State Department Daily Briefing May 3, 2000
Announcements – Iraq – Sierra Leone – Department – Iran – Armenia – Azerbaijan – Turkey/Greece – Canada – Russia – Libya – North Korea – Romania/Moldova - Zimbabwe
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Daily Press Briefing Index Wednesday, May 3, 2000
Briefer: Richard Boucher, Spokesman
ANNOUNCEMENTS 1 Condemnation of Actions in Sierra Leone / U.S. Condemns the Revolutionary United Front in the Strongest Possible Terms
IRAQ 2-3 No-Fly-Zone / U.S. Actively Working to Prevent Saddam's Illegal Oil Exports and Make the Oil-for-Food Program Work
SIERRA LEONE 3 Security Situation
DEPARTMENT 4-5, 13 Security at the Department / Missing Laptop 12-13 Physical Security at Overseas Missions
IRAN 5 Trial of Iranian Jews
ARMENIA 6 President Kocharian Dismisses Prime Minister
AZERBAIJAN 6 Opposition Demonstrations in Baku / Parliamentary Elections
TURKEY / GREECE 6-7 Secretary Albright's Meetings with Turkish and Greek Foreign Ministers / Relations Between Greek, Turkey and Cyprus Discussed
CANADA 7 U.S.-Canada Defense Relation / NMD / U.S. has Close and Long-Standing Defense Relationship with Canada that Includes both NORAD and NATO
RUSSIA 7-8 Visit of Duma Members in Washington, D.C. / U.S. Committed to Continuing Discussions with Russia on Modifications to the ABM Treaty
LIBYA 8-9 Pan Am 103 / Lockerbie Trial / Restrictions of Use of U.S. Passports for Travel to Libya Under Review
NORTH KOREA 9-10 Trilateral Consultations with U.S., Japan and South Korea on North Korea Policy in Tokyo on May 12 / U.S.-North Korea Bilateral Talks to Resume May 24 in Rome
ROMANIA / MOLDOVA 11 U.S. Welcomes Bilateral Treaty
ZIMBABWE 11 U.S. Supports Land Reform in a Legal and an Orderly Process / President Mugabe's Use of Presidential Powers to Seize White-Owned Farms
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING DPB # 39 WEDNESDAY, MAY 3, 2000, 12:55 P.M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MR. BOUCHER: All right. I tried to escape and they've caught me because of our security. They wouldn't let me out of the C Street entrance with my badge, so they made me come back.
QUESTION: Where is your badge?
MR. BOUCHER: My badge is -- I just take it off for the cameras. I have it right here in a pocket.
QUESTION: Likely story.
MR. BOUCHER: Got it right there.
QUESTION: It's good to be aware of the camera.
MR. BOUCHER: I take it off so that people who write about me won't write that he was wearing his badge at the briefing.
All right, ladies and gentlemen. It is a pleasure to be here with all my friends. I'm not going to have any profound reflections at this stage; I am just going to try to do the job that you expect me to do and that the Secretary expects me to do.
So, with that, let's jump right in. I would like to start by talking a little bit about Sierra Leone and the situation there. The actions that have been taken there by the Revolutionary United Front are a direct contravention to the Lome Peace Accords and, as the UN has said, they're outrageous and criminal. The United States condemns these actions in the strongest possible terms.
The killing of personnel deployed in the UN Mission to Sierra Leone, the taking of hostages and the attempts to obstruct disarmament, demobilization and rehabilitation over the past several days are unacceptable and they must cease immediately. All hostages should be released unconditionally and all violations of the cease-fire should stop. The Lome peace process must be fully implemented. It is not subject to re-negotiation. Without the cooperation on demobilization, disarmament and rehabilitation, other areas of the peace accord cannot move forward in a timely manner.
We again demand that all the parties to that agreement, in particular the Revolutionary United Front and its leader, Foday Sankoh, discharge their responsibilities including disarmament and demobilization.
We also reiterate our appreciation for the efforts of the UN forces there and our full confidence in the force commander, that he will take all the measures necessary within the terms of his mandate, to reestablish security within Sierra Leone and we call on all parties in Sierra Leone to work with the United Nations and the international community to implement the peace accords and work to build a better future for Sierra Leone.
And that's my only statement. I would be glad to take your questions.
QUESTION: This may not be a good way to get started, but --
MR. BOUCHER: Should we do Sierra Leone first or come back to it?
QUESTION: I was wondering if anyone had a Sierra Leone question, yes.
QUESTION: What are you planning to do about it, aside from saying it is unacceptable and criminal? What is the US trying to do?
MR. BOUCHER: We are, at this moment, consulting very closely with the members of the Security Council. There have been meetings in New York and, I think, statements there. We are consulting closely with friends in Africa and with allies. What we are doing is considering ways to improve and support the UN presence there and the UN forces there, including consideration of some sort of reaction force capability.
QUESTION: Does that involve US troops, possibly?
MR. BOUCHER: I think it's premature to speculate on that.
QUESTION: Last fall, the Secretary was there, met with Sankoh and the others. But my question is: Does the Secretary feel like she has been lied to by Foday Sankoh?
MR. BOUCHER: I think at this point we've seen him fail to live up to his obligations under the Lome Accords and, second of all, to take actions which we consider outrageous and criminal. I'm not sure I will add to that the accusation of lying, but taking hostages and killing UN peacekeepers is what has us upset.
QUESTION: These questions may have been more appropriately asked to the Spokesman before you on his last day, but the bombing now again today of northern Iraq -- no-fly zone violations -- stirs in me again the question, we don't hear anything any more about any great alarms, as we used to hear every day, about Iraq's different weapons programs and how every 24 hours that goes by without intensive investigation, inspection, you know, is very dangerous. We don't hear about that.
Throwing everything at you at once, and I don't expect you to answer it all today, we don't know about the Khobar bombing, in which 19 Americans were killed. It suddenly dropped out of sight. We don't hear about the Egyptian Air disaster. Pick any one you like, or pick any time you like, but it seems this Administration has been marked by periods of, you know, large, bold declarations and then things just slip off the scope.
And I know you have problems getting unity on Iraq, but is Saddam Hussein making headway, do you think, in menacing the world or has he stopped being important?
MR. BOUCHER: Well, it sounds like he's making headway with you, Barry. The answer is no, he's not making headway.
I think the surprising things for some people who read wires or newspapers is that we actually work on this issues, every single one of them, every day. We're out there pursuing these issues. If there's a threat to our forces, they're going to respond. We're actively working to prevent Saddam's illegal oil exports, and as well as to make the oil-for-food program work. We're patrolling the Persian Gulf. We're taking diplomatic action. We're working with opposition forces every day of the year.
And we care about these things, and will continue to care about them and work on them every day of the year.
QUESTION: Can we go back to Sierra Leone for a second?
MR. BOUCHER: Sure.
QUESTION: Richard Holbrooke is either in Africa or going. Is there any effort to employ him in this instance even though he's there for Congo? And at what point do you reassess the security for US personnel there, Americans and diplomats?
MR. BOUCHER: I'd have to double-check as far as the security situation there. At this point, Holbrooke's trip, I don't think, involves Sierra Leone. But it is a Security Council issue and they are working on it.
QUESTION: You've dealt with Iraq. Do you feel like approaching the other two subjects?
MR. BOUCHER: Barry, you told me I could pick any one I wanted so I picked one.
QUESTION: And you picked the only --
MR. BOUCHER: I will give you an --
QUESTION: You picked a live one.
MR. BOUCHER: I'll have statements on everything tomorrow.
QUESTION: No, I wonder what Khobar -- I'm serious. Khobar Towers seems to have -- you know, is there an investigation --
MR. BOUCHER: I don't have anything new on Khobar Towers. I'm sure investigations probably continue, but I'll double-check on that one for you.
QUESTION: Okay, thanks.
QUESTION: An hour or so ago, we were told that the public disclosure of the laptop's disappearance made the investigation much more difficult. That story was attributed to a Senior State Department Official. Has that official been disciplined because of this lapse?
MR. BOUCHER: I'm not quite sure I have this question right. Let me differ with the premise of your question, I think.
What I understand from State Department officials is that the process of investigation often goes through several stages and, in initial stages, there is an attempt to keep things as quiet as possible so they can identify more clearly what might have happened and who might be responsible. That was the only statement, I think, that was made. The public disclosure aspect, I don't remember it being handled in quite that manner.
But I think it's important to remember that we have an obligation to deal with these things. The Secretary dealt with them in a very public way today and she wants everybody who works in this building, everybody who is packing the room, everybody who was watching it on TV, to understand that these matters are very serious and we do take them seriously. We have to talk about them openly but deal with them seriously.
QUESTION: I thought that since they weren't sure whether it was missing or stolen, that it might have been stolen just for simply the value of the laptop, that they did want to keep it a secret -- what was contained on it -- so that if it's sitting in a pawn shop right now --
MR. BOUCHER: I don't know what I'm supposed to do here, whether I'm supposed to stand up and put everything that might have been said by some official on to the record and discuss it that way, or maybe we should talk about this later.
QUESTION: I want to go back to something that we brought up briefly yesterday with Phil.
QUESTION: Can we stay with the laptop? CNN is reporting that this laptop stored thousands of documents related to sources and methods used to collect data on nuclear proliferation incidents. Can you confirm that?
MR. BOUCHER: I don't think I can confirm at this point exactly what was on the laptop. There was very sensitive information on the laptop. It's a serious concern.
QUESTION: So you can't confirm about the sources and methods listed --
MR. BOUCHER: I can't talk about specifics of those.
QUESTION: A new subject? This again was brought up a little bit briefly yesterday with Phil on Iran, but it's taken on added importance today because it appears as though almost the entire Jewish population of Shraz was moonlighting for the Mossad, or at least according to what their admissions are. We have two more alleged confessions to this, and I'm wondering -- so making a total of three.
The US has been very concerned about this trial. I am wondering what you make of now the fact that three of the accused have confessed?
MR. BOUCHER: I think our reaction would have to be the same as yesterday; that we can hear these reports, we can see these reports, but we and the rest of the world have no way to judge the legitimacy of these confessions. Our concern from the start has been that these individuals be accorded due process of law in keeping with internationally-recognized legal standards.
The Iranian Government at one point assured the international community that it would provide those arrested with due process. However, we see the trial is off limits to the press and to international observers. That really makes it impossible to judge the fairness of the proceedings and whether the defendants are being accorded due process.
QUESTION: Right. But are you worried at all about the fact that there seems to be more -- there is now a trend toward these confessions in a trial which you can't assess the validity of?
MR. BOUCHER: Well, we've expressed our concerns about due process all along, and the fact that there are more and more examples of why due process is important merely makes the point.
QUESTION: These people are accused of spying for Israel and for the United States. You speak for the United States. Is there a basis for such an allegation? Due process is a cardinal principle to the United States, but the US has been dragged into this. Is there any foundation for Iranian allegations like that?
MR. BOUCHER: I will have to check on whether they've been accused of spying for the United States as well. I was not aware of that. I know that Israel, for itself, has denied the charges, denied that they were involved.
QUESTION: Another subject. On the situation in Armenia, the president fired the prime minister and it seems like, it seems to me, may get violent there. And also the situation in Azerbaijan, the government -- the government used police forces against the peaceful demonstrators last Saturday and the police arrested 46 opposition leaders, representatives, among them prominent leaders. Do you have any reaction on that issue?
MR. BOUCHER: Let me try to do both separately.
On Armenia, we know about the reports. Our Embassy has reported on this as well. In dismissing the prime minister, we understand that President Kocharian exercised authority that is granted to him by the Armenian constitution. He didn't announce his reasons, but the president and prime minister have differed on various issues on several occasions.
I think the point for us, though, is not really the internal government workings but, rather, we just don't think is related to the peace process. Armenia's political leaders have all expressed their commitment to a peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute, and that's what important to us.
On the issue of Azerbaijan, we're very aware of the events there. We've had reporting from our Embassy. They say that there were somewhere between 1,000 and 5,000 demonstrators that tried to rally downtown in Baku on Saturday, despite the government's refusal to issue a permit. The government offered a location that was several kilometers outside the city but not accessible by public transportation as an alternative.
According to international observers, the confrontation did lead to violence. The opposition claims several hundred demonstrators were injured, and 46 detained.
In the months leading up to the November parliamentary elections, we think it's especially important that the government and all political groups maintain their dialogue to ensure that these elections are conducted in a free and fair manner, and that Azerbaijani citizens are really offered a choice.
QUESTION: Yesterday in New York, the Secretary met separately with the Turkish and the Greed Foreign Ministers, and also she met in a three-party meeting. What was the so-important subject to bring to three Foreign Ministers together?
MR. BOUCHER: The occasion for bringing the three ministers together -- the Secretary and the Greek and Turkish Foreign Ministers -- was the evening event, was the award that she was going to present to them for their efforts to bring the two countries closer together and to cooperate with each other in many, many ways.
She wanted, first of all, to congratulate them on the award and recognize their efforts personally, but also to talk to them about what they were doing and talk to them about how their process was working and the things that they were doing. So the subjects covered were, I guess I'd say relations between Greece and Turkey, and also Cyprus.
QUESTION: Did they get any developments, a new step about Cyprus? Because I believe next week the Cyprus meeting will be starting.
MR. BOUCHER: Thank you. May 23rd in New York, although it's up to the UN to confirm that scheduling because of other developments. But it gives me the occasion to say everybody has agreed not to talk about what's being discussed, so I won't.
QUESTION: On Vice Admiral Brown's statements yesterday that the US wouldn't shoot down any missiles targeted on Canada if Canada doesn't participate in National Missile Defense, is this a reflection of US policy? And why the pressure now for Canada to come on side on NMD before the President himself has decided whether the program is deployed?
MR. BOUCHER: I had to hesitate there because since I was last up here, Canada moved from Europe to America, so it's under a different color.
Let me say that the remarks that have been attributed to Vice Admiral Brown in the Associated Press report don't reflect official US Government policy. We've had a close and a long-standing defense relationship with Canada that includes both NORAD and NATO.
With regard to possible deployment of US limited missile defenses, the United States is conducting close consultations with our allies and our friends. The President, however, has not yet decided, made his deployment decision, which he will make this year. And the government of Canada has not yet made a policy decision regarding possible US deployment.
So the final understandings between our countries may not have been reached, but we've had a long and very close defense relationship.
QUESTION: Isn't that considered a priority if the NMD does go ahead that Canada participate? How important is that participation?
MR. BOUCHER: As we have discussed, every possible defense issue with our Canadian allies is one we would like -- I'm sure we will be discussing and working out with them.
QUESTION: Has Vice Admiral Brown been made aware by this building of its displeasure with the comments?
MR. BOUCHER: Well, I think I may just have done that. I don't know, I'll have to check. I'll have to check if we have otherwise communicated this to him directly.
QUESTION: On the matter of the BMD, the Ballistic Missile Defense, some members of the Duma have been visiting in the Congress and reportedly have said that a new Cold War could begin with the deployment of a Ballistic Missile Defense by the United States, a new arms race, an alliance between Russia and China. There is quite a bit of rhetoric about it -- other sobering reports from what the State Department has been involved in in discussions with the Russians on this particular issue?
MR. BOUCHER: Those remarks don't reflect our policy either. The visit of the three Duma members is going on in Washington. They are participating in a policy seminar organized by the Free Congress Foundation. We understand they return to Moscow today. Obviously, we would think these visits are useful and important, particularly interaction with our Congress, and we encourage discussions. But that doesn't necessarily mean that we endorse all the views of people who might be visiting in the United States.
I think we heard a lot of different views since the Duma was considering ratification of the START II treaty, and we made quite clear what our view is, that we are committed to continuing our discussions with Russia on modifications to the ABM treaty. We think modifications are required for the deployment of a limited national missile defense and that we can simultaneously make progress on further strategic arms reductions, and our hope and desire is to do that in cooperation with the Russians.
QUESTION: So these rather dire predictions, then, do not square with the facts as far as you can see?
MR. BOUCHER: No. We don't expect that course to be followed. We would hope to be able to reach agreement with the Russian Government on the appropriate modifications to the ABM Treaty so that we can deal with new threats, as we continue to reduce and contain the old strategic balance, the old threats.
QUESTION: With the beginning of the Lockerbie trial now underway, there is already talk of acquittal. Is the United States Government prepared to promise the Lockerbie families that the US Government will pursue this case at the highest levels of the Administration until someone is found guilty in the bombing?
MR. BOUCHER: We have worked long and hard to get to this trial. We have worked hard with the Scottish investigators, we've worked hard diplomatically, and we've ensured that we now have a trial going on in a Scottish court for a crime that was committed there. That is important to us and, frankly, we are glad that we've been able to bring it to this point.
>From here on in, we look to the trial to be free and fair. We, as we have worked hard in the past, would continue to work hard to make sure that whoever is responsible for the bombing of Pan Am 103 is brought to justice now and in the future. And we would still maintain that everyone should cooperate with the court, give the court their full cooperation. That is required by the UN resolutions.
QUESTION: Can I just follow up on that? The families are already upset by what they see as some degree of opening and the recent delegation that traveled to Libya to assess security situations. Can you describe the full purpose of that visit and all the different things that it entailed?
MR. BOUCHER: The restriction imposed by the Secretary of State on the use of US passports for travel to Libya was imposed in 1981 because it was deemed that travel to Libya posed an imminent danger to the physical safety of US travelers. And that is the standard that we have to look at.
The restriction has been reviewed every year since 1981 and we are currently reviewing conditions in Libya to determine whether there continues to be an imminent danger to Americans of traveling there. At this point, no decisions have been made, though.
QUESTION: Has that report been finished?
MR. BOUCHER: No, the report has not yet gone to the Secretary.
QUESTION: Has it been finished, though?
MR. BOUCHER: It's not finished until it goes to the Secretary.
QUESTION: Is there some reason why it is taking, you know, weeks? It's usually pretty --
MR. BOUCHER: No. I mean, it's a process -- I mean, it's not just saying, you know, "I went to Libya and this is what I saw." It is taking the results and the views of the people who went there and had meetings with consular officials in Libya, putting that together with all of the available information, and then having a process that produces a recommendation for the Secretary. That's ongoing. It has to be complete, it has to be thorough, and it's going to take whatever time it takes.
QUESTION: Also on the trial, you probably wouldn't want to comment on it because it's a trial but I'll ask anyway. The lawyers for the accused are trying to pin the blame on Palestinian terrorists, which doesn't necessarily sound like in the spirit of your wish that the Libyans cooperate with the trial. Do you have any comment on this?
MR. BOUCHER: I think we have faith in the court and Scottish justice as it will be carried out. And certainly as much as due process is important anywhere else, it is important here. So the lawyers have a right to make their defense.
QUESTION: North Korea. You've announced more talks, trilateral and bilateral talks.
MR. BOUCHER: We issued an announcement yesterday on the talks that we're going to have. Do you have that? Do you want to know about that?
There will be trilateral meetings. The United States, Korea and Japan will meet for trilateral consultations in Tokyo, May 12th. Delegations from three countries will discuss a range of issues in our ongoing coordination of policy towards North Korea. The United States delegation is led by Ambassador Wendy Sherman.
This has been a process of consultation. We have had several of these meetings. En route there, she is going to stop in and visit a number of capitals, Paris, Berlin, then talking to our South Korean allies in Seoul and Chinese in Beijing, May 10th and 11th. And then Ambassador Charles Kartman will meet in Rome to resume the talks that have adjourned May 15th in New York. That meeting will begin on May 24th.
QUESTION: And the topics specifically for Kartman to be going over with the North Korean counterpart will be? Will it include the senior level visit to the United States --
MR. BOUCHER: The Perry process deals essentially with a variety of issues, but nuclear questions and missiles as well. It's posited that if we address those issues successfully, we can move into a different kind of relationship. So we've had these discussions. We've had meetings. I think the latest set of meetings were in March and there were some understandings to continue those discussions.
These discussions will focus on that Agreed Framework to deal -- let me get it exactly -- in Rome talks we will cover implementation of the Agreed Framework and other issues of concern in the nuclear area. The visit to Kumchang-ni was an example of such an issue, and we'll also discuss the high-level visit.
QUESTION: When is that visit scheduled, back to Kumchang-ni?
MR. BOUCHER: I don't have a date yet.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) - on that?
MR. BOUCHER: That's to be discussed.
QUESTION: If I could follow up on that, I was just wondering if you can un-convince me that the reason for choosing Rome as a venue is completely -- is not related to the fact that the World Food Program is based in Rome and that the North Koreans are very much interested in receiving more grain, more food supplies, from the United States.
MR. BOUCHER: That's an interesting theory but, since it's about the North Koreans, I suggest you ask them.
QUESTION: So they were the ones who wanted Rome to begin with?
MR. BOUCHER: I'll have to double-check on that.
QUESTION: Is that --
MR. BOUCHER: I'll double-check on that before I confirm it.
QUESTION: I think Japanese Prime Minister Mori will arrive at Washington tomorrow. What can you tell us about the agenda of the meeting between the President and Mr. Mori Friday?
MR. BOUCHER: I think the question of the agenda for the President needs to be asked at the White House, I'm afraid. I'm sure they'll talk about --
QUESTION: What can you expect from that visit?
MR. BOUCHER: That's a question, again, you'll have to ask at the White House. It's important to the Japanese Prime Minister who's coming. I'm sure they'll talk about the G-8 and a lot of different issues that we cooperate and work together with with Japan, but for any more specific list than that you'd have to ask what's on the President's mind.
QUESTION: Central Europe. Do you have anything regarding the political bilateral treaty between Romania and Republic of Moldova?
MR. BOUCHER: Just a general statement that welcomes it. We think this is an important development. They initiated the bilateral political treaty on April 28th. It represents, in our minds, a very important contribution to stability in Southeastern Europe.
QUESTION: One more question on Zimbabwe. I'm wondering if the Department has any thoughts on this new plan that's been submitted by the government for the reapportionment of half of the white-owned farmland. And, also, if you have any response to President Mugabe's statement that the actions of -- that he's still not going to do anything to stop the squatters and that he had been "pleasantly surprised" by what they had done?
MR. BOUCHER: I think there are a number of things to say about this. I mean, first, it has to be understood that the United States supports land reform, but in a legal and an orderly process. Using presidential powers to confiscate land without compensation, for example, would undermine confidence in the equal treatment under the law of all Zimbabweans. It would also deter international investment to the country.
The overall situation has been of great concern to us. There have been people killed. Farms are still being occupied. People are still being harassed and intimidated. And we've called for an end to this sort of violence. But we've also noted the leader of the war veterans has called for an end to the violence and end to interference in farm operations. So we really think that's the way things ought to go, and they ought to go back on a legal track.
The Commonwealth Nations met in London May 2nd and addressed their concerns to this as well and are taking some actions.
QUESTION: You don't have a response to President Mubage's comments?
MR. BOUCHER: Well, I did have a response to the announcement that he would use his presidential powers. I hadn't seen the figure "one-half of the land" but he announced that he would use presidential powers to take over white-owned farms. And that, to us, is not the way to go, as I said.
QUESTION: No, but I am talking about his comments about being pleasantly surprised by what the squatters did.
MR. BOUCHER: Well, we're not.
QUESTION: We're what?
MR. BOUCHER: We're not pleasantly surprised.
QUESTION: We're not?
MR. BOUCHER: Yes.
QUESTION: A different subject. Today, in her town hall meeting, the Secretary noted that she had just visited some embassies that had -- I forget what word she used -- but abysmal security. I assume that's Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.
MR. BOUCHER: I think she said abysmal conditions. You know, everybody does their best and tries their hardest to maintain security, given the buildings we're in. But we visited the embassy in Tashkent, which is an old Komsomol party house, and everybody is jammed in together and they don't have a whole lot of -- they don't have a decent enough building, it's harder to maintain security at. But we do, obviously, do everything we can to protect our people, both physically and technically, from espionage.
QUESTION: Did visiting raise any alarms for those specific embassies? Are any steps being taken as a result of that trip to increase security?
MR. BOUCHER: Well, steps to try to give them a building where they can be safe, secure and comfortable and have decent working conditions, yes. But specific -- we didn't go out there and find specific security problems of one kind or another that might be associated with espionage. We went out there and found that people were working in difficult conditions in an embassy that wasn't up to par and that needed to be improved.
QUESTION: Not on espionage so much as just like the danger to their physical security. So there were no steps taken on her coming back to do anything to bolster --
MR. BOUCHER: No, I think they are looking at some improvements to the situation. I will have to try to get you what I can on that.
QUESTION: Can we go back to the laptop?
MR. BOUCHER: To what?
QUESTION: Could we go back to the laptop for a minute?
MR. BOUCHER: Okay.
QUESTION: I know you said this is sensitive information. Would you categorize this as the potentially most sensitive information that would be stored?
MR. BOUCHER: No, I can't categorize it in any way for you now other than to say it's very sensitive information; it's information that should have been controlled very carefully. The laptop should have been controlled very carefully, and it's missing and that's a problem for us.
As the Secretary directed this morning, we're taking steps to make sure that people follow the procedures. And she directed -- she referred this morning to the fact that she's asked the Diplomatic Security Bureau to brief -- to remind every employee in every room, in every office of this building of their security responsibilities and they will be carrying out a whole series of briefings on an expedited basis over the next few weeks to come.
And she also instructed us to comment on security procedures in everybody's rating. It is rating period for Foreign Service officers, and so that's being done, and generally encouraged everybody or told everybody they had to follow the procedures and be aware of their security.
QUESTION: Some of this sensitive information, has she or anybody in Diplomatic Security suggested that you stop logging some of this sensitive information until more procedures are in place?
MR. BOUCHER: No, I can't talk about information and how we handle it. We don't do that, and I'm sorry.
(The briefing was concluded at 1:40 P.M.)