CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Donald Rumsfeld Holds Media Availability
Aired May 4, 2003 - 09:27 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: We're going to take you to Washington right now for some comments being made, right now live, by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Let's listen.
DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: ... that's for -- just a minute, I'm still talking. That's for doctors and her family to deal with.
RUMSFELD: I didn't say I couldn't. I said I will not comment on it. And I shall not.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, can you tell us what are the plans to divide Iraq (OFF-MIKE) region?
RUMSFELD: There are no plans to divide Iraq at all, and anyone who suggests it is inaccurate. Iraq already has provinces. It already has cities, it has subdivisions like every country on the face of the earth. But it was divided up over a period of time, in terms of states or cities and those types of subdivisions.
But if you're asking about the United States or the coalition planning to divide the country up -- we have said, everyone in the United States government and the coalition has said from the outset that the principal, fundamental position that we have are that the country will stay whole, be a single country not broken up into three pieces or four or eight or 12, that it would be without weapons of mass destruction. It will be a country that does not harbor or support terrorists or to be on the terrorist list. And it will be a country that is respectful of its minorities and its ethnic diversity and where the people have a voice in some representative or democratic way as to the future of that country.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, (OFF-MIKE)
RUMSFELD: Who did?
QUESTION: President Bush.
RUMSFELD: Did he?
QUESTION: Yes. Does this mean that (OFF-MIKE) is lying about the (OFF-MIKE)? RUMSFELD: I did not see that statement, and I did not -- and I've been out of town for a week. And I've only seen one transcript of debriefings with Tariq Aziz. And in reading it, I think that it is pretty clear to me he's not being forthcoming. How's that?
RUMSFELD: First of all, General Garner is doing a terrific job. He's a very talented person and a friend. And the country's fortunate that people of that caliber will pick up and go off and help to serve our country and the coalition and the people of Iraq.
RUMSFELD: There has been no announcement by the White House on anyone else.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, one last question regarding the State Department. Apparently Secretary of State Colin Powell sent you a letter (OFF-MIKE) to reach a final determination as soon as possible about the prisoners in Guantanamo Bay.
Also, apparently the State Department and Defense Department officials have been meeting on this issue. Can you tell us, what is your (OFF-MIKE)?
RUMSFELD: I can't (ph). I talked to Colin Powell about it this morning, because there were apparently some articles while I was away on the subject.
What we have is this situation. We have -- the Department of Defense has been asked to be the custodian of these detainees. So we are doing that in Guantanamo Bay. They, for the most part, come from other countries. So they have a country of passport or origin or national origin.
We have no desire to hold a lot of these people. We would much prefer that other countries hold them. So we have been -- there's an interagency process with the FBI and the Department of Justice and the Department of Defense and CIA and State, INS, and different agencies, that have been reviewing all of these people.
And it's a very slow process. One of the reasons it's slow is because it's interagency, and it just takes more time than if someone can just decide them. Second, the Department of State has the responsibility for dealing with the foreign countries that are interested in those detainees.
So, Colin's job is to represent those countries into this interagency process and see if there isn't some way we can speed that up. I would like to see it move faster.
But one of the reasons it's complicated is because some of the agencies are focusing on law enforcement. What have these people done wrong that might lead to a law-enforcement action in our country or another country?
Other people, like the Department of Defense, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the CIA, are much more interested in intelligence gathering. What do these people know that we can get from them by way of -- through interrogations, so that we can, in fact, stop future terrorist attacks?
So, it's a complicated process. It is very slow. It is not anywhere near as fast as either Secretary Powell or I would like.
You had a question, and then we'll go. Yes?
COOPER: We're going to switch to Colin Powell, secretary of state, who's making comments in Washington also.
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