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Secretary Rumsfeld briefs on Senate Intelligence and Operations

Presenter: Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld
January 22, 2004
Secretary Rumsfeld briefs on Senate Intelligence and Operations

            Chairman Warner:  The Secretary and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, who will join us momentarily, had a very good briefing with the (inaudible) United States Senate.  With that, Mr. Secretary if you’d like to take a few questions or make a few comments.


            Rumsfeld: Well, it’s January and Happy New Year everybody!  We’re back.  We’re back at it hard and just had an excellent meeting.  I’d be happy to respond to questions.


            Q: Mr. Secretary, it was reported in the Guardian Newspaper that Jack Straw has been pressing the U.S. government to direct elections in Iraq by summer and that the U.S. is inclined to do so.  Can you tell me are we on the same page as the Brits and, in fact, is the Administration inclined to allow direct elections?


            Rumsfeld:  The United States has always been for direct elections.  The only question was when and how fast could they be done.  And one of the issues that was raised at the United Nations with Secretary General Koffi Annan was the question of how long it would take and whether or not it could be achieved at this summit.  And, my hope is that he will be sending an assessment team down to meet with the Governing Council sometime later this month or next month to talk about that.  We have always favored elections.  The tension was if your goal is to get sovereignty passed to the Iraqis, so that they feel they have a stake in their future, can you do it faster with caucuses or can you do it faster with elections.  Ultimately you are going to have elections on a constitution anyway, so I suspect there is no daylight between Secretary Powell and Foreign Minister Straw. 


            Q: (Inaudible)


            Rumsfeld: Well, I’ve heard that.  Well, I noticed that Secretary Powell and Ambassador Bremer both mentioned that as long as the basic principles stay the same that modifications or adjustments, refinements was the word they used, would certainly be considered and I am sure that the UN that has been involved in an awful lot of elections in a very different process that they’ve experienced, in a variety of different locations around the world, I mean think of us we just went through the Iowa caucus and with New Hampshire coming up, both totally different approaches, both were elections.  I’m not in a position to indicate what the UN might be thinking by way of modifications or refinements.


            Q: (Inaudible)


            Rumsfeld: Well, we have increased end-strength substantially.  We have the ability to increase above the statutory amount two percent in peacetime and above two percent in emergencies.  So we have been doing that.  We, right now, are well above end-strength, the statutory end-strength numbers.


            Q: (Inaudible)


            Rumsfeld: This has nothing to do with the Senate.  What the Senate number did, I believe, was to change the statutory end-strength number, it did not effect at all our ability to go well above that because of the nature of the emergency.


            Q: (Inaudible)


            Rumsfeld: I don’t know, I haven’t had the chance to read.  Do you know Dick Myers?


            Chairman Warner:  This is an issue that will be carefully examined by the Senate and I’m sure the House in the normal course of the posture hearings with the Secretary and the Chiefs.  So, it will be carefully studied.  I think right now the Secretary is on very firm ground because any acquisitions, at this point, would be way down the line before the become into the force and picking up some of the responsibilities.  Next question.


            Q: Senator Warner, did David Kay tell you that he didn’t think WMD (inaudible)?


            Warner:  I talked at length with David Kay and General Dayton, I think that Kay felt a good portion of the work has been done.  There is a remaining portion that he feels strongly that should be completed.  The Secretary, in talking to the Senate today, said that that work would be completed.


            Warner:  Thank you.  The Secretary is on his way to the House.


            Rumsfeld:  Thank you.  Thank you Mr. Chairman.

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