Colin Powell IVs – ABC, CBS, Fox, CNN and NBC
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE Office of the Spokesman For Immediate Release September 12, 2001 2001/691
Secretary Of State Colin L. Powell By ABC News
September 12, 2001 Washington, D.C.
QUESTION: There is a report that American embassies around the world are being asked to shut down. Is this true?
SECRETARY POWELL: We have given discretion to all of our ambassadors to close down or temporarily suspend operations based on their judgment of the threat level. Twenty-five percent of our embassies overseas are currently shut down or have suspended operations, but there are no direct threats yet to any of those embassies. It is precautionary in nature, and I expect they will all be resuming operations as soon as possible.
Let me also express my deepest sadness and my condolences to the families of those who lost their lives, and once again reinforce the determination of the United States Government to respond with all the forces at its disposal, as the President said last night. And we are hard at work at that already on the diplomatic front here in the State Department this morning.
QUESTION: Do you have signals that there is more to come today?
SECRETARY POWELL: I have no signals that there is more to come today, but one never knows. But so far, nothing to suggest that there is something waiting to happen today, and let's hope that is the case.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, did we miss any signals in the last couple of weeks, or were there simply no signals?
SECRETARY POWELL: In the first 24 hours of analysis, I have not seen any evidence that there was a specific signal that we missed. There is always the general level of concern about terrorist activity and there are always warnings that are out there, but they are seldom specific enough to be actionable. Many times they do happen to be actionable, and a lot of terrorist incidents have been stopped because we did get intelligence. In this case, we did not have intelligence of anything of this scope or magnitude.
And so America has suffered a terrible loss, but what has not been lost is our spirit, our resiliency as a society. They have failed in that. As the President said last night, we will go after them, and what we will especially do is go after those nations, those states, those organizations, that provide haven for this kind of activity. And we will not let up, and we will make sure that all of our friends and allies and those who would be our friends who have anything to do with harboring this kind of activity will discover that they cannot have a friendly relationship with the United States if they continue to do so.
QUESTION: But, Mr. Secretary, do you share the sense, as so many do, that this was so sophisticated, so well planned, that it had to have taken years?
SECRETARY POWELL: I wouldn't say it had to take years, but it certainly took an extended period of time. It was a very sophisticated, well- planned, well-coordinated attack, showing that it just wasn't done by your average car bomber, but a very sophisticated organization. And the evidence will accumulate in the course of the next several days which will, I think, point us in the right direction as to who is responsible for it.
QUESTION: But we know there is so much anger welling up in the country right now. I've got the Daily News here, the New York Daily News, which has a headline: "It's War." First of all, is it war, as you see it? And if it's Usama bin Laden, what is going to work against him?
SECRETARY POWELL: Well, the American people had a clear understanding that this is a war. That's the way they see it. You can't see it any other way, whether legally that is correct or not.
QUESTION: You do, too?
SECRETARY POWELL: Yes, I do. And we've got to respond as if it is a war, and we've got to respond in the sense that it isn't going to be solved with a single counter-attack against one individual. It's going to be a long-term conflict, and it's going to be fought on many fronts -- the military front, the intelligence front, the law enforcement front, the diplomatic front. And it's a war not just against the United States. It's a war against civilization. It's a war against all nations that believe in democracy. Democracy can't be defeated, but now it's going to require all nations who believe in democracy to come out and condemn this kind of activity, to work together to go after those who perpetrate such activity. And it requires that kind of coordinated, complete response on behalf of the civilized communities of the world.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, so many equations have been made to Pearl Harbor in all of this. It may well be, could well be, that we wind up with a death toll from this higher even than occurred at Pearl Harbor. These were civilians, unsuspecting civilians that were hit in what they thought would be a secure place.
And you wonder. You're very judicious about the commitment of American forces, but you wonder just in terms of planning what's going on and in terms of thinking what's going on and what is when we find out who did this, a kind of appropriate military response.
SECRETARY POWELL: Well, first we have to find out who did it, and the response may have many dimensions. It may be military. And I certainly hope we can find people that are targetable and we can take action directly against them. But we shouldn't just wait for a single target and then go after it militarily. There are many other things we can be doing to root out these networks, to pull up these places of Haven, to destroy training camps. And it is going to take a concerted, long-term effort.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, there were reports -- this is George Stephanopoulus -- reports from Afghanistan this morning that UN officials are being evacuated and also diplomats from Australia, the United States and Germany. Has the United States recommended that evacuation?
SECRETARY POWELL: George, I need to check on that. I hadn't received those reports at the time I came down here. But that would seem to be a prudent action.
QUESTION: One other thing, Mr. Secretary. Do we have any idea what happened in Kabul last night?
SECRETARY POWELL: Not entirely, but does not appear to be related to what happened in New York and Washington. It seems to be a separate incident that relates to other activities not directly related to this attack.
QUESTION: But may have been occasioned by what happened in New York? Was it some sort of a rebel group going after the Taliban?
SECRETARY POWELL: That seems to be the case, but I do not have any reason to believe it is related to what happened in New York.
QUESTION: And I just want to follow up on what I thought I heard you say earlier. If it came to US ground troops in Afghanistan in order to go after Usama bin Laden, would you back that?
SECRETARY POWELL: As the President said, we will do whatever is necessary to deal with this, and I would not remove any of the options available to the President. As you said, I am judicious in the use of force, and I also believe that when it is time to use force you use it in a decisive way. But we are far from selecting any particular military targets or how to go after those targets at this time. We've got to build the case first.
QUESTION: But talk to me a little bit about very specific language in the President's speech. It was the sentence that struck all of us, that we will not only move against those who perpetrated this, but those who harbor them.
SECRETARY POWELL: The reality is that there are nations, there are organizations out there, that give support to these kinds of terrorist activities; they provide facilities, they provide homes, they provide support for them, they provide money for them. And we're going to go after all of them. We're going to make it clear to them that you cannot have any kind of decent relationship with the United States if you do this, and we will go after the support that allows terrorists to perform these kinds of acts that gives them haven.
QUESTION: But that could be many states. That could be not just Afghanistan; it could be other states. And do you contemplate -- contemplate -- the possibility of military action against --
SECRETARY POWELL: No, not necessarily. We are contemplating a full court press, whether it's diplomatic, legal, intelligence-sharing. And for those nations that we believe can do a better job of policing their borders, of going after this kind of activity, we're going to work with them. We're going to make it clear to them that this will be a standard against which they are measured with respect to their relationship with the United States.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, the response you're talking about could take a long time and could be quite controversial in the Middle East. Have you been in contact with Jordan and Egypt, and do you have any indication that they will support this kind of effort?
SECRETARY POWELL: I have calls in to all the leaders in the region. So far this morning, I have spoken to the Secretary General of the United Nations, Lord Robertson in NATO, and Javier Solana of the European Union. And as soon as these interviews are over, I will be on the phone to leaders in the Middle East as well.
QUESTION: All right, Mr. Secretary. We'll let you get to work, then. Thank you very much for joining us this morning.
SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE Office of the Spokesman For Immediate Release September 12, 2001 2001/694
Secretary Of State Colin L. Powell On CBS Morning News
September 12, 2001 Washington, D.C.
SECRETARY POWELL: The first thing I'm doing this morning, Bryant, is, one, making sure that all our embassies around the world are safe and taking necessary precautionary actions. We have about 25 percent of our embassies on suspended operation. But they will all be coming back up in the course of the day, I'm quite sure.
Next, the President has directed me to work with international organizations and our friends around the world to make the point that this is an assault against the civilized world -- not just against the United States -- and to mobilize them to respond to this assault: diplomatically, militarily, with police actions, intelligence actions -- and to make sure that those nations, as the President said last night, who might be harboring or providing comfort to these kinds of terrorist organizations understand that we will be holding them accountable. And once this trail leads us to who is responsible, if there are nations that bear responsibility in that regard for hosting them, then we will be doing something about that, as well.
QUESTION: We heard the President's words last night. I don't expect a specific timetable. But in general terms, how quickly can or will we respond?
SECRETARY POWELL: We'll respond as soon as we can. And in the diplomatic sense --
QUESTION: Are we talking weeks? Are we talking months?
SECRETARY POWELL: Well, we just don't know, Bryant. And it wouldn't be -- I don't think it would proper for me to speculate without knowing exactly who the perpetrators are and whether there is something to respond to.
Diplomatically and in other ways, we can respond immediately. And I've been on the phone already with Kofi Annan at the UN, with Lord Robertson at NATO and with Javier Solana at the European Union to get an international response to this -- condemnation, consideration of other actions that the international community might take.
Now, that just might sound like diplomatic speak, but it's important diplomatic speak because we want the entire world to come down and not only condemn this kind of activity, but together -- united -- to go after those who continue to believe that by killing innocent civilians they can achieve political purposes. That has to be the response of the international community to kill that idea and root these organizations up once and for all.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, besides being a diplomat, you're also a military man. You know the topography. You know the landscape both diplomatic and otherwise. How realistic is it to think we could track down the individuals who did this?
SECRETARY POWELL: I think it is realistic. I think we have demonstrated in the past our ability to find people who have committed these sorts of terrorist acts. We have very, very confident people who know how to follow leads. Sometimes it takes a few weeks. Sometimes it takes years. But we won't give up. We will find them. And they will be dealt with.
QUESTION: The question being asked often this morning, Mr. Secretary, is this, that ours is the most sophisticated defense system in the entire world, certainly the most expensive, to that question of how could we not have seen this coming, what do you say?
SECRETARY POWELL: I say that we do have the best intelligence system. We have the best military on the face of the Earth. But as has been demonstrated many times in the past, if you are a determined enemy and if you are prepared to go after soft targets, and if you are -- you are prepared to do it in ways that are rather different from anything we've seen before, unless we get something that cues us, something that gives us some indication that this kind of asymmetric attack is coming, we are always at risk. We can't defend against every single possibility short of shutting ourselves up into some kind of blockhouse. We're an open society. And so we have thwarted many terrorist attacks over the years. And some have been successful. But I can assure you that we have competent people working on this. We do have the best people working on it. But it is impossible to stop every potential attack that is coming our way.
QUESTION: Understood. Final note, are we at war, Mr. Secretary?
SECRETARY POWELL: I think the American people are not confused about the legalisms of this. When you saw those scenes coming out of New York and Washington today, the American people made a judgment, we are at war. And they want a comprehensive response. They want us to act as if we are at war. And we are going to do that -- diplomatically, militarily, picking options that will respond to this, searching out those who are responsible, and those who harbor them.
And so as we go through the legalisms of all this and determine how to respond in the international community, the American people know what they saw yesterday and what they believe they saw, clearly, was an act of war. Not only against America but against the international community -- the community of peace. But they didn't hurt our spirit. They didn't hurt our resilience as a society. And we'll come back -- we'll come back firmly. We are still very much intact as a society, as a nation. And we know how to respond.
QUESTION: Secretary of State Colin Powell, you're a busy man. Thank you for spending some time. I appreciate it.
SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you, Bryant.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE Office of the Spokesman For Immediate Release September 12, 2001 2001/695
Secretary Of State Colin L. Powell On Fox Morning News with Tony Snow
September 12, 2001
QUESTION: Mr. Powell, welcome and thank you for joining us.
SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you, good morning, Tony.
QUESTION: We have an international terrorist network. There is no way we can negotiate with these people, is there?
SECRETARY POWELL: No. They have to be rooted. They have to be destroyed. And we are hard at work on that this morning. We are trying to make sure that the world understands that this was an assault not just on America, but on civilization -- upon all of the nations of the world. And it requires a worldwide response.
And that response has to be diplomatic. It has to be political. It has to be going after their means of support. It has to be going after nations and states and other organizations that give them harbor and haven and support. And it has to be military, as well, if targets can be found that are actionable. And it has to be justice, too -- if that is possible to bring somebody to justice. But it has to be a complete comprehensive response. It is not just one action that is going to be taken.
QUESTION: Secretary Powell, last night the President said that we will make no distinction between terrorists and nations that harbor them. Let me read you a list of nations and see if you can pick out any that have not offered aid and comfort to terrorists: Iran, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Sudan, Afghanistan. Are any of those off the list?
SECRETARY POWELL: No.
QUESTION: We also have in the past -- Saudi Arabia certainly has not cut off the spigot of funds for Usama bin Laden. Is that a problem, as well?
SECRETARY POWELL: Well, we'll look at all possibilities of support to terrorist organizations in the course of our review of this particular situation as part of our ongoing struggle against terrorism.
QUESTION: You have said a number of times today in previous interviews that you think we're pretty close to getting a perpetrator. As soon as we get that, what is the timeline -- do you think -- between now and the time that you think we will have pretty secure knowledge of who is responsible?
SECRETARY POWELL: I don't know, Tony, so I would rather not speculate or predict. But there is a body of evidence that is starting to develop and come together that is starting to point us in certain directions. But that really is the purview of our intelligence community. So I would rather not speculate or predict as to when we can make an announcement or when we can let the world know.
QUESTION: To make diplomacy credible and also to send a message to terrorists, one presumes that we would need to respond rather forcefully and rather quickly. Again, how swiftly should the United States respond once it knows who is responsible?
SECRETARY POWELL: I would say that you respond as quickly as you can once you know who is responsible and once you have something to respond to. And this may take some patience. I'm quite confident it isn't going to be within a day or so. You have to get something that is actionable and then put in place forces that can conduct whatever strikes may be appropriate.
And I know that my colleague Don Rumsfeld and the Joint Chiefs of Staff are examining all the options that are available to them, and then, of course, available to the president. Diplomatically we can start right away and we are contacting nations around the world. We're very, very pleased with the response we have gotten from Russia, from China, from the UN, from NATO, from the European Union. And this will all be part of our strategy. The important point is that we suffered terrible losses yesterday. And our heart goes out -- our hearts go out to all of our fellow Americans who are in such pain. But they didn't get our spirit. They didn't understand the resiliency of this great nation of ours. And as the President said last night, we will be back, we will respond. And they will regret to their death what they perpetrated against us yesterday.
QUESTION: When we tried to respond to the Munich disco bombing some of our NATO allies did not allow us to do over-flights in order to strike back at Muammar Qadhafi. Do we now have assurance from our European allies that they will give us their full support when it comes to fighting whoever is responsible?
SECRETARY POWELL: I have had expressions of full support from European allies and other allies. Now, we haven't gone to them with any specific requests yet. But I sense there is a good deal of leaning forward based in the calls I've had this morning in recognition of the fact that this could have happened to any one of them.
QUESTION: Secretary Powell, did we learn yesterday that we need more intelligence and more military power?
SECRETARY POWELL: You always need more intelligence. You always need the best, strongest armed forces that a nation can afford. And we can afford the best and strongest.
But our intelligence community does a rather outstanding job. They have thwarted many attacks over the years. But it is not a perfect science. And someone who is determined to strike at America, an open society, can always find a way to do that. And they found the worst possible way yesterday and we are all suffering and in pain as a result.
QUESTION: Final question, sir, many Americans today are filled with anxiety. Could you tell them that you think that the attacks are over for now?
SECRETARY POWELL: Well, I can't say that. I simply don't know. We have no indication that anything similar to what happened yesterday is afoot in the country. But at the same time, this is a time for caution and vigilance. But it is also a time for us to get back to work. It is also a time for us to show the world that America is working, to show the world that America is coming back from this tragedy and not to hide in bunkers, but to get back to work -- as we are here in the State Department and as we are all over Washington and our facilities around the world.
QUESTION: Secretary Powell, I beg your indulgence for one last question. You've been working very hard on trying to work for Middle East peace. Yesterday Americans saw pictures of Palestinians dancing in the streets of Nablus, handing out candy. How did that make you feel?
SECRETARY POWELL: Awful, deplorable. And it just shocks me that people would find this something to celebrate. And it is an image that is seared in my mind.
QUESTION: All right, Secretary of State Colin Powell, thanks for joining us this morning.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE Office of the Spokesman For Immediate Release September 12, 2001 2001/692
Secretary Of State Colin L. Powell On CNN
September 12, 2001
QUESTION: I know you have said that the attacks yesterday constituted an act of war, and the United States will treat this as if it is a war. What does that mean?
SECRETARY POWELL: It means that we will use our full resources to go after those who are responsible for this. And it is not an action that will be over in a week or two. This has got to be a full-scale assault not just by the United States but by the civilized community against terrorism. And it has to be fought on the political front. It has to be fought on the diplomatic front, the military front and the intelligence front.
And we are deeply encouraged by the responses we have received so far from international organizations and especially from countries around the world who have expressed solidarity with us and who have come to the realization, I hope, that all of us have to respond to this because none of us is safe from this kind of attack.
Our hearts go out to those who lost their lives. This is a tragedy for our nation. But at the same time, we are a strong nation, we are a resilient nation, and we will come through this. And people will see what America is really capable of doing and capable of responding to.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, I know you have said that you will go after whoever is responsible for perpetrating these attacks. You will also go after those who might have harbored others involved in this attack. Where are you in the process of determining who was behind these attacks yesterday?
SECRETARY POWELL: The intelligence community is hard at work. The CIA, the FBI, and other agencies assembling information, doing forensic work at the two sites yesterday. And a body of evidence will be developed in the days ahead. And I don't think it will take too long, but that process is well under way. But we don't want to start speculating or making a judgment now before we actually have the evidence.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, Senator Orrin Hatch was saying this morning that US intelligence actually intercepted communications between Usama bin Laden supporters discussing the attacks. What can you tell us about these intercepted communications?
SECRETARY POWELL: We should not be talking about intelligence methods used by the United States of America. All we do is put them at risk, so we should not be talking about such things, and I will not.
QUESTION: Are you suggesting that Senator Orrin Hatch has been irresponsible in floating this information?
SECRETARY POWELL: We should not be talking about how the United States collects information in cases such as this.
QUESTION: Well, let me move on to this. What kind of group or groups do you think actually have the sophistication to pull off an attack of this magnitude?
SECRETARY POWELL: It has to be a group that, one, has money; two, has, I think, a significant number of adherents, members; it has to have a network; it has to have the ability to move people around the world. So it is quite a sophisticated organization with a very sophisticated planning and execution capability. And I think the fingerprints are quite clear that it has to be an organization with that level of complexity associated to it. So it isn't your average fly-by-night car bomber. This is a sophisticated outfit.
QUESTION: Former Secretary of Defense William Cohen is saying this has the blueprints of an attack by someone perhaps involved with Usama bin Laden. Can you rule Usama bin Laden out this morning?
SECRETARY POWELL: We rule no one out, and we will be ruling the perpetrators in, in the near future, I am quite sure.
QUESTION: One last quick question. Can you explain how four hijackers were able to take over four airliners yesterday?
SECRETARY POWELL: No, I can not. Obviously we need to do more with respect to security at our airports. We need to do more with respect to tracking people within a society that is an open society. And we have to do it in a way that protects us but, at the same time, does not cause us to be a closed society, be the kind of society that would not be reflective of American values. And all of those are issues are under consideration this morning and are being studied by various members of the Administration.
QUESTION: Secretary Powell, good of you to join us. We know how taxing of the last 22 hours you have had, or 23 hours. Thank you so much for being with us.
SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE Office of the Spokesman For Immediate Release September 12, 2001 2001/693
Interview of Secretary of State Colin Powell On NBC's Today Show
September 12, 2001
MS. COURIC: The President is expected to meet with his national security staff this morning. Secretary of State Colin Powell is just across the Potomac River at the State Department this morning.
Secretary Powell, good morning to you, sir.
SECRETARY POWELL: Good morning, Katie.
MS. COURIC: On a human level, I just want to get your reaction to the events of yesterday.
SECRETARY POWELL: Total shock. I was in a meeting in Lima, Peru with President Toledo and his associates when a note was handed to me, and I just shouted out across the breakfast table, "Oh my God." And then the situation got worse over the next 20 minutes as more reports came in, and I immediately made plans to return to Washington.
Before returning, though, I did attend briefly a meeting of the Organization of American States, where 34 other total states -- the United States was 33 -- were assembled to bring into effect a new charter on democracy, and we did that by just a simple vote of acclamation. And then all of the delegates stood and applauded this statement in support of democracy, and to show solidarity with the American people in this time of crisis.
Since my return, I've been in touch with leaders around the world, with Lord Robertson and NATO, with Javier Solana and the European Union and Kofi Annan, to make sure everybody understands that we need a worldwide response to this assault on America, because it's an assault on civilization, it's an assault on democracy, it's an assault on the world and the world must respond as the United States plans to respond.
MS. COURIC: Secretary Powell, last night the President said, "Those who harbor these criminals will be held responsible." If we believe the man behind this is in fact Usama bin Laden and that the Taliban, the ruling government in Afghanistan, is harboring him, what can the United States do to actually back up the President's words?
SECRETARY POWELL: Well, there are many options available to us: military options, diplomatic options, further isolation of any country that might be harboring who is responsible. We are not yet prepared to state this morning who is responsible, but the evidence is mounting, and I think it will point us in the right direction in the not-too-distant future, and then we will have to not only take action on our own part, but also mobilize the world against whatever regimes may be supporting the terrorists who conducted this act.
MS. COURIC: So you're saying, General Powell, that as of this morning, you cannot say that US officials believe Usama bin Laden was responsible for this?
SECRETARY POWELL: Let me just say that there is evidence being developed now, and good evidence. We will be able to make a definitive statement in due course. But I think it is best not to speculate until we do have the evidence all assembled, and we make an informed judgment and announcement at that time.
MS. COURIC: Secretary Powell, a diplomatic response may seem meager to many Americans, who in a poll this morning said 94 percent say they would support military action in retaliation if the US can identify the groups or nation responsible; 92 percent said they would support it even if it meant entering a war.
What is your response to that?
SECRETARY POWELL: I fully understand the views of the American people this morning. We're mad. We were assaulted. But our spirit wasn't assaulted, and our fighting spirit was not assaulted. So we want to respond. You don't attack America like this and get away with it.
And so I can assure the American people that the President, if he is able to get the information pinpointing who it is and where they are and get targetable information, I am quite confident that he will look at every option he has available to him to respond militarily.
MS. COURIC: Along those lines, is the US Government prepared to enter a war against these terrorists, and wouldn't that entail committing ground troops to find them, weed them out? After all, the US has launched air strikes against terrorist targets in the past, and the terrorists continue to survive, even flourish.
SECRETARY POWELL: Let's not think that one single counter-attack will rid the world of terrorism of the kind we saw yesterday. This is going to take a multi-faceted attack along many dimensions: diplomatic, military, intelligence, law enforcement. All sorts of things will have to be done to bring this scourge under control. And it is not just one organization; it's a network of organizations. We have to make the whole world understand that this is something we all have to be involved in, and not just see it as a discreet response to a single incident. We'll do that, but we have to realize that terrorism has been around for a very long time, and it's going to take a very long time to root it out.
But what the President specifically was focusing on last night is that there are nations, there are states, there are organizations who provide havens, and these states and organizations cannot be given a free ride any longer. And a major part of our diplomatic effort will be to mobilize the international community against the actions of such states and organizations once we have a clear understanding of who is responsible for this and who might have been giving them haven.
MS. COURIC: Do you think this was an individual cell of terrorists, or do you believe this could be state-sponsored? In other words, could Iraq or a country like that have been involved in this?
SECRETARY POWELL: I just don't know at this point, and I'd rather not speculate. I'm sure as the evidence mounts, we will have a better idea of, one, who is directly responsible, and two, what kind of support they may have been receiving from outside that cell, outside that network, from either state organizations or other types of terrorist organizations.
But I'd think it best we not speculate too wildly at this point.
MS. COURIC: The US spends billions of dollars on intelligence. Was this, in your view, a massive intelligence failure, as it has been called?
SECRETARY POWELL: I wouldn't characterize it that way. We spend many, many billions of dollars on intelligence, and then intelligence allows us to thwart many attacks. There are many terrorist attacks that never took place because of the fine work of our intelligence and law enforcement experts. But in this case, we did not get the cuing we needed, we did not get the intelligence information needed to predict that this was about to happen or be aware of this kind of event coming our way.
So I think it's premature to call it an intelligence failure. Let's see what we might have picked up as we go back and do the postmortem on how this all came about.
MS. COURIC: Would you agree with your former colleague, General Schwartzkopf, that we need to emphasize human intelligence as much as technical intelligence, and we've got all the technological toys that can be used for those purposes, but what we need are real thinking, seeing people on the ground to infiltrate these groups?
SECRETARY POWELL: Absolutely, but it's easier said than done. And we do have to emphasize human intelligence, because you can defeat electronic intelligence just by not emitting. So human intelligence is very, very important, and I know that our intelligence community is very aware of that. But these are also difficult activities to penetrate, and to be able to stay within such a network for a long period of time.
But certainly this will be looked at as we review everything we're doing in the field of intelligence.
MS. COURIC: If we do engage in another country, or take military action, what are the ramifications? In other words, if an Islamic fundamentalist group was responsible, what kind of retaliation might we expect, and what kind of access do they have, these groups, to weapons of mass destruction?
SECRETARY POWELL: Well, let me not speculate as to what we might do. I think a full range of options will be available, and I know that the Secretary of Defense and his colleagues are looking at that. It all depends on where we run this to ground, as to what counter-attack we might receive from those who are responsible.
But at this time it's premature to start speculating, or to identify them as Islamic fundamentalists. Let's just identify them as a terrorist group that can have no religious underpinning, no legitimate underpinning for this kind of action. This is murder, which is against the tenets of every religion, every responsible religion that is in the world, and it is receiving condemnation from around the world, from people of all faiths and religious backgrounds.
So let's just view them as what they are: terrorist organizations. And I cannot speculate whether they might have access to the kinds of weapons you discussed, because we don't know exactly who it is yet. But we will be on guard for that.
MS. COURIC: Secretary of State Colin Powell. Secretary Powell, I'm sorry to see you under such terrible circumstances, but we certainly appreciate your time this morning. Thank you so much.
SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you, Katie.