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

WILL: ... Senator Lieberman also said it's the fallacy of a false alternative to assume that you have -- either you treat someone like this in a criminal court or you don't have the rule of law. There is a substantial body of law of war, and that's the -- that's the paradigm that he is suggesting that we use in cases like this.

BROWNSTEIN: And to be clear, Obama has not completely renounced that. He has not said that he will not use military commissions. But clearly, he wants to shift the balance more towards civilian court than the Bush administration...

(CROSSTALK)

SANGER: He's -- he's also said that there are moments when he would keep people without charges.

BROWNSTEIN: Right.

MORAN: And -- and as you point out, an attack like this is an acid test politically, so now the -- the country gets a sense of who President Obama is as commander-in-chief in a time of terror. Has he been politically damaged at all? Has Secretary Napolitano been politically damaged?

TUCKER: Well, I -- I don't think -- certainly, President Obama has not sustained any long-term political damage. Janet Napolitano, we'll see. We'll see how Congress treats her coming up in these investigations.

I, for one, was pleased to see a president who had a measured response, who didn't immediately come back to the White House. The purpose of terrorism, after all, is to terrorize. So why allow Al Qaida to terrorize us?

He had all the instruments of state at his disposal in Hawaii. He reacted appropriately. I don't think there was any need for a "the sky is falling" response where the president immediately comes back.

MORAN: Should Secretary Napolitano have come back from San Francisco?

TUCKER: Well, I think she -- wherever she was, she should not have ever used awkward phrases such as "man-caused disasters" or whatever she said. There is nothing wrong with the word "terrorism." This was a terrorist act. There's nothing wrong with that word.

BROWNSTEIN: You asked if he is damaged. I mean, I think they have a strong case to make that they have narrowed the focus of our efforts on Al Qaida and they've been aggressive and part of what we're seeing here is Al Qaida trying to adapt to the increased pressure they put on them.

But if you say -- if you count as being damaged this making it more difficult for him to do some of the things he wants to do, in that sense, I think he has been damaged. I mean, they will argue, look, the people who have been sent back to Yemen are in prison today, the ones that were -- that were sent back in December.

But when you listen to Jane Harman and Joe Lieberman -- not to mention the Republicans -- say hold off on sending more people back, you can -- you can imagine how this is going to progress and why Congress may make closing Guantanamo more difficult in the months to come.

WILL: On -- on the matter of tonality, I think you're absolutely right that the president should not have dashed back to Washington. When American planes shot down some Libyan planes during the Reagan administration and Reagan was not awakened, I asked Reagan about that, he said, "No, they wake me up when they shoot down our planes."

(LAUGHTER)

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