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Secretary Rumsfeld and General Myers, Chairman Joint Chief of Staff Media Availability at Conclusion of Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing

Presenters: Secretary Rumsfeld and General Myers, Chairman Joint Chief of Staff
February 17, 2005

            Press:  Can we get your reaction to Negroponte's selection?

 

            Rumsfeld:  Well, the Ambassador's done really an absolutely first class job in Iraq as he did in the United Nations.  He's someone that we've all worked closely with now for many months.  He has the respect of all the people who are involved in the National Security Council Process.  He's clearly an excellent choice.

 

            Press:  In the deliberations about the 9/11 Commission's recommendations.  You've expressed concern about the sharing of tactical intelligence.  Maybe Negroponte will be able to work more closely with DoD, [inaudible]?

 

            Rumsfeld:  I think you can extract out something I may or may not have said to the 9/11 Commission.  I think that stovepiping is an issue that the government needs to address broadly in all departments and agencies, and clearly one of the responsibilities of that position that Ambassador Negroponte will be going into, that would be an area that he would work on, I'm sure.

 

            Press:  Mr. Secretary, you know throughout history in Afghanistan and Iraq one of the keys to defeating an insurgency is close cooperation between the military and political aspects of the battle.  General Myers and you both alluded to this today. One of the things about Ambassador Negroponte's and General Casey, has been their good, close working relationship [inaudible] and Afghanistan.

 

            Rumsfeld:  It has been absolutely perfect. They've been just knitted together and that, the effect of the closeness of that relationship and the connections has played an important role in the progress that’s being made.

 

            Press:  I'm now reluctant of course to have you disagree with me, but what will his departure mean, if anything, to any type of new challenges in continuing this battle against the insurgencies?

 

            Rumsfeld:  I think that the task is so important and understood to be so important and achieving success so important that whoever succeeds Mr. Negroponte will work in the same close intimate way that the two of them have worked.

 

            Press:  You don’t like to make demands on anyone outside your department, I realize that, but would you like to encourage that whoever he or she is, to follow that close cooperative vein? Is that what you're saying?

 

            Rumsfeld:  I've already believed that that would be the case.

 

            Press:  Mr. Secretary, where do you rank Syria in terms of the various threats facing the United States?  Is there a military war plan?

 

            Rumsfeld:  Is there a what?

 

            Press:  A military war plan?

 

            Rumsfeld:  We don't talk about war plans.  And we don't rank things like that.  There are so many variables involved that we don't rank countries [inaudible] like that.  There's a list of terrorist countries, and Syria is on it.

 

            Press:  Mr. Secretary, you've always talked about continued military planning.

 

            Rumsfeld:  Ask General Myers. General Myers, he’s Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. He's right here.

 

            Press:  -- if any for --

 

            Rumsfeld:  He's all warmed up.

 

            Press:  Have you freshened your plan for Syria?

 

            Myers:  As the Secretary said, we generally don't talk about operational plans.  I think the American public can expect that the Department of Defense and the U.S. military will have appropriate plans and responses to [inaudible] around the world. That’s what we do. 

 

            Press:  Mr. Secretary --

 

            Rumsfeld:  We'll make this the last question, so make it a very good one.

 

            Press:  Sir, over the last couple of days you've been asked about an agreement that you're coming close to reaching [inaudible].  Do you have a forecast on how that might shake out other than possibilities, covert and clandestine, where you think it might shake out, or what your preferences are on the shakeout?

 

            Rumsfeld:  The 9/11 Commission made some recommendations.  The President asked the CIA and the Department of Defense to look at the relationship between the two with respect to, I believe the phrase they used was paramilitary activities.  The subject is an important one.  The kind of a conflict we're in is not a major conventional activity so the subject of paramilitary activities takes on added play.

 

            Our department and the agency have been studying that.  Have you seen it?  I have not seen the study.

 

            Myers:  I have not seen the results of the study.  I think that's coming over here shortly to us in the department.

 

            Rumsfeld:  We'll have to sit down and talk about it and think it through and ask not does it seem appropriate today, but what kind of a relationship is appropriate prospectively.

 

            We have differing responsibilities and differing capabilities between the intelligence community and the Department of Defense.  We're long on capabilities and they're long on authorities.  And so we've tried to work together closely over time in ways that are in the interest of the country and approved by the President and the Congress.  How we'll end up making adjustments is too complicated to answer in a press briefing.  [Inaudible]. Thank you very much