Roundtable I: NSA vs. Edward Snowden

The National Security Agency director on Edward Snowden and NSA surveillance programs.
6:44 | 06/23/13

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Transcript for Roundtable I: NSA vs. Edward Snowden
Thank you. More with martha raddatz, and dan seymour, and richard haas. Author of a new book, foreign policy begins at home. Let me begin with you. You put out a powerful tweet this morning saying that by releasing snowden, china threw away the chance to invest in relations with the united states. China talked about a win-win relationship to be a model of relations between major powers of the day. And instead gone for a short-term game. Plus, whether china is prepared to enter into regulation for the international competition. You had no doubt this was the government of china -- not a lot of freelancing in china. The idea that the hong kong authorities did this independently. Inconceivable. Does this complicate it? Yes, but not ending it. I don't think it's quite that serious. China will move on, hong kong will move on. What were they supposed to do? They have domestic politics as well, especially in hong kong. Snowden created protests in that country. I think in effect china had to get rid of this guy, get rid of the problem. He might be here for a long time and that would complicate things. This is something the united states does every day. Working in china. And snowden, interviews, and documents released to the chinese press puts us in an uncomfortable position. I think domestically in the u.S., I think this further strengthens the center on national security. I think there was a real risk there would be a left-right coalition that would backlash against the united states government, a libertarian uprising. And I think snowden traveling around the world, traveling to anti-american capitals, I think the center is holding in the u.S. That's positive. How about the great irony. He's complaining about the united states and all the things they're doing wrong, and in venezuela? Good luck, pal. One of the stunning things we just heard, he conceded, the alarm bells didn't go off. A lot of people think how could this happen, a fairly low level guy in hawaii gets the secrets. What the general said is true. We have a system depending on millions of people. Some full time in uniform, some civilians, some contractors. And there's weak links. No way to ensure the security when you have the individuals. Particularly in the tech world, come at it with the libertarian ethic, big government is bad, individual privacy is paramount, no matter what. So many people called this guy a whistle blower. He's not. He's a felon. He endangered the lives of americans. The story is beginning to turn. That's important. And the majority of americans believe he should be prosecuted. You're just back from jordan. We're learning where the united states has been in a training exercise for possible military operations in syria, some kind of military intervention. It seems clear that the u.S. Is committed to helping the rebels in a way that levels the playing field with assad's forces. I think what has been going on for a while is the cia has been helping to train the rebels on heavier weapons. I think you'll see more of that. That's a way for america to vet the rebels. There's still concern who they would give heavy weapons to. I don't think the united states -- qatar, saudi arabia, but train them. Look the rebels in the eye. These are the guys we trust. It's as much as we can do to change the balance there. The small arms will not change the balance in any way. And you have such a huge problem with the refugees, 500,000 in jordan. That is unstainable. Question, dan, is it too late? I don't think so if we do more than just arm the rebels. The big question is whether or not the administration is prepared to do a bombing campaign of syrian airfields. This is the landing strips that enable them to move chemical weapons around, move troops around, receive arms from iran. Unless they are taken out, arming the rebels will have limited impact. Is there any way to limit our involvement once we begin trying implement a no-fly zone? I don't think we should go that far. But what we should do, is do the max of indirect help. Provide serious anti-armor, serious anti-aircraft support. But not direct military involvement. Syria is one thing to worry about. We have a much bigger issue in fact middle east, iran. Plus, all sorts of issues in asia with china, and the domestic challenges at home. We don't want american foreign policy to be grabbed by events in syria. I agree with that. The risk, however, is the iran-hezbollah-assad proxy prevails, to tehran, it could give the iranians the upper hand. That's why we should arm them more heavily -- I still don't know what comes next. I want that question answered. What comes next? What's the strategy in syria. If they take out airfields and that doesn't work, and arm the rebels and train and assist and that doesn't work, then what happens? What we have to be prepared for no matter what, be honest and bleak. Looking at years and years of prolonged fighting in syria. There's not going to be a quick ending. There's no going to be a happy ending. Even after assad is ousted. None of that is going to happen. We saw the president with president putin this week. None of that is going to happen unless the russians change their attitude. I agree. Which is why we have to move past the russians. There's not going to be a peaceful transition of power because it seems putin has vetoed three u.N. Security council resolutions on syria. He's watered down many more. We're not going to get cooperation, it's unrealistic. I think richard is right we haven't had a real discussion about the stakes in syria. And the president has to address this issue. Because for all the things she saon the front lines, this is a regional mess. Someone needs to talk through -- we only have 30 seconds left. I have not seen any indication from the president that he is willing to go out there and make a case for intervention in syria. He doesn't want to. With that toe in the water, he's in.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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