November 4th, 2015
06:39 PM ET

Gov. John Kasich on suspected ISIS bomb: "We need to make sure we have robust intelligence"

the lead

Today on The Lead with Jake Tapper, Governor of Ohio and Republican presidential candidate John Kasich, joined the program to discuss the crash of Flight 9268 over the Sinai Peninsula and its potential impact on U.S. national security and foreign relations. Please see below for a full rushed transcript.

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Please credit all usage to CNN’s The Lead with Jake Tapper

Text highlights:

Kasich on the need to rebuild the United States’ intelligence capabilities: “We need to make sure we have robust intelligence.  And, Jake, the fact is, is that we don't have all the human intelligence that we need.  It's very difficult.  But it is absolutely critical that we rebuild our intelligence capabilities.”

Kasich suggesting the possibility of American troops on the ground: “And if that means that U.S. boots have to be on the ground, so be it, because to allow this to linger, to put this off, to think that somehow this is going to go away is naive at best. And so, if I were president, I would be working the phones.  I would have been working phones a lot sooner than this to deal with worldwide menace and particularly a menace to our way of life.”

FULL TRANSCRIPT:

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

 

JAKE TAPPER, CNN:  To talk about this crash and its potential impact on U.S. national security and foreign relations, Republican presidential candidate and Ohio Governor John Kasich, who is a former member of the House Armed Services Committee.

Governor Kasich, good to see you.  Thanks for joining us.

GOV. JOHN KASICH (R-OH), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:  Thank you, Jake.

TAPPER:  So, Governor, assuming that this intelligence proves correct, if you were president right now, what do you think you would do?

KASICH:  Well, Jake, first of all, of course, our intelligence community has to be put on high alert.

I mean, one of the things that's absolutely critical is to have robust intelligence to tell us when these things are going to happen.  And it seems as though, listening to the report, that Sharm el-Sheikh did not have the security, even though there were intelligence reports that were indicating there was lax security.

We need to make sure we have robust intelligence.  And, Jake, the fact is, is that we don't have all the human intelligence that we need.  It's very difficult.  But it is absolutely critical that we rebuild our intelligence capabilities.

Secondly, look, we got to face facts.  Either you're going to pay me now or you're going to pay me a lot more later.  And I would just hope that our Western friends and people that share our Western values would realize that the time has come to destroy ISIS as part of a coalition.

And if that means that U.S. boots have to be on the ground, so be it, because to allow this to linger, to put this off, to think that somehow this is going to go away is naive at best.  And so, if I were president, I would be working the phones.  I would have been working phones a lot sooner than this to deal with worldwide menace and particularly a menace to our way of life.

TAPPER:  And how would you do that, sir?  Because, as you know, the very first phone call Justin Trudeau, the new Canadian prime minister, made was to President Obama, saying that Canada was not going to participate in this fight against ISIS.

Obviously, when President Obama was pushing for a war against Assad a few years ago, the British Parliament also defeated a measure by British Prime Minister Cameron to do that.  How do you convince the U.S. allies to get some skin in the game?

KASICH:  Well, Jake, you're beginning to see David Cameron sound the warning in terms of these kinds of threats from groups like ISIS.

And, look, it takes leadership.  We have allowed our NATO coalition partners, that relationship to basically deteriorate over time.  And I also really want to hold the E.U. accountable for not bringing the Turks, which are a moderating force, into the European Union.  It takes hard work.

But, look, we also have people that we have shared values who are mostly at risk in the Middle East, whether it's the Jordanians, whether it's the Saudis, whether it's the Gulf states.  I mean, we have to work all of them.  And you have to work them aggressively, but the problem is, Jake, and I don't really just want to talk about foreign policy in terms of taking shots at President Obama, but, frankly, we have not led.

And when you don't lead, you create doubt in the minds of our friends and also it encourages our enemies.  And these relationships need to be more robust.  And the United States needs to be more aggressive.  I suggested a no-fly zone both on the Turkish border, in Northern Syria and in the Jordanian border to provide sanctuary and also to send a message that the United States is interested and involved.

It's leadership Jake.  Look, I served on that committee for 18 years.  I followed it all of my adult life.  And when we lead, we get good outcomes most of the time.  And when we don't lead, bad things happen.

TAPPER:  One of our terrorism analysts, Paul Cruickshank, said that he thought this was the most significant, not the biggest, but the most significant terrorist attack since 9/11.  Do you agree?

KASICH:  Well, it's really going to be shocking to people, and particularly to the Russians, and, of course, to the Egyptians, because the Egyptians have been fighting this image of a place where terrorism has taken root.

And they're very concerned, which is why I think they're holding out saying exactly what happened with this airplane.  But they now have a general in charge.  And I know that we have now resumed aid to Egypt, which we should do because we're all in this battle together.  They have been a force for moderation by and large in the Middle East.

And the fact is, this is going to send a riveting message worldwide, because it shows that with the planting of a bomb, we're all vulnerable.  And we need to fight against it and destroy those people who are most responsible for this kind of activity, Jake.

TAPPER:  Governor, as a policy matter, how should a president or a prime minister balance competing pressures when it comes to evils, for want of a better term?  For instance, should the common fight that the U.S. and Russia have against ISIS impact how much the United States objects to Russian incursions in Ukraine?  Should it impact our demand that Assad should resign, given that ISIS is also our shared enemy?

KASICH:  No, I believe that sometimes friends will disagree - or I wouldn't say Russia is our friend, but I would say that interested parties can disagree.

We absolutely should be providing the resources to the Ukrainians to be able to defend themselves, because, as we don't do this, we create very great nervousness in the Baltic states, even great nervousness with our friends in Finland.

So, the United States has to be clear that, first of all, we will support those who support our objectives.  And, secondly, we need to reinforce our relations particularly in Eastern Europe and NATO by pre-positioning equipment.

At the same time, over in Syria, Assad has to go, because the link there is between Iran, Russia and Assad.  Assad has to go.  Now, I have to tell you, Jake, I don't like this idea of putting 50 military advisers into Syria.  I don't want to get into a middle of a civil war.  Those things never work.  They never come out in the way we want.

But we should be part of a coalition.  We should be part of a coalition to destroy ISIS.  And we can support the rebels in Syria without us having to directly intervene, something that I suggested well over a year ago.

TAPPER:  Governor John Kasich of Ohio, thank you so much.  Appreciate your time, sir.

KASICH:  Thank you, Jake.

 

## End Interview ##

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