This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," June 16, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Today once again, as has been true too many times before, I held and hugged grieving family members and parents, and they asked why does this keep happening? And they pleaded that we do more to stop the carnage.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS WALLACE, GUEST ANCHOR: President Obama in Orlando after meeting with people who survived the mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub there, and relatives of those who did not. Let's bring in our panel: Steve Hayes of The Weekly Standard; Karen Tumulty from The Washington Post; Fox News media analyst and host of Fox's "MediaBuzz" Howard Kurtz, and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer.
Well, as we reported earlier, this is the eighth time in seven years that President Obama has gone to the site of a mass shooting during the time that he has been president. Steve, your reaction to his trip, this as I say the eighth time he's made this kind of trip and his remarks afterwards?
STEVE HAYES, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Well, it's interesting. We seem to be having two different conversations in this country, a conversation led by the president in part and Democrats in Washington on gun control, on shooting, the fact that this was a mass shooting, and a separate conversation, I would say led by largely by Republicans, but also by leaders of the intelligence community -- we saw John Brennan testify about the threat from ISIL -- about radical Islam. This I think explains in a nutshell why the country is so divided about this.
In my own view, I think that the real threat is radical Islam, that the president isn't doing enough to talk about it, that you have media outlets like "The New York Times" and others writing editorials focusing strictly on guns or on LGBT issues and literally writing out of these attacks in particular The role that radical Islam we know played. I think it's irresponsible on behalf of the media. I think it's misleading on behalf of the president.
WALLACE: We're going to get to the whole discussion about gun control in the next segment. Before we get to the discussion about ISIS and what CIA director Brennan said, I want to bring you in, Howie, just on the fact that we keep learning new details about the shooter, and they are is one more horrifying than the next. Now we're finding out that he made 16 phone calls during the time that he was slaughtering these people and was checking on Facebook to try to see what kind of coverage he was getting.
HOWARD KURTZ, FOX NEWS MEDIA ANALYST: It's just absolutely infuriating and horrifying and heartbreaking to learn these details during this mass slaughter. And I think President Obama today gave a very emotional speech. Unfortunately as you say, he's had a lot of practice at it, paying tribute to the victims and also pivoting to gun control.
But he does that with an intensity that he lacks when he talks about the war on terror. I think everybody can see that. It doesn't seem like it is as close to his heart. And I think the country is fearful because people can imagine be in a nightclub like that, and angry as they learn about how was it that this guy was in a position to do this despite two FBI investigations.
WALLACE: There was another development today which Steve alluded to, and that's the fact that CIA Director Brennan testified before Congress. And while he said we are making some progress against ISIS, for instance rolling back the amount of territory that they occupy in Iraq and Syria, he said that we have not reduced their terror capability or their global reach. Take a look at this part.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN BRENNAN, CIA DIRECTOR: We judge that ISIL is training and attempting to deploy operatives for further attacks. ISIL has a large cadre of western fighters who could potentially serve as operatives for attacks in the west. And the group is probably exploring a variety of means for infiltrating operatives into the west, including in refugee flows, smuggling routes, and legitimate methods of travel.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Karen, a lot of that tracks with what Donald Trump has been saying about the threat of refugees coming from the warzone into this country.
KAREN TUMULTY, THE WASHINGTON POST: It also suggest in a different sort of strategist on the part of ISIS, because the original focus was come join us in the fight. Come join us here. So you did see, for instance, a lot of people going there from Europe, from other countries to join the fight. It's an entirely different kind of threat. I mean, I --
WALLACE: But in terms of the U.S. homeland, it's a greater threat.
TUMULTY: It's much worse and much more urgent. They first came into our consciousness when they were doing beheading videos in the Middle East. But as horrifying as it was, that was a threat that was at some remove. What Brennan is saying today is it's coming here.
WALLACE: Charles, for all the talk about guns and immigration, I know that you think the real key to all of this and to protecting the homeland is to defeating ISIS over there. Do you get the sense that there is a credible plan being offered by either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump?
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: No. And it's remarkable to me that we seem to completely ignore the one example, historical example from history, which would show us what works. Al Qaeda had four major attacks against U.S. interests -- the attack on the embassies, the failed attack, the first one on the World Trade Center, the attack on the Cole, and then 9/11. And it thrived. The crescendo was 9/11. Afterwards we decided to go after them.
They were then driven out of their sanctuary physically. We have not had a major attack on that scale from Al Qaeda since. In the end, can you do everything you want. You can put, you can have the most wonderful social media experts to counter the message of ISIL. You can do anything you want. In the end, what gets recruits, what inspires -- what inspires? A winner, a strong horse, somebody who is succeeding, who holds out the idea that we have a caliphate and we are now going to expand into the world.
If they are in retreat, if they are driven out of their headquarters in Raqqa, that's the beginning of the end of that movement. In the end you can harden all the soft targets you want in America, turn this into an armed camp. You can keep all the Muslim immigrants you want away from our shores, it will make no difference. In the end the only thing that will work, as it worked to a large extent with Al Qaeda, is you have to go after them where they live and drive them out.
WALLACE: Steve, do you agree with that, that if we were able to degrade and destroy, to use the president's term, ISIS in its headquarters in Iraq, in Syria, that that would shrink its appeal or eliminate its appeal to the Omar Mateens of the world and the country?
HAYES: Yes, I think it would certainly help. But I would also say we can't lose sight of the growth of the global jihadist movement beyond ISIS. ISIS is a serious threat, a considerable threat, probably the greatest threat right now with respect to jihadist movements, but Al Qaeda hasn't just gone away. Al Qaeda has disbursed power. If you talk to some of the intelligence officials that I've been speaking to lately, there's a great sense of alarm about the possibility of an attack on the U.S. homeland emanating out of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and elsewhere. There is new intelligence reporting suggests that that's precisely what Al Qaeda is trying to do. And we've been chasing that reporting, and at least in certain segments of the U.S. intelligence community it's caused considerable alarm that that kind of planning from Al Qaeda could be coming here.
WALLACE: And briefly, Howie, I think it's fair to say that Mateen, while he clearly had radical Islamic tendencies, he wasn't a devout follower of ISIS or Al Qaeda. In fact he seems to have used them all interchangeably.
KURTZ: And that is how the threat is metastasizing, because while the administration makes reassuring sounds about ISIS' territory in Iraq shrinking, for example, the fact that you can have people who had no formal contact with ISIS but are inspired by its message and who already are here shows you why this is a country that's very afraid right now. And John Brennan's words providing a stark reality check on the hill to the more soothing progress reports from the Obama administration.
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