'This Week' Transcript: Two Powerhouse Roundtables

COLE: Let me first say I'm impressed -- the guy's got the material right (ph) in his pocket...


COLE: ... policy that started under President Bush continued and expanded under President Obama. I -- like everybody else, I actually think the hearings and discussion have been very helpful. There probably needs to be more of it.

The two things that come out of it that concern me the most, frankly, I think -- and this is not a criticism of the president. I think he's probably been more directly involved in some of the targeting decisions than if I were his adviser I would think would be wise. I think he should supervise -- the program he needs to be intimately familiar, but...


STEPHANOPOULOS: Like Lyndon Johnson, picking targets...


COLE: Yeah -- yeah, I think -- well, I think he's taking on too much risk for himself, quite frankly. But, again, that actually says good things about the president, not bad things.

The second thing is -- and this is to Senator Chambliss's point -- I really do think we are losing a lot of opportunities out there to actually extract people and -- and get information, and human intelligence is really much more important than taking out individual targets.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And, Nicolle, one of the ironies that a lot of people have sensed here is that even though President Bush -- Obama may have modified Bush administration policies, he's also continuing them.

WALLACE: Yes, and it's slightly hilarious that people have all this patience for a legal architecture to be crafted after the fact. If this had been President George W. Bush's administration revealing that this many drone attacks are going on, there would be impeachment hearings underway. So the hypocrisy sort of has Republicans steaming.

But I think the actual policy and the fact that President Obama has continued almost the entire basket is in the case of drone killings greatly accelerated their use has Republicans feeling pretty satisfied that the counterterrorism policies put in place by the Bush administration, which Dick Cheney was the architect of many of them, have been continued by this president, and it's a very interesting other side of the coin to this extremely progressive president on domestic policy.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And, Stephanie, it does seem as if the president is uncomfortable at least with one strain of the criticism, that he's not being as transparent as he promised to be.

CUTTER: Well, look, this is sensitive information. There is oversight through the intelligence committees, which is the way the law is currently set up. He has made it clear that he's open for a discussion about how these programs are handled in the future.

You know, the document that you're holding up is based on a legal architecture. But...

ELLISON: Not much.

CUTTER: But, you know, Mr. Brennan, the president, the administration has said that they want transparency, accountability, and a process to ensure that there's -- you know, everybody's aware of what we're doing going forward. There are elements of the -- of President Bush's war on terror that haven't been continued, many forms of torture. And, you know, the fact that the president just put this memo out, after it became known -- and, you know, he wants to work with Congress and be open and transparent about it.

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