Skip to main content /TRANSCRIPTS


Pentagon Briefing

Aired January 16, 2002 - 11:58   ET


LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: We want to take you live to the Pentagon, where the daily briefing is beginning. As you see there, Secretary Rumsfeld about to start.

GEN. RICHARD MYERS, CHAIRMAN, JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: Operations continue as we search for Taliban and Al Qaeda leadership. We did not drop any ordnance yesterday, but our aircraft remain on call for any emerging targets or time-sensitive targets.

The number of Al Qaeda and Taliban detainees held by U.S. forces in Afghanistan today stands at 403. We are also currently holding 50 detainees in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and we expect a third plane of 30 detainees to arrive there later this afternoon.

We are preparing to transfer to the government of Pakistan approximately 90 detainees of Pakistani origin that are now held in Afghanistan. We've screened these individuals and determined that they should be returned to their own government for disposition. This transfer will occur soon.

At a recent press briefing, I was asked about the status of an inquiry into the attack on U.S. forces which killed Sergeant First Class Chapman. While no formal investigation is called for in cases of combat losses, U.S. Central Command and General Franks continue to assess reporting from the field to learn what they can and what we can from the circumstances surrounding this attack. But at this point, we have nothing new for you.

Here in the States, in initial reports, a Navy F-18 nose gear collapsed when it landed at Savannah International Airport. The pilot ejected and is safe. The aircraft was from VFA203, a reserve squadron based in Atlanta, Georgia.

And with that, sir?

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, no statement?


QUESTION: Have you begun questioning yet the detainees in Gitmo? And are you close to charging any of them?

RUMSFELD: It keeps changing. We've been sending 10, 20 or 30 in periodically. I do not believe that formal interrogation has continued in Guantanamo Bay. The preliminary interrogations took place in the locations where the detainees had previously been in custody, essentially Kandahar and Bagram, but also some other places.

RUMSFELD: And I don't believe they started down there, and we have not made any decisions with respect to disposition of the ones that are currently in Guantanamo, to my knowledge.

QUESTION: Have you begun to (INAUDIBLE) such as you where you might charge them in certain areas or which ones might be important in terms of being charged?

RUMSFELD: Well, there are large numbers of people engaged in this process, and the first task, as I have indicated, is our desire to try to prevent future attacks and to try find additional Al Qaeda and Taliban and other terrorist network individuals.

Therefore, the original interrogations have really related to intelligence-gathering and, to some extent, law enforcement, and that is what's taking place.

As you know, I think Dick just mentioned it, there's some 400- plus that are still in custody; some are being moved to Pakistan for their disposition; others are being moved to Guantanamo Bay so we can relieve the pressure on Kandahar.

I guess you would say, yes, that initial sort is taking place, and he just indicated that -- General Myers did -- that some of those people are now being returned to Pakistan for their disposition.


QUESTION: May I do a follow-up on that, Mr. Secretary?

Regarding John Walker, as you know, under the Constitution, to try anybody or charge him with treason takes two eye-witnesses of a treasonist act. Have you ordered or is our military trying to find two witnesses, either at Guantanamo or Kandahar -- Al Qaeda witnesses -- who would testify against John Walker? And if so, would the Justice Department try him with treason?

RUMSFELD: Well, first of all, I don't know the answer to the question as to whether we're looking. I do know we are -- looking for that specific thing, I don't know.

I do know that we are looking at all of those people and asking them a great many questions, both for intelligence-gathering and for law enforcement. So whether or not someone is doing that or not, I wouldn't know. They're certainly asking them everything they know about a whole host of things.

As to what the Department of Justice would do, you'd have to ask the Department of Justice.

QUESTION: Can you bring us up to date on what the deployment of U.S. troops in Philippines, as to where that stands today, and also, describe the significance of addressing the Abu Sayyaf problem, regarding the global terrorism problem?

RUMSFELD: Yes. We have said from the outset that the threat terrorists pose is a serious one, that it's global, that it involves networks well-beyond Al Qaeda, and certainly areas of the world well beyond the Central Command's area of responsibility -- Afghanistan, the Middle East -- and well beyond Moslem countries. It doesn't have to do with the religion. It doesn't have to do with a certain part of the country or a region. It has to do with terrorists and terrorism.

The Philippines has a problem with terrorists and terrorism. They have a terrorist network in the country that has been active, that's taken hostages, that still has some American hostages. The government of the Philippines has been addressing it. And the United States, through the combatant commander in the Pacific Command, Admiral Dennis Blair, has been working with the government of the Philippines.

At the present time, we have, I believe -- the last time I looked -- something like 240 or 250 Americans, military personnel, in the country. They are located in several locations in the country. More are going in. They are there for training purposes.

They are there for logistics purposes. They are they for an exercise with the Philippine government.

As you know, we have a very long military-to-military relationship between the United States and the Philippines. And I expect that there will be several hundred more people going in for these exercises and for the training that's taking place.

QUESTION: Will they actually advise the Philippine military in actual combat operations against Abu Sayyaf?

RUMSFELD: The Philippine government has dedicated -- and I'm sorry I don't have the precise number -- but some thousands of troops to this activity that is on Basilan Island. And we have relatively small numbers of people on Basilan Island.

We do have an exercise going on -- that's scheduled to go on elsewhere, and we do have trainers elsewhere.

The government of the Philippines has been characterizing what it is they are doing and what it is we are doing with them out of their defense ministry, which I, as you know, as my practice, kind of prefer as a method of approach.

I think the important thing about what's taking place in the Philippines is that this is global problem, that we are addressing it globally, not just in Afghanistan, and that, yes, the United States of America does have military people in the Philippines, working with the Philippine government from a training and exercise standpoint to help them deal with this problem.

QUESTION: Follow up, but what kind of direct support is the U.S. military prepared to give to the Philippine military in terms of airlift and intelligence sharing? And if the Philippine government should ask the U.S. or lend permission, would the U.S. military get involved directly in combat operations in the Philippines?

RUMSFELD: Well, there's no question but that to the extent the United States can be helpful, from an intel standpoint, that we're happy to do that. We do that with friendly countries. The Philippines is a friendly country. We have worked closely with their government over many, many years. And I'm not inclined to get into what if they should ask something. We'd obviously address it, as we would with any friendly country, and we would address it as a nation whose president has announced that we are determined to find terrorist networks and do what we can to help root them out and stop them from killing people.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, (INAUDIBLE) a couple of Americans held hostage there for several months. Isn't the standard for us a little higher here, given the fact that the terrorists there are holding some of our people?

RUMSFELD: I don't quite follow the question -- standard higher. What's that mean?

QUESTION: I mean, don't we have a more forward-leaning presence to go after folks who are holding Americans, as opposed to just dealing with Filipinos?


QUESTION: So is that what this deployment signifies?

RUMSFELD: The United States is leaning forward, period. Certainly, when there's a situation where American hostages are being held, that adds a dimension to our interest.

What we do is we work with countries that are not friendly, like the Taliban in Afghanistan, in one way; and we work with countries that are friendly, like the Philippines, in a different way. And it's a different part of the world, it's a different set of circumstances. And the short answer is, you bet your life we're leaning forward.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, if I could follow up, we know that Abu Sayyaf has been involved with bombings and killings and taking hostages. Is there any evidence, or is it the Pentagon's belief, that this organization was somehow involved in the September 11 attacks?

RUMSFELD: Two points I would make in response to that. First is that there is no question that there have been linkages between Al Qaeda and activities that have taken place in the Philippines. And second, the United States is clearly interested in Al Qaeda. We are interested in a lot more than Al Qaeda. And Al Qaeda is directly linked to September 11. A terrorist network, for it to have our interest, need not have been directly connected with September 11.

My goodness, if you think of the terrorists networks that exist in the world and their relationships with nations that are terrorist nations, and nations that have weapons of mass destruction, we simply must, as a country, be attentive to those relationships and be attentive to the risks that are posed by nations that do have weapons of mass destruction programs and relationships with terrorist networks.

So we're interested in terrorism, quite apart from whether or not there is a direct linkage to September 11. That is not the litmus test for whether or not the United States of America is interested.

QUESTION: If I could follow? All the documents, the cell phones, the laptops, the evidence that you've gathered, does any of that directly point to the involvement of Abu Sayyaf and the September 11 attacks -- does any of that support that at all?

RUMSFELD: I'm not in a position to respond. And I don't know that I would want to if I happen to have gone through and reviewed all of that material.

QUESTION: General Myers, sir, could you shed some light on the, I guess, the Al Qaeda financier that walked into the camp at Kandahar? Is he credible and is he now a detainee? What do you make of him?

MYERS: We're looking into that right now.

RUMSFELD: We just heard about it.

QUESTION: What's his status? Is he free to go?

MYERS: He's being questioned right now.

QUESTION: But is he free to go once he answers questions or...

MYERS: We're looking into that.

QUESTION: Can you tell us more about the circumstances -- he walked in -- anything about the circumstances at all?

MYERS: I think, like we said, we're still investigating all that. We haven't gotten more than the first report.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) I think a week or so ago there were reports that Taliban ministers were detained in Kandahar and then they were later released. I think you said at the time you couldn't confirm that. Have you confirmed that?

RUMSFELD: I have not.

MYERS: There has not been any confirmation.

QUESTION: Is it something you attempted (ph) to do?

RUMSFELD: Yes. We've had the CENTCOM people and the other folks, we have in the country, have been attempting to sort through all of the, "who said this and who said that." And as of this moment, I have still not been able to confirm the many reports that you ran on that subject. QUESTION: Can I ask you to turn back to Central Asia for a second, and get your thinking on the need for a long-term U.S. presence in the region, by either bases, preposition equipment, agreements with host nations? You've traveled the area extensively, would we be welcome? And is there a military and geopolitical need to position forces or equipment in the region?

RUMSFELD: Well, let me make several comments about that. Central Asia is a very important part of the world. And it's important to us, it's important to the world. And it is a region that is going through a transition.

So we have an interest -- if for no other reason than that, we have an interest.

Second, clearly Central Asia has been enormously helpful to the United States in this period of providing assistance to us in a variety of different ways so that we could conduct the activities and operations with respect to Afghanistan. So we feel pleased with that. We're grateful for that. We like that relationship and that cooperation and that partnership that's been established.

Third, I've said that one of the really truly important things that struck me is if you go back to World War II -- in the post-World War II period -- how relationships shifted in the world dramatically and institutions changed in various ways. And I have said that I believe that will be the case as a result of this significant worldwide effort to deal with terrorism. If that's true, I think one can expect that there will be different relationships going forward, and I suspect that some of them will be in Central Asia, and to the benefit of those countries and to the benefit of other countries.

So how it'll settle down is not clear to me, as to what it will be. But we clearly have developed relationships during this period that are healthy and sound and have been beneficial to the war on terrorism and I suspect will be beneficial going forward.

QUESTION: Would the model on something like that be a semi- permanent base like at Camp Doha in Kuwait during Bosnia and Kosovo?

RUMSFELD: I think that would be premature to think about where one might have permanent bases or something like that, something physical. I was thinking more of relationships. I mean, if you think about it, a number of those countries are members of the Partnership for Peace program with NATO so we've had military-to-military linkages and they are today stronger than they were prior to September 11.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, in another area in that region where we do have more longstanding military presence, Saudi Arabia, you're being sued by Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Martha McSally, who was trying to overturn the policy requiring women in the military there to wear -- in the Saudi Arabia -- to wear a traditional Muslim hejab when they go off base. Do you feel that that policy is justified and for what reasons?

RUMSFELD: Well, I have read in the paper that I've been sued. I know I have not seen any documents or anything about it, and I guess I've lived long enough to know that one probably ought not to discuss legal cases if one's engaged in one.

My understanding of what I know of the situation is essentially this, that a military officer has disagreed with the policy that was established by the combatant commander in charge of that area of responsibility, that command, and it's my understanding that the decision was made by him, based on force protection interests. How it will sort out or what the issues are precisely that'll turn out to be legal issues, I just don't know.

QUESTION: Could that be justified, women going out dressed like that, where male soldiers aren't required to dress in Saudi traditional male costumes when they leave the base?

RUMSFELD: Well, you're trying to pull me out on a subject that I'm uncomfortable being pulled out on. I think that if we could go to a generic issue, as opposed to this particular issue.

The circumstance of the United States armed forces are that we have activities in a variety of parts of the world, and we have relationships with countries in many parts of the world, and other countries, just as the United States has different practices and approaches and procedures, so do other countries.

And when you're in other countries, there's two issues. One is, you tend to behave in a way that's consistent with the rules of those countries, to the extent that you want to be in that country. And second, a commander also has the issue of determining what is in the best interest of the force in terms of force protection, particularly in parts of the world where there are a variety of threats, as we know exist today.

It is the tension between those things and an individual person's rights to do things that they feel are appropriate to them, as opposed to appropriate to the country they're in or appropriate to the force protection requirements that a combatant commander may impose. So it is those kinds of issues that, needless to say, have to be discussed and considered and are. And ultimately, you know, to the extent it's a matter for courts, courts will be involved.


QUESTION: ... 90 detainees being sent back to Pakistan, is this the first group that will now, in a series of repatriations back to other countries? And are there any Al Qaeda members among those 90 that are going back to Pakistan?

RUMSFELD: I don't think it's first. I think we have done this, probably, with Pakistan previously. I'm not certain of that, but I'm pretty sure of it.

I know we've rejected people -- that they have detained people that we have opined that we didn't need to take after interrogating them. And in some cases, we've taken some people physically into custody, detained them, interrogated. And this is an instance where we're returning them to them.

Is it the first or second or third? It's one of the early ones. And will it continue? I would think so.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) countries.

RUMSFELD: I wouldn't be a bit surprised.

QUESTION: Are any of those 90 people Al Qaeda members?

RUMSFELD: I would doubt it.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, if I might? I want a reward...


Certainly, you must appreciate the irony of the fact that the United States military has just given Afghan women...


RUMSFELD: It is not a...


QUESTION: ... and the situation with the (INAUDIBLE) how do you rectify that in your brain?

RUMSFELD: Trying to climb in there and figure that out is beyond me. I guess, what you do is, you get up every morning, and you take the world like you find it, and you do the best you can.

I really do believe that what the United States has done in Afghanistan is an enormously liberating thing for all the people, male and female, but certainly, particularly for females in that country, and their lives are going to be vastly different if we're able to see a government evolve in a way that's constructive and positive for those people.

QUESTION: Let me try another question since I didn't really get an answer to that one.


RUMSFELD: No comment any better on this one...


... after that comment.

QUESTION: You've noted all the conflicting intelligence about the whereabouts of bin Laden and Omar and how it's difficult to define any real truth from that intelligence.

RUMSFELD: But it's all useful. I mean, in other words, you have to take a lot of information that may or may not be true, and try and sift and sort and figure out and track down and calibrate the reliability of pieces. So it's all helpful.

QUESTION: For the moment, have those two vanished?

RUMSFELD: I wouldn't think that would be how they would characterize it themselves, if one thinks about. They know where they are. And they know who they are. And they know that we're looking for them. If you don't have them, you don't have them.

It seems to me that pursuing this is fruitless, orally. Pursuing them on the ground is worthwhile, and we're doing that. And we've got a lot of people working on it. We've got Afghan people working on it.

We've got Americans working on it. We've got other country's special forces working on it, coalition partners on the ground physically doing things. And they are doing a darn good job.

The fact that the job is not completed, it seems to me, ought not to be surprising. It is a very difficult thing to find one or two or three or 12 or 15 or 20 specific human beings.

I've mentioned how long it takes to find the 10 most wanted. Someone told me it took 17.5 years to find the Unabomber.

Now, it suggests that the task we're about is a difficult one, which is why, from the outset, we've tried not to personalize this and pretend that the ultimate goal was to capture one or two people. It never has been. The goal has been to deal with terrorism.

Do we want to catch them? You bet. Are we trying to? You bet. Will we eventually? I certainly believe we will.


RUMSFELD: I'm sorry.

QUESTION: For the record, do you have any reports on...

RUMSFELD: This is all for the record. You think this is off the record?


QUESTION: I mean, I don't want to...


I just want to ask you directly, do you have currently any reports that Osama bin Laden or Omar have been captured or located?

RUMSFELD: At any given time, there are probably 50 to 100 reports from people: "I think this. I think that. You should go here. Look here. Do this." Lots of information is coming in.

How could I say, answer to that, any specific information. It's all specific. Most of it's wrong, but it's all specific. What we're trying to know is where somebody is, and we don't know precisely where he is. We have a good sense in the country. We still believe they're in the country. We're still working on that basis, although we are looking some other places as well, from time to time.

QUESTION: Can you clarify the circumstance of the bunker that was found outside the Marine's perimeter at Kandahar airport early Tuesday morning? Were there weapons stored within that bunker or tunnel complex? And were other bunkers or hiding places subsequently found? And does it concern you or come as a surprise that the Taliban and Al Qaeda had -- and/or Al Qaeda fighters -- had locations that close to the Marines?

MYERS: I got to tell you, I don't have a great deal of information on the specifics that you asked. And we'll go find that and provide it to you after the briefing.

RUMSFELD: Other than to say that that's generally right, they did find a bunker in reasonable proximity to the Kandahar airport, and they found some people tripping away from it. And they located the bunker and they found some ammunition and weapons and things like that. And that ought not to be surprising.

MYERS: It shouldn't be surprising, because that's the part I would follow-up on is that.

Clearly, many regions in Afghanistan are still very, very dangerous.

MYERS: Kandahar would have to be among them. And so I don't think we're surprised about that.

QUESTION: There was information being given out by Central Command that no weapons were found in the bunker...

MYERS: Right.

QUESTION: ... but the Marine colonel in Kandahar told reporters that weapons were...


MYERS: That's why I said I don't want to give you the specifics right now. Let us follow up and get the exact information.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, does the U.S. have any information that Al Qaeda or was producing weapons of mass destruction? And can you expand on the search of those facilities in Afghanistan?

RUMSFELD: The number of facilities keeps going up that are targeted, and it's now somewhere in the low fifties. And somewhere in the low forties have already been accessed, but the test results from materials and information that came out of them has not all been produced back, so we're at varying stages. There are still a few yet to explore, a handful, and there's still some information to come back. The short answer is, to my knowledge, we have found a number of things that show an appetite for weapons of mass destruction -- diagrams, materials, reports that things were asked for, things were discussed at meetings, that type of thing.

In terms of having hard evidence of actual possession of weapons of mass destruction, I do not have that at this stage, except to say that I think I mentioned that in one case there was a high radioactivity count and it looks as though that was probably the result of depleted uranium on some warheads. There are canisters that have been found that clearly are -- I should say that. We've not been in them yet. Externally they appear to be weapons of mass destruction, but until we get into them, look at them, analyze it, find out what it was, we're not going to know. And as we do, obviously we'll let folks know.

QUESTION: (INAUDIBLE) go back a couple of years, one of the criticisms of the previous administration was that it had deployed too many U.S. military forces too far overseas, in too many places. We now have this fairly significant deployment to the Philippines, talking about setting up bases in Central Asia. There's a report this week that we might be expanding military assistance to Colombia.

QUESTION: Isn't it at least ironic that you would find yourself in this situation today deploying U.S. forces around the world in a pretty broad way?

RUMSFELD: I don't know that if I were going to get up in the morning and look at our circumstance in the world that I would characterize it as ironic. Let me put it this way: A, you're right, there is a desire to recognize that the operations and personnel tempo for the United States military was high in previous years because of a variety of deployments.

My fault with that, if that's the right word, is that I think what we ought to be doing is the things we need to be doing, and we ought not to be doing the things that others can do better or that we should have been doing in the first instance but no longer need to be doing.

I mean, I do not believe that we still need our forces in the Sinai. I just plain don't. And we're working carefully with our friends and allies in Israel and Egypt to see if there isn't some reasonable way that after 22 years we could modestly reduce some of those folks that are down there in the Sinai.

We have addressed the Bosnia situation: They were put in there. The United States government announced they'd be out by Christmas. It's now five years later, several Christmases have passed, five to be precise, and what does it suggest?

It suggested to me as an interested observer concerned about the men and women in the armed services who get asked to do a whale of a lot, and we ought to have them do what we need but we ought not to impose excessively on them such that the wear and tear on the force is excessive, I think what we ought to say is that -- and what we've done in Bosnia is we've been pulling down the number of people there.

And how have we done it? We've been doing it because we've insisted that people look at it and say, "What do we really need today and what might be put in our place that would provide the kind of stability we're now providing that is more in the line of a civil force, say police force or something or a civil system -- court system -- so that we don't have to have people who are trained for battle and trained for a totally different function in there performing basically a police function?"

Now, that's what we're doing. If you go in with a group of people -- NATO in this case and other non-NATO countries -- and you say, "Look, we'll go in together; we'll come out together;" then you ought to go in together and you ought to come out together. But that doesn't mean you ought to stay there in perpetuity.

So I think that the administration has a very healthy, proper attitude about it, that when we get into something, by golly, we want to know what it is we're doing and what's going to take our place when we come out, because we don't plan to go in and spend a career or a lifetime or two generations in these places.

We want to be helpful where we can. We can contribute to peace and stability. We have an important country in an important time in the world, and we ought to do that. But I do think we ought to do it with our eyes wide open, and we ought to do it in a measured way, and we ought not to do it excessively.

MYERS: Let me just add something to the question, because -- without having a long discussion about exactly where you were going. You contrasted a then and now. And, of course, what changed now is that we're engaged in this global war on terrorism. We've stood up here and said that we're going to use all the instruments of national power and our military in ways that we need to use it to do our best to do away with this threat, and that remains today.

I think comparing what was and what is, circumstances have really changed. And we're dedicated to this.

Notwithstanding everything the secretary said, he said it exactly right.

RUMSFELD: But if we have to go into 15 more countries, we ought to do it to deal with the problem of terrorism, so we don't allow this problem to damage and kill tens and thousands more people.


RUMSFELD: What do you say we have two more questions, and you're the first.

QUESTION: OK. Thank you. A moment ago you said that...


QUESTION: A moment ago you said that some canisters were found that are suspected to contain weapons of mass destruction. Can you tell the circumstance, how, who found them?

RUMSFELD: I don't remember.

I've seen pictures of them. Externally, they've got stuff on them that make reasonable people think there's something not good in there, and we're going to check them out.

QUESTION: Would it be chemical, biological, radiological?

RUMSFELD: If I had to assume, I'd assume the former. But why make assumptions when you don't have to?

QUESTION: You mean the former, chemical?

RUMSFELD: Yes. But I just don't know. Until we get into them and look at them, we won't know.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, could you just clarify, John Walker Lindh, is he still on the USS Bataan or has he been moved already? And if you could just get into a little bit the process as to how he gets to the United States, is it up to the military to handle that or Justice Department?

RUMSFELD: Now, one day I was here and I was asked a question like that, as to where is he this minute. And there was a plane on this screen showing that it was taking off as I was describing that they were still there, as I recall. And that's why I turn and look at the screen, to make sure.


The short answer is, the last time I look, before I came down here, he was still on the Bataan. He is going to be passed off to the United States Department of Justice in a safe and responsible way, and humane way, soon. I'm not really a travel agent, they are working out the details as to whether they want to do it in this city or that city or in this location or that location, at which point then the receiving party will bring them back to the United States. And I believe they've announced that they intend to bring him into the Northern District of Virginia, at one of the multiple airports in the region, and incarcerate him somewhere here pending the criminal justice system taking over.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, does "pretty soon" mean today or...

RUMSFELD: I don't know. It's being done at a level down here that is -- you know, we know what's going to happen, he's going to end up going from the Bataan to the Department of Justice custody somewhere in the world, and then ultimately arrive in Virginia, and ultimately arrive in court. And I thank you, and we're going to excuse ourselves.

QUESTION: How's the movie?

RUMSFELD: The movie was powerful.


RUMSFELD: Recently? What's recently, within the month? Yes.

QUESTION: In the last couple weeks?

RUMSFELD: In the last couple of weeks? I think so. At least I was made aware of them in the last...

QUESTION: Do you know where they were found?

RUMSFELD: Afghanistan.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, can we talk about India, the defense minister's visit tomorrow here, sir?

RUMSFELD: I'm looking forward to it.

QUESTION: Are you going to ask him, sir, Mr. Secretary, that India or Pakistan should move the forces out of the borders?

RUMSFELD: I am looking forward to it.

We'll see you Friday.

HARRIS: Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld wrapping up his press briefing there today, and he handled the bulk of the questions today, and lots of questions came out about detainees. Some questions about those, how many are left there in Kandahar. He said there are 400 or so there. Some are being returned to Pakistan, where Pakistan will be dealing with them, and some are being shipped to Cuba. That process is continuing. He says he does not believe that the interrogations of these detainees, they have been interrogated in Kandahar, but he does not think that that process was being continued in Cuba.

Now for one particular detainee, John Walker, he says that Walker, as far as he knows is on the USS Bataan, that ship that is in the Arabian Sea, and they are still working out the details as to how and when he will making his appearance here in the U.S., but he will be doing so soon, he says, and in the custody of the Department of Justice.




Back to the top