CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Pentagon Holds Defense Briefing
Aired April 15, 2002 - 11:59 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.
LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Quickly now, on to the Pentagon right now, as Secretary Rumsfeld beginning today's briefing.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: ... near Kandahar, Afghanistan. At least one serviceman was also wounded in the accident. And we certainly want to express our sorrow and grief to the families of those that have been killed and injured, and salute the brave men and women in uniform who do, in fact, put their lives on the line every day to defend their country.
In this instance, it was a disposal unit that was actively working to destroy some weapons that had been found, and for whatever reason one of them went off.
There have been various reports of violence in Afghanistan recently, and while we've made good progress in restoring stability to Afghanistan, clearly getting a peaceful environment will take a good deal of time. The country is fragmented politically, it does not have a strong tradition of democracy, as we all know.
And I think any expectation that it will suddenly transform itself into a Western-style democracy ever, let alone instantaneously, is misplaced.
What we're hoping is that, as the people return to their homes from being internally displaced and as people from refugee camps outside and the Afghan Diaspora return home, and as the political process goes forward, that the combination of those things will produce a more peaceful environment.
Clearly, the development of an Afghan national army that can help root out terrorists and crime, criminals, will be a help, as well.
On the other hand, it's important, it seems to me, to remember that for the majority of the Afghan people, the overwhelmingly majority, the difference between this year and last year is night and day. The sporadic violence of recent days is nothing compared to the brutal rule of the Taliban and the Al Qaeda and their terrorists allies that existed prior to the emancipation of that country.
Last fall, with the help of Afghan allies and coalition forces, the Taliban regime and the Al Qaeda were cast out. The terrorists are either dead or they're on the run. They're less able to plan, less able to finance and less able to launch attacks than they had been previously.
An interim government is in place. Peacekeepers are patrolling in some trouble spots. The Afghan national army is beginning to be trained. Police units and border patrol are beginning to be trained. New hospitals have opened. Vast amounts of food and other humanitarian relief have been supplied and will continue to be supplied.
Women are able to go outside and go to schools, go to hospitals and serve in government. The Afghan people, for the most part, have a chance to vote and speak relatively freely. And as a result, there is at least the hope for a brighter future.
On another matter, I might just point out that we do intend to announce the unified command plan sometime this week. It will be a plan which will restructure and streamline a number of aspects of the military commands, which we believe will better fit it for the challenges of the 21st century. Dick Myers has indicated to me that, in his career, he believes this is the most significant set of changes that he has seen in his career.
We will be presenting the details when we make a formal announcement sometime later this week. For the most part, the kinds of consultations that are appropriate and necessary have been or in one or two cases, are still being made.
I was going to give you a Heimlich.
Are you OK? You sure? OK. You want some water?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
You all would have just sat there.
QUESTION: We're trained to ignore (UNINTELLIGIBLE). When you speak, we just...
GENERAL RICHARD MYERS, JOINT CHIEFS CHAIRMAN: Thank you, Mr. Secretary.
And good afternoon. As the secretary said, regarding that explosive incident early this morning in Afghanistan, reports continue to come in on this incident. And at this point, we can't be any more precise on the numbers involved, nor with any of the details. Central Command will update you as additional details are confirmed. And as the secretary also said, this tragic event highlights that, even when not actively engaged against enemy forces, that our servicemen and women remain at risk as they perform their mission around the world, and particularly in Afghanistan. As the secretary said, our condolences and prayers go out to the families of those who were killed or injured in this area.
We continue our efforts to find and destroy elements of Al Qaeda and Taliban, the former Taliban in eastern Afghanistan. And on Saturday, a team of U.S. Special Forces and Afghan military forces exploited a suspected enemy complex. During the mission, they located several weapons, storage sites containing mines, rockets, explosives, and anti-aircraft artillery pieces that we assess were used for training.
During this operation, a convoy carrying U.S. and Afghan forces was fired upon. And an AC-130 gunship was called in to support the friendly forces. The aircraft located and fired on the enemy position, killing several of the enemy. Also this weekend, there were two incidences of suspected rocket- propelled grenade fire in the vicinity of Khowst.
On Saturday, two suspected rocket-propelled grenades impacted near an airfield in that area. And although there are U.S. and Afghan military forces in the general area, there were no injuries to friendly personnel.
In fact, it's uncertain whether the friendly forces were actually even targeted by the weapons. And then, again, on Sunday two more suspected rocket-propelled grenades were fired in the same area. Although, these appear to have impacted some two kilometers away from the airfield. Again, no damage or injuries were sustained by friendly forces, nor is it clear whether friendly forces were actually the target.
And with that, I'll take your questions.
RUMSFELD: Charlie (ph)?
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, Al Jazeera is showing parts of the tape reported to include bin Laden and a senior official, Al-Zawahiri, one of his senior aides. Have you anything to add to the possible authenticity of that, and has the United States got that tape?
RUMSFELD: I have not seen Al Jazeera's tape. I have seen a tape, and whether it's the same one, I'm not sure. The one I saw was in Arabic.
Needless to say, I did not understand what was being said, unfortunately. And I was advised that what I was watching very likely was using a patchwork of clips from previous periods along with some dialogue of more recent periods, rather commentary from more recent periods, I should say.
QUESTION: So was that tape found in Afghanistan or provided to the United States or... RUMSFELD: I'd just soon not discuss its source, but I've seen it. And anything I can tell or was told, at least thus far the impression is that it is not new. The tape is new, but it does not reflect anything of UBL from recent periods.
QUESTION: Does it include UBL on it?
RUMSFELD: There are shots of him and shots of him talking, but there isn't reason that anything who has communicated with me can find to believe that they are anything other than somewhat dated.
QUESTION: By previous periods, you mean pre-September 11 or pre...
RUMSFELD: No, no. It comments on things post-September 11. But the UBL pieces appear to be from last year as opposed to this year.
QUESTION: At the same time, Mr. Secretary...
RUMSFELD: And that is a very preliminary comment. And I would underline again that I don't speak Arabic, so I can't -- all I can say is what I have said.
QUESTION: At the same time, Al Hayat newspaper says it's received an e-mail from Mullah Omar in which he launches into criticism of the U.S. or their support of Israel. Is there any evidence that this was coordinated between Mullah Omar and Osama bin Laden? And do we know, are they in communication? Are they able to coordinate something like this at this point?
RUMSFELD: There certainly is no evidence that there was any coordination.
QUESTION: Is there any belief that Mullah Omar and Osama bin Laden are in contact and able to coordinate anything like this since...
RUMSFELD: We don't know.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, the snow IS melting in Afghanistan and the weather's moderating and (UNINTELLIGIBLE) told us there were some incidents over the weekend. It's time for a spring offensive, perhaps, on both sides. I know you don't talk about upcoming operations, but is the U.S. planning anything soon comparable to Operation Anaconda or maybe even larger?
RUMSFELD: As we have said before, we don't talk about operations.
General Myers pointed out that there have been aircraft up and some skirmishes recently in the last 24 hours, and we did not take time off for the winter.
As you may recall, we continued throughout the winter. So the fact that spring's coming does not make much difference to the United States. Our interest is in trying to locate numbers of these folks, whether it's one or two or 50 to 100, as the case may be, find them and deal with them.
QUESTION: Well, what about the other side, though? I mean, if we're continuing, OK. But what about the unfriendly, so-to-speak? Do you expect action from them?
RUMSFELD: You bet. We've expected it all along, and we've found some, and we'll undoubtedly find more as we go along, and we'll have to deal with it.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, Iraq has indicated a willingness to accept a new delegation to search for Lieutenant Commander Scott Speicher, and you're said to be considering sending that delegation. Can you tell us, have you made a decision? Will the delegation include Scott Ritter? And when might it leave?
RUMSFELD: I don't have any information on that beyond what you've reported from the press, and nothing's come to me as yet.
MYERS: Or to me.
QUESTION: Have you received any new information...
VICTORIA CLARKE, PENTAGON SPOKESWOMAN: ... working with State. It has not come to you, but State...
RUMSFELD: Apparently the contacts thus far have been through the Department of State, and they've not yet connected here.
QUESTION: Have you received any indication, any new information to indicate he might still be alive?
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, General Myers, this combat activity over the weekend, do you have any idea what it was about, who they were? And is it possible that this team ran into one of these -- you know there's these rival militia groups that have been going after each other in the last few weeks. Is it possible that's what's happening here? Or do you suspect it's Al Qaeda actually organizing to be hostile to the United States?
MYERS: We don't know. As I indicated in the remarks, it wasn't clear, particularly in the second incident, whether U.S. forces or our Afghan counterparts were even a target of these particular rocket- propelled grenade launches. And we were pretty much in position, we were not out in reconnaissance and surveillance. So it wasn't...
QUESTION: Do you see any signs of offensive operations by Al Qaeda?
RUMSFELD: Well, I think, as the secretary said, we've said up here for sometime that we've expected that, we expected it through the winter, we expect it will increase as the weather gets better and as the snows melt and so forth.
In terms of large operations, I think I'd rather just not get into that.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, also in the video tapes that Al Jazeera is showing bits and pieces of is allegedly one of the hijackers who was killed going into either this building or the towers in New York. Do you have any reason to believe that this person who is alleged to be that hijacker is, in fact, one of the hijackers?
RUMSFELD: I don't personally. I'm told that the tape, in Arabic when translated, does leave the impression that they are reinforcing the fact that they were involved in September 11th.
QUESTION: You seemed to imply earlier that you or the U.S. government has had possession of these tapes prior to Al Jazeera broadcasting them, is that correct?
RUMSFELD: Not to my knowledge.
QUESTION: Just to clarify on that, because I think it (UNINTELLIGIBLE) you're not, at this point, certain that the tape that you saw and were describing to us...
RUMSFELD: Is even the same tape.
QUESTION: ... is the same tape.
RUMSFELD: Exactly, because I've not seen their tape.
QUESTION: Might be a different tape.
RUMSFELD: Could be. I wouldn't guess that that's the probability, but because of my lack of certainty as to what Al Jazeera is showing, I just don't know.
QUESTION: The part of the tape that you saw, was it Osama bin Laden kneeling next to Al-Zawahiri outside?
RUMSFELD: Certainly, shots of UBL not standing.
QUESTION: Do you remember if he was sitting next to someone?
RUMSFELD: From time to time he was, and I don't remember...
QUESTION: How long was the tape that you saw?
RUMSFELD: I didn't watch the whole tape, so I can't answer your question.
QUESTION: When did it come into your possession?
RUMSFELD: I don't remember.
QUESTION: Do you remember when you saw it?
RUMSFELD: Very recently, yes.
QUESTION: So today or over the weekend?
RUMSFELD: Today's Monday all day.
I think I saw it yesterday.
QUESTION: When you say, Mr. Secretary, that it reinforces their involvement in the September 11 attack...
RUMSFELD: No, I didn't. I said the people who understand Arabic have left me with the impression that one of the purposes of it was to reinforce UBL's relationship to September 11. That is a big difference from what you said I said.
QUESTION: Did they have any opinion as to whether this was pre- September 11 or post-September 11th, that tape?
RUMSFELD: If it tries to reinforce or suggest a relationship with September 11th, it has to be post-September 11th. Or else, they could look into the future. We don't know when the pictures were from. All you know is that there is reference to September 11th. Therefore, one would think it was after September 11th. But what kinds of pictures or words might have been juxtaposed with it, I don't know.
QUESTION: Because those clips of bin Laden appear to be from last year, as you said, have you drawn any new conclusions about bin Laden's fate?
RUMSFELD: As I was told.
QUESTION: As you were told? Have you drawn any new conclusions about bin Laden's fate, whether he's alive or...
RUMSFELD: I haven't. I'm still -- I mean as far as I know, I've not seen anything about his activities, any videotapes of him that are reasonably certain to have been in this year. Maybe they exist; he may exist, but I just don't know it.
QUESTION: There was concern on previous tapes government asking networks not to broadcast them, for fear they might contain hidden signals, hidden messages. Is there still that concern? Is that no longer a concern?
RUMSFELD: I don't know. I can't speak for the government. For myself, my attitude is that the people who make those tapes give those tapes to networks, and networks play them. And it's out of my control. And therefore, I don't spend a lot of time trying to decide if I would like to try to not have them play them. Because they do play them, and life goes on.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, on another issue. Amnesty International (UNINTELLIGIBLE) issued a 16-page (ph) report saying that it regards the treatment of the detainees in Guantanamo as cruel and particularly cites the inability of the detainees to get legal counsel. Do you have any reaction to that?
RUMSFELD: Not seen the report. And I have seen the people in Guantanamo.
QUESTION: And their care and treatment is exactly the opposite of what you have said they have said. About the criticism in some quarters that the U.S. government ought not to be holding an American citizen indefinitely without placing some sort of charges against him, and I'm referring to Mr. Hamdi.
RUMSFELD: The individual, as I recall, that you're talking about is a person with dual citizenship, and he is the one probably that was moved from Guantanamo Bay to Norfolk.
I don't know how long indefinitely is, but he clearly has not been held indefinitely. He has been held a relatively short period. And what the lawyers will decide they intend to do with him remains to be seen, and when, and on what basis.
However, it has been generally accepted, I'm told by lawyers, that people who are captured on battlefields and who you have been fighting -- and that is certainly the case with that individual -- a country has every right to keep off of the battlefield and detain so that they do not go right back out and engage in battle on behalf of the Al Qaeda or the Taliban, as the case may be in this instance, and try to kill Americans or Afghans or other people.
QUESTION: Just to follow up on Iraq...
RUMSFELD: I'm assuming those lawyers are correct. I'm assuming that the fact that that has been done historically is correct.
QUESTION: Just a second question on Iraq. Iraq has been somewhat quiet lately in terms of action in the no-fly zones. We did have another incident today in which U.S. forces struck an air defense site. Is there any evidence that Saddam Hussein is gearing up his or renewing his efforts to try to down a U.S. or coalition pilot?
Are you seeing any evidence of a new offensive by Iraq? Or more defiance of enforcement of the no-fly zones?
MYERS: Well, as I think most people are aware, the efforts in both Operation Northern Watch and Southern Watch have continued. We have not changed, to a substantial degree, our patterns and our forces are airmen and aircraft continue to be fired upon when they fly, and they respond appropriately to those firings and that's what happened today. Two F-16s dropped some laser-guided bombs on a radar site. One illuminated the aircraft. That's not a change. It's the way we've been conducting operations there for quite some time in self- defense.
QUESTION: It was reported today that Army Secretary White is under investigation by the FBI for possible inside trader charges. Could you confirm that? And also, tell us...
RUMSFELD: I can't.
QUESTION: Means you don't know?
RUMSFELD: Don't know.
QUESTION: And also, tell us if you remain confident in his ability to do his job, given some of these investigations?
RUMSFELD: There's no question but that he's performing his job and performing it well. There's also no question in my mind but that he has been forthcoming and responded to every inquiry that's been made.
QUESTION: If we could go back to (UNINTELLIGIBLE) for just a second. You've said a number of times that it's up to the lawyers to decide what to do with him. Isn't it up to...
RUMSFELD: Unless there's a policy issue that they then come -- what they do is they talk to me about broad principles and then take individuals as to how those individuals might fit within those categories. And what we then do is we deal with the Department of Justice -- in some cases the White House because the military order is a presidential order -- and the Department of Defense and discuss in an interagency manner -- the lawyers do -- and then at some point they surface these up to the political level -- the principles' level -- where they're then looked at from the policy standpoint.
At the moment, there has been nothing that the lawyers have surfaced up on this subject of the Saudi who has dual-citizenship in the United States.
QUESTION: So it might still be that he might leave the control of the Department of Defense and go elsewhere?
RUMSFELD: Oh, sure. He could very well end up being taken by the Department of Justice or if someone decides he's not worth anymore information, he could be let go or he could be transferred to his other country of citizenship -- dual-citizenship. The same options exist for him as exist for anybody.
You have to appreciate the difficulty and the magnitude of the job. We've had to interview thousands of people for intelligence- gathering purposes in the first instance. We've had to interview thousands of people -- let me change that to hundreds of people for law enforcement purposes. And that takes time. And the idea that he's being held indefinitely, as though -- he's now in his fifth year. Of course, it's just silliness. We've had him a relatively short period of time.
We're deeply concerned about getting intelligence from these folks. They were captured on the battlefield. We want to try to prevent further attacks. And it makes all the sense in the world to be doing exactly as we are doing. And all the fussing around the edges about it, I find a distraction.
QUESTION: Has it worked its way up to your desk, sir?
RUMSFELD: Has not.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, has the U.S. government asked permission to launch raids over the border into Pakistan? And if so, has President Musharraf granted permission?
RUMSFELD: From the outset, I have indicated that I prefer to allow other countries to characterize the ways that they are assisting us in the global war on terrorism. And you, sir, have just settled on exactly one of those instances.
QUESTION: Has the U.S. asked permission?
RUMSFELD: If I wanted to answer that portion of your question, I'd probably would have and I didn't. What I will say exactly what I want to say about this, and it is: We are getting wonderful assistance from a lot of countries around the world. It is very much in their interests that they be the ones to characterize how they are helping us.
They have different perspectives, different laws, different political circumstances, different neighbors, different views of threats. And we want the maximum help we can get as a country to stop terrorism and to root out the terrorists and to stop the sanctuaries that exist. There is no question but that that decision on the part of the United States government was exactly the correct decision; to let those countries characterize what they are doing to help.
Full stop. Pakistan as a separate case. No question but that they have been wonderfully helpful and cooperative from the outset of this global war on terrorism. They have been, they are today, and I have every reason believe they will be prospectively.
QUESTION: Are you satisfied with the way the last raid was handled, with FBI and perhaps CIA, as opposed to using U.S. military? Are you satisfied with that kinds of way of handling the problem, arresting these people?
RUMSFELD: Well, when you have a country that is cooperating, and you develop a combined and joint effort, and you are able to go to something like 11 different locations and successfully apprehend something in excess of 60 people in those locations, and among them is an individual who is very senior in Al Qaeda; and then have the opportunity to go over all of the things you collect from those 11 locations, and have the opportunity to sit down and visit with the 60- plus human beings that were captured; I don't see how anyone could describe that as anything other than an enormously successful effort.
And the idea of using military people for what is obviously a law enforcement task, it seems to me it just wouldn't fit. You're looking at 11 different locations. That isn't what we're organized and trained to do.
So it was a very successful effort. It started. It ended. And it has been useful.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, do a follow-up on that please? You were reported to have said yesterday that Abu Zabaydah is "talking," quote/unquote. Is he singing like a canary? Are you getting good, useful information?
QUESTION: Give us some hints?
RUMSFELD: All I can say is what I've said.
Look, we have him, his health is getting better. It is, I think, very clear that he's going to live. And I'm not going to give daily reports on his situation.
QUESTION: What about the one you captured in Spain over the weekend, is he a key fixture?
RUMSFELD: Pardon me?
QUESTION: I'm a wounded veteran. Don't I get a follow-up? The one you caught in Spain over the weekend, is he a good catch? The one the Spanish people caught, the so-called finance minister for the Al Qaeda.
RUMSFELD: At the moment, he is thought to be.
QUESTION: I'd like to ask you your thinking on a completely different subject -- Americans looking at what's been going on in Israel, of course, for the last weeks here.
As a member of the national security team, not as defense secretary, broader portfolio, what's your thinking about the concerns that some Americans have that the behavior of suicide bombers could be exported -- irrespective of September 11 -- the worries, concerns that the behavior of suicide bombing could at some point be exported to this country?
Is there an assessment of that possibility? Do you think it's a legitimate concern on the part of Americans? Is it something that people should be worried about? Or is it really unlikely? RUMSFELD: Well, I mean the reality is that we're a free people and a free country, and we tend to not be living in basements and hiding and carrying weapons from day to day. And as a result, free people tend to be vulnerable.
And there's no question but that terrorists' attacks in the United States have occurred before; they've occurred against Americans elsewhere in the world. The attack in this building and the World Trade Centers were certainly terrorist attack, suicide attacks, and there are any number of ways that people can do those things.
And what we need to do is exactly what we're doing, and that's trying to extract all the intelligence information we can and try to find and root out these terrorist networks and stop countries from harboring those people.
QUESTION: There is a report in The Washington Post today that Secretary Wolfowitz had asked for a report from the CIA on the capabilities of the U.N. inspection team to do a reasonable assessment of Iraq's ability to create weapons of mass destruction. Can you confirm that that report was carried out at DOD request and give us your opinion of whether the U.N. is up to this task? Provided they're allowed back in, inspecting.
RUMSFELD: Let me think how I want to respond to that.
First of all, what an official of government asks of another official of government on a classified manner is obviously no business of anyone else's, one would think.
The article I saw characterized something as having been requested, something of a kind with an investigation. That I know is not the case.
And to what extent somebody may have asked somebody about this, that, or the other thing, I probably ask different intelligence elements, as I'm sure Dick Myers, does every single day, probably eight, 10, 12, 15 questions, asking people to look into this, amplify on that, please undertake a study of this. And I'm sure it's 12 or 15 a day of one or more intelligence agencies.
I'm sure the other senior people in the department do, as well.
QUESTION: What does the release of the video tape in the last few days...
QUESTION: Hang on.
QUESTION: I'm sorry.
QUESTION: The inspection -- do you have an opinion on the inspection, the ability of the U.N. to conduct reasonable inspections of Iraq?
RUMSFELD: Well, if you're willing to take your original question and set it over there... QUESTION: Sure.
RUMSFELD: ... and then start with a fresh question, the way you just phrased it, and not connect it to the individuals or the U.N.
QUESTION: Yes, sir.
RUMSFELD: You're sure? You're willing to do that?
QUESTION: I'm willing to do that.
QUESTION: You're leading the witness.
QUESTION: Careful, it's a trap.
RUMSFELD: It's not a trap.
The answer is that there were inspectors in that country for a long time. And they did a lot of looking around, and they found some things. But for the most part, anything they found was a result of having been cued to something as a result of a defector giving them a heads-up that they ought to do this, that or the other thing.
There now has been a long period of years without inspectors in there. The inspection regime that existed originally, which was not able to find much other than what defectors mentioned and cued them to, coupled with the long period without inspectors, coupled with the enormous amount of dual-use equipment that's been going in there, enabling them to become more mobile, enabling them to go underground to a greater extent than they had been previously, suggests to the reasonable person -- one would think -- that it would have to be an enormously intrusive inspection regime for anyone, any reasonable person, to have confidence that it could, in fact, find, locate and identify the government of Iraq's very aggressive weapons of mass destruction program, which has been going on for years.
QUESTION: So you're fairly unoptimistic?
RUMSFELD: I just can't quite picture how intrusive something would have to be that it could offset the ease with which they have previously been able to deny and deceive, and which today one would think they would be vastly more skillful, having had all this time without inspectors there.
You know, what one would want is an inspection regime that could give the rest of the world reasonable confidence that, in fact, Saddam Hussein was doing that which everyone knows he has been trying to do; that is to say, develop nuclear capability and continue to enhance his other weapons of mass destruction, meaning biological and chemical weapons.
QUESTION: Sir, when you said underground, did you mean physically underground or clandestine underground?
QUESTION: What does release of yet another videotape by bin Laden, apparently an old one, tell you about bin Laden's organization's level of confidence, desperation? Does it send you any signals?
RUMSFELD: Well, first let me take your question and disagree with it. We have no evidence that this was released by UBL. So your comment, what does the release by Osama bin Laden of yet another videotape, it seems to me, unless you know something I don't know, we have no evidence that he released it. There's no question it was released with that trying to make it seem that way.
Somebody released it trying to make it seem that way. Whether it's UBL who wants the world to know that, or whether he wants anything at this stage, I just don't know. But clearly somebody thought it would be useful to fashion this tape and give it to some network and let them play it.
Why might they do that? I don't know. Maybe they are anxious to inject some more energy into what they're doing. Maybe they're trying to let the world know that these senior people are still alive and well. Maybe they're trying to pretend to the world that they're still alive and well even though they're not. Maybe they're trying to take advantage of the concern about Palestinians in the Arab world by trying to play off that and think that it might benefit their terrorist organization in terms of recruiting or fund-raising.
I have no idea. Those are just the obvious speculations as to why one might do something like that.
QUESTION: Is this possibly a very personal response to your comments of the last couple weeks that you found it curious there had been no tapes for several weeks or months. Do you think these people are responding to you personally?
RUMSFELD: Well, I don't know. That would be a reach. I'm without an opinion on that subject. And our time has expired. Thank you.
KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld and General Richard Myers wrapping up the daily Pentagon briefing there, touching on two, really, main stories of the day. First, the Al-Jazeera TV airing unseen footage of Osama bin Laden sitting with a top deputy, who claims responsibility for the 9/11 attacks. Rumsfeld making the point not sure when or where it was shot. Also not saying he is convinced that it was released by Osama bin Laden, does not appear to be a new videotape, but they continue to investigate the surroundings of this tape.
Also, top story of day, four U.S. soldiers killed today in Afghanistan. Captured enemy rockets went off during a clearing operation. One soldier was wounded in that accidental blast near Kandahar. And General Myers saying that reports continue to come in on this tragic incident. Can't be more precise on the numbers involved or the details. But making the point that does highlight that servicemen and women remain at risk as this war on terror continues.
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