Sasse: Stop pretending terrorist attacks are 'one-off' acts

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," July 20, 2015. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: All right, this is this event in New York City we have been monitoring for the better part of this hour, John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Joe Lieberman.

McCain, I think, left a little early, but that leaves Lieberman and Lindsey Graham here to carry to fort. And that is against Iran and this deal, and more to the point a deal they fear has all but guaranteeing nukes for Iran, so they don't want that and they are arguing the case against that ever happening.

Nebraska Republican Senator Ben Sasse agrees with these gentleman and worries what is being set by design here.

First, Senator, it's always good to have you.

SEN. BEN SASSE, R-NEB.: Thanks, Neil.

CAVUTO: But John Kerry indicated earlier today that, you know, the U.N. Security Council has voted for this unanimously. So the Congress thing is just a side drama. This is a done deal by that measure. Do you agree?

SASSE: No, it's obviously not a done deal.

But even by the low standards of Washington, this is a condescending way to treat the people, because what we should be doing is having the administration make a long-term argument about U.S. national security to the American people, and instead they're more preoccupied with Russian and Chinese bureaucrats. It's -- it's disappointing.

CAVUTO: Do you make much of the confusion we're getting out of Iran? That is some mullahs saying that they feel that maybe the negotiators ceded too much, that is Iranian negotiators ceded too much to the Americans, by the same time, others are ripping the United States and the old death to Israel thing and all of that stuff?

We're getting mixed signals. What are you to make of that and what that portends for approval here in the United States?

SASSE: Well, I mean, if the negotiations started here and here, the U.S. gave and gave and gave and gave, and then the Iranians decided they could ask for even more.

If you look at the agreement as the administration was sketching the framework on April 2 -- and I'm just coming out of the SCIF, where I have been reading the classified annexes of this document.

CAVUTO: Right.

SASSE: And by the administration's own standards, they didn't get very much of what they said they were going to get in April, and what they were striving for in April was too little for to the long-term security of the American people and our allies in the Middle East.

CAVUTO: Real quickly, John McCain's name comes up and, as you know, Senator, the Donald Trump remarks, I don't have to remind you.

Donald Trump has refused to apologize, says he doesn't have to. What do you think?


None of that is of a lot of concern to the people in Nebraska, but I'm grateful for John McCain and for all the POWs out there and all the men and women who have worn the uniform and fight for us. We got a lot of heroes and we should be saluting them.

CAVUTO: If Donald Trump were to emerge as the Republican nominee for president, could you, would you back him?

SASSE: People in my state, they are interested in the Iranian deal right now. And a lot of these things are kinds of sideshows. So we're not paying a lot of attention to that.

I got to be home all weekend and play with my kids and float the river.  And we're back in Washington. We need to tackle the era of crowdsourced domestic terrorism we're in. So, I'm not paying attention to that.

CAVUTO: OK. So let's go to this one-off issue that we have raised about this latest terrorist incident in Chattanooga.

As I think you have indicated, Senator, if it's a one-off incident, there are a lot of one-off incidents, and we're seeing more and more of them.  How do define them? Do you think you connect them? Because I guess what authorities are saying each is unique and you can't connect them. You say what?

SASSE: Yes, I think, unfortunately, the administration and most of the national media is now complicit in just denying the era that we're in.

We're in an era of digital propaganda and online recruitment in the global jihadi movement. Of course there's a lot that we don't know about Chattanooga. But we do know this, that we don't fight just wars against state actors anymore. We have all these nonstate actors in the world.

And ISIS and Al Qaeda are going to -- organizations like that are going to continue to evolve, and the administration pretends that if there's not a work order that gives a specific terrorist a specific target at a specific moment, then maybe it's not connected to the globe jihadi movement.

Your listeners should go look at the Inspire magazine online and see the way these organizations are shifting toward awareness of soft targets, and directing people to self-radicalize and to attack. Again, there's a lot we don't know about Chattanooga yet, but what we do know is that the era we're entering is going to have a lot of this, where soft targets are exploited by people who believe in killing in the name of religion.

And the administration shouldn't be always looking for a smoking gun theory before they tell the truth about the nature of the battle that we now face.

CAVUTO: All right, real quickly, we have the Cuban flag flying in Washington right now. Do you think, if a Republican is elected, Marco Rubio has been among those who says that comes down, that nonsense stops.  But would it be too late by that time?

SASSE: Neil, I'm sorry. There was some noise here in the Rotunda. I couldn't hear the first half of your question.


CAVUTO: Yes. The Cuban flag is flying in the capital right now, in Washington, and Marco Rubio has been among those saying it has to come down, this whole thing stops. But by then, we would be 18, 19 months into this. Is that doable?

SASSE: I got to be honest. The people in my state, they don't spend a ton of time on the symbolic issues.

But let's be clear who the Castro brothers are. They're brutal dictators that oppress free -- people who are made to be free. We shouldn't be having the Cuban flag flying. But the more important thing is that the U.S. should have a long-term foreign policy that is about being a beacon of -- beacon of freedom for the world and we shouldn't be compromising with -- with dictators.

CAVUTO: All right, thank you very much, Senator. Very good to have you.

SASSE: Thanks, Neil.

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