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Pentagon Press Briefing

Aired September 16, 2002 - 12:59   ET

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


KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: We're going to take you now live to D.C., where Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is about to address reporters in today's daily briefing.
Let's listen in.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: ... has brought a dangerous new national security environment. Our coalition forces have had good success against terrorists in Afghanistan, but global terrorists remain a threat, possibly with still more lethal weapons.

In the last century, free nations of the world were dealing essentially with conventional weapons. The potential causalities in a surprise attack were those that are logical with a conventional attack. Going back to Pearl Harbor, the loss was something like 2,400 people.

A lot of people. Mainly military combatants. As grievous as that loss was, however, it would be considered small in comparison to the weapons of mass destruction that could, the terrorists could unleash in this 21st century.

With chemical, biological, radiation and nuclear weapons the risk is not of losing additional thousands of people, but possibly tens-of- thousands, and very likely civilians, innocent men, women and children as opposed to combatants.

The United States, since September 11 of last year, has crafted a coalition of some 90 countries, close to half of the nations of the world, in the global war on terrorism.

The work of those countries is being seen almost every day. The sharing of intelligence, the pressure that's been put on terrorists, the people that have been scooped up in a variety of raids in more than one continent, the intelligence information that's been gathered as a result of those raids.

All is helping to achieve the effort. And you'll recall that I've talked about the fact that it's like an iceberg and that a great deal of what's taking place in the world is below the surface of the sea. And it is because of that wonderful coalition and the cooperation that exists that we're seeing such important progress take place.

Last week, the president set forth at the United Nations the pattern of Iraqi defiance. The UN is now considering what to do about that pattern. The Congress addressed the matter back in 1998 when it passed a joint resolution that declared, quote, "That the government of Iraq is in material and unacceptable breach of its international obligations. And therefore, the president is urged to take appropriate action to bring Iraq into compliance of its international obligations." That was 1998 in a joint resolution that was approved by Congress.

In the coming days, the administration will take the president's case to the Congress.

As the options are considered and as the president considers his course of action, many will be asking some obvious questions: Why Iraq? Why now? Can we afford it? Why not wait? What are the risks? And these are not inappropriate questions. Some are useful, and certainly they will be commented on by the administration witnesses who will be testifying before the Congress.

When I testify before the House and Senate Armed Services Committee later this week, it will not be an intel briefing. Intel briefings will be generally supplied by the director of Central Intelligence and his deputy. It will not be a play-by-play as to what the goal is in the United Nations with respect to revolutions and that type of thing. That'll be with Secretary Powell, who's working on that, will be testifying, too. It will be an elaboration on the case that the president made to the world. And it will, in the case of the Senate, involve an open session and then a closed session.

It's interesting that, as we go through this week and next week, the House and Senate Intelligence Committees are up there pouring over literally thousands, probably tens of thousands of pages of documentation attempting to connect the dots with respect to what happened on September 11. This has been going on for months. And the executive agencies have been disgorging documentation, at their requests, by the bucket.

What will be taking place in the next few weeks in the Congress will be attempting to connect the dots before a tragedy happens, not after a tragedy happens. The goal will be to try to take the pieces and help people understand that it isn't simple. That there isn't a single smoking gun that everyone nods and says, "Ah ha, that's it." If we wait for a smoking gun in this instance, it obviously would be after the fact -- you'd find it after the fact. You'd find it after lethal weapons were used against the United States, our friends and allies. And that's a little late when you're dealing with capabilities of the lethality that represent these capabilities.

General Pace?

GENERAL PETER PACE, VICE CHAIRMAN, JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: Thank you Mr. Secretary. I have no significant military activities to report to you today, so we'll go straight to questions.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, the Saudis -- well, Saudi Arabia, where many U.S. attack planes are based, said previously it would not allow any invasion of Iraq from its territory. QUESTION: Now the Saudis are saying, yes, they will, if such an invasion would be sanctioned by the United Nations.

Number one, how do you feel about such a caveat? And number two, does this raise pressure on Baghdad to allow unfettered searches?

RUMSFELD: Well, I've been reading for weeks that the United States is all alone and oughten that to tell us something.

First of all, the president has not made a decision to do anything with respect to Iraq except to make the case to the Congress and to make the case to the United Nations that the United Nations' resolutions are being defied and have the effect of damaging that institution's relevance and standing in the world and that they ought to address that.

Throughout the period of weeks when I've read these articles that we're all alone, I have also been in touch with a number of countries, as has Secretary Powell and the president, and the articles have not been accurate.

There are any number of countries that are in one or more ways in agreement with what the president has been saying. The truth is that when countries are engaged in elections, people say things that they think they should say. And when countries live close to somebody like Saddam Hussein that has threatened their neighbors, threatened their regimes, invaded, used chemical weapons against them, they're careful about what they say publicly, and that's fine.

So all I would say is that the impression I've gotten as to the degree of support for the United States and the president with respect to his words and his interests and his hopes and goals is not consistent with what we are seeing privately.

And now, how do I feel about it? Sure, any country that feels it's in their interest -- think back to the global war on terrorism. I've said, "Look, we'll take help any way we can get it and if someone wants to make it private, that's fine. If someone wants to make it public, that's nice." And it's obvious that help that's private is helpful. We benefited enormously in the global war on terrorism from the intelligence-sharing by countries that are ostensibly not helping us.

In addition, any country that does decide to step forward and say that they will help on this basis or that basis or for this or that reason or in this circumstance or that circumstance or in any circumstance whatsoever that anyone can imagine, that's all helpful because it tells the rest of the world that they have some political cover, if you want to use the current phrase. And so, we are always pleased when a country steps forward and says something like that.

QUESTION: Does this increase the pressure on Baghdad to...

RUMSFELD: You bet. No question. To the extent the Congress and members of the UN step up and acknowledge what the president has said as a face, which it is -- it clearly puts greater pressure on Saddam Hussein and it puts greater pressure on the Iraqi regime.

QUESTION: But you mentioned the Congress? How about Saudi Arabia?

RUMSFELD: Sure.

QUESTION: Does this move by Saudi Arabia increase pressure on Iraq?

RUMSFELD: I said, when a country does, or when the Congress does -- people of the Congress or people around the world of distinction. I mean, I see articles by former secretaries of State and so forth, and when they are supportive of what the president is doing and what we're trying to achieve in the Congress and the United Nations, that's helpful.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, do you understand the Saudi comments to represent that they will now allow U.S. ground troops to be stationed in Saudi and participate in the ground invasion of Iraq, if the president decides that and launch offensive strikes in Saudi Arabia?

RUMSFELD: The president has not made a decision like that. And...

QUESTION: Do you interpret the Saudi foreign minister's comments as suggesting...

RUMSFELD: The last thing in the world I will do is interpret any foreign minister's views. We have said from the beginning, they ought to say what they want to say and the way they want to say it, in a way that makes them comfortable. And that's what they're doing. And it's not for me to interpret the minister or the prime minister of any country on the face of the earth. And I tend not to do it unless they specifically ask me to.

QUESTION: Can I ask you on the al Qaeda front? Ramzi bin al- Shibh, can you tell us his status? Is he in U.S. government or U.S. military control? And is he a candidate for military tribunal?

RUMSFELD: The decision on who might or might not eventually be considered appropriate for a military tribunal or a military commission, I think is the correct phrase -- I know very few people use that phrase, but I think that's what the military order that the president signed said -- is a decision for the president. And to my knowledge, he's not addressed this. And I think I would know.

QUESTION: What about their -- who's got control over them? RUMSFELD: Oh, I don't want to get into that.

Yes?

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, a few months ago, I asked you if the United States would consider a preemptive strike against North Korea, because North Korea was obtaining weapons of mass destruction. And you said at that time, quote, "You've got to be kidding?" unquote -- in other words, no way. And yet, the United States is considering -- underline considering -- a preemptive strike against Iraq. What's the difference? And should we, perhaps, also consider taking action against North Korea and Iran, since they were mentioned in the State of the Union?

RUMSFELD: Well, the -- as you know well, the president's remarks to the United Nations and to the country did not address the subject of North Korea or Iran.

He did, properly in my view, characterize those three countries -- those two, plus Iraq -- as the axis of evil. And I think that's what taken place since that speech has been an indication of how useful that speech was, because you can clearly see stirrings in various countries, including one or more of those, taking place and also in some of the other countries on the terrorist list. So it's been a -- that speech has been a good thing.

I see distinctive differences in the three, myself, as does the president.

And the case against Saddam Hussein is encompassed in the president's remarks to the United Nations. He stands in violation of -- in 16 times, I think the president said, -- resolutions in the world community.

Iran is clearly a country that is harboring al Qaeda. It says it isn't, but it is. It is a country that is aggressively developing nuclear capabilities and increasingly longer-range ballistic missiles and other weapons of mass destruction.

It is also a country, however, that has a population that is in ferment. And there's no question in my mind but that the young people and the women in that country, particularly, as well as others who are uncomfortable with this tight control by a small clique of clerics, that the try to impose on the people of that country is increasingly difficult for them to do.

And I think most of the world was dumbfounded as how quickly that country turned from the Shah to the ayatollahs. I think it's possible that we could be dumbfounded some day to see it turn away from this clique of clerics, because clearly, they're not managing their affairs in a way that's in the interest of the Iranian people.

North Korea is quite a different situation. All one has to do is to look at it compared to South Korea, and it just wrings your heart out to see what's happening to those people. They're starving. They're being repressed. They're being treated terribly. There are large numbers in concentration camps and fleeing the country.

I don't know what's going to happen in North Korea, except that we do know that they are one of the world's worse proliferators, particularly with ballistic missiles technology. We know they're a country that has been aggressively developing nuclear weapons and has nuclear weapons. And we know they're a danger, first and foremost, to their own people. And second, they're a threat, principally because of their proliferating activities, as opposed to being a threat to South Korea. So I see a different situation, and I think that the president's approaching it properly.

QUESTION: Will you be moving additional forces to the region as these diplomatic efforts proceed at the United Nations...

RUMSFELD: Well, we move forces all around the world all the time.

People come, people go. We don't talk about deployments, they happen, and clearly, all I can say is that I don't know what the president will decide or what the Congress, the UN will decide.

But whatever they decide, this department will be capable of doing that which might asked.

QUESTION: What about moving CENTCOM headquarters?

RUMSFELD: But we're not going to talk about deployments, obviously. CENTCOM headquarters, Tom Franks has been after me to do that ever since I arrived in the department.

And there's a certain logic to it. The European Command is in Europe, the Pacific Command's in the Pacific, and the Central Command is in Tampa. You think, my goodness, why is that?

Well, it's just history and it's clearly difficult to deal in those time zones if your team of people dealing in that time zone is physically in Tampa, as opposed to in the time zone, in the area of responsibility of the Central Command.

So what he's doing is looking at different ways, alternatives of doing things, and what'll eventually happen, I think, remains to be seen, but he clearly is developing some capability in that part of the world.

QUESTION: On bin al-Shibh, the president earlier today at a speech in Iowa did talk about him generally saying that his capture should send a message to other terrorists.

I wondered if you could just ...

RUMSFELD: Oh, it does. Let there be no doubt it sends a message to other terrorists. Oh, well, look. The more of these people that are rolled up and put in jail and interrogated, the more difficult it is to recruit, the more difficult it is to retain people, the more difficult it is to raise money, the more difficult it is to transfer money, the more difficult it is for those folks to move between countries, the more careful they have to be in everything they do.

Well, that's hard work. It's expensive work. It slows them down. It makes everything they do harder.

And so, each of these things you read about in the newspaper from time to time not only is what it is, but it is a part of that broader pressure and the difficulties that are being imposed on terrorist networks around the world, and it ought to be thought of in that context. It's important.

QUESTION: Would his capture also perhaps provide the U.S. with some valuable information, do you think?

RUMSFELD: An awful lot of the ones we pick up do. They provide it by whatever they have in or around them, the people that were with them, what they say, what they don't say, how they handle themselves. And, no, we've gathered an awful lot of information that's made life an awful lot more difficult for an awful lot of folks.

QUESTION: Particularly on the 9/11 planning, do you think?

RUMSFELD: Oh, I'm not going to get into that.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, a couple of months ago, you said that the United States would not hesitate to go to other countries in the region or anywhere in the world, sometimes with other governments' permission, sometimes without. And some of the things you've been talking about today have indicated that you have done some of that. But you sent military training teams to Georgia, to Yemen and to the Philippines, and did those operations. And now all of that seems to be slowing down.

RUMSFELD: Oh, my goodness. Everyone always says this is slowing -- "Are we in a quagmire again? Have we arrived back in the quagmire?"

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: ... in a pause?

RUMSFELD: No, we're not in a pause. There is a lot going on. Think of the iceberg. Let me come back to the iceberg. There is a lot going on. Ninety nations are involved. Intelligence is being scarfed up all across the globe. There are people who are trying to do things against this country and other free people, and they're having a dickens of a time. Does that mean they won't be successful in doing something bad? No. They may very well. But does it mean that there are going to be fewer of it and longer periods between it? You bet.

There is no pause. There is no lull. There is no quagmire. We are picking up caches of weapons in Afghanistan every single day. There's barely a day that goes by that somebody somewhere on this globe isn't scooped up and arrested and interrogated and providing information that's harmful to their side and helpful to our side.

QUESTION: The Rumsfeld rules on this are, you will go anywhere, any time to pursue these people -- still you say?

RUMSFELD: Well, I mean, example -- sure. We went to Yemen and we went to Pakistan with top cooperation of those countries. They've been very helpful. We're working with them. I could list other countries.

We went to Afghanistan without permission, and if there were another situation like Afghanistan, you'd find us there as well.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, how concerned are you that as we continue to turn up pressure on...

RUMSFELD: Ask Pete Pace a question.

QUESTION: Well, this one is (inaudible) as we turn our pressure on Saddam Hussein and perhaps the UN takes action and we see a desperation play by him, perhaps handing off some of his weapons of mass destruction, his chemical, his biological to others who would do this country harm, and doesn't that necessitate a need to move quickly?

RUMSFELD: Well, you know, it seems to me what you have to do is you have to move in a manner and at a pace that reflects the reality that every day, every week, every month that goes by, his weapons of mass destruction programs are more fully developed, more mature, are closer to their goal and their establishing whatever it is his different goals may be with respect to those capabilities. Every day that goes by gives him other opportunities to connect with terrorist networks and, as you suggest, either activate Iraqi sleeper cells around the world or connect with networks that have sleeper capabilities in multiple countries, including this one.

So that is, on the one hand, one of the things one has to consider. And time, as the president indicated, is not on our side. Time is on the side of those that are attempting to acquire those capabilities, and we have to have that in mind.

QUESTION: How concerned are the people in this building about that desperation play scenario?

RUMSFELD: The people in this building, uniform and civilian, are systematically thinking through all of the kinds of things that you're raising and dozens and dozens of others, pages of them -- things that can go wrong, things that can be a problem, things that can threaten our country, things that can threaten our interests, our people, our friends, our allies, things that can happen that aren't intuitive.

It is their job -- our job -- to do that, to think those things through.

What conceivably can happen? You have to think of specific things, like you've cited one of which there are dozens.

But you also have to think not about specific threats or locations of threats or a specific country or a network, but you have think through -- given the kinds of capabilities that exist in the world, where might they come from that have no connection to anything else or seemingly no connection and how might capabilities be used that could surprise people? For example, the use of aircraft into this building with not anything that was on the threat matrix as a likely thing to happen. So the new century forces us to think anew, and we are and our people are.

QUESTION: May I just follow one more time? How likely do you see that Saddam Hussein would do something like that? I guess, that's the real question. How he would do it is another matter. But given the fact that we continue to turn up pressure on Saddam Hussein, how likely do you think that he would do something like that?

RUMSFELD: Well, I think your question suggestions a truth. And the truth is that, in Desert Storm, the Gulf War, the stated purpose was not to change the regime; therefore that issue was de-mystified for him. He could pretty much feel that, when it was over, he might win or lose, but he'd still be around.

Clearly, if the president goes forward, which he has not decided to do, and if the Congress or the UN or whoever else decides there are things that ought to be done, at this stage, there's still the question about regime change in his mind -- not whether or not the Congress has spoken on that, not whether or not the president's spoken on that, but it's an open question.

I think that you have to think of that question in this way: The regime is small. It's his family. It's a handful of generals and people who may very well be sympatico with him. It's hard to believe that people are, but let's pretend they are.

There are a large number of people in that country who are hostages to him. They do not agree with him. They do not support him. They're frightened to death of him.

And he kills numbers of them every year so he can maintain that level of fear. Those are the folks who would have to implement his wishes. He is who he is, but to be successful in executing the kinds of things that might be done will require that he use other people.

And I would think that other people would be very, very careful about their roles in the use of weapons of mass destruction or their relationship with terrorist networks, because they would be nominating themselves as part of the regime that ought to get special attention.

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: The British government is to release next week a dossier, or white paper, on Iraq, and according to reports in the British press, it's said to include some of the first really definitive evidence that Saddam Hussein trained at least two of bin Laden's top lieutenants.

It also reportedly says that Iraq is rebuilding three chem-bio laboratories.

QUESTION: My question is, are you aware of any such evidence? And next week, I guess, you'll be going to a NATO meeting. Will you be sharing evidence like this or more evidence with your NATO counterparts as you continue to make the case against Iraq?

RUMSFELD: I am aware of a lot of intelligence information. I have no idea what is in the paper that you've characterized that might or might not come out of the U.K. And the answer to the last part of the question is, yes, we will be meeting with our NATO friends in the middle of next week, I believe. Yes, the middle of next week. And there very likely will be an intelligence briefing of some sort that would take place there.

QUESTION: Do you believe, though, that Saddam Hussein has trained top lieutenants to Osama bin Laden?

RUMSFELD: Oh, I don't want to get into that.

QUESTION: Can I get a question to General Pace?

RUMSFELD: No.

(LAUGHTER)

Maybe later.

QUESTION: He's the forgotten man. He hasn't had a question...

RUMSFELD: He deserves one. Who's got a question for General Pace?

(CROSSTALK)

RUMSFELD: Here's a question for General Pace.

QUESTION: General, in 1991 the threat of chemical and biological weapons didn't materialize...

PACE: The what? I'm sorry.

QUESTION: ... in the Gulf War. The threat of chem and bio weapons didn't actually come to affect U.S. soldiers in the Gulf War. How much better prepared are they now than they were then? And are there specific technologies that have contributed to that?

PACE: Well, I think the commanders who may be called upon to take action around the world where there might be chemicals employed or biological weapons are fully aware of that possibility.

Again, the president has not made a decision to -- our commander in chief has not made a decision. But he were to employ us in that area and if, in fact, we were to have to work in the environment, we have had, this last decade, to think through our tactics, techniques and procedures, to think through the kinds of equipment that we need, and to work on that. So I do want to be precise with you about where our strengths or weaknesses are, but we are certainly better today than we were in 1991.

QUESTION: You began the war with a discrete list of al Qaeda and Taliban leadership. And could you give us a sense of how many names have been added to that list as you've gone through and interrogated some of your prisoners and what the general status of that list is? From time to time, you've mentioned certain proportions that have been captured and those you think killed and those still alive. RUMSFELD: I haven't looked at it lately. I don't know how big it is. I don't think -- it's gotten somewhat larger, I think.

PACE: It may be counterproductive to answer your question, because to tell the terrorists who we have and who we don't have, and to tell them what we think structurally or how we think they are structured would not be conducive to the ongoing prosecution of the war on terrorism, part of which is the military peace, and the other part being things like happened in Buffalo, in Lackawanna this past week. There are various pieces of our government and of other coalition governments that are working very hard. And to be precise about the answer to your question, I think, would do damage to that effort.

RUMSFELD: We probably ought to get a new category in there, though: Not heard from for six, eight months.

QUESTION: Any one come to mind?

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: My follow up question?

RUMSFELD: All right.

QUESTION: Thank you, sir. Thank you.

General Pace, as far as we know Saddam Hussein does not have a delivery system of carrying weapons of mass destruction to CONUS, to the shore of the United States, no ICBMs that can reach us as far as we know. And yet, intelligence sources say that North Korea will have missiles capable of hitting Alaska in 2004, with smaller warhead the West Coast of the United States. Militarily, could not a case be made that North Korea poses a greater threat to the United States than Iraq does?

PACE: When we assess threats to this country, from a military standpoint, we look at two things: One is capability, and the other is intent. So does the country you're looking at have the wherewithal to do whatever it is you think they might do? And second, do they have the intent to do it?

We don't always know what all we want to know about their capability, nor do we always know about their intent. But clearly, many of our friends have weapons which, if used against us, would be destructive, but they have zero intent to do that. Our potential enemies are the ones who have the capability and the potential intent.

And it's this collective work in the coalition and amongst our own intelligence agencies that helps us determine which country has what intent at what time on a spectrum and why we then give our recommendations to the secretary and the president about what those threats are.

RUMSFELD: Furthermore, the September 11 suggests there are lots of ways to deliver lethal damage to the United States. In addition, countries have placed ballistic missiles in ships, cargo ships, commercial ships, dime a dozen, all over the world.

Any given time there's any number off our coast, coming, going, on transport or erector launchers. And they simply erect it, fire off ballistic missile, put it down, cover it up. Their radar signature is not any different than 50 others in close proximity. So your comment that they don't have the ability to deliver a ballistic missile to this country is flat wrong.

QUESTION: General Pace, wasn't our -- the lesson of September 11, though, that when it comes to intent capability, this doesn't necessarily go by country, by sovereign state? That it could be, for instance, be somebody from Saudi Arabia, a very friendly ally, who perpetrates a serious threat to our country? I mean, we're talking about Iraq and Saddam Hussein, we're talking about North Korea. But wasn't the lesson of September 11 that this threat could come from anywhere?

PACE: A lesson from September 11 is that there are other than state actors that are real threats to the United States and to our friends.

QUESTION: (inaudible) North Korea, Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi is visiting Pyongyang tomorrow. What's your view on that? And how concerned are you he might give the world's foremost missile peddler the chance to survive. Why don't we seek the...

RUMSFELD: I missed the last part of the question.

QUESTION: Missile peddler, the vendor of missile technology the chance to survive. He might -- the Japanese might give...

RUMSFELD: I'm sorry, I don't follow it. Say it one more time.

QUESTION: How concerned are you that he might -- the Japanese prime minister, who is visiting Pyongyang tomorrow, might give North Korea, the world's foremost missile peddler, the chance to survive? Why don't we seek regime change or a UN resolution?

RUMSFELD: Well, look, Japan is an important country. It has a very capable military. It has an enormous GDP. It's a country that we value as a very close friend. We have an alliance with them. And all kinds of people meet with other countries. I'm not worried at all that Japan is going to do anything that would be inadvisable from the standpoint of missile proliferation. Indeed, my recollection is Japan's been quite careful with respect to banned technologies and avoiding their proliferation.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, can I ask you one that has nothing to do with Iraq?

RUMSFELD: You want to ask Pete?

QUESTION: Well, both of you. Last week several times, American military personnel in Puerto Rico were attacked by civilians who were protesting the continued naval exercises on the island of Vieques. And the reports are that the local police stood by and watched that happen without acting. What, if anything, is the department going to do about that situation try and force the local police to enforce the laws?

RUMSFELD: I had not seen those reports, and any time local police -- and I'm not validating that your report is correct, because I don't know. But obviously anytime local law enforcement officers fail to enforce the law, they're in dereliction of their duty.

And the -- phrase this gracefully -- places where local law enforcement people do refuse to perform their duties, obviously, are creating an environment that's not terribly hospitable for other people.

How do we intend to deal, was the other part of your question. If it's true, we would look into it and talk to the authorities there and see if we can determine if they're aware of what's going on and encourage them to fulfill their responsibilities. Vieques is an important location for us, and we intend to continue to operate on a basis that's consistent with our obligations, and we hope others will continue to cooperate in a manner that's consistent with their obligations.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, if I could follow up on that question. The U.S. Naval Southern Command has said that they have contacted the police and they have remonstrated with them. They have said: "They're firing flares at our people, throwing rocks at them, you're doing nothing," and the response has been zero. So what can you do after they have ignored counseling from us?

RUMSFELD: We have a former Southern Command commander here who's kind of ready, cocked and prepared to respond to your question.

PACE: There is a great deal that government agencies can do with and for each other at any time that one element of the structure that's supposed to provide security to all citizens, whether they're wearing uniforms or not -- any time that that does not function properly, there are other elements of the government that are there to deal with that, not U.S. military. There's a judiciary system and there's the governor of Puerto Rico and there's other U.S. leaders who have those responsibilities.

So as a military man, I would continue to go to the civilian leaders who have those responsibilities, through the secretary, to make sure that our folks, whether they're in uniform or not, are properly protected on Puerto Rico or anywhere else in the world.

RUMSFELD: Jamie, did you have a...

PHILLIPS: General Peter Pace and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld addressing reporters there at the Pentagon daily briefing. Basically, the most important thing to come out of this briefing thus far as reporters asked about Iraq and a time table, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld saying there is no pause, no lull, and no quagmire. He is not going to wait for lethal weapons to be used against the U.S. or international allies, plain and simple.

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