[h/t Raw Story]
If CNN is planning their comeback by letting people like Soledad O'Brien have their way with interviews, they're on the right track. While there's a long road ahead, O'Brien is one of the bright spots in an otherwise dismal array of right wing hacks.
In this clip she takes on OpSec President Scott Taylor by pointing out all of his Republican connections and challenging him on his non-partisanship. His reply was what one might expect. He claims to be "an American before [he] is a Republican."
This entire segment is an example of how a journalist can allow the other side to be heard and still clarify for the audience that they actually do have an agenda beyond their "America first" theme.
My one criticism is that she didn't take aim at the leaks that outed Valerie Plame, thanks to Dick Cheney and yes, CNN. But she can try for that next time.
Transcript after the jump:
O'BRIEN: So 27 seconds, you got a lot of edits in there to make your point. What you leave out is what the president also said in that very same address and I want to play that for folks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT OBAMA: To give thanks for the men that carried out this operation, for they exemplified the professionalism, patriotism and unparallel coverage of those who serve the country and part of a generation that is born the heaviest share of the burden since that September day.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: Why leave that out?
TAYLOR: Because of course the personal credit taken overshadows that, doesn't it? So does the year anniversary commercials, so does the high level access, the Hollywood producers who have given them a want to know basis rather than need to know basis, which is what's supposed to happen with classified material.
Again, this group is very serious and we're very motivated. We're subject matter experts that affect the most. We're worried about future operations being hindered and we're worried about our brothers and sisters being put in harm's way unnecessarily because of politicians.
O'BRIEN: I know you know some of the criticism and it is that even though you claim to be nonpartisan, that this group is actually very partisan. You're Republican. You ran for Congress in 2010 in Virginia's second congressional district.
You have a rep in your group who worked for the Bush administration. You share office space with Republican groups. How do you answer that claim of being partisan when you claim that you're not?
TAYLOR: I answer that claim by first saying that this is an American issue. You yourself reported extensively on leaks, so have every other network that's out there whether you're fighting a war or you're playing a game of basketball.
You don't want the other side to understand what the strategy is. I understand the criticism that people will say, you're a Republican. I'm an American first. I'm an American before I'm a Republican and I was in the special operations community and buried a lot of friends over the past few years.
If by speaking out in a nonpartisan way will hopefully prevent any future lives being lost unnecessarily, I'll do it every single day. Again, I'm an American before I'm a Republican.
CAIN: Scott, this is Will Cain. Listen, the criticism of whether or not you guys are being partisan or nonpartisan kind of seems beside the point to me.
But one area that might be legitimate criticism is this, you're focusing on leaks. Legitimate leaks, leaks that have been criticized from Democrats including senator like Dianne Feinstein.
But what you guys had done in the ad, you've also seemingly reached a conclusion that those leaks are coming from the administration and they are being used for political gain. Do you think that is a fair conclusion to reach from the questions you're asking?
TAYLOR: That is the same conclusion that's been even on this network. Suzanne Kelly reported on it not too long ago on this network, on other networks, it's been the same conclusion.
What we need to understand, what the American public needs to be educated on, which is what we're trying to do is that security is very compartmentalized. There are only a certain finite amount of people who know certain aspects of security.
So it had to have been leaked from the highest levels of government. That being said, you know, the president is the commander in chief and the way the military works, you are solely responsible for your house to keep it in order and to keep the leaks responsible. So it is up to the commander in chief, as you were commander of any military unit, you would be responsible for your men as well.
O'BRIEN: But Suzanne Kelly, I've got to just jump in, when you talk about her reporting. Her reporting did not come to a conclusion, as I think you well know that. Ryan?
LIZZA: The point you just made about President Obama being the commander in chief, it seems it cuts both ways. If you're the commander in chief, you make that decision to get Bin Laden. You get the credit, don't you?
I want to read you a quote from Admiral Bill McRaven who is a former SEAL himself. He told Wolf Blitzer on CNN --
O'BRIEN: I think we have this. Why don't we just play it?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ADMIRAL WILLIAM MCRAVEN COMMANDER, U.S. SPECIAL OPERATIONS COMMAND: At the end of the day, make no mistake about it. It was the president of the United States that shouldered the burden for this operation, that made the hard decisions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LIZZA: So that's -- that's the commander in chief. Why doesn't he get credit for executing that operation as commander in chief? If you're going to criticize him for leaks, why not the other side?
TAYLOR: That is a great question. And I absolutely believe that the president as should any president who over -- presided over this type of operation should get some credit.
But to the level of credit they have taken, it's pretty gross. Admiral McRaven who I have profound respect for, but what you left out in your clip was that Admiral McRaven specifically said.
And I'm pair phrasing, if these leaks aren't clamped down then people will get killed and operations will be hindered. You should have played that clip as well.
O'BRIEN: And President Obama we should reiterate has said that also and I think there have been six prosecutions for leaks as well. It will be interesting to see --
TAYLOR: There have also been an unprecedented amount of leaks in this administration. So you say, yes, there are six prosecutions, but there's been unprecedented amount high level leaks over the past couple of years and that's why this group is speaking out.
O'BRIEN: That is correct. You're absolutely right on that. Thanks for joining us this morning. Scott Taylor is the president of Special Operations Opsec Education Fund. We appreciate you joining us.