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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Rumsfeld, Myers Speak to Reporters

Aired September 24, 2003 - 15:42   ET

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

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: OK, we're going to go to Donald Rumsfeld who's speaking now on the Hill. Let's listen in.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

QUESTION: ... on Guantanamo Bay detainees. The first question is, do you believe that it's possible al Qaeda may have infiltrated the U.S. military? And second, how do you respond...

DONALD RUMSFELD, DEFESE SECRETARY: Let's do one at a time. It's late in the day.

There are a lot of reports in the press and we do not have -- I do not have any conclusive information about the circumstance of the individuals that are being speculated about. And given the fact that it's a legal process, and I dropped out of law school, I think I'll refrain from opining.

QUESTION: Can I ask you then, how do you respond to the charges that the screening process for people in contact with detainees is too lax?

RUMSFELD: Well, clearly, throughout the history of mankind, there have always been individuals who have gotten through screens and done bad things. There have also been people who go through a screen, not intending to do bad things, and arrive at some point later and decide they're going to do bad things that are harmful to the intent of the activity. It is -- so I guess, how do I respond? I respond to the fact that history can repeat itself. What will be the case in this instance? We don't know.

Thank you. All of you.

You want another question?

QUESTION: Has security been compromised at Gitmo? I mean, is there an espionage ring there?

RUMSFELD: I just answered that question. I mean just what I said. I've just answered that question.

Someone else had a question.

QUESTION: Did you answer what the vetting process was with the clergy at Guantanamo Bay?

RUMSFELD: The -- do you want to describe the vetting process for clergy?

GEN. RICHARD MYERS, CHMN., JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF: I'm not sure I can describe it in great detail. But I can say this, obviously, just based on what we do know and I think General Pace said this early this morning, that anytime you have allegations like this, you always look at your procedures and your process, and that would be natural and normal. So we'll do that.

Thank you very much.

RUMSFELD: Thank you, folks.

PHILLIPS: That's what you call abit of an impromptu stakeout there at the Hill. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and also Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, had been testifying on the Hill for six hours talking about post-war Iraq.

Obviously a big question on the minds of reporters is the situation at Gitmo right now. An Air Force and Army soldier, both being detained for alleged espionage. Of course, Donald Rumsfeld talking about the screening process for those that come in contact with detainees and how they are now reevaluating that. And how that process goes forward.

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