Meet the Press | April 28, 2013
>> democratic congressman keith ellison of minnesota, republican congressman peter king of new york, gentlemen, welcome to you.
>> thank you.
>> i want to talk about the aftermath of the boston bombings and the is yosurveillance work, the role of the fbi . but, first, let me get your comments, congressman, on this prospect of a huge national security test now for president obama . how do you see it?
>> well, you know, first of all, this action is the most despicable thing. you know, americans have to rally together to stamp out terrorist acts like this. i'm proud of the law enforcement , proud of the first responders. but what i think we need to do is to really, really back law enforcement to make sure that we fully investigate this case and we don't need to start identifying communities to surveil or to go after. we need to come together as a nation.
>> let me get your comment before we get to that on syria , what i was just discussing with senator mccain , this is a huge test as well as the boston bombings aftermath and syria is a huge test for president obama . what concerns you about what we've seen out of potential use of chemical weapons ?
>> well, i'm absolutely concerned about that, but i believe the united states could play a greater role in dealing with the humanitarian crisis . there's a very, very difficult humanitarian crisis as senator mccain pointed out. i mean, we have spillage and refugees in jordan, in lebanon, in displaced people in syria , the suffering is intense. and i don't think the world's greatest superpower, the united states , can stand by and not do anything. now we have done some things and the president deserves a lot of credit for that, but i think there's perhaps a little bit more we could do on the humanitarian front.
>> we're talking about a red line being crossed, congressman, and whether the united states has military options to back up what the president said, you don't cross it or there will be severe consequences.
>> the situation here is complex. my concern is al qaeda has more influence than it should among the rebels and just the rebels al qaeda can take advantage of it. having said that the president did say that there's a red line and once the united states ray lays down a red line , some action has to be taken. now what that's going to be, i was at the briefing with senator kerry the other day. he really didn't lay that out. the administration is right now trying to figure out what to do. i'm not trying to minimize it but once he laid out the red line , something has to be done.
>> something militarily?
>> well, either that or concerted action with allies.
>> did somebody else besides the uz vuz to take the lead here? is that where we are politically?
>> i think it makes it better. i'm still concerned who is going to take over the rebels. we have allowed this to go on too long.
>> well, red line does not mean boots on the ground , but there's a lot of things we can do other than that. we have been providing nonlethal military aid . but i think more coordination and dealing with this humanitarian crisis i think is essential.
>> let me turn to the aftermath of the boston bombings where the f focus has been this week on the now dead older brother, tamerlan tsarnaev, who had trips back to the chechnya region, was interviewed by the fbi people will remember but then seemed to fall off the radar. congressman, where are you critical of init tell generals and the fbi 's role in this?
>> the fbi has done an outstanding job in solving this in the four-day period. having said that i don't think they did a full investigation beforehand. the fact is there were other eye items in his folder, his file that they found. i think they it continued to give the benefit of the doubt in each instance and, therefore, just closed out that investigation. for instance, they never went to his mosque. never spoke to the ema'am, to a number of his relatives and, also, there were certain matters in his file that they chose to look the other way on or said there was nothing there.
>> what did they look the other way on?
>> his name came up in several instances and they said there was nothing there. if you have three independent references to someone possibly having terrorist connections, when do you stop say iing it's just a coincidence?
>> there are reports now about his mother, talking to him on the telephone that she was on a monitor list as well and that they may have been discussing potential jihad. was the ball dropped here?
>> i mean, i don't want to start assigning blame. every single day fbi and law enforcement protects this country. these terrorists just have to get through once. and so the fact is on an everyday basis, i feel really good about our nation's law enforcement . the fact is there will come a time when we can look back and see what lessons should be learned, what should we have done differently, and that's a good,