Press Briefing - Damage Control On Harken Energy
EDITOR'S NOTE: In the White House website, Harken Energy appears to be being consistently misspelled as "Harkin Energy". In this version the spelling has been corrected.
Office of the Press Secretary
July 3, 2002
Press Briefing by Ari Fleischer
James S. Brady Briefing Room
12:30 P.M. EDT
MR. FLEISCHER: Good afternoon. And happy day before Independence Day to you all. The President this morning had -- began his day with a CIA briefing, followed by a briefing by the FBI, and then had a meeting of the National Security Council. the President later this afternoon will participate in a ceremony where he will sign the Tribal Colleges and Universities Executive Order, focusing on providing assistance for education of Indian Americans.
And then later this afternoon, the President will make remarks at the Bicentennial of Lewis and Clark's voyage of discovery. And the President, of course, will spend tomorrow, July 4th, in Ripley, West Virginia, celebrating Independence Day with American citizens.
With that, I'm happy to take any questions. Helen.
Q Can you tell the American people what great threats, if there are any, will befall the United States on tomorrow, 4th of July? I mean, there seem to be such a beef-up, and I guess the Washington police are on the alert and so forth. What has caused this? Do you have anything concrete to tell us?
MR. FLEISCHER: Okay. The government does not have any specific information about any threats of a specific nature. But what we do have is a generalized sense of awareness that there are terrorists who desire to hit and to strike the United States, particularly well-attended, populated events. Things such as the Super Bowl, such as the Olympics have brought together security measures before as precautions, because when Americans gather in large number it does present for terrorists tempting, possible opportunities from their point of view. And we always take precautions in this country. That's why I alluded to the Super Bowl and the Olympics as prime examples.
Tomorrow, July 4th, is the first July 4th celebration since the September 11th attack on our country. So as a precaution, the law enforcement community, the FBI, the federal government are joining together to take precautions around the country to help protect American citizens from any type of generalized threat that we may think is potential.
Q And at the same time, you're not discouraging any crowd gathering?
MR. FLEISCHER: No, the President of the United States would encourage the American people to gather, to celebrate, to enjoy America's independence. The law enforcement community of the United States will do the worrying. They will take care of the precautions. And that's true at the state, the local, and the federal level.
Q On the issue of the President's stock sale, Harken stock, we talked about this this morning, that the explanation is that it was a clerical mistake that the reporting was made very late. And during the campaign, Bush said that it had been misplaced. Are you saying that because of your explanation --
MR. FLEISCHER: I'm sorry, during which campaign?
Q His campaign, in 2000.
MR. FLEISCHER: Okay, go ahead.
Q Are you saying that the President was misspeaking at the time?
MR. FLEISCHER: Okay. Do you have a quote that you can read to me?
Q He said at the time that he believed that it had been filed and that the SEC must have lost it.
MR. FLEISCHER: Right, at the time. And I think that's a reference to what the President, or at that time George W. Bush, said back in 1990, 1991, or 1992.
This is one of the most widely reported stories of the '90s and then going into the campaign. It's been an issue in his campaigns that political opponents have raised against him, going back to 1994, in his first campaign ever for office. In this case, the President filed, as he was required to do, his form 144s, which is a notice of intent to sell. That was filed on the day it was supposed to be filed, on time, June 22nd, 1990. Additional forms, a Form 4, as it's called, was not filed at the time. The President thought it had been filed at the time, and indicated so publicly. What happened as a result was, it was a mixup with the attorneys dealing with the Form 4, and it was filed later. But it was, indeed, filed.
Q Can you be specific about where the mixup occurred? Was it with the President's attorneys or with the SEC's attorneys?
MR. FLEISCHER: The Form 4 is required to be filed by corporations. And so it was corporate attorneys.
Q The reason, of course, that this is now back in the news is because the President's point in his 10-point plan saying corporate leaders should be required to tell the public promptly when they buy or sell company stock for personal gain.
MR. FLEISCHER: Absolutely right.
Q And the SEC concluded that the reporting hadn't been according to the regulations, even though they decided not to prosecute.
MR. FLEISCHER: You're mixing up two issues involving filing and involving some other incident that the SEC took a look at and concluded there's nothing there. And in this case, the key issue is the public notification. The President believes very much that corporate officers should disclose their sales, which is what the President did. And that is available, you all have seen it. And that is the Form 144, with the President's signature on it, then George W. Bush's signature on it, filed a notice of intent to sell, filed with the SEC on the date of that sale.
MR. FLEISCHER: Elizabeth.
Q Can I just clarify then, so he said in 1990 that the SEC must have lost it, that's what he thought at the time. But since then he has said to you today that the attorneys, there was a mixup with the attorneys. When did he become aware --
MR. FLEISCHER: You've got two issues here. When somebody -- the Form 144 was, indeed, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission --
Q What time would that be for the other form?
MR. FLEISCHER: But when you say the President said in 1990, what was the question he was asked?
Q What happened to the -- okay, but could you just help us here? I'm not trying to trip you up here, I'm just trying to get some information.
MR. FLEISCHER: But I just want you to be precise in the question. You say, when he said that in 1990 -- there are two forms involved. He --
Q Which was he referring to?
MR. FLEISCHER: Well, which -- what was the question about? When the question is vague, the answer applies to whatever forms the President was familiar with.
Q We're not interested in that first form that was filed on time. We're interested in the second form that wasn't filed on time.
MR. FLEISCHER: But they're both important. The form that was filed on time clearly shows the President made public his intent to sell, which took place that day. So if somebody says, did you make the SEC aware of your intent to sell, obviously, he signed the form, filled it out, sent it in on time. So I don't think anybody would be surprised if he says I filled out the form and sent it to the SEC.
Q Let's talk about the second form, when he said the SEC must have lost it -- he was referring to the second form in the early '90s, when he said that.
MR. FLEISCHER: That's not clear from the question or from in the articles that you're looking at. The President's aware of the form that he filled out. There is nothing in the question that you're looking at that would lead you to believe that that's a reference to the Form 4, as opposed to the Form 144.
Q Can we clarify which one we're talking about --
MR. FLEISCHER: The point is -- the point is, the President, the President believed that all the form were filled out properly by the attorneys and filed with the SEC, because he knew that he filed his form with the SEC. And then, it turned out to be a mixup with the attorneys, where the Form 4s were not filed, and we were able to ascertain that this week.
Q But the Form 4 was filed 34 weeks late, right?
MR. FLEISCHER: The Form 4 was filed late.
Q Thirty-four weeks late, according to this SEC memorandum.
MR. FLEISCHER: And that's something that's been known for more than 10 years.
Q Right. But you're saying that he was not responsible for that late filing?
MR. FLEISCHER: That's a corporate form to be filled out.
Q So you're saying that it was the corporation --
Q Can you walk us through this again --
Q When he's --
Q Are you saying it was --
MR. FLEISCHER: Go ahead, Bill. Bill and then Kelly.
Q I just want to clarify. You're saying that it was the corporation, and not George W. Bush who was responsible for the late filing of Form 4?
MR. FLEISCHER: Form 4s are filled out by corporations, under the SEC rules.
Q But what's unclear is when the President said that he had filed the appropriate forms, the SEC must have misplaced them or something -- what was the President referring to? To both? Or to the one dated of the -- the notice of intent to sell?
MR. FLEISCHER: I don't think that's clear -- I don't think that's clear, Kelly.
Q Did you ask him?
Q Can we find that out? I mean, the President has obviously --
Q Can you ask the President?
MR. FLEISCHER: The President believed at the time that he had filled out all the paperwork that was required, and it was filed, and that the lawyers did as they were required to do. That was the President's understanding at the time. Whatever forms were required to be filled out, the President thought had been filled out. He knew, of course, the one that he had filled out because he signed it and it was submitted on the proper date. And if there were any other forms that were required to be filled out, the President was under the impression they had been. And then it was determined later that they had not been. And that's why the Form 4 were later filed.
Q When did the President discover that the Form 4 that was supposed to be filed -- that's an announcement of stock sale by the corporation. So when did he learn that this was not filed on time, that there was a mixup with the attorneys?
MR. FLEISCHER: I couldn't tell you when he learned that.
Q Well, you just said about something just this week. You said just a minute ago that he just learned this this week.
MR. FLEISCHER: That's involving the mixup by the attorneys -- that's when I first heard that information. That's why I shared it with you this morning.
Q But you don't know when he learned that this mistake had been made?
MR. FLEISCHER: Probably right before the form was filed.
Q Ari, Form 4 is a disclosure of an individual selling stock, not a corporation, correct?
MR. FLEISCHER: They both apply to individual sales of stock. One is filled out by the corporation; one is filled out by the individual.
Q But it's the individual selling stock that's being reported, not the corporation?
MR. FLEISCHER: Well, reported by the corporation, is what David asked.
Q But the individual is selling this stock?
MR. FLEISCHER: That's correct.
Q Whose legal responsibility is it to file a Form 4? Is it the individual selling the stock?
MR. FLEISCHER: I couldn't tell you. You'd have to check with somebody else. Don't know.
Q Ari, this weekend the Indian American community held a function for Connie Morella in Maryland. First she was very thankful to the President for the great job he's doing, especially on India and Pakistan. And the Indian Globe also did a survey on Indian Americans and they are supporting of the President as far as his job in the fight against terrorism. But the question is now that we are here at 4th of July celebrating in the coming day, Americans are still living in fear of terrorism. Not only from terrorism, but also now corporation or from the big companies cheatings and fraud and all that. So what message he have I think for the Americans that where should the small investors now -- what is their future for the future? And also the President said that before September 11th, 9/11 this year, he will bring to justice top al Qaeda leaders including Osama bin Laden. He has any information where he is or how he is going to bring him --
MR. FLEISCHER: I'm trying to work the connection between the small investors and your follow-up question. Nothing has changed with Osama bin Laden in terms of any information that we have. We do not know whether he is alive or dead.
And in terms of small investors or any investors, the President has tremendous faith in our system, in the economy, in our free enterprise way of life. And the President believes in our country individuals are free to make those decisions. And that is one of the strengths of our system, that people can decide what to do with their money, where to invest it, and that's one of America's freedoms to choose.
Q Any 4th of July message from the President?
MR. FLEISCHER: The President's 4th of July message tomorrow is going to be focused on celebrating America's independence, celebrating America's national unity, focusing on the strengths that unite and bind us together as a nation, particularly in a time of war.
Q Back on the SEC filing, did the attorneys have a reason, did they give the President -- back then he wasn't the President -- did they give him reason for why there was a delay, since this is something they should do by rote? Did they have an excuse for him?
MR. FLEISCHER: Well, I think, again, this is something that -- this is now in its 11th or 12th year of being reported. This is something that you all have the paperwork on, you've looked at it yourselves extensively. As I say, it's been used as an issue by every political opponent in every campaign in which he's run. When he ran for President, your investigative reporters all looked into this and you have the documents. And I think that the best explanation is that the attorneys thought the form had been filed, which is what would lead then George W. Bush to say that he thought it had been filed and the SEC must have lost it. That was not the case.
Q Can I ask you something about the security measures of tomorrow, which are not only in this country? The State Department has issued warnings to all American citizens traveling abroad, again citing unspecified charges. There seems to be big going on with unspecified charges. Is it because it's the 4th of July and you figure it's a good target?
MR. FLEISCHER: That's the biggest reason, yes. The 4th of July is a time of great gathering for the American people. There are large celebrations in cities, not only on the Mall in Washington, but across our country. And as I indicated, with the examples that the American people are very familiar with, such as the Super Bowl or the Olympics, large gatherings can become targets for terrorists.
And that's why when people go out to stadiums now, they see enhanced security. They're used to changes in procedures involving what they can bring in, what they cannot bring in, searches at the egresses or the entrances into these facilities. This has all changed since September 11th. This the first July 4th since September 11th, so it's proper and a wise precaution that additional security measures are put in step, put into place across the country.
Q And on a different subject which I think is important also -- the President of Argentina has just announced that he will hold elections six months earlier. The situation there is absolutely dire. A lot of people are asking themselves why is the U.S. government just standing by? And now the International Monetary Fund is going to wait until the new President gets elected. In the meanwhile, it's just contagious now. It's not just Argentina. Brazil is --
MR. FLEISCHER: The United States and neighbors in the region, as well as the contributing supporters of the International Monetary Fund, have been very supportive and helpful to Argentina, working with Argentina as Argentina focuses on a sustained recovery package. So there's been a lot of aid provided, as you know, directly to Argentina. That continues to be something the Treasury Department and the IMF have been working on very hard, to help Argentina find its way to reform.
Q Yes, a couple of things. One, on the Form 4. You said you weren't sure whose legal responsibility it is to fill it out; the form is filled out by corporations. But I gather from your explanation that you're saying that the President believed that it was the corporation's responsibility and not his own?
MR. FLEISCHER: It is a corporate responsibility to file the form. The question was legal liability, and I don't know the answer to that. But also in terms of legal liability, I think when you take a look at this, the SEC has been well aware of this, as you all have reported now, for more than a decade. The SEC has been well aware of this issue involving the Form 4, the filing of the forms and they've looked at all of this, and the SEC has concluded that this is not anything that's actionable.
Q Legal liability, not legal responsibility for filling it out in the first place is the --
MR. FLEISCHER: That is a separate question, that's correct.
Q Now, on the ICC today, can you give us some sense of what the state of play is at the U.N. and in New York, and what you believe is going to happen or at least where things are now?
MR. FLEISCHER: Meetings are continuing in New York to try to bring resolution to this issue. The United States is working very hard through the United Nations and through bilateral conversations to try to reach agreement to give our peacekeepers the immunities that we seek and that they deserve. Under Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter, the Security Council can provide protection for the ICC participants in U.N. authorized and U.N. approved peacekeeping operations. We've asked the Council to provide that protection by extending immunities that already exist for U.N. peacekeepers to America's personnel.
We're looking at that. We're also actively pursuing Article 98 agreements which, under the Rome statute, allow nations to agree not to turn over each -- other nationals to the ICC. There's a problem there, because once peacekeepers leave the jurisdiction covered by an Article 98 agreement, they're vulnerable to the ICC everywhere else in the world. And that's why we're seeking the full protection of our peacekeepers through the United Nations Security Council.
Q What is your understanding of why it is that the Security Council will not extend this immunity to American peacekeepers when, as I understand it, the French do, in fact, have some immunity that they negotiated through the ICC?
MR. FLEISCHER: What the United States is seeking is the same type of protection for America's service personnel that has been provided to many other nations' personnel. And there is a mechanism that the United Nations Security Council can look at that would provide non-participatory nations the same protections that participatory nations enjoy under the ICC. Those same immunizations and protections are warranted for the Americans.
Q If I could ask you one other thing, the President has transferred some money to the Transportation Security Administration?
MR. FLEISCHER: That's correct.
Q Can you tell us what prompted that and to what extent you believe that the -- that Congress's delay in acting on this will affect the deadlines Congress imposed on airline security?
MR. FLEISCHER: This is another reason why it's so important for Congress to complete its unfinished business and to pass the emergency spending bill for this current fiscal year. This current fiscal year is almost over. When Congress returns, there's going to be just about two months left. If Congress cannot get this done in July, you have August and September, the only two months left, to fund this year's what's designated as emergency funding and make certain that the Transportation Security Administration and other vital agencies don't run out of money in this fiscal year before the year's even over, if it becomes necessary on occasion to make a transfer or a redirection of funding.
Q Can the President keep dipping into FEMA funds for TSA, or is he about at the end of his rope on this?
MR. FLEISCHER: I'd have to ask OMB for the precise dollar figures. I don't know off the top of my head, Jim.
Q Just a couple questions on the International Criminal Court. What was the authority that the Security Council has -- you read some chapter there -- to provide this immunity?
MR. FLEISCHER: Under Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter, the Security Council can provide protection from the ICC for participants in U.N.-authorized, U.N.-approved peacekeeping operations.
Q Even though the U.N. Charter obviously predates the International Criminal Court by 50 years, there's some power to do that?
MR. FLEISCHER: That's what the lawyers who write these things say.
Q Okay. Let me ask one more. What the President said yesterday was that he didn't want to see American soldiers or diplomats dragged into this court.
MR. FLEISCHER: That's correct.
Q Are we seeking immunities for American diplomats in the Security Council? Or is that part of peacekeeping --
MR. FLEISCHER: The Security Council is focused on the peacekeepers, but there is a broader concern about civilians who could similarly be targeted arbitrarily by the International Criminal Court for prosecution, even as a non-participating nation. Our concern applies, as we've said I think last week, to both military, peacekeeping elements in the military, as well as to civilians, which, of course, would include diplomats.
Q But doesn't that court recognize diplomatic immunity?
MR. FLEISCHER: This court can do pretty much what this court seeks to do in an extraterritorial manner that would put Americans at risk of being tried by a court that is not accountable to our laws.
Q And does not recognize diplomatic immunity?
MR. FLEISCHER: It is a risk with this court, Bill. The answer is not clear. They have the purview, under the way this has been written in Rome to prosecute people they deem to be war criminals.
Q And, Ari, this court is up and running as of right now.
MR. FLEISCHER: That's correct.
Q And so American soldiers and diplomats are possibly under its purview.
MR. FLEISCHER: That's correct.
Q Is the President prepared --
MR. FLEISCHER: This court came into effect on July 1st. And this court, the United Nations had been told repeatedly, months before this, about the American concerns, the longstanding American concerns. We regret that it has come to the point where the United States had to take the action it did, involving the veto for the peacekeepers. But that shows you our deep-seated commitment to the protection of our peacekeepers and the importance of these peacekeeping missions. They deserve these protections so their missions can go on.
Q It doesn't look like they're going to get them by midnight tonight. So is the President prepared, in accordance with that commitment, to withdraw American peacekeepers?
MR. FLEISCHER: Well, let me -- let's see what happens in New York today. They were meeting just before I came out here, and I anticipate there will be continued meetings today. So we will see.
Q Are you hopeful?
MR. FLEISCHER: The meetings are underway, Terry. I would not want to characterize them.
Q Can you clear up --
MR. FLEISCHER: Helen?
Q -- who would be withdrawn --
MR. FLEISCHER: Helen?
Q -- if they were withdrawn?
Q That's all right.
Q Can you clear up who would be withdrawn if the President did so? Would it be the smaller team of police trainers, which I think is in the area of 40 people, or the 3,500 or so U.S. troops in the Bosnia peacekeeping force?
MR. FLEISCHER: Well, I want to make clear that we will not abandon Bosnia; that our military people in the field are well- prepared and equipped to do whatever we ask them to do. So the question then becomes, is this a U.N.-sponsored peacekeeping mission at that point? And that's why we're working hard with the U.N. to get an agreement, so that all can stay in the region to fulfill that mission. But we do have very clear, well-stated concerns about the ICC.
Q Who would be withdrawn if troops were withdrawn as a result of this action?
MR. FLEISCHER: I think what you would see in this case, as I said, is our peacekeepers -- our military people in the field are well-prepared and equipped to do what we ask them to do. So it's not necessarily a question of withdrawal, it's a question of mandate.
Q Thank you, but you also called on Helen. Do you want to do Helen first?
MR. FLEISCHER: Helen yielded to Bill. (Laughter.)
Q All right. On Afghanistan --
Q I want another chance.
MR. FLEISCHER: I know you do. You'll get it.
Q I always want to yield to Helen. How involved is the White House in the Afghan investigation? Will the U.S. change its operations in Afghanistan? And what effect will this have on the war against terrorism?
MR. FLEISCHER: Well, I think this was discussed at great length at DOD this morning. And the Department of Defense is working with the Afghanis on determination of the cause of the deaths. And we remain committed to fighting and winning a war in Afghanistan that is a war aimed at terrorists.
Q But is the White House concerned that this will have a negative effect on the war against terrorism?
MR. FLEISCHER: We are going to continue to work very closely with Afghan authorities to make sure that it does not.
Q Last week, House Ways and Means issued an outline on how to handle the WTO-Foreign Service Corporation dispute, as well as some corporate inversion provisions. And I wondered if the White House has any comment on their approach to --
MR. FLEISCHER: Let me take that, Paula, because I don't have anything specific on the FSC legislation that was put before Ways and Means. I know this is something that the WTO ruled the United States had to change its rules on to comply with WTO authority. And the President indicated that we want to work with Congress to do that, to come into compliance with the WTO ruling on FSC. I have not studied the action Ways and Means took, but let me see if we can't get you something for that.
Q Can you -- going back to the SEC matter again, can you tell us, to the best of your ability, to explain what was the screw-up on the Form 4s? What mistakes --
MR. FLEISCHER: There's really nothing I can add beyond what I said earlier. I've given you everything I know about it and have about it. I got asked that question and I gave you the explanation I have. We've done that one.
Q When you're talking about -- the question is pretty straightforward, about which troops would be withdrawn from Bosnia if it came to that. And you're saying it may not be a question of withdrawal, but a question of their mandate. What do you mean by that?
MR. FLEISCHER: Well, as I said, we will not abandon Bosnia. Our military people in the field are well-prepared and equipped, and they will do whatever we ask them to do. What you have here is a case where the U.N. had three days from the veto to try and reach an agreement so that this can remain a U.N. mission.
Q Right. So we're supposed to read something between the lines here, right, that --
MR. FLEISCHER: Clearly, with a veto, this would not longer be --
Q -- we would pull out of the U.N. auspices but keep our unilateral forces there --
MR. FLEISCHER: It would no longer be a U.N. mission.
Q It would change to a NATO mission, you're suggesting?
MR. FLEISCHER: Well, there are ways to try to address this while honoring our security -- our commitments to Bosnia.
Q But that does not affect the police force, right? Isn't that your greatest concern? Because a NATO force does have some immunity under Dayton Accords, but the police force does not?
MR. FLEISCHER: Our concerns are for both forces, and we want to make sure that they're both addressed.
Q But the greatest exposure would be to the police, would it not, because they have no immunity under Dayton?
MR. FLEISCHER: You know, I don't know that I'm in a position to measure one group's exposure versus the other's. We think that they're both important.
Q Right. But you would not pull out the peacekeepers, but you might have to pull out the police, is that what you're saying?
MR. FLEISCHER: I would only say let's see what happens before the day is over to see if this can be addressed. And if any additional actions, David, were to be taken, we will keep you informed about any such things. That could include, if it did, withdrawal or change in mandate.
Q -- tell everybody else. (Laughter.)
MR. FLEISCHER: Hold on a second, let's see. Helen? We're back to Helen.
Q In the last day or so, a New York Times columnist indicated that the government was hot on the heels of a perpetrator of the anthrax attacks, and that there is some reason to -- there's been a laying-off of that. Do you have any clue as to what's happening in anthrax?
MR. FLEISCHER: No, the FBI is continuing its investigation of who may be responsible for the anthrax attacks that took place last fall. They've been pursuing every lead they can possibly find, but there is no new information to report.
Q This columnist seems to indicate that there was a very strong suspect.
MR. FLEISCHER: I've not heard that.
Q Ari, the FBI intelligence, the weekly intelligence bulletin went out today -- or went out yesterday, dated today. Can you tell us what it said to the state and local law enforcement, what message, the day before the 4th?
MR. FLEISCHER: Any communication that goes from the FBI to the field I would leave for the FBI to describe. But again, this gets back to what I was asked earlier in the briefing. There's a generalized sense of keeping people on their toes, making certain that there are additional personnel deployed throughout the country, changing procedures so that it's easier for security people to keep an eye on who may be entering a large facility, so that it's easier to have security precautions in place. And I think that's what you're going to see throughout the country at many of these sites.
As well, just in terms of actions here by the Homeland Security Council and others, the Homeland Security Council is going to be monitoring more than 2,000 events across the country where Americans are gathering to celebrate in large numbers the July 4th holiday. The Homeland Security Council maintains a coordination center, an emergency operations room where they maintain points of contact with officials at all 2,000 sites, where lines of communication can instantly be opened. They'll be in constant communication with state homeland security directors and advisors. Combat air patrols will be flown over numerous American cities and random areas across the country. There will be enhanced local police and FBI presence across America tomorrow. And the FBI, of course, will be manning its emergency operations center, as well.
Q One follow, though. One thing I want to just check, you keep talking about the 4th, a lot of people gather. But it's more than that, though. Isn't the U.S. government picking up increased operational activity among terrorists that has sort of raised the level of concern, as well?
MR. FLEISCHER: I can't say "operational activity." Those are very specific words, "operational activity," which have a different meaning. We are, have been for a considerable period of time been picking up increased chatter in the system, and we do our best to try to interpret this chatter to see if there is anything that can be gleaned from it. And again, this is the first July 1st -- 4th -- let me say that again, a lot of dates in there. This is the first July 4th since September 11th, and so you will see across the country there are a lot of precautions put into place.
Q Ari, can I follow up? Why are you encouraging crowds to come into the Mall? I mean, the country is telling everybody --
MR. FLEISCHER: Because -- because this is July 4th and the American people should celebrate July 4th. The American people should gather. The American people should celebrate. And law enforcement will be on hand to do the worrying and do the watching.
Q If you have to evacuate thousands of people -- it's impossible.
MR. FLEISCHER: Because, Connie, we don't let the terrorists win by canceling America's holidays.
Q Ari, President Bush will deliver his speech on corporate malfeasance on Tuesday, right? He will speak Tuesday, July 9th?
MR. FLEISCHER: Correct.
Q Are there any other events the President is preparing on this subject? Which seems to be really driving the media today and -- not only today, but I mean investors, everybody is --
MR. FLEISCHER: I would just suggest, tune in to the President's remarks. The President feels very strongly about the importance of promoting and focusing on corporate accountability, corporate responsibility. The President frequently talks about the responsibility era, and that applies to all in our society, including America's corporations. And so you will hear the President make some remarks about that and any other additional activities by the administration we'll keep you filled in on.
Q Ari, just on the July 4th security policy, one, is it fair to describe the security precautions that are being taken tomorrow in their totality as unprecedented for the United States? And, secondly, you haven't been emphasizing very much something that the President used to emphasize, which is the idea of vigilance by the public, by individual citizens, in the sort of leave it up to -- let the law enforcement guys worry about it. Are you trying to suggest --
MR. FLEISCHER: No, it's just tomorrow there will be such a pronounced, visible increase in the law enforcement community around the country whose job is to worry and to look ahead and to put in place protections. The American people still should be vigilant. We are still on code yellow, and that is something the American people have become aware of. And I think the American people generally have that sense of how to enjoy themselves, how to celebrate, while at the same time being vigilant. I anticipate both will happen.
Q But would you call it unprecedented --
MR. FLEISCHER: I don't know, Arshad. I think that certainly anybody who went to the Super Bowl, they know what unprecedented security is like. Certainly anybody who attended the Olympics in Utah knows what unprecedented security is like. So people who are going to go to different events will see various levels of security, depending on the size of the event, depending on the reactions of local law enforcement, et cetera. So you'll see a variety of reactions across the country.
Q Why is the President golfing in 95 degree heat? (Laughter.)
MR. FLEISCHER: The President is golfing today in 95 degree heat because he heard he gets to take a press pool with him. (Laughter.) And I'm not sure if there will be any indoor facilities at Andrews Air Force Base, but we'll do our best to get lemonade, unspiked, to the reporters who will be covering the President's golfing.
Q Can we read into the fact that he did the same thing last year before the 4th, getting ready to play golf with dear old Dad? (Laughter.)
MR. FLEISCHER: I think you should read into that that the President loves reporters at all times, no matter what the temperature.
Q Is this the last briefing for the week?
MR. FLEISCHER: This is the last briefing for the week. This is the last briefing before we celebrate America's independence. I will spend the weekend with you, of course, as we travel. I look forward to doing that. I always look forward to spending my weekends with the press corps.
Q Are you going to Kennebunkport?
MR. FLEISCHER: Yes, I'll be traveling with the President this weekend.
Q One more on the 4th, please. You talked about security precautions, the inclusion of some combat planes over certain sites and an extensive communications network. What about first responders? Specifically, some of the strategic teams? Like, for instance, the EPA has people that they deploy to forward positions. The nuclear regulatory folks have teams that they deploy to forward positions. Are those moves also?
MR. FLEISCHER: You may want to talk to the Homeland Security Council to get specifics on any agencies that I did not mention. They keep a little closer tabs on that than I do.
Thank you. Happy July 4th.
END 1:00 P.M. EDT