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Interview with Donald Rumsfeld

Brian Kilmeade, Steve Doocy, Gretchen Carlson

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Date: April 6, 2011>

Time: 07:00>

Tran: 040601cb.261>

Type: Show>

Head: Interview with Donald Rumsfeld>

Sect: News; International>

Byline: Brian Kilmeade, Steve Doocy, Gretchen Carlson>

Guest: Donald Rumsfeld>

Spec: Barack Obama; Defense; Military; Congress; Prison>

BRIAN KILMEADE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Donald Rumsfeld prides himself -- he was a pretty tough guy, he was an outstanding wrestler.Mr. Secretary of Defense, would you have hopped in the water at that time and pushed the shark away?



KILMEADE: No, OK? I just wanted to know. Well, thanks for joining us today. We just want to check with you on that.


RUMSFELD: Thank you.

KILMEADE: No, thanks for joining us. We know there's a lot of talk about what went down over the weekend. Actually on Monday as the attorney general came forward and said we're going to move those trials back to Gitmo where there's a brand new courthouse and we're going to have military tribunals.

Your reaction?

RUMSFELD: Well, it's the right decision more than two years too late. It's unfortunate that the administration spent a long time campaigning against them and criticizing against the military commissions and now finally realizes that, in fact, what was put in place, the structures that were put in place from a dead stop in -- after 9/11 were the right structures. Military commissions, indefinite detention, the Patriot Act and Guantanamo Bay.

DOOCY: Yes, in fact, you sir unveiled how it would happen, I believe, about nine years ago. Essentially they're going back to the future. They're going to do what you had outlined. You got to feel vindicated, don't you?

RUMSFELD: Well, I think the Bush administration should feel that they -- they found basically the right things to do to protect the American people. And they did it in -- rapidly and they did it in a matter that was successful and they did it amid all kinds of criticism from various corners and in fact they've stood the test of time.

GRETCHEN CARLSON, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Well, usually when people do 180-degree turns, they got to blame somebody. So the attorney general chose to blame Congress.

Listen to this, Mr. Secretary.


ATTORNEY GENERAL ERIC HOLDER: I know this case in a way that members of Congress do not. I've looked at the files. I've spoken to the prosecutors. I know the tactical concerns that have to go into this decision. So do I know better than them? Yes.

I respect their ability to disagree. But I think they should respect the fact this is an executive branch function, a unique executive branch function.


CARLSON: So after that press conference, Mr. Secretary, some people were calling for Attorney General Holder to resign. But wouldn't that mean that the president would also have to resign since this is his policy?

RUMSFELD: No. Presidents are elected by the people and Cabinet officers are nominated by the presidents and then confirmed by the Senate. I think that the attorney general was flat wrong.

CARLSON: In what way?

RUMSFELD: Well, he -- first of all, his position two years ago was not the right position.


RUMSFELD: And he finally has arrived there, I think that --

CARLSON: But my -- but my question, Mr. Secretary, is whether or not that directive. Didn't he operate at the directive of the president of the United States in both cases?

RUMSFELD: That I don't know. My guess is he made the recommendations to the president. And then the president made the decision. But it was his recommendation to oppose military commissions and military commissions sit the problem.

The Uniform Code of Military Justice is for uniformed personnel and the civilian courts are for American criminals. And in fact, the military commissions are designed to fit exactly the situations this -- that we find ourselves in.

KILMEADE: We find ourselves in the kinetic military operation, if I'm going to understand, in Libya. And in that, we have to find out an objective. In your mind, you believe our objective should be Gadhafi has to go.

RUMSFELD: It seems to me if you're in Libya, in the government or a citizen or supporting the rebels, you need to know whether or not Gadhafi is going to be there when it's over. And once the people in Libya are convinced that Gadhafi is not going to be there, I think they'll very likely support the rebels and oppose Gadhafi and he'll get overthrown or leave.

KILMEADE: But that's not our policy, it seems.

RUMSFELD: Well, the problem we've got is ambiguity on the question of whether or not Gadhafi is going to be there when it's over is a harmful thing.


RUMSFELD: You need clarity.

KILMEADE: Mr. Secretary --

RUMSFELD: You need clarity.

DOOCY: What did he do wrong? Those pictures that I saw in the magazine and some of the accounts we're reading shows this guy is as brutal as it gets.

RUMSFELD: Indeed. There's no question that the world will be a better place with Gadhafi gone, but somebody has to say he's not going to be there when this is over.

DOOCY: And that somebody would be the president of the United States, I would imagine you would say. What does the president need to say, Mr. Secretary?

RUMSFELD: I think he needs to eliminate any confusion or any ambiguity and simply say to the people of Libya and those helping outside or helping Gadhafi outside that Gadhafi is going to go. And once the people see that --

CARLSON: But the interesting thing is, Mr. Secretary, it seems as if -- the president did say that and at the speech, he sort of took a step back - - actually he owned up to the war and then he said but the United States really isn't going to be involved that much anymore. And it seems to me that he's been given a pass now on the responsibility of owning this situation in Libya.

We're not talking about it that much anymore. How do you think?

RUMSFELD: Well, I think that the people in Libya are the ones that are going to end up determining whether or not Gadhafi stays or not. And once there's some clarity about the fact that it is the intention of the United States and the coalition that Gadhafi be gone, I think the people will turn on him. And I think that would be a good thing.

DOOCY: Mr. Secretary, do you have breakfast plans? Can you stick around a couple more minutes?

RUMSFELD: Certainly.

DOOCY: OK. Great.

KILMEADE: Breakfast plans with a free Danish in the green room in Washington.

DOOCY: Well, we've got Rumsfeld after the break. He -- we're going to ask him about the very latest. Brian alluded to some brand new photographs out of Afghanistan -- plus the kill pictures that are worse than the scandal that plagued his time in office. We're talking about Abu Ghraib.

CARLSON: Then Chuck Schumer calling the Tea Party extreme. Well, turns out if that's true, a whole lot of you, a lot of Americans are extreme. We'll explain.


DOOCY: Welcome back to the program. Graphic photos of an alleged U.S. Army kill team in Afghanistan have surfaced showing U.S. soldiers participating in acts of what former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is calling worst than the acts committed at the Iraqi prison Abu Ghraib.

CARLSON: So we're back with the former defense secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, whose new book is called Known and Unknown.

All right. So what do you make of this latest disturbing situation? I believe that these members of the military accused of killing civilians in Afghanistan and many of those pictures have been released in the Rolling Stone magazine.

RUMSFELD: Well, it's a -- it's a terrible thing. It's a terrible thing for our country. For the United States armed forces. And certainly it encourages our enemies. I think that what we're seeing, if it turns out to be correct, is inexcusable.

DOOCY: And you say that these photographs are worse than the photographs from Abu Ghraib and yet taking us back to the Bush administration, the mainstream media pushed the Abu Ghraib story line and the narrative about how horrific those were for a very long time. And yet now the mainstream media pretty much made this a one-day news story.

RUMSFELD: That's true. What took place at Abu Ghraib was wrong. It was disgusting and it was a matter of abuse of some prisoners in our control. And it was inexcusable and those people have been prosecuted as they should have been.

But what we're talking about now is actually killing people. And it is vastly worse. There's no question. Now you're also correct that the combination of the media and partisans in the Congress, particularly in the Senate, during Abu Ghraib piped and pounded that issue over and over again to the harm of our country and the harm of the American military.

I don't want to do that in this case. I think it's not helpful to our country.


RUMSFELD: It's unfortunate. And people should be place before was very damaging. And highly partisan.

DOOCY: Sure.

KILMEADE: Absolutely. And by the way, I don't know why any military member would talk to the Rolling Stone about anything at this point.

I've got have to ask you about General Petraeus. He's being considered to run the CIA. Do you think that's a good choice, number one? And why not the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff? Is there anybody more qualified than that?

RUMSFELD: I think it would be a bad idea to put General Petraeus in the CIA for this reason. We're making -- the administration is making too many changes too fast. If a corporation changed its leadership that rapidly, that frequently, they'd go broke. And they should.

Petraeus has got his arms around Afghanistan and he ought to stay there and he ought to be successful and do the job. And we ought not to keep playing musical chairs with the intelligence field.

If you look over the last 10, 15 years, we've had way too many people heading up our intelligence business. And it's important and it needs to be treated seriously and not trivialized.

CARLSON: But what do you think about this? Because I think on those same rumor lines, Leon Panetta who currently runs the CIA would be -- would have your job, your old job as secretary of defense. Would he be good for that?

RUMSFELD: Well, he's an able person. He's been chief of staff at the White House. He's been a member of Congress. He's now been in the intelligence business but I'm not going to get into picking Mr. Obama's -- President Obama's Cabinet for him.

DOOCY: OK. You are, however, the author of a fantastic book. It's called Known and Unknown. And you're donating all the proceeds to military families, right, sir?

RUMSFELD: I am indeed. All my proceeds.

DOOCY: Right.

RUMSFELD: And not the publisher's proceeds.

DOOCY: They've got to make something. That's right. All right.


DOOCY: Donald Rumsfeld joining us today from the D.C. bureau. Thank you, sir. Have a great day.

RUMSFELD: Thank you.


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