Rice IV With David Keane of the Discovery Times
Interview With David Keane of the Discovery Times Channel
Secretary Condoleezza Rice
August 18, 2005
(4:00 p.m. EDT)
MR. KEANE: Dr. Rice, can you just tell us how Diplomatic Security helps contribute to U.S. foreign policy and helps you do your job?
SECRETARY RICE: I think it's fair to say that we would not be able to do our work without Diplomatic Security because the United States asks men and women to serve in very dangerous parts of the world. We need the physical protection that DS provides. We need the insight and the expertise that DS brings to our ability to provide a safe environment for our people. And of course, they very often actually protect, not just our people but foreign leaders when they are here in the United States. They are very critical to the mission that we have and I think it's possible to say we quite literally couldn't do our work without DS.
MR. KEANE: So in a sense, Diplomatic Security enables -- sort of a platform for foreign policy?
SECRETARY RICE: Absolutely. And in recent years, of course, as we've had to be in more dangerous places like Kabul or Baghdad or in Colombia or in Pakistan, places that have been dangerous for us, I believe that the entire Department recognizes that those Security Officers in the field are taking their own lives into their hands to make it possible for the rest of us to do our jobs.
Diplomatic Security is part of the infrastructure that enables the diplomatic activities to take place. And I think when I go out into the rest of the world and I go visit our Embassies, you see our Diplomatic Security personnel, they're really valued by all of the Officers in the field and certainly by those of us who are back here.
MR. KEANE: Right. And today, more than ever, because now certain places used to be taken for granted.
SECRETARY RICE: Yes.
MR. KEANE: And now, nothing can be taken for granted.
SECRETARY RICE: Nothing can be taken for granted in today's world in terms of security. While we think of posts like Kabul or Baghdad as particularly dangerous, as we can see, terrorists can strike anywhere and Diplomatic Security plays an important role in making sure that our men and women, even in posts that are not considered dangerous posts, are aware of security, take the right precautions that families are protected. They work with the business community across the world to make sure that American business people or university people are also aware of the security environment. And it's very often the first phone call that's made when there appears to be a threat is to Diplomatic Security.
MR. KEANE: Right. What's it like on a personal level for you to be protected? I mean it's gone on for quite a while, but what does it feel like just to be protected and be "in a bubble," as they say?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, you certainly get accustomed to it pretty quickly because these are really genuinely nice people to be around. And what I found is that Diplomatic Security is very cognizant of and very respectful of the fact that a protectee has a life and wants to not feel in the bubble at all times. And they will do what they need to do to make sure that I'm protected, but they'll also try to give me space and to be in the background. I'm sure it's not the easiest thing to do to strike that balance, but I've always felt that my Diplomatic Security agents really strike that balance very well.
MR. KEANE: Right. As the top diplomat it's really important, you've got to be protected, you know, but there's a fine line and you've got to -- as the top diplomat you actually have to get out there. You just can't remain, you know, behind the fortress.
SECRETARY RICE: It's absolutely the case, you can't remind behind a fortress and you have to get out. And sometimes you have to make changes right on the spot. We've been in places in parts of the world where we'd plan to do it in a particular way, and all of a sudden there was the press of a crowd or children came up or I needed to go into a building and it wasn't expected. And what I found is that these are not just great professionals but they're flexible and recognize that sometimes I have to make alterations so that I can do my job.
MR. KEANE: Yeah, you have to call an "audible" sometimes.
SECRETARY RICE: Have to call an "audible."
MR. KEANE: You know, events even at the last minute.
SECRETARY RICE: That's right. That's right.
MR. KEANE: You can't really be concerned about, you know, how you're going to be protected. You have to let someone else worry about that.
SECRETARY RICE: And I feel very confident saying to the head of my detail, Mike, even if I say, "Mike, I have to go here." And he'll say, "We'll make it work." And that's what I really need in this job.
MR. KEANE: Great. Speaking of Mike, do you have a rapport with the guys and women on your team?
SECRETARY RICE: I have a wonderful rapport with my protective detail, and they're really very nice people to be around. They're respectful and they're helpful and they're great people, and so it's easy to be around them. I don't find it hard at all.
MR. KEANE: Do you sense -- do you feel their presence a lot or do they seem invisible to you?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, they're not invisible and part of the protection, of course, is that they're not invisible, but they do everything that they can not to be disruptive in any way. And I went home to visit my family after a family tragedy not too long ago, and they said, you know, "We'll be out here. You don't have to worry." So they're always very cognizant of and respectful of my need for privacy.
MR. KEANE: Do you ever just want to get away from them and just be -- I mean, it's like the old movie, getting --
SECRETARY RICE: No, I have no desire to drive off and not tell anybody where I am. It's a -- they're easy to be around and we have a good relationship. Who else am I going to talk about football with when I get in the car first thing in morning or, you know, say why haven't the Nationals won in the last few games? So we chitchat about fun things as well and they're great. They make it possible for me to do my job, but they also make it possible for me to live as normal a life as possible and I really appreciate it greatly.
MR. KEANE: Yeah, talking to all of them just today, they said it's really, really fun.
SECRETARY RICE: Well, that's nice to hear because I sure think they're wonderful. And I'm very fortunate in that I have really good folks around me and they're funny and they are, you know, they have a great sense of humor and they're all professionals, but they are also easy to be around. And when you have protection 24 hours a day, you need people who are easy to be around.
MR. KEANE: Right. And so you don't mind wearing a flak jacket and a helmet when they say it's necessary.
SECRETARY RICE: (Laughter.) Well, I'm going to always follow orders on this. But, you know, they -- we also talk about it and we talk about what's necessary and what's not necessary and trying to keep this to as much of a minimum as you can. But I understand that DS also has a job to do and so I try to be as good a protectee as I can and try to help them to do their job, too.
MR. KEANE: Thank you. 2006/247
Released on March 6, 2006