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State Department Spokesperson Addresses 9/11 Anniversary Threats

Aired September 10, 2002 - 12:53   ET

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


KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Meanwhile, we're talking about security risk abroad now with the State Department. We're going to take you live there with Richard Boucher, the spokesperson for the State Department. He's addressing those issues. Let's listen in.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

RICHARD BOUCHER, ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE FOR PUBLIC AFFAIRS: ... for some time, as well as to be necessary globally around the world, at home and abroad, so that we can make sure that we're safe everywhere that we might be.

QUESTION: Somebody over at Homeland Security said the increase from yellow to orange was related to credible and specific threats at embassies. Have you heard that?

BOUCHER: Somebody? No. Somebody didn't call me and tell me that.

What I would say is there are embassies closed, as our embassy in Jakarta is, because of credible and specific threat information, and that in many of these cases, as I've said, we have information that's a confluence, a variety of information, some of which is specific and credible.

QUESTION: Back to Code Orange, is there anything that the State Department must do in this building as a result of the elevated threat status?

BOUCHER: I'm not sure I can talk about the specifics, and I don't know them either.

But generally, when there is a domestic level of threat that's raised, there are steps that we and other government agencies do take to make sure that we're more careful, more secure. The specifics of that, I will see if I can get for you.

But I would say that generally, in any case, this week we have increased the security around this building, around other buildings where State Department employees work, and our diplomatic security folks are, you know, putting more guards on the street, making sure the checks are as careful as possible, et cetera, so that we can all be safe and secure and efficient.

QUESTION: The Cabinet members, I believe, are also now -- Vice President Cheney's in his undisclosed location again. Has anything changed in terms of the secretary's schedule or we're still planning that he'll go to New York this afternoon?

BOUCHER: No, nothings changed as far as his schedule goes.

QUESTION: Is Secretary Powell in touch with other foreign ministers regarding the speech President Bush is going to deliver on Thursday to the U.N. about Iraq?

BOUCHER: I don't want to start predicting that we're briefing anybody in particular on the speech the president might give. But I would say the secretary is in touch with other foreign ministers about the situation in Iraq. I think he talked to Foreign Minister Fischer this morning about it. He talked to Foreign Secretary Straw yesterday. So he's been keeping in regular touch. And he will also expect to see many of them in New York over the next few days.

Met with the Bulgarian -- foreign minister or president yesterday -- president yesterday afternoon. They talked about Iraq a bit as well.

QUESTION: Can you say in general what the response has been from the people that he has talked to?

BOUCHER: I think I'll leave it to others to make their own public statements. As you know, there are many in the international community that agree that Iraq's development of weapons of mass destruction is a serious danger for all of us, particularly when we've met with neighboring countries. They have made quite clear that if Iraq were to...

PHILLIPS: Richard Boucher, spokesperson for the State Department, basically confirming that indeed a number of security precautions have been taken overseas at this time, where September 11 is just around the corner, the one year anniversary of those terrorist attacks on the United States, confirming that embassies overseas, a number of them have been closed because of specific and credible threats.

He could not comment, however, on the elevated threat level here in the U.S. and if indeed that was taking place because of a credible threat.

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