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Transcript: Bill Burns and Jim Miller talk with Michael Morell on "Intelligence Matters"

INTELLIGENCE MATTERS - IRAN SPECIAL
INTERVIEW WITH BILL BURNS & JIM MILLER
CORRESPONDENT: MICHAEL MORELL
PRODUCER: OLIVIA GAZIS, JAMIE BENSON

MICHAEL MORELL:
Bill, Jim, welcome to Intelligence Matters. Bill, this is your second time on the show. Great to have you back.
BILL BURNS:
It's a pleasure.
MICHAEL MORELL:
And Jim, this is your maiden voyage on Intelligence Matters. So great to have you and hopefully we'll get you back again.
JIM MILLER:
Thank you, Michael. Great to be here.

Listen to this episode on Stitcher


MICHAEL MORELL:
So we're gonna talk about a very important issue here. Where we are with the Iranians at this moment. But I should say that the three of us served together on the Deputies Committee of the National Security Council. We spent a lot of time together in the Situation Room. In fact, we spent a lot of time talking about Iran. We probably spent more time talking about Iran than anything else. So think about this as a mini Deputies meeting (LAUGH) without Denis McDonough or Tony Blinken.
JIM MILLER:
Thank you. Those two years were the best ten years of my life. (LAUGHTER)
MICHAEL MORELL:
So to kick this off let me remind our listeners kinda where we are at this moment. So the Trump administration has census withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal. It's ramped up sanctions against the Iranians. Those sanctions are strangling the Iranian economy.

The Iranians have responded in two ways. One is a tax on commercial shipping in the Persian Gulf. And the other is two announcements really. One that-- within a week about-- it will exceed the limit of the amount of enriched uranium that it is allowed to have under the 2015 nuclear deal.

And two, they've said perhaps even they'll begin enriching uranium to a higher level than one needs for nuclear power reactors. Which would also be a violation of the agreement. The U.S. has responded to all of this by sending additional troops to the Middle East.

And by trying, so far unsuccessfully, to engage our allies to take even a harder line with Iran and impose their own sanctions over these threats to the nuclear deal and the attacks in the Persian Gulf. So that's kinda where we are. Maybe we can get started with a little history and background here. Bill, how did we get to where we are today? How would you tell that story?
BILL BURNS:
Well, I think, you know, for many years-- certainly over the course of my whole career, three and a half decades as a diplomat-- the challenge of threatening Iranian behavior has loomed large. In the last administration, as you said Michael, we worked very hard to build an international coalition to increase pressure against Iran in order to prevent it from developing a nuclear weapon. We began secret talks with Iranians in early 2013.
MICHAEL MORELL:
You were involved in those.
BILL BURNS:
I was. I led those in Oman, and Geneva, and lots of other places. It always surprises me we kept it quiet as long as we did. But, you know, it was no coincidence that the Iranians were prepared to negotiate seriously then as a result of internationally supported sanctions.

You know, their oil exports had dropped by 50%. The value of their currency had dropped by 50%. That was coercive diplomacy. Which was not just about coercion. Is was also about the diplomacy part. And what I fear today in the Trump administration's approach since the abandonment of the nuclear agreement little more than a year ago is that it's a strategy that's all coercion and no diplomacy.

It's a strategy where the means become an end in themselves. And they're not connected to realistic ends. And that's the real danger right now. And that's ultimately I think the reason that even our closest allies are so uncertain and concerned about the direction of American strategy.
MICHAEL MORELL:
Jim, would you add anything to the story of how we got here?
JIM MILLER:
Michael, I would just add a little bit on the coercive side which is where the Department of Defense came in more, as well as on the defensive side. During the period of the Obama administration the U.S. military posture in the Middle East was not just sustained but increased. But for defensive purposes and to make clear that, should it come to it, the U.S. had a military option and could deal with Iran's nuclear program in that way. At least could set it back.

We all, I think, agreed with the assessment that if it came to the use of military force that Iran would be able to reconstitute its program, may go underground, and make it much more difficult. But the coercive side of coercive diplomacy was strong and had a purpose of getting the Iranians to an agreement which was successful. And just as a reminder to those listening, at the time that the U.S. stepped back from that agreement Iran was adhering to its provisions.
MICHAEL MORELL:
And still has to this very day.
BILL BURNS:
It's true. Except, just as you said Michael, it's beginning to--
MICHAEL MORELL:
The threats, yes.
BILL BURNS:
--indicate that it's gonna move away from the agreement. Which was, I'm afraid, an entirely foreseeable consequence of our decision to abandon it.
MICHAEL MORELL:
So a couple of specific questions, guys. Several of our allies are questioning the U.S. conclusion that Iran was behavior the attacks on the tankers last week. Any doubts in your mind, Jim?
JIM MILLER:
Michael, I have no doubt that either Iran or Iranian proxies undertook those attacks. They may not have been directed by the supreme leader. But if it were the Quds Force or another element of the IRGC it would've been directed, I believe, by the supreme leader.

And if it were a proxy it would've been done with implicit blessing and an understanding that this type of activity was allowed. So what this administration needs to do is get the evidence out on the record to our allies and partners and, as much as possible, to the public to make that clear.
MICHAEL MORELL:
Bill, any doubt in your mind--
BILL BURNS:
No, I agree with Jim. I think the Iranian government was responsible for the attacks on tankers. I think they're reckless and dangerous if, unfortunately, foreseeable after the abandonment of the agreement. And I think the reason that our closest allies-- at least some of them-- are doubtful about the evidence has less to do with the evidence itself, which I think'll be pretty compelling, and more to do with their anger over our decision to abandon the agreement.

To resort to unilateral reimposition of sanctions, including the threat of secondary sanctions against their interests. And I think their concern about buying into an American strategy that can lead to a conflict that none of them want and none of them think is necessary.
MICHAEL MORELL:
So in their mind we're the ones who are responsible for bringing us to this moment.
BILL BURNS:
Yeah. I think at least that we bear a large share of the responsibility. None of that is to justify or exonerate Iranian actions, which are threatening in a lot of ways. But I just think we're contributing to a cycle which is not gonna end well for anybody.
MICHAEL MORELL:
So Secretary Pompeo said publicly late last week, and then again over the week, something that I thought was kind of remarkable. He said that Iran was responsible for an attack in Kabul that injured four U.S. service members. ISIS had first claimed responsibility for that attack and then the Taliban claimed responsibility for it. Does the secretary's charge sound right to the two of you?
JIM MILLER:
Michael, it sounds credible to me given Iranian support for militias within Afghanistan and indeed within Iraq. The provision of so called EFPs, the improvised explosive devices that have the potential to bomb as well as for munitions that can be used to attack U.S. and our allies' and partners' forces.

But once again it's equally credible that it was ISIL or another actor. And getting the evidence out, not just the forensic evidence but the intelligence to support the assessment that Iran was not just encouraging but directly involved, is fundamentally important.
MICHAEL MORELL:
Bill?
BILL BURNS:
Yeah, no, I agree. I don't know what the truth is in this instance. It's certainly possible as Jim rightly suggested. I think the bigger problem though is that our credibility on Iranian issues has suffered so much with our allies. That, you know, in normal cases people wouldn't be asking that question about assertions that we make.

And so it's incumbent on us not only to provide hard evidence to help persuade them but I think also to put this in the context of a much more realistic and workable strategy that can get them to buy in. As they did in what was a successful effort to produce a comprehensive nuclear agreement.
MICHAEL MORELL:
We're going to get to what we should be doing in a second. But just a couple more specific questions. Jim, the Iranian nuclear program. So how far away are they today from a nuclear weapon if they made a decision to build one? And how much would exceeding the limit on low enriched uranium change that? In other words, how close are we to a nuclear crisis? Or are we still pretty far away?
JIM MILLER:
Michael, I feel like turning that question back on you as the person who led the intelligence committee on this and many other issues. In round numbers, based on the estimates that I've seen and that are available in the papers, they're a year plus away.

The comprehensive agreement basically left them a year away. They've been adhering to that. As you said, they're on the threshold of violating that. But they've taken steps such that, if anything, the timeline would be a little longer than it was at the time that they entered the agreement. So my estimate would be a year plus.
MICHAEL MORELL:
I agree with that. And people should remember that when we started the negotiations with them they were two months away. And when we started the negotiations with them they stopped their nuclear activities. And had they continued them they would have been, in very short order, a few weeks away. And so now I do think they're well over a year. And people shouldn't jump to the conclusion that just because they exceed this limit on low enriched uranium that we're somehow close to a nuclear weapon.
BILL BURNS:
And the only thing I would add, because I agree with both of you, is that I doubt that it's the intention of the Iranian leadership to in a sense go from zero to 60. I mean I think they're going to incrementally test the limits of the agreement and exceed them.

To make clear that, you know, we can inflict a lot of damage on their economy with unilateral reimposition of sanctions. But they can inflict their own kind of damage. And, you know, add to the fissures between us and the other partners in the nuclear agreement as well. But my sense is that they're going to do this incrementally and gradually over time.
MICHAEL MORELL:
So putting all this together, how dangerous is the current situation? Is there a scenario by which you think we could get to conflict in the near term? Bill, why don't you go first.
BILL BURNS:
Yeah, I think the big danger-- and you guys know this as well as anyone-- is of inadvertent collisions that escalate very quickly. I do not think it's the intention of Present Trump to enter into a military conflict with Iran. Nor do I think it's the intention of the current Iranian leadership to do that.

The problem, as I suggested before, is that hardliners-- and there's no shortage of either in Washington or Tehran today-- can become kind of mutual enablers as you go up an escalatory ladder. And, you know, you can end up with an inadvertent collision that can escalate quickly. Especially if there's, you know, a loss of American life as a result of, you know, an Iranian attack in the Gulf. And so that's what I worry about most is the danger of escalation right now.
MICHAEL MORELL:
Could one of our allies or partners in the region take action against Iran? I'm thinking of Saudi Arabia. I'm thinking of the Emirates. I'm thinking even of Israel. Could one of them take some sort of action here in response to these tankers attacks that could draw us into conflict? Is that something we need to worry about?
JIM MILLER:
Michael, it's certainly something we need to worry about. And we should be having the conversations with our allies and partners in the region at this point to coordinate our activities. And at the same time that we want to reduce the risk of inadvertent conflict that Bill has rightly highlighted, we need to have a combined approach with our partners in the region to putting pressure on Iran to stay within the agreement.

And also to, frankly, have it pay a price for engaging in this behavior to damage shipping. It shouldn't get a free pass. It shouldn't get one free bite or two free bites. And we need to come together and have an approach to imposing costs on Iran for this action so that they're less likely to do it in the future.
MICHAEL MORELL:
Okay, so now we get to next steps, right? And I'd like to break this down into two pieces. What you think the Trump administration is likely to do, and then what you think we should do. Two different things obviously. So Bill, what do you think the next steps of the administration will be? What do you expect?
BILL BURNS:
Well, I would assume the next steps are going to be focused on just what Jim was talking about before. In other words, how do you try to mobilize friends and partners in defense of freedom and navigation in the Gulf-- which matters to all of us-- and deter the Iranians from further attacks of the sort that they conducted.

And that has all sorts of different elements. You know, diplomatically it means, you know, raising the profile of our concerns. It means, as you well know, sharing intelligence to help make our case. It means, in security terms-- and Jim can speak to this better than I can-- beginning to work with others on ways of protecting shipping, and the Gulf, and deterring Iranian attacks.

We went through this when I was a very young diplomat working at the NSC staff in the late 1980s when the U.S. actually re-flagged Kuwaiti tankers and put them in convoys. It's a much more complicated enterprise than sometimes people assume. Because it requires all sorts of capabilities that, you know, are sometimes in short supply even if the U.S. Navy in terms of minesweeping capabilities and others.

But those are the basic tasks in terms of the immediate challenge. The bigger question in my mind is, you know, whether or not the administration is going to develop what I would argue is a more realistic and coherent strategy. Because our capacity to mobilize others on the immediate problem of threats to shipping is going to depend in part on whether they have any confidence in our wider strategy. Which is sorely lacking right now.
MICHAEL MORELL:
Jim?
JIM MILLER:
Michael, I agree with everything that Bill said. And I'd just add, as we're thinking about what the administration may do, I would be surprised if there weren't options being developed for military strikes. One category of those options would have very limited strikes somewhat analogous to the action that the Trump administration undertook of April of '17 against the Shayrat Airfield in Syria after Syrian use of chemical weapons. Something like 54 tomahawk cruise missiles.

There'll be options for larger strikes as well. My expectation is that that would be considered-- and also particularly as we've had National Security Advisor Bolton talking about opening up the aperture on cyber in recent days. He's spoken about applying that first against the Russians in combating their interference in our elections in 2018. And then broadening it to go after theft of intellectual property.

I'd be surprised if cyber options were not also on the table. And my view is that those options should be considered. We should be looking at the full range of possibilities and options to present to the president for Iran to pay a price. But the choice of those options-- between the military options, the potential covert of clandestine options, and between diplomacy and economic sanctions-- should depend very heavily on where we can get strong international support. Because the next step of strikes, or whatever is undertaken, is just one step among many. And our position, our ability to achieve our interests, and to continue to have a strong coalition, fundamentally depends on having others on board.
MICHAEL MORELL:
Let me ask you two questions, Jim. One, the difficulty of defending shipping in the Gulf. If we and our allies that we are going to provide escorts or provide defense for those commercial ships in some other way, how difficult is that? Number one. And then number two, how difficult would even a limited strike on Iran be? Compared to, say, a similar strike on Syria?
JIM MILLER:
So on the question of defending shipping in the Gulf, on the one hand we can increase the level of difficulty for the Iranians so they'd be more likely to be observed. More likely to be interdicted. But the reality is if they're willing to hold at risk shipping across not just in Strait of Hormuz but in a broader area, and to the extent that they continue to use their small boats and so forth, the U.S. is unlikely to be able to prevent the type of small attacks that we've seen on the two ships recently. Even with an escort of shipping.

What that then tends you toward is thinking about bolstering that level of protections. But also being prepared will make clear that there will be a response and having international support for that response. On the question of hitting targets in Iran, no question that the Iranian air defense system-- both the air based and particularly the surface to air based missiles-- are more extensive and likely to be more effective than in Syria.

However, a significant fraction of sea launch cruise missiles or of standoff missiles would penetrate to a target. The question in my mind is not the ability to destroy a target. The question is the purpose in whether there's international support for it.
MICHAEL MORELL:
Okay, I want to get to sort of what you all would recommend, right, to a president. But before I do that I should've asked earlier, Bill, what's Iran's strategy here in threatening to break out of certainly a limited number of the limitations that they face in the nuclear agreement and the attacks on shipping? What are they trying to do?
BILL BURNS:
I think they're trying to reduce the economic pressure that's risen so dramatically since the U.S. abandoned the nuclear agreement and reimposed sanctions. I think at the same time they're trying to do what they can to wider the fissure between us and all of other partners in that agreement.

And what that requires is a pretty careful calibration of the steps that they take so that they're strong enough to send a signal to the U.S. that maximum pressure is not going to end well and we need to figure out a way to engage with one another. But not so strong that they alienate all the other partners. And the danger of course in that is it's very easy for either them or the Iranian leadership, which have made their share of miscalculations in the past, to guess wrong about what that calibration or that balance is.
MICHAEL MORELL:
Okay, so if we had a deputies meeting with our old team, right? And we weren't limited in the recommendations we could make but we do all find ourselves in the situation where a president has withdrawn from this deal, and we find ourselves in the current circumstances, where do you think we would end up in the recommendations that we made to a president? Would it be to get back in the deal? How would you think about a package of a policy approach? What would that look like?
BILL BURNS:
I mean I think, Michael, three things I guess occur to me. The first is a lot of what Jim just laid out in terms of the immediate challenge of attacks on shipping in the Gulf. To try to deter further attacks and restore some sense of stability in the Gulf, which matters a lot to the global economy.

Second, this is the classic diplomatic challenge, or trying to construct an off ramp. You know, both for the U.S. and for the Iranians. To find ways in which we can signal to one another that there's a basis for resuming some conversation. That also happens to be a good investment in international support. Because, you know, a large part of our success I think in mobilizing an international coalition over the previous two administrations on Iran was our willingness to demonstrate that we were prepared to engage diplomatically.

And then third and not least, what I suggested before is to begin what I think has been absent so far. Which is a coherent, realistic strategy. Right now even though President Trump talks about his interest in engaging with the Iranians the actions that compose American strategy seem aimed much more at producing either the capitulation of this Iranian leadership or its implosion.

I don't think either of those two are realistic aims. And therefore it'll be important to suggest that there is a basis on which, you know, we'd be prepared to reengage on the nuclear issue. To try to strengthen some of the provisions. Extend the timelines in the agreement. We'd have to be prepared in a transactional arrangement to give something as well ourselves.

But just to signal that, you know, the 12 demands that Secretary Pompeo laid out about a year ago are not carved in stone. Because there's not a chance in the world in my view that the Iranian leadership is going to say, "Oh great, I wish we had thought of that. We accept those 12 demands."

And then to look for sort of smaller issues on which we could engage. Iranians for example could, you know, begin to talk about releasing some of the Americans and Iranian-American citizens who are unjustly detained in Tehran today.

We could begin quietly talking about issues like Afghanistan. Or Yemen. You know, areas where, whether we like it or not, the Iranians have, you know, a good deal of influence as well. But we just have to resume that habit, however sharp our differences, of engaging with one another.
MICHAEL MORELL:
Jim?
JIM MILLER:
Michael, I agree with everything that Bill said. And I'd just add two points. First of all, we should avoid actions that will disrupt rather than bring together a coalition in support of where we want to go. And military strikes, particularly military strikes undertaken when our partners in the region and our allies and partners globally are not confident in the U.S. assessment of even what happened, would serve Iran's interests far more than American interests.

That implies a question of timing. First, there's got to be further investigations as the UN is conducting its look. And second, it implies there's a window because of that for the U.S. to continue to have the potential use of military force be one of the elements that could encourage Iran to engage in serious negotiations.

Point two is to put diplomacy first. President Trump has said he wants to move towards what he would consider a better deal with Iran than the nuclear deal that Bill and others negotiated. I don't think a fundamentally better deal is plausible. But a re-branded deal with some changes, as Bill described, might be possible.

In order for that to have any real chance the single most important element is having international support behind that. A credible threat of the use of force can help. But if it's employed without international support it will be fundamentally contrary to U.S. interests and to the prospects of doing a deal.
MICHAEL MORELL:
So, Bill, we eventually got to the place with Iran where there was a deal on the nuclear issue that was possible, right? They gave significant limits on their program in return essentially for us agreeing that they had the right to enrich. That was the deal. Can you envision a deal on their regional behavior? Is there a deal that you see that's possible there? What would that look like?
BILL BURNS:
Yeah. I mean I think there are ways in which we could make progress on discreet regional issues. You know, our interests are not necessarily entirely at cross-purposes. I mean Afghanistan is one issue. You know, I admire the efforts that our mutual friend Zalmay Khalilzad is making in engaging with the Taliban.

But there's a really important regional dimension to diplomacy there too. The Iranians have a stake. They can stir up trouble in Afghanistan. But they could also contribute to a more durable outcome. They don't have an interest in an Afghanistan that's going to threaten their security as well.

So I'm skeptical that you could reach some overarching agreement across a range of issues. Some are going to be extremely hard like Syria where I just don't think it's going to be possible with any acceptable set of means on the part of the United States to dislodge the Iranians from Syria anytime soon. But there are areas-- Afghanistan is one, Yemen is potentially another-- where there's enough of a shared interest where you might be able to have some useful conversations with them.
JIM MILLER:
Michael, if I could. I agree with what Bill said. And at the risk of treading into his territory which he knows far better than I do--
BILL BURNS:
Tread away. (LAUGH) I've got no monopoly on wisdom.
JIM MILLER:
I would be very concerned about in any way attempting to link progress in Afghanistan or Iraq or elsewhere to work on a nuclear deal. I don't think that's what Bill was suggesting by any means. But that these things should occur in parallel.

And my view is that if you took the JCPOA-- particularly if Iran were to agree to give up indefinitely the right to enrich rather than for a ten year period-- if you took that to the Senate and if the administration made a case for it, they would have a real prospect Iran could have a ratifiable treaty. Not just an executive agreement.

The JCPOA was fundamentally in U.S. interests. It had its shortcomings, including Iran's ability to enrich over time, that I believe would have been dealt with in subsequent years. This administration wants to have a treaty not just an executive agreement. I think it's for example far more feasible that it could achieve that in Iran if it will pursue this path than it could vis-à-vis north Korea and Kim Jong-un.

There's a package there. It needs some modification. The difficulty of the issues is more analogous to tweaking NAFTA or some other agreement than it is to starting with a negotiation with North Korea. I don't have any confidence the administration will pursue this path. I think that the hardliners in these administrations are more likely to continue to push on the military option. But I just want to make the case here that it does look like a very viable approach.
BILL BURNS:
I was just going to add onto what Jim said. You know, all of us who've experienced arms control negotiations over the years know that these are not one-shot processes. You know, that you build on existing agreements. And that's what I think all of us had in mind when both the interim agreement at the end of 2013, then the comprehensive agreement in the summer of 2015 were reached.

We all understood-- and we talked to the Iranians about it about the time-- that we were gonna have to continue to engage on some of the lingering concerns that we had about timelines. About, you know, lots of other aspects. And I don't think that was then or is now an impossible task. We're just creating circumstances in which it's harder to imagine that kind of a conversation today.
MICHAEL MORELL:
Let me just ask you guys one more question. And that's the broader consequences of the Trump administration's approach to Iran. The broader consequences of withdrawing from the deal. The broader consequences of not outlining a set of asks that are reasonable. The broader consequences of distancing ourselves from our allies. Whether in the Middle East or more broadly in the world. How do you think about that? Bill?
BILL BURNS:
I have at least three concerns because I think you put your finger, Michael, on one of the central challenges today that the unilateralist impulses of President Trump creates. The first is what we were just talking about. The dangers of collisions and circumstances in which our closest partners don't trust us. That's going to erode the credibility of American commitments. Whether it's to particular agreements, or intelligence, or anything else.

Second, as you also suggested, is, you know, we're widening the fissures between us and our closest allies. Especially our closest European allies. In a sense we're doing Vladimir Putin's work for him. And third, and not least, I think we're eroding the utility of sanctions over time as well.

You know, we haven't always used sanctions sensibly in the past. We've overused. We've sometimes abused that tool. But it's often been a very effective instrument of, you know, American statecraft. You have even the prime minister of Germany standing up a year ago saying, "All of us need to reduce our vulnerability to the American financial system." This will not happen overnight. It won't happen next year given the centrality of our financial system. But we could wake up five or six years from now and find that sanctions are no longer a very effective instrument of statecraft. And that I think would be deeply unfortunate.
MICHAEL MORELL:
And that wouldn't happen if you used them in a multi-lateral setting--
BILL BURNS:
Correct.
MICHAEL MORELL:
--as opposed to unilateral.
BILL BURNS:
Yep.
MICHAEL MORELL:
Bill?
JIM MILLER:
Michael, I concur with everything that Bill had to say. There's already been an impact on U.S. credibility. And it's not only whether we will do what we say we'll do, but whether it's sustainable over time. Now one could argue that the Obama administration should've done a better job of selling the American public and the congress on the deal.

And frankly I thought it did a pretty good job. And, Bill, I think you in particular and your colleagues made a very effective case. And that persuaded I think the majority of the American people and frankly the majority in Congress. So with this change any deal is going to need to have a bit more of an assurance that it is sustainable if it's going to be credible.

The administration has actually positioned itself in a pretty good place in order to be able to make that deal, if it is willing to do so. And, as Bill pointed out, if it is willing to give Iran something. In other words sanctions relief in exchange for, not just coming back to the table, but doing the deal. I don't think that's the most likely course for this administration. I think strongly that it would be the best course. And it is consistent with what President Trump has said he wants to accomplish and also President Trump's clear statements that he doesn't desire a conflict with Iran.
MICHAEL MORELL:
So here's what I've heard. Let me play Denis McDonough (LAUGH) or Tony Blinken here and try to sum up. This is what I've heard, right, is we can't let Iran get away with attacks on commercial shipping. We have to make clear to them that there's going to be a cost associated with that. But we have to have our allies on board on whatever that is at the end of the day.

Two, in terms of the nuclear agreement and in terms of Iran's behavior in the world we have to know exactly at we want. It has to be realistic. We have to know what we'd be willing to give. And again we have to have our allies on board. And so I keep on hearing allies, allies, allies, allies, allies here. Did I capture that right?
BILL BURNS:
You did. I think it was very well said, as usual.
JIM MILLER:
You got it. And as we work those two challenges the administration should take care to avoid steps that will step them back on either of them.
MICHAEL MORELL:
Thank you both for joining us.
BILL BURNS:
And thanks, Mike. I just wanted to thank you both also for reminding me of what I miss most about government service. Which is not sitting in the other room with no windows in the Situation Room. It's not impossible issues like Iran. What I always treasured most is working with people like the two of you.
MICHAEL MORELL:
Absolutely-- I felt the same way.
JIM MILLER:
It's very mutual. Thank you both.
* * *END OF TRANSCRIPT* * *

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