CBS NEWS: In an exclusive interview with "CBS Evening News" anchor Norah O'Donnell, former Homeland Security Secretaries Jeh Johnson, Michael Chertoff and Janet Napolitano reflected on the impact of 9/11 and the greatest threats to national security 18 years later. It was the first time the three former secretaries sat down for an interview together. They met at the 9/11 Memorial in New York City.
Chertoff served under former President George W. Bush and Napolitano and Johnson served under former President Barack Obama. But they all agreed that issues like cyber security and climate change are some of the toughest problems facing the U.S. today.
On climate change:
O'Donnell: You all agree climate change is a big threat.
Janet Napolitano: Yes.
O'Donnell: When people say, "Well, I don't understand, how does climate change affect homeland security?" What are some real world examples?
Napolitano: When you’re talking about global warming as a whole, that affects migration patterns, that affects areas of the world where the agricultural economy has been lost. And therefore, they are perhaps more ripe for the rise of terrorism, terrorist recruitment. So there are all kinds of downstream effects from global warming.
On 2020 election security:
O'Donnell: We're now 14 months away from the next presidential election. How concerned are you that foreign governments are gonna do everything they can to cause chaos?
Chertoff: The Russians are the most blatant. But the Chinese and Iranians play this game too.
Johnson: The election may be 14 months away but the campaign is now. And we are probably, as we speak, suffering from the foreign influence on our democracy through pushing out extremist views and fake news.