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Secretary Rumsfeld Interview with CNBC

Presenter: Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld
July 15, 2002

(TV Interview with CNBC reporter Brian Williams)

Williams: Mr. Secretary, thank you for doing this.

Rumsfeld: Yes, indeed.

Williams: Because it is part of what's in the room today, the hand, an update on what the -- on what procedure you had, and why it is in the shape it's in?

Rumsfeld: Well, I'll tell you, I broke my thumb wrestling or playing football with -- several times. And when you get up to age 70, they tell me that sometimes arthritis gets into the joints. So, they had to go in and fix it.

Williams: Were you having any pain?

Rumsfeld: A good deal.

Williams: And are you having any pain?

Rumsfeld: No. It's much better.

Williams: Have you swung it in anger since --

Rumsfeld: No.

Williams: -- you'd had to carry the --

Rumsfeld: [Indiscernible].

Williams: I'd like to keep that true at the end of this. Mr. Secretary, the pressing news event, as we sit down here at the Pentagon, is Mr. Lindh. He has apparently pleaded out two consecutive 10-year terms, which means he'll probably serve a minimum of 17 years. On the case of Mr. Lindh, since there are drug defendants serving longer sentences, since he was made out to be the face of evil in the modern world, and shot at your troops, what happened to the U.S. case against him to cause this plea bargain?

Rumsfeld: Well, there's a good deal of discussion internally, and as you know, he was under the jurisdiction of the Department of Justice, not the Department of Defense. And it was a decision that was ultimately made, although we were consulted, made in channels other than the DoD. And he, of course, was a relatively low-level person in the al Qaeda, or Taliban, depending on what one wishes to say. He did have a weapon. He was in a prison, or in a battle that took place in a prison, in Mazar-e Sharif.

And after a good deal of consideration, the United States government decided that a series of steps would be appropriate for him; that is to say, a -- an agreement on 20 years, plus three years of supervised probation; plus acknowledging that he was not intentionally mistreated in any way. And it seemed to the collective judgment, and the decision was that this was an appropriate way to handle a person in his circumstance.

Williams: You'll admit, perhaps, back when he was on the front page of the news magazines and the lead story on newscasts like ours, that there was a debate over the death penalty or life in prison. This is a walk back for the government.

Rumsfeld: I don't know that. You're right, there was a lot of talk like that in the newspapers and on television, which doesn't mean that that was what was going on internally in the government. The big debate internally in the government was whether or not he ought to be left in military channels, or placed in civilian channels. And you're right, there was one of the charges that was pending before him, did have a life sentence attached to it. And certainly, that was reported.

Williams: At a visceral level, he was --

Rumsfeld: I don't believe any of the charges had a death penalty attached to it.

Williams: No, but there was discussion. Should the U.S. --

Rumsfeld: Oh, but there was always discussion by the press. That's not anything that was -- that I know of internally.

Williams: At a visceral level, he was engaged against your men...

Rumsfeld: Yes, indeed.

Williams: There's no more patriotic a person in this building. You must have a reaction to hearing today's sentence agreement.

Rumsfeld: Well, I am delighted that he is going to be off the streets for a good, long time. Two decades is not nothing.

Williams: But it's not life. He'll be back.

Rumsfeld: He -- I think there's also an element to the agreement that if, in fact, he ever -- well, I don't want to try to characterize it, I'm not a lawyer, but there is a provision that indicates that he can be re-approached legally, in the event his behavior warrants it.

Williams: Without double jeopardy?

Rumsfeld: It's part of the agreement.

Williams: Okay. One final question, and we'll move on. There may be, as we go on throughout the day and the week, some Americans who feel that something went desperately wrong here; that his was a -- an act of treason of the highest order, after this country had been attacked, to switch sides. How can you mollify people? How can you convince people that justice, the best possible justice, was done here on behalf of the United States?

Rumsfeld: Well, I think it -- when the plea agreement is fully out and aired in the public, that people will look at the elements of it, and nod and say, "Well, that's appropriate. That's about right." And I suspect that'll be the case.

Williams: On the conflict ongoing overseas, can you complete the following sentence? "The American people would feel better about what's going on with U.S. servicemen and women in Afghanistan if they only knew" -- what?

Rumsfeld: Interesting question. I think that the one thing people do feel good about is the fact that the United States government, and our friends and allies around the world are, in fact, putting pressure on terrorists and terrorist networks all across the globe. Now, they might feel better if bombs were dropping every day. They're not. We do have military forces in Afghanistan, running sweeps. We do have Pakistani forces in -- across the border in Pakistan running sweeps. We do have people located in countries like Yemen and the Philippines and the Republic of Georgia, who are assisting global forces, and helping to train them.

The unusual thing about this conflict -- and it is a conflict -- is that it will be long, and that it will not be visible every day, in terms of pyrotechnics and kinetic activity. I think that the country -- I've got a lot of confidence in the American people, and there's no doubt in my mind but that they can develop a sense of understanding of that; and an awareness that if we could aggregate all of the arrests that have been made in dozens and dozens of countries across the globe, and in numbers now in the many, many, many hundreds; and those people are being interrogated every day, as we sit here, they're being interrogated, and the information's coming in. And we're able to go out and arrest other individuals. Other countries are able to arrest other individuals.

And the knowledge that we're gaining from that is leading to our ability to freeze bank accounts, to make it more difficult for those folks to move around and from country to country, difficult to recruit, difficult to retain people. And we are having a good effect on pressuring the networks, to the point that they're having difficulty functioning.

Williams: I've heard the analogy that this is, as wars go, an iceberg. There's much more below the surface than is visible above, and that that's the secret of this conflict. Is secrecy essential here? If you look at this conflict as a book, how much of it has been written so far, first chapter, first ten pages?

Rumsfeld: Well, if you look at what's taken place since September 11th, and ask how much of it has been above the surface, oh, I'm going to guess, you know, 40, 50 percent is above the surface and public and visible. If you look at from where we started to where it's going to end, it is a long road. There are many, many more chapters that will have to be written. And it's going to take a good many months and, indeed, years, to be successful in this.

Williams: The battle of Tora Bora, written about this morning in the Wall Street Journal, written about alongside some of the most storied battles in the United States. When all is known and written about what went on at Tora Bora, will that be emblematic of this struggle? Is it something that you will be proud of as Defense Secretary that American forces fought there so hard?

Rumsfeld: I don't know that Tora Bora will stand out as a famous battle. It was not a Gettysburg, or something that would last in history's memory to -- in my judgment. What it reflected, of course, was the reality that we had -- we were able, between September 11th and October 7th, to begin a campaign in a country 6,000 miles away that's landlocked, and to begin, within a matter of weeks thereafter.

In close cooperation with our Afghan allies on the ground, and our U.S. forces on the ground, and our air power, we were able to begin a series of cities that fell, and the Taliban fled. And it was a matter of a few months between the beginning of that air campaign on October 7th and towards the end of December when, in fact, the Taliban were effectively no longer controlling the country.

The battle of Tora Bora took place after that, in effect, after most of that had happened. And it was one of the last times that the al Qaeda and Taliban concentrated their forces. The question was what do you do if you see that concentration? Do you move quickly against them with what you have available; that is to say, Afghan forces on the ground, U.S. Special Forces on the ground, coalition forces on the ground, and air campaign.

Or, do you stop and gather a large force, and try to figure out a way to interpose it between Pakistan and the Afghan Anaconda campaign? And it seemed to me that General Franks made a series of good decisions, and that the outcome was good. There were a great many al Qaeda and Taliban killed; there were a number of injured. And there's no question but that a good many fled into Pakistan and elsewhere into the villages; and even, I suspect, somewhere all the way across over to -- in Iran and into the north.

Those borders are porous. It's -- it -- if we just tried to marshal forces on the ground that were all U.S., if you will, as opposed to using Afghan forces, there's no question that they would not have stayed concentrated. They would have dispersed, and crossed the border while you were getting yourself arranged to do that. So, there's some people who, with the benefit of 20-20 hindsight, look back and say to me, "Well, why wasn't it this, or why wasn't it that?" My view is that General Franks and his team did a good job, and that that worked out well. In life, nothing works out perfectly, but pretty good.

Williams: How -- you know, a general report card on the conflict. You mentioned this isn't a visible pyrotechnic conflict. Americans sometimes have an attention span that calls for that kind of thing, but long ago, you called for patience on the part of the American people as we watch this. How would you grade American progress thus far?

Rumsfeld: Oh, goodness. I would give the American people an "A" in terms of their understanding and their patience. I think the problem is, with 24-hour news today and the enormous appetite of the press for action, that if three, four, five, six, eight days go by, then they say, "Oops, nothing's happening." And in fact, a great deal is happening, as it should be happening. And I think that the -- if I were to take big pluses, one big plus is the fact that Afghanistan no longer is a terrorist training ground, in training hundreds and hundreds of al Qaeda operatives to be moved all over the globe to kill innocent men, women and children. That is a big plus.

Second, the people of Afghanistan have been liberated. They're able to go to school; they're able to walk through the street; they're not being shot in soccer statements - stadiums, for the edification of the Taliban. Women are able to work. It's just been an amazing transformation that's taken place. Is it a perfect stable place? No. Is there still crime? Yeah. Is there still some drug trafficking? I'm sure there is. But it -- they've had successful Loya Jirga, the Supreme Council meeting, and they've elected a transitional leader in Mr. Karzai. So, I think that that situation is just a tremendous success.

Second, all across the globe, the terrorists are on the run, and they're not having a great deal of success. There are bound to be some more terrorist attacks in our country, and elsewhere against our interests, and the interests of our friends and allies, and against anyone that disagrees with the al Qaeda. But I think the progress in arresting people; the progress in fashioning a superb set of coalitions that have been able to cooperate with maritime interdiction activities, with the law enforcement activities, with intelligence gathering; with freezing of bank accounts, I think it's been an -- really, an impressive success, that President Bush has been able to fashion bringing into play all elements of national power.

Williams: Now, that we know what's going on in Pakistan, with all of the United States' investigative agencies who have been working with the Pakistanis in secret, courtesy of The New York Times, now that we know about the story, what can you tell us about what's going on, on the ground in Pakistan?

Rumsfeld: Well, there -- as I've said publicly, the Pakistanis have made a major decision to cooperate in the global war on terrorism. They had been supporters of the Taliban. They have -- are a neighbor of Afghanistan. They have tribes that have moved back and forth across those borders for centuries. There is no question but that there are people in Pakistan who don't agree with President Musharraf's decision and that makes life politically difficult for him. I suppose not just politically, but from a security standpoint. And they -- the Pakistani government has been enormously cooperative. They -- their soldiers are along that border, helping to try to serve as an anvil to -- that would stop people fleeing from Afghanistan.

Their law enforcement people have been cooperating in a great many ways, and we've had tremendous success in finding safehouses, and arresting people, and interrogating those people. They moved smartly with respect to the people who murdered Mr. Pearl, the Wall Street Journal reporter. So, I -- does that mean all of the al Qaeda are out of there? No. Does that mean all the Taliban sympathizers are no longer in Pakistan? No. They are still there; we know that. And it's a problem, and they're working on it, and we're working on it.

Williams: Every major American newspaper and newscast has had details of various war plans in Iraq that are in front of this President, or near this President, that he will be looking at. Why telegraph U.S. options militarily on the ground in Iraq?

Rumsfeld: Well, first of all, we're not telegraphing U.S. options on the ground. The United States government is not. The President has properly pointed out the repressiveness of that regime, and the fact that that regime is developing weapons of mass destruction that pose a real threat to the people of Iraq, to the people that live in the region, as well as to the people across the globe. This is a very dangerous regime. The President said that.

We have always had war plans and contingency plans and operation plans in this building. We had them 25 years ago, when I was Secretary of Defense, and we have them today. I've recently issued contingency guidance that has required that we review all of those plans, and there are dozens of them, for a whole host of both combatant contingencies, as well as non-combatant contingencies, such as evacuations, and that type of thing. We're reviewing all of them, and updating them. And we're elevating the risks, so that they can be judged, and they can be brought up to an appropriate level of potential value.

Every once in a while, there are people in the United States government who decide that they want to break Federal criminal law, and release classified information, and they ought to be imprisoned. And if we find out who they are, they will be imprisoned. It is putting peoples' lives at risk. It is making more difficult the task of finding terrorists across the globe. It is a serious violation of Federal criminal law. Why people do it, I do not know. They obviously want to make themselves look important, and they have favorite reporters and press people that they think they can curry favor with. And they go to them, and hand them things that ought not to be given to the public, and those -- they then appear in a public press.

It happens that the piece that you're referring to, that was on the front page of The New York Times, is not something that was at a high level. It was apparently something -- we do -- we don't know what it is. I've never seen it; General Franks has never seen it. Goodness knows, the President's never seen it. It was something that was done down at a lower level, either at somebody's request, or not at somebody's request, and it has no official blessing by anybody up at any reasonable level in the government of the United States. But nonetheless, it obviously goes out, and it represents what somebody who advises somebody at a lower level, thought was a good idea. So, they took that piece of paper, and gave it to a reporter.

I would dearly like to find them. I think that people who know who those people are would do the country a service if they'd let me know who those people are. And I'd like to see them behind bars.

Williams: You seem quite angered by this particular leak, even though the President, at some point, will have to let the American people in on American plans in Iraq.

Rumsfeld: Wrong, you do not let anybody in on war plans.

Williams: If you're committing a Desert Storm, Part Two? At some point --

Rumsfeld: If you have plans as to how one is going to conduct an operation, you do not let anybody know what those are, because the enemy knows what they are. The enemy is then able to take steps that will cause greater loss of life on the part of Americans, and coalition forces, and clearly, make more difficult the accomplishment of the task.

Williams: Let me come at it this way. Saddam Hussein is in power, despite an American war against him. It is widely said that, even with 2, 300, 400,000 American troops, and all the technology this country has to bring to bear in that region, it will take, as an assist, an uprising from within to help to topple that regime, a stated and sworn enemy of the United States. Do you think the dissention is there inside Iraq?

Rumsfeld: Well, you never know. I think that to go back to Desert Storm, it's instructive that hundreds of Iraqi military people surrendered to privates and corporals in the United States Army; that tens of thousands, 70, 80,000 troops surrendered, within a matter of days. The regime of Saddam Hussein is so vicious, and killed so many of their own people, and used chemical weapons against their own people, and denies those people opportunities -- the ability to travel, the ability to speak out. It is a -- one of the most vicious regimes on the face of the earth.

Now, people that live in a regime like that don't like it. It is not the kind of thing that you can overthrow readily, but because it's so vicious, and there's so many people in prison, and so many people that have been shot and murdered by the Saddam Hussein regime. But any idea that the Iraqi people want to live like that would be just nonsensical, because people don't want to have to live like that.

Williams: What I meant in sharing his plans with the nation, you know, Marlin Fitzwater announced the liberation of Kuwait is under way. President Bush gave a national address, and explained, "Here's what we're doing."

Rumsfeld: Umm hmm.

Williams: See, that's merely what I --

Rumsfeld: I see. Sure.

Williams: Do you think that --

Rumsfeld: That's, at some stage, if you had -- if a President had made --

Williams: Right.

Rumsfeld: -- a decision to do something like that, clearly, you'd have to talk to the world, the American people, and say what you were doing, and why you were doing it. But this President's not come to that point.

Williams: Is the American stomach there for a two-front war, right now?

Rumsfeld: The American stomach is there to do what's right for the world, and for our country, and for the American people. And I guess in this instance, if one looks at the terrorist states that are developing weapons of mass destruction -- not just Iraq, but clearly, Iran and Syria and Libya and North Korea, and others -- one has to say, "What is the responsibility of a government, if we know of reasonably certain knowledge, that within X number of months or years, one or more of those countries is going to have chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons that they have the ability to impose on the rest of the world. Is it better to wait until they do it, and have a perfect excuse, or reason for acting, and you act, after 500,000 or a million people are dead? Or is it better to do something beforehand, and save the lives of hundreds of thousands, or potentially millions, of people?"

That is the issue that our society, and our friends and allies around the world, and the American people, and our President, have to address. And it is the nexus between weapons of mass destruction, and terrorist organizations, and terrorist states. So, it's a big issue for our time.

Williams: Trying to move smartly through my list: Corporate Responsibility -- a division of Halliburton, a firm formerly headed by the Vice President, Mr. Cheney, KBR has been given an enormous Pentagon contract, exclusive logistics supplier for both Army and Navy for cooking, construction, power generating, fuel transportation. The contract recently won from the Army is for ten years, has no lid on costs, the only logistical arrangement by the Army without an estimated cost. You know how it looks when the Pentagon awards an enormous contract to a company last headed by the current Vice President. What is the Pentagon view on the selection of a vendor in this case?

Rumsfeld: Oh, I have no idea. I was not aware of the contract at all. There's, you know, hundreds of contracts in an institution as large as this, in all the services, and the defense agencies. I would say this. I think the implication of the question is unfair, in this sense -- the Vice President has absolutely no economic interest in any company that he was ever connected with. I have no economic interest. None of the other people serving in the government have an economic interest in any company they were previously associated with. Therefore, it ought not to look bad. It only will look bad if people raise the question, and say it looks bad. It does not look bad. And it should be accompanied by the truth, which is that the Vice President has no economic interest in that company; has not since the day he became Vice President.

And now, this -- the more important question is, "What's the best way for the Department of Defense to do its business?" And it seems to me that, number one, we are able to use contract employees to perform services that otherwise would have to be done by men and women in uniform; for example, as cooks and mess attendants, and people who provide the various types of administrative activity in Bosnia or Kosovo. And to the extent we can do that, it means we do not have to take as many people in the Guard or Reserve and activate them on a compulsory basis, take them away from their normal job, then force them to go in and do things. And unfortunately, if they do things that aren't really necessary that it be done by men and women in uniform, it's unfortunate. So, I've been trying to move as many things as we can out towards the contractor side.

For example, in the Sinai, we've had troops there for 20-plus years, and a major fraction of our troops there are doing the mess work and the administrative work, and the kind of things that could, need not be done by men and women in uniform. I want to get that changed. The same thing's true; there is a Federal law that we're not allowed to use civilians for force protection here in the United States, and I think we ought to be able to use civilians, to the extent that we can do that, and move some of these men and women in uniform into truly military functions. They'd be better off; we'd be better off; and fewer people would have to be serving who would prefer to be doing something else.

Williams: Okay. Change tapes. I could see there was waving...

Williams: Okay. We have like four more questions. This is not going to be root canal; you're already in pain. Are we okay?

Staff member: We're okay.

Williams: We're okay? Okay. All right. Devil's advocate, since you seem to love these questions. Should someone have entered the Defense Secretary's office and said, "Mr. Secretary, we're about to award a huge contract to a division of Halliburton, Dick Cheney's old outfit, and you should know this contract has no cost lid. So, because it's a precedent setter, this may get some attention."

Rumsfeld: I can't imagine that anyone would have felt they should do that. It never would cross my mind, I'm sure it would never cross anyone else's mind. What we're doing here has -- is perfectly above boards. It's all available to the public; it's all a matter of public record. There are no big secrets, other than the military secrets to protect peoples' lives. And it would not have crossed my mind to have asked anyone to do that; nor would it cross my mind, now that you've raised it, that I could go to somebody and say, "Goodness gracious, you might have told me that," because I just don't feel that way.

This -- the building is run on a totally open basis. It's on a non-partisan basis. And if -- I know nothing about the contract, but I can say this. If there is no lid to it, then I'm almost positive that it can be cancelled in a relatively short notice. So, as anyone looking at it would be able to -- for example, if people invest to send people over to Bosnia to relieve men and woman in uniform from doing non-military jobs, I am sure that we can stop them doing that. And it is designed not so that it benefits the contractor's design, so that it benefits us, so that we can have them there as long as we need them.

But as we start drawing down our troops, I'll guarantee you that we're going to be able to end that contract. I just know that's the case.

Williams: I know you love being written about in the newspaper, and the following is --

Rumsfeld: Why do you say that?

Williams: The following is to see if your sense of humor is still intact after leading a nation into conflict. The Sunday New York Times, Maureen Dowd, headline, "Rub-A-Dub-Dub in the Hot Tub. Dick and Rummy are in the jacuzzi at Camp David. The two masters of the Bush universe have had a lousy week. And now, with the white cast on Rummy's hand buoyed by bubbles, they just want to sip scotch on the rocks, and review the knocks. Junior is supposed to be inside practicing how to say 'malfeasance' with an 'S,' but he won't do it. Rummy's war has also run into a mad patch, bombing brides instead of bin Laden," the work of Maureen Dowd. Do you still have a sense of humor about this stuff?

Rumsfeld: I have not seen that.

Williams: You don't read the papers on the weekends?

Rumsfeld: I had a group of friends in over the weekend, and really was in a -- and I don't read that column, I guess, obviously. But I don't think I've ever had a glass of scotch or bourbon in my entire life. So, she obviously knows me well.

Williams: Yeah.

Rumsfeld: But it -- can there be a sense of humor? Oh, sure, my goodness. People can write what they want to write, but I just think furthermore, with my hand with the way it is, I'm not allowed to get anywhere near hot water.

Williams: Okay.

Rumsfeld: So, it's clear I wasn't...

Williams: So, it's a work of fiction.

Rumsfeld: (laughter)

Williams: Corporate responsibility, Mr. Secretary, the -- put your former CEO hat --

Rumsfeld: Umm hmm.

Williams: -- what is the job of a corporation in the United States? Is it just shareholder value, or should they stand for much more? I know some of your, probably, past acquaintances are embroiled in, at least, questions now about accounting, even in the pharmaceutical business. Now, what would you like to see change about big companies in the United States?

Rumsfeld: Well, a corporation, of course, is a legal entity, and it represents itself as an institution that hires people to perform services, which they then ask other people to invest money in. And then, they market to still additional people. So, they have a responsibility, clearly, to their investors. They have a responsibility to their employers -- their employees. And they also have a responsibility to their customers. And it is a wonderful thing that's worked very well for this country. This is why this nation has been such a wonderful economic success, because the market place works, and the companies that do badly, fail and die and disappear.

And the companies that provide a service, treat their employees properly, and provide a return to their investors, succeed and prosper over decades, and in some cases, hundred-plus years. And they're the ones that provide, and in my case, in the pharmaceutical industry, they're the ones that provide the products that are helping people live longer, and live a healthier, more productive life. And it's a very worthwhile thing to be engaged in. The sad thing that you're seeing today, and clearly, some people have done things, and behaved in a way that has diminished shareholder value, and diminished the profit-sharing plans of so many employees of those companies, and damaged their ability to provide worthwhile and useful products to their customers. And those people, clearly, ought to be prosecuted and punished to the extent they're guilty.

Williams: Americans are souring on big business. They've been told, you know, "Get into this market," and so, a lot of Americans are in the stock market. And now, a lot of them are losing money on their 401K. Some are going back to work because they just lost their retirement, and now they feel that it might just be because the books were cooked. And it's an increasingly populist issue. There's a lot of anger toward big business in the United States.

Rumsfeld: Well, put yourself in the circumstance of a person who, whether it was their money, or the company's money, that went into a 401K -- often, it's a combination of the two -- into a retirement plan, or a profit-sharing plan. And you get -- look at it monthly or quarterly; you get a report, and you see that it's at this level. And then, all of a sudden, it's at this level.

Now, everyone knew that when they invested, that it -- what goes up can go down, and that if one stays in long enough in a good company, it goes up. And throughout my lifetime or your lifetime, why, the opportunities that have existed for people to improve their circumstance have been substantial, even though it's been done over a time when it's -- there's constant ups and downs. So, I can -- anyone can well understand how a person feels to see that value go down.

And I think everyone in the country would be delighted to see the people who, to the extent books were cooked and were not managed properly, those people ought to be punished. And I think the American people feel that way. I feel that way, and I know the President feels that way. And that's the reason that President Bush has focused so intensely on this, and why the Congress is focusing so intensely on it.

Williams: Does anyone have a -- an exposure to this? The Republican party's been tagged for years as the party of business. That was right up until the Democrats started making so much money as a political organization from business contributions. Does anyone have a moral high-ground on this issue?

Rumsfeld: Oh, goodness, I mean, the people that don't have a moral high-ground are the people who, to the extent they exist, the people who mismanage corporations, and cause enormous loss of shareholder value for the people who invested, and the people who had profit-sharing plans. Now, they're the ones who don't have a high-ground. The other people, clearly, have a responsibility; those in government to review the matter, and to see that serious people decide what kind of legislative changes are appropriate. And in my view, I believe in accountability. I think that people who do those things ought to be held accountable, and punished for it.

Williams: I have to -- I'm just clearing up, and we're about to -- have to come back around to a question on Lindh, and I want to clean up some details. Today's plea bargain will be dissected. It will be talked about and written about for a long time. Based on your knowledge, can you assure us that today's plea bargain doesn't mean there was a problem with arrest procedures, or treatment, or detention, or pretrial activities? In other words, was there a hole in the U.S. case that we don't know about, that led to this substantial change, apparently, in the prosecution?

Rumsfeld: See, I don't -- you mentioned this "substantial change in prosecution." And I think what you're comparing is not a change in prosecution, but a change in what press reported, and what the prosecution decided to charge.

Williams: Did you always know they wouldn't be able to get him on the maximum?

Rumsfeld: I'm not a lawyer. I didn't follow this at all. Once it was transferred over to the Department of Justice, that's their business. I -- but my feeling about it is that the bargain that was struck was a proper one. I agree with it, and I think that the American people will agree with it.

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