But why are you so much against this amendment?

SESSIONS: Well, I'm opposed to the bill because it doesn't do what it says, Bob. This bill grants amnesty first, and a mere promise of enforcement in the future, even with the Corker-Hoeven amendment, all of which has been put in now a 1,200 page vote we'll have Monday afternoon that nobody has read. These promises of 20,000 agents won't take place, or are not required until 2021. No money is being appropriated for that. This is merely an authorization. The fencing -- we passed a law to have 700 miles of double-wide fencing, double-layered fencing. That -- this bill is weaker than that, and it gives -- it has a specific provision that says that Secretary Napolitano does not have to build any fence if she chooses not to, and she's publicly said we've had enough fencing. So the reason this bill was in trouble; the reason this amendment was thrown in here at the last minute was because the promises weren't fulfilled, and this legislation, this amendment doesn't fulfill its promises, either, frankly. And we're going to have amnesty first, no enforcement in the future. We're going to have increased -- we're going to have continued illegality, at least 75 percent according to the CBO report. And CBO concludes that the legal immigration will be dramatically increased and we'll have -- in addition to that, we're going to have lower wages and higher unemployment according to the CBO analysis of this bill. Why would any member of Congress want to vote for a bill at a time of high unemployment, falling wages, to bring in a huge surge of new labor that can only hurt the poorest among us the most?

SCHIEFFER: What kind of a political message does that send to Hispanics?

SESSIONS: Bob, Hispanics are here today by the millions. They're working in the $20,000 to $40,000 income level. Their wages will be impacted adversely. Their ability to get a job, to get a job with retirement benefits and health care benefits -- somebody needs to speak up for them. And I really believe that the numbers in the bill, the lack of enforcement effectiveness in the bill, puts us in a position where it will impact all Americans that are out there working today adversely. And the CBO has said that. The Federal Reserve in Atlanta has said that. Harvard economists have said that. There's really little doubt about that. And so I think we appeal to -- we move away from ethnic politics and we try to appeal to all people based on what's best for America and for them.

SCHIEFFER: So, as of right now, do you think this bill will pass the Senate? Or do you think you can defeat it?

SESSIONS: Bob, they said it was -- had 70 votes last week, and then all of a sudden, it started sinking when people learned more about it. I think, if people find out this amendment does not accomplish what the sponsors believe it does, I think the bill could be back in trouble again.

SCHIEFFER: All right. Well, thank you very much, Senator. We appreciate you coming by this morning. We'll be back in a moment with some personal thoughts about Congress.

SCHIEFFER: Say one thing for Congress, no matter how bad you thought they were, they will always find a way to show you they're even worse. Last week's defeat of the farm bill was an example of how they can't do anything, even when they want to. House Republican leaders thought they had the votes to pass the bill, but 60 Republicans suddenly turned on their leaders because they thought federal programs needed to be cut even more. They joined forces with a group of Democrats who opposed the bill because they thought the programs had been cut too much. So the whole thing collapsed; nobody got anything; and nothing got done, a sentence you could use to describe most Capitol Hill weeks. Washington has changed since I came here 44 years ago. There are some exceptions, but many House members, especially, have come to live in a world unknown and disconnected to the rest of us. They work three days a week. They take long and frequent vacations and busy themselves with things that have no connection to the rest of us, fund-raising to ensure re-election, traveling, issuing press releases, and more fund- raising. But nothing that affects the rest of us ever seems to get done. It's obvious they want to be something, a member of Congress. But when I came to Washington, most members wanted to do something. When did that go out of style? Back in a minute.

SCHIEFFER: Some of our stations are leaving us now, but for most of you, we'll be right back with an update on the missing Edward Snowden, plus discussion of immigration, Syria and more. Stay with us.

SCHIEFFER: And welcome back to "Face the Nation" Part Two. CBS News Justice Department correspondent Bob Orr is back with us. We're joined also by the Washington bureau chief of The Wall Street Journal, Gerald Seib; the Washington bureau chief of USA Today, Susan Page; plus Time International editor Bobby Ghosh; CBS News White House correspondent Major Garrett; and rounding out our super-sized panel our favorite political director John Dickerson. We actually have enough people here to have a jury trial.


SCHIEFFER: In most states this morning. Bob, have you found out anything since the start of the hour here?

ORR: Snowden is still missing in action, Bob. We know he left the airport in Moscow. We don't know for where. The rumors and reports out of Russia are that he might be headed first to Havana and then on to Caracas or perhaps to Ecuador. It was an interesting scene, because diplomats from Ecuador and from Venezuela on the tarmac, all of this obviously was orchestrated with the help of the Russian authorities. So it's an interesting intrigue which continues.

SCHIEFFER: We understand -- and I was just told this -- we now have information that he has been registered to fly to Havana? Is that right, tomorrow? And he will be spending the night at the airport, Major. Did the United States drop a stitch here, Major? I mean how did this happen? We put out this extradition thing, the request to Hong Kong, and he's gone.

MAJOR GARRETT, CBS NEWS WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Right, he's gone. And everything that the administration is suggesting publicly and privately yesterday was this indictment was valid. They expected the Hong Kong authorities to cooperate, put out a little statement saying if you don't cooperate this will complicate our relations. But it wasn't in strident language. It sort of felt like it was part and parcel of kind of a pressuring mechanism, but not too tough, not to hard. So the administration it appears thought this was going to work out. It has now worked out in Hong Kong. There is a window of opportunity in Moscow as long as Edward Snowden is there. An administration official just e-mailed me, Putin is not cooperating on a minute-by-minute basis, which suggested to me a window of opportunity. As long as Snowden is there, perhaps there are some other conversations that can go on between the United States and Russia, and I have to believe they're going on in a very real way as we speak.

SCHIEFFER: Very interesting. Bobby Ghosh, you just by coincidence, were just in Hong Kong. And were people there talking about this?

BOBBY GHOSH, TIME INTERNATIONAL: Well, this was the news, this was -- they were talking about nothing but this. This was -- in a place like Hong Kong international, business intrigue happens often, but international political intrigue is rare. I got to speak with a few government officials there, a couple of human rights lawyers, and they were all agog about this. The Hong Kong authorities were not very pleased to be in the center of international attention. They wanted this problem to go away. They got the request from the U.S. This is not a place where they could sort of have gone in, in the night and bundled him out -- this is not a rendition-type situation. The only option they had if they had allowed him to stay in the country, in the city, was that he'd go through a very long and complicated legal system. And the Hong Kong authorities take their laws quite seriously about this, and it will be months and months and months before they could actually honor the U.S. request for extradiction.

SCHIEFFER: Well, were they sympathetic to Snowden?

GHOSH: No, they were not. They didn't want him there at all, at least the officials that I spoke didn't want him there at all. They are sort of rueing the day he chose to come to Hong Kong. They were puzzled he chose to go to Hong Kong. But they said if they were going to extradite him to the U.S. it would take months and months and months. And that would be months and months in which Hong Kong is in the international spotlight. They didn't want that at all.

SCHIEFFER: Gerald, do you think there is any way any of this could have taken place without China, the government in Beijing, sort of overseeing this.

GERALD SEIB, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: It seems unlikely to me. It's one of the things that was odd about choosing Hong Kong as the place to fly to initially. You don't really cut a deal like this in Hong Kong without the Chinese authorities passing on it or actively negotiating it. I think there was a certain amount of naivete involved there, anyway. I think what's interesting about this this that I think this is the day when the Snowden story turns from a largely domestic story about surveillance of Americans and what's the state of civil liberties in the war on terror to a big international story. You have China, Hong Kong, Russia, Cuba, potentially Venezuela, maybe Ecuador involved. And whatever happens now, there are going to be international consequences. If he doesn't leave Moscow, it will be because Vladimir Putin decides he can extract some price from the U.S. for nabbing the guy. That will have consequences of its own. If he flies on, there is going to be damage to U.S.-Russian relations. This is now a big international story.

SCHIEFFER: Susan, you all have done some polling on this. What do Americans think about Snowden?

SUSAN PAGE, USA TODAY: We found that in a poll we did with the Pew Research Center that most Americans thought he should be criminally prosecuted, that number was 54 percent. It's probably higher now, because I think that whole debate of whether he was a whistleblower, or a traitor, the question you asked Senator Feinstein, the calculation I think probably has changed from the disclosure of the surveillance of Americans and his desire to have a debate about that, to his continuing disclosure about spy programs in the United States against China and Hong Kong, against Vladimir Putin. I think that moves him over, for some Aamericans, past the whistleblower category into a different one. And also this tour of countries with whom we have such bad relations, I think that also goes to affect his reputation with Americans. We did find, though, that Americans were inclined to think that the disclosure of information about surveillance programs of Americans served the public interest. Americans want to have a debate about what their government is doing and whether it's something that's acceptable to them.

SCHIEFFER: But, you know, John -- and you cover cover politics -- it seems to me that if he was trying to tell people, "I'm standing up for you. I'm a whistleblower. I'm trying to protect you from the big old powerful federal government," the fact that he's flown off to China and now he wants to go to all these Communist countries, I mean, how does that help his cause?

JOHN DICKERSON, CBS NEWS POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: It doesn't help his cause. And as Susan mentioned, the first thing is that he started to release on the eve of the president's visit with the Chinese leader, Snowden was releasing information about what -- the spying we're doing in China. Well, that gives the president a black eye. So that is one thing separate and removed from the question of civil liberties. And now he's consorting with the countries that people think of as against us. And then back to the politics. There are no Republicans who are choosing to get on his side. Republicans and Democrats are aligned in thinking that Snowden is a traitor -- if they won't use that specific word they're coming pretty close to it. As he runs around and sort of looks like he's guilty, you have nobody putting pressure on the White House. They're all agreeing with the White House saying we've got to get this guy.

SCHIEFFER: You know, Bob, I was a little surprised when Dianne Feinstein said this morning that we don't know -- or she said she doesn't know and she's the chair of the intelligence committee -- what he might have carted off here.

ORR: I was surprised, too, Bob. We know he took away several laptops and unknown number of thumb drives and had access, because of his IT position, had access to programs inside the NSA. But what he has already put out there is pretty damaging, this whole release of the PRISM program, the international internet, the scoop-up of data and then the phone records scoop-up here in the U.S., that's pretty extensive. He also -- I want to make a point about Russia -- he also release a piece of information to the Guardian that said during the G20 summit, the U.S. and the UK were spying on then President Medvedev. So that's, if anything, a little embarrassing there. And that might be a chip to play, too.

SEIB: Well, and I think that's the point, chips to play. If he's at all smart, and he's reasonably intelligent, he's held some things back to use as bargaining chips now when he's trying to bargain for a place to live and a place to stay and a place to stay out of jail. He's got some leverage if he's held back some documents that he can use with the Russians or with the Cubans or with whoever it is. So you have to assume that he's held on to some things for precisely this moment.

SCHIEFFER: Does anybody here -- can anybody give me an assessment of whether he has severely hurt U.S. security or damaged our security, Bob?

GHOSH: I wouldn't say he's damaged the security. I think he's -- he's damaged reputation to some degree. In much of the world, the impression is well, yeah, we assumed the U.S. was doing this anyway. So there's embarrassment that he's caused this country. As yet, I've seen nothing to suggest he's caused any actual increase in danger.

GARRETT: And the president has said two different things about this. In one breath he says we don't like our methods to be publicized, because then those who want to do us harm have a better understanding of how to get through those and attack us. And yet, I was with him just last week at the Brandenburg Gate, now a universal symbol of freedom in a post-Cold War world, saying we need to have a much more thorough debate about all of these surveillance tactics. Well, that debate would not be occurring if not for these original leaks. That's a fact. And the president is putting himself on both sides of that, because he knows politically this affects his reputation among liberal supporters more than anybody else and that is a concern.

SCHIEFFER: But can I just say, I'm glad to know that our intelligence agencies are spying on other countries. If that's not what they're doing, I think we can save a lot of money here. I mean, I thought that's what we hired them to do.

DICKERSON: If you're a civil libertarian, the problem about this tour, this "Where's Waldo" tour that Snowden is going on, is that it again, it turns it into a drama. It's a cat and mouse game. It gets away from the big question, fine to maybe spy on other countries, but what about spying on Americans? And who draws the line between their capability and what they actually do. And when Senator Feinstein says that this was never abused, well, that's nice to take her word for it, but you have to trust everybody. The president wants to have a debate, but three-quarters of the debate is shut off because he can't talk about anything, because it's all so secret. If your interest in life is the civil liberties protections, the debate that's happening is mostly in the dark.

SCHIEFFER: Well, it goes back to old Ronald Reagan's trust but verify. We want to trust the government, but it's very hard for us to call up facts, information, that helps us to verify that. And I think that is legitimate.

PAGE: It is going to be a hell of a movie, I've got to say.


SCHIEFFER: Why don't we take a break here and come back and talk about some of the other issues on the front burner right now, because there are a bunch of them.

SCHIEFFER: Well, we're so overwhelmed by the story of Edward Snowden this morning, it's easy to forget there are some other very important things out there. We talked a little bit in the first half of the broadcast, Susan, about this whole immigration debate. I think kind of the feeling is that the Senate is now going to pass the immigration bill, and maybe by a substantial majority. I think it's anybody's guess as what happens when it gets to the House. You all have done some polling on that, and you have some new numbers for us.

PAGE: We do. You know, six years ago, almost exactly six years ago, the Senate was heading to a key vote on the last time we debated immigration. At that point, most Americans, 60 percent almost, told us that they didn't know enough about it to have an opinion. Well, that's no longer the case.


PAGE: People have tuned in. They have opinions. They've been persuaded by the arguments on Capitol Hill, but what we find in a new poll by USA Today and the Pew Research Center is that they've been persuaded by both sides. That big majorities of Americans now agree with proponents, that it's not realistic to deport the illegal immigrants here now, that they're hard workers who deserve a chance, that it would boost the economy. They agree with that. But a big majorities also agree with that opponents, that it would drain government services and it would encourage more foreigners to come here illegally. I think it creates an extremely complicated political situation as we head into this debate.

SCHIEFFER: But what happens? I mean, after watching this fiasco over the farm bill last week in the House, I'm now of the opinion that I'm not sure any immigration bill, any kind of reform can get through the House, whatever the Senate does.

PAGE: I think that's right. For one thing, House members do not have the national pressure that -- that Republicans have nationally to appeal to Hispanic voters. You know, House Republicans represent districts that are 75 percent white. Most House Republicans do not need to worry about the Hispanic vote. They need to worry about being right with the Republicans who dominate this their districts and those Republicans tend to oppose a path to citizenship, at least until border security has been tightened significantly. I think it's hard to convince those House Republicans to vote for this bill. And the farm bill shows us the limits of the power of the leadership of the Republican Party in the House to force them to do something they don't want to do.

SCHIEFFER: Well, I mean -- go ahead, John.

DICKERSON: Well, I was going to say one thing that's interesting we'll see if it comes out of the Senate with 70 Senators, what the public thinks. Because that will be an actual act of bipartisanship on a big complicated bill. That's a rare thing in Washington. We haven't had. You could argue that haven't had that since the Clinton administration. So will that change the dynamic? But when you mentioned, Susan, that a lot of Americans looked at the old immigration bill and they didn't know what was in it, that's also true of some senators about this Corker amendment. I was talking to an aide in the senate today who said there is a lot stuff that was rushed into that amendment last minute to buy off some votes. So that -- once that gets some publicity, once that lives on, and we have a debate in the House and they say this thing got through the Senate just by hook and by crook, that's a way in which momentum from the Senate can get undone again, then, in the House.

SCHIEFFER: But I think Susan has made a very good point here. In these districts, a lot of -- especially these Republicans, are not so much worried about even offending Hispanics, what they're worried about is getting a primary opponent, what they call getting primaried, have somebody come in there who is even more conservative than they are and that took down some of them the last time around and I think that's the major dynamic at play here.

GARRETT: You know, immigration is really going to be a prism through which you can view the tactical choice the House Republicans are going to make about the next decade of the Republican Party. I have talked to a lot of Republicans on the Hill about this. If you want to be a national party that runs successful presidential candidates and wins a lot of different senate races, you're going to have to change your orientation to this issue. But if you are content for the next decade to be a House Republican Party, dig a deep moat around your house for a Republican majority, which is not an insignificant lever of power in the federal system, then you will do what you want to do along the lines you've done them before: protect your House majority and leave everything else fallow. Well, this immigration debate I think is going to be a prism through which to view how House Republicans want the next decade of the Republican Party to look and act.

SEIB: You know, and I think the significance of the last week or so is that it's kind of now been reduce to the really core and the really emotional issue which is legal status and citizenship. You know, you had the Corker amendment, which produces a surge to the border, as people are saying. You know, tens of thousands more border agents, a 700-mile-long fence. As John McCain said on the floor of the Senate, if border security was your concern, this should take care of it. So that takes that off the table. There is this Congressional Budget Office report this week that says an immigration will will bill will reduce the deficit and increase economic growth in the long run. So that goes some distance to taking that off the table. But now we're down to the really emotional issue, particularly for these red state lawmakers, which is do you give legal status to illegal aliens and aliens and you allow them a path to citizenship. That's the core issue. And that's where we're at. And that's where I think the divide really starts to show up.

SCHIEFFER: Bobby, let's talk a little bit about Syria. The United States says it's going to help the Syrian rebels, but they won't say how. I asked one official at the State Department. I said, well, are you going to do anything different than what you're doing? And he said, "it's going to be different and it's going to be more." And I said, "how different? And what does more mean?" He said, "I can't tell you."

GHOSH: Well, actually what we've seen -- what we just saw these past couple of days with the Friends of Syria group in Doha, the United States just with the United States saying we're willing to do more, it empowers other allies to be much more out there. So in Doha, you had Arab states saying we are going to go in there, we're going to give them whatever it takes, which is a position much farther out than the U.S.

SCHIEFFER: But let me just say, there is one school in the State Department that says if we don't get in there and take the lead on this, then you'll have people like the Qataris, like the Saudis, who will pour aid in to everybody in there opposed to Assad and some of those people are not friends of the United States and we don't particularly want that.

GHOSH: That is the danger. And I think that is why the administration is trying to get ahead of that and take some kind of leadership. Of course...

SCHIEFFER: But what is it they're going to do?

GHOSH: That's an excellent point. The point comes very quickly where the rebels say, "okay, thank you for the kind words. Now can we have the surface-to-air missiles please, and can we have the antitank missiles?" And the U.S. is not out there delivering those or enabling the delivery of those to the right people then you have a problem, have a very serious problem.


SEIB: Well, I don't think this is a part of the world where delivering small arms and ammunition is going to turn the tide. It's not a part of the world where there is a shortage of small arms and ammunition. So you're going to quickly get to the questions of what else? What else does that mean? And I think President Obama has two problems. One is that anybody who has talked to him about this subject knows he does not really want to do this, this is not where his heart is. He's very reluctant. That's problem number one. Problem number two, in polling, when we did a poll on this subject, you find very little support for arming the rebels. And that's true across all voter groups -- Obama voters, Romney voters, Democrats, Republicans. There is bipartisanship on this subject. We don't like the idea. So, it's a tough political haul as well as a hard thing internationally to actually change the situation on the ground.

PAGE: But remember that President Obama got the Democratic nomination because he opposed the Iraq war. And he spent a lot of the first term extricating the United States from two wars he didn't want to be in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is inconceivable to m he is going to make the kind of investment in arms to Syria that could enmesh in yet another war that Americans don't want to be in.

DICKERSON: And yet that is where people are in the Pew poll, very much against arming rebels in Syria. Why? Because people said the U.S. military was already stretched too thin. They had already made the leap. They just assumed it was going to drag into a U.S. involvement and that's why they were against it. So they're not listening to the president.

SCHIEFFER: So, how does this end?

GARRETT: The most important thing I think was said by the president in Berlin, "I'm not try to enter a war. I'm try to end a war. Assad is trying to win a war." That's the central difference.

SCHIEFFER: But where does it end?

GHOSH: Bob, it ends with -- well, there is no clear scenario of the ending. But there's a lot of talk about Afghanistan and Iiraq. There's one more war that we need to look at more closely for parallels and I think that's the Balkans. That's another war that for the longest time the U.S. stayed out and said it's not our problem, this is something that's taking place there. Eventually, it got to a state where we had no choice but to get in there and when we did, it made a huge difference. I think there are parallels to be drawn between the Balkans and Syria.

SCHIEFFER: I want to -- there's one other question i want to bring up, and that is the investigation of the IRS for going after members of the Tea Party. Peggy Noonan had quite a column in the Wall Street Journal yesterda, where she remarked on how, when asked about how the investigation of the IRS was going, FBI Director Robert Mueller didn't seem to have much information. He didn't know who had been interviewed. He didn't know what the status of the investigation was. And she drew from that that nobody is putting much priority on this.

DICKERSON: Well, as a political priority, though, the administration knows that this is the most problematic of all the controversies facing the president because it's the one that people really understand. It attaches to them in their daily lives. And I tell you, in conversations I have with members of Congress, Republicans, on everything from health care to immigration, they say, "You want us to trust that the federal government is going to do these measures to secure the border and make sure that people who come here illegally aren't getting jobs? You want the federal government to do that, the federal government that was in charge of this IRS problem?" The sense and the way in which that's a raw nerve, the fact that the federal government can't do what it's supposed to on the IRS is permeating all these other issues.


ORR: You know, you talk about the FBI not putting a lot of emphasis on the IRS -- not to give them cover, but they've got their plate pretty full with Benghazi and now the Snowden case and leak case. And I think, if you looked in their heart of hearts, they view that, I think, from the people I've talked to, as a political problem. I mean, it's a big problem at 1600 Pennsylvania. At the Hoover Building, they think they've got bigger fish to fry, even though the public is quite interested, as John said.

SCHIEFFER: All right. I'm sorry. Our time is out. I want to thank all of you. It's very enlightening this morning. I'll be back with our "Face the Nation" flashback.

SCHIEFFER: When the president went to Berlin last week, he was speaking in a city where presidents before him have come to make speeches that not only became a part of history but told the world what America is and what it stands for. And that is our "Face the Nation" flashback.

SCHIEFFER (voice over): Fifty years ago, it was President Kennedy in Berlin and a CBS News special report began, "The President At the Wall."

ANNOUNCER: There must be more than a half million people who are waiting to hear the president, the chant of, "Kennedy, Kennedy" rising. The president is obviously delighted with the reception he is receiving here.

SCHIEFFER: Just back from a visit on foot to the Berlin Wall, Kennedy pledged solidarity.

FORMER PRESIDENT JOHN F. KENNEDY: In the world of freedom, the proudest boast is "Ich bin ein Berliner."


SCHIEFFER: "I am a Berliner." At the height of the Cold War, those words of solidarity struck a chord that would never be forgotten by the German people. Two decades later, in 1987, Ronald Reagan delivered another powerful address in Berlin, just as the Cold War tensions were beginning to ease.

FORMER PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN: Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.


SCHIEFFER: Two years later, the wall did come down as Communism collapsed across Europe, a manifestation of Kennedy's vision so many years before. Our "Face the Nation" flashback.

SCHIEFFER: Well, that's it for us today. So stay tuned to CBS News and be sure to watch "CBS This Morning" tomorrow for all the latest news on this "Where in the world is Edward Snowden?" story. We'll see you next week.

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