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ABC's Stephanopoulos: Obama Admin Response on VA Scandal 'Backfired'

ABC's Stephanopoulos: Obama Admin Response on VA Scandal 'Backfired'

ABC News’ Martha Raddatz and George Stephanopoulos on “This Week” discussed the shortcomings of the Obama administration’s response to the VA scandal…

Partial transcript as follows:

STEPHANOULOS: Let’s get more analysis now from ABC’s chief global affairs correspondent, Martha Raddatz, and retired Navy SEAL, Robert Harward, now an ABC News contributor — and Mr. Harward, let me begin with you.

You just heard those doubts that Hamish expressed that the United States has about the capability of the Nigerian military.

What kind of resources do we have in place there and what can we do?

ROBERT HARWARD, ABC NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: Well, George, as the State Department acknowledged yesterday, we have a full range of assets to assist the government of Nigeria, not only advisers, but also those air and satellite assets that can search over a broad area of Northern Nigeria to isolate those individuals.

So we’re going to track to listen and hear and see what they’re doing over these wide areas, to then isolate them and thereby allow the government of Nigeria to take that information and pursue courses of actions to solve this problem.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But Martha, to underscored it here, this will not be an American operation.

RADDATZ: It will not. You’ve heard the president say there will be no U.S. boots on the ground. And what he means by that is combat troops. The U.S. is not going to carry out a rescue by itself of any kind. Nigeria is a sovereign nation. They don’t want to ask the U.S. to actually go in and rescue. But there are other things that can be done to look for those girls and help.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So Mr. Harward, if these girls are identified, what comes next?

HARWARD: Next, then, is isolating a location, not only of them but the bad guys and then providing assistance to move those troops or resources into place to solve a problem.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And Martha, before we go, I do want to ask you one question about this Veterans Affairs controversy, which has cropped up over the week. You saw General Shinseki, Secretary Shinseki up before congress this week taking some heat. Also, at the end of the week announced the firing of his undersecretary of health Robert Petzel, but that seems to have backfired.

RADDATZ: It certainly did. There was a press release on Friday saying that he has accepted his resignation. And then we later learned he was set to retire anyway. They didn’t put that in the press release. They didn’t put that out. Of course, we all found out that he was set to retire anyway. So this is not exactly a sweeping statement by the VA, this is long from being over, George.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Martha Raddatz, Robert Harward, thanks very much.

Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN

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