This Week Transcript: Amb. Haqqani, and Sens. Lugar, Reed

Senator and the roundtable on Obama's national security team.

Nov. 30, 2008 — -- ABC'S "THIS WEEK WITH GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS"

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, HOST DAN HARRIS, ABC NEWS HUSAIN HAQQANI, PAKISTANI AMBASSADOR TO U.S. SEN. RICHARD G. LUGAR, R-IND. SEN. JACK REED, D-R.I.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Good morning and welcome to "This Week." Mayhem in Mumbai. Teams of gunmen, more than two days of terror.

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UNKNOWN: Right now this hotel has been taken hostage.

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STEPHANOPOULOS: New tension and new risks in the world's most dangerous region.

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PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: The killers who struck this week are brutal and violent. But terror will not have the final word.

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STEPHANOPOULOS: A full report today with Dan Harris in Mumbai, Pakistan's ambassador to the U.S., and two key senators -- Republican Richard Lugar and Democrat Jack Reed.

Then...

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PRESIDENT-ELECT OBAMA: You got a little lipstick on your cheek.

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STEPHANOPOULOS: The Obamas get ready for Washington. The new team named in record time. That, and all the week's politics on our roundtable, with George Will, Donna Brazile, Matthew Dowd and Torie Clarke.

And as always, the Sunday Funnies.

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DAVID LETTERMAN, TALK SHOW HOST: These turkeys that they're going to pardon this year? They're arrogant. They're flying in from Detroit on their private jets. That's how arrogant they are.

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STEPHANOPOULOS: Hello again. While we were celebrating Thanksgiving this week, the world's largest democracy was enduring its own 9/11. Officials in India are still accounting for the carnage that unfolded from Wednesday to early Saturday. At least 156 have been killed, almost 300 wounded. Ten of the terrorists have also been killed or captured. Several more may have been involved, but Indians are wondering how so few could lay siege to the city for so long.

For more on that, we're joined in Mumbai today by ABC's Dan Harris. And Dan, we're getting word today that top officials in the Indian government, including their equivalent of the homeland security secretary, are resigning their posts. To what extent are Indians blaming themselves for what happened?

HARRIS: Well, there is an enormous amount of anger here, there's no question about it. We were just at a protest about a couple of hundred yards that way, outside the historic Taj Mahal Hotel, and there are people carrying signs that said, and I'm paraphrasing here, we wish that the politicians had been killed in these attacks.

The anger seems to run along two tracks. There's anger that the response to the attacks themselves was slow in the eyes of many. There's also anger at the intelligence failure here, a feeling that politicians could have prevented these attacks from happening.

There's a headline in today's newspaper -- pretty sure you can't see this, but it says, "Our Politicians Fiddle as Innocents Die." And it is this anger that produced the resignations that you referenced, George. And we're hearing that there could be more resignations and firings in the not-too-distant future.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You talk about the intelligence failure, yet several government officials are saying now with increasing certainty that they believe the militants did come from Pakistan.

HARRIS: Right, and the main source of that information is a young man, the only terrorist who was captured alive during the 60- hour siege. (inaudible) from Pakistan, and he has reportedly told his Indian interrogators that he's a member of a group called Lashkar e- Taibi, which means army of the righteous. This is a group that has been trying for years to start a war between India and Pakistan over Kashmir, the disputed province up in the Himalayas. This young man, incidentally, is 21 years old, as I said, fourth-grade education, apparently worked as a day laborer of some sort. So probably a foot soldier and not a mastermind of this attack. Therefore, it's unclear how much intelligence value he is, but it does seem to bolster the case that this plot had Pakistani roots.

STEPHANOPOULOS: They are not going so far as to actually accuse the Pakistani government yet of complicity with the terrorists, but one minister said that they're going to now increase security, especially on the borders with Pakistan, to a war level. What exactly does that mean?

HARRIS: Well, you know, it's really not clear. This was said by one Indian government official to Reuters. There had been no reports that the troops have moved to the border, as we've seen in years past. I remember being in Pakistan six or seven years ago after another huge terror attack here in India, with roots in Pakistan, and at that time, the Indians sent their troops to the Pakistani border, and there was real fear of a nuclear confrontation. And again, there are fears this time, but no reports of sending troops to the border. There are reports of increased security at sea.

I was talking to an analyst today about this question of whether the Indians are going to feel pressure, given all the anger here to retaliate militarily. And this analyst was saying that, yes, they will feel the pressure, but he doesn't in the end think that the Indians will mount some sort of military action, because the know there is a potential of nuclear war on the other side of that decision.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Some reassuring news. Dan Harris, thanks very much.

And for more on this one, I'm joined here in the studio by Pakistan's ambassador to the United States, Husain Haqqani. And you heard Dan Harris' report there. Some reassurance on the Indian side, but also a lot of anger across the country of India that these militants do come from Pakistan and are at some level being harbored by the Pakistanis.

HAQQANI: George, the first statement may have some roots, but the second part, that they are harbored by Pakistanis, plain wrong.

The point we must remember is that we should not see this heinous act in the context of India-Pakistan relations. We should see it in the context of international terrorism. There are terrorists that have trained in all countries of the world, secretly. These are non- state actors.

I don't think that this is the time for India or anybody in India to accuse Pakistan. It's time to work with Pakistan.

Pakistan is now a democracy. India is a democracy. And as two democracies, we need to strengthen each other, rather than fall into the trap of the terrorists, who want us to fight with each other so that they can get greater strength.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Dan cited the one analyst who does not believe that India will move its troops to the border of Pakistan. If they do, what will be the Pakistani response?

HAQQANI: Pakistan would then have to of course bolster its military presence along the border with India, and that may have to take troops away from the Northwest Frontier Province and the border with Afghanistan.

Nobody wants that. India, I'm sure, will not want that either.

The important thing to understand is that the democratic government in Pakistan, led by President Asif Zardari and Prime Minister Gilani, has really gone the extra mile in reassuring the Indians that we feel their pain. Pakistan is a victim of terrorism. India is a victim of terrorism. The victims need to get together. Forget about our bitter history, let's make a good...

(CROSSTALK)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Yet the Pakistan spy chief, the head of the ISI, was originally supposed to go to India to work on this, yet is now not going.

HAQQANI: Well, I think that the rhetoric right now is such that it is not the right time for a high-level meeting of that sort, but there is an offer of intelligence cooperation, and Pakistan will definitely cooperate with the Indians in every detail if there is evidence that there is any link to anybody.

The important thing is, everybody in the world is now coming round to agreeing that the government of Pakistan, the state of Pakistan, the military of Pakistan and even the intelligence services are not directly involved. That's the good news.

If there are individuals -- look, in this country, in the United States, people have been arrested for plotting and planning terrorism. Does that mean that the U.S. government is at fault?

Intelligence failure? I think that for that, people have to look closer to home rather than abroad.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, our own chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said this week that Pakistan has become the central front again in the war on terror, the central home of Al Qaida and its associated groups, and the question is, is Pakistan doing enough to root these groups out?

HAQQANI: George, I think you also saw the head of the CIA, General Hayden, say not long ago that the new government in Pakistan is trying to get its hands around the problem.

The point is that Pakistan and Afghanistan became the focus of jihad central many, many years ago when they were all fighting the Soviets. These people have roots in some remote parts of our country. They have spread those roots. Some of the efforts in the war against terror have not been successful. Our dictator, General Musharraf, did not do the right things in terms of eliminating the terrorists. But the new government is making its effort. Our intelligence services are far better sort of prepared. The will is there. And whatever capacity that we need, I hope that the international community will provide it to us.

STEPHANOPOULOS: One more question. President-elect Obama talked earlier in the campaign about sending perhaps a high-level negotiator, maybe even former President Clinton, to deal with the tensions between India and Pakistan. Is that a good idea?

HAQQANI: Well, I think that it is important for India and Pakistan to get over the burden of history. We have some unresolved issues, including the issue of Jammu and Kashmir. As long as we are disagreeing with each other, these two democracies, we should strengthen each other in that region and bring peace to that region. We'll continue to have arguments. I think it's about time that we put those arguments behind us, and if anybody can help us do that, that will be definitely a good thing.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Mr. Ambassador, thanks very much for your time this morning.

HAQQANI: Pleasure talking to you, George.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You should know that we also invited the Indian ambassador to join us this morning. He could not be here.

But we are now joined by two key senators, the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Richard Lugar. Also, Democrat on the Armed Services Committee, Jack Reed of Rhode Island. Gentlemen, welcome to you both.

And Senator Lugar, let me begin with you. We've heard about this pressure that the Indian government is going to face now to respond militarily at sites in Pakistan, potential sites in Pakistan. Dan Harris talked to one analyst who was relatively complacent. Are you that confident?

LUGAR: Well, I'm confident that there is a good opportunity at this point for the Indians and the Pakistanis to understand that this group that probably caused this could cause harm to both of them. But I think that the suggestion just made that President-elect Obama send a very high-level person to the situation underlines the need for diplomacy on our part, diplomacy now as well as diplomacy in the Obama administration.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So you're for this high-level negotiator?

LUGAR: Well, I would think that might be a good idea, something -- because, it appears to me, that we have an interlocking situation of Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.

The Indians are sometimes accused by the Pakistanis of wanting to get involved in Afghanistan. And the Pakistanis have -- may be sending people to the border to stop that, while the Indians, given the election coming up in May, trying to show that they're aggressive, can move right away.

We're going to have to move very rapidly ourselves, the United States of America, to make certain that our forces in Afghanistan, quite apart from whatever we're doing in Iraq, are protected, while the rest of this goes on, with two very high-level countries.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And there's a chance they'll be less protected if Pakistan feels the need to move its forces from the Pakistani- Afghan border to India?

(CROSSTALK)

LUGAR: Well, very much so, given Kashmir, given the fact that the dissident group that probably caused the attack arose from the Kashmir controversy with India, to begin with.

There's a history, here. And as you have witnessed on your program, the Indian people are disgusted with their own government. The Pakistanis have a new president, Zardari, who is not in great shape.

And so our presence there is going to be very important.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But, Senator Reed, given that anger we see in India, I would feel that Indian politicians would feel that pressure, perhaps not to strike militarily, but at least to increase their forces and put more pressure on these parts of Pakistan which are harboring militants coming into India.

REED: Well, I think they're looking for some tangible signs from the Pakistanis, not just rhetorical flourishes but tangible signs that they're going to take effective action.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Where would that be?

REED: Well, there is indication that the intelligence service has been trying to distance themselves from these groups, many of which were their protegees, going back to the war against the Soviets.

But that's not sufficient. They have to now be consciously, and collaborate and cooperate with international forces to root these individuals out, preempt them, if they can.

So the first test, I think, will be, can they have a much more viable and vigorous discourse on intelligence matters, warnings from both sides to the other with respect to these groups.

I think the political climate in Pakistan is different now. They do recognize that these groups are a danger to themselves, and not just something that they can unleash against the Afghanis or the Indians.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Do you agree with the ambassador, thought, that the new Pakistani government has been doing all it can?

REED: I don't think they're doing all they can. I think they've made a significant turn away from both active or, sort of, passive support for these groups, seeing that that's in their interests, a strategic, sort of, weapon that they have.

I think they're trying to do that. I think the military, Kiyani, the new chief of military, has been much more effective at doing that.

But this is going to take a long process. And that, I think, is where we have to begin. I think, as Dick suggested, this is a diplomatic challenge.

The recognition -- and Senator Obama and I were traveling in the area in July, and when he came back, and he gave his press conference in Amman, Jordan, he said, specifically, we have to start thinking about not just Pakistan-Afghanistan but Pakistan, Afghanistan, and India, because these problems are interrelated--

STEPHANOPOULOS: And an arc of crisis, then?

Do you support this idea that the president-elect did talk about, for a high-level mediator?

REED: I think we have to start as we are. FBI agents are there, on the ground; increased intelligence efforts; build this up.

And if there's a strong indication, on both sides, that they're moving together, and that we can play a productive role, yes. But I think you have to have the building blocks in place.

I hope we can get those building blocks in place. And I would think, going forward, unless we include Pakistan-India, in a deliberate way, in our diplomacy, we won't be able to, as Senator Lugar suggested, effectively protect our forces and carry out our mission in Afghanistan.

STEPHANOPOULOS: We have to include them, Senator Lugar, yet the more we include India, for example, in trying to pacify the situation, the more skeptical and scared Pakistan gets.

LUGAR: True, but this is a part of the complexity of the situation. I think the Pakistanis already understand that we are supportive of them. The IMF is supportive of them, on a different scale, a $7.6 billion loan, because they're bankrupt as a country, likewise. They have economic problems.

So everybody could have suspicions, at this point. My point is diplomacy may try to unravel some of this, to try to keep things afloat.

I think this is crucial, in terms of the timing of it. I understand that President Bush will call Mr. Singh in India today. Maybe Admiral Mullen will go out to the area again. He has good ties with the Pakistanis.

I like that idea of activity now. Because I believe this is a crucial time in which things could unravel.

STEPHANOPOULOS: We also, at this time, are seeing indications that President-elect Obama is about to announce his new national security team.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me show what we expect to hear tomorrow in Chicago -- the appointment, of course, of Senator Hillary Clinton as secretary of state; Robert Gates expected to stay on at the Pentagon; General Jim Jones, the former commandant of the Marine Corps, supreme commander of NATO, will be national security adviser; and Dr. Susan Rice likely to come on as U.N. ambassador.

Senator Lugar, as a Republican, as the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, how do you assess that team?

LUGAR: I think they're excellent selections. I think it will be a strong team. I would just say, as an individual, I look forward to working with each one of them. I hope and I'm certain Senator Kerry, who is our incoming chairman, feels the same way. Bipartisan support of this team really is of the essence right now.

REED: I think it's a superb group of people. Experienced, pragmatic. People I think who will also work well together, and I think they are a group of very talented people, whose talent is being enhanced by the dialogue between President-elect Obama and all of these individuals.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me dig into it a little bit more. We know also this morning that former President Clinton has agreed to several restrictions on his activities at the Clinton Foundation in order for Senator Clinton to be able to take this job as secretary of state. Let me show what he's agreed to -- disclosing all contributors to the foundation, going back. He's also going to separate his Clinton Global Initiative from the Clinton Foundation, and end any Clinton Global Initiative meetings outside the United States. And then submit any future speeches, projects, consulting contracts to the Department of State ethics officials for review.

Senator Lugar, is that sufficient to do away with any questions of conflict of interest?

LUGAR: I think it's a big step. I'm not going to enter into -- make life more difficult in the situation by suggesting all sorts of other things that might occur, but clearly...

STEPHANOPOULOS: But do you think that some should?

LUGAR: Well, I think that the wide-ranging activities of President Clinton are very substantial on this earth. They will continue to be. It's been suggested on this program, he might be an emissary for diplomacy in the very thing we're talking about. I don't know how, given all of our ethics standards now, anyone quite measures up to this who has such cosmic ties. But I think the Obama campaign people have done a good job in trying to pin down the most important elements, and at this point hopefully this team of rivals will work. This is really what is at play here.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But you're going to have to vote on Senator Clinton's confirmation, as a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

LUGAR: Yes.

STEPHANOPOULOS: If that is the package of restrictions on President Clinton, is that sufficient for you to clear Senator Clinton?

LUGAR: Well, I would vote in favor of Senator Clinton, knowing what we have here on this program today. I suspect, however, that I'm not alone in suggesting that there will be questions raised, and probably legitimate questions.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But what more could President Clinton do?

LUGAR: I don't know, frankly. In other words, I would just suspect that given all of the ties, all of the influence that he has, all of the relationships that he is a major player in foreign policy.

Now, Mrs. Clinton is going to be the secretary of state. They are married, they are a team.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But there's disclosure and review by ethics officials. Shouldn't that be sufficient?

LUGAR: Well, I would hope so. And I said for my part, I plan to vote in favor of her confirmation.

STEPHANOPOULOS: What's your view on this?

REED: Well, I think this arrangement sets up a framework of transparency and disclosure. And I think that's a significant and important aspect of the confirmation process for Mrs. Clinton, Senator Clinton.

As it goes forward, I think, though, I think the presumption will be that both the Secretary of State Clinton and president, former President Clinton will be very judicious in what they take on, because there's a new dimension here. The secretary of state and the former president are married, and I think that's going to set the standard.

But I think they've put up a good framework. This disclosure, this transparency is the right way to go.

STEPHANOPOULOS: How about in the question of the mediation? Does -- if, for example, and President-elect Obama did talk about this in the campaign -- having perhaps President Clinton serve as a mediator between India and Pakistan over Kashmir. There would not necessarily be a conflict there if he chose to have President Clinton do that. But you're smiling. You don't thing it is likely anymore?

REED: No, I think it's entirely likely. And I don't think there will be a conflict. And I think also, in terms of specific assignment, that, to your question, George, what more can be done? Well, in that context, there might be some arrangements that should be disclosed, some additional self-imposed restrictions that the president would take. But in the context of a specific mission from President Obama, I think that's where these judgments could be made.

I think he would be a superb addition to our international diplomacy.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Do you agree with that on India and Pakistan, as a mediator, President Clinton?

LUGAR: Yes, I think he could do a great job there. And for that matter, in lots of places.

But, as I say, this is an unprecedented situation historically.

STEPHANOPOULOS: We deal with a lot of those these days.

LUGAR: And so, as a result, rather than making some blank statement about it, you just recognize the complexities of this world, as well as the people involved.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Another question that comes with this team, Senator Reed, is we see Secretary Gates staying on at the Pentagon.

You had William Cohen, a Republican, serve out the entire second term of President Clinton as defense secretary. Now Robert Gates is staying on for President-elect Obama.

Are you worried that this is somehow sending a message that Democrats can't handle the Pentagon?

REED: Oh, absolutely not. I think what it's sending a message is, at at this time of significant challenge internationally, the continuity that Bob Gates brings to the Pentagon, and his good judgment, his good sense, his demonstrated performance is absolutely critical for this moment.

And I think it speaks volumes about Bob Gates, and it says nothing at all about the capacity of Democrats.

I think there are so many talented Democrats in the national security field that were being considered. But I think this situation was so important because, at this transition moment, you need the continuity. You need someone like Bob Gates, and someone who has, over the last few months, has demonstrated a real grasp of policy.

STEPHANOPOULOS: How will it work, operationally? Presumably, the president-elect will put in a deputy. And we know that Secretary Gates is only going to stay, he said -- or likely to only stay for about a year.

How do you avoid the prospect of setting up basically two Pentagons inside the Pentagon?

REED: Well, the tradition, in my view, is that the deputy is really, sort of, the managing partner, if you will, of the concern. The deputy is -- and a good example, I think, is Gordon England, who's done a great job.

But his responsibilities are more procurement issues, managerial issues -- and the way that John Hamre, who was the deputy in the Clinton administration -- superbly talented individuals.

But their view was more of making the trains run on time, making sure that the budgets were in order, doing those things, without the expectations that they would automatically move up if their secretary left.

I think that's the model that they're looking for today. And I think that it is appropriate. Because you do not want two competing centers of power. That would be -- I think undermine Secretary Gates.

And my sense is the Obama administration, and particularly President-elect Obama understands that. And so they're looking for someone who can be that, sort of, mayor of the Pentagon, if you will.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And you believe, based on these appointments, Senator Lugar, that President-elect Obama is making good on his promise of bipartisanship in national security affairs?

LUGAR: Yes. I think, without knowing the parties of everybody involved -- clearly, it would appear that Secretary Gates is a Republican. General Jones could be a Republican or a Democrat, but he's great man for this position. I'm excited about that appointment. And I appreciate that.

Susan Rice, I have known as a fellow Rhodes scholar on boards selecting others. I have great respect, though, for the testimony that she has given in the Foreign Relations Committee. I think it's a good group.

STEPHANOPOULOS: A vote of confidence from both senators today.

LUGAR: There you go.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Thank you both very much.

REED: Thanks.