United States Department of Defense United States Department of Defense

News Transcript

Press Operations Bookmark and Share

Transcript


DoD News Briefing - Secretary Rumsfeld and Gen. Myers

Presenter: Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld
April 03, 2002 12:30 PM EDT

(Also participating was Gen. Richard Myers, chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff.)

Rumsfeld: Good afternoon. General Myers has just taken me into a dining room where a large number of New York Yankees are eating lunch, and doing it with a lot of young men and women in uniform, to all of their great pleasure.

Q: Did they get your autograph?

Rumsfeld: Charlie. But I can tell you that Don Zimmer was among them, a former Chicago Cub coach.

Q: I rubbed his head. (Laughter.)

Rumsfeld: Was it good luck? (Laughs.)

(Off mike remark, laughter.)

Rumsfeld: There's been some speculation on Abu Zubaydah. And let me just be very precise so that some of the misinformation and misunderstanding that's sweeping the air waves in the last 24 hours is put to rest.

We, the United States government, have made a conscious decision not to release his location, as a matter of security.

Second, the United States is providing him appropriate medical attention. We have every interest in seeing that he remains alive and has an opportunity to discuss a variety of things with us that conceivably could be helpful to the global war on terrorism.

Third, the United States is responsible for his detention, and any speculation to the contrary is inaccurate.

Next, I'd like to elaborate modestly on a point I made the other day to the effect that Saddam Hussein and the regime in Iraq are offering $10,000 per family if they're able to persuade a family to have their teenager strap explosives on them and go out and kill themselves and kill innocent men, women, and children. It turns out that he has raised that amount, and it's $25,000 per family, not $10,000 per family.

Think of it. Here is an individual who is the head of a country, Iraq, who has proudly, publicly made a decision to go out and actively promote and finance human sacrifice for families that will have their youngsters kill innocent men, women, and children. That is an example of what it is we're dealing with.

General Myers?

Myers: Thank you, Mr. Secretary, and good afternoon.

As the secretary said, we had another opportunity, just a few minutes before arriving here, to talk about our men and women in uniform who represent our nation so proudly in their work against -- in Operation Enduring Freedom. Interestingly, as the secretary said, the group that we were talking to also wears a distinctive uniform and also proudly represents New York. We were joined for lunch by Yankee manager Joe Torre and several New York Yankee players. They had a chance this morning to see the Pentagon's Ground Zero, and afterwards, we talked about experiences and values our military shares with the theme "Bronx Bombers."

We talked about how, with barely a pause, that our Pentagon family went back to work after the attack here and how the Yankees, after a short spell to honor the missing and dead, also went back to work. We talked about how their commitment to excel represents our American spirit and our way of life and how our men and women in uniform are also fighting for this way of life. We talked about the need for a strong offense at the plate, in their case, as well as, in our case, on the global war on terrorism and also a strong defense in the field or in the skies over our nation.

And we talked about our men and women in uniform, including a 10th Mountain Division soldier from New York who participated in Operation Anaconda. That soldier, as probably many of you read recently, explained how clearly he understood the reason he was fighting. It was so 9/11 could not happen again, for the protection of his loved ones in New York, for firefighters, for emergency workers, police and coworkers who charged towards danger rather than yield to it in the effort to save others. With such clarity of purpose, such common trait among members of our armed forces at work on the global war against terrorism, it's no wonder they remain so motivated, dedicated and enthusiastic.

Today, operations continue in Afghanistan and our activities are focused on looking for remnants of al Qaeda and Taliban and on exploiting sites where they may be found or where they may have been in the past. We're employing a broad mix of forces to achieve this, ranging from small teams of special forces to larger contingents of conventional forces, to elements representing our coalition partners and, of course, Afghan military forces.

And with that, we'll take your questions.

Rumsfeld: Charlie?

Q: Mr. Secretary, how do you know that he's -- Saddam Hussein has raised the ante, as you say, from $10,000, $25,000?

Rumsfeld: It is being said publicly.

Q: How is this getting out? I mean, is he spreading leaflets, is it by radio, is it word of mouth? And to your knowledge, is this money being paid in cash or what?

Rumsfeld: He is pleased with his idea and is promoting it in the region. It is a matter of public record.

Yes?

Q: Mr. Secretary, can I ask you to respond to complaints from private humanitarian aid groups about the practice of U.S. military personnel operating in a humanitarian role, out of uniform, that they feel this adds to the risk for the civilian humanitarian workers? In Afghanistan, I mean.

Rumsfeld: It is a serious issue, and General Myers is addressing it and will comment in a moment. I do think, however, it ought to be remembered that humanitarian workers had been driven out of Afghanistan during the Taliban and al Qaeda rule. The people of Afghanistan were suffering, being deprived of food and medical care, and were being repressed by the government. The only reason that humanitarian workers are today back in Afghanistan is because of the U.S. military, and I think it's important to get that into perspective.

And one of the great advantages of the fact that the al Qaeda and the Taliban have been driven out of positions of power in that country is that in fact internally displaced people have been able to go home, roads have been opened, refugees are beginning to return, and humanitarian workers from all countries in the world are able to return. It is also true that U.S. military people have delivered a great amount of food, have provided, through their civil action and civil assistance programs, a great deal of assistance themselves.

With that, I'll -- and I think that gives it a little texture and perspective, and possibly General Myers would like to comment on the technicalities of uniforms and not uniforms.

Myers: Just a couple of comments to add to what the secretary said: that we do have a limited number of U.S. personnel that are working remote areas in Afghanistan that are authorized to wear civilian clothing while they're doing their work, primarily for force protection concerns, also sometimes just because of the nature of the work they're doing, because they're involved in the civil affairs in those regions. These civil affairs activities are legitimate and, as the secretary said, are often the means by which we provide a secure and stable and safe environment for other aid workers to work in.

Nevertheless, we have -- and we have continued, from the time that we started our work in Afghanistan, to review our policy on uniform wear. And as you can imagine, as this -- from the time in October when this conflict started to now, the nature of that conflict has changed, and therefore some of the -- wear the uniform, and the rules associated with that have changed as well. And we're continuing to review that, and General Franks is going to -- he does that on a periodic basis. He will do that again and provide some input to the secretary on that.

Q: Are you saying that you're considering changing that, so that these people would operate in uniform, rather than --

Myers: No, I'm not saying that at all. I think there are some legitimate things that our people do where they don't necessarily have to be in uniform. As I said, it's mainly for force protection concerns.

Rumsfeld: I would add that this problem, of course, is not unique to Afghanistan. I mean, for the sake of argument, transport yourself into the Philippines. What does a person there who's training on an island that is known to have a good many terrorists as part of the terrorist network that exists there -- he spends his day training and decides it's time now to go someplace and do something other than work. It's the end of the day, he wants to -- maybe wants to go to an ATM machine someplace, or he wants to go somewhere else. What ought that individual be required to do? Must that person be in uniform, or not in uniform? Which is better from the standpoint of the community, which is better from the standpoint of the individual? Ought that individual to be armed, visibly armed, or not armed in off-duty periods? Those are calculations and calibrations that have to be made, as General Myers indicated, by local commanders and discussed in a way that a balancing of the risks is taken into account.

Q: Mr. Secretary? No iron maiden questions today, please.

In the Middle East, you and General Myers told us Monday that there were no plans at that time to send U.S. troops into the Middle East to perhaps provide a peacekeeping force or a buffer force between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Is that still true today? And what about the force in the Sinai? Any thoughts about moving them up there to take over that kind of an action?

Rumsfeld: My response yesterday was correct and it is still correct today. The force that exists in the Sinai is there for the purpose that it was originally put in for some 22 years ago, and there is no plan or intention whatsoever to move it.

Q: And other forces have been going into the Middle East --

Rumsfeld: As I said, my answer yesterday was exactly correct, and it is still correct. We have no such plans.

Pam?

Q: Sir, what came out of the Geneva funding conference for the Afghan National Army? Rahimi said yesterday he expects to need an army of 200,000-250,000.

Rumsfeld: First of all, I don't think the conference is over. It may have just ended the second day. But I think it is -- it is apparently not a donors conference, it is a planners conference. And if I said "donors conference", as I may have earlier this week, I should correct that now to a conference relating to funding for security purposes in the country. But it's more of a planning mechanism, it's not looking for an immediate answer in terms of dollars.

The -- what was the second part of your question?

Q: Oh, you know, just yapping. (Laughter.)

Rumsfeld: No you weren't.

Q: I'd like to hear myself talk on C-SPAN later. (Laughter.)

Rumsfeld: But it -- it is -- that's very funny. (Laughter.)

It is not -- I don't think it's complete. And when it is complete, I'm sure that they will come out of it with appropriate ideas as to how they should proceed, because there's no question but that money is going to be needed, not just for the Afghan army, but also for the border patrol and also probably for police.

The issue as to the size of that army I think depends on what one's talking about. Are they talking about simply the army, or are they talking about the army plus the border patrol plus police? And I know of no plans to have an Afghan national army of anything approximating the size that you've just mentioned.

Q: Of the 45 million (dollars) that you all talked about, about how long will that carry training --

Rumsfeld: Depends on what it's used for. It depends on if it goes for just the army or just the border patrol.

There are several things happening. The Germans are doing a fine job in training I believe border patrol or --

Myers: Police. Police.

Rumsfeld: Police, police groups. There are some folks who are in the process, are getting ready to train some border patrol. The U.S. has been assisting in training a relatively small number of people who conceivably could serve as a guard for the interim Afghan authority. And then there are plans to do additional things thereafter. But there's a lot of good work going on by a number of countries.

John?

Q: Mr. Secretary, you said earlier that Abu Zubaydah is under U.S. control or the U.S. is controlling his detention. Can you help us understand what the priorities are with a prisoner like this? Is it to get intelligence from him first and to prosecute later? And if that becomes a difficulty, just focus on the intelligence-gathering? Is that how you approach an individual like this?

Rumsfeld: There is no question but that the overriding importance -- important issue is intelligence gathering.

Q: And is there a debate within this administration as to whether or not a third country might be a better recipient of this particular suspect?

Rumsfeld: There is no debate and there is no plan to have -- let me rephrase it. There is no debate at all on anything relating to this individual, that I'm aware of.

Q: To hand him over to a third country --

Rumsfeld: On any aspect of this individual, I know of no debate within this administration.

Q: Oh, well that -- okay. We'll play with the words, then.

Rumsfeld: No, no. There's no playing with words. I don't believe there is a debate about any aspect of this individual's circumstance.

Q: Is it your understanding that the United States will maintain control of this individual?

Rumsfeld: I said -- I think I -- I could be wrong, but I thought I said that we are responsible for his detention and we intend to remain responsible for his detention. And that means exactly what it means, that we, the United States of America, are responsible for him.

Q: You don't plan to change that to "control"?

Rumsfeld: We have -- we have no plans to change the issue as to whether or not we are responsible for him.

Q: Follow-up?

Q: If issue -- could I --

Q: Sorry, but I'm going to have to belabor --

Rumsfeld: Don't be sorry.

Q: Well, okay. Thank you. (Soft laughter). The wording here is confusing to me, at least -- "responsible for his detention" -- does that mean the United States is holding him?

Rumsfeld: It happens that we are. I use the word because it's conceivable that -- well, I've never been one to willy-nilly throw away options. I have no -- I can't conceive of why we would not want to hold him. We currently are holding him. But I don't need to promise the world that we will hold him in perpetuity. Therefore, I don't. Therefore, I selected the word that is exactly the word I wanted to use. It is exactly the right word. It conveys exactly the meaning that I intended to convey.

(Cross talk.)

Q: Mr. Secretary, you said --

Rumsfeld: You're not going to belabor the same subject, are you?

Q: Well, I am, actually.

Rumsfeld: Brett (sp)? (Laughter.)

Q: I'm sure he'll defer to me. (Laughter.)

You said yesterday --

Q: Go ahead, Nick.

Q: You said yesterday that you refuse to disclose his location for security reasons.

Rumsfeld: I still do.

Q: Okay. What detention facility could be more secure right now than Guantanamo Bay, and why wouldn't he be transferred to that site?

Rumsfeld: I have no desire to discuss the issue. We've made a good decision. It's the right decision. I've explained it in exactly the depth that it is appropriate to explain it.

Q: Mr. Secretary, will you --

Q: Mr. Secretary, why belabor this? Why belabor --

Rumsfeld: I'm not belaboring anything.

Q: But the point is, you brought up the issue, sir.

Rumsfeld: You're belaboring it.

Q: The reports on here indicate that the United States might transfer him to a third country because that third country might put electrodes on him or whatever; might -- is that what

Rumsfeld: That isn't what I --

Q: Is that what you're saying here?

Rumsfeld: That is what I saw on television, and that is wrong and irresponsible.

Q: That's not what the report said. That's not what the report said. I'm sorry, Charlie.

Rumsfeld: I saw a report that referred to a word I don't even want to use, and it -- I don't even know if the person's in the room.

Q: (Off mike.)

Rumsfeld: Yes. I think -- I think you've got it, Charlie, and that's wrong. And it's not correct, and the implication of it is enormously unhelpful. And it struck me that coming down here and trying to set the record straight with the faint hope that it might not be belabored excessively would be appropriate. And believe me, reports to that effect are wrong, inaccurate, not happening and will not happen. Now, is there anything else I could say that would add clarity to it?

Q: Well, is it possible --

Q: One more question. Is it -- will the U.S. military conduct the interrogations of Abu Zubaydah?

Rumsfeld: I have no intention of getting into the subject of who's going to do what. I think I've said as much as is appropriate. He will be properly interrogated by proper people who know how to do those things.

Q: As a follow-up, would you expand --

Rumsfeld: And under our -- we will be responsible for that interrogation. Not we, the Department of Defense; we, the United States of America.

Q: Can you expand a little bit on the hope of what you're trying to get out of him? I mean, it's obvious, a little bit. But could you expand about what --

Rumsfeld: Hope springs eternal. I would hope that every single thing that this very senior al Qaeda operative knows would ultimately come out of him.

Q: Mr. Secretary --

Q: (Off mike).

Rumsfeld: Of course not.

Q: Mr. Secretary, may --

Q: But you're not excluding the response -- the possibility, Mr. Secretary, that Abu Zubaydah could, even if he's under the control of the U.S., could be detained and questioned in a third country other than Afghanistan -- or a fourth, other than Afghanistan, Pakistan or the United States.

Rumsfeld: Why -- I think I've answered that twice, and I see no reason why I should get into a series of hypotheticals which are not on the radar screen. They're not on the radar screen.

Q: But -- it's not on -- it's not really hypothetical --

Rumsfeld: I am not going to systematically rule out this, this, this and this. I am saying we have him, he is under U.S. control at the present time, we are responsible for him, he is receiving medical care, and we intend to get every single thing out of him to try to prevent terrorist acts in the future. And if any responsible government official who had any goal other than trying to stop additional terrorist acts -- here's a man who knows about additional acts. Here's a man who trained people to do this. And all this concern about that individual as opposed to concern about the terrorist acts that that individual has tried to commit; has, in fact, participated in; who has trained people to do it; and who has knowledge of additional people who are located around the world, it seems to me that I've got it exactly right. I've got first things first, and anything else comes a clear tenth, eleventh or twelfth.

Q: Mr. Secretary, may I follow up on that?

Q: You're not going to -- follow you may.

Q: I am. On the documents that were found last week there are reports that among those documents show that Zubaydah had been actively involved in planning future attacks on the U.S. Can you elaborate on any information now that you might have showing his involvement in some future attacks?

Rumsfeld: I've thought about that, and I can't imagine why it would be useful. I just -- there is no question but that when an individual is taken, the individual generally is taken -- in this case, lots of individuals were taken; not one, but 50-plus -- along with them come their clothes and pocket litter and things they had when they were surprised. And all of that is in our custody and all of that is being examined. And we are going to do our best to protect the American people and people of other countries, and we're going to do it as skillfully and as rapidly and as thoroughly as we know how.

And I'm going to go way to the back of the room because hope does spring eternal. (Laughter.)

Q: Could you talk about the significance of these recent raids in Pakistan being conducted so far from the border, what that tells you about al Qaeda's movements and --

Rumsfeld: It tells us nothing we didn't already know; that there are al Qaeda in 40 or 50, 60 countries around the world. They tend to hide in safe houses, in caves, in tunnels, in different locations.

Q: Do you believe that these people that were captured came from Afghanistan?

Rumsfeld: Oh, you know, there's 50 of them. I'm sure there were some we missed. Just -- you know, being realistic, I'm sure some were out getting a cup of coffee someplace and we didn't get them. But they come from all over.

Q: But it doesn't tell you that Pakistan is a more porous and hospitable place to these people than we might have hoped?

Rumsfeld: Look, we're realistic. All anyone has to do is look at the border. Every single inch, 360 degrees of Afghanistan's border is porous -- it does not matter which country you're talking about. We've known that, we've said that, we've announced that to the world. We recognize it. These tribes have been moving back and forth across those borders for hundreds of years.

Now, what do you do about it? You do the best you can. In the case of Pakistan, we have excellent cooperation; that government, the army, have been very helpful, and the law enforcement officials in this instance did an excellent job. That is not true on the Iranian border. And I noted that they expressed some consternation about remarks that have been made about their assisting al Qaeda. The fact of the matter is that what I said is exactly correct, and what they are saying to the contrary is not true, and they have been lying to the Iranian people about what they've been doing.

Yes?

Q: Mr. Secretary, on that subject, as you know, there's a great deal of uproar in the Arab world about what's going on between the Israelis and the Palestinians right now. To what extent is that complicating any work that may need to be done, and political work that may need to be done to prepare for possible military operations against Iraq? Assuming you don't want to do that unilaterally, you will need the support of some of those countries in the region. Is that a complicating factor?

Rumsfeld: Look. What's happening in the Middle East is terrible. It is a tragedy. It is terrorism. Innocent people are being killed -- men, women and children of all religions and -- you know, you go in and you blow up a supermarket or a restaurant or a pizza parlor, you don't know who's in there. Israel's a country that has Arab citizens, as well as Israeli -- Jewish citizens. And same thing with the World Trade tower. There were people of every religion, every nation, killed in the World Trade Center.

We don't talk about future plans we might have, so I'm not inclined to talk about complications to future plans that might or might not exist or -- at all. I can just say that standing alone, the situation there is most unfortunate and the president and the secretary of State and, indeed, others have done a good deal to work with the leadership there on a continuing basis, and they are doing so as we meet here today.

Q: Mr. Secretary?

Q: Can I follow that?

Rumsfeld: Yes.

Q: The United States maintains regular military-to-military contacts with a whole range of countries in that region --

Rumsfeld: We do.

Q: Joint exercises, et cetera. Are you reassessing your participation in any of those right now? Have you canceled port visits? Any change in contact with other militaries in that region?

Rumsfeld: We do have extensive military-to-military relationships with countries in that region. In fact, the overwhelming majority of the countries, with the -- probably the single exception of those that are on the terrorist list, where we do not, for good reason. We don't discuss incremental adjustments in our relationships, in our plans or our activities in the region. But -- and I just don't have anything to announce in that regard.

Q: Can you say if you're reviewing those relationships on a case-by-case basis in the same way that you, a few months ago, said you were reviewing our dealings with the Chinese?

Rumsfeld: No.

Q: You are not?

Rumsfeld: No. We're not. We have had a long-standing relationship, for example, with Egypt. We've had a long-standing relationship with Saudi Arabia, a long-standing relationship with Jordan, a long-standing relationship with the Gulf States, other countries in the region. They're there. They're -- they vary from country to country. They vary from year to year in varying degrees. But no, we're not in a systematic review of thinking about modifying those because of what's taking place at the present time.

Q: Mr. Secretary --

Q: A North Korea question? The North Koreans yesterday, or early this morning, announced a resuming of talks with the United States after a hiatus of a number of months. What's your reaction to that in terms of ratcheting down tensions in the region?

And, General Myers, based on your reading of situation reports daily, can you characterize the tension -- the level of tension over there between the North Korean and South Korean military?

Myers: I think I'll take the last part first. The tension, I think, on the peninsula is essentially where it's been for some time. I don't think -- there's nothing we see that indicates that it's ratcheted up one way or another.

Q: Mr. Secretary, can you -- your reaction to the news that they want to resume discussions? Is that a --

Rumsfeld: I hadn't seen it.

Q: Had you been concerned that the lack of talks in the recent months might be a harbinger of problems in the next year or two; were you concerned?

Rumsfeld: No.

Q: No?

Rumsfeld: Tom?

Q: Mr. Secretary, getting back quickly to Zubaydah, has he offered any information --

Rumsfeld: Is there anyone else who'd like to ask a question? (Laughter.)

Q: Has he offered any information to date that would be helpful? And would you expect someone of his rank to really be helpful to the U.S. effort?

Rumsfeld: You know, you never know, when you're dealing in a situation like this, how people are going to deal with their confinement and the change in their circumstance, which is quite considerable. Therefore, I think trying to predict -- there have been instances where people have been, for a variety of reasons concluded that they did prefer to disgorge a good deal; there's others that have not uttered a word for a year plus. And therefore, I'm without expectation, but not without hope.

Q: Has he offered anything yet?

Rumsfeld: I am not going to get into a daily assessment as to the extent to which he is or is not providing assistance to us.

Q: How about just today? (Laughter.)

Rumsfeld: I --

Myers: (Laughs.)

Rumsfeld: I can say this; he has several bullet holes in him, and our concern is keeping him alive at the present time.

Q: How serious are his wounds? Could he --

Rumsfeld: I'm not a physician. But when you've got three bullet holes, it's not like one, two, three -- it's three is five.

Q: Life-threatening, would you say?

Rumsfeld: I do not believe it's life-threatening, but I am not a physician and I have not been told that it is life-threatening. I know that it is -- it's a lot.

Q: Is it three or several, Mr. Secretary?

Rumsfeld: I think three is several. (Laughter.)

Q: Mr. Secretary, the Pakistanis have conducted further raids. Are you aware that they have captured any other high-ranking or significant al Qaeda leaders?

Rumsfeld: I think I just said there were over 50 -- that were picked up --

Q: Beyond the original raids there were some additional raids conducted --

Rumsfeld: It's kind of like "what have you done for us lately?" Is that --

Q: Well -- I'm just wondering if there are any other additional meters that would --

Rumsfeld: We don't even know who all those 50 people are yet. And the short answer is yes, the Paks collect people from time to time. And we are uniformly given an opportunity to meet with them and make a judgment as to whether or not they're individuals that we feel we'd like to know more about.

Q: Mr. Secretary, earlier this week you said that there cannot be too many voices on the Middle East in this administration and that role belongs rightfully to the secretary of State. But --

Rumsfeld: And the president.

Q: But you have actually spoken out on the Middle East quite vocally in the last three days. And I'm wondering why you have felt compelled to add your voice to administration policy on the Middle East?

Rumsfeld: Well, I think that today I was asked a question about Iran, and I responded to it. I do think that the fact that Saddam Hussein is offering now $25,000 per family if they can persuade their youngsters to go out and kill themselves and kill innocent people is a fact that's important for people to understand, because it gives you a sense of the problem that we're dealing with here, that the world is dealing with, that the people in the Middle East are dealing with: the complexity of it and the viciousness of it, and the kind of person that exists in Iraq that is willing to take $25,000 over and over again out of the mouths of people in that country under the Oil For Food plan, and instead of using it for food, using it to hire and encourage and promote and facilitate terrorists to kill innocent people.

The thing that I tend to -- not just yesterday or more recently, I tend to stay in my lane. And there's no question but that the complexities of the situation in the Middle East are being addressed by the president and the secretary of State, not by the Department of Defense. And for that reason I do tend to stay away. And you'll find me -- I have done that on a number of occasions in the last year-plus that I've been here. I intend to keep on doing it. Which does not mean that I will not bring up subjects that someone might suggest are at least peripherally related to the Middle East, which I will do.

Q: Can I -- can I ask, sir, to follow up on this, in your lane, so to speak, and that is, you have initiated a conversation about Saddam Hussein the last several days, including today's. Is what you're telling us now having substantial effect on the administration debate over what to do militarily about Saddam Hussein?

Rumsfeld: I can't say that. I am simply trying to let the people of Iraq understand what their leadership is doing; to let the people of the Middle East and the rest of the world, people in Europe know what is, in fact, being done to arm young people and send 'em out to blow up restaurants and shopping malls and pizza parlors and have the people with weapons strapped on them killed and kill other innocent people -- men, women and children -- in those various facilities. I think it's important for the world to think about that and understand it and give a weight to it, a value to it. It is a particularly vicious thing to do.

Now --

Q: To what end, sir?

Rumsfeld: Well, I think the truth has a certain virtue. And my attitude is, if in doubt, tell the truth. And by golly, that is a truth. That is a fundamental fact of the world we're living in. And the world better understand that and know that that is -- that is a problem for this world. That is the end.

It is not -- it is not a matter that involves the immediate difficulties between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. It is -- it is simply a suggestion that all of us have to take that abroad and recognize that there is an infrastructure to terrorism; that the countries on the terrorist list are there for good reason. And as I indicated in answer to the question on Iran, this is the country who facilitated the Katrine A, that has facilitated al Qaeda people moving through their country, that is repressing their people and lying to their people about their complicity with respect to the al Qaeda. And I think that it's helpful for the world to know those things. So, you know, I kind of decide once in a while, we'll just tell people those kinds of things.

Q: Well, sir, shouldn't the Palestinian Authority also be on the terrorist list? It seems that other members of this administration seem reluctant to call the suicide bombing terrorism.

Rumsfeld: Well, suicide bombing is terrorism. I don't know anyone who is reluctant to do that. The president's said exactly what it is. So has the secretary of State. I think that's a misunderstanding.

Q: Is the Palestinian Authority actively abetting those acts of terrorism?

Rumsfeld: The -- that issue is one I'll leave to the secretary of State and to the president. We do know of certain knowledge that the documentation that was made available with respect to the Katrine A and the bringing down of tons of weapons from Iran headed towards, but did not arrive in, the territories was certainly intended to be used for terrorist purposes, one would have thought.

Thank you.

Q: (Off mike) -- hear about General Myers' wife's birthday celebration. Is he in the dog house? Did it come off? Can we get a full report?

Rumsfeld: That woman is crazy about him.

Myers: Exactly right!

Rumsfeld: Possibly "husband of the year" material. (Laughs; laughter.)

Myers: Thanks to your help!

Q: General -- (inaudible) -- Yankees to use -- have their owner use his good offices to help bring baseball to D.C.?

Myers: No comment on that!

THIS TRANSCRIPT WAS PREPARED BY THE FEDERAL NEWS SERVICE INC., WASHINGTON, D.C. FEDERAL NEWS SERVICE IS A PRIVATE COMPANY. FOR OTHER DEFENSE RELATED TRANSCRIPTS NOT AVAILABLE THROUGH THIS SITE, CONTACT FEDERAL NEWS SERVICE AT (202) 347-1400.