Thursday, January 25, 2001 - 1:30 p.m. EST
(Also participating: Coast Guard Capt. Dave Westerholm, chief, Office of Response, Directorate for Maritime Safety and Environmental Protection)
Quigley: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I will momentarily introduce Captain Dave Westerholm. And while certainly not a part of the Department of Defense, our fifth uniformed service is a partner of the Department of Defense in many things over time. Captain Westerholm is the chief of the Office of Response within the Directorate for Maritime Safety and Environmental Protection here at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, D.C. And he is here to discuss the Coast Guard's activities involving the wreck of the Jessica near the Galapagos Islands.
So, when Captain Westerholm has completed his presentation and taken whatever questions you may have, I will follow him with other events of the day.
Westerholm: Admiral, thank you.
Good afternoon. Again, my name is Dave Westerholm, and I'm chief of the Office of Response. And I'd like to update you a little bit on the Coast Guard activities down in the Galapagos Islands with respect to assistance to the government of Ecuador in their response to the oil spill and lightering and salvage of the vessel.
I'll do really a quick background brief as I talk about the events that we're doing. Certainly, if anybody has any more detailed questions or needs some more detailed information, I can take those questions later or get after the press briefing.
Specifically, as of Friday night and through Saturday, we were requested, through the government of Ecuador, to provide assistance to the tank vessel Jessica, which was a 260-foot tanker, small tanker, that had grounded off San Cristobal Island. In a few moments I'll show you the island chain. If you look over here -- I apologize -- right about there, for those who haven't seen it, down in this area. She had grounded on some rocks down in San Cristobal. And the Department of State worked with the government of Ecuador to find out what additional assistance might be requested. The government of Ecuador said that they would request Coast Guard assistance for response to lightering and salvage of the vessel.
On Saturday, we flew a C-130 down there with a Coast Guard team out of the Gulf Strike Team, which is part of the National Strike Force. The National Strike Force is an elite team that is trained to respond to oil and hazardous material incidents throughout the United States, but on many occasions, including the Gulf War and just off of Kuwait, during that large oil spill, and in many other instances, have provided assistance to the rest of the world, when requested.
In this case, the 10-member team went down, arrived Sunday evening, started lightering operations on Monday morning. We were able to lighter off about 10,000 gallons before the conditions became so hazardous, they were talking probably 10- to 15-foot breakers in the surf, up to 30 feet; they were actually going over the top of the vessel. The vessel took a more severe list at that point, and now is sitting around 50 to 60-degree list. The conditions got too hazardous to further lighter the vessel.
She was lying on her port side. All the starboard tanks were holed. It is now believed that all tanks have been breached and there's free communication between the tanks. There's probably only about 5,000 to 15,000 gallons -- we are guessing -- in our estimate, about 8,200 gallons of product left on board.
It would appear to us that when we arrived on scene, most of the product, about 160,000 gallons, had escaped from the vessel. We were, again, able to recover about 10,000 gallons.
When it became too hazardous to continue lightering operations, our team assisted the government of Ecuador with some strategies for a continual deployment and response to mitigate the oil spill, as well as some ongoing strategies to assist the Ministry of Environment in their assessment of impacts to wildlife. Specifically as part of that team that went down was a representative from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA, a gentleman by the name of Charlie Henry, which we've worked with many times before, and he's assisting their government with that.
The government of Ecuador, subsequent to our arrival, requested a public affairs assistance, part of our PA team, which specializes in public affairs during, again, oil and hazmat spills. That person is down there, and certainly we can give you that information to be able to -- anyone here who would want to do a press brief with someone on scene to talk about the latest information.
I want to again reiterate that our team has a wide variety of expertise in the oil spill environment, and so when the government of Ecuador was looking at the possibility that lightering and salvage attempts may be cancelled entirely, they wanted to keep the team down there to talk about and discuss the option of what additional equipment could be brought down to mitigate any remaining oil. And I'll talk about that in just a few minutes.
And then, if the Ecuadorian military -- specifically, Ecuadorian navy -- who is in charge of the operation and the salvage of the vessel has success in righting the vessel, at that point we will go back on board to see if there is any residual oil on board that can be lightered off, as well as assist them with plugging and patching the vessel to put it in a seaworthy condition so they can either tow the vessel safely to some location or, as has been discussed internal to their government, the possibility of taking the vessel out to sea and sinking it.
The oil has been noted, the reports that we've gotten, is very, very patchy and sporadic. Its light sheens probably spread about 35 to 40 miles from the site of the wreck. The vessel itself is pointed in a northerly-southerly direction. There's little impact on San Cristobal; most of the oil had trailed off up in a northwesterly direction, a little bit to the west towards Santa Fe.
I wish I had a more definitive answer, but we've gotten conflicting reports of impacts on Santa Fe Island. The minister of Environment had done an assessment; as of yesterday afternoon had not found any impacts on the environment, although there had been some overflights earlier which had shown some sheen in that area. So I guess we're getting a little bit of conflicting information, but any impact would be a light diesel sheen that might be impacting through the breakers into the Santa Fe Island. The main concern is for Santa Fe and Santa Cruz Island, and our attempt to continue to assist them would be to assist in a strategy for how they would boom the oil, the remaining oil, and protect the shoreline.
With that, I'd like to ask any questions. Anyone have any questions?
Quigley: I have three announcements this afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, and I'll take your questions following that. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Henry H. Shelton and the service chiefs will host an armed forces welcoming ceremony in honor of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld tomorrow afternoon at 3:00 at the Pentagon River Plaza Entrance. The ceremony will include remarks by General Shelton and Secretary Rumsfeld, and the event is open for media coverage.
Second, next week 130 participants from more than 50 African countries, Europe and the United States will meet in Libreville, Gabon, for a Senior Leader Seminar. Widely acknowledged as among their countries' most promising leaders, these men and women are the third group to participate in the Department of Defense's newest engagement activity in Africa.
The Africa Center for Strategic Studies is one of five DoD-sponsored regional centers for security studies. The mission is to promote democratic governance by engaging senior African, civilian and military leaders in a two-week practical academic program. The African Center for Strategic Studies is a key element of the department's conflict prevention efforts in Africa, and is the only program in existence that targets such a senior level pan-African audience.
And finally, I would like to welcome a group of journalists, researchers, representatives of non-governmental organizations and government officials from Algeria, Albania, Romania, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Ukraine. They are with us here this afternoon and are visiting the United States through Freedom House's Visiting Fellows Program. Welcome to you all. Good to have you with us.
And with that, I'll take your questions.
Q: Before we start, I take it from your announcement that Shelton and Rumsfeld are going to make remarks; that they are not going to take questions. Is that the --
Quigley: Well, probably not there, John. But we are -- I don't have anything definitive on that, but I'm pretty sure we're going to do something. We still have to play with the time a little bit, with the schedule of other activities on Friday. But I don't think they'll do it on site.
Q: Do you plan to have the SecDef come down here tomorrow?
Quigley: I think so, Charlie. We're still noodling the specifics of his schedule tomorrow. I would hope to have something for you as soon as we can, but I think so.
Q: Could you fill us in the SecDef's -- what he did yesterday and today?
And do you expect any announcements today or tomorrow on deputies' appointments?
Quigley: Well, again, on -- let me take the last one first. An announcement of a deputy secretary of Defense or any of the other Senate-confirmable candidates would indeed come from the White House and would not come from here. So I would defer to them on their schedule of those positions.
But yesterday afternoon he had an hour and a half budget brief. That's his first really in-depth look at the budget as it exists today. It was very broad, as you might expect it to be, as a first detailed assessment for his thorough understanding of where we are as far as budget levels both in '01 as well as the draft budget that had been left by the Clinton administration for the Bush administration to consider as at least a starting point for the '02 budget submission to the Congress. That was yesterday afternoon.
This morning he started off again, as I indicated on Tuesday --
Q: Excuse me.
Quigley: Yeah, Charlie?
Q: Who did he get that briefing from?
Quigley: From the comptroller folks here on the DoD staff, the Joint Staff, the -- and those in his immediate office, as well as the deputy secretary. I think that's all. It was a fairly small group -- five people, maybe.
This morning started off, as has now become a habit, I believe, with a secure telephone call with Secretary Powell and Dr. Rice, to discuss events of the day; again, a staff meeting with the deputy secretary, chairman, vice chairman at early morning or following that; a meeting with all of the senior staff members at 9:00 for about 30 minutes. Those include the acting service secretaries, the senior individuals that are serving in an acting capacity, several of the major pieces of the secretary's staff. And that goes around the room, and they brief him on issues they think should be brought to his attention. And he'll ask questions on those that he wishes to do.
There was a meeting with the one -- when he had a meeting with the senior enlisted a couple of days ago, the service that was missing was the Coast Guard. And again, while not a component of the Department of Defense, he also met today with the master chief petty officer of the Coast Guard, Master Chief Patton, to the same overall purpose, to hear his views on -- through his experiences and through the prism of his role, and what's on the mind of the enlisted, particularly, and families within the Coast Guard.
And beyond that, the rest of today, it's small staff meetings on a variety of topics.
And that's yesterday and today.
Q: The White House said, I think on Wednesday, that Rumsfeld was going to undertake a force structure review wholly separate from the QDR. Could you talk to us about that? And there are also reports that Rumsfeld castigated the Joint Chiefs for going up to the Hill and asking for more money. Could you confirm that?
Quigley: Oh. The former, I think it's a reflection of then-candidate Bush's comments and now-President Bush's comments to take a broader view than -- and perhaps even a little bit more advanced schedule than the Quadrennial Defense Review. It's safe to say, certainly, that Secretary Rumsfeld has already started to look in detail at the budget from a macro view yesterday. To the best of my knowledge, he has yet to be briefed on the particulars of any particular program within the budget. I think his is a broader view so far, although he will get to that. And exactly how you characterize it as to that -- the in-depth review of the programs that exist, certainly you need to do the Quadrennial Defense Review. That is an element in the law, of course. But we would anticipate that there would be some other element certainly as part of the '02 budget submission ultimately to the Congress a few months down the road.
Q: And the Joint Chiefs on the Hill.
Quigley: I'm sorry, say that again, would you please?
Q: The Joint Chiefs on the Hill? They apparently went up with their wish list, and there's a -- information out there that says that Rumsfeld castigated them for that --
Quigley: Yeah. I think that's pretty overblown in its description of what happened.
This was at the specific request of the Senate Armed Services Committee, the authorizers on the Senate side, to the services to come up and discuss this. When that happens, we need to do that, of course. They were all fully aware of the fact that the new administration has not yet had the time to review the particulars of the '02 budget. They're working on that. There will certainly be an '02 budget submitted to the Congress in the weeks and months ahead, but not -- don't want to get too far ahead and make predictions for the future because that '02 budget has not yet been formulated government-wide, and particularly here within DoD, of course.
So I think it's --
Q: So you're saying that Rumsfeld --
Quigley: I think --
Q: -- he's allowed to rein them in?
Quigley: Oh, there was -- again, that was at a discussion of -- at the senior staff meeting this morning. And I was in that meeting and it was nothing of the sort. He is fully understanding of the processes that exist in Washington and knows that there are frequent requests for information from the Hill. Sometimes they go one way and sometimes they go another to get information from the Department of Defense or a particular military service. Sometimes the requests are broad, sometimes they're narrow in nature.
His only request this morning was, hey, please make sure we're talking amongst ourselves to make sure nobody's surprised. If you get called to the Hill to provide information, you needed to go to the Hill and provide information. But make sure all the people that you can think of are informed please, so that it's not a surprise to anybody.
Q: This is a $10 billion supplemental. When did it go up -- or when did they present it to the committee?
Quigley: I don't know the dollar amount, and I don't think it's been presented in a formal way. It was --
Q: But informally -- when was it?
Quigley: I don't know when each of the services went up.
Q: Last week or this week?
Quigley: No, I believe it was this week. I believe it was this week. (sic) [Correction: last week, not this week.]
Q: Monday or Tuesday --
Quigley: I think it was a process that started -- I think the request came over, I think, under that last administration actually, Pat. But I think the actual information to the Hill was provided this week. (sic) [Correction: last week, not this week.]
Q: So you're saying, number one, he does not feel that the military chiefs tried to do an end around the leadership here?
Quigley: No, absolutely not.
Q: Absolutely not -- that was not the --
Quigley: Absolutely not.
Q: And number two, he has not told them not to do that, he just wants this place to be informed when they do it, is what you're saying?
Quigley: Right, exactly. Couldn't have put it better, Charlie.
Q: Cohen had an edict out on this where he said no more wish lists shall go up to the Hill. Is Rumsfeld considering the same thing?
Quigley: Well, not that I'm aware of -- not that I've heard him say this morning. I mean, he was very calm. And again, it was just a request to please make sure that we do, of course, what the Oversight Committee has asked us to do in information they ask us to provide. But just make sure that everybody is informed so nobody's surprised.
Q: Has he yet set any fraud guidance to the services, I mean other than just -- you paint a picture of somebody who's taking in a lot of information. Has he set any broad guidance yet?
Quigley: I think that's a pretty accurate characterization, actually, I mean, keeping in mind now, this is day four, okay, on the job of a very large organization.
His meeting with the chairman and the vice chairman and the service chiefs from a few days ago, talking about -- wanting to hear their views on transformation as it exists today within their services is clearly an area that he's interested in -- is their views on transformation. He knows that's important to them. And they know that this is an issue that he's very engaged in as well and will be more so as he fully understands and comprehends both the budget side of the House as well as the strategy side, and make sure that they're in balance.
Q: Did Rumsfeld express any concerns about this? If the joint chiefs go up to the Hill and say we need $10 billion more and then Rumsfeld brings up his budget and he's either under that or over that, it sets him up to be smacked down by the committee, saying you're either not giving enough to the military or you're asking for way too much.
Quigley: No, I --
Q: Did he express any concerns about having different numbers?
Quigley: No, to the contrary, Pam, as a matter of fact. Secretary Rumsfeld is very familiar with how Washington works from his years in the government before. And there is always a give-and-take, numbers change, economic conditions exist one way on one day and they could change over time.
So he fully understands that give or take, and he will come to the decision that he thinks is best and submit that to OMB and the president and go from there.
Q: Back to the QDR and the administration's bottom-up -- or top-down review. Has Secretary Rumsfeld asked the services to slow down the pace of QDR? Because it seems that the administration's review would have to come first because it would dictate the national strategy that would set the basis for the QDR.
Quigley: No, he has not. I don't see the two as necessarily competing. I mean, the QDR is a process that must proceed, with a date certain as dictated by the law. And you don't want to slow that down because it is a very comprehensive look, very data heavy, and a lot of analysis and hard work goes into the Quadrennial Defense Review. So, no. But by the same token, a lot of the work that you're doing to gather the data, perform the analysis that goes into the QDR can be used for other decision processes. And I think that's more along the lines of what he has in mind.
Q: Is your deadline December?
Quigley: Let me check on the date. Let me check on the date. It's later in the year, but I'm not sure. [Clarification: the QDR is due to Congress by Sept. 30.]
Q: In the normal year, next week or the week after would be when the budget would be dropped. Can you give us a ballpark idea when you anticipate doing it now?
Quigley: I'm glad you asked that. I know that we will not be doing it next week. For those of you who are experienced in covering the building, you know that the late January, early February time frame is typically budget time. And it will not be that way this year. The president has not -- or OMB has not stated a time line. I know that OMB has started having budget meetings with the chief budget officers from the various Cabinet-level agencies of the government, but to the best of my knowledge, they have not yet put a time line on it.
Q: Back on the QDR?
Q: Rumsfeld told the Senate Armed Services Committee during his confirmation that he was concerned there wasn't enough time for him to do the QDR by the deadline. So has he mentioned anything in private about that? Has that come up in any of the meetings, about jiggering that schedule?
Quigley: Not that I have heard, Pam, no. Not that I have heard.
Q: On the budget thing, I have not been here during a turnover of administrations; is it typical when a new administration comes in that the budget period is later, or is it a particular characteristic of the protracted election?
Quigley: No, I think that what you're seeing is fairly typical, where you have the basic structure of a budget prepared by the outgoing administration, and then not formally submitted to the Congress, but given to the incoming administration for their review. And that's been handled different ways over the years. I've seen it done different ways. Sometimes is it submitted with very few changes, and then there are adds that are worked through the Congress as the congressional year goes on. This year it's being done differently. So it has varied over time.
But it's very typical that there be, you know, some sort of changes, sometimes significant changes, made between that basic structure of a budget that was prepared by the outgoing administration and the one actually submitted to the Congress by the incoming.
Q: The SecDef made clear -- I'm sorry -- the SecDef made clear in his hearing that he planned to submit a supplemental on the current budget, 2001 budget. One assumes that that would be submitted before the 2002 budget goes up. Why is that?
Quigley: Well, all I would say on that, Charlie, is that is possible, certainly, but that he has made no final decisions on the mechanisms by which he would do that.
Q: Have you -- I apologize for coming in late. Have you addressed the subject of Linda Tripp?
Quigley: No. No.
Q: Linda Tripp today -- lawyers for her filed a lawsuit alleging violations of the Privacy Act regarding information being released about her application for employment at the Marshall Center in Germany. Can you give us any reaction to that and tell us whether there's right to privacy for applicants to these kinds of jobs that could have been compromised by any leaks --
Quigley: Yeah, I'm aware of the suit being filed, but we have not received it yet. We've not laid eyes on it. Nobody in the building, to the best of my knowledge, has any -- has seen it or has any knowledge of its contents. So I'm going to have to defer on that one until we have a chance to see it.
Q: Does the Defense Department routinely or ever release the names of applicants for jobs?
Quigley: Jamie, that question is related to the first, and I'm sorry; I'm not going to be very able to be fulfilling in that topic today. We need to understand the contents of the suit, and I need to tread very carefully here.
Q: Craig --
Quigley: So we need to see it first, and we'll go from there.
Q: Aside from what the lawsuit actually says, I mean, can you answer the question of whether someone in the Defense Department provided information to Stars and Stripes that she had applied for this job?
Quigley: No, I can't, Bob. I'm sorry.
Q: Why not?
Quigley: Same answer.
Q: What's the government doing on the --
Quigley: It is all part and parcel of the same topic. We need to have a fundamental understanding of the contents of the suit before I'm going to make any public statements or nibble at the edges on the published statements. I'm sorry.
Q: Can I ask you, this job, this job with the Marshall Center, would it be a Schedule C job, or is it strictly up to the director of the Marshall Center whether or not she would be hired, or is it up to the administration whether or not she would be hired in this job? You see what I mean?
Quigley: I -- I don't know. I'll see what category that job is in. I don't know. We can take that.
Q: And can you give us any -- can you give us any background or describe the Marshall Center, and is it operated by the Department of Defense? And can you tell us how much under the control of the Pentagon is the European Stars and Stripes newspaper? Is that something that --
Quigley: Well, the Marshall Center is one of these facilities that I mentioned in the announcements at the start of the brief this afternoon. This is the European version of this. And these centers, all of them -- the Marshall Center included -- go to enhance the learning and the sharing of information for both civilian and military student bodies of the democratic process. And this is the one that is in Europe.
I think the independence of Stars and Stripes is a fact pretty well known to most of you. Heaven's sake, the Stars and Stripes has had plenty of articles over time that have been critical of the positions taken by the Department of Defense or decisions made by the Department of Defense. The editorial decision-making process is completely independent of anyone in this building. And the positions they take are much more traditionally within what you would think of as a traditional newspaper structure. So it is intended to be and is an independent voice serving principally our men and women in uniform, their families, professional civilians serving overseas, both in Europe and in Asia.
Q: Well, wasn't a European Stars and Stripes reporter recently punished or even dismissed for -- because he published classified information, information that was subsequently published in the Washington Post?
Quigley: No. I believe that a Stars and Stripes employee resigned for reasons that I would defer to him to describe. But it was an editorial decision made by the paper that he disagreed with.
And again, that wasn't a decision taken by anyone in this building, as we are not in that editorial process for the paper on a daily basis.
Q: Just one more follow-up on this. The newspaper, European Stars and Stripes, does it come under the Armed Forces Information Service, which is headed by Cliff Bernath, who was named in the previous action involving Linda Tripp?
Quigley: Yes; administratively, yes. But for editorial control, it is as I described. It is an independent paper; that is what it is designed to be -- both European and Pacific Stars and Stripes -- with an independent editorial voice.
Q: Back to the Marshall Center, just so I understand this. The Defense Department funds that entirely; is that correct?
Quigley: The Marshall Center?
Quigley: Through, I think, the executive agent; the executive agent in this case is the Department of the Army. But yes, it is a DoD entity.
Q: If you are hired by the Marshall Center, one has to assume that the Defense Department and/or the U.S. Army has some say in that; correct?
Quigley: Certainly. I mean -- but I think the hiring decisions are made at the local level, at the center level.
Q: Unless it is someone of very high profile that is well- known to everyone?
Quigley: I don't think there are exceptions.
Q: So there's no influence by the local people? If Washington says, "Hey, we've got somebody we really want to hire here," the local people are not influenced by that?
Quigley: It is a competitive process, and the packages are evaluated fairly for all those who have chosen to submit a package for any open position.
Q: I have two V-22 questions.
Q: Can we stay on this general area for a second?
Quigley: I was going to say, if you don't mind, if we could -- yeah. Go ahead, Chris.
I'll get back to you.
Q: Not on the lawsuit at all, but in recent years we've talked a lot about the Privacy Act. I'm just wondering whether job applications are protected by the Privacy Act?
Quigley: Well, the contents of job applications certainly are.
Q: How about the fact of job application?
Quigley: I don't know. I don't know that we have a policy on that. I'm not sure that it's -- I'm not sure that it's covered under the Privacy Act, of course, which is law, or if we have a policy that speaks to that issue which is a policy. And I don't know the answer.
The contents, I'm sure. But the fact, I'm not sure on that.
Q: Didn't the department generate some new guidelines or something on how the Privacy Act was to be observed after the events of a couple of years ago?
Quigley: Yes, indeed. I mean, all department employees were given both -- additional information on both the Privacy Act and the Freedom of Information Act which, as you know, are sometimes very, very carefully balanced -- by design, I must say.
And that's incumbent upon all of us in the public sector to make sure we've got the balance right.
Q: But do you also have a policy against leaks?
Quigley: Say that again?
Q: I said, do you have a policy that discourages employees from leaking unofficial information to the news media?
Quigley: I'm not aware of any such policy, no.
Q: So then the policy permits leaks.
Quigley: I don't think we have a policy that addresses the subject, Jamie.
Q: No policy on leaks?
Quigley: I don't think so. I mean, there's all kinds of specifics on classified information, Jamie, and unauthorized, by any means, disclosure of classified information. You also have, as Chris indicated in his question, the restrictions and mandates of the Privacy Act versus the Freedom of Information Act. So there are many things that discuss the release of information, but I'm not aware of any policy on leaks.
Q: But nevertheless, you would concede that there are many leaks out of the government, including this building?
Quigley: I think you can read some every day.
Q: Not to overstate the obvious, but why don't you stop these leaks? (Laughter, cross talk.) Well, the point -- excuse me, if I could just follow up. The point I'm getting at --
Q: -- isn't it true that you have very little control over leaks of information?
Quigley: Leaks are done for a variety of reasons. Usually, the folks that leak information either have an ax to grind or a program that they really don't like or they really like a lot, and it presents what I would consider oftentimes an unbalanced view of that program or of that information that is shared with a correspondent.
I think there is a better way to do it. The better way to do it is to work it and make sure you understand all of the issues from the different perspectives that exist. I think only then can you have a really good debate on the topic, with everything out there for clarity's sake.
Q: As the spokesman for the department, aside from the fact that you won't comment on this lawsuit, will you confirm that Linda Tripp, in fact, is seeking a job with the Marshall Center?
Quigley: I don't know that that's true.
Q: But the source of this information --
Q: You don't -- you mean you don't whether or not she -- she --
Quigley: No, I don't know if she has applied or not.
Q: Will you take the question?
Quigley: I need to -- yes, I will. But I need to be careful and make sure that I'm on solid ground there as far as if we have a policy -- and I don't know yet -- of acknowledging whether or not any individual has applied for an open position.
Q: In her previous dispute about the release of private information, at least one or two of the parties were identified. Has the source of this information been identified?
Quigley: Of -- say that again, Mick.
Q: Has the source of this information been identified? The source of this information that Linda Tripp is seeking employment at the Marshall Center, has that source been identified, as was -- the sources were previously identified earlier this year.
Quigley: I think I would need to see what the wording of the lawsuit is as to what that suit says is her grievance against the department.
Q: So you don't know if the source has been identified.
Quigley: We have not had a chance to see the -- what the issue is within the lawsuit itself.
Q: But in the previous incident, any lawsuits aside, the department identified the individuals who provided this information to the New Yorker as Clifford Bernath at the direction of Kenneth Bacon, correct? So do we -- could we ask the same question here?
Quigley: Well, I think that's pretty much the same question that Charlie has asked. And I honestly don't know what our policy is on that, nor do I know how that policy -- if we don't have a policy, I need to make sure that the -- to provide an answer to that question, we are in compliance with the Privacy Act. So I will do the best I can to try to deconflict that. But I don't know where we stand right now.
Q: Are you addressing the privacy of the leaker? He's the source who released this information --
Quigley: No, I think the question is -- I think the question is, Charlie's question is, can we identify an individual who has applied for a government position. I'm very sure that we cannot release the content of their application, but I'm not sure on the very fact that they have or not.
Q: I was referring to Mick's question about who provided the information about the fact that she applied.
Quigley: The only thing that I have seen on that was a piece in Stars and Stripes from a couple of days ago earlier this week -- Monday, Tuesday, something like that. I don't know that that's correct as written.
Q: And of course, that also goes to the question of whether or not the leaker violated the law by simply stating that she had applied for a job.
Quigley: Well, and a leaker, in my mind, kind of going back to Jamie's question, is kind of not identified. So I don't know if this person did this in a very overt way or if there was some other way. I don't know.
Q: In my question, I wasn't trying to pursue a facetious line of questioning here, but my question was trying to get at the point about what actual ability the Pentagon has to identify and prevent leaks. Is this something that you really have any control over, given the fact that there are many links all the time from all parts of government?
Quigley: Well, from time to time over the years, I know there are some that have tried very hard to try to find out the identity of someone who has leaked information, but it's unnamed, you know, sources and things of that sort. Usually those attempts just don't have any success because it's too hard. There's too many people that are by design involved in decision-making processes on major weapons programs and purchases and things of that sort, policy development, you name it. And there's just too many folks to go --
Q: Just to clarify, in the previous episode, the facts showed that there was some unfavorable information about Linda Tripp that was released to the news media, or confirmed to the news media, about what she had -- how she had answered questions on her job application. Are you aware that in this case there was any unfavorable information released? Is the fact that somebody, for instance, is applying for a job, is that considered to be unfavorable or in any way put that person at a disadvantage in applying for that job?
Quigley: No, I'm not that there was.
Q: And since she worked for Public Affairs in the Pentagon, has she asked anyone in Public Affairs for a job recommendation?
Quigley: I would defer that question to her.
Q: Craig, I'm a little bit confused about the status of European Stars and Stripes because it is owned lock stock and barrel by the Pentagon; right? It is published 100 percent --
Quigley: It is funded by Department of Defense money, European and Pacific Stars and Stripes. That's correct.
Q: And Clifford Bernath, as the head of AFIS, administratively oversees completely --
Quigley: Correct again.
Q: Okay. But you are assuring us that he has no control over the editorial content of that publication?
Quigley: Absolutely correct.
Q: How is that guaranteed?
Quigley: There is no place for him in the structure of the construction and decisions made on a daily basis as to what news, what photos, where should they be placed. All the daily newspaper decisions that happen, there is no place of him in that structure or process.
It does not exist. And this is something we've been very careful to design in just that way, so that it is not perceived -- it is designed to be an independent voice.
Now its focus is by -- also by design, very much focused on what the members of those papers think are of interest to our men and women in uniform, their families, civil service folks that live overseas. So it is much more heavily oriented towards news that would serve them better, rather than a purely private newspaper that you could buy -- English-language paper you could buy overseas.
But the editorial control was scrupulously designed in there to be independent of certainly anyone in Washington, D.C.
Q: Exhausted with this --
Quigley: I am.
Q: Yes. (Cross talk.)
Q: I had a couple of V-22 questions. The Pentagon Inspector General is taking over from the Marine Corps on the probe of the records.
Q: The IG has different facets. There's auditing, and then there's the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, which does criminal inquiries. Can you shed any light on it in terms of -- is this an audit of the maintenance records or a full-blown criminal investigation?
Quigley: The DoD IG broadly breaks all investigations into one of two categories: either administrative or criminal. And this is administrative in nature.
Quigley: Mm-hmm. (Affirmative.)
Q: Okay. A second question. The GAO has a new assessment on the V-22 program, saying that the Pentagon would incur a significant risk if the program was allowed now to go into production, given all the questions surrounding it. What's the Pentagon's assessment or Pentagon's opinion of the GAO assessment? Is there a significant risk at this point?
Quigley: I have not seen that draft GAO report. I think the Marines have been asked to prepare a response to the draft. And when that becomes final, I'm sure that will be a part of the effort that the V-22 review panel Secretary Cohen put in place will incorporate into their overall review of the program.
Q: Do you have a sense of -- is the full rate production decision basically on hold indefinitely at this point?
Quigley: To the best of my knowledge, the acquisition executive in the Navy Department still does not have the information that he needs to make the -- that level of decision.
I think at this point it's safe to say you're not going to see, even if that data were to now be in hand, with the accident investigation, the IG investigation, and the review panel that then- Secretary Cohen put into place -- those things need to come to fruition first, so that we have a solid foundation of knowledge upon which to base future decisions. So, first things first.
Q: So it's going to be at least two months, because that's when they expect --
Quigley: I won't put a time frame on it.
Q: You can say even if all the nuts and bolts of the acquisition world are satisfied and tightened, these other reviews pretty much would overturn any decision or would put any decision on hold?
Quigley: Well, I wouldn't say "overturn." I'd say that you need to have a holistic approach to this. You need to really make sure you understand the particulars of the aircraft and its development process. You can't make a decision on acquisition until you know where you stand on these other issues. It's not just a dollars issue at this point, it's the other elements that we've just been talking about here.
Q: Craig, why -- outwardly, and without convicting anyone, there is an appearance of criminal fraud in the altering of these maintenance records or trying to hide the true maintenance performance of these aircraft. Are you saying that the inspector general has ruled out the possibility of criminal fraud?
Quigley: No, I don't think he's ruled anything out, Pat. But his approach at this point is to start on the administrative side, and like the commandant before him, and the DoD IG now is committed to following this wherever the facts lead. You can change the category, if the evidence so warrants, but that's kind of putting the cart before the horse, and he's still in the process of gathering information, interviewing squadron members and things of that sort.
Q: And to see if there's any criminal activity in this controversy?
Quigley: I would take that even broader and say any improper activity.
Q: So this is really a preliminary step by the IG?
Quigley: I'd say it's a mandatory first step.
Q: Well, just to clarify that a little further, when he interviews squadron members, is he advising them of their rights to counsel? I mean, that would be what you'd do in a criminal inquiry.
Quigley: Yeah, I don't know. That's a good question. Let me take that. I'll find out.
Q: And is there a timetable for the IG to report? And did Secretary Rumsfeld give the IG any particular direction that you can share with us?
Quigley: No. On the first part, there is no timetable involved at all. So as long as it takes to do a thorough job to make sure that the IG understands everything there is to understand the facts regarding the case. And Secretary Rumsfeld had no particular guidance to the IG in this case. General Jones asked the IG to take this on; he agreed. Secretary Rumsfeld agreed with that decision, but he had no particular guidance to the IG. He knows he'll do a good job.
Q: Is falsifying maintenance and readiness records a felony?
Quigley: I don't think so, but I'm not absolutely sure. You're going to have to let --
Q: (Off mike.)
Quigley: Yeah, and that's a different element, too is: Is it criminal? Is it administrative?
What am I finding? And you've got to let the IG find out what he can find, first, before decisions like that are made. Do I pursue criminal, or do I stay administrative? He'll do the right thing.
Q: Yeah, but if the procedures -- for example, swearing witnesses -- differ from one track to the other and you have the appearance of criminal activity, it's just a puzzling choice of a way to begin what appears to most of us to look like criminal activity in an investigation.
Quigley: Yeah, I don't know. On the taking sworn statements and stuff like that, we'll find that out.
Q: Could you have Mr. Lieberman come in and give us a sort of a preliminary look at what he's doing?
Quigley: Well, since the entire effort has been underway for less than a week, I think he would probably be reluctant to do that.
Q: Well, I mean, just explain this apparent conflict between administrative and criminal investigations?
Quigley: We'll give that a try. I don't think he'll be enthusiastic to doing that. Inspectors general don't usually like to discuss things that are in progress for all very good reasons, until they're done.
Q: Craig, General Ghormley has been down in New River for the last several days. At what point does he actually hand over to DoD IG? Or will the Marine IG sort of join the DoD IG investigation? How does that handover take place?
Quigley: No -- well, you do a handover -- I don't think all of that turnover, if you will, has happened quite yet. But this started yesterday when the IG agreed to take it on. We haven't worked out the mechanics yet of exactly when, but ultimately when the DoD IG has his team in place down there, there will be a turnover of materials, information gathered, results of interviews and things of that sort from the Marine Corps IG to the DoD IG. And then the Marine Corps IG will back out and will not be a part of the DoD IG's work.
I'm not sure of, you know, what team he feels would best be put in place to do this. I'm sure those are decisions that he's making today, but it would not incorporate the Marine Corps IG as part of that, for the same basic reason that the commandant asked the DoD IG to take this on in the first place yesterday, was to remove any perception of there being a less than thorough and independent look at the allegations that are involved here.
Q: Just a follow-up.
In the discussions yesterday, was there any discussion about the investigation proceeding beyond New River to other aspects of the program because, given the --
Quigley: There's no boundaries on this. There are no boundaries on this.
Q: Well, when the president --
Quigley: I know where the start point is -- don't know where it'll go --
Q: Because in the --
Quigley: -- wherever the facts lead.
Quigley: Because in the letter, the whistleblower specifically mentioned that the probe -- that this alleged falsification had been going on for more than two years and yet the squadron was not in existence for more than two years. It was only stood up, I guess, in July 1999. And there was another reference to the fact that testers were throwing out data that they didn't like.
So the question is, does this -- I mean is it a focus of the investigation that this alleged falsification was taking place under the testing program also, before the squadron was stood up?
Quigley: I think we're going to start with that letter, and taking it at face value, and looking at every allegation that it contains, and taking it beyond that wherever the facts lead.
Q: I have two questions. I'm wondering, as part of the investigation, are you trying to identify the letter-writer? And then secondly, there's been -- in the past week or so there's been a flurry of news reports out, talking about the future of the V-22 program. I'm wondering, at this point, what would it take for the program to be killed?
Quigley: The answer to the first question is no. Inspectors general never try to ascertain the identity of an anonymous caller or letter-writer. If that person doesn't want to be identified, that's that. We encourage people to come forward with any information under any terms. So whether or not the person's name is given, either on a phone call or a letter, is just not important. So we're going to take the letter at face value, despite the fact that it was submitted anonymously.
And on the second part, the V-22's issues I think are very well known by everybody, up to and including Secretary Rumsfeld. It's really a part -- the answer to your question is really kind of an extension to the answer to Tony's. You have several issues that need to come together here before you can proceed with confidence in making informed decisions on the future of the program.
And you have to have all those in hand before you can confidently go forward.
Q: Is the delay more likely to be months than weeks?
Quigley: I don't know, Charlie. I can't put a time frame on it. I'm sorry.
Q: Does Secretary Rumsfeld think that the Pentagon IG taking over this investigation is sufficient to answer the Warner-Levin request made yesterday?
Quigley: Yes. Yes. He is very convinced that the independence of the DoD IG is rock solid and has every confidence in their ability to find out.
Q: I have great confidence in the integrity of General Ghormley, but you just said that he was going to turn over his interviews with these officers and men at New River to the inspector general. Is that implying that that's going to be the -- who is going to talk to these people at New River, General Ghormley and his staff?
Quigley: Say that again? I'm sorry.
Q: You said General Ghormley was going to turn over his interviews and information to the inspector general.
Quigley: Oh. I'm with you. I'm with you.
Q: That implies that that's going to be the extent of talking to the staff --
Quigley: Oh, no. Not at all.
Quigley: General Ghormley's effort started last Friday, the 19th. Whatever materials that his team collected -- interviews, what have you -- anything that had been a part of his team's work since last Friday will be turned over as a starting point for the DoD IG's efforts.
Q: When did he stop? General Ghormley.
Quigley: Well, I'm not clear to exactly when that happened. I mean, the DoD said, Yes, I accept the investigation as of yesterday. But the particulars of that turnover, I'm not sure.
Q: But do you know if General Ghormley's investigation continues as we speak?
Quigley: I don't know. We'll see if we can find that out for you.
Q: The independent review panel set up by Cohen, have they scheduled a first meeting, and are those meetings open to the public?
Quigley: Don't know that, either. I'll see if I can find out. [Update: no meetings have yet been scheduled.]
Q: Just back to Linda Tripp for a moment. I've been informed that, in fact, this information that was reported in the European Stars and Stripes was not -- was not a leak, per se, but in fact, an on-the-record release of information by the Center's director, Robert Kennedy, who was quoted directly in the article as saying that Linda Tripp was being considered along with several other candidates for this job and said -- and quoted in the European Stars and Stripes story of January 23rd. Has Robert Kennedy been contacted by anyone in the Pentagon, or will he be? And will there be some determination made whether his on-the-record statements violated any policy or procedure?
Quigley: First things first: I'm not going to have any more to say on this topic until we get the suit and understand its implications.
Q: But when you get the suit, then you'll say, "We're in a lawsuit, so we can't talk about it."
Quigley: That's probably true as well. You can only do what you can do and stay within the law. So Jamie, I can't help you with the answer to your question. I'm sorry. It's all part and parcel of the same thing.
Q: Just to go back to the budget, if that's okay with everyone. Before Secretary Rumsfeld puts in for this '01 supplement, is there any -- I guess, did he say anything about pushing for any kind of cutting of the fat, per se, as far as BRAC goes or outsourcing before he even does that?
Quigley: I have not heard him say anything on those topics, no.
Q: Is there a date set for the F-22 Defense Acquisition Board?
Quigley: No, not set yet. First things first, let's get the data in hand and make sure we can assemble the folks and kind of do it in a logical sequence. We understand from the Air Force that there's a good likelihood that they'll be done within a week or so of the flight test. I hope that's true and we can get the data from those, and then we'll look at scheduling the DAB.
Q: Thank you.
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