John Brennan Hits Back At Dick Cheney

Why is it if The Politico's Mike Allen decides to play stenographer for Dick Cheney, the rest of the media feels they must follow suit and ask others to respond to Cheney's remarks? David Gregory takes his turn on Meet the Press and Deputy National Security Advisor John Brennan hits back.

MR. GREGORY: Republicans have been very critical of this president and accuse him of returning to a pre-9/11 mentality, of becoming lax in the face of terror, of essentially letting America's guard down. Former Vice President Dick Cheney said this to Politico this past week. Let me put his comment up on the screen. "As I've watched the events of the last few days it is clear once again that President Obama is trying to pretend we are not at war. He seems to think if he has a low-key response to an attempt to blow up an airliner and kill hundreds of people, we won't be at war. ... He seems to think if we bring the mastermind of September 11 to New York, give him a lawyer and trial in civilian court, we won't be at war. He seems to think if he closes Guantanamo and releases the hard-core al-Qaeda-trained terrorists still there, we won't be at war. He seems to think if he gets rid of the words, `war on terror,' we won't be at war. But we are at war and when President Obama pretends we aren't, it makes us less safe." How do you respond to that?

MR. BRENNAN: I'm very disappointed in the vice president's comments. I'm neither Republican nor Democrat. I've worked for the past five administrations. And either the vice president is willfully mischaracterizing this president's position, both in terms of the language he uses and the actions he taken--he's taken, or he's ignorant of the facts. And in either case, it doesn't speak well of what the vice president's doing. The clear evidence is that this president has been very, very strong. In his inaugural address, he said, "We're at war with this international network of terrorists." We continue to say that we're at war with al-Qaeda. We're trying to give it some clarity. And we have taken the fight to them. We've continued, in fact, many of the, of the activities of the previous administration. I would not have come back into this government if I felt that this president was not committed to prosecuting this war against al-Qaeda. And every day I see it in the president's face, I see it in the actions he's taken, and so I'm confident that this country is, in fact, protected by this president's position on al-Qaeda and against terrorist activities. We're going to continue to do this, we're going to do it hard, we're going to do it constantly.


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