'This Week' Transcript: Secretaries Gates and Clinton

GATES: Let me -- let me just chime in, in this respect. The reliable replacement warhead program that existed in the past was really a means to an end. It was a means to modernizing the nuclear stockpile as Secretary Clinton says. Making it more reliable, safer, and -- and more secure. It -- that -- the policy of the Bush administration was also not to -- to -- not to add new nuclear capabilities. This was about how do you make the stockpile safer and more reliable.

The approach that we now have is -- is intended to do exactly that. It offers us a path forward, as Secretary Clinton says, in terms of reuse, refurbishment, and -- and if necessary, replacement of components. Not an entire warhead necessarily. So the chiefs, and I and -- and the directors of the nuclear labs are all very comfortable that -- that this puts us in a position to modernize the stockpile and -- and the $5 billion dollars that Hillary has referred to is actually just what's in our budget to -- for this program.

There is another big chunk of money in the Department of Energy budget for this infrastructure and modernization program as well. So we think this is a pretty robust approach to -- to sustaining and modernizing the stockpile.

TAPPER: Let's turn to the nuclear security summit that's about to start. Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel has said he's -- he's not going to come amidst concerns that some of the Arab and Muslim countries -- Egypt and Turkey in particular -- were going to raise the worst kept secret in the world that Israel has nuclear weapons and the fact that Israel is not a signatory to the non-proliferation treaty.

Don't they have a point?

CLINTON: Well part of the goal of the nuclear security summit is to focus on the threat from nuclear terrorism. And we don't believe the threat from nuclear terrorism comes from states. Our biggest concern is that terrorists will get nuclear material. We fear North Korea and Iran, because their behavior as -- the first case, North Korea being -- already having nuclear weapons, and Iran seeking them -- is that they are unpredictable. They have an attitude toward countries like Israel, like their other neighbors in the Gulf that makes them a danger.

So we are focusing on the two states, but we are also very concerned about nuclear material falling into terrorists' hands. And that's a concern that we all share. So part of the challenge is to bring the world together as President Obama is doing in the nuclear security summit. To have everyone sign off on an agreed upon work plan that will enable us to begin to try to tie up these loose nukes, and these loose nuclear materials. To make sure they don't fall into the wrong hands.

And Israel will be represented by the deputy prime minister. And will be at the table as we begin to try to figure out how to deal with this particular problem.

TAPPER: Is that a good thing, because it would have made the summit into a -- a side show?

CLINTON: Well that's a decision for every government to make as to who comes and who doesn't come.

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