TODAY   |  January 05, 2010

Will security reforms thwart terrorists?

Jan. 6: Former White House communications director Anita Dunn and former White House press secretary Dana Perino talk to TODAY’s Matt Lauer about whether President Obama’s planned reforms will improve security.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> white hoe. fox ws contributor dana perino served a wte hse pre secretary for president george w. bush . anita dunn ishe former white use communicaons direcr for president obama . ladiesgood morning to both of you. good morning.

>> good morning,matt. d happy new ar, dana .

>> thank you

>> tnk youo both ofyou. danalet me start with you and this failed attempt to blow up nortest airlines flight 3. a lot of problems, a lot of mistakes. the president n says the system failed in a potentially disastrous way, inteigence was t fully analyzed or fully veraged, it's not acptle, willot tolerate it. so simple questio -- ds someone have t le his or her job over this?

>> i don nessarihink so. think thatresident obama has to make those decisions. a lot of pple wake up in the moing when they work on capitol hill and say i'm going to call for somedy's resiation today. i thinkossibly presidentbama thinks that would be ver disruptive tohe current system. now, one way t chang --

>> ut if you p a systemn ace and you put key pple into that system, in important positions, and the fl collectily-

>> well, tt's why he ordered reew, d i think thathe's dointhe right thing in checkingt all out. i d think that initlly, the first reaction, the first stemenfrom president obama was th this was an isolad incint, ansolated person thats dangerous. i would like t know, how did -- who gave him that initial formation? that's what was dangerous, but looks to me lik they're trying to right the ship now. mae mebody will le their jobs aer this reew, but i think it's right toot just fire off a ot.

>> anita , the system or some people in it, have been compromised, haven't ty?

>> no, matt, i think what dana said is important, which is when something like this happens, as the president said, you do a review, you figureut wt went wrong, you fix wt needs to be fixed going into the future, and above all, you do what you need to do to keep the american people safend secure, which is the comtmen president obama madehen he took office, it's the commient he isoing to keep. i think that the reviews going to be very important forhe white house movin forward to make sure, maybe there's some things tt haveeen inlace for yrs thatere right five years ago aren't right for today. we face annemy that is nimble, quick and ever changing their tacts. we have to be as nimbl and quick as we.

>> rit.

>> and i think that that's o of t tngs that is going to be importa coming t of this is how doe stay one step ahead as oppos to playitch-up.

>> l me touch onnoth aspect of is, and'd liko touch it o it briefly, because i do think we can get rid of it. this ideahat people are sayg that t president doesn take thehrea o terrori seriously engh because he's not out therealking about it every day. we hea him talk about heah care and the economy. can we ait that anywarte president deals with terrorism on daily basis even ife not out there speaking about it on a dly basis?

>> he no doubt that a soon as psident obama walked into the ovalfficee realized the full weight of h responsibilities, and i'm sure it's the first thing that he thinks abo every morning when he wakes up. here's where the problem is, though, matt. it's not whether or nothat's where theocuss internally it's that people around the world, and especiall in america, feel like they hav't heard enough about it. 's not that --

>> youe sayin is an image prlem?

>> wl, i think that they have written aarrative tha his inrested in it but not as interested in it as maybe they would like him to be.

>> wtten narrative? ita, is dana trying to hint at the choiz of wds he uses here sometimes, is that the problem?

>> you know, matt, i tnk it's intesting that people, partularly some of the reblicans who have ted to politicize this, are now reded to quibbngbout semantics. imean, the reality is that it was barely mon ago when the president made a major primetime speech to themericaneople from wes point, new york precisely on the subje of the war on terror and what we needed to do to continue that ando win . it is somethg that he has talked good fromis inaugural. it is something ate has been active on. he is brief every morning, evermorning --

>> okay, but --

>> -- as presidents are. and dana , let me finish. and the reality is that, you kn, thiss something that the administrati has been active on. jo brennan made a major speec in august outlining the strategy --

>> i'munning o of timend i wanto giana the lt word

>> he's the thing, anita , if that were ue, w wouldn't be having this discussion today. i'm not trying to make i potica but i a sing tt from a nrative standpoint, th have written themselves into a corner. i think they're trying to fix it and i think it'smportanthat the command in chief had tha meeting yesterday and make sure that everybody ows, this is the top priory a i want you to innovate and get aad of these terrorists.

>> nd anita , i amoing to ask you oneast question in 10, 15 seconds, if yocan. the decisiony chris dod and byn dorgan toot seek re-electio is this bad pr day for democrats tod that mighwork out better in the long ha?

>> matt, six republican senators have announced they'reot running for re-ection. two democrac senators are announcing they' not runni for re-election. maybe in washingtonew math, that's bad for the democrats, but the realityis, we'reoing to we active campaigns for th tse seats, and i think at thell bot be ver competitiv

>> ata dn andana peri, laes, thanks. nice to have you bh here.

>> thank you.

>> it's 12ines aft t hour ce aga, he's meredith.