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Secretary Rumsfeld Media Availability with NBC TV (Pool), Pentagon Pool Print and Voice of America (Radio)

Presenter: Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld
June 04, 2004

SecDef:  All right!  What is this about?  Why am I here?  (said jokingly)


Q:  I think we just want a reaction on camera to Tenet’s (inaudible) [resignation] and a followup on (inaudible).


SecDef:  Well, I’m going to miss him. He’s a personal friend and he’s a very close professional colleague. I’ve got a lot of respect for him, enormous respect for him as a public servant, and I’m going to miss him. The relationship between the Department of Defense and the Agency is a very important one, and he has managed to, I think, knit it together about as well as it’s ever been knitted together. And -- we set up a process where we have lunch every Friday for the past three years, I think, the past year -- and it’s worked, it has given us the ability to get issues surfaced fast in a way that enables us to make sure the bureaucracy and the natural inclination of big institutions to (inaudible) things was – it was not successful, we were able to break down that tendency to be separate.  I talked to him on the phone I guess last (inaudible), or this morning and (inaudible).


Q:  Mister Secretary, you’ve pointed out often in news conferences [inaudible] speak to him several times a week and you all have lunch together and yet how do you answer criticism from some who say that you and the Pentagon for three years have kind of undermined the CIA -- by trying to gain more intelligence oversight to the Defense Department.


A:  That’s just not true.  (inaudible) how can I answer (inaudible) can I say it’s just not true.  People just don’t know what they are talking about.  What we have done is we’ve taken a lot of intelligence functions and arranged to have an undersecretary for intelligence -- provide better management, better oversight within the department, which makes life easier for the director of Central Intelligence, not more difficult, and that’s George’s duty, has been George’s duty, and it is George’s duty today.  And the observation you make is made only by people who don’t know what they are talking about. 


Reporters:  Thanks a lot. 

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