'This Week' Transcript: John Brennan, Reps. Hoekstra, Harman, Sens. Collins, Lieberman

MORAN: All right. We will see how that effort at bipartisanship goes (inaudible) and thank you to you all for joining us this morning.

The roundtable is next. And we'll have George Will, Cynthia Tucker, David Sanger, and Ron Brownstein.

And later, the Sunday funnies.



OBAMA: What's up, guys? How's everybody doing?

(UNKNOWN): We're great now. How are you doing?

OBAMA: Doing fine.

(UNKNOWN): Happy New Year!

(UNKNOWN): Happy New Year!

(UNKNOWN): I love you. Thank you so much.

OBAMA: (inaudible)

(UNKNOWN): (inaudible)


(UNKNOWN): Aloha.

OBAMA: Aloha.


MORAN: Aloha. President Obama, a native Hawaiian. There are some vignettes from his holidays out there. He'll be returning to Washington this week.

Of course, the presidency always follows the president. Let's talk about the kind of week he had here in Washington. Our roundtable, George Will, of course, of ABC News, Ron Brownstein of the National Journal, David Sanger of the New York Times, and Cynthia Tucker of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.



Let's start with Flight 253, what we learned about it and what we learned about the president and his administration. What do you think, George?

WILL: There were three failures, one of which was -- and the least important, it seems to me, is the failure to connect the dots. When you have millions of dots, you cannot define as systemic failure, catastrophic failure anything short of perfection.

Our various intelligence agencies suggest 1,600 names a day to be put on the terrorist watch list. He is a known extremist, as the president said. There are millions of them out there. We can't have perfection here.

Second, as Senator Lieberman said, this man should be treated as an enemy combatant, not lawyered up under Miranda rights and -- and that interferes with interrogating him.

But, third, the most catastrophic failure here was that of Al Qaida. After 9/11, they're still targeting airplanes. They're down to explosives hidden in underwear, incompetently administered by operatives they have. We should look at -- at -- at them and think of what they're thinking about their own failures.

MORAN: So it's good news, David?

SANGER: Well, the Al Qaida inability to pull this off in a big way -- and, obviously, this was a -- a much smaller kind of plot than 9/11 -- is good news.

On the other hand, I think that the failure to connect the dots here is significant because we are eight years up the learning curve after 9/11. And think about the different elements we had here. There was a national security agency intercept of the many Al Qaida leader talking about a Nigerian who would be sent out, OK? There was the suspect's father, of course, visiting the embassy and reporting to the CIA in a cable that came back. And there was a visa that was issued.

And in talking to people in the administration this week, I was struck by the fact, even they acknowledge that there's nothing in the way our computer systems are put together now that actually would do the equivalent of a Google search that would connect all of these. And, in fact, if you apply for a visa, you're only checked against those computer systems at the moment you apply. It doesn't come back later on.

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