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Donald Rumsfeld remarks at the Pentagon, Sept. 10, 2001

United States Department of Defense

DOD Acquisition and Logistics Excellence Week Kickoff
Bureaucracy to Battlefield

Remarks as Delivered by Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, The Pentagon , Monday, September 10, 2001.

[Under Secretary of Defense (Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics)] Pete Aldridge, Service Secretaries, distinguished officials of the Department of Defense. [Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff] General [Richard] Myers, thank you very much for those kind words.

The topic today is an adversary that poses a threat, a serious threat, to the security of the United States of America. This adversary is one of the world’s last bastions of central planning. It governs by dictating five-year plans. From a single capital, it attempts to impose its demands across time zones, continents, oceans and beyond. With brutal consistency, it stifles free thought and crushes new ideas. It disrupts the defense of the United States and places the lives of men and women in uniform at risk.
Perhaps this adversary sounds like the former Soviet Union, but that enemy is gone: our foes are more subtle and implacable today. You may think I’m describing one of the last decrepit dictators of the world. But their day, too, is almost past, and they cannot match the strength and size of this adversary.
The adversary’s closer to home. It’s the Pentagon bureaucracy. Not the people, but the processes. Not the civilians, but the systems. Not the men and women in uniform, but the uniformity of thought and action that we too often impose on them.
In this building, despite this era of scarce resources taxed by mounting threats, money disappears into duplicative duties and bloated bureaucracy?not because of greed, but gridlock. Innovation is stifled – not by ill intent but by institutional inertia.
Just as we must transform America’s military capability to meet changing threats, we must transform the way the Department works and what it works on. We must build a Department where each of the dedicated people here can apply their immense talents to defend America, where they have the resources, information and freedom to perform.
Our challenge is to transform not just the way we deter and defend, but the way we conduct our daily business. Let’s make no mistake: The modernization of the Department of Defense is a matter of some urgency. In fact, it could be said that it’s a matter of life and death, ultimately, every American’s.
A new idea ignored may be the next threat overlooked. A person employed in a redundant task is one who could be countering terrorism or nuclear proliferation. Every dollar squandered on waste is one denied to the warfighter. That’s why we’re here today challenging us all to wage an all-out campaign to shift Pentagon’s resources from bureaucracy to the battlefield, from tail to the tooth.
We know the adversary. We know the threat. And with the same firmness of purpose that any effort against a determined adversary demands, we must get at it and stay at it.
Some might ask, how in the world could the Secretary of Defense attack the Pentagon in front of its people? To them I reply, I have no desire to attack the Pentagon; I want to liberate it. We need to save it from itself.
The men and women of this department, civilian and military, are our allies, not our enemies. They too are fed up with bureaucracy, they too live with frustrations. I hear it every day. And I’ll bet a dollar to a dime that they too want to fix it. In fact, I bet they even know how to fix it, and if asked, will get about the task of fixing it. And I’m asking.
They know the taxpayers deserve better. Every dollar we spend was entrusted to us by a taxpayer who earned it by creating something of value with sweat and skill — a cashier in Chicago, a waitress in San Francisco. An average American family works an entire year to generate $6,000 in income taxes. Here we spill many times that amount every hour by duplication and by inattention.
That’s wrong. It’s wrong because national defense depends on public trust, and trust, in turn, hinges on respect for the hardworking people of America and the tax dollars they earn. We need to protect them and their efforts.
Waste drains resources from training and tanks, from infrastructure and intelligence, from helicopters and housing. Outdated systems crush ideas that could save a life. Redundant processes prevent us from adapting to evolving threats with the speed and agility that today’s world demands.
Above all, the shift from bureaucracy to the battlefield is a matter of national security. In this period of limited funds, we need every nickel, every good idea, every innovation, every effort to help modernize and transform the U.S. military.
We must change for a simple reason — the world has — and we have not yet changed sufficiently. The clearest and most important transformation is from a bipolar Cold War world where threats were visible and predictable, to one in which they arise from multiple sources, most of which are difficult to anticipate, and many of which are impossible even to know today.
Let there be no question: the 2.7 million people who wear our country’s uniform — active, Guard and Reserve — and the close to 700,000 more who support them in civilian attire, comprise the finest military in the history of the world. They stand ready to face down any threat, anytime, anywhere. But we must do more.

We must develop and build weapons to deter those new threats. We must rebuild our infrastructure, which is in a very serious state of disrepair. And we must assure that the noble cause of military service remains the high calling that will attract the very best.
All this costs money. It costs more than we have. It demands agility — more than today’s bureaucracy allows. And that means we must recognize another transformation: the revolution in management, technology and business practices. Successful modern businesses are leaner and less hierarchical than ever before. They reward innovation and they share information. They have to be nimble in the face of rapid change or they die. Business enterprises die if they fail to adapt, and the fact that they can fail and die is what provides the incentive to survive. But governments can’t die, so we need to find other incentives for bureaucracy to adapt and improve.
The technology revolution has transformed organizations across the private sector, but not ours, not fully, not yet. We are, as they say, tangled in our anchor chain. Our financial systems are decades old. According to some estimates, we cannot track $2.3 trillion in transactions. We cannot share information from floor to floor in this building because it’s stored on dozens of technological systems that are inaccessible or incompatible.
We maintain 20 to 25 percent more base infrastructure than we need to support our forces, at an annual waste to taxpayers of some $3 billion to $4 billion. Fully half of our resources go to infrastructure and overhead, and in addition to draining resources from warfighting, these costly and outdated systems, procedures and programs stifle innovation as well. A new idea must often survive the gauntlet of some 17 levels of bureaucracy to make it from a line officer’s to my desk. I have too much respect for a line officer to believe that we need 17 layers between us.
Our business processes and regulations seems to be engineered to prevent any mistake, and by so doing, they discourage any risk. But ours is a nation born of ideas and raised on improbability, and risk aversion is not America’s ethic, and more important, it must not be ours.
Those who fear danger do not volunteer to storm beaches and take hills, sail the seas, and conquer the skies. Now we must free you to take some of the same thoughtful, reasoned risks in the bureaucracy that the men and women in uniform do in battle.
To that end, we’re announcing today a series of steps the Department of Defense will take to shift our focus and our resources from bureaucracy to battlefield, from tail to tooth.
Today’s announcements are only the first of many. We will launch others ourselves, and we will ask Congress for legislative help as well. We have, for example, asked Congress for permission to begin the process of closing excess bases and consolidating the B-1 bomber force.
But we have the ability – and, therefore, the responsibility – to reduce waste and improve operational efficiency on our own. Already we have made some progress. We’ve eliminated some 31 of the 72 acquisition-related advisory boards. We now budget based on realistic estimates. We’re improving the acquisition process. We’re investing $400 million in public-private partnerships for military housing. Many utility services to military installations will be privatized.
We’re tightening the requirements for other government agencies to reimburse us for detailees, and we’re reviewing to see whether we should suspend assignments where detailees are not fully reimbursed.
We have committed $100 million for financial modernization, and we’re establishing a Defense Business Board to tap outside expertise as we move to improve the department’s business practices.
We can be proud of this progress but certainly not satisfied.
To succeed, this effort demands personal and sustained attention at the highest levels of the Department. Therefore, it will be guided by the Senior Executive Council including Under Secretary Pete Aldridge, Army Secretary Thomas White, Navy Secretary Gordon England, and Air Force Secretary Jim Roche. These leaders are experienced, talented, and determined. I am delighted they are on our team. I would not want to try to stop them from what they came into this Department to do. I expect them to be enormously successful, as they have in their other endeavors throughout their lives.
Because the Department must respond quickly to changing threats, we’re overhauling the 40-year-old Planning, Programming, and Budgeting System, or PPBS, the annual process of forecasting threats for the next several years, matching threats to programs and programs to budgets.
It’s really a relic of the Cold War, a holdover from the days when it was possible to forecast threats for the next several years because we knew who would be threatening us for the next several decades. It’s also a relic of the Cold War in another regard. PPBS is, I suppose, one of the last vestiges of central planning on Earth. We’ve combined the programming and budgeting phases to reduce duplicative work and speed decision-making. The streamlined process that should result will be quicker and cheaper and more flexible.
In order to make decisions more quickly, we must slash duplication and encourage cooperation. Currently the Departments of the Army, the Air Force and the Navy operate separate but parallel staffs for their civilian and uniformed chiefs. These staffs largely work the same issues and perform the same functions. Secretaries White and Roach will soon announce plans for realigning the Departments to support information sharing, speed decision-making, integrate Reserve and Guard headquarters into Department headquarters. Secretary England is engaging a broad agenda of change in the Department of Navy as well.
It’s time to start asking tough questions about redundant staffs. Let me give you an example. There are dozens of offices of general counsel scattered throughout the Department. Each service has one. Every agency does, too. So do the Joint Chiefs. We have so many general counsel offices that we actually have another general counsel’s office whose only job is to coordinate all those general counsels. [Laughter.] You think I’m kidding. [Laughs.] [Laughter.]
The same could be said of a variety of other functions, from public affairs to legislative affairs. Now, maybe we need many of them, but I have a strong suspicion that we need fewer than we have, and we’re going to take a good, hard look and find out.
Department headquarters are hardly the only scenes of redundant bureaucracy. Health care is another. Each service branch has its own surgeon general and medical operation. At the department level, four different agencies claim some degree of control over the delivery of military health care.
Consider this snapshot. One out of every five officers in the United States Navy is a physician. That’s not to single out the Navy or to suggest that too many doctors wear uniforms. The Navy and Marine Corps’ forward deployments generate unique medical needs. Rather, it’s to say that some of those needs, especially where they may involve general practice or specialties unrelated to combat, might be more efficiently delivered by the private sector. And all of them would likely be more efficiently delivered with fewer overlapping bureaucracies.
We’ve begun to consolidate health care delivery under our TriCare management activity. Over the next two years we will reform the procurement of care from the private sector. I’ve asked the military departments and Personnel and Readiness organization to complete a revamping of the military health system by fiscal year 2003.
DOD also has three exchange systems and a separate commissary system, all providing similar goods and services. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that consolidating them could save some $300 million. I’ve asked that we promptly explore the use of tools, like consolidation and contracting, to ensure our uniformed personnel and their families get the very best.
Congress has mandated that we reduce headquarter staffs by 15 percent by fiscal year 2003. I have ordered at least an overall 15 percent reduction from fiscal year 1999 levels in the numerous headquarter staffs overall throughout the department, from the Pentagon to the CINCs to every base headquarters building in the world. It’s not just the law, it’s a good idea, and we’re going to get it done. It’s the right thing to do.
To transform the Department, we must look outside this building as well. Consequently, the Senior Executive Council will scour the Department for functions that could be performed better and more cheaply through commercial outsourcing. Here, too, we must ask tough questions. Here are a few:
Why is DOD one of the last organizations around that still cuts its own checks? When an entire industry exists to run warehouses efficiently, why do we own and operate so many of our own? At bases around the world, why do we pick up our own garbage and mop our own floors, rather than contracting services out, as many businesses do? And surely we can outsource more computer systems support.
Maybe we need agencies for some of those functions. Indeed, I know we do. Perhaps a public-private partnership would make sense for others, and I don’t doubt at least a few could be outsized — outsourced altogether.
Like the private sector’s best-in-class companies, DOD should aim for excellence in functions that are either directly related to warfighting or must be performed by the Department. But in all other cases, we should seek suppliers who can provide these non-core activities efficiently and effectively. The Senior Executive Council will begin a review of the Defense Finance and Accounting Service, the Defense Logistics Agency and Defense Information Service Agency.
Harnessing the expertise of the private sector is about something more, however. The Department of Defense was once an engine of technological innovation. Today the private sector is leading the way in many respects, yet DOD makes it harder and harder for us to keep up and for those who do keep up to do business with the Department. Consider that it takes today twice as long as it did in 1975 to produce a new weapon system, at a time when new generations of technology are churned out every 18 to 24 months.
That virtually guarantees that weapon systems are at least a generation old technologically the day they’re deployed. Meanwhile, our process and regulations have become so burdensome that many businesses have simply chosen not to do business with the Department of Defense.
To transform the Department, we must take advantage of the private sector’s expertise. I’ve asked the members of the Senior Executive Council to streamline the acquisition process and spur innovation in our traditional supplier base.
Finally, and perhaps most important, we must forge a new compact with war-fighters and those who support them, one that honors their service and understands their needs and encourages them to make national defense a life-long career.
Many of the skills we most require are also in high demand in the private sector, as all of you know. To compete, we need to bring the Department of Defense the human resources practices that have already transformed the private sector. Our compact with war fighters will address quality of life issues – like improvements in health care and housing – where we will make more use of public-private partnerships, and by working to reduce the amount of time they must spend away from their families on deployment.
No business I have known could survive under the policies we apply to our uniformed personnel. We encourage, and often force, servicemen and -women and retire after 20 years in service, after we’ve spent millions of dollars to train them and when, still in their 40s, they were at the peak of their talents and skills. Because our objective is to produce generalists, officers are most often rotated out of assignments every 12 to 24 months, giving them a flavor of all things but too often making them experts at none. Both policies exact a toll in institutional memory, in skill and in combat readiness. To that end, we intend to submit revised personnel legislation to the Congress at the beginning of fiscal year 2003.
If a shortcoming on the uniformed side is moving personnel too much, on the civilian end we map hardly any career path at all. There, too, we must employ the tools of modern business — more flexible compensation packages, modern recruiting techniques and better training.
Let me conclude with this note. Some may ask, defensively so, will this war on bureaucracy succeed where others have failed? To that I offer three replies. First is the acknowledgement, indeed this caution: Change is hard. It’s hard for some to bear, and it’s hard for all of us to achieve.
There’s a myth, sort of a legend, that money enters this building and disappears, like a bright light into a black hole, never to be seen again. In truth, there is a real person at the other end of every dollar, a real person who’s in charge of every domain, and that means that there will be real consequences from, and real resistance to, fundamental change. We will not complete this work in one year, or five years, or even eight years. An institution built with trillions of dollars over decades of time does not turn on a dime. Some say it’s like turning a battleship. I suspect it’s more difficult.
That’s the disadvantage of size. But here’s the upside. In an institution this large, a little bit of change goes a very long way. If we can save just 5 percent of one year’s budget, and I have never seen an organization that couldn’t save 5 percent of its budget, we would free up some $15 billion to $18 billion, to be transferred from bureaucracy to the battlefield, from tail to tooth. Even if Congress provides us every nickel of our fiscal year ’02 budget, we will still need these extra savings to put towards transformation in this Department.
Second, this effort is structurally different from any that preceded it, I suspect. It begins with the personal endorsement, in fact the mandate, of the President of the United States. President Bush recently released a management agenda that says that performance, not promises, will count. He is personally engaged and aware of the effort that all of you are engaged in. The battle against a stifling bureaucracy is also a personal priority for me and for the Service Secretaries, one that will, through the Senior Executive Council, receive the sustained attention at the highest levels of this Department. We have brought people on board who have driven similar change in the private sector. We intend to do so here. We will report publicly on our progress. The old adage that you get what you inspect, not what you expect, or put differently, that what you measure improves, is true. It is powerful, and we will be measuring.
Our strongest allies are the people of this department, and to them I say we need your creativity, we need your energy. If you have ideas or observations for shifting the department’s resources from tail to tooth, we welcome them. In fact, we’ve set up a dedicated e- mail address: where anyone can send in any thoughts they have.
Finally, this effort will succeed because it must. We really have no choice. It is not, in the end, about business practices, nor is the goal to improve figures on the bottom line. It’s really about the security of the United States of America. And let there be no mistake, it is a matter of life and death. Our job is defending America, and if we cannot change the way we do business, then we cannot do our job well, and we must. So today we declare war on bureaucracy, not people, but processes, a campaign to shift Pentagon resources from the tail to the tooth. All hands will be required, and it will take the best of all of us.
Now, like you, I’ve read that there are those who will oppose our every effort to save taxpayers’ money and to strengthen the tooth-to- tail ratio. Well, fine, if there’s to be a struggle, so be it. But keep in mind the story about the donkey, the burro, and the ass. The man and the boy were walking down the street with the donkey and people looked and laughed at them and said, “Isn’t that foolish? they have a donkey and no one rides it.” So the man said to the boy, “Get on the donkey; we don’t want those people to think we’re foolish.” So they went down the road and people looked at the boy on the donkey and the man walking alongside — “Isn’t that terrible, that young boy is riding the donkey and the man’s walking.” So they changed places, went down the road, people looked and said, “Isn’t that terrible, that strong man is up there on the donkey and making the little boy walk.” So they both got up on the donkey, the donkey became exhausted, came to a bridge, fell in the river and drowned. And of course the moral of the story is, if you try to please everybody, you’re going to lose your donkey. [Laughter.]
So as we all remember that if you do something, somebody’s not going to like it, so be it. Our assignment is not to try to please everybody. This is not just about money. It’s not about waste. It’s about our responsibility to the men and women in uniform who put their lives at risk. We owe them the best training and the best equipment, and we need the resources to provide that. It’s about respect for taxpayers’ dollars. A cab driver in New York City ought to be able to feel confident that we care about those dollars.
It’s about professionalism, and it’s also about our respect for ourselves, about how we feel about seeing GAO reports describing waste and mismanagement and money down a rat hole.
We need your help. I ask for your help. I thank all of you who are already helping. I have confidence that we can do it. It’s going to be hard. There will be rough times. But it’s also the best part of life to be engaged in doing something worthwhile.
Every person within earshot wants to be a part of a proud organization, an organization that cares about excellence in everything it does. I know it. You know it. Let’s get about it.
Thank you very much. [Applaus]

Interview with 9/11 Commission Vice-Chairman Lee Hamilton


August 21, 2006

CBC News: Sunday’s Evan Solomon interviews Lee Hamilton, 9/11 Commission co-chair and co-author of the book “Without Precedent: The Inside Story of the 9/11 Commission”.

Evan Solomon: Tell me why you felt the need, with Thomas Kean, to write this book “Without Precedent”?

Lee Hamilton: We felt we had an important story to tell, 9/11 was a traumatic event in our history, every adult in America will remember exactly where they were on that day when they heard the news. We felt that the Commission’s work gave a lot of insights into how government works, and particularly how government in the national security area works. We had hundreds of people tell us, or ask us, how the Commission did its work, and so we responded by writing the book and tried to let people know the story, the inside story of the 9/11 Commission.

Solomon: Do you consider the 9/11 Commission to have been a success, and if so, under what ways do you measure that success? How do you call it a success?

Hamilton: The 9/11 Commission was created by statute. We had two responsibilities – first, tell the story of 9/11; I think we’ve done that reasonably well. We worked very hard at it; I don’t know that we’ve told the definitive story of 9/11, but surely anybody in the future who tackles that job will begin with the 9/11 Commission Report. I think we’ve been reasonably successful in telling the story. It became a best seller in this country and people showed a lot of interest in it.

Our second task was to make recommendations; thus far, about half of our recommendations have been enacted into law, the other half have not been enacted. So we’ve got a ways to go. In a quantitative sense, we’ve had about 50% success there. In a qualitative sense, you could judge it many different ways. But we still have some very important recommendations that we think have not yet been enacted that should be.

Solomon: Now, one of the stipulations, you write in the book, one of the ways that you thought that this ought to be successful, this report, the Commission Report, is on page 23, you said if the American people would accept the results as authoritative, and the recommendations.

And when I measure that against a Zogby poll done in May, that says now 42% of Americans say that “the U.S. government, and its 9/11 Commission, concealed or refused to investigate critical evidence that contradicts the official explanation of September 11th, saying there’s a cover-up” – 42%, Mr. Hamilton – what does that say to you about the efficacy of the Commission’s report?

Hamilton: Well, it’s dispiriting, it’s an unusually high number, but if you look at polls judging government reports in the past – the Warren Commission, the reports on Kennedy assassination, even the reports on Abraham Lincoln’s assassination – you find a very high level of people who are skeptical. And you have that in this case.

When you conduct a major investigation, you cannot possibly answer every question, you just do the best you can. But for every question you leave unanswered, you create an opening to a conspiracy theory, and a good many of them have popped up here.

The only thing I ask in the future is that the conspiracy theory people do not apply a double standard. That is to say, they want us to make an airtight case for any assertion we make. On the other hand, when they make an assertion they do it often on very flimsy evidence.

But conspirators are always going to exist in this country. Tom Kean and I got a flavour of this everytime we’d walk through an audience – they would hand us notes, hand us papers, hand us books, hand us tapes, telling us to investigate this, that or the other. You cannot possibly answer all these questions, you just do the best you can.

Solomon: Some of the families have joined that chorus. We’ve talked to one father who says, ‘my son was killed by George W. Bush’, as if the government had foreknowledge of the attacks. What would you say to someone like him and other family members who have been dissatisfied with the explanation?

Hamilton: Many families supported the report – very strongly – and have been instrumental in helping us on the implementation stage. A lot of the people that have doubts about the report – not all of them – are strongly anti-Bush, for a variety of reasons. Many of them are just anti-government, in other words, they don’t believe anything the government says.

All I ask of these people is: give me your evidence. If you thought George Bush or Lee Hamilton or Tom Kean blew up those buildings, let’s see the evidence.

Solomon: I wouldn’t mind just.. there’s a few things, but I want to know, interestingly enough, if you’ve seen a film that’s so popular now on the internet, ten million people apparently have seen a film called Loose Change, which makes some startling allegations. It’s a film made by three very young students out of a New York University. Have you seen that movie, and if so, what are your thoughts on it?

Hamilton: I have not seen it.

Solomon: Yeah… 10 million people, I mean, some of them.. now, and it’s interesting that you write in one of your chapters, I think it’s Chapter 12, deals specifically with conspiracy theories. One of them, as you know – probably one of the most persistent – is that the buildings were brought down by controlled explosion, controlled demolition. One of the bits of evidence that is often cited is the collapse of World Trade Center Building Number 7, which was not hit by any plane. One question that people have is: why didn’t the Commission deal with the collapse Building 7, which some call the smoking gun? Why did this collapse at all?

Hamilton: Well, of course, we did deal with it. The charge that dynamite, or whatever, brought down the World Trade Towers, we of course looked at very carefully – we find no evidence of that. We find all kinds of evidence that it was the airplanes that did it.

Don’t take our word on that: the engineers and the architects have studied this thing in extraordinary detail, and they can tell you precisely what caused the collapse of those buildings. What caused the collapse of the buildings, to summarize it, was that the super-heated jet fuel melted the steel super-structure of these buildings and caused their collapse. There’s a powerful lot of evidence to sustain that point of view, including the pictures of the airplanes flying into the building.

Now, with regard to Building 7, we believe that it was the aftershocks of these two huge buildings in the very near vicinity collapsing. And in the Building 7 case, we think that it was a case of flames setting off a fuel container, which started the fire in Building 7, and that was our theory on Building 7.

Now we’re not the experts on this, we talked to the engineers and the architects about this at some length, and that’s the conclusion we reached.

Solomon: Let me just ask you one more question on that. One counter-argument – or there’s two, I guess – one is that that fire very rarely, and has never, forced buildings constructed like the World Trade Centers to ever collapse, because steel doesn’t melt at temperatures that can be reached through a hydro-carbon fire, and that there’s other.. in other words, there are countless cases of other buildings that have been on fire that have not collapsed.

Hamilton: – but not on fire through jet fuel, I don’t think you have any evidence of that. But here again, I’m not the expert on it. We relied on the experts, and they’re the engineers and the architects who examined this in very great detail.

Solomon: A question which has remained: Why did the debris of World Trade Center 7, of which nobody died there, so there was no real urgency to move the debris away, and that there have been questions: why wasn’t it examined closer? Why was essentially evidence from what could have been a crime scene – or was a crime scene – removed very quickly from there?

Hamilton: You can’t answer every question when you conduct an investigation. Look, you’ve to got to remember that on this day, chaos and confusion were the mark, and peoples’ overwhelming concern was to try to save as many lives as possible, not to explain why a particular building collapsed. So it’s not unusual to me that we, and the Commission – and anybody else, for that matter – cannot answer every question. I go back to what I say earlier: whenever you conduct an investigation, you cannot answer every question.

Solomon: But should the Commission have .. I guess the question some people keep asking, should the Commission have asked more questions about the removal of the debris?

Hamilton: Look, you can say that about almost every phase of our investigation, ‘you should have asked this, you should have asked that, you should have spent more time’ – you’re conducting an investigation, you have a time limit, you don’t have unlimited time, you have a budget limit, you cannot go down every track, you cannot answer conclusively every question.

The members of the families that you referred to a minute ago submitted 150 questions to us – we answered a good many of them, we didn’t answer them all. You come to a point in an investigation where you have to say to yourself, ‘what’s our responsibility, given the resources we have, how much can we do?’ And you end up with a lot of questions unanswered. Look, I ‘ve got a lot of unanswered questions in my mind.

Solomon: What are yours? What are your unanswered questions?

Hamilton: Well, at the top of my list happens to be a personal one, and that is, I could never figure out why these 19 fellas did what they did. We looked into their backgrounds. In one or two cases, they were apparently happy, well-adjusted, not particularly religious – in one case quite well-to-do, had a girlfriend. We just couldn’t figure out why he did it. I still don’t know. And I think one of the great unanswered questions – a good topic for investigative reporters – would be: why did these 19 do what they did? We speculated in the report about why the enemy hates us, but we simply weren’t able to answer the questions about the 19.

Solomon: You know, just on that point, and again, there are so many of these questions about the 19. There have been some questions about – and I’m talking about sources here like the London Times and Le Figaro, sort of major newspapers – that some of these guys, some of these hijackers were still alive after the day of the event, that there are reports of their whereabouts. What did the Commission make of those kind of reports?

Hamilton: (Laughs) What’s the evidence? Look, I had a woman come up to me who said she was a lover of Mohammed Atta. And I said, ‘do you know that he’s dead?’ And she said, ‘I’m his lover.’ .. (raises eyebrows)

You get all kinds of comments like this, you can’t trace everything down.

Solomon: Where there any notion there was… The NTSB recently released the flight path of United Flight 93 in the past two weeks. One of the interesting things that that showed was, during the flight path, and I think the flight path of that, I think that plane crashed, according to the Report, at 10:03 am.

And one of the interesting things it showed – this is just recently declassified – that it flew well over 10,000 feet – 30,000, 40,000 feet – from about 9:30 onward. Now, a lot of the cell phone calls that were made from that plane, that ended up being in the movie, were from, you know, people phoning from the plane. And one allegation that’s recently come out since the release of that is: cell phones don’t work above 10,000 feet, so how could people get on their cell phone on a plane and phone their relatives?

Hamilton: I’m no expert on that. I’ve been told cell phones work – sometimes – above 10,000 feet, and as high as 30,000 feet. So it may have been that some of the calls went through and some didn’t, I just don’t know.

Solomon: Let me ask you another thing. I’m just asking because, you know, in the wake of this, there’s lots of these questions.

Hamilton: There surely are.

Solomon: The Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University, which is about 20 odd miles away from New York, they released a report on seismic data coming from Manhattan on that day. And they released a spike in seismic data at 8:46:26, and they thought that was the moment of impact of the plane on the first World Trade Center, of American Airlines 11. But the plane didn’t hit until 8:46:40, and there are several of the same kind of early seismic spikes for the second flight. I guess the question is: how do we explain those discrepancies? When the public looks at that, how can we explain that kind of thing?

Hamilton: I haven’t seen that report. I don’t know the answer to your question. They didn’t come forward with that evidence while we were at the Commission – so far as I know. Now, staff filtered a lot of these things, so not necessarily would I know. I don’t know what happened with regard to the…. What did they conclude? I don’t know what they concluded.

Solomon: They had no conclusion; the evidence is sitting out there. You write about, in Chapter 12 of the book – and again it’s one of those allegations that have come up – about who had foreknowledge of it? One piece of evidence that many critics have said is: ‘well, there is lots of ‘puts’ – which is a form of financial stock trading. In other words, people are buying up stock, hoping that the airline stock would plunge, and there was an unusually large number of puts on American Airlines and United stock, and therefore people profited from this. What did you make of that theory?

Hamilton: That’s one we did investigate. We looked at that pretty carefully, and all I can indicate at this point is that we do not think anybody profited from manipulation of airline stock prior to 9/11, there’s no evidence of that, I don’t think.

Solomon: Even though there’s unusual, high…

Hamilton: That’s correct. It’s not unusual in the stock market to have a lot of activity in a given stock, or industry, as you did here. The question is: did any of them have foreknowledge and profit from it? We don’t think so; we looked at it pretty carefully.

Solomon: There’s also allegations that the Pakistani Secret Service, called the ISI, the head of which met here in the United States right before 9/11, and there’s some allegations and evidence to show that they paid Mohammed Atta $100,000. The reason this is important is: who funded the people who conducted the attacks, the terrorist attacks? What did the Commission make of payment from the ISI to Mohammed Atta of $100,000?

Hamilton: I don’t know anything about it.

Solomon: Was there any connection between.. Did the Commission investigate any connection between ISI, Pakistani intelligence, and..

Hamilton: They may have; I do not recall us writing anything about it in the report. We may have but I don’t recall it. We did estimate that Osama bin Laden spent about $500,000 for the 9/11 attacks. We did not identify all the sources of that money.

Solomon: And how it got to the …

Hamilton: That’s right, you simply can’t trace it, so far as I know, because $500,000 in international financial markets is not even a blip on the radar screen. So we do not know precisely where that money came from.

Solomon: Questions about foreknowledge, especially as to when Vice President Dick Cheney knew when he went down to the protective bunker: there was some suggestion that the Secretary of Transport Mineta testified in front of the Commission that he in fact talked to Dick Cheney at 9:20 am. Cheney claims he hadn’t been there.. gotten down there until close to 10 am. That was eventually omitted from the final report,. Can you tell us a bit about about what Secretary of Transport Mineta told the Commission about where Dick Cheney was prior to 10 am?

Hamilton: I do not recall.

Solomon: And we don’t know exactly where that..

Hamilton: Well, we think that Vice President Cheney entered the bunker shortly before 10 o’clock. And there is a gap of several minutes there, where we do not really know what the Vice President really did. There is the famous phone call between the President and the Vice President. We could find no documentary evidence of that phone call. Both the President and the Vice President said that the phone call was made, and in that phone call, the order was supposedly was given, allegedly given, to shoot down an airliner – if necessary

Now, there are a lot of things not answered about that period of time. The order never got to the pilots and when it did get to the pilots, it didn’t get to them in time, and when it did get to them, they claimed it was not an order to shoot it down, but to identify and track an airliner, not to shoot it down.

What you had on this day, of course, was a lot of confusion, and a lot of confusion in communications, at the very highest levels. When the President went from the school in Sarasota to Air Force One, he was trying to get communications with the White House, he used a cell phone, in part. When he got to Air Force One, the communications didn’t work all that well. Well, this is all very disturbing, and I’m told has now been corrected.

Solomon: Disturbing in what way?

Hamilton: Well, disturbing that, at this particular time, the Commander in Chief lost communications with the White House, and with his chief aides there, right in the middle of a crisis – that’s very disturbing. I hope that’s been corrected, I’ve been told that it has been. But the fact of the matter is, if you look at 9/11, all the way through, FAA communications, NORAD communications, White House communications, there was just a lot of confusion, and a lot of gaps.

Solomon: So, just in terms of Mineta, just because I think that’s sort of interesting, when Secretary Mineta made at your Commission hearing, I think he did this May 23rd, that he arrived and talked to Dick Cheney at 9:20 – that would show that Mr. Cheney had had some earlier knowledge that planes had been hijacked and they wanted to take action. That was not –

Hamilton: What did the Secretary say at that time to the Vice President?

Solomon: They talked about a plane being hijacked, according to the testimony that I’ve seen, according to the Mineta report. But there’s another one, in Richard Clarke’s book, “Against All Enemies”, and I know Richard Clarke took the stand very famously – not the stand, but testified before the Commission very famously – he says he received authorization from Dick Cheney to shoot down Flight 93 at about 9:50 am. In the Commission’s Report, it said the authorization didn’t come from Dick Cheney until 10:25, and Richard Clarke’s testimony that he and his book, isn’t mentioned in the Commission’s .. Why didn’t you mention that?

Hamilton: Look, you’ve obviously gone through the report with a fine-toothed comb, you’re raising a lot of questions – I can do the same thing…

Solomon: Yeah..

Hamilton: ..all I want from you is evidence. You’re just citing a lot of things, without any evidence to back them up, as far as I can see.

Solomon: No, I’m just asking why they weren’t –

Hamilton: I don’t know the answer to your question.

Solomon: I guess part of the reason is..

Hamilton: I cannot answer every question with regard to 9/11. I can answer a good many of them, but I can’t answer them all.

Solomon: I guess, Mr. Hamilton, I don’t think anyone expects you to have all the answers…

Hamilton: Well, you apparently do, because you have asked me questions of enormous detail from a great variety of sources. You want me to answer them all – I can’t do it (laughs)

Solomon: I guess part of the reason is I want to know, not necessarily what the answer is, but if the Commission considered, you know, what made it into the report, in terms of the discussion. And of course, what we’re trying to understand is, if the commission simply said ‘you know, those kinds… there was huge amounts of data, and we couldn’t put everything in’.

So I guess, you know, in questions about what happened on 9/11 as we approach the fifth anniversary of that day, and this being the kind of most extensive document that the public has, there are questions as to what made it in and what you heard, and what you didn’t. And that, I think, those are the nature of the questions.

Hamilton: Yeah. A lot of things that came to the attention of staff did not come to the attention of the Commission. Some of the things did come to the attention of the Commission, and we didn’t put ’em in, or at least we put ’em in at a lower level. But many of the things did not come directly to my attention.

Solomon: Part of what you write in the book is that one of the key goals here was to be as transparent and as open as possible, because you say ‘without light, the conspiracy theorists jump in.’

Hamilton: That’s right.

Solomon: Now, one place that you shed a lot of light on – and you write about it in this book [“Without Precedent”] as well – is a place where conspiracy theorists, as you call them, have jumped in, which is the plane that hit the Pentagon. As you and I both know, there’s a number of publications that [say] the hole in the Pentagon was too small to accomodate a plane of that, you know, 125 foot wingspan, 40 feet high, and that it was a missile. What did you make – what did the Commission, when it heard all those kind of ideas, how did you consider those, and what investigation went on around those?

Hamilton: Well, we said an airplane went into the Pentagon. And we said that jet fuel there too caused an awful lot of the damage and the injury. We had one member of the staff who had been badly, badly burned by jet fuel, and as you know, jet fuel causes specific kinds of burns, and these burns were from jet fuel. So all of our evidence indicated a plane went in, and that’s what the eyewitnesses said that we saw.

Solomon: And you know, this notion – and this is maybe one of the most popular theories, and you see it all over – is that reports initially came back from the Pentagon that there was no debris at all, that the plane simply disintegrated inside the Pentagon. To those people, those of us who have seen aviation accidents, that sounded in some ways difficult to believe, because there was such a huge plane, and the maneuvre that it would require the pilot to make would have been, you know, to fly into it seemed so astonishing. What did the commission make of the debate, such as it is, that surrounds that?

Hamilton: We thought it was an airplane

Solomon: Straight up?

Hamilton: Straight up.

Solomon: Was there any debris?

Hamilton: My recollection is, the answer’s yes. Was there a lot of debris? I don’t think so. To say that there was no debris strains my recollection, I didn’t remember it that way, I thought there was some debris. But you know, you have relatively little experience with planes highly loaded with jet fuel crashing, (chuckles) and reconstructing exactly what happened on the basis of the crash. We did the best we could on it. We thought it was an airplane.

There were a number of eyewitnesses, of course, who saw the plane go into the Pentagon, a number of people, for example, who were driving on the roadway – I forget the number of it right now – who had the airplane fly over their cars into the building, and they stopped their car, and saw the plane going into the Pentagon – that was not one, that was a number of eyewitnesses. We relied upon that, of course.

Solomon: And you know, when you.. You’ve spoken with many of the witnesses, your Commission heard testimony from all sorts of different people. So when you hear these kind of ongoing allegations that there was conflicting reports of the witnesses; that the FBI confiscated tapes from the gas station across the road, that supposedly saw it within a day of it; that some of those witnesses disappeared.. what do you make of those kind of…

Hamilton: I don’t believe for a minute that we got everything right. We wrote a first draft of history.
We wrote it under a lot of time pressure, and we sorted through the evidence as best we could.

Now, it would be really rather remarkable if we got everything right. So far, of the things that have been brought up challenging the report, to my knowledge, we have more credibility than the challenger. But I would not for a moment want to suggest that that’s always true, either in the past or in the future. People will be investigating 9/11 for the next hundred years in this country, and they’re going to find out some things that we missed here.

So I don’t automatically reject all the evidence you cite. It may be we missed it, it may be we ignored it when we shouldn’t have – I don’t think we did, but it’s possible.

Solomon: You write.. the first chapter of the book is ‘the Commission was set up to fail.’ – my goodness, for the critics – who suggest that it was indeed set up to fail as some kind of obfuscation – you certainly dangled a juicy piece of bait out there in the river. Why do you think you were set up to fail?

Hamilton: Well, for a number of reasons: Tom Kean and I were substitutes – Henry Kissinger and George Mitchell were the first choices; we got started late; we had a very short time frame – indeed, we had to get it extended; we did not have enough money – 3 million dollars to conduct an extensive investigation. We needed more, we got more, but it took us a while to get it.

We had a lot of skeptics out there, who really did not want the Commission formed. Politicians don’t like somebody looking back to see if they made a mistake.
The Commission had to report right, just a few days before the Democratic National Convention met, in other words, right in the middle of a political campaign. We had a lot of people strongly opposed to what we did. We had a lot of trouble getting access to documents and to people. We knew the history of commissions; the history of commissions were they.. nobody paid much attention to ’em.

So there were all kinds of reasons we thought we were set up to fail. We decided that if we were going to have any success, we had to have a unanimous report, otherwise the Commission report would simply be filed.

Solomon: I guess the question is, you know, if forty odd million dollars were spent investigating President Bill Clinton’s sexual infidelities, why did the American people and the world have to wait 441 days for a commission that was originally budgeted for 3 million dollars and given barely a year, and as you write in the book and document so well, was… had to fight to get access to even use its subpoena power very judiciously, for fear that there’d be a backlash against the Commission. I mean, an event as cataclysmic as 9/11, it begs the question: why was the administration so unwilling to budget this thing, and then Congress so unwilling to give money and let you guys go whole hog to do more?

Hamilton: (Laughs) I think basically it’s because they were afraid we were going to hang somebody, that we would point the finger, right in the middle of a presidential campaign – ‘Mr. Bush, this was your fault’ – or even Mr. Clinton. President Clinton was wary about this report too.

Now I want to say, eventurally both presidents cooperated, but it took a while. And it’s not too unusual for me to understand that they were skeptical. A commission that is created does not have automatic credibility – we had to work at that, we had to produce a lot of reports which were recognized, fortunately, to be professionally done, seriously done – and not out to hang anybody.

Solomon: Sorry, but why not out to hang anybody? This idea, ‘they didn’t want to point fingers’, that you weren’t out to ‘hang anybody’.. Good God, I thought the families were saying, ‘let’s find out not just what happened, but who is accountable’ – you know, that famous testimony of Richard Clarke, in front of your commission, when he said, “I failed you.” Weren’t people wanting you to point fingers and make someone accountable?

Hamilton: Yes I think they were. And we say, in the book, that there was a thirst for accountability. Now, part of that thirst was just to tell the story. This traumatic event occurs and they wanted to understand why it occurred, and we tried to tell that as best we could.

Government’s not very good at looking back and criticizing itself, and one of the things that impressed us over and over again, as we talked to one agency after the other, is: they had not really met and turned this over in their mind; government is always operating on the Inbox, and we were critical of almost every agency, in not looking back and asking what went wrong. So I think that’s a powerful factor in government, and…

Solomon: It does also suggest – I mean, there is that factor – but you know, what the public often.. now, and again, I talk about the 9/11 families, who were so instrumental in getting the Commission going..

Hamilton: That’s correct.

Solomon: They said, ‘listen, is one of the reasons they’re not getting funded, and it’s so late, is that someone’s got something to hide.

Hamilton: There is… well, a lot of people have things to hide.

Solomon: Well who in this case?

Hamilton: Look, you can go down the list and probably identify a hundred people who made mistakes that day:
t he ticket-taker at the Boston Logan airport; the customs official who let these fellows in, not one but many times, right up to Bill Clinton or George Bush.

Solomon: What were their errors?

Hamilton: They didn’t pay enough attention to terrorism. They didn’t treat it with enough urgency. They didn’t really anticipate this, even though there were many voices, you mentioned Richard Clarke a few times, who were clearly urging them ‘do it’ – he served both presidents.

What we decided was two things: the mandate did not ask us to identify people or even did not use the word ‘accountability’. We did not want to go beyond our mandate.

Secondly, what we thought was really important in all of this was not so much that a particular person failed in their responsibility, whatever that responsibility might be, but that there were systemic problems in the government that we really thought need to be identified and corrected.

We believe that, had we gone into the question of identifying a hundred people here who goofed up on
9/11, or prior to 9/11, and did not do their job responsibly, we would have gone outside the mandate of the Commission, we would absolutely have destroyed any opportunity for unanimity of view, because the Commission would have bogged down with whether Jim Smith or Sally Jones had done their job right, and that’s an unending task.

Solomon: In retrospect, one of the criticisms that you level in this book “Without Precedent” is aimed at both the FAA and NORAD, both of whom representatives testified before the Commission, and both of whom gave what to me – and I’m allowed to be much more impolite than you – sounded to me like lies. They told you testimony that simply… the tapes that were subsequently.. that have subsequently been revealed, were simply not true.

Hamilton: That’s correct.

Solomon: And it wasn’t just lies by ommission, in some senses lies of commission, they told you things that basically didn’t happen. What do you make of that?

Hamilton: Well, I think you’re right. They gave us inaccurate information. We asked for a lot of material and a lot of documentation. They did not supply it all. They gave us a few things. We sent some staff into their headquarters. We identified a lot more documents and tapes, they eventually gave them to us, we had to issue a subpoena to get them.

Eventually they told us we had the story right, they had it wrong, it took a while to get to that point, but we eventually got here. Did they lie to us or was it inadvertent? We are not a law enforcement agency, we did not have that kind of authority, going back to the mandate again. All of us had our suspicions here, but we simply did not have the staff and we were right up against the deadline when this came out, that we didn’t have the time to say that these officials had willfully and intentionally lied.

So we punted – and we said, ‘we can’t do this, we don’t have the statutory authority, we don’t have the staff’, we don’t have the time’. We will tell the story as we understood it – they did mislead us. Was it wilful? We don’t know. We’ll turn it over to the authorities, and that’s what we did.

Solomon: And they’re investigating?

Hamilton: They are now still investigating.

Solomon: The recently released transcripts of what happened at NEADS, which is the Northeast Air Defence, paints a startling picture of confusion.

Hamilton: I think that’s the right word: enormous confusion, two of these airplanes that crashed were never identified. At one point, they had the American military jets chasing a phantom jet out in the Atlantic Ocean – in other words, going in the wrong direction.

The military had very little warning, I think, 2 minutes on one plane and 11 minutes on the other, if my recollection serves me right, and the disappointing thing here is that our, in a sense, first line of defense didn’t work.

Solomon: So is the story – and again, and I talk about those polls, 42% of Americans – your report very much… and subsequent things that have been released, subsequent tapes from places like NORAD, the air defence systems, suggest a mass failure of the first line of defense, which is incompetence and confusion which led to the lack of prevention of this.

Hamilton: Yeah.

Solomon: Now what happens when you get on to these [talk radio] shows, and you talk about that, and you get every – because you understand that the landscape is now littered with that stuff. What do you say to all these reports that are coming in – constantly?

Hamilton: I think people do not sufficiently understand how complicated conducting a major investigation is, and how difficult it is, in an event of this kind, to chase down every answer to every question, and… Look, I can go before any audience in America today and I can raise so many questions about 9/11 – raise questions, not answer questions, raise questions – about the investigation. And everbody in the audience will walk out saying ‘the government misled us or lied to us.’ It’s a very easy thing to do! I can raise questions about our own report!

Solomon: Like what? What would you raise?

Hamilton: Well, like I just said, about the 19 hijackers, we didn’t answer that question.

We had to tell that story as best we could, and we did, and we made a lot of judgments about the credibility of evidence. Were we right in every case? I suspect not. Were we right in most cases? I think so.

I do not know at this point of any factual error in our report, that I would absolutely say ‘we just plain missed it.’ Now, maybe I need to review it more carefully, but I cannot recall right now at this instance any fact that we just plain missed.

Solomon: Not that you got wrong, but the fact that was omitted?

Hamilton: Well, I know there were a lot of questions that we could not answer, with regard to FAA and NORAD and White House activity, and a lot of other things, we just can’t answer ’em.

Solomon: Is there anything in retrospect.. I mean, your deadline was so tight, and you say that forced you to make some very tough decisions as to how far ranging the investigation could be. In retrospect, if you’d had more time, what would you have investigated more thoroughly?

Hamilton: I would have, I think we spent – if I were critiquing the work of the Commission – I think we spent too much time on the question of access. And I would have liked to have gotten that over with, say, in the first half of the Commission’s work, so that we could have spent more time in putting the story together, maybe trying to answer some of the questions you raise that I can’t answer – and polishing the recommendations.

But you don’t… everything doesn’t go like you want it to go, and we were fighting the question of access right up to the end of the Commission’s work.

Solomon: One last thing before we go: you had, of course, Vice President Dick Cheney and President George Bush testify together – not under oath, with no transcript that would be made to the public. For a lot of the family members, and a lot of the public, they thought ‘so many other people testified under oath, so many other people had public testimony – why not the President and the Vice President?’ That again looked as though they were trying to obfuscate or hide something – what’s your view on that?

Hamilton: I don’t remember any time that a President of the United States, on a non-criminal matter, testified under oath. I do recall when President Johnson was asked to testify to the Warren Commission, he just flat out told him, ‘I am not going to do it. Presidents of the United States don’t do that sort of thing.’

Solomon: He wrote a 3 page letter.

Hamilton: He wrote a letter. Now, we asked President Bush and Vice President Cheney to testify, they said no. We went back to it, we said, ‘look, we will have no credibility as a commission if we do not hear from you.’

They considered that. They came back to us and said, ‘we will talk to you – Tom Kean and Lee Hamilton – but not the other commissioners.’ We said that was not satisfactory, ‘you had to talk to all ten of the Commission.’ I go into this detail just to tell you there was a long course of negotiation here.

Eventually they said they would both testify – not testify but meet with us – all ten commissioners – in the White House. There would be note takers, but no transcript taken. Tom and I asked the question, ‘can we get the information we need under this arrangement? We answered that ‘yes’.

In the actual appearance with the President and the Vice President, they were exceedingly co-operative. The president sat there for four hours and responded to questions.

At one point, Tom Kean interrupted one of the Commissioners, Richard Ben-Veniste, as I think we tell in the book, and said, ‘Richard, we have got to respect the President’s time.’ And the President said, ‘look, I’m in charge here, I’ll take the time, and let Richard ask his questions.’

We felt like we got a very extended long period of time with the president. He was completely candid. He did almost all the talking. Vice President Cheney talked only with reference to what happened at the White House on 9/11, because the President was not in the White House then, and took any question we had, and we had a lot of questions.

Solomon: Do you wish there was a public transcript of that?

Hamilton: If we had our preference, would there be a public transcript? It’s fine with me. But it was a White House call.

Solomon: I just want to clarify something that you said earlier. You said that the Commission Report did mention World Trade Center Building 7 in it, what happened. It did mention it or it didn’t?

Hamilton: The Commission reviewed the question of the Building 7 collapse. I don’t know specifically if it’s in the Report, I can’t recall that it is, but it, uh..

Solomon: I don’t think it was in the report.

Hamilton: OK, then I’ll accept your word for that.

Solomon: There was a decision not to put it in the report?

Hamilton: I do not recall that was a specific discussion in the Commission and we rejected the idea of putting Building 7 in, I don’t recall that. So I presume that the report was written without reference to Building 7 at all, because all of the attention, of course, was on the Trade tower buildings.

Solomon: And the black boxes on the planes: one bit of evidence I just got asked about, if it came up, was: the last 3 minutes of the black box on Flight 93 has not been made public or is missing, or I don’t know what’s happening. Was there any discussion as to what happened to those last three minutes?

Hamilton: I do not recall any reference to the black box.

Solomon: Were they all found?

Hamilton: I do not know, off hand, I do not know.

Solomon: Mr. Hamilton, I want to thank you so much for taking the time..

Hamilton: Yes, sir.

Solomon: ..and for discussing the book. What’s the reaction, by the way, from the families to this book?

Hamilton: Well, the families are a lot of different people. And many of them have been very enthusiastic. I understand there is a book coming out which will be quite critical of the work of the 9/11 Commission.

You had all kinds of reactions among the families: some people would just want to forget the whole thing and move on with their lives – people react differently to tragedy. Others, as you know, were enormously supportive of the Commission. Some began very supportive of the Commission, and became critical of what we did, and and they ended up not liking our recommendations – I don’t know that they criticized the report itself so much. But everybody has a… When you say ‘the families’, it includes a lot of different attitudes and viewpoints.

Solomon: What keeps you up at night about 9/11 still?

Hamilton: Not very much, I’ve turned my attention now to homeland security, and a lot of things bother me there.

Solomon: Thanks a lot.

Hamilton: Yup.

Benjamin Netanyahu speech to US Congress, Sept. 2001


Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech in front of the US Congress, 20 September 2001

Distinguished representatives, I want to thank you for inviting me to appear 
before you today. I feel a profound responsibility addressing you in this
 hour of peril in the capital of liberty.

 What is at stake today is nothing less than the survival of our civilization.

There may be some who would have thought a week ago that to talk in these 
apocalyptic terms about the battle against international terrorism was to 
engage in reckless exaggeration. No longer.


Each one of us today understands that we are all targets, that our cities are
 vulnerable, and that our values are hated with an unmatched fanaticism that 
seeks to destroy our societies and our way of life.

I am certain that I speak on behalf of my entire nation when I say: Today, we
 are all Americans. In grief, as in defiance.

In grief, because my people have
 faced the agonizing horrors of terror for many decades, and we feel an 
instant kinship with both the victims of this tragedy and the great nation
 that mourns its fallen brothers and sisters. In defiance, because just as my 
country continues to fight terrorism in our battle for survival, I know that 
America will not cower before this challenge.

I have absolute confidence that if we, the citizens of the free world, led by
 President Bush, marshall the enormous reserves of power at our disposal,
 harness the steely resolve of a free people, and mobilize our collective will
- we shall eradicate this evil from the face of the earth.

But to achieve this goal, we must first however answer several questions: Who
 is responsible for this terrorist onslaught? Why, what is the motive behind
 these attacks? And most importantly, what must be done to defeat these evil 

The first and most crucial thing to understand is this: There is no 
international terrorism without the support of sovereign states.

International terrorism simply cannot be sustained for long without the
 regimes that aid and abet it. Terrorists are not suspended in mid-air. They 
train, arm and indoctrinate their killers from within safe havens on territory provided by terrorist states. Often these regimes provide the 
terrorists with intelligence, money, and operational assistance, dispatching
 them to serve as deadly proxies to wage a hidden war against more powerful

These regimes mount a worldwide propaganda campaign to legitimize terror,
 besmirching its victims and exculpating its practitioners — as we witnessed in the farcical spectacle in the UN conference on racism in Durban last
 month. Iran, Libya, and Syria call the US and Israel racist countries that
 abuse human rights? Even Orwell could not have imagined such a world.

Take away all this state support, and the entire scaffolding of international
 terrorism will collapse into the dust.

The international terrorist network is thus based on regimes – Iran, Iraq,
 Syria, Taliban Afghanistan, Yasser Arafat’s Palestinian Authority, and 
several other Arab regimes, such as the Sudan. These regimes are the ones
 that harbor the terrorist groups: Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan, Hizbullah
 and others in Syrian-controlled Lebanon, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the
 recently mobilized Fatah and Tanzim factions in the Palestinian territories,
 and sundry other terror organizations based in such capitals as Damascus,
 Baghdad, and Khartoum.

These terrorist states and terror organizations together form a terror
 network, whose constituent parts support each other operationally as well as 
politically. For example, the Palestinian groups cooperate closely with
 Hizbullah, which in turn links them to Syria, Iran, and bin Laden. These 
offshoots of terror have affiliates in other states that have not yet 
uprooted their presence, such as Egypt, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia.

The growth of this terror network is the result of several developments in
 the last two decades: Chief among them is the Khomeini revolution and the 
establishment of a clerical Islamic state in Iran. This created a sovereign 
spiritual base for fomenting a strident Islamic militancy worldwide, a 
militancy that was often backed by terror.

Equally important was the victory in the Afghan war of the international 
mujahadin brotherhood. This international band of zealots, whose ranks 
include Osama bin Laden, saw their victory over the Soviet Union as 
providential proof of the innate supremacy of faithful Muslims over the weak 
infidel powers. They believed that even the superior weapons of a superpower
 could not withstand their superior will.

To this should also be added Saddam Hussein’s escape from destruction at the 
end of the Gulf War, his dismissal of UN monitors, and his growing confidence 
that he can soon develop unconventional weapons to match those of the West.

Finally, the creation of Yasser Arafat’s terror enclave gave a safe haven to
 militant Islamic terrorist groups, such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Like
 heir mujahadin cousins, they drew inspiration from Israel’s hasty withdrawal 
from Lebanon, glorified as a great Muslim victory by the Syrian-backed

Under Arafat’s rule, these Palestinian Islamic terrorist groups
 made repeated use of the technique of suicide bombing, going so far as to run
 summer camps in Gaza that teach Palestinian children how to become suicide 

Here is what Arafat’s government controlled newspaper, Al Hayat al Jadida,
 said on September 11, the very day of the suicide bombing of the World Trade
 Center and the Pentagon:

“The suicide bombers of today are the noble 
successors of the Lebanese suicide bombers, who taught the US Marines a tough
 lesson. These suicide bombers are the salt of the earth, the engines of
 history. They are the most honorable people among us.”

A simple rule prevails here: The success of terrorists in one part of the 
terror network emboldens terrorists throughout the network.

This then is the who.

Now for the why.

 Though its separate parts may have local objectives and take part in local 
conflicts, the main motivation driving the terror network is an anti-Western
 hostility that seeks to achieve nothing less than a reversal of history. It 
seeks to roll back the West and install an extremist form of Islam as the 
dominant power in the world. And it seeks to do this not by means of its own
 advancement and progress, but by destroying the enemy. This hatred is the 
product of a seething resentment that has simmered for centuries in certain 
parts of the Arab and Islamic world.

Most Muslims in the world, including the vast majority of the growing Muslim 
communities in the West, are not guided by this interpretation of history,
 nor are they moved by its call for a holy war against the West. But some are. 
And though their numbers are small compared to the peaceable majority, they 
nevertheless constitute a growing hinterland for this militancy.

Militant Islamists resented the West for pushing back the triumphant march of
 Islam into the heart of Europe many centuries ago. Its adherents, believing 
in the innate supremacy of Islam, then suffered a series of shocks when in
 the last two centuries that same hated, supposedly inferior West penetrated
 Islamic realms in North Africa, the Middle East, and the Persian Gulf.

 For them the mission was clear: The West had to be first pushed out of these 
areas. Pro-western Middle Eastern regimes were toppled in rapid succession, 
including in Iran.

And Israel, the Middle East’s only democracy and its 
purest manifestation of Western progress and freedom, must be wiped off the 
face of the earth.

 Thus, the soldiers of militant Islam do not hate the West because of Israel,
 they hate Israel because of the West – because they see it is an island of
 Western democratic values in a Muslim-Arab sea of despotism.

That is why they 
call Israel the Little Satan, to distinguish it clearly from the country that
 has always been and will always be the Great Satan – the United States of

 Nothing better illustrates this than Osama bin Laden’s call for jihad against
 the United States in 1998.

He gave as his primary reason not Israel, not the
 Palestinians, not the “peace process,” but rather the very presence of the
 United States “occupying the land of Islam in the holiest of places” – and
 where is that? – “the Arabian peninsula” says Bin Laden, where America is 
”plundering its riches, dictating to its rulers, and humiliating its people.” Israel, by the way, comes a distant third, after “the continuing aggression 
against the Iraqi people” [Al Quds al Arabi, February 23, 1998].

For the bin 
Ladens of the world, Israel is merely a sideshow.

 America is the target.

 But reestablishing a resurgent Islam requires not just rolling back the West;
 it requires destroying its main engine, the United States. And if the US
 cannot be destroyed just now, it can be first humiliated – as in the Teheran
 hostage crisis two decades ago – and then ferociously attacked again and
 again, until it is brought to its knees.

But the ultimate goal remains the
 same: Destroy America and win eternity.

Some of you may find it hard to believe that Islamic militants truly cling to 
the mad fantasy of destroying America.

Make no mistake about it. They do.

 And unless they are stopped now, their attacks will continue, and become even 
more lethal in the future.

 To understand the true dangers of Islamic militancy, we can compare it to 
another ideology which sought world domination – communism.  Both movements 
pursued irrational goals, but the communists at least pursued theirs in a
 rational way.

Anytime they had to choose between ideology and their own survival, as in 
Cuba or Berlin, they backed off and chose survival. Not so for the Islamic
 militants. They pursue an irrational ideology irrationally – with no apparent 
regard for human life, neither their own lives nor the lives of their

The communists seldom, if ever, produced suicide bombers, while
 Islamic militancy produces hordes of them, glorifying them and promising them
 that their dastardly deeds will earn them a glorious afterlife. This highly
 pathological aspect of Islamic militancy is what makes it so deadly for 

When in 1996 I wrote a book about fighting terrorism, I warned about the
 militant Islamic groups operating in the West with the support of foreign
 powers – serving as a new breed of “domestic-international” terrorists,
 basing themselves in America to wage jihad against America: “Such groups,” I
 wrote then, “nullify in large measure the need to have air power or 
intercontinental missiles as delivery systems for an Islamic nuclear payload.
 They will be the delivery system.  In the worst of such scenarios, the 
consequences could be not a car bomb but a nuclear bomb in the basement of
 the World Trade Center.”

Well, they did not use a nuclear bomb. They used two 
150-ton fully fueled jetliners to wipe out the Twin Towers.  But does anyone
 doubt that given the chance, they will throw atom bombs at America and its 
allies? And perhaps long before that, chemical and biological weapons?

 This is the greatest danger facing our common future.

Some states of the
 terror network already possess chemical and biological capabilities, and some
 are feverishly developing nuclear weapons. Can one rule out the possibility
 that they will be tempted to use such weapons, openly or through terror
 proxies, or that their weapons might fall into the hands of the terrorist
 groups they harbor?

 We have received a wake up call from hell.

Now the question is simple: Do we 
rally to defeat this evil, while there is still time, or do we press a
 collective snooze button and go back to business as usual?

 The time for action is now.

Today the terrorists have the will to destroy us, but they do not have the 
power. There is no doubt that we have the power to crush them. Now we must
 also show that we have the will.

Once any part of the terror network acquires 
nuclear weapons, this equation will fundamentally change and with it the 
course of human affairs. This is the historical imperative that now confronts 
all of us all.

And now the third point: What do we about it? First, as President Bush said,
 we must make no distinction between the terrorists and the states that 
support them.

It is not enough to root out the terrorists who committed this
 horrific act of war. We must dismantle the entire terrorist network.

 If any part of it remains intact, it will rebuild itself, and the specter of 
terrorism will reemerge and strike again.

Bin Laden, for example, has
 shuttled over the last decade from Saudi Arabia to Afghanistan to the Sudan
 and back again. So we must not leave any base intact.

To achieve this goal we must first have moral clarity. We must fight terror
 wherever and whenever it appears. We must make all states play by the same
 rules. We must declare terrorism a crime against humanity, and we must
 consider the terrorists enemies of mankind, to be given no quarter and no 
consideration for their purported grievances.

If we begin to distinguish 
between acts of terror, justifying some and repudiating others based on sympathy with this or that cause, we will lose the moral clarity that is so
 essential for victory.

 This clarity is what enabled America and Britain to root out piracy in the
19th century. This is how the Allies rooted out Nazism in the 20th century.

 They did not look for the “root cause” of piracy or the “root cause” of 
Nazism – because they knew that some acts are evil in and of themselves, and
 do not deserve any consideration or “understanding.”

They did not ask if Hitler was right about the alleged wrong done to Germany at Versailles. That 
they left to the historians. The leaders of the Western Alliance said
 something else: Nothing justifies Nazism. Nothing! We must be equally clear 
cut today: Nothing justifies terrorism. Nothing!

Terrorism is defined not by 
the identity of its perpetrators nor by the cause they espouse. Rather, it is
 defined by the nature of the act.

 Terrorism is the deliberate attack on innocent civilians. In this it must be
 distinguished from legitimate acts of war that target combatants and may unintentionally harm civilians.

When the British bombed the Copenhagen Gestapo headquarters in 1944, and one 
of their bombs unintentionally struck a children’s hospital, that was a 
tragedy, but it was not terrorism. When a few weeks ago Israel fired a
 missile that killed two Hamas arch-terrorists, and two Palestinian children 
who were playing nearby were tragically struck down, that is not terrorism.

Terrorists do not unintentionally harm civilians. They deliberately murder,
 maim, and menace civilians – as many as possible.

No cause, no grievance, no apology can ever justify terrorism. Terrorism against Americans, Israelis, Spaniards, Britons,  Russians, or anyone else is
 all part of the same evil and must be treated as such.

It is time to
 establish a fixed principle for the international community: Any cause that
 uses terrorism to advance its aims will not be rewarded.  On the contrary, it
 will be punished and placed beyond the pale.

Armed with this moral clarity in defining terrorism, we must possess an equal
 moral clarity in fighting it.

If we include Iran, Syria, and the Palestinian 
Authority in the coalition to fight terror – even though they currently
 harbor, sponsor, and dispatch terrorists – then the alliance against terror 
will be defeated from within.

 Perhaps we might achieve a short-term objective of destroying one terrorist
 fiefdom, but it will preclude the possibility of overall victory. Such a
coalition will melt down because of its own internal contradictions. We might
 win a battle. We will certainly lose the war.

 These regimes, like all terrorist states, must be given a forthright demand:
 Stop terrorism, permanently, or you will face the wrath of the free world – 
through harsh and sustained political, economic, and military sanctions.

Obviously, some of these regimes will scramble in fear and issue platitudes 
about their opposition to terror, just as Arafat, Iran, and Syria did, while 
they keep their terror apparatus intact. We should not be fooled.

regimes are already on the US lists of states supporting terrorism – and if 
they are not, they should be.

 The price of admission for any state into the coalition against terror must
 be to first completely dismantle the terrorist infrastructures within their

Iran will have to dismantle a worldwide network of terrorism and 
incitement based in Teheran.

 Syria will have to shut down Hizbullah and the dozen terrorist organizations
 that operate freely in Damascus and in Lebanon. Arafat will have to crush
 Hamas and Islamic Jihad, close down their suicide factories and training
 grounds, rein in his own Fatah and Tanzim terrorists, and cease the endless
 incitement to violence.

To win this war, we must fight on many fronts. The most obvious one is direct 
military action against the terrorists themselves. Israel’s policy of
 preemptively striking at those who seek to murder its people is, I believe,
 better understood today and requires no further elaboration.

But there is no substitute for the key action that we must take: imposing the
 most punishing diplomatic, economic and military sanction on all terrorist 
states. To this must be added these measures: Freeze financial assets in the
West of terrorist regimes and organizations; revise legislation, subject to
 periodic renewal, to enable better surveillance against organizations 
inciting violence; keep convicted terrorists behind bars. Do not negotiate
 with terrorists; train special forces to fight terror; and not least
 important, impose sanctions on suppliers of nuclear technology to terrorist

I have had some experience in pursuing all these courses of action in
 Israel’s battle against terrorism, and I will be glad to elaborate on any one 
of them if you wish, including the sensitive questions surrounding 

But I have to be clear: Victory over terrorism is not, at its most
 fundamental level, a matter of law enforcement or intelligence. However 
important these functions may be, they can only reduce the dangers, not
 eliminate them. The immediate objective is to end all state support for and
 complicity with terror.

If vigorously and continuously challenged, most of
 these regimes can be deterred from sponsoring terrorism.

 But there is a real possibility that some will not be deterred – and those 
may be ones that possess weapons of mass destruction. Again, we cannot
 dismiss the possibility that a militant terrorist state will use its proxies
 to threaten or launch a nuclear attack with apparent impunity. Nor can we 
completely dismiss the possibility that a militant regime, like its terrorist
 proxies, will commit collective suicide for the sake of its fanatical 

 In this case, we might face not thousands of dead, but hundreds of thousands
 and possibly millions.

This is why the US must do everything in its power to
 prevent regimes like Iran and Iraq from developing nuclear weapons, and 
disarm them of their weapons of mass destruction.

 This is the great mission that now stands before the free world. That mission
 must not be watered down to allow certain states to participate in the 
coalition that is now being organized. Rather, the coalition must be built 
around this mission.

It may be that some will shy away from adopting such an uncompromising stance 
against terrorism. If some free states choose to remain on the sidelines,
 America must be prepared to march forward without them – for there is no 
substitute for moral and strategic clarity.

I believe that if the United 
States stands on principle, all the democracies will eventually join the war 
on terrorism. The easy route may be tempting, but it will not win the day.

On September 11, I, like everyone else, was glued to a television set
 watching the savagery that struck America. Yet amid the smoking ruins of the
 Twin Towers one could make out the Statue of Liberty holding high the torch
 of freedom. It is freedom’s flame that the terrorists sought to extinguish.
 But it is that same torch, so proudly held by the United States, that can
 lead the free world to crush the forces of terror and secure our tomorrow.

 It is within our power. Let us now make sure that it is within our will.

Secretary Rumsfeld Interview with the New York Times

Secretary Rumsfeld Interview with the New York Times

Friday, October 12, 2001 

(Interview with Tom Shanker, New York Times)

Q: The first thing is, I told Torie I’ve been very intrigued by the comments you made and by comments the president’s made about a new kind of war, and how you’re really struggling and working to define how to carry out this new kind of war against this new kind of enemy.

At the same time, sir, when you watch television you see jet fighters taking off from carriers, you watch TV and you see stuff blowing up on the ground in Afghanistan. Those are fairly traditional assets that we’re using at this point.

Is it too early to see and understand the new things that you’re doing? Or are you still just asking the questions and trying to figure it out?

Rumsfeld: I think part of the answer is the fact that the people dealing with this conflict are all people who have dealt with, generally, people who have dealt with other conflicts. Therefore the way people are reporting it, the way people are seeing it is through the eyes that they have, the memories that they have.

Second, there are only so many things that lend themselves to visuals, to television, to videotape or dramatic photographs of something blowing up.

It is a very different way in any number of respects. The problem of asymmetrical threats exists, and always existed I should say. No matter at what point in history, people have always looked for a way to advantage themselves by finding a way around whatever strength somebody else had.

Our strength has been armies, navies, and air forces, obviously. And the reason those things are not threatened today is because it’s expensive to do that.

Therefore, the (redacted) are not frontally attacking our armies, navies and air forces. What they’re doing is they’re using our technology, our advances that have come through a period of proliferation of those technologies across the globe and they’re using those to disadvantage us and look ways that we have not yet deterred them, or not yet fashioned defensively, and those are the ones we’ve been talking about for many months now. Terrorism, cruise missiles, ballistic missiles, weapons of mass destruction, chemical, biological, nuclear, and cyber attacks.

Those are all things that at the moment people think of as unconventional, that is to say, or asymmetrical (redacted). Multi (redacted). They’d always joke about mispronouncing that. But it isn’t a word that people really think about, but there are ways that somebody can go after a large country and harm them much cheaper and more easily than they can if they go after an army, navy, air force.

Q: That I understand, but what are the ways that this large country is thinking in new and unusual ways to go back at those people who have attacked this country?

Rumsfeld: The two things that have to be looked at, one is the obvious, the terrorism. And a terrorist network. You cannot defend everywhere at all times, against every conceivable terrorist tactic. You have no choice but in your own self defense to be preemptive, to go after the terrorists where they are.

The second piece of that is — and that is what we’re doing. The second piece of that is that throughout our long history we’ve had many times, when for whatever reason free people who are free to be wise, who are also free to be less than perfectly wise, where we had thought something improbable and been wrong. We were wrong about Pearl Harbor. We knew there was a possible threat, we knew the Japanese could do something, but we did not think — even though we offered that very lucrative target, we did not think that they would be attacking as they did.

In Korea, by word or deed we behaved in a way possibly that left the impression that we might not be as attentive to that problem as we ultimately were.

For 260 or 75 years, whatever it is now, a long time, we’ve had the situations where we have, where something has occurred that we didn’t, either didn’t anticipate or didn’t anticipate in a way that would deter it and dissuade it, and we’ve thrived, and we’ve had a big margin for error. We’ve had an ocean on either side and friends in the north and the south. And the power of weapons, while they have increased in lethality over the centuries, have still been within manageable levels until now, until recently. And they aren’t any more.

Because of the end of the Cold War, because of the relaxation of tension, because of the proliferation that’s just swept the world, there is no question but that the chemical and biological and nuclear weapons are in the hands of countries that wish us ill, who have engaged in terrorist activities, who have fostered and sponsored terrorist networks.

And when and how the nexus will occur between those nations and those weaponry they have, (redacted) in the case of chemical and biological, and the terrorists they support, when that nexus will occur is something that I don’t know the answer to, the world doesn’t know the answer to, but it does not take a genius to project out that thing will occur. If that’s true, and at that point you’re not talking about hundreds [sic] of thousands of people, you’re talking about hundreds of thousands of people or millions of people.

Then the question comes how do we as a free people who are free to be wise and free to be sometimes not quite as wise, how do we recalibrate ourselves as a society? And give credence to that seemingly improbable but not improbable event? And what do we do, how do we arrange ourselves and other people to do everything that’s prudent and wise and doable to prevent that kind of an event from occurring?

The answer is that you have to project yourself forward. You have to ask yourself, were that to occur anywhere in the world, what would you want to have done? What would you as a society want to have done to avoid that? And isn’t that your responsibility, to think back from an event like that and think what ought you to do now so that you have arranged yourself so that you have sensitized the people in the country and you’ve arranged the government and you’ve cooperated with other nations in a way that reflects the urgency of it and the magnitude of such an event before it happens?

What’s taking place today, it seems to me, is a significant piece of that effort. It is an assertion by a leader, the president of the United States, that the problem of terrorists and terrorist networks or countries that harbor terrorism is a worldwide problem, it is an urgent problem, it is a problem that requires our country to focus sharply on it, it’s a problem that is not unique to the United States, but involves nations all across the globe, and if we want to and if the people live in this world, and we’re capable of living in that world, we have to look at how all the things we do that would minimize that risk, that would give us the maximum warning, that would deter, how can you get arranged to deter?

How ought you to be arranged to preempt if you see it coming before it happens? What things ought you to be doing from a financial standpoint? What things ought you to be doing from a diplomatic standpoint? Aren’t there things that suggest a degree or urgency with respect to any one of those — military, diplomatic, financial, you name it, domestic. What things ought you to do with a high sense of urgency now?

And it is hard for people to put themselves forward in time. Looking back, we can look back to World War II and say isn’t that amazing what those folks did? We ended up with NATO, we ended up with the World Bank, we ended up with the OAS, we ended up with the various ANZUS Treaty, the relationship with Japan —

Q: You’re talking about post-war.

Rumsfeld: That’s what I’m saying. But it happened afterwards because there was an event that permitted it. And there was a war that shifted relationships between nations dramatically. That created new institutions that grew out of that conflict.

It is easier to do it if there’s an event.

So the question is, can we do it before an event like that? And is it possible that what took place on September 11th, as one of my interlocutors on this last trip overseas said, that maybe out of this tragedy comes opportunity. Maybe, must maybe, the world will sufficiently register the danger that exists on the globe and have this event cause the kind of sense of urgency and offer the kind of opportunities that world War II offered, to refashion much of the world.

Q: One of the smart people in this building described what you’re trying to do as cracking a new genetic code, and I’ve heard you say several times that it’s hard for people to think that far ahead.

Are you dissatisfied with the ability to think that far ahead? The quality of the proposals you’re giving as you shape this new campaign?

Rumsfeld: I don’t know about the word dissatisfied. I feel a real sense of urgency, and I am constantly trying to think of how you can say something or do something or provide incentives in large structures so that the outcomes will be optimum, will be best for our people and best for the world. It’s hard to do. It requires a lot of thought. We all do things imperfectly, and goodness knows I do. But I guess rather than being dissatisfied I guess I feel challenged to try to do it better, to try to —

Off the record, if you don’t mind. You can leave on the tape. It doesn’t bother me.

[Portion of transcript deleted]

Q: Back on the record. You’ve anticipated my next question which is on television right now there’s an anthrax scare in New York City, the (redacted). There is great focus on Afghanistan. And you talked about the global war on terrorism. There is a sense perhaps in the American people that the Administration is looking with a monocular at Afghanistan.

How do you manage public support for a broader war while you’re bombing Afghanistan today, and balance it against the fear of another attack here at home?

Rumsfeld: Well, I have — anyone who’s lived in our country (redacted) if you underestimate the American people. We are not perfect and our judgments are not always as timely as they ought to be, but there is no question that given sufficient information the American people find their way to reasonably right decisions on big issues, and this is a big issue. And we’ve got, comparably all of us, or the body politic collectively, has an inner gyroscope and it can get kicked off from time to time, and veer a direction, but it can be centered against and come back.

And I think all you can do is to try to communicate the truth in as direct and as balanced a way as is humanly possible. But not treat the American people as though they’re not capable of taking bad news, because they are. And not mislead people.

We’ve got a big task as this society. But we’ve just gotten a big wakeup call.

Q: Again, as is so often the case when we’ve spoken or I hear you from the podium, you are describing a long-term global war against terrorism. Horizontal fronts. We can’t even imagine sitting here where else this may go. But there is a big focus, again, on Afghanistan. They want to know the bombing today, what happened today. Is the rest of the war plan in place, or is it still being drafted every day and won’t even be known for some time?

Rumsfeld: I think probably we would say that part of it is in place and is played out. Other pieces have to fall into place.

If you think about it, the law enforcement is increasingly in place. The United States has relationships with dozens of countries around the world. We have arrested and detained hundreds of people around the world. More are happening every day. And as they’re interrogated, still other people are being identified and arrested.

Secondly, the president has very wisely asked people to function with a sense of heightened awareness. Within the last 48 hours one such person has called the FBI and provided information about a person who potentially could have (redacted). And God bless that person. The president and the United States government have asked the world to understand how valuable intelligence information is, and that it’s impossible for any government or any collection of government, without the cooperation of the people and all of those countries coming forward. It’s impossible to know enough to be able to stop it. There is a lot of information coming forward (redacted).

Those are big elements of all of this. The financial part of it’s not trivial. There are increasing numbers of accounts being frozen. There are increasing numbers of millions of dollars that aren’t available to those folks. And that’s a good thing.

We have a lot of friendly services around the world, friendly governments around the world that are working with our government to do things, and those things are happening. People are being picked up; people are making plans to pick up people.

Q: Is there a military part that you manage from the building?

Rumsfeld: Sure, we’re doing things and other people are doing things that are overt and covert. That’s good. Countries that had been tolerant are less tolerant today. Countries that had been unafraid are a little more afraid today. It’s harder today for a terrorist than it was yesterday. It will be still harder tomorrow. We’re not moving around the world looking for a navy or an air force or an army to compete with, although this building is capable. We can do a lot of things other than that.

Q: Can you give me any guidance on the FBI (redacted)?

Rumsfeld: Not (redacted).

Q: Mr. Secretary, thank you for your time.

Rumsfeld: Thank you

Colin Powell promises evidence on Osama bin Laden links to 9/11

Text: NBC's 'Meet the Press' With Tim Russert

Sunday, Sept. 23, 2001




Following is the transcript of NBC's "Meet the Press," hosted by Tim Russert, with guests Secretary of State Colin Powell, Sens. Thomas Daschle and Trent Lott, and Reps. J. Dennis Hastert and Richard Gephardt.


RUSSERT: Our issues this Sunday: The president prepares the nation for war.




PRESIDENT BUSH: We will not tire, we will not falter, and we will not fail.




RUSSERT: Ten years ago, the then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff laid out another battle plan.




POWELL: First we're going to cut it off, and then we're going to kill it.




RUSSERT: And now, as secretary of state, we helps shape a new war against terrorism. With us, General Colin Powell.


Then, in these historic times, an extraordinary show of unity. With us, all four leaders of the United States Congress: House Speaker Dennis Hastert, House Democratic leader Richard Gephardt, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, Senate Republican Leader Trent Lott. Hastert, Gephardt, Daschle and Lott, together at one table.


But first, the secretary of state is with us.


General Colin Powell, welcome.


POWELL: Good morning, Tim.


RUSSERT: Twelve days ago, America was attacked like never before. Where are we in terms of response?


POWELL: In terms of response, we have begun a broad campaign against the perpetrators of this attack and also against terrorism in general. The campaign has already begun. It's begun with rallying the international communities on our side of this issue, letting nations around the world know that this is the time to choose, you're either for freedom or you're for terrorism.


And we have also continued the campaign by getting nations such as United Arab Emirates to cut off relations with the Taliban. We are getting cooperation with respect to shutting down the financial systems that exist to provide support to these kinds of organizations. We are getting solid action in the United Nations and NATO at the Organization of American States, the organization of Islamic Conferences. Many things are happening.


So this campaign has begun. We got solid support from Pakistan, as you well know. And, of course, we are putting in place our forces in the event the president decides it's time to use military force as part of the campaign. But we're not waiting. The campaign has begun.


RUSSERT: And we have lifted economic sanctions against Pakistan as a reward for their assistance.


POWELL: We have waived some sanctions that have been in place against both Pakistan and India. It was something we had been considering for some months now. But we consulted with Congress this past week in light of these changed events and in light of very forthcoming position that the Pakistani government has taken, and the president waived some of the sanctions that are in place yesterday.


RUSSERT: But it's an important signal that the United States will reward its friends.


POWELL: It's an important signal that we will stand by our friends who stand by us.


RUSSERT: Are you absolutely convinced that Osama bin Laden was responsible for this attack?


POWELL: I am absolutely convinced that the al Qaeda network, which he heads, was responsible for this attack.


You know, it's sort of al Qaeda–the Arab name is for "the base." It's something like a holding company of terrorist organizations that are located in dozens of countries around the world, sometimes tightly controlled, sometimes loosely controlled. And that the head of that organization is Osama bin Laden.


So what we have to do in the first phase of this campaign is to go after al Qaeda and to go after Osama bin Laden. But it is not just a problem in Afghanistan. It is a problem throughout the world. That's why we are attacking it with a worldwide coalition.


RUSSERT: Will you release publicly a white paper which links him and his organization to this attack to put people at ease?


POWELL: We are hard at work bringing all the information together, intelligence information, law enforcement information. And I think in the near future we will be able to put out a paper, a document that will describe quite clearly the evidence that we have linking him to this attack. But also, remember, he has been linked to earlier attacks against U.S. interests, and he's already indicted for earlier attacks against United States.


RUSSERT: Do you believe there is any United States law or executive order which would prohibit our killing Osama bin Laden if we find him?


POWELL: It's an interesting question. There are a number of authorities that are in place, executive orders and the like, that we are examining to make sure that we have all the freedom of action we need to bring him to justice or to bring justice to him as the president has said.


RUSSERT: Let me show you an article in USA Today, dateline Islamabad, and I'll put it on the screen: "To some Pakistanis, bin Laden is like a god. T-shirts and turbans bearing the image of Osama bin Laden and the words `world hero' are big sellers at the open market. So are fake credit cards, $50 bills with his picture and phrase, `In Osama we trust.'"


POWELL: And we shouldn't see this in the same context, as if there is a large enemy out there that we plan to attack in conventional ways.


We will–if the president decides that this is what we should do and have to do, I can assure you that our military will have plans that will go against their weaknesses, and not get trapped in ways that previous armies have gotten trapped in Afghanistan.


RUSSERT: Previous wars from the air, very limited, if any, American casualties: Do you think the American people would be accepting of large amounts of casualties in order to win this war?


POWELL: You know, I have always shied away from this concept that you can fight a war without casualties. It has never been anything that I have put forward. You always want to make sure you can minimize casualties and do everything you can to protect the force, but war is war, and there will be casualties.


I think the American people understand that this is a difficult situation, and we may have to put lives at risk. And it's something that the military understands, and we can't conduct wars in such a way that we're terrified of putting anyone at risk. War does put people at risk, and it's a risk we have to take in light of the current circumstances.


We will always try to conduct all of our military operations in a way that reduces casualties as much as possible, but there is no such thing as a zero-casualty conflict, where you're using all the elements of your military power, and you're going into a place, say, like Afghanistan.


RUSSERT: Sixty-five percent of the people in the Arab world are under the age of 18. How concerned are you that countries like Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia could become destabilized, that revolution could be fomented if, in fact, there is a large-scale war?


POWELL: Well, let's not assume there will be a large-scale war. I don't know that we should even consider a large-scale war of the conventional type.


But it's more interesting to note that Egypt and Saudi Arabia and most of the countries in that part of the world have come to our support. They have recognized that terrorism is a threat, not only against the United States, against them. They have suffered from terrorism, as well. And they recognize that this is not consistent with Islamic teachings. It is absolutely inconsistent with Islamic teachings.


And so I think they understand the domestic pressures they are under, and they understand what they have committed themselves to. And when you even have countries such as Syria and to some extent even Iran indicating that they sense the problem associated with this kind of attack, it gives us something to explore, something to work with. And what we should be looking at, really, is the solid support we have received from Arab nations.


RUSSERT: Let me show you what the president of Egypt, Hosni Mubarak, had to say and give you a chance to talk about it a little bit.


"If you launch an attack against Afghanistan or another country on your list of rogue states, you will kill many innocent people, just as the terrorists killed many of your people," President Mubarak said in an interview. "Don't play the game of your enemy. They want your reprisals to bring forth from the blood and ruins of your bombing a new generation of militants who will cry for revenge against the United States."


POWELL: We're very sensitive to that. One has to be careful that in your reaction you don't give the enemy exactly what the enemy would like to have, a new cause celebre. And so we will be very sensitive to that, and I know that my colleagues in the Pentagon are sensitive to that as they consider the various options that are available to them.


RUSSERT: The Washington Post reported yesterday that Saudi Arabia is denying the United States the use of Prince Sultan Air Base as a place for offensive operations. Is that true?


POWELL: Well, the article said that I had called them to protest this or ask for a change in policy. There were no such phone calls. The article is incorrect.


And I have been in daily touch with Saudi officials, and they have been very responsive to all of the requests we have placed on them.


RUSSERT: So they'll allow us to use that air base?


POWELL: They have been very responsive to all the requests we have placed on them. There is no show-stopper with respect to what we have asked of the Saudis. But I don't want to go into what we have not yet asked of them.


But as of right now, for everything we put to them, they have been responsive in a way that we can see that responsiveness, if it is not always headline news or something that you would see across a television screen. They have been responsive.


RUSSERT: Many of the hijackers had ties to Saudi Arabia. Tom Friedman, who has lived and studied and written about this world for a long time, had this to say in the New York Times:


"Some Arab regimes, most of which are corrupt dictatorships afraid of their own people, made a devil's pact with the fundamentalists. They allowed the Islamists' domestic supporters to continue raising money, ostensibly for Muslim welfare groups, and to funnel it to Osama bin Laden, on the condition that the Islamic extremists not attack these regimes. The Saudis in particular struck that bargain."


POWELL: Well, I have found that in recent days the Saudis have been very forthcoming with respect to that kind of issue, and they have promised us full cooperation in going after financial support for these kinds of groups.


As you know, a long time ago, they ostracized Osama bin Laden, and took away his Saudi citizenship. We are working closely with them.


But I also need to point out, that a lot of the financial support comes from outside the Arab world. I mean, it is quite easy in European nations and in the United States to raise money for these kinds of dissident, terrorist-oriented causes. And so it is not just an Arab problem, it is an international problem. We have to go after their financial support wherever we find it, in Arab nations or in Western nations.


We are also focusing on some of the so-called humanitarian, charitable, non-governmental organizations that raise money. If we can trace any of that money to terrorist activities subsequently, we really have to go after these kinds of organizations, as well.


RUSSERT: On Friday, several Americans–several dozen Americans, Project for the New American Century, released a letter to the president saying that we should target terrorism wherever it exists, even if it means conducting military operations against Iraq, Syria, Iran.


In your estimation, what would happen to your international coalition if we were to mount military campaigns against Iraq, Syria and Iran while still trying to find Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan?


POWELL: Yes, rather than deal with that hypothetical, let me deal with what we're actually going to do. What the president said is we're going to go after terrorism. Doesn't always mean you have to use military force to go after terrorism. There are many elements of national power. And you also have to keep your attention focused on a particular objective before you start adding different goals and objectives.


And the objective that the president has focused on in this first instance is Al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, his presence in Afghanistan. And then we will consider all other options and all other sources of terrorist activity and go after it in an appropriate way.


That approach has met with great favor in the international community. And since this has to be an international response to an international threat, I think it is important that we're able to get the United Nations Security Council resolutions that will help us deal with the financial transactions that take place.


That's why I think it is important that we keep that coalition together so we get a statement such as we did Friday night from the European Council giving full support of the European Union to what we're doing. It's important that we keep that coalition together so that you can get statements such as we did Friday from the Organization of American States or the Organization of Islamic Conferences.


If we want to go it alone and say, “We know what's best in all of these cases and we know exactly how to deal with them and lose the support of the world,'' then I think we will have made a strategic mistake.


New opportunities have been presented by the way the president has laid out this campaign and the focus that he has given to it. And he has made the decision as to how we're going about this campaign and he has left nothing off the table with respect to phase two, phase three or phase four. And we'll get to those phases in due course, but let's not lose our focus on phase one.


RUSSERT: Are there some in the administration who are urging more immediate attacks on Syria and Iran?


POWELL: We had…


RUSSERT: Rooting out terrorists?


POWELL: As you would in any administration, we had lots of discussions. But the president, his vice president, the secretary of state, the secretary of defense, the national security adviser, the attorney general, the secretary of treasury, all were together and discussed these items and the president made his decision. And that's the only thing that counts, not what others somewhere in the administration might think.


RUSSERT: Iran and Syria have long harbored terrorists. Is this a chance for them to have a new start, a fresh start with America by saying, "You know what? We're going to take care of our terrorist problem and we're going to help you deal with Osama bin Laden"?


POWELL: I think that might well be the case. They have been sponsors of terrorism and we have so designated them and those designations have not gone away.


But the Syrians were somewhat forthcoming in their response to 11 September. And I talked to the Syrian foreign minister and we're looking to see if we can explore areas of cooperation.


But they can't be for one kind of terrorism and against another kind of terrorism. They have to realize you've got to change your pattern if you want to be a part of this civilized world that is in a coalition against terrorism.


And the same message goes to Iran. Not quite the same context, but we have heard from the Iranians, through channels, and we are willing to explore this possibility. They have always been against the Taliban and against this kind of activity in Afghanistan, but they have also supported terrorist organizations. You've got to be ready to go against all terrorist organizations.


RUSSERT: But it's pretty hard with Iran because of their involvement in Khobar Towers, where they blew up a lot of our service men.


POWELL: Yes, it is. And what the president said in his speech is, "Continued conduct of that kind will identify you as someone who has a hostile interest toward the United States and interests as a civilized world."


RUSSERT: How about Saddam Hussein in Iraq? Is there any evidence that he was involved in the attack on the World Trade Center or the Pentagon, and is he currently harboring terrorists and therefore is someone you would like to engage on this issue?


POWELL: Well, there are some reports of linkages, but not to the extent that I would say today there is a clear link. But we're looking for links and we're watching it very, very carefully.


We have no illusions about Saddam Hussein. He means us no good. He means the region no good. He's, of course, trying to develop weapons of mass destruction. For 10 years we have kept him contained and will continue to keep him contained. And, as you know, we always have the ability to strike if that seems to be the appropriate thing to do.


And so we are taking no options off the table, and we always consider him to be a potential source of terrorist activity and to harbor terrorism and terrorist activities. So we've got a good eye on the Iraqi regime.


RUSSERT: There are reports this morning on the news wires, the Taliban government saying Osama bin Laden is missing. How confident are you that we will find Osama bin Laden?


POWELL: I don't know. I really can't answer that question. He might be, quote, "missing," whatever that means. I'm not quite sure I'm ready to put any credence into a Taliban report. The Taliban may be trying to find a way to get themselves out of the terrible box they are in. I don't know.


And even if we were to get Osama bin Laden tomorrow, he showed up turned over to us, that would be good, but it would not be the end. It's his lieutenants we have to get, it's the whole network that has to be ripped up. We can't take out the head and have the tail and other parts of it laying around waiting.


RUSSERT: How many people are we talking about?


POWELL: We're talking several thousand. Maybe many thousands. We're not entirely sure, but we do know that…


RUSSERT: Everywhere, Europe, America?


POWELL: Everywhere. They're in Europe, they're in America. You can find connections to them all around, and we have to get them all or else we will always have a degree of uncertainty and a degree of insecurity within not only American society, but within societies all over the world.


We have to keep remembering that the World Trade Center was that: the World Trade Center. Almost 80 countries–about 80 countries lost citizens. And so it was an attack against Americans, it was an attack against Muslims, it was an attack against Jews, it was an attack against Africa and Asia and Europe, all parts of the world. It was the World Trade Center and they knew what they were doing.


RUSSERT: You have lived a full life, mostly as a military man. You've seen death up close. How have the events of September 11 changed you?


POWELL: They have been deeply moving for me, as they have been for every American. To see your own home city, New York–I'm a New Yorker–to see it struck that way and then to see a building that I spent so many years in the Pentagon struck that way–and I went over to the Pentagon yesterday with Don Rumsfeld, Secretary Rumsfeld to look around. It's deeply moving to know that, one, we had this kind of vulnerability and there were people out there who we knew were out there, but never really had a sense of how determined they were to strike us in this way.


And it means that as we go forward, we will have to work harder to protect ourselves, work harder to find this kind of enemy, work harder to defend ourselves. And I'm so pleased that Governor Ridge will be playing an important role in homeland security.


But at the same time, I'm just as convinced, in the face of this horror, that we've got to go on. We will go on. We're a strong people. We have a backbone of steel. We're proud of who we are. We're patriotic. We're not afraid of people. We're not going to hide under desks. We're not going to go into bunkers.


We've got to get back to work. We've got to get back to our ball games. We've got to get back to our theaters. We've got to get this economy moving again. And that will be the best answer to what happened. While we're also chasing them, where we're also going after our campaign with all the vigor at our disposal and all the strength at our disposal, the real answer to them is get back to being Americans, the kind of Americans we know we are, and we'll show the world what this country is really made of.


RUSSERT: Before you go, why do they hate us so much and how do we offer those young Muslim boys and girls around the world a competing destiny that says, "America is not that, our capitalistic system is not bad, Christianity and Judaism is not bad," because the leaders of Osama bin Laden's group are fueling within them this rabid hate for our country and our way of life?


POWELL: For reasons that are very complex, they hate our value system. They hate our presence in parts of the world that they think we should not be in.


But let me make this point: Go to any American city and you will find many proud American Muslims, proud American Muslims who came to this country because they wanted to be a part of this society; who came to this country for the opportunities we presented; who came to this country proud of their Muslim heritage, but at the same time wanting to be an American, just as my parents came to this country and your grandparents came to this country.


And so while we are looking at the Muslims who, through a false application of their faith, are doing this, let's look at those Muslims who understand the power of the democratic system, who understand the power of the free enterprise system, and let's celebrate the Muslims who have come to this country to become Americans and to share in the values of this nation.


RUSSERT: Colin Powell, secretary of state, we thank you for joining us this morning.


Coming next, the four most important men in the United States Congress: Republicans Dennis Hastert and Trent Lott, Democrats Dick Gephardt and Tom Daschle. They are together right here next on "Meet The Press."




RUSSERT: And we are back.


Speaker Hastert, Leader Gephardt, Leader Daschle, Leader Lott, welcome all.


Mr. Speaker, let me start with you. If anything happened to the president or vice president, you'd be the president of the United States. Go back to September 11. On that terrible, terrible morning, a code red declared on Capitol Hill–when did you learn about what happened, and what steps did you take in order to keep the United States secure?


HASTERT: We actually learned like every other American, learned watching TV. I was in the Capitol early, 9 o'clock, we'd opened the House for morning session. I had a meeting downstairs. During that meeting somebody came in and said a plane had gone into the World Trade Center. It was a beautiful, clear morning. Sounded suspicious. By the time I got back up to my office, the second plane had gone into the World Trade Center.


At that time, I said, "I think we need to consider maybe just adjourning the House." I think thought we'd wait until that morning hour, 10 o'clock. I asked the chaplain to walk down with me.


And while we were trying to get some information from the White House, I looked out the window of the Capitol, it looks right down the Mall, and I see this plume of smoke coming up over the Pentagon and I said, "We need to get down to the House and adjourn it at this time."


I got to the House floor about five minutes to 10 and at that time we had our security that, kind of, whisked us away. The next thing I knew I was in a car hurtling through the countryside.


RUSSERT: You went to a facility. We will not disclose, obviously, for security reasons. You were there and then joined by the other leaders. Tell me about that day, the day you spent with three colleagues who are, at least two of them, often on the other side in terms of politics and legislation.


HASTERT: Well, yes, first of all it's frustrating. Any time you take somebody out of an element that you're used to, you're a little bit frustrated. You're mad. You're angry that this happened to the country. You didn't know what the effect of it was. I think–at least I was taken away and almost incommunicado when the Trade Towers collapsed so I didn't see that horrendous event.


And all of a sudden we're in a room with my colleagues here and we, kind of, looked around and said, "You know, we've never been together this long ever any time. And you know, we need to stand together," I think that was the consensus that we had around.


Quite frankly, we had some very good discussions. We were in briefings–actually talked to the vice president a couple of times during that period of time. And toward later that afternoon, we had some of our members that wanted to go back and open up Congress again and all these things and, you know, we still weren't sure of the safety of, not just for our members of Congress, but for staff and protection and all the people who work there. So we basically said, "We're going to go back to the Congress steps, stand shoulder to shoulder and reassure the American people that Congress will be back to work; we're going to do the things that we need to do." And, you know, this Congress has performed since that point.


RUSSERT: Senator Daschle, moments before all this happened, the country was fixated on the Social Security lockbox, the Bush economy, the Bush tax cut. All that sounds, kind of, almost irrelevant now, doesn't it?


DASCHLE: It does, Tim. We're dealing with emergency circumstances the likes of which nobody could have imagined just two weeks ago and that–that has shifted and changed in seismic ways the way Congress acts, our agenda, the decisions we must make, the way we work together, all the things that must be done. So without a doubt, this is a totally different environment and I think, as the speaker just noted, Congress is doing its best to respond under these circumstances.


RUSSERT: Congressman Gephardt, Speaker Hastert said the four of you in a room, hadn't spent much time together. How profoundly has your relationship changed with the speaker because of thee events?


GEPHARDT: Well, it's been an important time and I think all of us have reacted like everybody's reacted. This is the most horrible thing that's happened to our country in my lifetime. And we've all had an emotional reaction to it. This is horror, evil, we've seen the face of evil. And it's hurt the country so badly.


And so we–you know, I said to the president the other day, "We are trying to be half as good as the American people have been in this crisis." We're trying to talk to one another, communicate with each other, work with each other, respect one another, trust one another. And try to do the right things for the American people in a time of national emergency.


RUSSERT: Senator Lott?


LOTT: Well, I think it's been important that the leaders in Congress follow the lead that we've seen from the president and even more important for the American people.


The American people have been united. We've all felt the pain and horror that New York City is experienced. We've all been so proud of those that have given their lives and worked so hard from firemen to policemen to volunteers, those on the airplanes. And so we have been pulled together and it was to be expected that we would also approach things that way.


But I must say, I've been in Congress, this is I guess 28 years or so, and I've never seen the leadership work together the way we have. And there have been those that didn't agree with the decisions sometimes that the leadership had made, but we have stood together. We have done the right thing in terms of the economic package that we passed to pay for the cleanup and the disaster and the transportation and the military activities, also the use of force, and even this past Friday the airline package.


We've done it together. I think we've learned from it. And I think our relationship will be different and better in the future because of it.


RUSSERT: Wednesday I had the opportunity to visit ground zero in New York. I'm scarred in my mind and heart forever.


And then I sat down with Rudy Giuliani, the mayor of New York, who has played such a central role in all this. I want to share a little story he told me, and I'll play it on the screen for you and our viewers.




RUDOLPH GIULIANI: When President Bush came here, we drove–Governor Pataki and I drove with him down to the site, which was a beautiful experience and wonderful for the people there. Then we drove up the West Side of Manhattan and the governor were both teasing him with, "Maybe you got four votes here, but we're not sure if you got four votes, but look how these people"–and then we also pointed out to them maybe the governor got six and I got six there too and then Republicans did not do too well on the West Side of Manhattan. "But look how these people are supporting you because this Republican/Democrat thing is gone now. This is all about being an American."




RUSSERT: Mr. Speaker, this Republican/Democratic thing is gone now. Do you agree with that now?


HASTERT: Well, I think–I think so. You know, people are elected because there's different philosophies out there in this country and they're tended to elect by parties and represent philosophies, and that's what partisanship is all about, carrying those debates to the floor of Congress instead of carrying them out with sticks and stones.


So, partisanship is there to represent those philosophies, but in a time like these, American people expect us to come together, they expect us to get things done.


And, you know, that's what we've been about. And I think once you walk down that trail, and find out that you can do these things in this way, you can do extraordinary things.


I'm always reminded by the old Japanese warlords who, you know, had these processions and drums and cymbals and, you know, firecrackers and everything else to give them this persona, but, you know, inside when they met each other they were really just people. We're doing away with all these drums and philosophy, and sitting down as people elected to be leaders to do the things the American people want us to do.


LOTT: Let me give some credit to the two gentlemen here with the speaker and me today. Tom and Dick have stepped up in the right way. The response to the president's address, the joint session, was not a party response. We did it together and these two gentlemen went on the talk shows the next morning together. Dick Gephardt coordinated his radio response to the president's radio response on Saturday so that they were in sync and we have–the speaker stood some ground that was not easy for him because of concerns that Tom had. There have been efforts and concessions and leadership all around the table and I'm very proud of them.


RUSSERT: In fact, Senator Lott, I noted the president hugged Tom Daschle and Dick Gephardt last week and not you.


LOTT: Yes, we wondered about that, you know.




LOTT: But Dick had a good response. You know, he didn't think he had to hug us. We expected it of us but these gentlemen…


RUSSERT: Or he likes redheads.




LOTT: Well, yes, there's something to that perhaps.


RUSSERT: Let me turn to a couple things that have been on the agenda being talked about, and, Congress Gephardt, you gave a passionate speech before Congress the other night saying, "We all failed our primary responsibilities to protect our people." Do you think there will be a serious effort now to have the federal government take responsibility for all airport security?


GEPHARDT: I hope we do. That's my opinion. There will be other opinions.


We have to work out who pays for what part of it. We can't disregard all those facts. But I think we must convince the American people very quickly that it's safe to go to airports and to get on airplanes and fly as we did before September the 11th, and I think the federal government has the central responsibility to do that.


RUSSERT: Speaker Hastert, do you think the American people, do you think Congress could accept a surtax where every airline ticket you buy, you pay five bucks or 10 bucks extra devoted to hiring people who screen luggage and passengers who are competent and professional?


HASTERT: Well, we pay a surtax on our airline tickets now depending on where you go and how you fly into and where we fly out of. But I'm not sure how we're going to fund this. It might be the government's responsibility to do that. We haven't made that decision yet.


But I think the American people deserve no less than the most competent people to be there at those gates to go through and check individuals and luggage and to make sure that the American public is safe. And that's what we really want to get down to, that Americans are restored in the faith that they can fly.


I mean, when these attacks came on the American people, it took away some of our freedoms and some of our liberties and that's what really those terrorists were attacking. And we need to restore those. And one of them is to be able to fly. That's how America does business. That's how we visit family. That's how we have recreation. We need to have that confidence that we can do that again.


RUSSERT: Senator Daschle, do you think the federal government should take over all the security and even be willing to have a surtax on tickets to pay for it?


DASCHLE: Well, Tim, I think we need to work out the ways, both we provide the security as well as we pay for it. You asked earlier about differences. I suppose as we work through this, there will be different ideas. The point is, at the end of the day, we're going to be unified in a response to those–to those concerns the American people have.


Dick Gephardt is absolutely right. We can provide the airlines with all the money they need, but people aren't going to climb on board again until they know they're secure and our job is to see that that security is provided and we're going to do that.


RUSSERT: Would a federal control be best, do you think?


DASCHLE: Well, I think that would be my inclination, as well, to think that federal control is the best way to do this, at least for a period of time. Maybe there will be another way that would be equally as effective down the road. But right now, I can't think of a better alternative.


RUSSERT: Senator Lott?


LOTT: Well, I pointed out some of the bills that we've already passed just in the last two weeks. I think this is one area that we need to address very quickly and probably will get to in the next 10 days or so and that is the security. The president has got authority and money to do some things, but we're going to look–there already is a package been introduced–bipartisan package in the Senate. I'm sure the House is working on it. But security and defense issues and even what we do in the economy we'll have to turn to in the next couple of weeks.


RUSSERT: Speaker Hastert, do you think symbolically it's important that National Airport reopen?


HASTERT: Well, I think that's–for all of us who fly out of Washington two or three times a week, I think that's pretty important. We need to balance that with security and make sure planes coming in and out are secure–that we can protect. But certainly that's a symbol for this nation, that people can move–tourists and business people and politicians can move freely in and out of this city. And if National stays down, I think the terrorists have achieved one of their goals, and that's to scare the American people.


I don't know what the answer is, how short or how long, but we need to make sure those protections are in place. I would certainly hope it would open up again.


RUSSERT: Anyone disagree with that? Reagan should reopen.


Let me turn to the issue of civil liberties. Attorney General Ashcroft has said we need to have better capability to track down the terrorists: Wiretaps, computers, detaining some people.


Senator Daschle, from what you've heard from the attorney general, is all that acceptable or are Democrats a little bit resistant to some of those changes because of their concern about constitutional protections?


DASCHLE: Well, Tim, I think we have to find that balance between constitutional protection and ensuring that law enforcement officials have whatever tools they need to get the job done. I know that Senator Leahy, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, and Senator Bob Graham, the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, and the ranking members are working very closely with the attorney general to find that balance. I'm confident over the course of the next week or so we will be successful in that regard.


RUSSERT: Congressman Gephardt, any concerns?


GEPHARDT: There are concerns in my party. There are concerns in the Republican Party and those are going to be expressed in the days ahead. What we're trying to do is to go through a more regular process on this to let everybody be heard, to have a hearing on Monday I think in one of our committees; to have other committees look at it as well.


Understand, we want to do what we need to do to help the administration, the military, be able to track these folks down and bring them to justice. And if there are things they need that haven't been covered in law–one of the concerns is that people have all these phones now. People are throwing away a phone a day. So it's hard to get to the eavesdropping that you need without getting an order every day from a court. Things like that, obviously, have to be dealt with. I think we can reach some kind of consensus on it soon.


RUSSERT: There's been an extraordinary outpouring amongst the American people for people in need. A wonderful doctor friend of mine, Michael Newman (ph), called and suggested that people take their rebate checks and just turn them over and make them payable to the Red Cross or the Catholic Charities or the Salvation Army. What do you think of that Senator?


DASCHLE: I think it's a great idea. I have a very dear friend in Mobridge, South Dakota, who just did that this week and I think we ought to set the example. We need to do that.


I think the American people want to find ways to be as helpful as they possibly can. This is an easy way, a very effective way to do it.


RUSSERT: Senator Lott?


LOTT: A lot of people are already doing that and others are going way beyond that, individually and corporations and unions. In fact, when we were in New York City–Tom and I went with a delegation of senators last week–the fire commissioner told me that their firemen relief fund even then was $90 million and he expected it to go up considerably. So the American people are proving with their contributions and their actions that they're going to really reach out and help those in need.


GEPHARDT: We got to encourage all of us to help one another fight this and work with one another. It's why the other day the speaker and I went on the floor and said, "We're going to try to bring forward–now that we've helped the airline, we need to think about the out-of-work employees in all these industries that have been affected by this and see if they can get their health insurance and training and some other things that they need to get back into their normal lives."


RUSSERT: America's had about a million layoffs since the beginning of the year; a couple hundred thousand over the last 10 days. Speaker Hastert, are there other industries, other than the airline industry, who are going to come to you for help and should the federal government be in a role of helping them?


HASTERT: I'm sure they're going to come to us and I think they're probably lined up already. But one of the things we have to look at, we need to get this economy rolling again. We need to get the airline industry up and running, people's confidence in it, because a lot of these tangent industries that–the tourist industry and the ship line industry and the others out there, hotels and restaurants–if people are moving, if people are traveling, then their businesses are going to be made whole.


So we needed to do the most important thing and that's get the airlines running, people's confidence back in the faith of flying so that all these other service industries can be part of this and whole again.


And what Leader Gephardt said on the whole issue of employment security, you know, we have–our amount of funds in employment security are larger than we've ever seen before. So we have the resources to be able to do that. We want to make sure that people get their health care, all Americans get their health care. And we're going to be working on those issues, as well.


LOTT: And Tim, America will be different, maybe never the same again, but we need to encourage and do everything we can as leaders but also the American people to return to normalcy. And I think I've already started seeing that and that's across the board.


RUSSERT: Senator Daschle, part of a plan to stimulate the economy is a cut in the capital gains tax, tied with an increase in the minimum wage. Do you think that's a good idea, both those?


DASCHLE: Well, we're going to look at all the options we have. I think the consensus is right now, let's look and see down the road what makes the most sense. Everything's on the table. And nothing's off the table. But I think that it's important for us to take some time to really analyze what is the best thing we can do and no one's come to any conclusions about that. It's no secret I'm not wild about a capital gains cut, but we're going to stay unified as we approach these things.


If I could just add something to what Senator Lott just said, Tim, I think what we've got to do if we really want to stimulate the economy is encourage people to do the things they were going to do in the first place. Go buy that car if they were thinking about it. Go out and have a good dinner. Buy their children's clothing for the school year and all of the home improvements that they were going–we've got to get back to normal. And the more we can encourage that, the more people can just do the things that they were going to do as Americans, the more they're going to help their country and restore this economy to the health it should be.


RUSSERT: And with that in mind, we have to take a quick break for a commercial to pay for this program. We'll be right back after this.




RUSSERT: And we are back.


Speaker Hastert, Congress still has a lot of work to do: all the appropriation bills, patient bill of rights, education bill. Will you get to those this session?


HASTERT: Well, we certainly want to. The appropriation bills we have to get through. And I think we have at least the beginning of an agreement that we can do this. I don't think the American people want to see us sit in Washington and squabble about how much money we spend on defense and other things, when we, basically, have put our men and women who serve this country in the national defense in jeopardy.


So we need to get that work done. We are going to move what we call a CR that will take us probably to the 15th or 16th of October…


RUSSERT: Continuing Resolution.


HASTERT: … and hopefully we'll get our work done by that time.


Now, that doesn't mean that the work of the Congress is done. I think we have a lot of other things to do. But at least we ought to get the appropriations off the table and done.


There's other things out there. There's the issue of health care. And I think we've passed a bill, the Senate's passed a bill. We should be able to come together and hopefully get some of that…


RUSSERT: On the patient bill of rights?


HASTERT: On patients' bill of rights, get done, yes.


RUSSERT: How long will Congress stay in session?


HASTERT: We're going to stay in session as long as we need to. We may not be in session every day, but, you know, we're in an extremely tough crisis situation in this country, and Congress is going to be there when we need to be there.


And the other issues out there, you know, we have an energy bill. I don't know if we've passed an energy bill–I'm not sure whether the Senate's going to–they passed one. We need to be able to come together. I've always said that, the more dependent that we get on the Middle East for our energy, the more involved we become in their policies and their government and their idiosyncrasies on this thing. And, you know, we need to step back a little bit and free ourselves up from that.


So I think those are all important issues that we can start to talk about.


RUSSERT: Congressman Gephardt, this is going to be very expensive, this war against terrorism. It may even mean deficit spending again. Can you accept that?


GEPHARDT: We're going to do what we have to do. We got to fight this thing. This is a dagger pointed at the heart of our country. We've hurt so many of our families. We have to respond, and we have to win this battle, and we're going to win it.


I want to add one thing to what the speaker said. You know, the last few days, we've been working in a bipartisan way, and that's been new for some of our members. They haven't seen that. And it's been hard. It's been difficult to get those agreements.


But one thing we've learned is that, when you really do things in a bipartisan way, sometimes you don't get everything you want. And that's, I think, a good experience. I've said to my members, "We're in a new world. We have to think anew and act anew," and that's what we're trying to do.


RUSSERT: Senator Daschle, how have the events of September 11 changed you?


DASCHLE: Well, I think we all still ache, Tim, inside. I don't think that ache will go away any time soon.


But along with the ache comes this incredible pride. When you see what happens across this country, when our people respond as they have with generosity, with compassion, with resolve, with determination, with patriotism, displayed in so many ways–handmade flags as you go down neighborhoods, I think that is really what has made me feel as proud as I've ever been to be an American.


RUSSERT: Senator Lott, I'll give you the last word.


LOTT: I think it changes your perspective about what's really important in your personal life and in your public life. And you feel differently toward your sometime adversaries. And I think we've all grieved together, we've all worked together, and I think we have all shared a pride and a pain that will make us different, pull us together, and I think make us better individually and as a country.


RUSSERT: Senator Trent Lott, Senator Tom Daschle, Representative Dick Gephardt, Speaker Dennis Hastert, thank you all very much for this historic morning on "Meet the Press."

Taleban authorities demand evidence on Bin Laden’s guilt









INTRO: Taleban authorities in Afghanistan say calls to surrender alleged

terrorist Osama bin Laden are a "pretext" to destroy Taleban rule in

Afghanistan. About one thousand Afghan Muslim clerics have gathered in

Kabul for a meeting to discuss the fate of Osama bin Laden, who is wanted

by the United States for his alleged role in the attacks on New York and Washington. V-O-A's Jim Teeple reports from Islamabad.

TEXT: In a defiant speech read out to the clerics, the Taleban supreme

leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar, said the enemies of Afghanistan view the

Taleban Islamic system as a thorn in their eye and are seeking to finish it


In his speech to the gathering of the "shura," or council, Mullah Omar said

Osama bin Laden is just the latest "pretext" being used by the enemies of

the Taleban to destroy their rule. Mullah Omar said he wished to assure the

United States and the rest of the world that Osama bin Laden had not used

Afghan territory as a base for attacking anyone. However, the reclusive

Taleban leader also repeated his offer of talks with the United States to

settle all outstanding issues.

President Bush rejected the call for talks, saying now is the time to act.

Mullah Omar also called on the United States to exercise patience and to

provide proof of who was behind the attacks that killed more than

five-thousand people. President Bush says Osama bin Laden is the prime

suspect in the attacks, and he has indicated he wants the Saudi fugitive

taken dead or alive.

Mullah Omar's comments are the first he has made since he met with a senior

Pakistani delegation. Speaking in Islamabad, Riaz Mohammed Khan, the

Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesman said the delegation made every effort

to convey the seriousness of the situation Afghanistan faces.


The Delegation impressed upon the Afghan leadership the gravity of the

situation, and what the international community expected from the

Afghanistan government and leadership. We only hope that the Afghan

leadership is able to take the right decisions which are in the best

interests of the Afghan people.


Meanwhile leaders of 35 Pakistan Islamic organizations said on Wednesday

they will obey any call for a "jihad," or holy war, against the United States

made by the clerics meeting in Kabul. Maulana Sami-ul Haq, who heads a

grouping of pro-Taleban Islamic groups also warned Pakistan's President,

General Pervez Musharraf against backing any campaign by the United States

and its allies to capture or kill Osama bin Laden. (SIGNED)


Aircraft carrier and missiles to fight terrorists









INTRO: Another U-S aircraft carrier battle group has put to sea as the United States marshals forces for an all-out assault on terrorism. V-O-A Military Affairs Correspondent Alex Belida reports from the Pentagon.

TEXT: The aircraft carrier U-S-S Theodore Roosevelt set out from Norfolk, Virginia, accompanied by a flotilla that includes 10 guided missile cruisers, destroyers, submarines, and other vessels. The group is being joined by a three-ship amphibious assault group carrying 21-hundred Marines.

In all, there are more than 15-thousand sailors and Marines on the ships.

Navy officials describe it as a previously-scheduled six-month deployment. But officials will not say where the battle group is going other than to tell reporters it is heading east. Some news reports say its initial destination is the Mediterranean Sea.

Normally, the Navy keeps three aircraft carrier battle groups at sea. With the addition of the Roosevelt, there are now five. The Navy says two are currently in the Pacific, one in the Indian Ocean, and one in the Arabian Gulf.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has said the United States is prepared to use the full spectrum of its military capabilities in a war on terrorism. But he has also said the Pentagon is moving in what he terms a measured manner as authorities gather information and prepare what he says will be appropriate courses of action.

Mr. Rumsfeld has said the campaign will be broad-based and he adds that it will not quick or easy.

In addition to the latest naval battle group deployment, air force, and army units have been placed on alert for possible short-notice deployments. Defense authorities are also calling up some 35-thousand reservists to assist in domestic security and clean-up operations in the wake of last week's terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. (Signed)


George W. Bush evasive on evidence re. Osama’s links to 9/11

 President George W. Bush evasive on evidence against Osama bin Laden 
 (Excerpts) Can I follow on one point? Do you to your mind have irrefutable evidence that links al Qaeda, and specifically Osama bin Laden to these attacks? PRESIDENT BUSH: When we take action, we will take action because we believe -- because we know we'll be on the right. And I want to remind people that there have been terrorist activities on America in the past, as well. And there has been -- indictments have been handed down.This is a war not against a specific individual, nor will it be a war against solely one organization. It is a war against terrorist activities. Our nation must do everything we can to protect the homeland, and we are. The Attorney General briefs on a daily basis, as the Director of the FBI, talking about what we're doing to do the best we can to protect the American people from any further activity. But the best way to make sure that America is safe, the people of Indonesia are safe, is to find terrorism at its roots and to root it out, to get them out of their caves and get them moving, cut off their finances, and hold them accountable. 

Ari Fleischer, The White House, evasive on evidence re. responsibility of Osama bin Laden for 9/11

The transcript contains interesting responses on the evidence (or absence thereof) on who were the perptrators of the mass murder of 9/11. Particulary interesting are the evasive answers of Ari Fleischer to quesions regarding evidence. (The Webmaster).

Transcript: White House Daily Briefing, September 19, 2001

 White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer briefed.
Following is the White House transcript:
(begin transcript)
Office of the Press Secretary
September 19, 2001
-- Readout/President's conversations with foreign leaders
- Unilateral response
-- Pakistani/Musharraf's speech
-- Stimulus package
-- Other nations/requests for cooperation
-- Military response
-- Evidence/Secretary Powell's comments
-- U.N. General Assembly/authorization
-- Airline bailout/other businesses
- Loss of jobs
-- Latin American countries/response
-- Possible Iraq involvement
-- American public/mind-set of war
- Possible draft
-- Attacks on Arab Americans, Sikhs
-- Immigration
-- Taliban response
-- Irish terrorism
-- Possible additional attacks
-- Japan response/meeting with the President?
Office of the Press Secretary
September 19, 2001
The James S. Brady Briefing Room
2:20 P.M. EDT
MR. FLEISCHER: Good afternoon. The President today spoke with South
Korean President Kim early this morning. President Kim reiterated the
deep condolences of the Korean people and the government, and said
that South Korea will fully cooperate in the antiterrorist effort in
the spirit of the United States/Republic of Korea Mutual Defense
Treaty. He also noted South Korea's readiness to participate in the
international coalition.
President Bush thanked President Kim for South Korea's support and
concerns for American people, and said we will stay in consultation
about the war against terrorism. They both look forward to meeting in
Seoul next month.
The President also spoke this morning with President Mbeki of South
Africa. President Bush expressed his appreciation for South Africa's
offer of search and rescue teams and medical assistance to help in
America's recovery. President Mbeki offered his condolences and said
that President Bush has taken on an important task to mobilize a
global coalition against terrorism. The Presidents acknowledged the
common threat of terrorism to both the United States and South Africa,
and President Bush explained that his effort to go after terrorist
sanctuaries, as well as countries who sponsor such evil.
Earlier today, as well, the President had a meeting with his National
Security Council. He met with the President of Indonesia, and the two
Presidents condemned the attack on the United States and pledged that
they would strengthen existing cooperation in the global effort to
combat international terrorism. They also reaffirmed their commitment
to the principles of religious freedom and tolerance and relations
within and among nations.
As the leader of the world's largest Muslim population and the third
largest democracy in the world, President Megawati joined President
Bush in underlining the importance of differentiating between the
religion of Islam and the acts of violent extremists, which has taken
place in New York and here at the Pentagon in Washington, emphasizing
that Islam is a religion of peace that neither teaches hatred nor
condones violence.
President Megawati encouraged President Bush in his stated purpose of
building a broad coalition across religious lines and cultures to deal
with these new and dangerous threats. And noting also, President Bush
noted also that Islam is the fastest-growing religion in the United
States. President Bush assured President Megawati that the American
people respect Islam as one of the world's great religions, and that
the United States would join hands with freedom-loving people around
the world of all religions to combat international terrorism.
The President will meet with the Foreign Minister of Russia this
afternoon. He will meet with the Foreign Minister of Germany this
afternoon. And he will also meet with a bipartisan leadership group
coming down from the Congress, including Speaker Hastert, Majority
Leader Daschle, Minority Leader Gephardt and Minority Leader Lott, to
discuss recent developments with the attack on the United States, as
well as to discuss the important issues on the domestic agenda,
particularly concerns about the American airline industry and a
possible economic stimulus package, as well as whatever else may be on
the minds of congressional leaders.
Finally, the President has noted the speech of President Musharraf
today in Pakistan. The United States is very pleased with the
cooperation of Pakistan, and President Musharraf's speech is an
indication of the strong relationship between the United States and
Pakistan to counterterrorism.
With that, Mr. Fournier?
QUESTION: Is the President definitely for a stimulus package, and it's
just a matter of what it is? And does he think it's time now to give
businesses a tax break after giving individuals tax breaks earlier in
the year?
MR. FLEISCHER: Well, the President, first and foremost, wants to work
with Congress, and work closely with Congress. And that's why he's
looking forward to this meeting with the leaders. And he wants to hear
what the Democrats say, what the Republicans say, and he wants to see
how narrow or how wide the differences may be, because we are in a new
era where the differences, really, between the two parties are
narrowing out of a sense of trying to help the country.
So he wants to work with Congress. He has talked about a variety of
plans that could include tax relief, that include some areas of
spending. Certainly $40 billion, which a large portion will be spent
in a one-year period, of emergency assistance to deal with the
consequences of this attack will have a stimulative effect on the
economy. And the President is also prepared to listen to ideas about
regulatory changes.
Q: Such as?
MR. FLEISCHER: I'm not going to get into specifics. I'll allow them to
have their meeting, and then as the President makes up any
determinations or agreements are reached with Congress, I'll have more
to indicate.
Q: You know that the United States made specific requests/demands of
Pakistan, and Pakistan is cooperating. Can you say whether in some of
these meetings or in separate phone calls, the President is yet at the
stage where he is making specific requests for various countries in
the area of cooperating in this war?
MR. FLEISCHER: It varies. It varies from country to country. I think
it's a safe assumption that in some cases the answer to that is yes;
in other cases, it's developing, and will continue to develop as plans
are made.
Q: Can you say which countries have had various requests made of them?
Q: Does the President feel any increasing pressure to act militarily?
We see a new poll today, for example, that shows over 80 percent of
Americans favor some sort of military action.
MR. FLEISCHER: As the President said last week, that while this attack
may have begun by our enemies, it will end in a manner and at a time
of America's choosing. I think the President is keenly mindful of the
fact that this has to be done right. It cannot be done early, it
cannot be done late; it has to be done for the right reasons, at the
right time because the response will be effective.
And this is another reason why he's also mindful of the patience of
the American people. The American people are a patient people. The
American people also want to see action. But the President is going to
be guided by a very resolute sense of only action that should be taken
is action that will work, that will be effective, and that will be
effective for the long-term. And so, therefore, whatever series of
steps you take -- and I urge you to think beyond just the traditional
military -- will be taken at the appropriate time and in the
appropriate way, as the President sees fit.
Q: What do you mean by "beyond just the traditional military"?
MR. FLEISCHER: Well, I keep reminding you that there are other steps
that are financial, that are diplomatic, that are political. So I just
think as you all approach this issue, you need to consider that
mind-set, that this is, as the President points out, a different kind
of war. It is the new war of the 21st century, and there will be more
elements to it than only traditional military.
Q: When you say it has to be done right, are you talking about going
after the one person? And do we contemplate any change in our foreign
policy that might have contributed to this?
MR. FLEISCHER: The President has said this is much bigger than any one
person. This deals with all terrorist networks that contribute to this
form of terrorism, and to those who harbor terrorism. The President
has said that he sees in this an opportunity to do something for the
next generations, so that people will not have to suffer these
terrorist attacks that culminated in the attack on the World Trade
Q: So we could break diplomatic relations with any nation?
MR. FLEISCHER: I'm not going to get into any possibilities or
hypotheticals, but the President has indicated clearly that they
involve --
Q: Well, those who harbor -- what would you do? You would invade their
MR. FLEISCHER: I'm not going to get into any of the specifics, but I
have indicated earlier that it could involve things that are military,
things that are diplomatic, things that are financial, all of the
Q: Ari, last week officials were saying -- Secretary Powell, in
particular -- that the U.S. would present convincing evidence to other
governments and people around the world, if and when we acted, to show
the justice and accuracy of our actions. This morning you seemed to
indicate that in order not to compromise how we're gathering
information, you might not do that. Did I read that right?
MR. FLEISCHER: I think the question was put to me, one, about the
United Nations, would he go to the United Nations before he'd take any
action and present evidence to the United Nations? I was also asked if
I had anything that I could contribute publicly here from this podium
about proof that we had. And that was the context of my answer. But
the President will, of course, work with our allies and other nations
as we make plans and move forward.
Q: And so we will be presenting that convincing proof to other
MR. FLEISCHER: I think we are going to build out alliances and
coalitions. And that means interesting interplay, always, with
different nations about how much they want to contribute, how much
they will do based on their own desires and their own abilities. And
that is going to vary from nation to nation. So I don't think you can
make any one inference about sharing of information, for example,
across the world. It would be different elements with different
Q: And one more on this. Given what a shadowy and nebulous creature we
are dealing with in this terrorist network, is the administration
finding it hard to forge those links from these atrocities to specific
MR. FLEISCHER: That's a question of what evidence have you gathered.
And I'm not going to get into the process of the evidence-gathering.
Q: Isn't it hard to prove this kind of thing, though?
MR. FLEISCHER: I think it's always accurate to say that the war on
terrorism is a shadowy one. Terrorists do operate in a shadowy way.
And that's why the President, from the beginning, has recognized that
this is, as he put it, the new war of the 21st century. And that will
be reflected in the actions he takes.
Jim Angle, who is sitting in the second row. He moved up.
Q: On the question of evidence, I mean, obviously, it would be helpful
to the U.S. and those it is asking to cooperate to help demonstrate
that this is not a war against Islam, that it's based on specific
evidence. That would obviously help the Pakistanis. It would obviously
help a number of other people we've asked to participate in this with
us. Is the administration inclined in some way and in some forum, or
even privately on a one-on-one basis, to provide whatever evidence or
some kind of evidence so that those who are also exposed in this
battle can make the case that they have seen convincing evidence and
that it's real?
MR. FLEISCHER: I think all you have to do is listen to President
Musharraf's speech today. And based on the information that Pakistan
is aware of and the conversations that Pakistan has had with the
United States, they are taking action that the United States
government is appreciative for. And so I think the questions about
evidence, for example, many of the nations around the world are
already ahead of your questions. They are already working with the
United States very productively and cooperatively. And so I think you
have to ask yourselves the question of, are the other nations around
the world asking the same questions that you are, and I indicate that
many of those nations are beyond what you're asking.
Q: I don't think there is any question that our allies are prepared to
believe this. What we're talking about are people who are not
necessarily our allies and those who try to make the argument that the
administration is simply waging war on Islam. Is there anything you
can do to soften those views, or do you just chalk those people up as
being beyond the pale in terms of your ability to convince them
MR. FLEISCHER: I draw your attention to the meeting today, of course,
in the Oval Office with the President of Indonesia, the conversations
the President has had with other Arab nations and Muslim nations, and
those conversations have been very productive.
So that's -- again, I'm trying to draw you off of that question a
little bit, because it's not really reflective of what the United
States is hearing from nations around the world. I indicated to Terry
that to the degree there are any such concerns, different nations will
have different issues that get addressed on a host of issues. And I
think that's not surprising.
Q: You're confirming that you have shared information with Pakistan
and some other countries?
MR. FLEISCHER: No, I'm not confirming that. I said we could take a
look at the statements that have been made by these nations, and they
are satisfied with the actions we are taking or requesting, and we are
satisfied with their response. That is why I am saying these nations
have moved beyond your questions.
Q: Ari, President Musharraf said that in his opinion, the United
States need not seek any further authorization from the United Nations
General Assembly or the Security Council to act militarily, because of
the resolution passed last Wednesday. Does the administration agree?
MR. FLEISCHER: You have been asking me that question for two days, and
I pointed out to you that under the United Nations charter, the United
States has a right to self-defense. Of course, there was a Security
Council resolution also. Whether or not any other action will be taken
at the United Nations is not a determination the President has made at
this point, which is the same answer I gave yesterday.
Q: All right, let me ask you this. On the scope of this global effort,
you said yesterday, first, that it was against terrorism generally.
Then you said against terrorist organizations that pose a direct
threat to America. A moment ago you said, seeking out a campaign
against a people, terrorism that affects people. Is it still the
administration's position that this is only a campaign against
organizations that pose a direct threat to America?
MR. FLEISCHER: It is all of that. And that is why the President has
indicated that in this new war of the 21st century against terrorism,
the United States, in concert with our allies and coalition partners,
will target terrorism and those who harbor terrorists. Terrorism
presents a threat to people who love freedom and democracy throughout
the world. And that was what I added to my statement yesterday, if you
Q: But is it a coalition against terrorism activity in, for example,
Spain or Ireland or India?
MR. FLEISCHER: We talked about this yesterday. This is a worldwide
attempt to combat terrorism, where terrorism threatens people who
cherish freedom, and where terrorism is a threat to ourselves and to
our allies and to our friends.
Q: Given the President's sense of urgency to help bail out the
airlines, does he also feel it necessary to provide direct financial
aid to other industries, such as the insurance industry, reinsurance
industry, hotels, motels, tourism in the state of Hawaii, that are
also having financial difficulties that they can trace directly to the
aftermath of the terrorist attack?
MR. FLEISCHER: On the domestic consequences, the President is looking
at this, at least initially, in two distinct groups. There is one, the
airlines, which clearly have been directly and adversely affected as a
result of the attack on the United States. The President is
considering what appropriate remedy is proper and wise and in the
taxpayers' interest for the airlines, to help them deal with the
consequences of the attack.
More broadly speaking, the President is also, as he will today,
talking to members of Congress and to his advisors about what steps
could be taken to help the economy in general. And of course, any
steps that would help the economy in general could also have an impact
on various industries.
Q: But what about hotels and restaurants located in New York or
Washington that can show you proof that they've also lost money as a
direct result of --
MR. FLEISCHER: Well, that's why I was addressing the question of the
economy in general, which, of course, has --
Q: So you won't help any --
MR. FLEISCHER: -- which, of course, has an impact on other industries.
I'm not prepared to go down a line tick-tocking them, and who knows
where you want to start and where you want to end. I have given you
the answer that the President is focused on the airlines, and then the
economy in general, which, of course, has impact on others in other
Q: Most Latin American Presidents have expressed messages of
condolence and support for the United States in this perilous hour.
Now it seems that the foreign ministers will be meeting here in
Washington on Friday to vote for what is called in Spanish by the
acronym PIAR, which is the Inter-American Reciprocal Assistance
Treaty, also known as the Treaty of Rio, which was signed in December
of 1947, in which each nation must come to the aid of all the
nation-members if one of them is attacked. Did the United States ask
for this meeting, or was this meeting a spontaneous thing?
MR. FLEISCHER: Well, as you know, Secretary Powell was actually in
Lima, Peru, meeting with the OAS General Assembly on September 11th
when the attack took place. But like all other regional security
arrangements that the United States has, or that we are a signatory
to, the Rio Treaty provides also a collective security mechanism
through which we can coordinate our response. We're gratified by the
calls in the region to invoke the treaty and look forward to exploring
how its elements can be used.
It's just another indication of how the world is speaking out and
expressing unity and solidarity in a variety of ways with the United
States in a way that will isolate the terrorists and enable the world
to do combat with terrorism on a host of levels.
Q: There's a press report I'm sure you're aware of that the pilot of
one of the planes that hit one of the towers of the World Trade Center
met last year with the head of intelligence from Iraq. Iraq denies it.
Can you confirm that meeting took place?
MR. FLEISCHER: I'm aware of the report, but I'm not in a position to
confirm or give you any further indication on that.
Q: Ari, back to the President of Pakistan's speech. He said three
things I wanted to see if you could confirm or elaborate on. First of
all, on the point that you've been discussing, he said he was still
asking the United States for evidence, which would seem to suggest
that he wasn't completely satisfied yet with what he's seen concerning
bin Laden.
Second, he said that the U.S. has asked for intelligence-gathering,
logistics and permission to use air space. He said nothing about
actually placing troops on the ground -- if you could discuss that.
And, thirdly, he also issued a warning to India not to take advantage
of the situation. I'm wondering whether or not the U.S. has also
expressed concern to India that it not take advantage of this in any
way, in Kashmir or elsewhere.
MR. FLEISCHER: First, I'm not prepared to go into the list of all of
the specifics. President Musharraf did, himself, acknowledge three.
I'm not prepared to go into whether there are any others --
Q: Can you confirm those three?
MR. FLEISCHER: I'm not prepared to go into any beyond that, but I will
confirm those three. On the first point, I've read his speech, David,
and I'm not aware of that statement, so if you could point that out to
me, I would appreciate seeing that. But the President, as I indicated,
is pleased with the actions taken by Pakistan, and certainly this is
an important speech that the President of Pakistan has given to his
people today.
And your third question?
Q: India.
MR. FLEISCHER: And what about it?
Q: The President of Pakistan indicated concern that India might take
advantage of this, that they were on high alert against India -- the
military was. Has there been any U.S. communication to India about not
taking advantage of this? Any intercession on behalf of Pakistan's
MR. FLEISCHER: The President did speak with President Vajpayee just
the other day, and the President is aware of the regional implications
of all the actions in this region. But the President is satisfied that
the nations there understand the cause that they are all uniting
behind -- India, Pakistan, together with the United States. The
President is confident that broader context will be the modality in
which those nations operate.
Q: Did you specifically ask the President of India not to take any
steps related to Pakistan that would make the --
MR. FLEISCHER: I would have to go back and look at the exact phone
Q: This morning, the President talked about changing the mind-set
about war. Here you've been stressing, or at least mentioning the
other options, like financial, other things that can be done. Are you
concerned that perhaps too much of an emphasis has been given to the
military or the assumption of a military attack?
MR. FLEISCHER: Actually, I'm repeating the same thing I've been saying
for three days. I continue to use that, because, again, I think it's
so important for the American people who have for so many years
understood war to be a traditional war, as the President points out,
that involves capital cities and movements of fleets, and airplanes
sitting on tarmacs, that this type of war is a totally different type
of war.
And I was with the President all day on Tuesday last week, as you
know. Now, as the President arrived back into Washington, D.C., he got
in his helicopter at Andrews Air Force base and came back to the White
House. And it was late in the afternoon, early in the evening. And the
way the helicopter comes into Washington, the President could see out
of the left window of the helicopter the smoke coming out of the
And the President, looking out the window, said out loud and to nobody
in particular, he said, "The mightiest building in the world is on
fire. What you're just witnessing is the war of the 21st century."
I mean, he understood right from the beginning that this is different.
And the manner in which our enemies, in this case, the terrorists,
carry out the war against us is different -- hijacking airplanes with
plastic knives and flying them into buildings in America. And our
response will be different. Our response will not only be the
traditional senses the American people have become accustomed to when
it comes to war. But it will be all those other elements the President
has talked about, while the financial networks that involve diplomacy,
sanctions, trade, economy, politics, carrots, sticks. And there will
be a host of items, a host of measures that go into this, and it will
be different from things that people have seen before. It will also
involve the patience of the American people, because it won't be
conducted in the same manner the American people have seen on a
limited basis, thank God.
Q: Ari, two quickies. One, the Attorney General and FBI Director, they
have been speaking only about attacks against Arab Americans, but not
against the Indian Sikhs. Nobody has ever spoken yet, only except you
have mentioned -- and, number two, in which category will you put
Pakistan, which has been harboring terrorism -- India's Kashmir and
their -- centers even for Osama bin Laden and others.
MR. FLEISCHER: Well, I think on your second point, that's why the
President indicated that this is a chance for Pakistan. The President
has said that he has spoken with President Musharraf, and this is a
time to see that requests have been made, and not it will be a time to
see. And the President is pleased what he has seen at this point.
On your first question, it's a vital question, and I think it's so
important every day for everybody in government to continue to remind
the American people, as General Ashcroft did this morning, that the
American people should show no intolerance toward anybody based on
what has happened. The fabric of our society is tremendously strong,
but there are some weak edges. And everybody in our country has a role
to speak out and do what we can to stop those weak edges.
Q: -- because Indian American community, especially Sikhs, are really
worried to come out because a number of Sikh persons have been also
targeted in Virginia, and they are worried and -- yesterday, and they
are asking President Bush especially to --
MR. FLEISCHER: The President, when he visited the Islamic Center --
and I understand you're making a valid point about the difference
between religions -- the President was very touched when somebody
explained that his mother was afraid to come out of the house because
she did want to wear her traditional headwear, and she was fearful
that if she did, she would be subject to violence. And that really
touched the President. And it's a reason why the President spoke out
as he did, and I think it's just something that every day, every way,
people in positions of responsibility have got to address.
Q: In terms of your talking about war, during wartime we sometimes
make changes both with legal immigration and illegal immigration. Are
there any changes planned in how we're going to be treating immigrants
to this country?
MR. FLEISCHER: No, there is nothing that's been brought to my
attention. I know, in fact, that the President is still committed to
honoring his promise to work with President Fox on immigration changes
to deal with Mexico and that's part of the program and ways of making
America welcome to immigrants.
It's so important at all times to remember the things that make
America strong, and immigration is one of them. We can be a nation
with immigrants; we can also be a nation of laws, and we have to be
Q: You mentioned yesterday that the response from the Taliban had been
all over the lot. Is there any more clarity today, and if not, does
that in itself indicate that they're not going to cooperate?
MR. FLEISCHER: No, I would say there has been no more clarity today.
Q: Also, in wartime, we've had history of drafts. Is that something
that's under consideration, or can we take it off the table?
MR. FLEISCHER: No, there is no consideration of that at this time. And
from my conversations at the Pentagon, it's not something they
Q: One Irish question and one British question, please. There were
some references made by the IRA yesterday. Does the administration
believe that one side of that conflict is more guilty than the other?
Does the administration believe that the IRA is a terrorist group, or
the new IRA, or the Real IRA?
MR. FLEISCHER: Certainly, the Real IRA is listed on the official list
of terrorist groups. But I think the President said what he said for a
reason. He is sending a message and he's rallying a coalition, that
those who engage in terrorism and those who harbor terrorists need to
be worried about the actions that our government will take.
Q: Is one side in that conflict more guilty than the other? Is one
more of a terrorist group than the other?
MR. FLEISCHER: I don't look at it in a linear fashion.
Q: On Britain tomorrow -- in a military sense, what do you plan to ask
Prime Minister Blair to contribute, if you can?
MR. FLEISCHER: Of course, Connie, as you know, I'm not going to
indicate what military actions we'll request.
Q: Ari, based on information you've gotten over the past week, what is
the President's level of concern about additional attacks on U.S.
MR. FLEISCHER: Ongoing. I can't point to anything that would make it
fluctuate up or down. But I can tell you that the President is
concerned on an ongoing basis about maintaining security around the
United States, and that's why, for example, the Department of
Transportation has been working with the Air Marshal Program to
protect aviation. That's why there has been such beefed up security at
airports across the country.
It's a reminder that our open society has vulnerabilities. But, of
course, being an open society is what has allowed us to be as strong
as we are so that we would be able to prevail in this conflict.
Q: If I can just follow up on that, there is some law enforcement
concern that because some of the hijackers, alleged hijackers, were
booked on flights on the 22nd of September, that there may be some
kind of second wave out there. Is there any concern in the White House
that --
MR. FLEISCHER: Terry, there is nothing I've heard about any specific
dates, information like that. But as I indicated, it's an ongoing
concern where security is being beefed up, stepped up. And the events
of the 11th have sadly brought home to all Americans that we have to
be mindful of violence here within our own borders.
Q: Do you think there was more -- that there were more attempts either
scheduled to be made the same day or on some other date, even if it's
not the 22nd?
MR. FLEISCHER: You know, I can't speculate, Bill. I know that --
Q: You've not heard one way or the other?
MR. FLEISCHER: I haven't heard anything conclusive. I just know that
this is a time to be cautious. Concerns are ongoing.
Q: Back on foreign policy just quickly. Many nations are calling for
restraint of U.S. actions, China in particular. How much of what the
U.S. is doing is bound by these bilateral and multilateral concerns,
and how much of what you are doing in unilateral?
MR. FLEISCHER: It is going to be a healthy dose of both. The President
is determined to lead on this question, make no doubts about it. And
there will be many nations around the world that stand shoulder to
shoulder with the United States. There will be other nations that
stand a little bit less than shoulder to shoulder with the United
States, and some less than that. But to the degree that any nation has
a contribution to make, the United States will work with those
nations. To the degree that nations have a robust series of actions
they can take, we will work with them as well.
Q: Ari, are our hands tied at all by these calls for restraint? Is the
United States still able to act unilaterally?
MR. FLEISCHER: I think, frankly, it is just the opposite, Terry. When
you take a look at how NATO has invoked Article 5 and how the Rio
Treaty is being looked at now, I think it is just the opposite. The
international community is rising up, as close to one as an
international community can get.
Q: May I follow up?
Q: May I follow up, Ari, please?
MR. FLEISCHER: No, Jim had his --
Q: Well, I've got another one germane to Terry's question.
MR. FLEISCHER: Well, let me -- you had a follow-up just a minute ago,
and Jim has been patient. Jim has been patient, and then we have
patient people there, and then -- be patient and I will get back to
Yes, patient Mr. Angle?
Q: The President's view has been somewhat skeptical of the need for
new economic stimulus, saying he wanted to wait and see how what was
already in the pipeline had taken effect. How has that view changed
since last Tuesday?
MR. FLEISCHER: Well, clearly the immediate aftermath for the economy
sends worrisome signals, and it is important to fully assess those
signals, and when it comes to the making of appropriate policy on an
economic point of view, what to do -- what type of stimulus package,
if there should be additional tax cuts, if there should be additional
spending, if there should be regulatory changes. The President is
going to adopt a very consultative approach with the Congress, and a
deliberative approach, as well. He will take a look at the context of
the economy, and he will make a judgment.
Q: But has he already reached the judgment that there obviously is
some need for stimulus? My understanding is that experts on Capitol
Hill are already talking about one percent lower growth than was
anticipated in the third quarter --
MR. FLEISCHER: He's leaning that way, Jim.
Q: Is that all you can say on that?
MR. FLEISCHER: Yes, I think you have to let him have the meeting with
the members of Congress. I mean, the purpose of these meetings is to
listen to the members of Congress. And you know, the President wants
to hear from them. They are in touch with their constituents, they are
in touch with the nation. He wants to gather their input, and then he
will probably have more to say. And certainly you all will see the
President soon yourselves when he is in that meeting.
Q: What are his economic advisers saying about the status of the
economy now, and the need for stimulus? Are they telling him one way
or the other what they think is necessary?
MR. FLEISCHER: They are coming up with a series of options for the
President, some of which I have tried to describe here.
Q: I still have a follow up.
MR. FLEISCHER: We'll get back. I promised you I would. Go ahead.
Q: Thank you, Ari. I just wanted, I think, to ask something related to
Terry's question, which is the weight that the President is giving his
coalition building efforts. Does he feel that he wants to devote time
and effort to that now, and then he'll worry about possible military
action? Or is he willing to forge ahead, take military action first
and let others follow?
MR. FLEISCHER: I'm not prepared to predict the timing of anything
military. The President will continue to build his coalition and talk
to allies, and events will follow from that.
Q: He doesn't feel that he's got some work to do first?
MR. FLEISCHER: I think he's doing all the work at the same time.
Q: Air, two questions real quick. What -- if the White House can
expound on this relationship between the Taliban and Osama bin Laden?
And also, what specifically can the White House speak to on the labor
front? All of these people's jobs are getting lost and all of these
companies, as a result -- all these questions -- as a result of these
terrorist attacks last week.
MR. FLEISCHER: Well, on the first point, the President has made it
clear that the Taliban should not harbor terrorists. It doesn't get
more complicated than that.
Q: What kind of relationship is there between Osama bin Laden and the
MR. FLEISCHER: It's very close.
On the second point, of course, that's exactly why the President is
taking a look at some of the ideas for how to stimulate the economy.
He's very worried about the impact on the economy in general, various
sectors specifically, on the working men and women of this country at
all economic strata who are at risk of losing their jobs, from airline
layoffs to minimum wage workers, to people who worked in the World
Trade Center in entry-level jobs and who are alive, but have no job to
go to.
So the President's worries extend widely. And that's why he's meeting
with members of Congress today and talking to his economic team about
what steps can be taken to help this country.
Bill Plante has been very patient.
Q: If I can follow up Terry's question about whether we have bilateral
or unilateral action. Your answer really suggested that the United
States is going to do as it sees fit, and other nations can come along
to the extent that they're willing to. But it doesn't sound as though
you're really talking about consultation with anyone.
MR. FLEISCHER: Well, I think that the nations that the President is
talking to would strongly disagree with what you've just said. And
that's the whole reason that the President has called more than 20
world leaders, that he's been meeting with a series of Presidents and
foreign ministers. He had dinner with the President of France last
night -- that's exactly the purpose of consultation and leadership.
The two go hand in hand.
Q: Is it consultation, or is it telling them what we intend to do?
MR. FLEISCHER: It's both. That's called leadership, and that's called
consultation. And that's all, added up, called diplomacy.
Q: You made the point just a moment ago that it's also a reality that
-- well, let me put it this way -- the President intends to move
forward knowing that there are going to be a number of countries that
may not be standing shoulder to shoulder with the United States, and
the United States will move ahead anyway.
MR. FLEISCHER: As I indicated, the world has stood up rather
powerfully and in a way that I've never seen before, in terms of the
numbers of nations that have stood up and said that we're with the
United States. So I think it's really just the opposite. Are you
saying that the United States should do nothing unless there's world
unanimity? I'm not aware of any such doctrine.
Q: Why should the American people believe that this government has
such solid evidence linking Osama bin Laden to these terrorist acts
when it wasn't even able to determine that there were four planes that
were going to get hijacked and kill thousands of people? Why should we
believe you?
MR. FLEISCHER: Jim, I think you're free to come to any conclusions
that you choose. But if you take a look at the track-record, for
example, Osama bin Laden is already in indictment for the things that
he has done before. There is no question in the previous bombing of
the World Trade Center that the al Qaeda organization, Osama bin Laden
were behind it. The bombing of our embassies in Tanzania and Kenya
were all attributed to Osama bin Laden and his organization. There are
indications that the bombing of the Cole were attributed to Osama bin
And as the United States government continues to gather evidence in
this case, it will be shared with governments. If any of the
governments share your concerns, I'm sure they'll make it clear to us.
We're hearing scant little of that.
Q: Ari, our Pentagon correspondent, Jamie McIntyre, is just reporting
that 100 military aircraft are being deployed to bases closer to
Afghanistan. Can you confirm that? And what would you tell the
American public about the general movement of military assets the last
two or three days that we've seen?
MR. FLEISCHER: Major, that's the first I've heard of that. And as you
know, I have a longstanding policy of any information that you obtain
in the course of my briefing I wait to confirm before I get into.
Q: Ari, Prime Minister Koizumi of Japan decided earlier today to
dispatch the self-defense forces to provide logistical support for the
U.S. military and the other coalition members. It was a historic
decision for Japan, given the constitutional constraint on its
military action overseas. Would you welcome the decision? And is the
President willing to meet with Prime Minister of Japan anytime soon to
discuss his decision?
MR. FLEISCHER: Of course, the President is always willing to meet with
the Prime Minister of Japan. And conversations that are at all levels
of government have been and will continue to take place. And I think
what you just indicated is another sign of the cooperation around the
world as nations stand in solidarity with the United States.
THE PRESS: Thank you.
END 2:58 P.M. EDT
(end transcript)
(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site:

US President Orders Ready Reserves of Armed Forces to Active Duty

President Orders Ready Reserves of Armed Forces to Active Duty
Executive Order
Ordering the Ready Reserve of the Armed Forces to Active Duty And
Delegating Certain Authorities to the Secretary of Defense And
the Secretary of Transportation

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.) and section 301 of title 3, United States Code, and in furtherance of the proclamation of September 14, 2001, Declaration of National Emergency by Reason of Certain Terrorist Attacks, which declared a national emergency by reason of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, New York, New York, and the Pentagon, and the continuing and immediate threat of further attacks on the United States, I hereby order as follows:

President Bush spills the beans on explosives in WTC

During questioning, KSM also provided many details of other plots to kill innocent Americans. For example, he described the design of planned attacks on buildings inside the United States, and how operatives were directed to carry them out. He told us the operatives had been instructed to ensure that the explosives went off at a point that was high enough to prevent the people trapped above from escaping out the windows. [George W. Bush]

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
September 6, 2006

President Discusses Creation of Military Commissions to Try Suspected Terrorists
The East Room

1:45 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thanks for the warm welcome. Welcome to the White House. Mr. Vice President, Secretary Rice, Attorney General Gonzales, Ambassador Negroponte, General Hayden, members of the United States Congress, families who lost loved ones in the terrorist attacks on our nation, and my fellow citizens: Thanks for coming.

 On the morning of September the 11th, 2001, our nation awoke to a nightmare attack. Nineteen men, armed with box cutters, took control of airplanes and turned them into missiles. They used them to kill nearly 3,000 innocent people. We watched the Twin Towers collapse before our eyes — and it became instantly clear that we’d entered a new world, and a dangerous new war.

The attacks of September the 11th horrified our nation. And amid the grief came new fears and urgent questions: Who had attacked us? What did they want? And what else were they planning? Americans saw the destruction the terrorists had caused in New York, and Washington, and Pennsylvania, and they wondered if there were other terrorist cells in our midst poised to strike; they wondered if there was a second wave of attacks still to come.

With the Twin Towers and the Pentagon still smoldering, our country on edge, and a stream of intelligence coming in about potential new attacks, my administration faced immediate challenges: We had to respond to the attack on our country. We had to wage an unprecedented war against an enemy unlike any we had fought before. We had to find the terrorists hiding in America and across the world, before they were able to strike our country again. So in the early days and weeks after 9/11, I directed our government’s senior national security officials to do everything in their power, within our laws, to prevent another attack.

Nearly five years have passed since these — those initial days of shock and sadness — and we are thankful that the terrorists have not succeeded in launching another attack on our soil. This is not for the lack of desire or determination on the part of the enemy. As the recently foiled plot in London shows, the terrorists are still active, and they’re still trying to strike America, and they’re still trying to kill our people. One reason the terrorists have not succeeded is because of the hard work of thousands of dedicated men and women in our government, who have toiled day and night, along with our allies, to stop the enemy from carrying out their plans. And we are grateful for these hardworking citizens of ours.

Another reason the terrorists have not succeeded is because our government has changed its policies — and given our military, intelligence, and law enforcement personnel the tools they need to fight this enemy and protect our people and preserve our freedoms.

 The terrorists who declared war on America represent no nation, they defend no territory, and they wear no uniform. They do not mass armies on borders, or flotillas of warships on the high seas. They operate in the shadows of society; they send small teams of operatives to infiltrate free nations; they live quietly among their victims; they conspire in secret, and then they strike without warning. In this new war, the most important source of information on where the terrorists are hiding and what they are planning is the terrorists, themselves. Captured terrorists have unique knowledge about how terrorist networks operate. They have knowledge of where their operatives are deployed, and knowledge about what plots are underway. This intelligence — this is intelligence that cannot be found any other place. And our security depends on getting this kind of information. To win the war on terror, we must be able to detain, question, and, when appropriate, prosecute terrorists captured here in America, and on the battlefields around the world.

After the 9/11 attacks, our coalition launched operations across the world to remove terrorist safe havens, and capture or kill terrorist operatives and leaders. Working with our allies, we’ve captured and detained thousands of terrorists and enemy fighters in Afghanistan, in Iraq, and other fronts of this war on terror. These enemy — these are enemy combatants, who were waging war on our nation. We have a right under the laws of war, and we have an obligation to the American people, to detain these enemies and stop them from rejoining the battle.

Most of the enemy combatants we capture are held in Afghanistan or in Iraq, where they’re questioned by our military personnel. Many are released after questioning, or turned over to local authorities — if we determine that they do not pose a continuing threat and no longer have significant intelligence value. Others remain in American custody near the battlefield, to ensure that they don’t return to the fight.

In some cases, we determine that individuals we have captured pose a significant threat, or may have intelligence that we and our allies need to have to prevent new attacks. Many are al Qaeda operatives or Taliban fighters trying to conceal their identities, and they withhold information that could save American lives. In these cases, it has been necessary to move these individuals to an environment where they can be held secretly [sic], questioned by experts, and — when appropriate — prosecuted for terrorist acts.

 Some of these individuals are taken to the United States Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. It’s important for Americans and others across the world to understand the kind of people held at Guantanamo. These aren’t common criminals, or bystanders accidentally swept up on the battlefield — we have in place a rigorous process to ensure those held at Guantanamo Bay belong at Guantanamo. Those held at Guantanamo include suspected bomb makers, terrorist trainers, recruiters and facilitators, and potential suicide bombers. They are in our custody so they cannot murder our people. One detainee held at Guantanamo told a questioner questioning him — he said this: “I’ll never forget your face. I will kill you, your brothers, your mother, and sisters.”

In addition to the terrorists held at Guantanamo, a small number of suspected terrorist leaders and operatives captured during the war have been held and questioned outside the United States, in a separate program operated by the Central Intelligence Agency. This group includes individuals believed to be the key architects of the September the 11th attacks, and attacks on the USS Cole, an operative involved in the bombings of our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, and individuals involved in other attacks that have taken the lives of innocent civilians across the world. These are dangerous men with unparalleled knowledge about terrorist networks and their plans for new attacks. The security of our nation and the lives of our citizens depend on our ability to learn what these terrorists know.

Many specifics of this program, including where these detainees have been held and the details of their confinement, cannot be divulged. Doing so would provide our enemies with information they could use to take retribution against our allies and harm our country. I can say that questioning the detainees in this program has given us information that has saved innocent lives by helping us stop new attacks — here in the United States and across the world. Today, I’m going to share with you some of the examples provided by our intelligence community of how this program has saved lives; why it remains vital to the security of the United States, and our friends and allies; and why it deserves the support of the United States Congress and the American people.

Within months of September the 11th, 2001, we captured a man known as Abu Zubaydah. We believe that Zubaydah was a senior terrorist leader and a trusted associate of Osama bin Laden. Our intelligence community believes he had run a terrorist camp in Afghanistan where some of the 9/11 hijackers trained, and that he helped smuggle al Qaeda leaders out of Afghanistan after coalition forces arrived to liberate that country. Zubaydah was severely wounded during the firefight that brought him into custody — and he survived only because of the medical care arranged by the CIA.

After he recovered, Zubaydah was defiant and evasive. He declared his hatred of America. During questioning, he at first disclosed what he thought was nominal information — and then stopped all cooperation. Well, in fact, the “nominal” information he gave us turned out to be quite important. For example, Zubaydah disclosed Khalid Sheikh Mohammed — or KSM — was the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks, and used the alias “Muktar.” This was a vital piece of the puzzle that helped our intelligence community pursue KSM. Abu Zubaydah also provided information that helped stop a terrorist attack being planned for inside the United States — an attack about which we had no previous information. Zubaydah told us that al Qaeda operatives were planning to launch an attack in the U.S., and provided physical descriptions of the operatives and information on their general location. Based on the information he provided, the operatives were detained — one while traveling to the United States.

We knew that Zubaydah had more information that could save innocent lives, but he stopped talking. As his questioning proceeded, it became clear that he had received training on how to resist interrogation. And so the CIA used an alternative set of procedures. These procedures were designed to be safe, to comply with our laws, our Constitution, and our treaty obligations. The Department of Justice reviewed the authorized methods extensively and determined them to be lawful. I cannot describe the specific methods used — I think you understand why — if I did, it would help the terrorists learn how to resist questioning, and to keep information from us that we need to prevent new attacks on our country. But I can say the procedures were tough, and they were safe, and lawful, and necessary.

Zubaydah was questioned using these procedures, and soon he began to provide information on key al Qaeda operatives, including information that helped us find and capture more of those responsible for the attacks on September the 11th. For example, Zubaydah identified one of KSM’s accomplices in the 9/11 attacks — a terrorist named Ramzi bin al Shibh. The information Zubaydah provided helped lead to the capture of bin al Shibh. And together these two terrorists provided information that helped in the planning and execution of the operation that captured Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

Once in our custody, KSM was questioned by the CIA using these procedures, and he soon provided information that helped us stop another planned attack on the United States. During questioning, KSM told us about another al Qaeda operative he knew was in CIA custody — a terrorist named Majid Khan. KSM revealed that Khan had been told to deliver $50,000 to individuals working for a suspected terrorist leader named Hambali, the leader of al Qaeda’s Southeast Asian affiliate known as “J-I”. CIA officers confronted Khan with this information. Khan confirmed that the money had been delivered to an operative named Zubair, and provided both a physical description and contact number for this operative.

Based on that information, Zubair was captured in June of 2003, and he soon provided information that helped lead to the capture of Hambali. After Hambali’s arrest, KSM was questioned again. He identified Hambali’s brother as the leader of a “J-I” cell, and Hambali’s conduit for communications with al Qaeda. Hambali’s brother was soon captured in Pakistan, and, in turn, led us to a cell of 17 Southeast Asian “J-I” operatives. When confronted with the news that his terror cell had been broken up, Hambali admitted that the operatives were being groomed at KSM’s request for attacks inside the United States — probably [sic] using airplanes.

During questioning, KSM also provided many details of other plots to kill innocent Americans. For example, he described the design of planned attacks on buildings inside the United States, and how operatives were directed to carry them out. He told us the operatives had been instructed to ensure that the explosives went off at a point that was high enough to prevent the people trapped above from escaping out the windows.

KSM also provided vital information on al Qaeda’s efforts to obtain biological weapons. During questioning, KSM admitted that he had met three individuals involved in al Qaeda’s efforts to produce anthrax, a deadly biological agent — and he identified one of the individuals as a terrorist named Yazid. KSM apparently believed we already had this information, because Yazid had been captured and taken into foreign custody before KSM’s arrest. In fact, we did not know about Yazid’s role in al Qaeda’s anthrax program. Information from Yazid then helped lead to the capture of his two principal assistants in the anthrax program. Without the information provided by KSM and Yazid, we might not have uncovered this al Qaeda biological weapons program, or stopped this al Qaeda cell from developing anthrax for attacks against the United States.

These are some of the plots that have been stopped because of the information of this vital program. Terrorists held in CIA custody have also provided information that helped stop a planned strike on U.S. Marines at Camp Lemonier in Djibouti — they were going to use an explosive laden water tanker. They helped stop a planned attack on the U.S. consulate in Karachi using car bombs and motorcycle bombs, and they helped stop a plot to hijack passenger planes and fly them into Heathrow or the Canary Wharf in London.

We’re getting vital information necessary to do our jobs, and that’s to protect the American people and our allies.

Information from the terrorists in this program has helped us to identify individuals that al Qaeda deemed suitable for Western operations, many of whom we had never heard about before. They include terrorists who were set to case targets inside the United States, including financial buildings in major cities on the East Coast. Information from terrorists in CIA custody has played a role in the capture or questioning of nearly every senior al Qaeda member or associate detained by the U.S. and its allies since this program began. By providing everything from initial leads to photo identifications, to precise locations of where terrorists were hiding, this program has helped us to take potential mass murderers off the streets before they were able to kill.

This program has also played a critical role in helping us understand the enemy we face in this war. Terrorists in this program have painted a picture of al Qaeda’s structure and financing, and communications and logistics. They identified al Qaeda’s travel routes and safe havens, and explained how al Qaeda’s senior leadership communicates with its operatives in places like Iraq. They provided information that allows us — that has allowed us to make sense of documents and computer records that we have seized in terrorist raids. They’ve identified voices in recordings of intercepted calls, and helped us understand the meaning of potentially critical terrorist communications.

The information we get from these detainees is corroborated by intelligence, and we’ve received — that we’ve received from other sources — and together this intelligence has helped us connect the dots and stop attacks before they occur. Information from the terrorists questioned in this program helped unravel plots and terrorist cells in Europe and in other places. It’s helped our allies protect their people from deadly enemies. This program has been, and remains, one of the most vital tools in our war against the terrorists. It is invaluable to America and to our allies. Were it not for this program, our intelligence community believes that al Qaeda and its allies would have succeeded in launching another attack against the American homeland. By giving us information about terrorist plans we could not get anywhere else, this program has saved innocent lives.

This program has been subject to multiple legal reviews by the Department of Justice and CIA lawyers; they’ve determined it complied with our laws. This program has received strict oversight by the CIA’s Inspector General. A small number of key leaders from both political parties on Capitol Hill were briefed about this program. All those involved in the questioning of the terrorists are carefully chosen and they’re screened from a pool of experienced CIA officers. Those selected to conduct the most sensitive questioning had to complete more than 250 additional hours of specialized training before they are allowed to have contact with a captured terrorist.

I want to be absolutely clear with our people, and the world: The United States does not torture. It’s against our laws, and it’s against our values. I have not authorized it — and I will not authorize it. Last year, my administration worked with Senator John McCain, and I signed into law the Detainee Treatment Act, which established the legal standard for treatment of detainees wherever they are held. I support this act. And as we implement this law, our government will continue to use every lawful method to obtain intelligence that can protect innocent people, and stop another attack like the one we experienced on September the 11th, 2001.

The CIA program has detained only a limited number of terrorists at any given time — and once we’ve determined that the terrorists held by the CIA have little or no additional intelligence value, many of them have been returned to their home countries for prosecution or detention by their governments. Others have been accused of terrible crimes against the American people, and we have a duty to bring those responsible for these crimes to justice. So we intend to prosecute these men, as appropriate, for their crimes.

Soon after the war on terror began, I authorized a system of military commissions to try foreign terrorists accused of war crimes. Military commissions have been used by Presidents from George Washington to Franklin Roosevelt to prosecute war criminals, because the rules for trying enemy combatants in a time of conflict must be different from those for trying common criminals or members of our own military. One of the first suspected terrorists to be put on trial by military commission was one of Osama bin Laden’s bodyguards — a man named Hamdan. His lawyers challenged the legality of the military commission system. It took more than two years for this case to make its way through the courts. The Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld the military commissions we had designed, but this past June, the Supreme Court overturned that decision. The Supreme Court determined that military commissions are an appropriate venue for trying terrorists, but ruled that military commissions needed to be explicitly authorized by the United States Congress.

So today, I’m sending Congress legislation to specifically authorize the creation of military commissions to try terrorists for war crimes. My administration has been working with members of both parties in the House and Senate on this legislation. We put forward a bill that ensures these commissions are established in a way that protects our national security, and ensures a full and fair trial for those accused. The procedures in the bill I am sending to Congress today reflect the reality that we are a nation at war, and that it’s essential for us to use all reliable evidence to bring these people to justice.

We’re now approaching the five-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks — and the families of those murdered that day have waited patiently for justice. Some of the families are with us today — they should have to wait no longer. So I’m announcing today that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Abu Zubaydah, Ramzi bin al-Shibh, and 11 other terrorists in CIA custody have been transferred to the United States Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay. (Applause.) They are being held in the custody of the Department of Defense. As soon as Congress acts to authorize the military commissions I have proposed, the men our intelligence officials believe orchestrated the deaths of nearly 3,000 Americans on September the 11th, 2001, can face justice. (Applause.)

We’ll also seek to prosecute those believed to be responsible for the attack on the USS Cole, and an operative believed to be involved in the bombings of the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. With these prosecutions, we will send a clear message to those who kill Americans: No longer — how long it takes, we will find you and we will bring you to justice. (Applause.)

These men will be held in a high-security facility at Guantanamo. The International Committee of the Red Cross is being advised of their detention, and will have the opportunity to meet with them. Those charged with crimes will be given access to attorneys who will help them prepare their defense — and they will be presumed innocent. While at Guantanamo, they will have access to the same food, clothing, medical care, and opportunities for worship as other detainees. They will be questioned subject to the new U.S. Army Field Manual, which the Department of Defense is issuing today. And they will continue to be treated with the humanity that they denied others.

As we move forward with the prosecutions, we will continue to urge nations across the world to take back their nationals at Guantanamo who will not be prosecuted by our military commissions. America has no interest in being the world’s jailer. But one of the reasons we have not been able to close Guantanamo is that many countries have refused to take back their nationals held at the facility. Other countries have not provided adequate assurances that their nationals will not be mistreated — or they will not return to the battlefield, as more than a dozen people released from Guantanamo already have. We will continue working to transfer individuals held at Guantanamo, and ask other countries to work with us in this process. And we will move toward the day when we can eventually close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay.

I know Americans have heard conflicting information about Guantanamo. Let me give you some facts. Of the thousands of terrorists captured across the world, only about 770 have ever been sent to Guantanamo. Of these, about 315 have been returned to other countries so far — and about 455 remain in our custody. They are provided the same quality of medical care as the American service members who guard them. The International Committee of the Red Cross has the opportunity to meet privately with all who are held there. The facility has been visited by government officials from more than 30 countries, and delegations from international organizations, as well. After the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe came to visit, one of its delegation members called Guantanamo “a model prison” where people are treated better than in prisons in his own country. Our troops can take great pride in the work they do at Guantanamo Bay — and so can the American people.

As we prosecute suspected terrorist leaders and operatives who have now been transferred to Guantanamo, we’ll continue searching for those who have stepped forward to take their places. This nation is going to stay on the offense to protect the American people. We will continue to bring the world’s most dangerous terrorists to justice — and we will continue working to collect the vital intelligence we need to protect our country. The current transfers mean that there are now no terrorists in the CIA program. But as more high-ranking terrorists are captured, the need to obtain intelligence from them will remain critical — and having a CIA program for questioning terrorists will continue to be crucial to getting life-saving information.

Some may ask: Why are you acknowledging this program now? There are two reasons why I’m making these limited disclosures today. First, we have largely completed our questioning of the men — and to start the process for bringing them to trial, we must bring them into the open. Second, the Supreme Court’s recent decision has impaired our ability to prosecute terrorists through military commissions, and has put in question the future of the CIA program. In its ruling on military commissions, the Court determined that a provision of the Geneva Conventions known as “Common Article Three” applies to our war with al Qaeda. This article includes provisions that prohibit “outrages upon personal dignity” and “humiliating and degrading treatment.” The problem is that these and other provisions of Common Article Three are vague and undefined, and each could be interpreted in different ways by American or foreign judges. And some believe our military and intelligence personnel involved in capturing and questioning terrorists could now be at risk of prosecution under the War Crimes Act — simply for doing their jobs in a thorough and professional way.

This is unacceptable. Our military and intelligence personnel go face to face with the world’s most dangerous men every day. They have risked their lives to capture some of the most brutal terrorists on Earth. And they have worked day and night to find out what the terrorists know so we can stop new attacks. America owes our brave men and women some things in return. We owe them their thanks for saving lives and keeping America safe. And we owe them clear rules, so they can continue to do their jobs and protect our people.

So today, I’m asking Congress to pass legislation that will clarify the rules for our personnel fighting the war on terror. First, I’m asking Congress to list the specific, recognizable offenses that would be considered crimes under the War Crimes Act — so our personnel can know clearly what is prohibited in the handling of terrorist enemies. Second, I’m asking that Congress make explicit that by following the standards of the Detainee Treatment Act our personnel are fulfilling America’s obligations under Common Article Three of the Geneva Conventions. Third, I’m asking that Congress make it clear that captured terrorists cannot use the Geneva Conventions as a basis to sue our personnel in courts — in U.S. courts. The men and women who protect us should not have to fear lawsuits filed by terrorists because they’re doing their jobs.

The need for this legislation is urgent. We need to ensure that those questioning terrorists can continue to do everything within the limits of the law to get information that can save American lives. My administration will continue to work with the Congress to get this legislation enacted — but time is of the essence. Congress is in session just for a few more weeks, and passing this legislation ought to be the top priority. (Applause.)

As we work with Congress to pass a good bill, we will also consult with congressional leaders on how to ensure that the CIA program goes forward in a way that follows the law, that meets the national security needs of our country, and protects the brave men and women we ask to obtain information that will save innocent lives. For the sake of our security, Congress needs to act, and update our laws to meet the threats of this new era. And I know they will.

We’re engaged in a global struggle — and the entire civilized world has a stake in its outcome. America is a nation of law. And as I work with Congress to strengthen and clarify our laws here at home, I will continue to work with members of the international community who have been our partners in this struggle. I’ve spoken with leaders of foreign governments, and worked with them to address their concerns about Guantanamo and our detention policies. I’ll continue to work with the international community to construct a common foundation to defend our nations and protect our freedoms.

Free nations have faced new enemies and adjusted to new threats before — and we have prevailed. Like the struggles of the last century, today’s war on terror is, above all, a struggle for freedom and liberty. The adversaries are different, but the stakes in this war are the same: We’re fighting for our way of life, and our ability to live in freedom. We’re fighting for the cause of humanity, against those who seek to impose the darkness of tyranny and terror upon the entire world. And we’re fighting for a peaceful future for our children and our grandchildren.

May God bless you all. (Applause.)

END 2:22 P.M. EDT

U.S. Congress Authorization for Use of Military Force

"The President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons."

September 11, 2001 : Attack on America
S.J. Resolution 23 – Authorization for Use of Military Force (Enrolled Bill); September 18, 2001

Latest Major Action: 9/18/2001 Became Public Law No: 107-40.

Authorization for Use of Military Force (Enrolled Bill)



One Hundred Seventh Congress

of the

United States of America


Begun and held at the City of Washington on Wednesday,

the third day of January, two thousand and one

Joint Resolution

To authorize the use of United States Armed Forces against those responsible for the recent attacks launched against the United States.

Whereas, on September 11, 2001, acts of treacherous violence were committed against the United States and its citizens; and

Whereas, such acts render it both necessary and appropriate that the United States exercise its rights to self-defense and to protect United States citizens both at home and abroad; and

Whereas, in light of the threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States posed by these grave acts of violence; and

Whereas, such acts continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States; and

Whereas, the President has authority under the Constitution to take action to deter and prevent acts of international terrorism against the United States: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


This joint resolution may be cited as the `Authorization for Use of Military Force'.


(a) IN GENERAL- That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.

(b) War Powers Resolution Requirements-

(1) SPECIFIC STATUTORY AUTHORIZATION- Consistent with section 8(a)(1) of the War Powers Resolution, the Congress declares that this section is intended to constitute specific statutory authorization within the meaning of section 5(b) of the War Powers Resolution.

(2) APPLICABILITY OF OTHER REQUIREMENTS- Nothing in this resolution supercedes any requirement of the War Powers Resolution.

Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Vice President of the United States and

President of the Senate.

Transcript: Ashcroft Briefs on Terrorist Investigation Sept. 13

14 September 2001     

Transcript: Ashcroft Briefs on Terrorist Investigation Sept. 13

(Authorities estimate 18 hijackers seized four planes) (2810)

U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft said September 13 that 18 hijackers conducted a multi-prong terrorist attack on the United States September 11 supported by a "significant" number of associates. Federal agents are pursuing more than 2,000 leads into the case, "interviewing any number of people across the country," Ashcroft said during a briefing with reporters. Some people have been detained due to irregularities in their immigration status, he said. Accompanied by the newly installed director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Robert Mueller in the briefing, Ashcroft said federal agents from the Departments of Justice and Treasury, the U.S. Marshals Service, Border Patrol and U.S. Customs are all being called in to enhance security at U.S. airports.

Ashcroft also said the Justice Department will work to speed the delivery of benefits to survivors of police and rescue personnel killed in the line of duty in the aftermath of the attacks.

At his afternoon briefing September 13, the Attorney General said that the electronic flight data and voice recorder boxes of the hijacked planes had not been found. That statement was overtaken by events later in the day when the so-called "black boxes" were found at two of the crash sites — the U.S. Department of Defense headquarters, and the Pennsylvania site where one of the hijacked planes crashed. Telephone calls from passengers on that latter flight indicate that they attempted to overwhelm the hijackers and thwart their plan. Authorities hope the black boxes may provide information on the final moments of the flight.

Electronic flight data recorders are designed to retain information on the maneuvering, operating status and condition of planes. Voice recorders are supposed to retain the final 30 minutes of conversation in the cockpit.

Following is a transcript of the briefing: (begin transcript)


ASHCROFT: September the 11th, 2001, was a day of unspeakable violence and outrage, but also a day of heroism and sacrifice. As endangered men and women struggled to make their way out of burning, collapsing buildings, firemen and policemen, emergency rescue personnel, struggled to make their way into those structures. Many — and we don’t know how many yet — never made it out of the buildings. Even as we continue to hold out hope that more of these brave Americans will be found alive, it is my duty as attorney general to begin to process the provision of relief to the families of public safety officers who sacrificed so that others might survive the attacks of September the 11th.

The Public Safety Officers Benefits Act of 1976 provides for approximately $150,000 in benefits to the families of law enforcement officers, firemen, emergency response squad members, ambulance crew members who are killed in the line of duty. This morning, the president of the United States, President George W. Bush, directed me immediately to implement procedures to streamline application processes and approval processes of claims for benefits under this act.

Pursuant to the president’s directive, the Department of Justice this morning has taken the following actions to expedite the delivery of benefits to public safety officers’ families.

First, the existing regulations under the Public Safety Officers Benefits Act requires that officers’ families and employing agencies fill out individual forms certifying that the officer was killed in the line of duty and that no disqualifying circumstances were present and that the officer was, in fact, related to the family members seeking the benefits. These regulations direct the Bureau of Justice Assistance in the Justice Department to give substantial weight to evidence presented by federal, state and local agencies and to resolve in favor of payment any reasonable doubt concerning the circumstances of the officer’s permanent disability or death.

ASHCROFT: In view of the unprecedented loss of life and the debilitating injuries to public safety officers, I have directed, pursuant to the president’s request, that this process be streamlined in this case. I am directing the Office of Justice Programs to exercise the full scope of its direction and its discretion under the statute and regulations to accept applications, consider evidence justifying claims and to process prompt payment of benefits. In cases in which benefits are sought by survivors of officers killed in the line of duty on September 11, I am directing that blanket certifications from executives of public safety agencies be considered as evidence of eligibility, without requiring further individualized documentation. In addition, the family claim form will be abbreviated and streamlined.

Secondly, the Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs is immediately making available additional resources to see that the claims of fallen officers’ families are processed as quickly as possible. Staff are being brought to New York from a variety of other settings to assist in case processing.

Second, a separate computer database is being established to expedite and monitor the case processing. Third, lawyers from the Office of Justice Programs are immediately reviewing all cases from New York to make sure that those cases move as quickly as possible. The Office of Justice Programs, fourth, staffmembers are being sent to New York to assist with family contacts and the assembly of claim packages, including the gathering of pertinent records.

ASHCROFT: The Office of Justice program representatives will be available on site, if requested, to pre-certify claim packages, in terms of the completeness of those packages. These representatives will also work with the Treasury Department to expedite the payments to families once claims are approved. The provision of benefits is an insufficient but a necessary response on behalf of the American people to the unknown number of individuals who fought fires, law enforcement officers and medical rescue personnel who died answering the call of their fellow citizens on September the 11th.

It is President Bush’s and my hope that the actions that we have taken today will provide a measure of relief to the husbands and wives and children that have been left behind. I know that it is the nation’s hope that this assistance will stand as a gesture of the inexpressible gratitude that so many Americans feel, as well as a small tribute to the honor of the sacrifice of those who were willing to lose their lives so that others might be saved.

Additionally today, I announced with the Treasury Department a step that has been taken to provide additional security at airports across the country. As airports re-open and as travel is resumed, there will be substantially increased security presence — a substantially increased security presence on the ground at designated security checkpoints throughout the country.

ASHCROFT: The departments of Justice and Treasury have deployed hundreds of U.S. marshals — individuals from the U.S. Marshal Service, U.S. Border Patrol and U.S. Customs officials, as part of a broad effort by federal law enforcement authorities to provide a larger police presence at airports, in addition to the heightened security procedures already put into effect. We will take all precautions necessary to protect American travelers.

Finally, our nation calls on us in times like this to be at our best. If we are to prevail in difficult times like this, we must be at our best. Since Tuesday, the Justice Department has received reports of violence and threats of violence against Arab-Americans and other Americans of Middle Eastern and South Asian descent.

We must not descend to the level of those who perpetrated Tuesday’s violence by targeting individuals based on race, religion or national origin. Such reports of violence and threats are in direct opposition to the very principles and laws for which the United States of America stands, and such reports of violence and threats of violence will not be tolerated.

I now have a few updates with regard to the ongoing investigation. Legal attaches of the FBI around the world are receiving enormous cooperation from law enforcement authorities in the host countries that are cooperating with us to assist us in following up on leads.

ASHCROFT: We have also received numerous offers of help from other countries if we need those elements of assistance, and we are grateful for the assistance that has been offered and the assistance that has been rendered.

With regard to federal law enforcement personnel casualties, there is an FBI agent assigned to the New York field office who remains missing. Three U.S. marshals who are assigned to the Southern District of New York sustained minor injuries. We are also in the process of collecting information nationwide regarding the loss of life and casualties among law enforcement personnel. As of this morning, the FBI’s leads hotline has received 2055 phone calls. Some of these leads have been helpful to the investigation. The web site which was opened virtually immediately after the crisis has received more than 22,700 suggested tips. The FBI is working thousands and thousands of leads. As of this moment, none of the black boxes have been recovered yet. However, we believe retrieval of the black box at the Somerset County location is the most feasible in the short term.

Last but not least, the total number of hijackers, to our best estimate and our best knowledge given the information at this time, on the four planes that crashed was at least 18. Unless contradicted by evidence, which we wouldn’t anticipate, two planes had five hijackers and two other planes had four hijackers each.

ASHCROFT: The director of the FBI, Mr. Mueller is here with me and we would be pleased to respond to your questions.

QUESTION: About the hijackers, were they ticketed passengers? If not, do you know how they got on the planes? FBI DIRECTOR ROBERT MUELLER: Yes, they were ticketed passengers. QUESTION: General Ashcroft, are you convinced based on the evidence in Florida and Boston and elsewhere that Laden was the leader in the (OFF-MIKE) ASHCROFT: I’m not prepared to identify or comment on persons ultimately responsible at this time.

QUESTION: How many people at this point are contained around the country? And why are these potential accomplices, Mr. Director, of such concern to the bureau? MUELLER: I can’t give you a specific number. What has happened, as I indicated yesterday, that as the result of following up leads, we’re interviewing a number of people, and in the course of doing those interviews, we find that a number of the individuals, when asked for identification and the like, are out of status. And when we find somebody out of status, we, quite obviously, bring in the INS and they are detained, and that is the policies and procedures we are following.

QUESTION: And they are of concern to you regarding the investigation? MUELLER: Some may be of concern to us and some may not after we interview them.

QUESTION: What sort of indication do you have of other operations being aborted; other plane hijackings, perhaps other terrorist operations? ASHCROFT: I’m not prepared to make comments about any other items at this time.

QUESTION: Do you have any determination about where the plane crashed in Somerset might have been? ASHCROFT: I just…

QUESTION: Have you found any determination about where the plane crashed in Somerset County, what part it might have been in, and what happened to cause that plane to crash where it did? ASHCROFT: I think it’s fair to say that we’re unable to comment on that. QUESTION: How many…

QUESTION: … are you looking at? How many hijackers and associates do you have? ASHCROFT: Well, obviously, I’ve just announced that there are 18 hijackers. The number of associates is significant, but I don’t think it would be appropriate for me to try and attach a specific number. We are continuing to develop an understanding of all the associates that these individuals had.

QUESTION: Do you believe that the associates are in the country or do you have a (OFF-MIKE) ASHCROFT: First of all, if we knew exactly where associates were, it would make our work easier. But we are interested in finding associates and making inquiry of them.

QUESTION: What can you tell us about flight training that any of the hijackers had received? Did they receive any training here in the United States? ASHCROFT: It is our belief and the evidence indicates that flight training was received in the United States and that their capacity to operate the aircraft was substantial. It’s very clear that these orchestrated coordinated assaults on our country were well-conducted and conducted in a technically proficient way. It is not that easy to land these kinds of aircraft at very specific locations with accuracy or to direct them with the kind of accuracy, which was deadly in this case.

QUESTION: There were some reports that at least one of the passengers on the flight from Newark kept the air phone off the hook as this was going on, as they were preparing to take the plane back from the hijackers. Were law enforcement officials or FAA people able to listen in on some of what was going on? ASHCROFT: I’m not prepared to make a comment on that at this time.

QUESTION: General, which flights have…

QUESTION: … hijackers have you identified, and what can you tell us about who they are, where they came from, and how they (OFF-MIKE) ASHCROFT: I think you might be able to say which flights had which numbers on it? MUELLER: On the American Airlines, number 11, flight out of Boston, going to LA, there were five, we believe. Our preliminary investigation indicates that five of the passengers were involved in the hijacking on that plane. United Airlines 175, also out of Boston to LA, our preliminary investigation indicates that there were five hijackers on that plane.

On United Airlines 93, Newark to San Francisco, four hijackers. And American Airlines 77, Dulles to Los Angeles, four hijackers. That is our preliminary. The results of our preliminary investigation, the investigation is continuing. That is our best view at this time as to the numbers and the planes they were on.

QUESTION: Could you clarify for us, please, on what you’ve been able to verify and document concerning the flight path of the 77 into the Pentagon? Did it go over Washington, D.C., first? MUELLER: I really can’t comment on what we have with regard to that particular flight.

QUESTION: The national origin of some if not all of the hijackers, what can you say at this point about the national origin? MUELLER: I’m not prepared to comment on that.

QUESTION: Can you tell us about the warrants? Can you tell us how many warrants and tell us what cities, what states? MUELLER: No, I can tell you that throughout the country, and not necessarily in a particular region, but throughout the country, when we received leads, we have followed those leads. We are interviewing any number of people across the country. The number of FBI offices that are directly involved in the investigation has expanded. MUELLER: And they are interviewing witnesses, they are where necessary, obtaining search warrants, obtaining grand jury subpoenas and whatever is necessary to obtain the evidence to identify the — more particularly, identify the particular hijackers, and anyone associated with them.

QUESTION: Are they believed to be U.S. citizens? MUELLER: I’m not going to comment on anything with regard to the hijackers.

QUESTION: How many were already on the terrorist watch list? MUELLER: Can’t answer that question either.

QUESTION: Any suicide notes? Have you found suicide notes?

STAFF: Thank you. (Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site:

Statement by Defense Secretary, 1 November 2001

There is no mention in this statement either of any positive link between Afghanistan and the events of 9/11. Or in other words, that these events were planned or masterminded in Afghanistan. Nor is there any mention that the purpose of the attacks on Afghanistan are to search and find those guilty of the events of 9/11.   (The Webmaster)


November 1, 2001

Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld released today the following statement:


Good afternoon. I have reflected on some of the questions posed at the last briefing: questions about the ‘speed of progress’ in the campaign-questions about the "patience" of the American people-if something does not happen immediately.


I have a sense that the public understands the following facts:


On September 11th terrorists attacked New York and Washington, DC, murdering thousands of innocent people — Americans and people from dozens of countries and all races and religions — in cold blood.


On October 7th, less than a month later, we had positioned coalition forces in the region, and we began military operations against Taliban and al-Qaeda targets throughout Afghanistan. Since that time — roughly three weeks ago — coalition forces have flown over 2,000 sorties, broadcast 300-plus hours of radio transmissions, delivered an amazing 1,030,000 humanitarian rations to starving Afghan people.


Today is November 1, and smoke — at this very moment — is still rising from the ruins of the World Trade Center.


With the ruins still smoldering and the smoke not yet cleared, it seems to me that Americans understand well that — despite the urgency in the press questions — we are still in the very, very early stages of this war. The ruins are still smoking!


Consider some historical perspective:

  • After the December 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, it took four months before the United States responded to that attack with the Doolittle raid of April 1942.
  • It took eight months after Pearl Harbor before the U.S. began a land campaign against the Japanese — with the invasion of Guadalcanal in August of 1942.
  • The U.S. bombed Japan for three-and-a-half years — until August 1945 — before we accomplished our objectives in the Pacific.
  • On the European front, the allies bombed Germany continually for nearly five years — from September of 1940 until May of 1945.
  • It took 11 months to start the land campaign against the Germans — with the invasion of North Africa in November of 1942.
  • It took the United States two years and six months after Hitler declared war on us before we landed in France on June 6, 1944.

We are now fighting a new kind of war. It is unlike any America has ever fought before. Many things about this war are different from wars past-but, as I have said, one of those differences is not the possibility of instant victory.


At my briefing when I announced the start of the air campaign on October 7th, I stated that our initial goals were:

  • To make clear to the Taliban that harboring terrorists carries a price;
  • To acquire intelligence to facilitate future operations against al-Qaeda and the Taliban;
  • To develop useful relationships with groups in Afghanistan that oppose the Taliban and al-Qaeda;
  • To make it increasingly difficult for the terrorists to use Afghanistan freely as a base of operation;
  • To alter the military balance over time by denying to the Taliban the offensive systems that hamper the progress of the various opposition forces; and
  • To provide humanitarian relief to Afghans suffering oppressive living conditions under the Taliban regime.

That was 24 days ago — three weeks and three days — not three months or three years, but three weeks and three days. We have made measurable progress on each of these goals.


The attacks of September 11 were not days or weeks but years in the making. The terrorists were painstaking and deliberate, and it appears they may have spent years planning their activities.


There is no doubt in my mind but that the American people know that it’s going to take more than 24 days.


I also stated that our task is much broader than simply defeating the Taliban or al-Qaeda — it is to root out global terrorist networks, not just in Afghanistan, but wherever they are, to ensure that they cannot threaten the American people or our way of life.


This is a task that will take time to accomplish. Victory will require that every element of American influence and power be engaged.


Americans have seen tougher adversaries than this before-and they have had the staying power to defeat them. Underestimating the American people is a bad bet.


In the end, war is not about statistics, deadlines, short attention spans, or 24-hour news cycles. It is about will — the projection of will, the clear, unambiguous determination of the President and the American people to see this through to certain victory.


In other American wars, enemy commanders have come to doubt the wisdom of taking on the strength and power of this nation and the resolve of her people. I expect that somewhere, in a cave in Afghanistan, there is a terrorist leader who is, at this moment, considering precisely the same thing.

Statement by Defense Secretary, October 7, 2001

What is remarkable about this statement is that it does not justify the U.S. military strikes on Afghanistan by the need to find those who planned the events of 9/11.  There is no mention in this statement of any link between Afghanistan and these events.   (The Webmaster)


October 7, 2001

Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld released today the following statement:

"Good afternoon. We have said since September 11 that the campaign against terrorism will be broad, sustained, and that we will use every element of American influence.

Today, the president has turned to direct, overt military force to complement the economic, humanitarian, financial, and diplomatic activity already well underway.

"The effect we hope to achieve through the raids, which, together with our coalition partners, we have initiated today, is to create conditions for sustained anti-terrorist and humanitarian relief operations in Afghanistan. That requires that, among other things, we first remove the threat from air defenses and from Taliban aircraft.

"We also seek to raise the cost of doing business for foreign terrorists who have chosen Afghanistan from which to organize their activities, and for the oppressive Taliban regime that continues to tolerate the terrorist presence in those portions of Afghanistan they control.

"The current military operations are focused on achieving several outcomes. To:

"Make it clear to the Taliban leaders and their supporters that harboring terrorists is unacceptable and carries a price.

"Acquire intelligence to facilitate future operations against Al Qaida and the Taliban regimes who harbor the terrorists.

"Develop relationships with groups in Afghanistan that oppose the Taliban regime and the foreign terrorists they support.

"Make it increasingly difficult for the terrorists to use Afghanistan freely as a base of operations.

"Alter the military balance over time, by denying to the Taliban its offensive systems that hamper the progress of the various opposition forces.

"Provide humanitarian relief to Afghans suffering truly oppressive living conditions.

"I want to reiterate a point President Bush has made often and that he made again today. The United States has organized armed coalitions on several occasions since the Cold War for the purpose of denying hostile regimes the opportunity to oppress their own or other people.

"In Kuwait, Northern Iraq, Somalia, Bosnia, and Kosovo, the United States took action on behalf of Muslim populations against outside invaders or oppressive regimes. The same is true today. We stand with those Afghans who are being repressed by a regime that abuses the very people it purports to lead and harbors terrorists who have attacked and killed thousands of innocent people around the world-of all religions, races and nationalities.

"While our raids today focus on the Taliban and the foreign terrorists in Afghanistan, our aim remains much broader. Our objective is to defeat those who use terrorism, and those that house or support them.

"The world stands united in this effort. It is not about a religion, an individual terrorist, or a country. Our partners in this effort represent nations and peoples of all cultures, religions, and races.

"We share the belief that terrorism is a cancer on the human condition, and we intend to oppose it wherever it is.

"The operation today involved a variety of weapons systems, and it originated from a number of separate locations. We used land and sea based aircraft, surface ships and submarines, and employed a variety of weapons to achieve our objectives.

"As President Bush mentioned in his statement, dozens of countries contributed in specific ways to this mission, including transit and landing rights, basing opportunities, and intelligence support. In this mission, we are particularly grateful for the direct military involvement of forces from Great Britain.

"To achieve the outcomes we seek, it is important to go after air defense and Taliban aircraft. We need freedom to operate on the ground and in the air, and the targets selected, if successfully destroyed, should permit an increasing degree of freedom over time.

"We have also targeted command facilities for those forces we know support terrorist elements within Afghanistan, and critical terrorist sites.

"As President Bush has repeatedly emphasized, we will hold accountable any who help terrorists, as well as the terrorists themselves."

Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld released today the following statement:

"Good afternoon. We have said since September 11 that the campaign against terrorism will be broad, sustained, and that we will use every element of American influence.

Today, the president has turned to direct, overt military force to complement the economic, humanitarian, financial, and diplomatic activity already well underway.

"The effect we hope to achieve through the raids, which, together with our coalition partners, we have initiated today, is to create conditions for sustained anti-terrorist and humanitarian relief operations in Afghanistan. That requires that, among other things, we first remove the threat from air defenses and from Taliban aircraft.

"We also seek to raise the cost of doing business for foreign terrorists who have chosen Afghanistan from which to organize their activities, and for the oppressive Taliban regime that continues to tolerate the terrorist presence in those portions of Afghanistan they control.

"The current military operations are focused on achieving several outcomes. To:

"Make it clear to the Taliban leaders and their supporters that harboring terrorists is unacceptable and carries a price.

"Acquire intelligence to facilitate future operations against Al Qaida and the Taliban regimes who harbor the terrorists.

"Develop relationships with groups in Afghanistan that oppose the Taliban regime and the foreign terrorists they support.

"Make it increasingly difficult for the terrorists to use Afghanistan freely as a base of operations.

"Alter the military balance over time, by denying to the Taliban its offensive systems that hamper the progress of the various opposition forces.

"Provide humanitarian relief to Afghans suffering truly oppressive living conditions.

"I want to reiterate a point President Bush has made often and that he made again today. The United States has organized armed coalitions on several occasions since the Cold War for the purpose of denying hostile regimes the opportunity to oppress their own or other people.

"In Kuwait, Northern Iraq, Somalia, Bosnia, and Kosovo, the United States took action on behalf of Muslim populations against outside invaders or oppressive regimes. The same is true today. We stand with those Afghans who are being repressed by a regime that abuses the very people it purports to lead and harbors terrorists who have attacked and killed thousands of innocent people around the world-of all religions, races and nationalities.

"While our raids today focus on the Taliban and the foreign terrorists in Afghanistan, our aim remains much broader. Our objective is to defeat those who use terrorism, and those that house or support them.

"The world stands united in this effort. It is not about a religion, an individual terrorist, or a country. Our partners in this effort represent nations and peoples of all cultures, religions, and races.

"We share the belief that terrorism is a cancer on the human condition, and we intend to oppose it wherever it is.

"The operation today involved a variety of weapons systems, and it originated from a number of separate locations. We used land and sea based aircraft, surface ships and submarines, and employed a variety of weapons to achieve our objectives.

"As President Bush mentioned in his statement, dozens of countries contributed in specific ways to this mission, including transit and landing rights, basing opportunities, and intelligence support. In this mission, we are particularly grateful for the direct military involvement of forces from Great Britain.

"To achieve the outcomes we seek, it is important to go after air defense and Taliban aircraft. We need freedom to operate on the ground and in the air, and the targets selected, if successfully destroyed, should permit an increasing degree of freedom over time.

"We have also targeted command facilities for those forces we know support terrorist elements within Afghanistan, and critical terrorist sites.

"As President Bush has repeatedly emphasized, we will hold accountable any who help terrorists, as well as the terrorists themselves."


Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld released today the following statement:

"Good afternoon. We have said since September 11 that the campaign against terrorism will be broad, sustained, and that we will use every element of American influence.

Today, the president has turned to direct, overt military force to complement the economic, humanitarian, financial, and diplomatic activity already well underway.

"The effect we hope to achieve through the raids, which, together with our coalition partners, we have initiated today, is to create conditions for sustained anti-terrorist and humanitarian relief operations in Afghanistan. That requires that, among other things, we first remove the threat from air defenses and from Taliban aircraft.

"We also seek to raise the cost of doing business for foreign terrorists who have chosen Afghanistan from which to organize their activities, and for the oppressive Taliban regime that continues to tolerate the terrorist presence in those portions of Afghanistan they control.

"The current military operations are focused on achieving several outcomes. To:

"Make it clear to the Taliban leaders and their supporters that harboring terrorists is unacceptable and carries a price.

"Acquire intelligence to facilitate future operations against Al Qaida and the Taliban regimes who harbor the terrorists.

"Develop relationships with groups in Afghanistan that oppose the Taliban regime and the foreign terrorists they support.

"Make it increasingly difficult for the terrorists to use Afghanistan freely as a base of operations.

"Alter the military balance over time, by denying to the Taliban its offensive systems that hamper the progress of the various opposition forces.

"Provide humanitarian relief to Afghans suffering truly oppressive living conditions.

"I want to reiterate a point President Bush has made often and that he made again today. The United States has organized armed coalitions on several occasions since the Cold War for the purpose of denying hostile regimes the opportunity to oppress their own or other people.

"In Kuwait, Northern Iraq, Somalia, Bosnia, and Kosovo, the United States took action on behalf of Muslim populations against outside invaders or oppressive regimes. The same is true today. We stand with those Afghans who are being repressed by a regime that abuses the very people it purports to lead and harbors terrorists who have attacked and killed thousands of innocent people around the world-of all religions, races and nationalities.

"While our raids today focus on the Taliban and the foreign terrorists in Afghanistan, our aim remains much broader. Our objective is to defeat those who use terrorism, and those that house or support them.

"The world stands united in this effort. It is not about a religion, an individual terrorist, or a country. Our partners in this effort represent nations and peoples of all cultures, religions, and races.

"We share the belief that terrorism is a cancer on the human condition, and we intend to oppose it wherever it is.

"The operation today involved a variety of weapons systems, and it originated from a number of separate locations. We used land and sea based aircraft, surface ships and submarines, and employed a variety of weapons to achieve our objectives.

"As President Bush mentioned in his statement, dozens of countries contributed in specific ways to this mission, including transit and landing rights, basing opportunities, and intelligence support. In this mission, we are particularly grateful for the direct military involvement of forces from Great Britain.

"To achieve the outcomes we seek, it is important to go after air defense and Taliban aircraft. We need freedom to operate on the ground and in the air, and the targets selected, if successfully destroyed, should permit an increasing degree of freedom over time.

"We have also targeted command facilities for those forces we know support terrorist elements within Afghanistan, and critical terrorist sites.

"As President Bush has repeatedly emphasized, we will hold accountable any who help terrorists, as well as the terrorists themselves."

Presidential Address to the Nation, 7 Oct. 2001

What is remarkable about this statement is that it does not justify the U.S. military strikes on Afghanistan by the need to find those who planned the events of 9/11.  There is no mention in this statement of any link between Afghanistan and these events.   (The Webmaster)

Presidential Address to the Nation
The Treaty Room

Office of the Press Secretary
October 7, 2001

  1:00 P.M. EDT

     THE PRESIDENT (George W. Bush):  Good afternoon.  On my orders, the United States military has begun strikes against al Qaeda terrorist training camps and military installations of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.  These carefully targeted actions are designed to disrupt the use of Afghanistan as a terrorist base of operations, and to attack the military capability of the Taliban regime.

     We are joined in this operation by our staunch friend, Great Britain. Other close friends, including Canada, Australia, Germany and France, have pledged forces as the operation unfolds.  More than 40 countries in the Middle East, Africa, Europe and across Asia have granted air transit or landing rights.  Many more have shared intelligence.  We are supported by the collective will of the world.

     More than two weeks ago, I gave Taliban leaders a series of clear and specific demands:  Close terrorist training camps; hand over leaders of the al Qaeda network; and return all foreign nationals, including American citizens, unjustly detained in your country.  None of these demands were met.  And now the Taliban will pay a price.  By destroying camps and disrupting communications, we will make it more difficult for the terror network to train new recruits and coordinate their evil plans.

     Initially, the terrorists may burrow deeper into caves and other entrenched hiding places.  Our military action is also designed to clear the way for sustained, comprehensive and relentless operations to drive them out and bring them to justice.

     At the same time, the oppressed people of Afghanistan will know the generosity of America and our allies.  As we strike military targets, we’ll also drop food, medicine and supplies to the starving and suffering men and women and children of Afghanistan.

     The United States of America is a friend to the Afghan people, and we are the friends of almost a billion worldwide who practice the Islamic faith.  The United States of America is an enemy of those who aid terrorists and of the barbaric criminals who profane a great religion by committing murder in its name.

     This military action is a part of our campaign against terrorism, another front in a war that has already been joined through diplomacy, intelligence, the freezing of financial assets and the arrests of known terrorists by law enforcement agents in 38 countries.  Given the nature and reach of our enemies, we will win this conflict by the patient accumulation of successes, by meeting a series of challenges with determination and will and purpose.

     Today we focus on Afghanistan, but the battle is broader.  Every nation has a choice to make.  In this conflict, there is no neutral ground. If any government sponsors the outlaws and killers of innocents, they have become outlaws and murderers, themselves.  And they will take that lonely path at their own peril.

     I’m speaking to you today from the Treaty Room of the White House, a place where American Presidents have worked for peace.  We’re a peaceful nation.  Yet, as we have learned, so suddenly and so tragically, there can be no peace in a world of sudden terror.  In the face of today’s new threat, the only way to pursue peace is to pursue those who threaten it.

     We did not ask for this mission, but we will fulfill it.  The name of today’s military operation is Enduring Freedom.  We defend not only our precious freedoms, but also the freedom of people everywhere to live and raise their children free from fear.

     I know many Americans feel fear today.  And our government is taking strong precautions.  All law enforcement and intelligence agencies are working aggressively around America, around the world and around the clock. At my request, many governors have activated the National Guard to strengthen airport security.  We have called up Reserves to reinforce our military capability and strengthen the protection of our homeland.

     In the months ahead, our patience will be one of our strengths — patience with the long waits that will result from tighter security; patience and understanding that it will take time to achieve our goals; patience in all the sacrifices that may come.

     Today, those sacrifices are being made by members of our Armed Forces who now defend us so far from home, and by their proud and worried families.  A Commander-in-Chief sends America’s sons and daughters into a battle in a foreign land only after the greatest care and a lot of prayer. We ask a lot of those who wear our uniform.  We ask them to leave their loved ones, to travel great distances, to risk injury, even to be prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice of their lives.  They are dedicated, they are honorable; they represent the best of our country.  And we are grateful.

     To all the men and women in our military — every sailor, every soldier, every airman, every coastguardsman, every Marine    — I say this: Your mission is defined; your objectives are clear; your goal is just.  You have my full confidence, and you will have every tool you need to carry out your duty.

     I recently received a touching letter that says a lot about the state of America in these difficult times — a letter from a 4th-grade girl, with a father in the military:  "As much as I don’t want my Dad to fight," she wrote, "I’m willing to give him to you."

     This is a precious gift, the greatest she could give.  This young girl knows what America is all about.  Since September 11, an entire generation of young Americans has gained new understanding of the value of freedom, and its cost in duty and in sacrifice.

     The battle is now joined on many fronts.  We will not waver; we will not tire; we will not falter; and we will not fail.  Peace and freedom will prevail.

     Thank you.  May God continue to bless America.

                               END        1:07 P.M, EDT

Official Pentagon Investigation (9/11)

Official Pentagon Investigations

Sketchy Reports by Volunteer Investigators and Academics

As in the case of the World Trade Center site, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) took control of the crime scene and supervised the official investigation of it. Also as in Manhattan, FEMA officials in Washington appointed volunteers from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) to investigate the crime and write a report. The team was dubbed the BPS (Building Performance Study). The BPS investigated the response of the building to the crash, not the crash itself, evidence of which was not available to them. 1 
By the time the full Pentagon BPS team visited the site, all debris from the aircraft and structural collapse had been removed and shoring was in place wherever there was severe structural damage.
FEMA’s Report

In January 2003, FEMA’s team published "The Pentagon Building Performance Report." 2   The Report described the analysis that the BPS conducted between September and April of 2002.

FEMA’s report gives an account of the final approach and crash of the jetliner with the following details.

   1. The 757 approached at about 780 ft/s (532 mph)
   2. During the approach the plane rolled slightly to the left.
   3. The left wing struck a piece of construction equipment that was about 100 feet from the Pentagon’s facade, 0.1 second before impact.
   4. The left engine struck the ground at about the time the nose struck the facade.
   5. The impact of the fuselage was centered at about column line 14.
   6. The left wing passed below the second floor slab, and the right wing crossed the slab at a shallow angle.
   7. The impact removed first floor exterior columns from column lines 10 to 14.
   8. The impact severely damaged first floor exterior columns on column lines 9, 15, 16, and 17.
   9. The impact destroyed the second floor exterior columns on column ine 14 and its adjacent spandrel plate.
  10. Facade damage extended to the fourth floor on both sides of the impact area, but did not extend above the third floor over the central impact area.
  11. The E-Ring structure deflected downward from an expansion joint on column line 11 south to the exterior column on column line 18.
  12. All five levels of Ring E between column line 8 through column line 18 collapsed about 20 minutes after the impact.

It’s not clear why the Pentagon BPS took eight months to publish their study (which contrasts with the World Trade Center BPS publishing promptly in May of 2002). The Report gives a vague account of the the attack plane’s trajectory with unsupported quantitative details, such as the speed of the plane. It makes errors in illustrating damage, such as offsetting the C-Ring punch-out hole by about four feet.

The Pentagon BPS is the only government investigation of the crash of Flight 77 that admits to existing, but it was defined as and limited to an investigation of the performance of the building. There was no investigation into the crash by the National Transportation and Safety Board (NTSB). The Probable Cause document for Flight 77 on the NTSB’s website reads:
The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 are under the jurisdiction of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Safety Board provided requested technical assistance to the FBI, and any material generated by the NTSB is under the control of the FBI. The Safety Board does not plan to issue a report or open a public docket. 3 
The Purdue Study

A group of computer scientists and engineers at Purdue University created a simulation of a 757 crashing into the Pentagon. 4   They noted the existence of a body of literature on collisions of aircraft into reinforced concrete structures such as nuclear reactor containment buildings. A 1992 study by Sugano, et. al. documents the crash of an F-4D Phantom interceptor jet into a 10-foot thick steel-reinforced concrete block at 480 mph. 5   The study shows that most of the jet was reduced to confetti, while producing only a shallow impression in the block.

Although there are limits between the comparison of an F-4 flying into such a block at 480 mph and a 757 flying into the Pentagon’s columnated reinforced masonry wall at 300-450 mph, the Sugano study raised questions for the Purdue scientists as to how the 757 impact broke out as much as it did, and how it destroyed columns deep in the building. To account for the damage they postulated a liquid hammer effect, wherein it was the impact of the jetliner’s fuel that produced most of the damage. 6 
Frame 33 of Purdue’s simulation

The Purdue study’s simulation of the plane crash was limited in its realism. The simulation featured on the webpage September 11 Pentagon Attack Simulations Using LS-Dyna is limited to the collision of an engine-less jetliner with the Pentagon’s first-floor columns. 7   It doesn’t account for the facade walls or the second-floor slab or columns. It has the jetliner entering on a level heading with wings inches from the ground. It shows the ends of its wings passing into the building, sliced by columns. Simulating the effects of the walls in deflecting the portions of the wings that could not have fit through the approximately 96-foot-wide span of punctured walls was apparently beyond the scope of Purdue’s study. 8 

1. The Pentagon Report, Civil Engineering Magazine, 2/03 [cached]
2. The Pentagon Building Performance Report,, 1/2003 [cached]
3. NTSB Docket DCA01MA064,, [cached]
4. Producing High-Quality Visualizations of Large-Scale Simulations, [cached]
5. Footage of 1988 rocket-sled test.,, [cached]
6. New simulation shows 9/11 plane crash with scientific detail, Purdue News, 9/10/02 [cached]
7. September 11 Pentagon Attack Simulations Using LS-Dyna,, 9/11/02 [cached]
8. (Pentagon crash simulation video),, [cached]

page last modified: 2006-07-04


‘Reordering the world’

Tony Blair, 2 October 2001: "This is a moment to seize. The kaleidoscope has been shaken. The pieces are in flux. Soon they will settle again. Before they do, let us reorder this world around us."
From the October 05, 2001 edition
Christian Science Monitor

'This is a moment to seize'
By Tony Blair

On Oct. 2, British Prime Minister Tony Blair delivered a major speech on the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks to the annual Labour Party conference. Here are some excerpts:

They don't want revenge. They want something better in memory of their loved ones. I believe their memorial can and should be greater than simply the punishment of the guilty. It is that out of the shadow of this evil should emerge lasting good: destruction of the machinery of terrorism wherever it is found; hope amongst all nations of a new beginning where we seek to resolve differences in a calm and ordered way; greater understanding between nations and between faiths; and above all, justice and prosperity for the poor and dispossessed, so that people everywhere can see the chance of a better future through the hard work and creative power of the free citizen, not the violence and savagery of the fanatic….

Our way of life is a great deal stronger and will last a great deal longer than the actions of fanatics, small in number and now facing a unified world against them. People should have confidence. This is a battle with only one outcome: our victory, not theirs….

Be in no doubt: Bin Laden and his people organized this atrocity. The Taliban aid and abet him. He will not desist from further acts of terror. They will not stop helping him. Whatever the dangers of the action we take, the dangers of inaction are far, far greater….

Don't overreact, some say. We aren't. We haven't lashed out. No missiles on the first night just for effect. Don't kill innocent people. We are not the ones who waged war on the innocent. We seek the guilty….

There is no compromise possible with such people, no meeting of minds, no point of understanding with such terror. Just a choice: Defeat it or be defeated by it. And defeat it we must. Any action taken will be against the terrorist network of bin Laden. As for the Taliban, they can surrender the terrorists or face the consequences; and again, in any action, the aim will be to eliminate their military hardware, cut off their finances, disrupt their supplies, target their troops, not civilians. We will put a trap around the regime. I say to the Taliban: Surrender the terrorists, or surrender power. It's your choice….

To the Afghan people we make this commitment. The conflict will not be the end. We will not walk away, as the outside world has done so many times before.

If the Taliban regime changes, we will work with you to make sure its successor is one that is broad-based, that unites all ethnic groups, and that offers some way out of the miserable poverty that is your present existence.

And, more than ever now, with every bit as much thought and planning, we will assemble a humanitarian coalition alongside the military coalition so that inside and outside Afghanistan, the refugees, 4-1/2 million on the move even before 11 September, are given shelter, food, and help during the winter months. The world community must show as much its capacity for compassion as for force….

Justice has no favorites; not amongst nations, peoples, or faiths. When we act to bring to account those that committed the atrocity of 11 September, we do so not out of bloodlust. We do so because it is just. We do not act against Islam. The true followers of Islam are our brothers and sisters in this struggle. Bin Laden is no more obedient to the proper teaching of the Koran than those crusaders of the 12th century who pillaged and murdered, represented the teaching of the Gospel. It is time the West confronted its ignorance of Islam. Jews, Muslims, and Christians are all children of Abraham….

The starving, the wretched, the dispossessed, the ignorant, those living in want and squalor from the deserts of Northern Africa, to the slums of Gaza, to the mountain ranges of Afghanistan: They, too, are our cause. This is a moment to seize. The kaleidoscope has been shaken. The pieces are in flux. Soon they will settle again. Before they do, let us reorder this world around us.

French UN Ambassador claims authorship of SC resolution 1368

"We [the French delegation to the U.N.] drafted a [Security Council] resolution which we submitted to our partners in the Security Council as soon as the doors of the United Nations reopened [on September 12, 2001]. The resolution was adopted within the record time of one hour. By this landmark resolution in the history of the United Nations and in international law, the Security Council, for the first time since the adoption of the UN Charter, determined that an act of international terrorism, such as that which occurred on September 11, 2001, should be regarded as armed aggression." (transl. from the French)