The McLaughlin Group
Host: John McLaughlin
Panel: Pat Buchanan, Author and Columnist; Eleanor Clift, Newsweek/The Daily Beast; Susan Ferrechio, Washington Examiner; Mort Zuckerman, U.S. News & World Report
Taped: Friday, June 14, 2013
Broadcast: Weekend of June 15-16, 2013

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JOHN MCLAUGHLIN: Issue One: Our Man in Hong Kong.

EDWARD SNOWDEN (NSA leaker): (From videotape.) My name is Ed Snowden. I'm 29 years old. I work for Booz Allen Hamilton as an infrastructure analyst for NSA in Hawaii. I, sitting at my desk, certainly had the authorities to wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant to a federal judge to even a president, if I had a personal email.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Edward J. Snowden was a security contractor with top-secret clearance until Tuesday of this week, when he was summarily sacked. Three weeks ago, Mr. Snowden triggered a federal manhunt after he had begun communicating via email with both The Washington Post and the Guardian, a British newspaper.

Snowden disclosed to the papers details of a top-secret surveillance program called PRISM, operated by the National Security Agency, the NSA. Last week, Snowden surfaced in Hong Kong via video to explain his actions. Snowden denied any intent to harm U.S. security. He claimed that he blew the whistle on the NSA to prompt a public debate about the program's legitimacy and its propriety.

He said that he had taken refuge in Hong Kong, the famed city and territory of the People's Republic of China. Snowden is resisting extradition to the United States, so damage assessments are already under way in the NSA and in the CIA, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the Department of Homeland Security and in other federal agencies whose secrets Snowden is positioned to compromise.
Besides Snowden's decision to put himself under the jurisdiction of Hong Kong, the timing of Snowden's disclosure is of particular interest, so close to the critical summit between President Obama and Premier Xi Jinping of China.

Chinese cyberintrusions were a top agenda item at the summit. So Snowden's current revelations are seen as a major ongoing diplomatic embarrassment to the U.S. and a serious undercutting of President Obama's negotiating posture vis-a-vis China.

Question: What is more egregious, what Snowden did to the NSA or what the NSA is doing to American citizens? Pat Buchanan.

PAT BUCHANAN: John, Snowden broke his contract. He violated his oath. He betrayed American secrets. And I think he damaged the security of the United States and I think he ought to be prosecuted.

The National Security Agency has spent decades and its leaders have spent decades defending this country. Now, what did we learn? We learned that they have access to AOL's records and Verizon's records and Yahoo's records and all the rest. But they can only access these records if they have found some connection to a terrorist and if they go to a FISA court and say we need to access those records.
By and large, the guys working at the NSA are American patriots who have put in decades in the silent service. And I think there's a wholesale exaggeration. The potential for evil-doing is huge, as it is in the IRS. But there is no single example yet that this has been abused.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What's the FISA court?

MR. BUCHANAN: That's the foreign intelligence security agency court, which authorizes --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What kind of a court is that?

MR. BUCHANAN: It's a federal court which authorizes warrants to go in and --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is that an invisible court?

MR. BUCHANAN: It is an invisible court, because it's got one or two --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why are you talking about an invisible court?

MR. BUCHANAN: Because that's the court that the National Security Agency goes to to get authority --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How come the National Security Agency doesn't have Cabinet rank?

MR. BUCHANAN: It's because it's sort of like the --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is it a spook agency?

MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah, but it's under Clapper. It's under the whole umbrella of --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Who's Clapper?

MR. BUCHANAN: Clapper's the head of national security overall, over the CIA.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Reporting to whom directly?

MR. BUCHANAN: He reports directly to the NSC and the president.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Where's his office, in the White House, right at the president's elbow?

MR. BUCHANAN: It's a secret place. (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's in the White House. Is it in the White House?

ELEANOR CLIFT: He's the director of --


MS. CLIFT: -- national security.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is he in the White House? I believe he's in the White House.

MR. BUCHANAN: No, I don't think so, no.

MS. CLIFT: I don't think he is in the White House. I think he's in the Pentagon.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He's very -- he's got Obama's ear, correct?


MS. CLIFT: Of course he has --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Please continue.

MS. CLIFT: I have to say, I agree with Pat Buchanan and I disagree with whatever little conspiracy you're trying to lay out here.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I'm trying to identify the players --

MS. CLIFT: Right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- for the public at large.

MS. CLIFT: Right. Exactly. OK, so --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK, go ahead.

MS. CLIFT: -- the director of national intelligence is probably a fairly newly created spot, because during the Bush years we realized that a lot of the intelligence agencies were operating under their own steam and there wasn't enough coordination. And so I believe this position was created. There's nothing nefarious about it. And the fact that they don't sit in the Cabinet doesn't take away from their authority at all.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We ought to know --

MS. CLIFT: Now, when we talk about --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We do know who's on the court. If you check carefully --

MS. CLIFT: If you're talking about the FISA court --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- you can find out who the head of the court is and so forth.

MS. CLIFT: -- the FISA court was established in 1978, and it's to provide oversight so the government doesn't run amok.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mm-hmm. (Acknowledging.)

MS. CLIFT: But to get back to the original question here, Edward Snowden is -- he's a loner, a libertarian. I don't think he's guilty of treason because he has no evident intent to betray, at least that we know about. He believes he was doing the right thing in alerting the American people that this kind of surveillance was going on.
What's new here is the extent of this surveillance. I think people understood that this is what the NSA, National Security Agency, does.


MS. CLIFT: This is what it was created to do. And so now he's brought this out into the open, and I think that's fair enough. Let's have a debate and see if there are more safeguards.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: This is a very nice gloss of this young man's reputation, and I think he's going to be very grateful to you.

MS. CLIFT: Maybe he will be. I believe he will be prosecuted --


MS. CLIFT: -- under the Espionage Act, however.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: OK, privacy no more.

SENATOR RAND PAUL (R-KY): (From videotape.) Get a warrant. Go after a terrorist or a murderer or a rapist. But don't troll through a billion phone records every day. That is unconstitutional. It invades our privacy. And I'm going to be seeing if I can challenge this at the Supreme Court level.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Senator Rand Paul wants to challenge government spy programs to determine whether they are constitutional. The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution says this. Quote: "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated," unquote.

We now know that the NSA gathers data from billions of U.S. phone records and also vacuums, so to speak, the databases of nine of the largest U.S. Internet companies, including Microsoft, Google, Apple, Yahoo and Facebook.

Under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act -- that's F-I-S- A, FISA -- and Sections 215 and 702 of the Patriot Act, this data collection is legal. And many political figures disagree with Senator Paul, including Mike Rogers, congressman, fellow Republican, former FBI special agents, and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. Chairman Rogers says this.

REPRESENTATIVE MIKE ROGERS (R-MI): (From videotape.) The National Security Agency does not listen to Americans' phone calls and it is not reading Americans' emails. None of this programs allow that. As a matter of fact, the Patriot Act in part of that 702 says it is expressly prohibited by law that you can read and wholly surveil domestic email traffic in the United States.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Who wins on this issue, Senator Paul or Representative Rogers? I ask you, Susan.

SUSAN FERRECHIO: I think Senator Rand Paul wins on this one. People are walking around their houses covering up the little cameras on their computers right now. You just cited the Fourth Amendment in that clip you showed. Talk about an unreasonable search. You're in your house looking at your computer, and the government can be watching you, at least according to Snowden, who said they can tap in and look at your emails, listen to your phone calls. That's just, by definition, unreasonable.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: How about the whole backlog in the computer?

MS. FERRECHIO: The whole idea of feeling secure and using your own telephone and your computer while you're in your own home is at the heart of this issue.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Does it have to be real time? Can he go right into your computer and see what's there?

MS. FERRECHIO: Well, that's what the claim is. And we don't really know. They're using this big word, the metadata word. We're just gathering this stuff. We're not really looking at it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mm-hmm. (Acknowledging.)

MS. FERRECHIO: How do we know that? How do we know what anybody is looking for? And how do we know who is looking at it? We have government contractors now who seem to have access to a lot of personal things belonging to millions of Americans. They're not even really directly working for the government. They're government contractors. It seems like there's no real control over the information coming in and who has access to it. And that is a big security issue.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think, Mort?

MORT ZUCKERMAN: Well, I think you're leaving out something essential, which is that the head of national intelligence has basically -- and national security -- has basically indicated that dozens of terrorist attacks have been interdicted as a result of the information and intelligence that we got out of that. And given the world that we are living in, we've got to see whether there's a way of preserving that access.


MR. ZUCKERMAN: Now, they are not listening to conversations. They're not looking at the material. It goes through a special court with independent judges, and the Congress have approved it. And so this is something in this modern day and age that we're going to have to find some way of dealing with, which is levels of terrorism that we have never before experienced.

MS. CLIFT: That's right.

MS. FERRECHIO: It is a fine line, though.

MS. CLIFT: You have smart people creating algorithms, so you look for patterns when you collect all of this data.


MS. CLIFT: And frankly --

MS. FERRECHIO: (Inaudible) -- algorithms.

MS. CLIFT: Excuse me. Excuse me. When you buy something online, do you notice that you get lots of ads related to what merchandise you were looking at? Corporations are doing the same sort of snooping.

MS. FERRECHIO: That's a lot different than the government watching you.

MS. CLIFT: If you want to cover the camera on your computer, you should have done it a long time ago.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hold on, please, Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: All right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I want to get this in to show the extremity to which this subject moves: Metadata.

To capture all these emails, Internet searches, phone records and other information in industry argot called, quote-unquote, "metadata," the NSA, based in Fort Meade, Maryland, has built a 1 million square- foot data center in Utah at a stated cost of $1.2 (billion) to $1.7 billion.
The Utah data center stores and captures data in yottabytes -- one yottabyte equal 1 trillion terabytes or 1 quadrillion gigabytes or 500 quintillion paper pages of text. If those pages were stacked, by the way, one on top of the other, the stack would reach to the moon and back, 66 million times round trip.

Let's move that out a little bit. Let's take an example of metadata. Amazon's Kindle reports back every page you read, how long it takes you to read it, what passages you underline, and everything you read on Kindle. It's as if CEO Jeff Bezos is snooping over your shoulder. Is that an invasion of privacy?



MR. BUCHANAN: Look, the -- this enormous data exists.


MR. BUCHANAN: At, I order all these books and then they send me, as Eleanor says, books just like it.

MS. CLIFT: Right.

MR. BUCHANAN: Would you like to buy this? It exists; Verizon, all these other things. And it goes into this huge pool. And NSA can access it if they've got a reason to believe some way it's connected with terrorism. Then they can go into it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Then they can also turn it over to a law enforcement agency.

MR. BUCHANAN: Look, John --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Then they can go in.

MR. BUCHANAN: -- the data already exists.

MS. CLIFT: With a warrant.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: There is no privacy.

MR. BUCHANAN: The question is, can NSA access it? It already exists.

MS. CLIFT: It exists. And if they want to go further and target in on someone, they have to go to this court --

MR. BUCHANAN: Exactly.

MS. CLIFT: -- and present enough evidence that --


MS. CLIFT: -- the FISA court -- and get essentially what amounts to a warrant.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: This is the mystery court. We don't know who's on it.


MS. CLIFT: The fact that we can have the luxury --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But we do know who's on it if you really want to look.

MR. BUCHANAN: There's one --

MS. CLIFT: The fact that we can have the luxury of having this conversation is because we feel pretty safe, and maybe we shouldn't.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Oh, God bless America. God bless America.

MS. CLIFT: There's still an enemy out there. There's still an enemy out there.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: I share that.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I mean, they penetrate every part of your life; your medical records too, I imagine.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Look, we have been --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is there anything that cannot be found in the light of these developments?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: It is possible there is very little that cannot be found.

MS. CLIFT: That's right.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: But let me put it this way. The bombs that went off in Boston the day of the marathon, OK, there was information and intelligence that we might have been able to find out about these people in advance. And we didn't do it, as it happened, OK.

We're in a different kind of world today, and we have got to find a way to protect ourselves. Otherwise this society is going to break down in ways that we can't even predict. This is -- it seems to me it's a moderate price to pay for the level of security we now --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You don't mind that the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution is shot full of holes.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: I don't know that I agree with you on that.

MR. BUCHANAN: No, it's not.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you mean, it's not?

MR. BUCHANAN: Who has violated whose rights?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let's let the lady in. Susan.

MS. FERRECHIO: It is a balance here of protecting the country versus giving up your rights to privacy as an American.

MR. BUCHANAN: But nobody's --

MS. FERRECHIO: Everyone is so willing to just say, OK, fine, government, look at me. Take all this data.

MR. BUCHANAN: But no --

MS. FERRECHIO: I trust you. I mean, really? Really?

MR. BUCHANAN: John, whose --

MS. FERRECHIO: Really, Pat? I mean --

MR. BUCHANAN: Whose Fourth Amendment rights have been violated? Look, if somebody went into my computer and got my email, I'd say, you SOB, I'm going to sue you. But it hasn't happened yet.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I'm going to answer all your questions in a moment.


MR. BUCHANAN: Is there the potential? Yes.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: If you --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let's get to the exit question. If our government holds on to that much of our personal data, is that in itself an erosion of our constitutional right, namely, to privacy under the Fourth Amendment?

MR. BUCHANAN: No, because the data already exists, John. They just move it from here to there.

MS. CLIFT: That's right. And they look for patterns. And I want to quote David Simon, a former reporter. He's the creator of "The Wire" on HBO. He likens this not only to try to find the needle in the haystack. This is trying to identify the needles before they're placed in the haystack. This is what this information makes possible. And we don't want to surrender that. And, you know, there have been no documented abuses.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I feel better now.

MS. FERRECHIO: None that we know of. That's the thing. This thing is so secretive and we're all so willing to accept it. We don't even know what they're doing with the information.

MR. BUCHANAN: What would you do, Susan, destroy all this information?

MS. CLIFT: It's not much of a secret anymore.

MS. FERRECHIO: We've got a big dragnet out there. Do we need that dragnet?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: That's a good question. How do you reaffirm, reestablish, reroute privacy in this country? How do you do it?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: I don't feel that my privacy has been violated, OK. What I would feel that my privacy had been violated, if I was in the subway and the goddamn -- and the thing blew up, OK. Sorry.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: We're going to have --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: It just came out, you know.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- (inaudible) -- after the show.

MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, so safety rules.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Well, yeah.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: At what cost?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: You want to change the whole mood of this country? Have a couple of terrorist attacks that go off without the ability to stop them.

MS. FERRECHIO: You're so trusting, but they weren't even able --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You don't realize how much commercial value this has.

MS. FERRECHIO: -- to track down the guys in Boston, despite their reams --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They can now --

MS. FERRECHIO: -- of information.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They can taper to all of the elements of your appetite, vast as they may be --

MR. BUCHANAN: All right, John -- John --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: I'm a vegan, so they're not going to have much to work with.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue Two: Red Lining.

On Thursday, the White House announced that the Obama administration has concluded that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons, quote-unquote, "multiple times" in Syria in the last year, resulting in the deaths of 100 to 150 people. The White House also announced that in response, it would, quote, "increase the scope and scale of assistance that we provide to the opposition," unquote.

Question: Is President Obama making the same mistake with Syria that Bush made with Iraq, being drawn into a Middle -- into a Middle Eastern quagmire? I ask you, Mort.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: No, I don't think so. I think if he doesn't do anything about this, he will have a Middle Eastern quagmire, because what Syria is doing -- what's happening within Syria is that there is an absolute moment when there could be a transformation, A, of what's going on in Jordan, for example, because you have a Shia-Sunni operation, but what is going on there is Assad now is clearly winning.
The rebels are now clearly losing. And the reason they're losing is because we did not supply them with the kind of ammunition they need. That would be a huge change in that region, and to the detriment of our interests in that region.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: So we have to remember that Shias and Sunnis are located in different countries.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: That's right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And anything that affects their population within Syria is going to be reflected on a massive scale, possibly causing eruptions over in those countries. Correct?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: That is possible.

But if Assad and his forces wipe out the opposition, OK, there'll be implications directly, as I say, Jordan in particular --


MR. ZUCKERMAN: -- and other countries. So whatever happens here, you'll have implications that go to the whole region.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Pat, hold on just one moment.

MR. BUCHANAN: All right.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let's assume that Bashar al-Assad -- he's the head of Syria -- himself authorized the chemical weapons deployment. Quote: "Five distinct conflicts have become tangled together in Syria" -- this is a quote -- "a popular uprising against the dictatorship, which is also a sectarian battle between Sunnis and the Alawite sect; a regional struggle between Shia and Sunni, which is also a decades-old conflict between an Iranian-led grouping and Iran's traditional enemies, notably the U.S. and Saudi Arabia. Finally, at another level, there is a reborn Cold War confrontation," that is, "Russia and China versus the West. The quagmire is turning out to be even deeper and more dangerous than it was in Iraq," unquote. So says war correspondent Patrick Cockburn in the current London Review of Books.

The fan-out impacts of this --

MR. BUCHANAN: John, this has Tonkin Gulf written all over it. We're putting the United States now militarily into a war where our side has al-Nusra folks, al-Qaida people, jihadis on its side. The war there is being lost. We have no plans to win it. We have no plans to end it. We have no plans to get out. You are right. It's a Sunni-Shia war throughout the entire Middle East.

MS. CLIFT: Well --

MR. BUCHANAN: We're getting ourselves into a conflict -- Iran, Russia, Hezbollah on one side, and us, Saudi Arabia, Qatar on the other side.

MS. CLIFT: Well --

MR. BUCHANAN: It is insane. It is --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think of that?

MS. CLIFT: First of all, it's not -- the Tonkin Gulf was a made- up incident.

MR. BUCHANAN: I think this is made up.

MS. CLIFT: And I don't believe that the sarin gas --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You hear what Pat said? He thinks this was made up.

MS. CLIFT: I disagree. I don't --

MR. BUCHANAN: (Inaudible.)

MS. CLIFT: I don't believe the sarin gas is made up. You've got -- the Brits have tested it. The French have tested it. There is a belief that this so-called red line has been crossed.

Secondly, you said is the president being drawn in the way Bush was drawn into Iraq. Bush wasn't drawn into Iraq. He actively sought it out. He wanted to overthrow the regime there. He wanted a demonstration of American power in the Middle East. Boy, did that backfire.

This president really doesn't want to get involved. He's got one foot on the brake every step along the way.

MS. FERRECHIO: That's the problem.

MR. BUCHANAN: (Laughs.)

MS. CLIFT: Excuse me. He's heading -- he's heading to the G-7 summit next week. The idea of this --


MS. CLIFT: -- increased military aid is an attempt to balance the power on the ground.


MS. CLIFT: Assad is winning right now. And you don't want to go into this peace conference that they hope to hold over the summer with Assad winning. So that's what this is about.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Susan, do you want to amplify --


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- that nasty crack you made about Eleanor?

MS. FERRECHIO: (Laughs.) The problem now is that he's giving them some weapons. It's not enough --


MS. FERRECHIO: The president decided to help out a little bit in Syria after they crossed this red line.


MS. FERRECHIO: It's not enough to really do any good, though. And so we're giving them weapons. It's going to escalate things with Russia, as you say, and increases the Cold War situation.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Why did the president --

MS. FERRECHIO: I think it was political.


MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What do you mean, political?

MS. FERRECHIO: For a number of reasons.

MR. BUCHANAN: He was called --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: For example, he has --

MR. BUCHANAN: He was called a wuss.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He has effectively controlled the content of Sunday TV programs.

MR. BUCHANAN: He was called a wuss.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Inaudible.)

MR. BUCHANAN: He was called a wuss.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He does not want to talk about what?

MR. BUCHANAN: He was called --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He does not want to talk about what?

MS. FERRECHIO: I know your theory.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What is it?

MS. FERRECHIO: Your theory is the wag-the-dog theory, that they're trying to divert attention to something else right now --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Other than what? Other than what?

MS. FERRECHIO: -- given the scandals --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Other than what? The IRS. The IRS.
(Cross talk.)

MS. CLIFT: The IRS is collapsing of its own weight.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Is that why he's controlling this discussion?


MR. ZUCKERMAN: I don't think that's why he's doing this.

MR. BUCHANAN: That's nuts, John.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Believe me --

MS. FERRECHIO: Well, I wouldn't rule that out, actually, no.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: -- if there is a collapse of all our allies in that region, it'll be a huge foreign policy and national security defeat --

MR. BUCHANAN: What allies?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: -- for the United States.

MS. CLIFT: I agree with Mort.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Saudi Arabia is our ally.

MR. BUCHANAN: Why don't they come in and fight?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Let Mort in. Let Mort in.

MR. BUCHANAN: Why don't they come in and fight?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: In their own way, they are helping out. They're --

MR. BUCHANAN: Where are the Turks? Where are the Turks?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: I don't know where the Turks are. I don't answer for all of them, OK?

MR. BUCHANAN: They've got -- they're three times as large. You've got a reluctant warrior taking us into war --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Exit question.

MR. BUCHANAN: -- halfway.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You're right. Will President Obama rue the day he made chemical weapons use by Assad's regime a red line? Yes or no? Will he rue the day?

MR. BUCHANAN: This could really damage, cripple and end his presidency.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He will rue the day.

MR. BUCHANAN: It was a horrible -- (inaudible).

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right, quickly -- (inaudible).

MS. CLIFT: That is way overstated.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Will he rue?



MS. CLIFT: The fact --


MS. CLIFT: No. The fact that the Hezbollah fighters, at the direction of Iran, are now in Syria --


MS. CLIFT: -- makes this a proxy war. The superpower cannot sit on the sidelines completely.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Susan, quickly -- rue or no rue?

MS. FERRECHIO: He made a political move to send over light weapons, and it's not going to damage -- (inaudible).

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: He's going to rue the day.




MR. ZUCKERMAN: I think it was essential for the United States. I don't think he'll rue the day or the night.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The answer is -- Mort's wrong -- big rue.

Issue Three: Immigration Impetus?

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: (From videotape.) This week the Senate will consider a common-sense, bipartisan bill that is the best chance we've had in years to fix our broken immigration system. There's no good reason to play procedural games or engage in obstruction just to block the best chance we've had in years to address this problem. There's no reason Congress can't get this done by the end of the summer.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The president may get his wish. On Tuesday, the most sweeping immigration reform bill in 30 years passed a critical test. The full U.S. Senate voted to take up the bill, meaning debate and amend it, and, proponents hope, pass it.

The legislation would allow some 11 million illegal immigrants now in the U.S. to apply for U.S. citizenship. Before gaining citizenship, however, immigrants who apply would gain temporary legal status first, for at least 10 years. Over that time, immigrants must pass a background check, pay back taxes, pay application fees, pay at least $2,000 in fines. They must also learn English.

The bill also provides $6.5 billion to boost security along the 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico border. Also employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants will pay fines. Also visas for specialized workers will be increased. Interestingly, Republican House Speaker John Boehner green-lighted priority status and passage of immigration overhaul.

(Begin videotaped segment.)

HOUSE SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH): Immigration reform is probably at the top of that list.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS (ABC News): Signed into law?

REP. BOEHNER: I think, by the end of the year, we could have a bill.

(End videotaped segment.)

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Is Speaker Boehner's prediction correct? Susan Ferrechio.

MS. FERRECHIO: I think right now that the speaker is undecided about what he wants to do. I don't think it's guaranteed by any means that the House will take up any kind of comprehensive bill. There's a lot of pressure on him from both sides. A lot of Republicans feel they have to do a comprehensive bill with a path to citizenship, that the fate of the party rests on that path to citizenship.
But there are many, many other Republicans who think this is just an ill-fated move. This is just going to damage the party permanently --


MS. FERRECHIO: -- eternally, as you have said, Pat.


MS. FERRECHIO: And Boehner is right in the middle of it. Everybody's watching him. Whoever's trying to guess what he's going to do right now, I think, may as well flip a coin.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think the House may turn to a series of bills --

MS. FERRECHIO: Yes. They are doing that.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- rather than one bill?


MS. FERRECHIO: They're doing that right now. That's their back- door escape. They have a series of bills that they can say is immigration reform -- deals with the border security issue, deals with visas, deals with guest worker. It escapes that whole quandary of path to citizenship.

MR. BUCHANAN: This will --

MS. FERRECHIO: That is a back-door possibility.

MR. BUCHANAN: This will tear the Republican -- is going to tear --

MS. FERRECHIO: It is tearing it apart.

MR. BUCHANAN: -- the Republican Party apart --

MS. FERRECHIO: It is already.

MR. BUCHANAN: -- between the traditionalists, populists, who are going to the wall on this -- it's their most important issue -- and the big corporate guys. Agribusiness wants this. Corporate America wants this.

MS. FERRECHIO: Yeah, they want cheap labor.

MR. BUCHANAN: The H1B. They want cheap labor. This is going to rip them apart. I think Ms. Bachmann, though, the congresswoman, is pretty right. She says that what's going to happen is the Republicans in the House are going to pass a really good bill from the conservative standpoint. It will go to conference. The good stuff will be wiped out, and then you will get basically a liberal bill. The Senate will pass it. And the key question is whether the House passes the final bill.

MS. FERRECHIO: And what does Boehner do?

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: (Inaudible.)

MS. FERRECHIO: The House can pass it.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: What are the major differences between the House bill and the Senate bill?


MS. CLIFT: The major thing is the path to citizenship.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Right, and --

MS. CLIFT: The Senate is not going to pass a bill that doesn't have that. And the House is really -- (inaudible) -- to that.

MS. FERRECHIO: Wait. The House can --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: The major --

MS. FERRECHIO: The House can pass that.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: What the Republicans -- let me just say, what the Republicans are going to do is they're going to argue for securing the border.


MS. CLIFT: First.

MR. ZUCKERMAN: That is the big issue.


MR. ZUCKERMAN: And that is going to be the issue around which the Republicans will rally.

MS. FERRECHIO: And having what we call a trigger, meaning --

MR. ZUCKERMAN: And the question is, will that be enough to satisfy them? If they get what they want --

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: They want to assure themselves that the border is secure by spending, what, $4 (billion) or $5 billion?

MR. ZUCKERMAN: Oh, it's going to be more than that before they're done.

MS. FERRECHIO: No, no, it's not that.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Billions -- "b" as in boy, billions.

MS. FERRECHIO: You know what it'll boil down to? This idea of a trigger. I think, at the very end of this, it'll conference, like you say. It'll be up to the speaker. And whether he moves it to the floor or not will hinge on this idea of a trigger, meaning you don't get this path to citizenship unless it is confirmed.

MR. BUCHANAN: The borders secure for six months.

MS. FERRECHIO: Democrats say that's a bridge too far. I think they'll cave in at the end. If there's a deal, it'll hinge on that.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Predictions. Pat.

MR. BUCHANAN: Rand Paul will lead the battle against the Syrian intervention.

MS. CLIFT: Tea party Republicans, in an effort to kill the farm bill, will stereotype and make racial comments about food stamps, which is a big element of the program.


MS. FERRECHIO: The public becomes increasingly complacent about data surveillance.


MR. ZUCKERMAN: Iran is only 60 days away from having enough nuclear fissionable material to develop their first nuclear warhead.

MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Immigration overhaul legislation will pass and become law by December 31 of this year.

Happy Father's Day. Bye-bye.

(C) 2013 Federal News Service