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Interview with Adam Schiff, Dan Coats; Interview with Michael Chertoff, Nicholas Burns; Investigating the Investigators

Aired April 28, 2013 - 09:00   ET


CANDY CROWLEY, HOST: Connecting dots in Boston, laying blame in Washington.


CROWLEY (voice-over): Today, the inevitable aftermath of terrorism, the would have, could have, should haves.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did we miss something and did we have the coordination we needed?

CROWLEY: Piecing together what happened with the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, and Dan Coats, a Republican member of the Senate Intelligence panel.

And red flags rising, Russia's repeated warnings to the U.S. about Tamerlan Tsarnaev, too little information or not enough listening? Former undersecretary of state and Russian expert, Nicholas Burns, and former secretary of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff, look at all the angles. Then --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was there really this stove piping? I think that's still an issue that needs to be explored.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think those individuals who are critical of the FBI, they were wrong.

CROWLEY: Investigating the investigators with our panel, Representatives Bennie Thompson, Marsha Blackburn, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and Jason Chaffetz.

Plus, taking back after a rough couple of weeks, the president headlines the White House correspondents' dinner.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I've got 99 problems and now Jay-Z's one.


CROWLEY: I'm Candy Crowley and this is STATE OF THE UNION.


CROWLEY (on-camera): First, we want to go to the latest on the Boston bombings investigation. A U.S. official says Russia wiretapped a 2011 conversation between the mother of one of the accused Boston bombers and someone who may have been one of her sons discussing jihad. Russia turned over the information to the FBI within the last few days.

Meantime, the FBI has wrapped up its search of a landfill near Boston. Investigators were looking for a laptop supposedly used by bombing suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. It is believed the computer could hold information about the planning of the attacks.

The Obama administration is defending the decision to inform the surviving suspect of his Miranda rights. Attorney general, Eric Holder, spoke with CNN last night.


ERIC HOLDER, ATTORNEY GENERAL: The decision to mirandize is one that the magistrate made and that was totally consistent with the laws that we have. We had a two-day period that we were able to question him under the public safety exception. So, I think everything was done appropriately and we got good leads.


CROWLEY: I'm joined now by Senator Dan Coats, Republican senator from Indiana and a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee and Congressman Adam Schiff, California Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. And thank you both for joining us this morning.

Let me talk because we just talked a little bit about the suspect being read his Miranda rights. Couple of FBI agents that I've talked to and others have talked to sort of seeping into the press, they were unhappy about the decision to mirandize him when they did. There were other questions they wanted to ask. What did you think of it?

SCHIFF: Well, I think there are two issues. When does the law enforcement agents, when do they have to mirandize him? And I think they properly invoked the public safety exception. But the other question is when does he have to be presented before the magistrate?

In this case, it seems like the magistrate made clear -- the magistrate was going to arraign this person on Monday and that put a very real limit on how long the questioning could go on. Already, I think the statements that the suspect made are going to be challenged by the defense team. And while the priority has to be on making use of any information that could protect the public, it's also valuable to be able to admit those into evidence.

If, for example, the attorney general decides to seek the death penalty, those may be -- his statements may be the best evidence of what his intent was, what his role was, how culpable he was -- count the need to produce that evidence.

CROWLEY: Sure. We're told that he clammed up then though after reading the Miranda rights. Certainly I would. COATS: I was very surprised that they moved as quickly as they did. We had, I think, legal reasons and follow-up investigative reasons to drag this out a little bit longer. We could have done that. I think the AG, attorney general, should have sent a signal basically saying we're within our legal bounds in doing this for the public safety exemption.

We need to get this information from the younger brother. He was wounded before. He wasn't able to communicate. We've had very little time.

CROWLEY: Do you have any suspicion anything valuable was lost in the mirandizing?

COATS: We won't know, because now, his lawyers are not allowing him to say anything.


COATS: There could have been -- it would have been worth the effort to stretch this out a few more hours to see what we could find.

SCHIFF: I think it looks like the FBI got what they needed in terms of making sure the public was safe, and that's really the basis of the public safety exception. The FBI is always going to want to interview as long as they possibly can to get into what happened overseas and the full nature of the plot, but the public safety exception only goes really to protecting the public.

And once they have gotten the information they need to do that, that's really the full length and dimension of that exception.

CROWLEY: Sure, but they could still not mirandize him and just not use whatever he says against him.

SCHIFF: Everybody says to stretch that out and we could have learned more information.

CROWLEY: I want to read you sort of switching a little bit to another angle. Congressman Rogers, Mike Rogers, you know, the chairman of the intelligence committee, had this to say to the "Boston Herald" Friday, "I hear a lot of definitive statements out there that it was just these two men and it's over, but I will tell you, I hear these briefings every day and I don't think is over. There are clearly more persons of interest and they're 100 percent sure if there aren't other explosives."

I want to get -- you were also (ph) in those intelligence briefings. So, tell me whether you believe at this point from what you've seen whether this was the work of two men who self-radicalized via the internet, or otherwise, or whether you think there's something broader going on?

COATS: There's always a rush to try to rationalize what in this case was an irrational act. And I think you need time to sort all this out and not rush to judgment. Everybody wants to say as soon as we figure out exactly what happened here, then we're safe again. Well, we don't live in that kind of world right now. We want to learn as much as we possibly can from this.

We want to make whatever changes are necessary to further strengthen our security protections for the American people. But we need time to really dig down through this. There's still things that need to be understood. The trip to Russia, a whole number of things.

CROWLEY: Right. Your sense of it at this point? Because some of the investigators have led us to believe both on background, and otherwise, that this looks as though it was not attached to a major group. Is that your sense of what you're hearing?

SCHIFF: I think that's probably true. But I would agree with Mike Rogers in this. We really don't know yet what happened during the six-month trip to Dagestan. There are a lot of unanswered questions there. They may have been radicalizing influences in the United States. There may have been radicalizing influences overseas.

It does look like a lot of radicalization was self-radicalization online, but we don't know the full answers yet. That's why this investigation is going to be thorough. It's going to chase down every lead. It will take as long as it takes, but I think Mike is right. We shouldn't leap to the conclusion that we know the full story yet.

CROWLEY: Let me ask you about the other sort of emerging story here which is that, somehow, when we talk so much about 9/11 about connecting dots and then we got the Homeland Security Department and we got the director of National Intelligence, and supposedly, this was all fit.

Is anything you have heard over the past two weeks about who knew what especially about the older brother, what Russia said, whether it was picked up and who knew he was leaving the country? It appears maybe nobody.

Who knew he was coming back in? That appears to be nobody knew he was coming back in. Do you think that there was a failure to connect the dots either between the CIA and the FBI or between sort of federal law enforcement and local?

COATS: Well, first of all, I think we have to acknowledge that we've come a long way since 9/11. The cooperation between the federal, state, and the local in the immediate follow-up --

CROWLEY: Cooperation was great. The Intel is I think where the question is.

COATS: Well, I mean, Intel is not 100 percent perfect. The Russians really did not give us specific information. They just said, kind of, look out. We did an investigation in this. Now, they've released some more information that may have -- one thing we have to do is make sure that we simultaneously send any of these pings that happened when the older brother came back, that didn't get sent to the whole network.


COATS: You know, somebody sitting somewhere could have said, you know, that name's familiar. I think we did a file on that. Let me check into that. But we want everybody to know in the whole community, the whole Intel community.

CROWLEY: Right. You've got a guy in your city, et cetera, et cetera.

SCHIFF: I don't think that we've seen any of stove piping issues that pre-dated 9/11. I think we have fixed a lot of those problems. What we may see here maybe in a way a more striking conclusion, that is that in a free and open society, even when you do everything right, you still may not be able to prevent a group of people willing to kill themselves using relatively low tech means.

CROWLEY: So much more comforting, though to, you know say, if we just connected the dots we could have figured this out.

SCHIFF: Exactly. But I think we might do a disservice to the American people if we suggest that there's always got to be a problem when anything bad happens. The reality is we would need to take such intrusive steps, make this country into a police state that no one would want to accept in order to completely prevent these low tech attacks.

COATS: I agree with Adam. And I think it's important to also recognize that since 9/11, if you talk to any of us back then, we would have said, we would have had multiple attacks like this over this last ten or 11 years. It's remarkable that we've done as well as we have.


COATS: Democratic open society and some of these things -- we're doing everything we can, but you know, we have to be right 100 percent of the time. And they only have to be right one percent.

CROWLEY: Let me ask you as a final question, Vladimir Putin, president of Russia, was asked about whether or not he felt the Americans took the Russian information seriously. And he said "the Russian special services to my great regret were not able to provide our American colleagues with information that would have operative significance."

Now, we're learning in the past day or two that they did actually have intercepted phone calls sort of vaguely mentioned jihad between a mother and maybe one of her sons. Do you think that Russia knows more that told us at the time and knows more now?

SCHIFF: I think they probably do. I can see why initially they didn't want to share the fact that this was intercept. We're reluctant just as they are to reveal our sources and methods and this was one of their sources. But at the same time, if they were up on this -- on the mother or someone related to the mother and listening, there's got to be a basis for why they went up on her electronically or why they went up on one of her affiliates or associates.

We don't know that. We haven't received that information from the Russians. I think they do know more than their telling us.


COATS: -- these kind of terrorist attacks. And the more we can work together, the better we can prevent them in the future.

CROWLEY: Senator Coats, Congressman Schiff, thank you for joining us.

COATS: You bet.

SCHIFF: Thank you.

CROWLEY: More on those cracks in the counterterrorism armor that were supposed to be fixed post September 11.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Haven't been able to connect the dots. They have not been able to share the information.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have to collect more dots, if you will, before we can connect the dots.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How come they didn't connect the dots?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Connecting the dots are for 9/11. That's what it's really supposed to be about, and we thought we had fixed this.


CROWLEY: You are looking at a live picture from Boylston Street in Boston where many businesses have already reopened since twin bombings killed three people and wounded more than 260 others nearly two weeks ago. If you would like to help those affected by the bombings, please visit for a list of reputable charities.

Here in Washington, I am joined now by Nicholas Burns, former undersecretary of state for political affairs and Michael Chertoff, Homeland Security director under President Bush.

Let me start with these dots to you and ask you whether from what you know and looking at how this has worked and the information that's come out, is something missing here or was there simply just not enough to go on and it went into a database some place which now sort of looks at other people why weren't we watching him?

MICHAEL CHERTOFF, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY 2005 TO 2009: Well, I will say this, I'd say that the institutional structures that we've put in place since 9/11 work a lot better than they've used to. But there's a human factor. How do you stay sharp? People talk about collecting the dots. There are a lot of dots. How do you know what are significant dots?

So, what I think needs to be looked at here is whether somehow somebody missed the significance of the initial warning and then the six-month trip to Russia and then the return and didn't follow-up.

CROWLEY: Right. So, one of the things that also struck me going into your areas of expertise, Nick, have people say, you know, it was from the Russians. it's not as though it came from Pakistan or Afghanistan, some place where we were used to saying, watch this guy, this may be a terrorist and then it probably wasn't treated with as much seriousness, perhaps, as it should have been. What is your take on the U.S./Russian sort of intelligence interchange?

BURNS: Well, Russia's a double-edged sword for us because they're once a victim of terrorism as we've been. Remember the Moscow theater --

CROWLEY: From Chechnya.

BURNS: From Chechnya. The Moscow theater abductions in 2002, the (INAUDIBLE) tragedy of 2004 when they lost 350 people. So, they've been victims and they've wanted to work with us. But on the other hand, the Russian methods are brutal and their savage and at least in this case, from what I can glean just from reading the press, the Russians didn't give us a lot in order to go after Tamerlan Tsarnaev. So, we've got to be careful in working with them.

CHERTOFF: I would say this, there's a long history going back almost 20 years of westerners going to Chechnya, getting radicalized, coming back and then becoming terrorists in the west. So, it is a little bit like travel to Pakistan. You do have to watch that.

CROWLEY: There was at least, was there not, at some point an al Qaeda element in Chechnya?

CHERTOFF: Yes. And there was -- went to Chechnya at one point. Chechens have gone to fight in Afghanistan. So, it is a part of the world where you do have to watch travel flow. CROWLEY: However, I've also been told that -- about the Chechen- al Qaeda tie that it's more about the tactics than about any commonality of purpose.

BURNS: The Chechens have been rebellious for hundreds of years against Czarist rule, against Soviet rule, and against Russian rule. So, they've primarily focused on their own wish for an independent state. The United States has never supported that. President Clinton, President Bush, President Obama have always supported obviously the integrated Russia.

But where we've diverged in the Russians is the methods they use. Sometimes, very savage to put down that rebellion. So, they don't have complete identification of use (ph) here.

CROWLEY: So, how do you -- it's just amazing to me to be talking about exchanging intelligence information with Vladimir Putin, right, because when you think Putin used to -- I still think KGB and I don't have, you know, a great warm feeling about the KGB. So, how do you go about assessing information from a country whom in earlier years was really a sworn enemy?

CHERTOFF: Well, you know, we faced this issue with a lot of countries where we may not agree on methods, we may not agree on political objectives, but there are areas where we do have agreement like terrorism. We have shared information with the Chinese when it relates, for example, to extremists who might be hostile to China and to the U.S.

Pakistan is not necessarily a model state and we share information. So, you have to be careful in how you share and what you share, but it's a mistake to turn our backs on countries that we don't always agree with when they may have a commonality of interest in saving lives.

CROWLEY: Let me show you a poll we have on terrorism. This is the Pew Research Center Poll. And, the question was, do you think that occasional acts of terrorism in the U.S. will be part of life in the future? Seventy-five percent of folks agree with that. This has been post-Boston. Do you think that's true? Do you agree with that that there was only so much a free country can do?

BURNS: You know, I think we've come a long way since 9/11. We're much better able to defend the country. We've mounted a sophisticated homeland security operation. Mike deserves a lot of credit for that.

We have a bipartisan consensus to protect the country. And I can tell you from a foreign policy perspective, we're working much more effectively with both friends and with competitors like Russia around the world. So, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaevs might get through from time to time, but we haven't had until Boston a major terrorist attack in the United States.

And I think, you know, that is a good thing. We obviously have to do better to prevent young men like this from being radicalized.

CHERTOFF: What's also important, Candy, is a very effective response. The difference sometimes between having a demoralized public or a public that comes together is seeing that once there is an attack, there's a very capable joint response, federal, state and local, and we saw that here.

And I think, frankly, the very vigorous action including having a lockdown for a short period of time actually reinforced public confidence.

CROWLEY: Right. And it also kept everybody off the streets so that they could do the searches and all that kind of thing. I want to turn really quickly to Syria just because we have -- this is now back in the news a lot. There was an intelligence report that went back up to Capitol Hill that suggested that, in fact, chemical weapons have been used.

I want to play you real quick President Obama over the course of a year or so on Syria and the use of chemical weapons.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OBAMA: A red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized.

We will not tolerate the use of chemical weapons against the Syrian people or the transfer of those weapons to terrorists.

We now have some evidence that chemical weapons have been used on the population of Syria.


CROWLEY: So, it would be understandable if the American people look at the intelligence and go, how do we know? Because even the administration seems now to be saying, well, we sort of seem to have information that they've used it, but we're not really sure. How can we trust that information?

CHERTOFF: Let me say this, first of all. I think that putting aside the question of exactly what we do, once we announce there's a red line, if we don't take it seriously, we are discrediting ourselves not just in Syria but in Iran, North Korea, all around the world. Now, how much proof do you need? Obviously, you want to take a little bit of time to make sure you're certain.

But if you look at the reporting including Anne-Marie Slaughter's piece in "The Post" today, there's a fairly significant body of evidence. And if you appear to be temporizing or looking for a level of proof that's not realistic, people are going to read that as an equivocation and that would be a very serious problem, I think.

CROWLEY: It's true, Nick, that this red line had been drawn. It was about the use of chemical weapons. Is the president in a corner now? And back to your area of expertise, could the Russians be helpful here?

BURNS: Well, I think it's a very difficult situation for the president. He was right to make those warnings in the last several months because use of chemical weapons is a war crime under the chemical weapons convention. We can't tolerate it. I think he's right to be prudent and cautious. We got into a situation in 2003 in Iraq. We didn't have all our facts together and went to war in part on that basis. It was an erroneous basis.

So, he's right to be cautious. But on the other hand, as Mike said, when you draw a line in the sand in the Middle East and you dare someone to cross it, and they appear to have crossed it, there have to be consequences. And our credibility as a country is very important. The Iranians are watching this very carefully as to how we'll react. The Israelis are to see if they can trust us to defend themselves.

So, at some point, the administration is going to have to consider some options ranging from, you know, working with the Russians in a security council repudiate the Syrians and warn them again, or even the use of military force, not boots on the ground, a demonstration attack on the Syrian forces, not the chemical weapons stocks but on Syrian forces to let them know that we have capacity to harm them if they continue to threaten or use chemical weapons.

CROWLEY: The question here is even more so than in Libya, we don't seem to know exactly who these rebels are. In fact, over time, they seem to have become more radicalized to use the word that we're now using -- that these are a lot of extremist groups are now fighting the Syrian government. Can the U.S. align with them?

CHERTOFF: Well, I think the problem is not become more radicalize, but radicals have been the most effective fighters, and therefore, they become the most prominent on the scene. And part of the problem, and I've had discussion with Senator McCain about this in Munich a couple months ago is we haven't come forward with the more moderate elements and giving them the kind of support that would raise their credibility and effectiveness.

And so, recognizing it's a challenging area because you're not sure who friend is, who foe is, are standing on the sidelines doesn't mean we're going to be out of the issue. We're going to be disengaged, but we may become victimized. We need to actually become more engaged in selecting who to support.

CROWLEY: Last word, Nick.

BURNS: I think all the options are bad here for the United States. The worst option would be to do nothing. The civil war is spreading. It could affect Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq. There are more than a million refugees outside the country according to the U.N.

So, the worst option for the United States would be not to lead, not to get involved politically to help the refugees, and obviously to support those moderate rebel groups that need support.

CROWLEY: Nicholas Burns and Michael Chertoff, thank you both for coming.

BURNS: Thank you.

CROWLEY: When we return, figuring out what went wrong as the finger pointing escalates.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We did get some contradictory testimony from Secretary Napolitano that, again, as this all plays out, we're still only days into it. We'll have to look into.



CROWLEY: In the days immediately after the Boston bombings, Washington put partisanship on hold in a show of national unity. But it was temporary.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R) SOUTH CAROLINA: And I think quite frankly that administration is oversold with the demise of Bin Laden. I think it's quite frankly minimizing the threat we face. So, between Benghazi and Boston, to me, we're going backwards, not forward in terms of national security.


CROWLEY: And the attacks in Boston have also made their way into the stalled debate over gun control. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. CAROLYN MALONEY (D), NEW YORK: The pro-gun lobby insists that the next terrorist should still be able to buy all the assault weapons they want and all the 100-round magazines they need, but 90 percent of Americans disagree. And I hope my colleagues will reconsider gun safety legislation.


CROWLEY: And it is possible at the very least Boston may slow the pace of immigration reform.


SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: Those who are pointing to what happened, the terrible tragedy in Boston as a, I would say excuse, for not doing a bill or delaying it many months or years.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I never said that.

SCHUMER: I didn't say you did.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I never said that.

SCHUMER: I didn't say you did, sir.


CROWLEY: We will talk terrorism, policy and politics with four members of Congress next.


CROWLEY: You are looking at the Oklahoma City memorial marathon. It's an annual event to remember the victims from the 1995 attack on the Murrah Federal Building. Some of the participants in this race also ran in the Boston marathon two weeks ago but obviously were unable to finish it because of the bombings.

Joining me now around the table Congressman Bennie Thompson, ranking Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee, Congressman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Democrat from Florida, Republican congresswoman, Marsha Blackburn from (ph) Tennessee, and Congressman Jason Chaffetz, Republican from Utah also on the House Homeland Security Committee. Here's what I'm gathering from the show today in talking to folks in office and out of office observing from an expert point of view but actually it doesn't look as though there were really dots that weren't connected. It looks as though it worked even though it ended up horribly. What is your take -- give me all your takes, start over here, on whether -- are you troubled by anything? Or do you think there was basically there was not much more that could have been done?

THOMPSON: Well, first of all, I would like to thank the men and women who collectively put the forces together to catch the men. Once you look at it from an oversight standpoint, we should look at exactly what happened. But at this point trying to point fingers saying the dots weren't connected is a little bit early. Let's get in, let's review it. And at some point if there are some things we need to change, let's change them.

SCHULTZ: A few of the things that have emerged, one is that they were -- Tamerlan was investigated. And when he was investigated, he was actually cleared. So that's why he didn't hit the heightened no- fly list or the heightened watch list. But if they were, if it does turn out that they were domestically radicalized, one of the things we do have to make sure that we do is really fine-tune how we can ferret out radicalization and also attune Americans to when you see something, say something. Because I think right now, people think internationally almost exclusively when it comes to terrorism, so we've got to focus in on the potential like this one for domestic radicalization.

CROWLEY: Let me put it a different way, and that is that first of all, we know both the CIA and the FBI were told by Russia, their counterparts, you got to look at this guy, we think he has been radicalized, we think he's a terrorist. Then we have the fact that (INAUDIBLE) at some point after a trip to Russia and before it (INAUDIBLE) Islamic video or - I'm sorry terrorist videos on his website. People think, well, we had his name. At least one department, Homeland Security I believe knew he'd either come or gone to Russia. And he's putting up, you know, in praise of terrorism. Why in the world didn't anybody think, oh, wait, this is a danger sign?

BLACKBURN: And I think, Candy, that is where people do look. Now on the backside looking at what was seeming to be missed. Number one, the airlines misspelling the name and the FBI didn't pick it up because of the misspelled name. Now was that a clerical error? Where are we in the process? How is that information shared and conducted and reviewed? Who's doing the double check? People want to know that. And I think secondly when you have the report of the phone call that was intercepted, why did the FBI not go in and deal with these repeated alerts or several alerts that came.


CROWLEY: I'm not so sure they knew of the phone call until the last couple of days.

BLACKBURN: Right. That's exactly right. But why was it not picked up? CROWLEY: But they didn't give it to us.

BLACKBURN: Why was it - right. Why was it --


CROWLEY: Well, Russia had it. It was their intercept, the phone call. So they didn't give it to us which might say we need better (INAUDIBLE).


CHAFFETZ: In all fairness we're all cheering on the men and women in the intelligence services, Homeland Security, FBI. I mean, go, go, go. We're all cheering them on. But there are serious questions we need to look at. Did they share that information with the local Boston officials? I heard one report, I don't know if it's true, as to whether or not the local Boston in Massachusetts authorities knew about this. And the second thing I think we should really look at is people that are coming here and claiming asylum and then they're taking trips back to the region? That should probably raise some red flags. It's something that will obviously be part of the discussion in the months to come.

CROWLEY: Sure. I think though the other thing is when you go on the internet now, basically if you buy something, if you say something on Facebook, if you Google something, suddenly they know what sort of face soap and they know you're using and know if you have children. Advertisers I'm talking about at this point. And one wonders why when some of these videos and some of these curious things are written on Twitter and elsewhere wouldn't raise a flag. Like you could just put a keyword in there that would ping for you all the time and then you could match it with a database.

SCHULTZ: Well, the fact is these things did get -- did raise flags. That's one of the reasons he was closely watched and investigated.

SCHULTZ: Now, whether those things rise to the level of a heightened risk and you tighten up the focus on that individual. In this case --

CROWLEY: (INAUDIBLE) the Boston Police.

BLACKBURN: Yes. Precisely. And then the data mining that you're speaking of, Candy, you know, that troubles people. That they are being data mined for certain information on consumer goods, et cetera. And then it does cause them to say, OK you got this ping. Why was this ping -- why did it not trigger other watches through this process with the FBI? Why was there not a review of some of that intel that had been given to us?

THOMPSON: Well, I think what you'll find out, Candy, our committee is scheduled to have some oversight hearings on what went on. We also found out that the birthday was input wrong in the computer. So there were some things that didn't mesh that our system wouldn't pick up.

CROWLEY: (INAUDIBLE) error here we're talking about basically.

THOMPSON: The input was wrong. So what we're going to have to do is figure out in those instances what can we do? And it might come down to whether or not we can provide the resources to --

CROWLEY: Well, go ahead and then I want to ask you about the resources.

CHAFFETZ: One of the core problems that we have in this country is we have no viable entry/exit system in this country. Now a lot of this is captured when there's air travel. But when there's travel over the land and on boats and other things we don't have a viable system. I also worry about giving up every liberty in the name of security. We have a very dangerous line. I don't want my federal government going in and surfing my Facebook page. That is not what we -- we have got to be very, very careful with that.

CROWLEY: Let me just ask you and I've got about a minute in this segment. We'll come back. But we talked about resources. Is there, a, enough money in these budget cutting tax raising days to make a major commitment for that to be something that need to be done after a various investigation?

THOMPSON: What I think after they the review and oversight hearings are held if in fact it comes down to resources, I see Congress making that commitment. There's no price tag we can put on our security.


CHAFFETZ: We've got to prioritize things.


SCHULTZ: Two things, we need to prioritize resources, and we need to make sure that we are tightening up on coordination. Learn from every one of these incidents.


BLACKBURN: Use the technology that is available. We should be able to do more with less based on using technologies that are available.

CROWLEY: I want you to hang on for me. We'll be back on the other side of this. And we're going to play a clip from the president's comedic performance at the White House correspondents' dinner last night. And when you know it there's just a little tinge of politics in what he said.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm also hard at work on plans for the Obama Library. And some have suggested that we put it in my birthplace, but I would rather keep it in the United States.


CROWLEY: We are back with four members of congress, Bennie Thompson, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Marsha Blackburn and Jason Chaffetz. Always a good time. The president has great timing. He's got a second job if he'd like it at some point. But there's always some political sort of jabbing that goes on. And that certainly was one of them. In fact, he looked at the crowd and said, now, come on, who didn't see that joke coming? Because we do hear a lot of birthplace jokes.

I wanted to play something else because we had this week all the living presidents at the George W. Bush Library opening, which is really a nice


OBAMA: I went to the opening of the Bush Presidential Library in Dallas. It was a wonderful event. That inspired me to get started on my own legacy, which will actually begin by building another edifice right next to the Bush library. Can we show that please?



CROWLEY: So, again, just a little bit of humor and a lot of politics in this. These sorts of things we put together with something else that Joe Biden said. He was out at the -- with John McCain at an appearance on his behalf. And he took a look back at the McCain/Obama race. Here's what he had to say.


JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Barack Obama knows, I know, had the economy not collapsed around your ears literally just as you were -- as things were moving, you at least would have, I think, you probably would have won. But it would have been incredibly, incredibly, incredibly closer. You inherited a really difficult time, you inherited a difficult circumstance.


CROWLEY: So who agrees with the vice president? This was just kind of interesting because, you know, politics moves. And no longer does the president find himself able to say this was George Bush's fault. George Bush -- I inherited this. He's in a second term. Now we're looking back and saying, boy, John, if the economy hadn't been so bad, you might have won. First of all, do you agree with Biden?

THOMPSON: Well, he's my vice president. (LAUGHTER)


THOMPSON: Let me think.

CROWLEY: We'll (ph) put you down as a no over here.

BLACKBURN: I think what we saw this week was an incredible celebration of free speech. You know, when you look at the peaceful transition of power, you look at what happened at the Bush Library, where they came together to celebrate. Whether they agree or disagree, they celebrated that. And then of course last night with the dinner. The fact that even though I don't like the zingers, I feel like never injure anyone even in jest and I don't like those zingers. They make me uncomfortable, but I do appreciate the fact that we can come together and have that political humor.

SCHULTZ: And we have quite a few examples of that over the last couple of weeks. In tragedy and crisis, as well as in unifying moments that remind us at our core that we're all Americans and that we need to focus like last night's event does on the next generation of journalists. The next generation of leaders so that we can all focus on what matters the most to us, which is preserving the democracy and lifting people up.

THOMPSON: We can still be, we can still differ, but we are Americans, you know. And Americans can differ and still get along in the best interest of this country. CROWLEY: I want to show you a poll that came out this week, as well. This is "ABC's Washington Post poll." Do you approve or disapprove of the job this person did as president. President Obama 50 percent approved. George Bush, 47 percent approved. They are, basically, you know, that's basically a tie at this point. What do you think accounts for that now that George Bush left office quite unpopular and now is right up there with President Obama?

CHAFFETZ: I think the further you get away from a presidency, more people are able to look at it objectively. Look, he's a very engaging person. The country I think really likes the Bush family. Certainly Barbara Bush was the hit of the whole event. I mean, she is the one who kind of put everybody into place and -- I remember when I first came to Congress it was John Boehner who said, you know what we can disagree, but let's just not be disagreeable. And I think that's right. Our country is unique, just as Marsha said. When you get the president, different parties there together, all sitting together, that's an amazing American moment.

CROWLEY: And we should also add that there was a discussion of Boston and a salute to those who covered it, as well as to those -- the victims of it. So, it wasn't all just --


BLACKBURN: Right. And Candy, I think that the further you get away from the Bush presidency and with the occurrence of Boston and people thinking about public safety, like in Nashville yesterday at the country music marathon. People appreciate the fact that he was able to define what is the war on terrorism and that we are fighting an ideology and we have to be mindful and putting in place some of the structure that Bennie has referenced. To help us make to fight - make this fight.

SCHULTZ: It is kind of hard not to like a guy who paints people's pets.


CROWLEY: I have about a minute left. And I want to ask if any of you if you think that Boston, what went on in Boston changes either the outcome of an immigration debate or brings gun control back to the forefront. Do either of those changed because of Boston?

THOMPSON: Well, I think it says that we need comprehensive immigration reform now more than ever because of it.

CROWLEY: More emphasis (ph). What do you think?

SCHULTZ: Jason said it a few minutes ago, exit, entry visas and we need to focus more on making sure that the elements of comprehensive immigration reform are in place. So that we can make it less likely to -

(CROSSTALK) BLACKBURN: It heightens the awareness for the need for public security and how we share the information from the local, state, federal and globally.

CHAFFETZ: Absolutely. Need to fix legal immigration. We have to do that and we have to look very seriously about how we do visas in this country.

SCHULTZ: Background checks is a 90/10 issue. We have to return to it and make sure that bad people who shouldn't have them can't get access to guns.

THOMPSON: And border security is important too.

CROWLEY: OK. So a little emphasis (ph) there is what you're (ph) saying (ph)?

Thank you all, so much. Jason Chaffetz, Marsha Blackburn, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Bennie Thompson, thank you all for being here this morning, so bright and early.

When we return, a Boston sports team celebrates opening day and says good-bye to one of their own.


CROWLEY: Back to our lead story. In Boston today, 28 people remain in area hospitals following the marathon bombings that also killed three people. Two hundred sixty-four people were injured in the twin blast. And the Savin Hill Rangers' little league team opened their season Saturday paying tribute to one of their players, Martin Richard, who was killed in those bombings. During the opening day parade players and firefighters wore shirts and carried signs with the number 8. Martin's age and his jersey number.

A Tupelo, Mississippi, man is charged with sending ricin-laced letters to President Obama and Mississippi senator Roger Wicker. The federal charges against James Everett Dutschke come two days after prosecutors dropped charges against Paul Kevin Curtis in the same case. Curtis says he was framed.

A roadside bomb killed three police officers in Afghanistan this morning as the Taliban launched their annual spring offensive. A Taliban spokesman said, today's attack was just the first day of the new operation that will target foreign military bases and convoys, as well as attacks on Afghan police. The spokesman says the attacks will continue until foreign troops leave Afghanistan.

Thank you so much for watching STATE OF THE UNION. I'm Candy Crowley in Washington, head to for extras and that includes a clip from our popular online series called "GETTING TO KNOW."

This week find out the surprising family connection between Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz and Michael Dukakis. If you missed any part of today's show, find us on iTunes. Just search, STATE OF THE UNION.

Fareed Zakaria, GPS is next.