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Rumsfeld Media Stakeout following Fox News Sunday

NEWS TRANSCRIPT from the United States Department of Defense

DoD News Briefing Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld Sunday, May 4, 2003

(Media stakeout following Fox News Sunday.)

Rumsfeld: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.

Q: Is it true that the reports this morning that Pvt. Jessica Lynch suffered from amnesia?

Rumsfeld: I have nothing to say on that. I have nothing to say about her situation, thats for doctors and her family to deal with.

Q: You cant give an update on how she is doing?

Rumsfeld: I didnt say I couldnt, I said I will not comment on that. And I shall not.

Q: Mr. Secretary can you tell us more about the plans to provide Iraq (Inaudible.)

Rumsfeld: There are no plans to divide Iraq at all and anyone who suggests it is inaccurate. Iraq is already has provinces it already has cities it has subdivisions like every country on the face of the earth but, it was divided up over a period of times. In term of states or cities in most types of subdivisions but if you are asking about the United States or coalition planning to divide the country up, we have said, everyone in the United States government and the coalition has said from the outset, that the principle fundamental positions that we have are that the country will stay whole, be a single country, not broken up into 3 pieces or 4 or 8 or 12 - that it will be a country without weapons of mass destruction, it will be a country that does not harbor or support terrorists and be on the terrorist list, and it will be a country that is respectful of its minorities and its ethnic diversity and where the people have a voice in some representative or democratic way as to the future of that country.

Q: President Bush said that Tarik Aziz does not know how too.

Rumsfeld: Who did?

Q: President Bush

Rumsfeld: Did he?

Q: Yes. Does this mean that Tarik is lying about destroying the weapons of mass destruction?

Rumsfeld: I did not see that statement, and I have been out of town for a week, and I have only seen one transcript of debriefings with Tarik Aziz, and in reading it, I think that it is pretty clear to me hes not being forthcoming. Hows that?

Q: General Garner, what is his role now? What is he doing with the civil and administrative? (Inaudible.) form the State Department.

Rumsfeld: General Garner is doing a terrific job, hes a very talented person and a friend and the country is fortunate that people of that caliber will pick and go off and help to serve our country and the coalition and the people of Iraq. There has been no announcement by the White House on anyone else.

Q: Mr. Secretary One final question about the State the Department, apparently Secretary of State Colin Powell sent you a letter (Inaudible.) to reach a final determination as soon as possible about the prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, also apparently the State Department and the Defense Department have been meeting on this issue. Can you tell us what the results are?

Rumsfeld: I cant. I talked to Colin Powell about it this morning because there were apparently some articles while I was away on the subject. What we have is this situation. We have the Department of Defense has been asked to be the custodian of these detainees, so we are doing that in Guantanamo Bay. They for the most part come from other countries, so they have a country of passport or origin or national origin. We have no desire to hold a lot of these people we would much prefer that other countries hold them so we have been there is an interagency process with the FBI and the Department of Justice and the Department of Defense, CIA, State, INS and different agencies that have been reviewing all of these people, and its a very slow process. One of the reasons its slow is because it is interagency and it just takes more time than if someone can just decide. Second the Department of State has the responsibility for dealing with the foreign countries that are interested in those detainees, so Colins job is to represent those countries into this interagency process and see if there isnt someway we can speed that up. I would like to see it move faster, but one of the reasons that it is complicated is because some of the agencies are focusing on law enforcement. What have these people done wrong that might lead to a law enforcement action in our country or another country? Other people like the Department of Defense, The Defense Intelligence Agency, CIA are much more interested in intelligence gathering. What do these people know that we can get from them by way of or through interrogations so that we can in fact stop future terrorist attacks? So its a complicated process, it is very slow, it is not anywhere near as fast as either Secretary Powell or I would like.

Rumsfeld: You had a question and then we will go.

Q: Whats the most important accomplishment in the war zone?

Rumsfeld: Anyone who goes into Iraq and looks at it and then go across the border into Kuwait or into the United Arab Emirates or any of the neighboring countries there just cant help but feel sad and heartbroken at what a Stalinist vicious dictatorship, a Stalinist type regime has done to the Iraqi people. The country doesnt have the investment it doesnt have the energy. Here are intelligent, well educated Iraqi people are living at a standard, a level, standard of living level that is so far below their neighbors and the only reason for that, its a wealthy country. The only reason for that is because of the command system they had, and the dictatorship they had, and the fact that, that country was run by fear - so the answer to your question is, its the liberation of the Iraqi people, and it is a wonderful thing to see that happen for human beings.

Rumsfeld: Thanks, folks.

ENDS

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