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Guests: Sen. Joe Lieberman & Gov. Mitch Daniels

By Fox News Sunday, Fox News Sunday - April 22, 2012

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Special Guests: Sen. Joe Lieberman, Gov. Mitch Daniels

The following is a rush transcript of the April 22, 2012 edition of "Fox News Sunday With Chris Wallace." This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

CHRIS WALLACE, HOST: I'm Chris Wallace.

The latest on the Secret Service sex scandal. Is what happened in Colombia an isolated incident or part of a pattern of misbehavior? We'll get answers from Senator Joe Lieberman, chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, which is looking into the case.

Then, is the recovery beginning to stall just as the general election campaign takes shape? We'll discuss one state's economic success story and play the Beltway's favorite parlor game. Who's on the short list to be Mitt Romney's running mate -- with Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels.

Also, government workers behaving badly -- Secret Service agents and that Vegas spending spree by the GSA. We'll ask our Sunday panel if President Obama will pay a political price for controversies on his watch.

All right now on "Fox News Sunday."

(MUSIC)

WALLACE: And hello, again, from FOX News in Washington.

Investigators are still gathering evidence in that Colombian sex scandal to determine if it was a one-time occurrence or something more. So far, 22 members of the Secret Service and military have been implicated and six Secret Service agents have been forced out.

Joining us now to discuss where the controversy goes from here is Senator Joe Lieberman, chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, which oversees the Secret Service.

And, Senator, welcome back to "Fox News Sunday."

SEN. JOE LIEBERMAN, I-CONN.: Chris, good to be with you.

WALLACE: Before we get to that subject, there is a report today that Iran has reverse-engineered that U.S. spy drone. You can see it right here on the screen, that apparently crashed in Iran and that they captured last year and that the Iranians have begun building a copy.

As a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, if this report is true, how significant is it militarily?

LIEBERMAN: I haven't been briefed on it at all. This is the first this morning with the announcement from Tehran I heard about it. I would take it with some skepticism. I think there is a history here of Iranian bluster, particularly, now when they are on the defensive because of our economic sanctions against them.

But, look, it was not good for the U.S. when the drone went down in Iran, and not good when the Iranians grabbed it. I don't have confidence at this point that they are really able to make a copy of it. It's a very sophisticated piece of machinery and has served our national security well, including I would guess being used to look all over Iran; particularly, at areas where we have reason to believe that they are working on a nuclear weapon.

WALLACE: All right. You have been getting briefed by the Secret Service on its investigation into this sex scandal in Colombia. How seriously do you take what happened in Colombia, and is there anything new?

LIEBERMAN: Yes, I take -- I take what happened in Colombia very seriously. I mean, this is the Secret Service. They're charged with the protection of the life of the president and vice president of the United States and their families.

From what we know of what was happening in Cartagena, they were not acting like Secret Service agents. They were acting like a bunch of college students away on spring weekend.

It's more serious than just a frolic. History is full of cases where enemies have compromised people and security or intelligence of positions with sex. And beyond that, just a much more practical way, I don't think we want our Secret Service agents, you know, spending a lot of time drinking bottles of vodka and carousing with women before they are going on duty, to protect the president of the United States.

WALLACE: All right.

LIEBERMAN: This is serious.

WALLACE: Let's run through some of the key questions that people are asking that seem to be unanswered.

Any evidence that the women, from what you have been told in briefings, any evidence that these women had access to privileged, secret, classified information? Whether they actually used it or not?

LIEBERMAN: The answer I'm going to give is not conclusive. But from everything I've heard from up to this point -- no, there is no evidence that information was compromised. But here again, if the Secret Service gets the reputation that when they are off-duty, not when they're on duty -- when they're on assignment and off-duty, they're going to be acting like a bunch of college kids on spring weekend, then people who are hostile to the U.S., people who may want to attack the president of the United States will begin to take advantage of that vulnerability.

And that's why I've begun with my staff and Senator Collins, my ranking member, an investigation of not just this episode. I want to give the Secret Service Director Sullivan, the Office of Professional Responsibility some space to conduct its investigation of what happened in Cartagena.

But we're going to send them some questions this week as the beginning of our broader investigation, asking whether there was any -- whether this was an exception, or is there anything in the records that show this is a pattern of misconduct that has gone elsewhere by Secret Service agents on assignment, but off-duty? Why wasn't it noticed if that was the case? What's the Secret Service going to do to make sure it never happens again?

WALLACE: I want to ask you about that. The so-called culture of the Secret Service, because it turns out that one of the supervisors who was allowed to retire, a fella named David Chaney, posted pictures and you can see it right here on Facebook of himself -- on Facebook, guarding Sarah Palin back in 2008. That's him standing behind him there. And he posted this beneath this as you can see, "I was really checking her out, if you know what I mean."

Which raises the question -- and again, I don't know if you are just asking questions or whether you found anything out -- was this isolated incident or, in fact, is an indication that Secret Service agents have acted inappropriately before?

LIEBERMAN: Right now, I don't know. But that's a really important question to ask. And our committee is going to ask it. We'll go to a public hearing -- more than one public hearing when we feel we're ready to do so. We have something constructive to say.

But this is really important. People have said to me, it's hard to believe this was an isolated incident, just happened all of a sudden in Cartagena out of nowhere. I don't know.

But I'll tell you, when you are dealing with the life of the president of the United States, the continuity of our government, we've got to ask every possible question we can about whether there was evidence this was going on, or it should have been seen by the Secret Service and what can be done to stop it.

For instance, what are the regulations, the rules of conduct that are drilled in to Secret Service agents about what behavior is expected of them when they are on assignment but off-duty? That's very important. And I don't have the answer to that yet. But we're going to get it.

WALLACE: A couple of quick questions. Again, people are asking, any evidence that any White House staffers, who were there in Cartagena, were involved in this?

LIEBERMAN: Well, there's no evidence. But I don't know that the Secret Service is investigating that question.

I saw that my colleague, Senator Chuck Grassley asked the Secret Service, the inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security to ask -- to begin to investigate whether any White House personnel, including, of course, the advanced teams that go ahead of the president when he makes a trip either at home or abroad. I -- if the White House asked me how to respond to Senator Grassley's inquiry or request, I'd say it's a reasonable question. That the White House ought to be conducting its own internal investigation of White House personnel who were in Cartagena, just to make sure that none of them were involved in this kind of inappropriate behavior.

I understand a White House advanced person is not -- doesn't have quite the same range of responsibility that a Secret Service agent does. On the other hand, the White House advance person knows exactly where the president is going to be at any time. If anybody -- thinking the worst -- wanted to attack the president of the United States, one of the ways they might find out, the path he would follow in Cartagena is by compromising the White House advanced personnel.

So, that's an important question and the White House ought to take Grassley's inquiry not defensively but making sure that they answer the question.

WALLACE: There has been one report, one report that cocaine was found in the room of one of the Secret Service agents. Do you know whether that's true or not?

LIEBERMAN: I don't. I don't.  Print  Email  Share    Recommend Tweet

continued...

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April 22, 2012

Sen. Joe Lieberman on Secret Service scandal; Gov. Mitch Daniels talks race for the White House

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David Axelrod and Ed Gillespie talk general election strategies

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Gingrich: Romney 'most likely' will be Republican nominee; Sens. Conrad, Johnson talk budget battle

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We’ll get the latest on the Secret Service scandal from Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), the Chairman of the committee tasked with overseeing the investigation.

Then, with the general election set, the economy remains issue number one.  We’ll get fiscal insight from one of the nation’s top state leaders, Governor Mitch Daniels (R-IN).

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April 22, 2012

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Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels (R) joined "Fox News Sunday" to discuss 2012 politics, including calls for him to be chosen as Mitt

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April 22, 2012

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Then, is the recovery beginning to stall just as the general election campaign takes shape? We'll discuss one state's economic success story and play the Beltway's favorite parlor game. Who's on the short list to be Mitt Romney's running mate -- with Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels.

Also, government workers behaving badly -- Secret Service agents and that Vegas spending spree by the GSA. We'll ask our Sunday panel if President Obama will pay a political price for controversies on his watch.

All right now on "Fox News Sunday."

(MUSIC)

WALLACE: And hello, again, from FOX News in Washington.

Investigators are still gathering evidence in that Colombian sex scandal to determine if it was a one-time occurrence or something more. So far, 22 members of the Secret Service and military have been implicated and six Secret Service agents have been forced out.

Joining us now to discuss where the controversy goes from here is Senator Joe Lieberman, chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, which oversees the Secret Service.

And, Senator, welcome back to "Fox News Sunday."

SEN. JOE LIEBERMAN, I-CONN.: Chris, good to be with you.

WALLACE: Before we get to that subject, there is a report today that Iran has reverse-engineered that U.S. spy drone. You can see it right here on the screen, that apparently crashed in Iran and that they captured last year and that the Iranians have begun building a copy.

As a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, if this report is true, how significant is it militarily?

LIEBERMAN: I haven't been briefed on it at all. This is the first this morning with the announcement from Tehran I heard about it. I would take it with some skepticism. I think there is a history here of Iranian bluster, particularly, now when they are on the defensive because of our economic sanctions against them.

But, look, it was not good for the U.S. when the drone went down in Iran, and not good when the Iranians grabbed it. I don't have confidence at this point that they are really able to make a copy of it. It's a very sophisticated piece of machinery and has served our national security well, including I would guess being used to look all over Iran; particularly, at areas where we have reason to believe that they are working on a nuclear weapon.

WALLACE: All right. You have been getting briefed by the Secret Service on its investigation into this sex scandal in Colombia. How seriously do you take what happened in Colombia, and is there anything new?

LIEBERMAN: Yes, I take -- I take what happened in Colombia very seriously. I mean, this is the Secret Service. They're charged with the protection of the life of the president and vice president of the United States and their families.

From what we know of what was happening in Cartagena, they were not acting like Secret Service agents. They were acting like a bunch of college students away on spring weekend.

It's more serious than just a frolic. History is full of cases where enemies have compromised people and security or intelligence of positions with sex. And beyond that, just a much more practical way, I don't think we want our Secret Service agents, you know, spending a lot of time drinking bottles of vodka and carousing with women before they are going on duty, to protect the president of the United States.

WALLACE: All right.

LIEBERMAN: This is serious.

WALLACE: Let's run through some of the key questions that people are asking that seem to be unanswered.

Any evidence that the women, from what you have been told in briefings, any evidence that these women had access to privileged, secret, classified information? Whether they actually used it or not?

LIEBERMAN: The answer I'm going to give is not conclusive. But from everything I've heard from up to this point -- no, there is no evidence that information was compromised. But here again, if the Secret Service gets the reputation that when they are off-duty, not when they're on duty -- when they're on assignment and off-duty, they're going to be acting like a bunch of college kids on spring weekend, then people who are hostile to the U.S., people who may want to attack the president of the United States will begin to take advantage of that vulnerability.

And that's why I've begun with my staff and Senator Collins, my ranking member, an investigation of not just this episode. I want to give the Secret Service Director Sullivan, the Office of Professional Responsibility some space to conduct its investigation of what happened in Cartagena.

But we're going to send them some questions this week as the beginning of our broader investigation, asking whether there was any -- whether this was an exception, or is there anything in the records that show this is a pattern of misconduct that has gone elsewhere by Secret Service agents on assignment, but off-duty? Why wasn't it noticed if that was the case? What's the Secret Service going to do to make sure it never happens again?

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