'This Week' Transcript: VP-Elect Joe Biden

STEPHANOPOULOS: He says, the more you learn about threats, as you -- as you see the intelligence, the more you're going to come around to the Bush administration's point of view on their counterterrorist policies.

BIDEN: I'll make two responses to that. One, as chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, unless they were lying to me all along, I knew the details of the threat. I was one of those four people that had access to all that information, excuse me, one of those eight people the -- that had access to that information.

Secondly, I have been getting what they call that presidential briefing you get every morning from the intelligence community since the day we have been -- since the day we were elected, not sworn in.

I have learned nothing thus far that would change my view...


BIDEN: Nothing thus far that would change my fundamental view that Guantanamo should close, number one, that, number two, the way in which we have conducted our policy, in terms of both surveillance as well as the detainees, has hurt our reputation around the world.

And to quote from a previous national security report put out by the -- the intelligence community, we have -- we have created, not dissuaded, more terrorists as a consequence of this policy.

Nothing I've learned thus far has changed my fundamental view on the constitutional as well as the practical positions we should take relative to the issues of torture and others.

STEPHANOPOULOS: The Senate Armed Services Committee last week had a unanimous report that said that the prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib, at Guantanamo, at prisons around the world is a direct and indirect result of decisions made by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other high officials. Should they be prosecuted for that?

BIDEN: First of all, that's a judgment, remember, four years ago on your program I made, so I haven't changed my mind. And this confirms.

But the questions of whether or not a criminal act has been committed or a very, very, very bad judgment has been engaged in is -- is something the Justice Department decides.

Barack Obama and I are -- President-elect Obama and I are not sitting thinking about the past. We're focusing on the future. Obviously, that if the Justice...

STEPHANOPOULOS: But should the cases be reviewed?

BIDEN: Well, that's a decision I'd look to the Justice Department to make.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But you're not ruling it out at this point?

BIDEN: I'm not ruling it in and not ruling it out. I just think we should look forward. I think we should be looking forward, not backwards.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Looking forward, switching subjects here to the inaugural, quite a bit of controversy the last couple of days over the choice of Pastor Rick Warren to give the invocation at the inaugural. And I'm sure you've seen the reaction in the gay community. We've gotten e-mails, phone calls.

And many in the gay and lesbian community simply can't understand how you can give this place of honor to a man who's equated gay marriage with incest and pedophilia. What do you say to that?

BIDEN: Well, look, Barack Obama, candidate Obama, Senator Obama, President-elect Obama has a -- a stellar and outspoken record in support of equality for all Americans, including gay and lesbian Americans.

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