This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," June 13, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: You have questions, but the Obama administration does not have answers!
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich joins us. Nice to see you, Mr. Speaker.
NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER HOUSE SPEAKER/FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Good to be with you.
VAN SUSTEREN: Your thoughts on how the White House is handling what many in this town are calling a scandal, or a series of scandals?
GINGRICH: Well, look, I think that what you're seeing begin to build -- and I really don't think even the Republicans in this town get this. We were not told the truth about Fast and Furious when an American agent was killed in a really stupid project by the Justice Department to sell illegal guns into Mexico.
We were not told the truth about Benghazi, and it's still clear we're not being told the truth about Benghazi. We're not being told the truth about the Internal Revenue Service. You just saw the quote you had on the air just now. We're not being told the truth about the Environmental Protection Agency giving thousands of farmers' names to lawyers.
I mean, you go down case after case after case. We actually have four interns at Gingrich Productions who are building a room just full of scandals, to put stuff up on the wall, because there's so many of them.
So in that setting, people of great authority, who I respect, come out and say, Trust us, the government is not eavesdropping. The government is not looking at your emails. The government's -- why would you believe them?
I mean, I think this is a very deep and real crisis of confidence in the entire establishment of this country, and I don't think leaders in either party understands how deep it is.
VAN SUSTEREN: What is -- I mean, there's the impact domestically. I mean, we see the polls where people are losing confidence, or some -- you know, so many people think that Snowden did a good thing, a surprising number, I think 54 percent of those that were polled.
But the other problem is that you even have -- next week, the president's traveling to Berlin to see Chancellor Angela Merkel, and she intends to raise with him the issue of whether Germans -- citizens' privacy was snooped upon by our NSA. She doesn't sound happy. The interior ministry doesn't sound happy with us. This is one our biggest allies, and the -- and the -- a huge country in the EU.
GINGRICH: Look, it's been an open secret for at least 20 years that we vacuum the world for information. And -- and as long as it was an open secret, nobody had to pay attention to it. Now it's page one. So if you're the German chancellor -- and you may have known we were doing it and you may have thought, You know, I don't particularly like it, but I understand why the Americans are doing it. After all, there were al Qaeda in Hamburg. We should remember that all these different countries have problems with terrorism.
But now she's really in a box because is she going to say to her own people, I'm not going to protect you from Americans spying on you? This is a -- I think Snowden, by the way, should be tried to the fullest possible prosecution. I don't think individuals have the right to break secrecy, and I think they can do incalculable damage to this country when they do so.
VAN SUSTEREN: So -- but this is a time when we're supposed to be showing strong solidarity with Germany, and now the -- the media is going to be sort of consumed with whether -- you know, us explaining ourselves on this.
But then you've got the other problem, where you've got President Putin essentially lecturing -- President Putin used to be with the KGB, I might add -- lecturing the United States on not invading people's privacy and breaking the law. And this is a country that we want help with in dealing with Syria.
GINGRICH: Look, this is an example of why common sense, everyday Americans look on the whole current process as thought it was out of touch with reality. For Vladimir Putin, who as you point out was a leading KGB figure, who has done all sorts of things that are inappropriate and clearly are violations of any kind of decent constitutional rule of law -- for him to lecture us is just the heighth of total hypocrisy.
VAN SUSTEREN: But it -- you know, it is hypocrisy and -- but the problem is, is that we live in an international world, and are we somehow now in a less attractive position as we deal with these international problems when we've got people who may be hypocrites sort of, you know, barking at our heels?
GINGRICH: That's why what Snowden did was very damaging at one level because there are a lot of things a democracy can do to protect itself, as long as they're genuinely secret. And people will tolerate it as long as it's genuinely secret. But it's very difficult to sustain if it becomes overly public because now -- I mean, I'd be very surprised if we weren't gathering an enormous amount of data in Russia.
And by the way, one of the questions we should be asking is if we're gathering all this data, why didn't we find the Chechen bombers in Boston, who -- one of whom was in back in Russia?
VAN SUSTEREN: And one of whom we gave citizenship in the midst of this!
GINGRICH: Right. Why didn't we find the Pakistani bomber in New York City? Why didn't we intercept Major Hasan before he killed people at Ft. Hood? I mean, you also have to ask, are we scooping up so much stuff, because we're afraid to target anybody, that we, in fact, aren't able to analyze and focus on the people who really matter?
VAN SUSTEREN: Is this a shortcoming of the president's, or is this just part of the -- sort of the bigness of government?
GINGRICH: Oh, I think we're in the early stages of a bureaucratic big government scandal that runs through virtually every agency. But I think it's compounded by Obama, both because of the way he deals with government and because his administration's so consistently dishonest.
I mean, you take every single major scandal and on virtually every major scandal, they have stonewalled. They have refused to tell the truth. They have refused to cooperate.
It's very different from Watergate and very different from the Clinton problems in the '90s. This is not just a White House-centric problem. This is a -- this is a level of illegality and a level of bureaucratic arrogance across the whole government, which I think they took from Obama's attitude. I mean, I think they are a reflection of President Obama's attitude.
But I think it's way beyond that. And David Axelrod said it perfectly the other week, when he said, Look, this government's now so big, the president has no idea what's going on. Well, I see that as (INAUDIBLE) government way too big.