'This Week' Transcript: Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner

NOONAN: But can I just -- it is weird that the U.S. government is announcing to the world that he is talking. It is -- it is strange that they're saying, "Abdulmutallab, he's singing like a bird. All you people back in Yemen, all you people in Nigeria and all the places he's been to in the past two years, realize he's giving you up. We've turned him." That's not good for us.

PODESTA: Maybe if the -- maybe if all those politicians stopped attacking the FBI. Mitch McConnell likened the FBI to a Larry King interview. Maybe if they'd stop with the politics...

MARCUS: Now, that's cruel.

PODESTA: Well, no, I think he owes the FBI an apology. But if they'd stop with the politics, maybe they wouldn't have to respond to it.

(CROSSTALK)

TAPPER: Well, that's an interesting argument, because what happened was on Tuesday there was an Intelligence Committee hearing. And both FBI Director Mueller and the director of national intelligence, Admiral Blair, said very tersely that Abdulmutallab -- that the questioning and the interrogation was still going on.

TAPPER: After that, the White House called a briefing and told White House reporters what was going on, which was that Abdulmutallab's family was cooperating. That decision then was criticized, as you just criticized.

Now, what the White House says is, people were criticizing us before. They knew Abdulmutallab was cooperating. Now they're criticizing us for letting people know that he's cooperating. They can't have it both ways. Is that not fair?

NOONAN: I think two facts. One is, sometimes when you hold the executive and you are president and you work for a president, you have to show forbearance and not answer back when it will jeopardize things in a serious way, as I think perhaps the telling everybody that Abdulmutallab is talking might jeopardize things.

The second thing is, yes, both parties to some extent use these grave national security issues as a political football. People like us always complain about it. But the fact is, at those Tuesday hearings, everybody in American intelligence, when asked, "Do you see the possibility of a coming attack in the next few months?" they said, "Yes, yes, yes, and yes."

Both parties should sober up on this and seriously work together as if they were retired people in Virginia and Maryland who used to work in the government and know now party stuff on this issue doesn't matter.

TAPPER: Well, Al, does the president have a responsibility -- John was saying that the politics were interjected, and he was suggesting that the Republicans were interjecting it -- does the administration have a higher threshold to not respond, to not let these things on?

They say, look, we're letting the American people know that we are doing everything we can to protect them. Is that fair? Or is it that they're just trying to get political cover?

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