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CNN "State of the Union with Candy Crowley" - Transcript - Foreign Aid to Egypt


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CROWLEY: Rene, I know you are hanging out for us and following every step of this investigation. We will be back with you, thanks.

I'm joined now by Congressman Mike Rogers. He is chairman of the House intelligence committee.

Mr. Chairman, thank you for joining us. I do want to talk to you about Edward Snowden and his options, but first I want to pick up on things that I talked about earlier with Christiane Amanpour and Fareed Zakaria.

And one of the things both of them said was this is a really good time for the U.S. to exert some of its influence. And by influence, I think sometimes we think the money that we give them. Do you think that the U.S. should stop playing games and call a coup a coup? Or do you think the U.S. should continue giving aid to the Egyptian military and Egypt in general?

ROGERS: Well, I think the irony of us not following the law after the Egyptian crisis would be too much to handle. I do believe the law is very clear on this. So, what I think what the president needs to do -- and I do think the Egyptian military is the one stable factor there. They were great and did not overreact during the Mubarak overthrow. And in this particular case, I think they were reacting to the calls of the secularists and more liberal factions and moderate factions in Egypt. So, they should, I think, continue to be rewarded for that type of activity. And it is the one cultural structure stabilizing force in Egypt right now.

However, I think the president needs to come to congress. I would not try to circumvent the law by calling this something that it is not. Clearly, the Muslim Brotherhood was using the instruments of democracy to try to islamasize -- and some would call it there equantisize (ph), which means the Brotherhood going through all of the agencies of the government and try and take over.

So, again, a lot going on. I think we should do this the legal way. I think congress should -- excuse me, the president should come back to congress and then we can go through...

CROWLEY: And ask for an exception to the law? So you...

ROGERS: I would.

CROWLEY: You think we should still give money to Egypt?

Right, so you think we should give money to Egypt, but now think that's against the law?

ROGERS: I think the law is very clear on this. And I think we ought to be honest with ourselves.

And I don't think that skirting the law here is the right thing to do. The president should come to congress and make the case. I think there's a great case to be made here, Candy, that we should continue to support the military, the one stabilizing force in Egypt that I think can temper down the political feuding that you're seeing going on now. And then help a process that will allow for more multiple factions of parties and beliefs to participate.

ROGERS: The last time, I think got us the Muslim Brotherhood, was as I said, has used democracy to undo freedoms in Egypt. That's why we are where we are today. Well, I think that there's a better way to do this. If you have a longer period and allow these parties to get established, an interim government, a march toward true democracy, I think we can play that role. But again I think the president needs to come to Congress to make the case, because I do believe the law is very clear on this.

CROWLEY: What's the danger here? Because already we are seeing some action by al Qaeda operatives or what are thought to be al Qaeda operatives along the border which had been quite for awhile. It's not immediately clear that it's connected to what's going on in Egypt. But what are you most worried about when you look at the totality of what you know as chairman of the Intelligence Committee?

ROGERS: Well you know the Sinai has been giving us all trouble. The Egyptian -- Al-Sisi as a matter of fact has been very good, the defense minister, about allowing the operations in the Sinai to try to curb jihadist's activity there which is destabilizing the region certainly to Israel. One concern is that their focus is away from that and that would allow the Sinai to continue to be destabilize and allow al Qaeda and others to continue causing trouble there.


ROGERS: The second part of this is during the Morsy government we've had a tremendous amount of Egyptians show up in excuse me Syria for the fight there. And so one of the things that was concerning is, they're going to get trained, they're going to have combat tested people who are going to want to eventually come back to Egypt. And that would prove to be a very destabilizing effort as well. So you've got multiple layers of security threat here the military has going to have to deal with. And I argue the United States needs to step up today and play a more leadership role in at least lining up what a Democracy really looks like and not allowing the Muslim brotherhood to take away freedoms in the name of democracy.

CROWLEY: Let me turn you to Edward Snowden. He has been in the Moscow airport now for two weeks, he is a man without passport, without travel documents. Now Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua they have all stepped up and said, hey, he can come here. What do you make of those offers?

ROGERS: Well, these are governments that are obviously are antagonistic to the United States. They have continued to make inflammatory statements. Venezuela under Chavez led this charge. He was using his influence in places like Ecuador and Bolivia and other places to try to get an anti-American sentiment in both Central and South America. So you see more of this. So I think the Chinese got everything they needed they need out of Snowden. The Russians have now gotten everything they need out of Snowden. And the next I think -- chapter in this book is somewhere in the Latin America one of these countries who is antagonistic to the United States, who is an adversary to the United States, using this as a public relations tool...


ROGERS: ... to continue to fan the flames of anti-Americanism.

CROWLEY: Is it serious, though, do you think? Since he has no paper --

ROGERS: I do think it's serious.

CROWLEY: You think they truly will take him and perhaps give him papers or the passport he needs to get there?

ROGERS: I absolutely do.


ROGERS: I'm sure they're working on this. And this is why we should be -- take Putin for a grain of salt in this particular case. If he were serious, he would send Mr. Snowden back to the United States. He's not doing that. He's allowing this other game to play out I really think to try to help poke the U.S. in the eye and -- so here you go. I mean he is on this government's who oppress their people tour trying to -- he has done Russia now he'll probably do Venezuela and maybe Ecuador. But I do think the United States needs to take actions on this. We shouldn't just allow this to happen and shrug it off. This is serious business. Those Latin American companies enjoy certain trade benefits with the United States. We ought to look all of that to send a very clear message that we won't put up with this kind of behavior.

CROWLEY: Congressman Rogers, chairman of the Intelligence Committee, thanks for joining us.


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