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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Rumsfeld Hold Press Conference At World Trade Center Site

Aired November 14, 2001 - 08:27   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.
PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: We head straight back to ground zero, where the secretary of defense is being introduced by Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Let's listen in.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF STATE: And yet, here we are so many weeks later, and the World Trade Center is still burning, still smoking. But I guess the one word that comes to mind is really duty. You've done yours. The people of New York have done theirs, and the men and women in uniform are still doing theirs.

The task they have is a very complicated one. It's different than any that's ever been undertaken. There is no road map, and so much of it can't be seen as to what's taking place. But the president is determined to root out the terrorists, wherever they are, to find them, to bring them to justice or bring or bring justice to them. And his determination and his will and his (UNINTELLIGIBLE) of purpose are clear, I think, not just to the people of this country, but clear to the people of the world.

And we've benefited from the wonderful cooperation from so many other countries, just as you have benefited here from people from all across the United States helping out, and we did at the Pentagon as well. They came from far and wide.

We have a task before us that's going well. We're making progress, but it's far from finished. And as the president said, we're going to stick at it until it's done. Thank you, sir.

MAYOR RUDY GIULIANI, NEW YORK: Thank you. Thank you very much.

RUMSFELD: We'd be happy to respond to some questions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Mr. Secretary?

RUMSFELD: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: If I may, has there been any success overnight in (UNINTELLIGIBLE) any of the leaders of the Taliban and al-Qaeda? And have the southern scribes (ph) taken the airfield in Kandahar, and what type of progress (ph) or that al-Qaeda and Taliban retreating into the hills now? RUMSFELD: There are Taliban doing all of those things, as well as still fighting, and as are the al-Qaeda. There is still fighting taking place up on Konduz in the north. I suspect it's mostly al- Qaeda as opposed to Taliban. There is fighting taking place in the south.

The people of the major cities have been so welcoming to the forces that have been liberating them, and so grateful that the Taliban are fleeing and the al-Qaeda are fleeing, that the sights of music and welcome are certainly gratifying. It says something about how repressive and how vicious the Taliban rule and the al-Qaeda rule have been.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Was there any success in hunting down (UNINTELLIGIBLE)?

RUMSFELD: It is a process that goes on. Some have been killed; others are hiding. And there are no particular reports of a senior leadership having been located.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Mr. Secretary, you have mentioned this site (ph) many times, including once when you were defending the speed of the military campaign, saying that these ruins were still smoking?

RUMSFELD: They still are today.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: I'm wondering what your feelings are today, now that this is at a lightning (UNINTELLIBIBLE) in Afghanistan? And if you feel like telling us, I told you so?

RUMSFELD: No, I don't. We still have a ways to go. And I can understand, when things are happening that aren't visible and aren't something that we can remark on, I can understand the impatience. But the pressure has been on from the beginning. The pressure is still on today, and the pressure is going to have to stay on, not just in Afghanistan, but elsewhere, because the terrorist networks are spread across the globe.

And it is, needless to say, gratifying to see the Taliban fleeing, and the people of Afghanistan getting their country back. On the other hand, our task is to find the al-Qaeda and the Taliban leadership, and we still have that ahead of us. So we have to be purposeful about that and recognize that that's going to continue to be a difficult task. It is finding handfuls of people is, indeed, like finding needles in a haystack, and it's a complicated process.

But because of all of the pressure that's been put on across the globe, the drying up of bank accounts, the numbers of arrests that have been made, the interrogations that have been held, the intelligence that's been gathered, I think that we have -- every day we have a better chance of achieving our goals.

ZAHN: There you have it. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld saying the task is far from finished, admitting, at least for the first time that I can remember, for the first time that they do not know where the al-Qaeda and Taliban leadership is right now, describing them as trying to find needles in a haystack.

These are pictures taken earlier this morning, when the secretary toured the disaster site, of course, the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, with the mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani. The two of those leaders are expected to get into a helicopter in a short while to also take an aerial tour.

The secretary of defense taking the time to say that the mayor of the city has done his duty, that the people of New York City have done theirs, and that the men and women in uniform are still doing theirs. And we might not be seeing pictures of them on the job, but he wanted America to know that they are finishing what the president set out to do, which was root out terrorism, in his words, and bringing them -- the terrorists to justice or doing justice to them.

We leave you now with the site of the World Trade Center, which continues to baffle, I know, many of you watching that the steam still rises from the site. Once again, as the work crews start to unearth some of the large pieces of steel, air hits some hot spots, creating more steam and smoke.

That is what we know at this hour about the tour of Donald Rumsfeld and the mayor of New York City.

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