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Rumsfeld Media Stakeout at Rayburn House Office Building

Presenter: Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld
February 14, 2002 12:00 PM EDT

(Media Stakeout at Rayburn House Office Building)

Question: -- Do you have any identification as to who was killed? Have you been able to rule out for instance Osama bin Laden?

Rumsfeld: Nothing has been ruled in or out to my knowledge as of when I left the office.

Question: So the remains have not been identified?

Rumsfeld: I have received no information that would rule anything in or out as of this point.

Question: Have you come to some sort of a decision on the legal procedures that will be taken for the people in Guantanamo in terms of military tribunal, --

Rumsfeld: I think -- What day is today? Thursday. I was looking at my calendar for this week and next. I know that sometime in the next week and a half I am to be briefed on various progress with respect to some of the basic rules for tribunals, but that has not yet happened.

Question: There's a report from UPI out of Kabul this morning, I think, that Afghan forces were preparing to attack a village near where the CIA missile strike was, under the believe that Osama bin Laden might be in that area. Do you know anything about those circumstances?

Rumsfeld: At any given time in Afghanistan, there may be a direct action by one or more of the coalition forces including Afghans. There could be as many as one just being completed, one getting ready to do something somewhere else in the country, and another one in process. What we've decided to do is to handle it this way, and that is to simply say we don't talk about them and when they're completed and we know something that we can say, we do.

Question: Regarding an operation that seems to be complete, there was a C-130, an Air Force MC-130 that crashed two days ago now. Can you tell us anything about the circumstances of that crash, whether hostile fire was involved?

Rumsfeld: I'm told that the earlier reports indicate that they know of no hostile fire. My understanding is that the weather was not good. The operation that was in its early stages was discontinued. It was a refueling 130. It apparently hit a hill and it hit the rise of a hill and it apparently was in a pulling up mode and the snow was quite deep. It apparently pancaked and just amazingly the helicopters were nearby, they descended and they were able to get what I believe was something in the neighborhood of eight crewmembers out of the aircraft. The aircraft did not burn. And there's been a good deal of changes in the early reports as to the number of people injured. But one person was pinned in the plane and they had to take some time to get him out, but the last I heard there were a couple of those folks who are now in Mansfield, is Mansfield in Germany? And the others are not. They apparently may not have to go. They're in sufficiently good shape that they may not have to go, so somebody up there likes them.

Question: What's the latest on Osama bin Laden?

Rumsfeld: I daresay you'll have to ask them. We don't --

Question: This is the latest --

Rumsfeld: We don't keep in daily touch with those folks. Needless to say there's a lot of people looking and attempting to gather intelligence about them and their behavior patterns and trying to find them. Until they find them, they haven't been found.

Question: No indication what country they might be in right now?

Rumsfeld: There's always so much. In intelligence there are always so many scraps and pieces of information. This person thinks that, someone thinks another thing, and until you are able to take it all together, look at it, and weave a fabric, you -- Any one of those threads doesn't make much of a picture. It's just an opinion.

Question: Thank you very much.