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Condoleezza Rice IV on the Laura Ingraham Show

Interview With Laura Ingraham on the Laura Ingraham Show

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Washington, DC
November 3, 2006


QUESTION: Joining us now is the Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Madame Secretary, thank you for being with us.

SECRETARY RICE: Nice to be with you.

QUESTION: Tell us about this story in The New York Times. To look at it at first glance it seems like how could this happen? How could nuclear plans or designs that could be used by terrorists be on a government website?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, first of all, the site has been taken down and the Director of National Intelligence is looking to see whether or not there were documents there that are particularly troubling. The fact is that there was a lot of documentation found in Iraq and there was an effort to make known the documentation that was found in Iraq. But obviously we want to be in a position of protecting anything that might give an upper hand to people trying to build weapons of mass destruction. And so the DNI, John Negroponte, is taking a look at it and I'm certain it will be taken care of.

QUESTION: Well, we were just delighted that finally The New York Times was reporting something about Saddam's plans --

SECRETARY RICE: Yeah, right. Well the interesting thing is that there clearly were an awful lot of nuclear documents floating around Iraq which suggest that this is someone who'd not given up on his ambitions.

QUESTION: There's a report in Bloomberg that just came out that says that Jimmy Carter, former President Carter, is saying that this claim that North Korea has cheated and reneged on its '94 agreement is just completely false and I guess ginned up by the Bush Administration to grab headlines. What's your response to what President Carter is saying?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, I've not seen those comments. I just know that the North Koreans in violation not just of the '94 agreement but of agreements that they had with the South Koreans even earlier, where they had foresworn nuclear weapons, foresworn enrichment capability in an agreement -- direct agreement -- with the South Koreans, that they were engaging in another route, a second route to a nuclear program just as they were freezing their plutonium route. And they so much as admitted it when we had our Assistant Secretary at the time there with them. He said we know that you have an HEU program, a highly enriched uranium program, which is a way -- a pathway to a bomb. And the North Koreans admitted it. So I don't think there's much there except what the North Koreans themselves have said. But now we have an opportunity to try and deal with this problem and the President's very skillful diplomacy in putting China and other states with real leverage with North Korea at the center of this is paying off.

QUESTION: The Wall Street Journal lead editorial is called the "Six-Party Fever" and the little cut line that they cut out is "This is no time to go wobbly on North Korean finances." And we were certainly happy to see that North Korea was coming back to six-party talks, but obviously the concern is North Korea always seem to do something that looks reasonable as a ploy to get cash.

SECRETARY RICE: Well, the North Koreans are coming back this time under a Chapter 7 resolution, Resolution 1718, which denies them everything from access to financing for their nuclear program to access to technology to luxury goods for their leadership. And so they're coming back to these talks under considerably different circumstances than talks have been held before. And they're coming back to talks in which China has made it very clear that it will not support North Korea's behavior.

And so I think we're in a different position here. No one has to worry about anybody going wobbly. We're going to be very strong in the implementation of Resolution 1718. Two very senior State Department diplomats, Bob Joseph, who is our Under Secretary for Security Affairs, and Nick Burns, who is our Under Secretary for Political Affairs, are going out to the region this weekend. They're going to have discussions with all of those who have responsibilities in the region concerning the implementation of this Security Council resolution. And they're going to look for ways to make sure that when we do go back to the table in the six-party talks that the talks really do aim at implementing the agreement that was signed in Sept of 2005, and that we don't just go back to talk, that we go back for concrete action.

QUESTION: Bill Gertz, who I think you're familiar with, at The Washington Times has a piece out which says -- the title is "The U.S. Speeds Attack Plans for North Korea," essentially making the point that the Pentagon has stepped up its planning for attacks potentially against North Korean nuclear targets. Do you have any knowledge about that?

SECRETARY RICE: First of all, militaries are always planning. That's what they do.

QUESTION: Hope so.

SECRETARY RICE: Absolutely. But the President has made very clear what U.S. policy is, and U.S. policy is that we have no intention to attack or invade North Korea. We are in a diplomatic process here that I think has potential to really pay off. It's a tough diplomacy because it includes very tough sanctions against the North Koreans. We have leverage through the Chinese, who actually have real leverage with the North Koreans, and that's the course that we're on.

QUESTION: In Sadr City, we had a situation develop last week where our military had cordoned off large parts of that area in search of that missing soldier. Then came the stories that the Iraqi Government had said, essentially, hey, back it off. We have explosions going on inside Sadr City, we think that -- checkpoints are being violated, bombs are in there. And then poof, the cordoning off was no more.

At the same time, the – Steve Hadley, your successor, went to the region and I'm not sure what was accomplished when he went there, but I guess the bottom line is, what's the story with al-Maliki and our relationship when it comes to finding one of our own soldiers?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, first of all, the Iraqi Government and the Iraqi security forces are heavily involved in trying to help us find that soldier and that should be well understood. Secondly, we have really an excellent coordinating relationship with this government and something like the decisions about checkpoints, I can assure you, were not taken as a surprise to the United States. Those decisions had been discussed.

But let's remember that we've been waiting a long time to get an Iraqi Government that actually wanted to take some responsibility for its own security. And we want a prime minister that wants to take decisions on behalf of his country. He is taking them in coordination with General Casey and with Ambassador Khalilzad. But it's a positive thing when he comes to us and says I need more security forces, we've got to end this violence, and we need to help them do it.

QUESTION: We're talking to the Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. And Iraq, obviously in October, during the month of Ramadan, was just a deadly month for our men and women in uniform. And yesterday alone, I believe, five of our bravest were lost in Iraq. How do you see this all developing? I mean, we all think here that they know what's going in our own country, that they think they can affect the elections here in the United States, that the stepped-up violence was calculated. But you have to be looking at this beyond the month of October, into November, December, January, how do you see it?

SECRETARY RICE: Absolutely. First let me say that no one can ever soothe the sacrifice of families and young men and women, men and women in uniform, who've been lost; nothing can ever replace them. And that sacrifice is in a noble cause but it is nonetheless a really tragic sacrifice.

We are determined that the United States is going to pursue a line to victory in this war because the stakes are too high in Iraq to do anything less. That means that we've got to train Iraqi security forces more quickly and in greater number so that they can take more responsibility as Iraqi leaders are saying they want to do. And frankly, the Iraqis are going to have to take some really difficult political decisions which they have not yet taken. They have got to come to a political understanding about things like how they're going to share oil revenues. They're going to have to come to a political understanding about how they're going to deal with the past of Baathists who may try now to become a part of the political process, de-Baathification the process is called. And frankly they're going to have to take difficult decisions about disarming militias and they've not yet done that. It's, I think, not for lack of desire but it's a complicated political system. But we need the Iraqis to take some tough choices and that's the message that is being delivered.

QUESTION: Are we winning now in Iraq?

SECRETARY RICE: Oh, I think there's no doubt that we are making a lot of progress and that the terrorists are losing because the Iraqi political system is moving ahead and maturing. This is a situation in which we can and will succeed. Has it been very, very difficult? Absolutely. Are we home yet? No, by no means. There is a lot of work still to do. But the President has made very clear that victory is necessary and that we will achieve it. And we work every single day with Iraqis who want to achieve that same victory, and we will.

QUESTION: It certainly meant a lot when I was there. And I know you have to go, but just one more question. I know you don't get into the domestic politics. That's not what you do, Madame Secretary. But if the Democrats do capture the House and if there are major Democratic gains even in the Senate, most people who are political observers and focused on it for a long time believe that this could signal a real, real push to change our policy in Iraq, perhaps remove some of the funding that we've given our troops. What would that mean for President Bush's goals in Iraq if the Democrats took over?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, the American people are going to make their choices on Tuesday, and that's what our democratic process is all about. The President is still the President of the United States and he has set out a set of goals that I think the American people understand. And Americans don't want to leave this job undone. They know the stakes here and we will keep talking about those stakes.

But the fact is we're going to have to fund our forces. We're going to have to fund the reconstruction. The stakes are just too high, and I think people will see that.

QUESTION: Did you do anything for Halloween?

SECRETARY RICE: No, I didn't.

QUESTION: Did you dress up as a liberal or anything?

SECRETARY RICE: No, no, no. I didn't dress up as anything. I don't even remember what I did. Probably I watched some sporting event.

QUESTION: If there's a football game on you're watching it, right?

SECRETARY RICE: If there's a football game, I'm there. That's right.

QUESTION: Is there any predictions for this weekend -- football not politics?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, I think the Redskins are going to win finally.

QUESTION: We should hope they can win. What are they -- they only have two victories?

SECRETARY RICE: Right. Right. But they're going to win this weekend.

QUESTION: Oh my goodness. By the way, you walked by me -- I was outside of the White House mess I think it was last week, and you walked by me and I feel so rude because I didn't even realize it was you until you walked by me, because you were just by yourself just walking by the White House going out to the Old Executive Office Building.

SECRETARY RICE: Yeah. Right.

QUESTION: I should have said hi, and I felt terrible that I didn't.

SECRETARY RICE: Well, no, you have no reason to feel terrible. You know, I wander around the White House a fair amount.

QUESTION: It's not like is she lost. What --

SECRETARY RICE: Yeah, what am I doing in the White House, right? No, it's -- even if I didn't see you then, Laura, it's great to have a chance to talk to you now. It's always fun, and I look forward to seeing you.

QUESTION: All right. You take care. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on the Laura Ingraham Show. 2006/993

Released on November 3, 2006

ENDS


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