This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," February 15, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: President Obama's top counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan, is getting hit from all angles. The latest uproar, Brennan says it isn't that bad that a government report found that 20 percent of Gitmo prisoners get released and then come back to fight us. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham calls Brennan's comments about the 20 percent not being that bad mind-boggling. National security adviser James Jones defending Brennan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAMES JONES, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: If I were a terrorist somewhere in a country and I knew John Brennan was involved in tracking me down, I wouldn't be feeling too comfortable about my long-term prospects. So John does his job extremely well, and we're fortunate to have him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: Congressman Pete Hoekstra wants Brennan fired. Congressman Hoekstra joins us live. He's ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee. Good evening, Congressman. And what specifically is the reason or reasons that you want him fired?
REP. PETE HOEKSTRA, R - MICH.: Well, I think this is really an issue of leadership, Greta. You know, the president needs a competent national security team that's all working off of the same playbook. John Brennan, I think, clearly has gone off rogue on this. You know, last week on the Sunday shows, he went off, and you know, personally attacked four of the congressional leaders on national security issues. Now this weekend, he comes out and says 20 percent recidivism among some of the most dangerous terrorists in the world isn't all that bad and that's acceptable. I mean, I can't believe that this is the administration's or the president's position on terrorism and terrorist issues.
VAN SUSTEREN: You know, Congressman, the things that he said that -- you know, I guess that they, you know, they are -- they are what they are. But what distresses me is this. Let me ask you about this. I don't understand this. On December 28th, the president, now three days into this, I assume being briefed buy the best advisers anyplace, makes a statement in which he says that the Christmas Day bomb an isolated extremist.
Vice President Biden said on Sunday that he was being interrogated on the 25th all day. When he was -- when we finally had gotten information on him on -- on -- as early as December 28th, Brian Ross at ABC is talking about him going to Yemen, about getting training in Yemen, about him saying that they had given him the explosive.
I don't understand this "isolated extremist" comment by the president, and I would think that his top security people would have waved him off that. It's like they aren't giving him information. They aren't doing their job for him.
HOEKSTRA: That's exactly right. If the president goes out and is making those kinds of statements, it's eerily reminiscent of what happened at Ft. Hood. You'll remember again that they refused to call that a terrorist attack, and then a few weeks later, it leaked out that -- you know, that he -- that Major Hasan had been in contact with Awlaki in Yemen.
You get to Christmas Day and they -- again, they want it to be a lone wolf, an isolated event. But they knew very, very quickly after -- after Christmas Day that, again, this guy had come from Yemen. There was a good possibility that he'd been in contact with Awlaki, he'd been in contact with al Qaeda on the Arabian peninsula. But they mischaracterized it. They gave the president poor information. And the president is being badly served by this national security team.
VAN SUSTEREN: See, I think that's the whole thing. It's not what's being said or how they, quote, "characterize" it or mis -- it's just flat- out wrong. He wasn't an isolated extremist, and we know that because on the same day the president makes that statement, I've got this ABC report where they're saying that, you know, they're providing this network that he's part of. So even ABC had that. Maybe we had it here at FOX. But the president's getting lousy information from those people and he has to make important decisions. And that is what I think is stunning, is who's giving him this information? Who's -- who's -- or who's not giving him the right information?
HOEKSTRA: Yes, I think if you look at the team, Greta, over the last six or nine months, you know, Secretary Napolitano, Director Blair, you've got Eric Holder and then you've got John Brennan -- it is clear that they have not been working together as a team. They have -- there have been instances of incompetence. And the president needs to exert his leadership to make sure that he has a competent group of individuals leading our national security effort who are working together. This is a very, very hard issue, and this group has to be working together or they will make the kind of mistakes that they've made over the last number of months.
VAN SUSTEREN: And you know, I think that -- when you think of sort of the magnitude of this problem, the fact that this man was unsuccessful at blowing up a plane, you know, it doesn't have quite the magnitude as if he had been successful and murdered almost 300 people. You know, I think people would be more up in arms. But you know, when you think about how important it is that the man at the top, that President Obama be served by people who are giving him the right information, so he can make the right decisions -- I think that's the -- I think that's what's sort of alarming, is -- is -- is the quality. And I don't know whose job it is to tell him what, but three days out, when you have ABC has better information than the president, that's not good.
HOEKSTRA: Right. Well, Greta, what you're also seeing here is you're seeing a pattern. You know, this is the same team that advised the president to move the trial to New York City of KSM. Clearly, that was bad advice. They're going to have to pull back on that decision. This was the team that said...
VAN SUSTEREN: You know...
HOEKSTRA: ... you know, you need to close Gitmo. That was a bad decision, and they're going to have to pull back on that.
VAN SUSTEREN: And do you want to know something? Even -- not to pat myself on the back, but I came in to do a special off my vacation, and then they've got one of the national security advisers going off skiing. And it's not even my -- you know, I don't get paid to protect the country (INAUDIBLE) go figure. And I think it behooves the president to sort of shake things up, and you know, get everything in order because this could have been catastrophic. Congressman...
HOEKSTRA: And I think...
VAN SUSTEREN: ... thank you, sir.
HOEKSTRA: Greta, I think you're going to see a shake-up over the next couple of months. Thank you.
VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you, sir.
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