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Colin Powell IVs National Public Radio and NBC


U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE Office of the Spokesman For Immediate Release September 12, 2001 2001/699

Interview of Secretary Of State Colin L. Powell by National Public Radio

September 12, 2001 Washington, D.C.

QUESTION: The Secretary of State Colin Powell today pledged a global fight against terrorism involving not only NATO but also Muslim states.

Secretary Powell, do you expect to have the active support of friendly Muslim states in that effort?

SECRETARY POWELL: Yes, I have already been in touch with some Arab states in the region. They realize that terrorism of this kind is a threat to any civilization. And they are friends of ours and they want to work with us and they want to help us, so I know that there will be a number of nations in the region, in the Persian Gulf and the Middle East region, that will be cooperating with us. And I am continuing to make phone calls to that end.

QUESTION: Have you spoken to people in Saudi Arabia and Egypt?

SECRETARY POWELL: I have spoken to people in Saudi Arabia. I have spoken to the Chairman of the Arab League, Mr. Amr Moussa. And I have calls in to other leaders in the region now.

QUESTION: When you spoke with them today, did they raise the linkage of this terrorist attack to Israeli actions in the Middle East or to US policy on the Israel-Palestinian dispute?

SECRETARY POWELL: They did not. And the simple reason is that this act is so horrible, so horrendous in its nature and dimensions, that there can be no justification. Even though we have a difficult situation between the Israelis and the Palestinians, no way could that justify this kind of attack against innocent people which costs thousands of lives. And none of them suggested that, nor would I have expected them to.

QUESTION: How strong a link would you say there is now from all that you know about yesterday's attacks between what happened and people associated with Usama bin Laden?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, I am going to let the intelligence community and our law enforcement agencies describe the strengths of links to any particular terrorist organization or network. Let me just say that there is a body of evidence that is developing that I think in the very near future will point us in a specific direction. But I don't want to handicap that with describing it as being either strong or we're this sure or that sure.

QUESTION: How important is it in whatever the United States does, say if there is some military retaliation down the road, how important is it that there be allies, including Muslim nations, in that action?

SECRETARY POWELL: I think it is always best to have a coalition when you are going after a problem or dealing with a threat that really is not just directed at America; it is directed at civilization. And so to the extent that you can put a coalition together, you are bringing the weight of the international community along with you. It doesn't mean that every member of that coalition has to participate in some military way. Political support, diplomatic support, other kinds of support can be just as useful. It is not clear to me we would need anyone's direct military involvement should we go down a road of military retaliation.

QUESTION: Secretary Powell, the newspaper headlines in New York today, a lot of them, screamed the word "war." I wonder, is that appropriate? Do we regard this as the equivalent to war?

SECRETARY POWELL: The President believes that it was an act of war against us, not a war of the kind that we have seen before such as World War II or Korea or Vietnam. And Korea and Vietnam were not called wars but they certainly were wars. But it is an act of war. When you attack our homeland, when you attacked two places such as the World Trade Center buildings and the Pentagon, that is an act of war against our sovereignty, against the security of our people. When you kill thousands of our civilians, there is no other way to characterize it.

It doesn't mean necessarily that it results in, say, a declaration of war -- Congress would have to make that judgment anyway -- but it means that we have to really mobilize ourselves and all of the assets at our disposal -- political, diplomatic, legal, law enforcement, intelligence and military -- to deal with those who perpetrated this act of war against us.

QUESTION: Secretary Powell, thank you very much for talking with us.

SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you, Bob.

###

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE Office of the Spokesman

For Immediate Release September 12, 2001 2001/700

Interview

Secretary Of State Colin L. Powell On NBC'S Dateline with Tom Brokaw

September 12, 2001

QUESTION: The Secretary of State Colin Powell today pledged a global fight against terrorism involving not only NATO but also Muslim states.

Secretary Powell, do you expect to have the active support of friendly Muslim states in that effort?

SECRETARY POWELL: Yes, I have already been in touch with some Arab states in the region. They realize that terrorism of this kind is a threat to any civilization. And they are friends of ours and they want to work with us and they want to help us, so I know that there will be a number of nations in the region, in the Persian Gulf and the Middle East region, that will be cooperating with us. And I am continuing to make phone calls to that end.

QUESTION: Have you spoken to people in Saudi Arabia and Egypt?

SECRETARY POWELL: I have spoken to people in Saudi Arabia. I have spoken to the Chairman of the Arab League, Mr. Amr Moussa. And I have calls in to other leaders in the region now.

QUESTION: When you spoke with them today, did they raise the linkage of this terrorist attack to Israeli actions in the Middle East or to US policy on the Israel-Palestinian dispute?

SECRETARY POWELL: They did not. And the simple reason is that this act is so horrible, so horrendous in its nature and dimensions, that there can be no justification. Even though we have a difficult situation between the Israelis and the Palestinians, no way could that justify this kind of attack against innocent people which costs thousands of lives. And none of them suggested that, nor would I have expected them to.

QUESTION: How strong a link would you say there is now from all that you know about yesterday's attacks between what happened and people associated with Usama bin Laden?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, I am going to let the intelligence community and our law enforcement agencies describe the strengths of links to any particular terrorist organization or network. Let me just say that there is a body of evidence that is developing that I think in the very near future will point us in a specific direction. But I don't want to handicap that with describing it as being either strong or we're this sure or that sure.

QUESTION: How important is it in whatever the United States does, say if there is some military retaliation down the road, how important is it that there be allies, including Muslim nations, in that action?

SECRETARY POWELL: I think it is always best to have a coalition when you are going after a problem or dealing with a threat that really is not just directed at America; it is directed at civilization. And so to the extent that you can put a coalition together, you are bringing the weight of the international community along with you. It doesn't mean that every member of that coalition has to participate in some military way. Political support, diplomatic support, other kinds of support can be just as useful. It is not clear to me we would need anyone's direct military involvement should we go down a road of military retaliation.

QUESTION: Secretary Powell, the newspaper headlines in New York today, a lot of them, screamed the word "war." I wonder, is that appropriate? Do we regard this as the equivalent to war?

SECRETARY POWELL: The President believes that it was an act of war against us, not a war of the kind that we have seen before such as World War II or Korea or Vietnam. And Korea and Vietnam were not called wars but they certainly were wars. But it is an act of war. When you attack our homeland, when you attacked two places such as the World Trade Center buildings and the Pentagon, that is an act of war against our sovereignty, against the security of our people. When you kill thousands of our civilians, there is no other way to characterize it.

It doesn't mean necessarily that it results in, say, a declaration of war -- Congress would have to make that judgment anyway -- but it means that we have to really mobilize ourselves and all of the assets at our disposal -- political, diplomatic, legal, law enforcement, intelligence and military -- to deal with those who perpetrated this act of war against us.

QUESTION: Secretary Powell, thank you very much for talking with us.

SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you, Bob.

###

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE Office of the Spokesman

For Immediate Release September 12, 2001 2001/700

Interview

Secretary Of State Colin L. Powell On NBC'S Dateline with Tom Brokaw

September 12, 2001

MR. BROKAW: Joining us now from Washington, D.C., is Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Mr. Secretary, NATO today invoked Article V, which means that an attack on the United States is an attack on any NATO member. That will give you great military and political cooperation. But what about the states like Kuwait and Jordan and Egypt and Saudi Arabia, who were so critical to us during Operation Desert Storm? Do you expect from them outspoken positions of support?

SECRETARY POWELL: Yes, I do, Tom. And we have been in touch with many of them in the course of the day and I'll be talking to more of them this evening and tomorrow. I have been very, very satisfied with the degree of support we have received, not only from our NATO allies but other European countries, from our friends here in the Western Hemisphere at the Organization of American States summit yesterday. And as I have called around the Persian Gulf region, I am getting expressions of support.

I got a letter from Mr. Amr Moussa, who is the Chair of the Arab League, expressing condolences, and I also spoke to him on the phone. And they find this an outrage against humanity. It should not be seen as something done by Arabs or Islamics; it is something that was done by terrorists, and we ought to see it that way and we ought to rally the entire civilized world against this kind of activity.

MR. BROKAW: Are you sending a message to Afghanistan tonight through Pakistan? And if you are, what is that message?

SECRETARY POWELL: We are sending a variety of messages to any nation that might have knowledge about such terrorist activity. We are not accusing any organization yet, but there is a body of evidence that is slowly growing. And what we are saying to the Pakistanis is that we would like to have any information that you might have that would shed light on this incident or who might have caused it, and as we go forward, we might want to come to you for assistance if the response turns out to be in an area where you can be of assistance.

With respect to Afghanistan, we have always told the Taliban leadership that they should not be harboring Mr. Usama bin Laden and a network that he controls. And we are reinforcing that message and also making it clear to them that they should disavow themselves of any kind of involvement with such organizations if they want the world to try to help them with these serious problems that they have in their society and in their economy. And we are doing this throughout the region, throughout the world wherever terrorists find host nations to take care of them, to give them support.

The President was very clear last night. We are not only going after the perpetrators. We will go after those nations, states and organizations who give them succor, who provide them assistance and give them a place from which they an launch their terrorist attacks.

MR. BROKAW: But, Mr. Secretary, it is one thing to go after a headquarters of a terrorist organization or even its leader, but when you begin to attack the country that may be harboring them, that can change the political equation very quickly, can't it?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, it can, and we will be very cautious in how we might use our military strength. And I don't want to get into hypotheticals, but one always has to consider that. But at the same time, these countries tend to put themselves at risk by harboring terrorist activity of this type. That is why it is in their interest to become part of a civilized world and get rid of this sort of activity and not let it perpetuate and exist within their borders.

MR. BROKAW: After the terrorist attacks on the United States embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, there was a swift response at two targets; later, some question about whether or not, in fact, one of the targets was appropriate. Are you going to take more time this time?

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, let's first of all determine who is responsible and then determine the best response. The response may be political, certainly diplomatic, and it may well be military. And you can be sure that we will do it carefully, we will do it prudently, and we will make sure we've got the goods on them, or at least a high probability of having the goods on them, before launching military strikes, if that turns out to be the proper recommendation coming from the Pentagon to the President and the President approves it.

MR. BROKAW: Mr. Secretary, you grew up as a military man and in a bipolar world. We formed NATO, the greatest military alliance in the history of mankind, to face down the Russians if it ever came to that. Are we going to have to form more permanent alliances now to deal with terrorism long term, not short term?

SECRETARY POWELL: I think we do have to form other kinds of alliances. I'm not sure we need a new organization. I mean, you saw what NATO did today. They invoked Article V of the Washington Treaty, which was never designed for this kind of purpose, but when you look at the spirit of the Washington Treaty, where all of these nations are going to come to each other's aid in time of danger in the event of an attack, this in the 21st century is the kind of attack that we have to be prepared to defend against, to respond to. And NATO came forward today and understood the nature of this new threat, and I think correctly invoked Article V of the Washington Treaty. Any nation attacked, all other nations will be expected to assist in the response and come to the defense and assistance of the nation that has been attacked from outside the Alliance.

MR. BROKAW: Secretary of State Colin Powell, thanks very much for being with us tonight, and obviously we wish you all the very best.

SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you, Tom.

###


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