Interview with Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg; Interview with Michael Hayden; Interview with Michael Bloomberg

Aired November 3, 2013 - 10:00| FAREED ZAKARIA GPS | Interviews with Michael Hayden

Let's get started.

So given those realities I just talked about, what is really going on in the heads of European officials? Is all this anger and outrage genuine? Who better to ask than a former top official who can speak freely?

That's why I've invite Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg to come on. He was Germany's Defense Minister from 2009 to 2011, before that the nation's minister of economics and technology.

He's now a distinguished statesman at the Center for Strategic and International Studies here in the United States.



So, when you were in the defense ministry, you must have seen all this stuff and you must have seen the espionage, counter-espionage. Did you assume that the United States was spying on -- in Germany.

GUTTENBERG: Well, everyone spies on each other. That's a fact. And, at the moment, we hear interesting voices (inaudible) tries to deny that we don't do it and they do it. Everybody does it.

What I didn't know and I didn't have an idea of the level of (inaudible) spies. So we wouldn't have made the decision to spy on the top level of alliance partners, of allies.

That was -- that's definitely a new dimension and that's probably one of the main reasons for the outrage in Germany at the moment.

ZAKARIA: Let me ask you, does the German government not try to get information on what the president of France is thinking?

GUTTENBERG: We have close relationships and the first thing to do is usually to pick up the phone and talk to your partners and not to tap the phone. So there's -- there are steps you usually should go and we were not interested of spying on the top level of other partners.

ZAKARIA: So what do you think that this means for European- American relations? How serious has the breach of trust been?

GUTTENBERG: It's rather serious. It's something new. We've had misunderstandings on one or the other side. We have different perceptions on certain issues, namely Iraq, Guantanamo, or even climate change and other things.

So but we also had a pragmatic way to reach out to each other and to find a solution. Now, we are at the level that European leaders don't only lose faith in a partner, but also their face.

So the face-losing aspect of it is actually that you've -- take the example of Angela Merkel. She was defending the NSA program this summer. She was publicly defending it despite being in an election campaign.

It was not very popular, as you can imagine, but she, as a committed Trans-Atlanticist, she defended the NSA program. And, then, to learn, two or three months later, that she personally was tapped.

And, then, to learn that actually the American President knew about it already in summer, that's one of the moments which I could consider as being face-losing relevant.

ZAKARIA: And you know Angela Merkel well. You served as her defense minister. How angry do you think she is?

GUTTENBERG: She is, I think, really disappointed and she is a very analytical person, but she shows lots of emotions when it comes to the Trans-Atlantic friendship and partnership.

And to have someone on the other side of the Atlantic who is not willing to communicate at the moment when you need to talk to each other, such things can be resolved, and someone who is not willing to send some over to Germany to explain what is happening or to Paris or to other places.

But to wait up until the moment a German delegation comes to Washington, I think those are tiny, little diplomatic steps that would be incredibly helpful if they would be installed in the right place.

ZAKARIA: Pleasure to have you on. Thank you so much.

GUTTENBERG: Great to be here. Thank you.

ZAKARIA: Up next, the other side of the story I think. I'm going to speak with the man who both ran the National Security Agency as well as the Central Intelligence Agency, Michael Hayden, when we come back.


ZAKARIA: And now for the American side of the story.

I welcome General Michael Hayden, who ran the National Security Agency from 1999 to 2005 and then ran the CIA from 2006 to 2009.

He is now a principal with the Chertoff Group.

Welcome back to the show, Michael.


ZAKARIA: So let's focus in on this issue of eavesdropping on senior officials of allied governments, because I think, you know, there is this distinction about collecting metadata traffic and phone calls and e-mails from across Europe.

Tell me, how would it work if a -- if the National Security Agency were -- were tapping the cell phone of a senior leader of an allied government?

Who would have made that decision?

How -- what would the process have been?

HAYDEN: Well, it depends on the senior leader. It depends on the intelligence requirements. I mean very often, Fareed, what you get are very specific intelligence requirements from our National Command Authority and they are laid out to the intelligence community. And then the intelligence community goes forward and lays out a collection plan, the best way to get that very needed information.

Occasionally, Fareed, occasionally, what you have is political guidance kind of being placed on top of your operational planning. I had political guidance while I was director of NSA. I had targets. I had legitimate needs.

But I was told, frankly, back off. That target is too sensitive. I don't want you doing that at this time for this purpose.

ZAKARIA: Does that mean that somebody in the White House very high up would have had to say, in 2002 -- so this is the George W. Bush White House -- somebody would have had to say it is OK to spy on the chancellor of Germany, that the NSA would not have done that without such authorization?

HAYDEN: No, and I don't want to talk about anything specifically, Fareed. I just -- I'm just not able to do that.

But I would say that the political guidance was very often by exception.

But there was a broad understanding that of the things you were being tasked to do, you would be led to certain kinds of activities.

Look, Fareed, I listened to the -- to the minister and he gave a very powerful argument as to why activities like this could sometimes lead to damaged relationships. Now, let me give you a sense of my world, because what we really have here is worlds colliding.

When the president, President Obama won the election, I mean he was addicted to his BlackBerry. And he wanted to keep his BlackBerry.

And, boy, we were really nervous about that and suggested he not do that.

And he, frankly, told us we're going to have to pry it out of his hands. So we limited -- he voluntarily limited his use and NSA put a few more security enhancements in it.

But, Fareed, let me give you the backdrop to that little vignette. We were telling the most powerful man in the most powerful nation on Earth that his personal communications, inside his own national capital, were going to be attacked by a variety of foreign intelligence services. That's my world compared to the world you just heard from the minister.

ZAKARIA: But the point he was making was that you wouldn't do this to the head of an allied government that is one of your, you know, a treaty ally of the United States of six decades that with whom you have a deep understanding.

You know, why wouldn't you just call Merkel?

HAYDEN: Well, I mean, look, there are a variety of questions. And here, Fareed, I'm just being illustrative. I mean I've not been in the room.

But I mean, when we decided to intervene against Gadhafi in Libya, the Germans were very much opposed. They didn't participate. And I'm sure a very legitimate intelligence question would have been do the Germans oppose us so strongly that they are willing to break consensus in Brussels and therefore deny you a NATO validation for this?

And then finally, again, I'm creative enough to think of Tim Geithner at some meeting in the last two or three years turning to his intelligence guy and saying, you know, I really need to know, in their heart of hearts, how far are the Germans going to go with the Greeks in preserving the Eurozone?

Now, those are all very legitimate questions. We could get an answer by direct dialogue. And I'm sure we did.

But, you know, sometimes there would have been more to the story. And I can imagine circumstances where, what I just described, those are legitimate intelligence issues.

ZAKARIA: Do you think that the Germans don't spy on the French at this senior level?


ZAKARIA: That is the level of president of France?

HAYDEN: I don't -- I don't know what another service would do against another friend. It's not something we look into. But I would suspect that Germany and France and a whole bunch of other countries would do what they considered to be in their national interest.

Now, Fareed, to be very fair, in your national interest is not alienating a friend on whose cooperation you rely. And so, you do have this very serious trade-off.

And I think the minister hit a very, very good point here. This wasn't just a matter of preserving faith, it was a matter of protecting face. I mean, whether or not we did this, whether or not the chancellor already believed we did this, frankly, whether or not the Germans even knew about this, that's not the issue.

The issue is that it's very public and is embarrassing the chancellor.

ZAKARIA: What about the issue of whether or not the White House knew, whether or not the president knew?

Dianne Feinstein claims that she didn't know.

What troubles many of us, Mike, is not the actual activities here but the idea that they are happening in some kind of strange gray zone where it's not entirely clear who is authorizing this stuff and whether it is being -- whether it is being overseen in an appropriate manner for a constitutional democracy.

HAYDEN: Yes. Here's how I would look at it. If the president says he didn't know, he didn't know. I just take that at face value.

If, however, Fareed, we get sentences like the White House didn't know or the administration didn't know or the National Security Council didn't know, boy, I've really got problems accepting that.

What is it they thought we were going to do with those intelligence requirements?

And where did they think this stuff was coming from when we answered those requirements?

ZAKARIA: In other words, they would -- they would have given general directives and they should have been smart enough to realize how that stuff was being collected?

HAYDEN: At -- Fareed, at a minimum, at a minimum.

ZAKARIA: But that -- but that is -- is that a little bit like, you know, the famous case in British history of the -- of the king of England saying, when he wanted the Archbishop of Canterbury assassinated, he said, will someone rid me of this meddlesome priest?

And that way he has plausible deniability?

HAYDEN: Actually, Fareed, it's funny you bring that up. That thought has occurred to me in the last 48 hours while watching all the press coverage.

No, it's not that. General Clapper and General Alexander commented in their appearance before the House Intelligence Committee about the national intelligence priorities framework.

I mean, Fareed, you huddle in the West Wing, in the Sit Room, at the Cabinet level, every six months, hammering out intelligence priorities, countries down the side, topics are on -- across the top and where those two vectors meet, you put a number.

And if the number is one or two, that's a really high priority.

And so everyone knows what's going on. If -- look, if you give a requirement like that a high priority, you're telling the intelligence community to embrace some measure of risk in order to get that intelligence for you.

ZAKARIA: All right, a final thought, Michael Hayden, what would you do now?

HAYDEN: Well, right now, I think we've got to necessarily -- and I don't mean to demean this, Fareed -- we've got a fair amount of political theater. Our good friend, the chancellor, is and has to act enraged. And our president really -- and for the benefit of the public -- has to go and, in essence, step back.

But, Fareed, we've got to be careful here not to overachieve. We had a crisis of conscience in the '90s and we told our human intelligence collectors to stand down and don't talk to bad people. And we suffered for that.

We could also suffer if we overachieve now and tell our electronic intelligence folks to stand down and never listen to good people.

So we've got choices to make, too.

ZAKARIA: Mike Hayden, always a pleasure.

HAYDEN: Thank you, Fareed.

ZAKARIA: Up next, What in the World. It's not just France and Germany. For a different reason Saudi Arabia is upset with the United States. But, this time, Washington may actually be doing something right. I'll explain when we come back.

last updated november 2013