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Monday, June 12, 2006

Coleen Rowley on KFAN

I started listening to the Dan Barreiro program before Coleen Rowley came on. Apparently what sparked this is because Congressman Kline was on the Barreiro program a couple of weeks ago (audio here) talking about the Haditha incident. Someone from the Rowley campaign heard it and called KFAN demanding equal access which they got. Will they regret it? We will know after the commercial break.

And we're back with Coleen...

Barreiro: I would argue that an effective whistleblower has about as good a rating amoung your average citizen as anybody if the feeling is that what you are whistleblowing about is important and you're effective in doing so and you bring to light something that needs to be. The question is, the moment that you declare you're running for office and become a "politician" can you still hold on to the good stuff that is associated with the whistleblower part or does it all change in way that ultimately could be not necessarily good for you?

Rowley: Politicians of course in the current environment are viewed quite negatively, I don't know - my informal poll is 30-40% of the public right now really has a low opinion of politicians. On the other hand, of course whistleblower is not the best term, I always use truthteller...and so if you can't have the image of being a truthteller it would be obviously quite the opposite of what most people see as politicians right now. And you're right - it is very difficult - the lucky thing...I had a chance for a solid year almost to give speeches on ethics and talk to civic and church groups on two topics - civil liberties and the need to balance civil liberties in the war on terrorism and also on ethical decision making...ethical decision making because it ties in with law enforcement I had little bit of a chance to meet people before I was cast as a politician...

B: Lets talk about your former employer and your own views on whether we are any closer to dealing with the vast bureaucracy...with the reams of of it vital some if it maybe rather it your view that we are doing any better job of sharing information?

R: Well the short answer is one step forward two steps backward. Even though you go forward on one level...there are other areas that have been under cut. For example, pre 9/11 this FISA wall that prevented sharing of intelligence with law enforcement was one of the big problems...and certainly complacency in general was a problem. I think both of those have been pretty much remedied. But on the other hand now what we have going on and this makes it even worse is we've got more recruiting of jihadists and extreme...extremists in the world. So the threat has doubled, tripled, quadrupled perhaps - the potential threat in the world is much more elevated than it was even pre 9/11 so that no matter how good you are on defense, if the threat keeps going up you're gonna be in a bad situation. And so I think we gotta have a much more comprehensive approach to dealing with terrorism as opposed to how we are dealing with it right now.

B: What is your position on investigating mosques? How do we balance that with the obvious concern with chilling religious expression....

R:Well this is my balancing civil liberties with the need for effective is one of my subtopics that I talk about all the time. There is a problem right now, people do not understand that just collecting more data if it is not relevant does not help. And of course we can talk all day of the ethic of this, perhaps even the legality right now...I approach it from a different perspective and say - is it making us safer? When you talk about 300k on the no fly lists and the people on them are not all terrorists. When you talk about this collection of all these international calls...I'm not the only one saying's the false positive problem. It's the needle in the haystack and we are adding more hay. They have a hard time sifting through the irrelavent data to find the real terrorists...

B: Let me ask you about Moussaoui ? I'm curious to get your viewpoint on how the trial played out in the stretch...How big a "fish" was he?

R:Well how big a fish is really kinda beside the point! If we had effectively investigated him at the time, he was tied in a couple of ways to the masterminds of the 9/11 attacks....I think the facts have born out that he wasn't and some of the stuff that he said was self aggrandizing. Despite all of the mistakes the investigative mistakes that our HQ was responsible for (not the agents the supervisors) HQ thwarted the case... To those that say we can't try terrorists in open court - in spite of the issues we saw a jury weigh all of the facts and come up with a verdict. So I think it shows we should rely on our criminal courts to try terrorists!

B:Do you think it can be done without compromising sensitive data?

R:Yes I do. There are cases where the sensitive techniques can be shielded but the results can be used in court. I recall in organized crime cases...a judge will not allow the placement of the listening device to be provided but the results of that device can certainly be allowed...there is a law...let me think of's called the Classified Information something Act where you can go into court and make these arguments to judges. The law itself is sufficient to handle this.

B:Give us your view on Iraq - not necessarily that it is a mess (because I think most reasonable people think it is), but there is great disagreement on how we go forward. You think we need to get out as soon as possible - is that your position?

R:Yes - I advocate something along the lines of Murtha's position. Just to go back to what you said - you said that "most reasonable people now acknowledge that it is a mess" are you saying that my opponent is not a reasonable person because John Kline, I'm sure you have heard him speak before, he has spoken many times about the progress in Iraq and I have never heard him acknowledege that it is a mess the way that most people do...

B:If you want to buy the notion that we made the mess - you break it you own it? It sounds like you do not think we can do that and are we even going to be more rippable if we just walk away?

R:If we go back to that "breaking the china in the china shop" paradigm, if you go into a china shop and break it, you do not stay in the china shop and keep breaking pay for it and you get out! If we are all for pushing for democracy in Iraq - why don't allow a vote? to see if they even still want us there....It is a low grade civil war and our troops are caught in the middle...and the quagmire argument I think which is "it's mess now but what do we's people like Rumsfeld "well we gotta stay 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 years now"...that is his last guesstimate and he simply seems to be throwing up his hands and saying "I don't know what to do" we let the troops stay in this cross fire of a low grade civil war?

B:Zarqawi 's death has been met with lots of different reactions - will it turn the tide? Based on what we know - it's a good thing. Some Dems suggest that this is a distraction, this is a way for Bush to score political points.

R:I would never say that the taking out of Zarqawi was a distraction. I think actually President Bush the tone he set when he was not overly hopeful is correct here. Remember the story of Hercules killing the hydra - every time you cut off a head 2 come by cutting off one head...he should have never been allowed to escape the US controlled zone when the US invaded...a lot of people are talking about the fact that Cheney - Vice President Cheney knew that Zarqawi was in the US zone but didn't want to do a lot about it....because this was one of the pretexts that you could say that have Al Qaeda connected to Iraq even though Zarqawi had no connection to Saddam....we are looking at another mistake. We can cross our fingers and hope that it is not the hydra story, but unfortunately this has really taken root and it is a bad situation...

B:I appreciate the time...I think it is safe to say that the last 2 administrations have made a series of blunders when they have had opportunities to get people a point where we might have had a better chance to get on top of a situation that I know is important to you. I appreciate the time...

Rather than clutter the interview with my interjections, I will post my thoughts after this.

Cross posted at Ladies Logic


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