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Pentagon Spokesman Talks About Handover of Accused Rapist

Aired July 5, 2001 - 14:04   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: The Pentagon briefing has begun. Rear Admiral Craig Quigley is talking about a possible handover of a U.S. Staff Sergeant accused of the rape of a woman in a parking lot in Okinawa. We'll listen in.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

REAR ADM. CRAIG QUIGLEY, PENTAGON SPOKESMAN: ... it involved a slashing case, I believe, with a knife or some sharp object.

QUESTION: The slashing of a person?

QUIGLEY: Of a person, yes. That's the only other preindictment. And again that was worked out with the particulars. I do not have the particulars under which the custody was transferred preindictment from 1995. That's the only we have been able to find, preindictment.

QUESTION: So, you can't give us any sort of, here's why we did it in that case and let's preventing (UNINTELLIGIBLE) at this moment?

QUIGLEY: I don't have those details. I'm sorry.

QUESTION: Do you know why the Japanese haven't indicted him yet?

QUIGLEY: No, I don't. I would ask -- recommend that you ask the Japanese authorities that. Any law enforcement organization around the world has particular criteria that it applies before an indictment is issued. But I don't know what their's are.

QUESTION: You said you are getting closer all the time. Do you mean closer to a decision or closer to turning him over?

QUIGLEY: Closer to a decision. We've been in continuous dialogue with the Japanese authorities both here in Washington and through Ambassador Baker in Japan. It's just been nearly continuous during that period of time in the last couple of days.

QUESTION: These discussions regard the particular assurances that you are seeking or is there some other legal issue with some definition?

QUIGLEY: I will just leave it that a discussion of the conditions -- we very clearly understand that the desire of the Japanese government to transfer custody. We just need to have a very clear understanding of the conditions under which we would agree to something like that -- Jamie.

QUESTION: Craig, who will ultimately decide whether the assurances from the Japanese government are sufficient to protect the right of the service member? Will that be the Commander in Chief of Pacific Command? Will it be made here in this building? The White House?

QUIGLEY: It will be an inter agency process involving the Defense Department and the State Department.

QUESTION: Did Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz have a discussion with the Japanese minister of defense?

QUIGLEY: I know that several of the senior leadership in the Department of Defense have had discussions with Japanese officials over the last few days as well as at the State Department. I don't know if Secretary Wolfowitz has or not specifically.

QUESTION: So do you think the final decision will be made later today?

QUIGLEY: I can't predict that for you. I'm not sure. I don't have a good track record of making accurate predictions on -- on when issues like this will be settled. Both we and the government of Japan want to resolve it as quickly as possible.

ALLEN: So there's the word from Rear Admiral Craig Quigley, no decision yet, but The United States looking to move on in this situation as soon as possible. He says they are getting closer to a decision. The big question is when the United States will hand over this suspect, this staff sergeant accused of rape to Japanese authorities.

He also said earlier in the news conference that Japanese investigators have interviewed the staff sergeant for some 30 hours. So we will continue to follow this story and bring you any more developments as we will listen on to that news briefing and see if there's anything more we need to pass along to you.

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