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Press Availability with Secretary Rumsfeld at the Pentagon

Presenter: Secretary Rumsfeld
July 05, 2006 04:20 PM EDT
 SEC. RUMSFELD:  I have been on and off the phone with Admiral Keating, the combatant commander for the Northern Command, and General Cartwright, the combatant commander for Strategic Command, and the combatant commander for the Pacific Command, Fox Fallon, over a good period of days continuously.  And I received the notification of the launch of these missiles probably within a minute of when they occurred.

 

            Q     Were you on a conference call for the first one?

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  First -- I don't know first, second, third, seventh.  I've been on so many conference calls.

 

            Q     How about the Taepo Dong particularly?  Were you on the call?

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  Yes, absolutely.

 

            Q    The administration has characterized these as provocative, yet, they were largely deemed to be harmless to U.S. interests.  How do you judge them?

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  The -- I mean, we have interests that are other than simply the land mass of the United States of America.  Certainly we have an alliance with Japan and we have an alliance with the Republic of Korea.  So the idea that our interest is only a threat that (is ?) directly to this -- furthermore, the Taepo Dong II is estimated to have the range that conceivably could reach the United States.  And the fact that it failed is a fact, but it does not change the nature of the launch.

 

            Q     (Off mike.)

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  Folks, folks, folks, folks, folks!  We're going -- the president is here.  We are going to go upstairs and have a good visit, and I'll bet you if you're here when he comes down he'll have some words for you folks.  (Laughter.)

 

            Q     (Off mike.)

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  Thank you.  Thank you.

 

            PRESIDENT SAAKASHVILI:  Let's -- they are waiting for you.

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  No, they're waiting for you.  Just get up there.

 

            PRESIDENT SAAKASHVILI:  Okay.

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  You get up.  (Chuckles.)  Thank you.

 

            PRESIDENT SAAKASHVILI:  Thank you.

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  I'll turn it over to you.  I've answered my Korea question.  (Laughter.)

 

            Q     But we have more!  We have plenty more!

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  No.  (Laughs.)

 

            PRESIDENT SAAKASHVILI:  You missed him!

 

            Q     Can you tell us anything about --

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  About what?

 

            Q     Can you tell us anything you might know about -- (off mike) -- about the Taepo -- (off mike) --

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  It crashed.

 

            Q     Do you know if -- can you give it any trajectory, or what --

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  I know a lot.

 

            Q     Can you share with us?

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  I know everything that there is to know, and the details move around as more information is gained.  You get one sensor and you learn a certain amount and you make some judgment; and you get another sensor that you can cross-check it with, and then you learn some more and you begin to reduce down the areas of ambiguity.  And that process is still going forward.  But our folks are doing a good job, and we've been very attentive to it.

 

            Q     Did it fail --

 

            Q     (Off mike) -- launch -- (off mike) -- (Kim ?) tried to hide the actual Taepo Dong launch?

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  I'm not a psychiatrist.  I don't know why they did what they did the way they did it.

 

            Q     Did it fail, or was it intentionally exploded?  Do you know?

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  Well, let me put it this way:  Why would someone spend that much money and launch that expensive a missile and then only gain 38 or 40 seconds' worth of information from it?

 

            Q     What can you tell us about the payloads?

 

            SEC. RUMSFELD:  Good to see you all.

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