Published at Canada Free Press on March 23, 2015
FOX News Sunday, and its continuing attempts to actually perform live-action news gathering, is often attacked by disappointed members of the Irate Right as well as the Indignant Left by the outcomes of their various interviews of the glitterati among the members of the Washington, D.C. elites.
The Irate Right should recognize that, generally when Chris Wallace interviews anyone who represents (directly or indirectly) Barack Hussein Obama, the result can be very informative. Not from the video tape, but from the transcript of the interview that accompanies the video that is on line.
Why, you may ask? Because too often it’s the same situation when you deal with a used car salesman, who speaks quickly, using phrasing that pleases the ear, but is trumped every single time by the words written in the sales contract. That’s about the same time that the potential customer (or in a term more commonly used by a con artists, a “mark”) says “Oops!”
Yesterday, March 22nd, Chris Wallace, the host of FOX News Sunday, interviewed CIA Director John Brennan. After listening to the interview, I found myself asking the same questions over and over again while listening to Mr. Brennan – What did he really just say? What does that actually tell me? Does it bear any relation to either reality or the truth?
Let’s look at a few examples to demonstrate the concept.
Wallace touched on the issues surrounding the negotiations with Iran regarding their self-described “peaceful” nuclear development issues. The exchange went like this:
WALLACE: Let’s talk about a current threat, Iran. What if the talks fall apart and there is no deal? What’s your best intelligence? Will Iran race to develop a nuclear weapon? Or are they more likely to go back to where we were before the talks, just a couple of months short of breakout?
BRENNAN: The nuclear program is one issue that we’re hoping to be able to halt, but also we see that Iran is still a state-sponsored terrorism. So what we have to do — whether there’s a deal or not — is to continue to keep pressure on Iran and to make sure that it is not able to continue to destabilize a number of countries in the region.
Note the phrasing used by Brennan, “we’re hoping to be able to halt [nuclear weapons development]”. We’re hoping? Only hoping? But we are willing to reduce and ultimately eliminate the sanctions on Iran and in exchange we get a bushel full of hope? Is that the deal?
Chris Wallace continued along that line of inquiry:
WALLACE: I want to get into that in a moment. On the deal, what’s your guess what happens if there is no deal? Do they breakout or do they stay just short of that?
BRENNAN: I think they realize there will be tremendous costs and consequences and implications if they were to decide to go for a breakout. There are a number of things that the United States has available to it to prevent Iran from getting a bomb. President Obama has made it very clear that we are going to prevent Iran from having that type of nuclear weapon that they may were going on the track to obtain.
So, if they decide to go down that route, they know that they will do so at their peril.
How serious are these “tremendous costs and consequences and implications”? Is the President contemplating drawing another “red line”? Threats from one nation to another, from the United States toward Iran, also have “tremendous costs and consequences and implications”. How much of a price is Obama willing to pay to implement those costs, consequences and implications? What is Iran’s potential reaction to making the threat into a reality? Why were these questions not raised during this interview, or does FOX plan to ask them in the White House press room?
I will admit (unlike those within the White House, CIA or State Department) that I don’t have their answer handy, but if they don’t have an answer either, then there is another whiff of incompetence drifting across the Potomac.
Wallace followed later with this:
WALLACE: Question, how confident are you that between the new inspections regime under the agreement and your intelligence in the area that you would be able to ensure that Iran was not secretly building a nuclear weapon?
BRENNAN: It’s not a question of trusting the Iranians on this. I know that Secretary Kerry and President Obama are comfortable with what it is that we are insisting on as far as a verification regime. [Emphasis supplied]
The word “comfortable” is defined as “being in a state of physical or mental comfort; contented and undisturbed; at ease”. Exactly why should the leader of the free world and his guru on relationship with Iran feel comfortable? Really? How many nations must Iran promise to wipe off the face of the Earth for Obama and Kerry begin to feel the slightest bit uncomfortable with the negotiations?
Mr. Brennan seems to have landed on the word confident as his “go-to” description. The word was used in response to four consecutive questions from Wallace. The responses seem to be almost parrot-like in their repetitiveness.
BRENNAN: I know that there are a lot of reports. I’m not going to get into what it is we know about the Iran nuclear program. But I am confident that our intelligence capabilities are sufficiently robust that we have a good understanding of what the Iranian nuclear program entails.
BRENNAN: I think we have confidence that we’re aware of the facilities that Iran has right now, and there’s going to be a lot of speculation and rumors about other facilities. But, again, I’m confident that right now, we have a good appreciation of what the Iranian nuclear program consists of.
BRENNAN: We talked to the Gulf partners. We’re trying to stay close in touch with them. I believe that they do have confidence that the United States is going to be sort of the security guarantor in that region to prevent this type of escalation that’s going to include nuclear weapons.
BRENNAN: We continue to have this close dialogue with them, about what it is that we are insisting upon, from the Iranians and the verification system there. So, I’m confident that the Saudis will be a responsible partner and player in the region.
When I heard this interview on FOX News, and then re-read the transcript I kept having a scene from the movie The Princess Bride replay in my head. Mandy Patinkin’s character, Inigo Montoya speaks in tones of disbelief to his boss, Vizzini, played by the inimitable Wallace Shawn, when he says “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” Considering the statements that have come out of many members of this administration, the same quote might also apply.
The compatibility of America and Iran were also brought up during the interview:
WALLACE: Do you really think that the U.S. and Iran share interests?
BRENNAN: …I think … the Iranians are now engaged with their Iraqi partners to try to push back these forces of terrorism inside of Iraq.
So, Iran does have an interest in preventing further Daesh, ISIL terrorist attacks. At the same time, I think they need to be responsible as far as what they’re doing inside Iraq and not further inflaming that situation.
I was puzzled by Brennan’s answer, describing the potential for a nation-state that was at war with Iraq for years against Saddam Hussein, who is striving for the construction of nuclear warheads and compatible delivery systems, who has called for “Death to America” and wiping the nation of Israel off the face of the earth. I can only wonder at just how Brennan can describe such a nation as one who should try to avoid “inflaming that situation.” And if Iran is trying to combat the activities of terrorists that lead ISIS, has anyone ever considered that the protective umbrella that Iran has extended over Iraq exists not because Iran objects to terrorism per se, but rather that Iran views ISIS as a competitor in the business. Sort of like the internecine battles within the Mafia or the Bloods versus the Crips.
These examples are from a little less than the first half of this interview. Please read the rest of the transcript of the interview and draw your own conclusions about how much confidence you can generate about the truthfulness of the administration’s responses.