Colin Powell TV Interview Transcripts
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE Office of the Spokesman
For Immediate Release September 13, 2001
Secretary Of State Colin L. Powell On The News Hour with Jim Lehrer
September 13, 2001, 6:08 p.m.
MR. LEHRER: And now a Newsmaker interview with Secretary of State Colin Powell. He joins us from the State Department. Mr. Secretary, welcome.
SECRETARY POWELL: Good evening, Jim. How are you?
MR. LEHRER: Just fine. Exactly what is it that you and the President are asking these international leaders to do?
SECRETARY POWELL: We are creating a coalition to go after terrorism. We are asking the United Nations and every other organization you can think of -- United Nations, NATO, the European Union, the Organization of Islamic Countries, the OAS, everybody -- to join us once and for all in a great coalition to conduct a campaign against terrorists who are conducting war against civilized people.
The attack that took place in Washington and the attack that took place in New York were directed against America, but they really are directed against civilization, and we have to respond with a full-scale assault against this kind of activity, beginning with the perpetrators of the attacks against us this past Tuesday.
We are asking all the nations to join together to use political action, diplomatic action, economic action, legal action, law enforcement action, and if necessary, join with us as appropriate and if necessary in military action when we have identified the perpetrators and decided what military action might be appropriate. And so there is a lot that we can do.
And the point I also want to make is that no country is safe from this kind of attack. It crosses every geographic boundary, social boundary, religious boundary, cultural boundary. And we must see it in those terms and respond in a unified way.
MR. LEHRER: Has thus far everybody signed up?
SECRETARY POWELL: I am very pleased with what has been accomplished over the last 48 hours: an Article V declaration for the first time in its history from NATO; solid support from the European Union; the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution that is a strong one; the General Assembly of the United Nations did the same thing.
I have been on the phone this afternoon with the Chairman of the Organization of Islamic States, and I expect they will be putting out additional statements. And I have been talking to leaders around the world, as has the President, to mobilize this coalition, and we have been getting solid support from almost everyone.
MR. LEHRER: Almost everyone. Who have been the dissenters?
SECRETARY POWELL: As has been noted earlier in the day, Saddam Hussein, not to my surprise, is not somebody you would expect to share our sentiment.
MR. LEHRER: What about the president of Pakistan? You talked to him today.
SECRETARY POWELL: I had a good conversation with the president of Pakistan. He met with our Ambassador earlier this morning and we met with Pakistani representatives here in the United States. And we gave him some items we thought would be useful for us to cooperate on, and he expressed his desire to cooperate with us fully. He is reviewing that list now and I expect to talk to him again in the very near future. But I am very pleased with the response we have gotten from Pakistan.
MR. LEHRER: And that includes intelligence information about Usama bin Laden and possible military staging areas -- that sort of specifics?
SECRETARY POWELL: Well, it includes a variety of things. And when you look at all those things, it is very, very inclusive, all-inclusive. But I would not like at this time to go into the specifics.
MR. LEHRER: But there is no question that Usama bin Laden is a prime suspect; is that right?
SECRETARY POWELL: I think when you look at that region and when you examine the kinds of terrorist organizations that are around that have the sophistication to conduct such a series of attacks, you would certainly have to identify Usama bin Laden and his organization as being one of those suspects.
MR. LEHRER: And it would make it much easier for us to go after him with Pakistan's cooperation; is that what you told the President?
SECRETARY POWELL: If that were the organization we finally determined was responsible, then of course it would be a lot easier with the cooperation of Pakistan.
MR. LEHRER: Now, you and the President have talked to people in the Arab world as well; is that correct?
SECRETARY POWELL: Yes, we have, and I am very pleased with that response. The President has spoken to President Mubarak and King Abdallah in Jordan. I have been in touch with Saudi officials, Qatari officials, and I will be making more calls tonight and tomorrow.
MR. LEHRER: Now, the Saudis are very important in this, are they not, because bin Laden is a native of Saudi Arabia. His money comes from Saudi Arabia, does it not?
SECRETARY POWELL: Well, he is a native of Saudi Arabia, but I have to draw your attention to the very strong statement that the Saudi Ambassador to the United States Prince Bandar made yesterday, which reminded everybody that his citizenship was taken away from him. Bin Laden's citizenship was taken away from him. The Saudis consider him a disgrace to their nation and to his own heritage, and they have condemned his actions.
He has sources of money from various places throughout the world, but I am absolutely confident that the Saudi Government is not supporting his efforts in any way.
MR. LEHRER: Why have we been unable to dry up those sources? If we know he's got $300 million and they're all over the world, why haven't we been able to stop that flow of that money?
SECRETARY POWELL: I don't know that we really do know what all of his sources of money are and how much he actually has access to and who else might be supporting him. I'm sure we know quite a bit, but apparently not enough because he is still in operation. And he has a rather far-flung network, and parts of that network are able to sustain themselves in the places that they are located.
MR. LEHRER: In general, Mr. Secretary, how close are we to knowing who was responsible and how they did it?
SECRETARY POWELL: I think the evidence is building rapidly now, and the FBI and other intelligence and law enforcement agencies have done a terrific job in just a short period of time. And I think in the not-too-distant future we will have enough confidence in what we have gathered, the information and evidence we have gathered, to make a definitive judgment and then a definitive statement as to whom we believe is responsible.
MR. LEHRER: I know the specifics are off limits at this moment. The President spoke of what it's going to take to stop this kind of thing. Can you give us, as a military man before you became a diplomatic man, give us a feel -- give the American people a feel for the magnitude of what lays before them as a people, as a nation.
SECRETARY POWELL: What lies before them is a long, tough campaign. We should have no illusions that a few missile strikes will take care of this problem. They are well entrenched, they are well dispersed. It is not an enemy sitting out in the middle of a battlefield waiting to be attacked. They are clever. They are resourceful and they are thinking. They are always trying to think what we might do to them.
So we have to see this as a long campaign plan, using all of the weapons and tools at our disposal -- political, economic; isolate them, diplomatically isolate them, isolate those countries that give them support and serve as their host; in terms of legal actions, go after their sources of money, go after their ability to move back and forth around the world, put them on watch lists, be on the lookout for those who we know are identified with this organization; and, always, always, be prepared to conduct a military strike when targets surface and targets become available that make it clear that you have found the perpetrators and somebody we ought to go after. And of course there are covert things that one can be doing that I wouldn't discuss here, but you are familiar with, Jim.
MR. LEHRER: Sure. But if somebody is thinking that there is going to be Desert Storm II, 500,00 US troops and it's going to be over in a few days, forget it?
SECRETARY POWELL: Forget it. This will take time and we'll have to use all of the weapons and tools I've described. And the other thing we have to remember is that Usama bin Laden and his organization is not the only terrorist organization out there, and we have to see this not just in terms of Usama bin Laden if that is the one we determine we have to go after, because he is responsible for this, and we should go after him anyway and have been trying to get to him because it is a terrorist organization. But there are many others out there who are responsible for crimes against American citizens and crimes against citizens of other nations.
So it's going to be a long campaign against many terrorist organizations, and the whole world has to be united in that campaign.
MR. LEHRER: But for Americans listening to you now, should they also know that this may not be free of casualties; this may not be a war that can be fought in such a way that either US military or even more civilians in counter-retaliation from other terrorists, et cetera? I mean, this is not risk free?
SECRETARY POWELL: Nothing is risk free in life, especially battle. And we are now entering a number of battles to deal with this, and it will not be risk free. But we are a proud people, a brave people, and I am confident we will do what is necessary to prevail in this conflict. And that will involve -- I regretfully have to say that will involve casualties, and we should not look for some cost-free options. They really don't exist.
MR. LEHRER: Finally, Mr. Secretary, let me ask you this. The President mentioned today as well that the people who committed these awful acts on Tuesday hate us and hate what we stand for. Where does that come from? You were a military man for years, now a Secretary of State. We think of ourselves as the good people of the world, we Americans. Why do these people hate us so that they would fly an airplane into targets and kill themselves in order to kill Americans?
SECRETARY POWELL: The reasons are very, very complex. In some instances, they don't like our value system. They don't like the system that treats every individual as a creature of God with the full rights of every other individual. They don't like our political system, our form of democracy. They don't like who some of our friends are in the Middle East and the fact that we are strong supporters of Israel and will remain so. They resent, in many instances, our successes of society.
But rather than debating us on our values, rather than listening as we listen to them, they choose another form of debate with us: debate on the battlefield. And they choose terrorism, a weapon that is available to them because they can't defeat us on a conventional battlefield. And I wish that were not the case.
What we also have to remember is that this is not a conflict against Arabs or Muslims or those who believe in one particular religion or not. This is a conflict against terrorists. The other day we saw some images from the occupied territories from the West Bank and people cheering what had happened, and that sort of was seared in our mind. But I got a message in from our Consul General in Jerusalem saying that his switchboard is swamped with calls from Palestinians -- Palestinian officials, Palestinian people -- expressing their distaste for that kind of display, and letting us know that they were expressing their condolences and sympathy to us as well. That is the civilized reaction.
MR. LEHRER: Mr. Secretary, thank you very much.
SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you, Jim.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE Office of the Spokesman For Immediate Release September 16, 2001
Secretary Of State Colin L. Powell On CBS's Face the Nation
September 16, 2001
MR. SCHIEFFER: Secretary of State Powell is here. Mr. Secretary, thank you so much for coming.
SECRETARY POWELL: Good morning, Bob.
MR. SCHIEFFER: Let me start with this report from Pakistan this morning where the government, I understand it, has told the Taliban that they are going to send a delegation to Afghanistan, and they have told them to hand over Usama bin Laden.
What can you tell us about that?
SECRETARY POWELL: Well, I have seen that report. I can't confirm it through our Embassy at Islamabad, but if it is an accurate report, then I am encouraged that the Pakistanis continue to play such a positive role in moving this campaign forward against those who might have been responsible for the tragedies of the 11th of September.
MR. SCHIEFFER: Well, isn't that a little odd that, if, in fact, this report is true that the US Government hasn't -- doesn't have any information about it yet?
SECRETARY POWELL: I can assure you we're working hard to confirm it. But it is a press report at the moment, and we'll be confirming it in the course of the day with the Pakistani Government.
MR. SCHIEFFER: Let me ask you, this obviously is what we want the Pakistanis to do, but by announcing this as they have, is there another side to this that perhaps they're telling Usama bin Laden you better get out of town?
SECRETARY POWELL: Well, I can't speculate on that. All I can say is that for the last several days the Pakistani Government has been very supportive and forthcoming. I spoke to President Musharraf several days ago, and he indicated full support. We provided him a list of things that we might be needing in the days ahead, and they said they would provide that support. We'll have to get into the details of it over time.
And yesterday, President Bush spoke to President Musharraf and got the same kind of assurances, so we're very pleased with the role that the Pakistani Government is playing.
MR. SCHIEFFER: Was this, in fact, one of the things we asked them to do?
SECRETARY POWELL: We asked them for a variety of things, and I think it's best that we keep those between the two governments at this time until we have an opportunity to see their reaction, and then it will all become public.
MS. BORGER: Let me just add one more question to this. If the Pakistanis did get Usama bin Laden, what would we want them to do with him?
SECRETARY POWELL: Oh, I can think of many things. But I think let's wait and see if they do get him. I hope that they will. If they do get him and he is available in a way that would allow justice to be served, then I would want to see justice served. There are all sorts of UN resolutions and other statements out there, other requirements out there to bring this kind of terrorist to justice, to get it to stop -- to get terrorism to stop, to bring these sorts of people to justice.
MS. BORGER: A war tribunal?
SECRETARY POWELL: Well, we'll see. It remains to be seen what charges can be placed against him and what Pakistani law might be and what Pakistan might do if they get this individual into their custody. But let's not over-speculate before anything has really happened.
MS. BORGER: Mr. Secretary, you have told Americans to be prepared for war, the President has. What will this war look like?
SECRETARY POWELL: It will be a campaign. It will be an integrated, comprehensive campaign. We're not fighting an enemy that is located on a battlefield where we all can see the enemy and just go after him. This is an enemy that intends to remain hidden. It's a very resourceful enemy. And so we have to attack on all fronts and we have to do it with a broad coalition because this enemy is spread out across the world.
And it will take the international community. It will require intelligence actions, legal actions, financial actions, military actions, diplomatic and political actions -- all part of a comprehensive campaign not to go after just one person but to go after a network, the al-Qaida network and to go after other terrorist organizations that are practicing this kind of evil upon the civilized world.
MR. SCHIEFFER: Explain what the al-Qaida network is.
SECRETARY POWELL: Consider al-Qaida as something of a large holding company. And the head of that holding company is Usama bin Laden. And within that holding company you have got groups of terrorist organizations that are located in countries throughout the world that are loosely and sometimes tightly knit into Usama bin Laden. But there's no doubt that the support for all of them, the essential nervous system for all of them flows up what is all al-Qaida. And at the top of al-Qaida is Usama bin Laden.
MS. BORGER: Should Americans be prepared to send ground troops?
SECRETARY POWELL: We should be prepared to do whatever is necessary to deal with this threat. We are at war, the President said. But let's not speculate on what particular type of military response might be required.
MS. BORGER: Well, should we be prepared to kill civilians in this process?
SECRETARY POWELL: You don't want to kill innocent civilians. But if civilians are terrorists and they have made themselves the object of our wrath, as the President and Vice President have said.
MR. SCHIEFFER: You have already said -- or we already know that the reserves are being called up. Do you think that under any conceivable circumstances there would be a reinstitution of the draft?
SECRETARY POWELL: I don't see any need for that right now. The armed forces are strong and with our very, very capable, loyal and so patriotic reserve forces I think we probably have enough without considering reinstitution of the draft.
MR. SCHIEFFER: You have been focused in recent days of putting together this coalition. How is that going? Who is in it and who is not in it yet?
SECRETARY POWELL: It's going very well. I'm just deeply grateful for the responses we have received, whether it was NATO invoking Article 5, the mutual defense article of the NATO treaty, the Washington treaty; or the United Nations passing a very strong resolution both in the Security Council and General Assembly; the Organization of Islamic Conference is making positive statements; the Organization of American States making a statement and now getting ready to have a meeting in Washington to take further action. I have been very pleased. On a bilateral basis, so many of our friends and allies have come forward, whether it's Israel, whether it's Saudi Arabia, whether it's Japan, Australia.
I don't want to offend anybody by leaving them out, but just about every country has come forward, with a few exceptions. One, of course, is Iraq, and we wouldn't expect it to come forward. It is that kind of regime that causes so much trouble in the world. And there are one or two others that have not yet been heard from, but we've heard from such nations as Syria, for example, which we have always said is a state that sponsors terrorism. But they provided a rather forthcoming statement, and perhaps there are new opportunities with respect to Syria, not just going after the Taliban and al-Qaida and Usama bin Laden, but perhaps also dealing with other terrorist organizations that they have been supporting in the past. Let's see if they recognize that terrorism does not belong in the civilized world.
MR. SCHIEFFER: Is it because they now see the Taliban as a threat to their regime?
SECRETARY POWELL: I hope they see terrorism as a threat to the entire world, but I am not under any illusions about the nature of the Syrian Government. But let's see if there is an opportunity here to work together on the elimination of terrorism as a cause of violence in the Middle East and everywhere else around the world.
MR. SCHIEFFER: Is it, in fact, true that we have made approaches to the Government of Iran for help on this?
SECRETARY POWELL: Iran made a rather positive statement, for Iran. We have serious differences with the Government of Iran because of their support of terrorism, but they have made a statement and it seems to me a statement that is worth exploring to see whether or not they now recognize that this is a curse in the face of the Earth. And of course Iran has always had difficulty with the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.
MS. BORGER: On the other hand, Saddam Hussein of Iraq did not make a positive response to this. In fact, he said the American cowboy is reaping the fruits of its crimes against humanity.
SECRETARY POWELL: This is an irrelevant individual sitting there with a broken regime. He pursues weapons of mass destruction. He is the greatest threat in that region because he refuses to abide by the simplest standards of civilized behavior. So we'll continue to contain Saddam Hussein. We will keep his regime under sanctions, and we will do what is necessary when it becomes necessary and when we choose to.
MS. BORGER: But any Saddam Hussein fingerprints on this particular attack?
SECRETARY POWELL: At the moment, we see no fingerprints between Iraq and what happened last Tuesday. But we are looking. We will pull it up by its roots. We will find out who is responsible and we will determine what connections exist between various regimes around the world who participate in this kind of thing.
MR. SCHIEFFER: There are reports this morning that some of these people who were on these airplanes, in fact, may have gotten training from the US military. Now, we know that people don't just wander off the street and get enrolled in US military programs. Those are government-to-government exchanges.
First I would ask you, is that true? And the second thing I would say, does this increase the possibility that perhaps this is some sort of state-sponsored terrorism?
SECRETARY POWELL: I am familiar with the report, and I would rather let the FBI and the Justice Department answer it precisely. But keep in mind that as a result of our relations with a number of countries, friendly countries over many years, we have trained pilots for other countries in our training facilities. So that is possible. But it doesn't necessarily reflect state-sponsored terrorism. It just means that we trained somebody who subsequently moved in that direction, unfortunately, but he did get training in the United States, just as we know that the others were trained for the most part here in the United States in aviation schools.
MS. BORGER: When you consider some kind of a first strike in this war, what do you worry about in terms of retaliation against this country? That has got to be part of your calculations.
SECRETARY POWELL: I assume that there are those out there who are still planning activities against the United States whether we retaliate or not. We should not see this just in terms of retaliation for the sake of retaliation, just to strike for the sake of striking. We should see it in terms of a campaign that goes after not just retaliatory satisfaction, but goes after eliminating this threat by ripping it up, by going after its finances, by going after its infrastructure, by making sure we're applying all the intelligence assets we can to finding out what they may be up to. The measure of success at the end of the day will be no more attacks likes this or over any other nature against the United States and our interests around the world.
MR. SCHIEFFER: We have never had anything like this, so perhaps that's one of the reasons for it. But clearly it seems that the United States was unprepared for an attack on the homeland. We're told now that even after people at the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, even after it was known that there were aircraft heading toward the Pentagon that the Secretary of Defense didn't know that. Jets were scrambled but everything happened too late. How prepared were we?
SECRETARY POWELL: I think we all understand that homeland defense is an important mission and one that will be getting a lot of attention. The Vice President is personally directing our efforts with respect to homeland defense. I think it is a little unfair to say that the Pentagon was unprepared when suddenly a plane -- an American commercial airliner shows up in air space just a few minutes away from impact from the Pentagon and say, well, why weren't F-16s up there ready -- or F-15s up there ready to shoot it down?
Nobody would have anticipated that kind of threat without some sort of cueing or warning that such an attack was on the way, or we had some kind of intelligence that such an attack was coming. So I think it's a little unreasonable and frankly unfair to suggest that the Pentagon was at fault and our military was at fault because we weren't prepared to shoot down an American airliner full of Americans just because it happened to be in the wrong air corridor.
MR. SCHIEFFER: Just speaking of increasing security, I'm told -- just while you were talking -- that David Martin, our correspondent at the Pentagon reports that we have begun to increase security around America's nuclear stockpile.
SECRETARY POWELL: I yield to David Martin who is an excellent reporter.
MS. BORGER: Are you worried about biological and chemical retaliation here?
SECRETARY POWELL: I think we have to be worried about any of these threats -- chemical, biological, radiological. I think this is going to require a full-court response on the part of the American Government, the American people, state and local governments to prepare ourselves for whatever eventuality might be out there. We can't dismiss that possibility. But at the same time, remember this is a fairly unsophisticated weapon when you think of it. The planning that went into it was very, very sophisticated. But they found a way to create a bomb using an airplane loaded with fuel.
MR. SCHIEFFER: Let me go back -- and I want to talk a little bit about Pakistan here because the thought occurs to me that we have asked the Pakistani Government to do certain things. There's no question that they have these Islamic fundamentalists in Pakistan and that that government could well topple as a result of nothing more than the United States asking them to help on this. Joe Biden, the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, says that that is simply a risk we have to take.
But the other part that I think about, and I must say worry about, is that Pakistan has nuclear weapons. Are we running the risk here of having a government take over in Pakistan that would be able to, as it were, have its finger on a nuclear button?
SECRETARY POWELL: We are very sensitive to that, and I know that President Musharraf is very sensitive to that. So in our conversations with the Pakistani Government in the days and weeks ahead, we will be mindful that they have internal problems that they are dealing with. But that was part of his calculation as he and his senior advisors and military leaders sat down and examined this earlier in the week. And they came to the judgment that even with the difficulty it might cause them internally, this was such a problem, such a crisis, and the need to show solidarity with America and to help America and to help the rest of the civilized world, that was so important that they were willing to take risks. And I compliment them for that.
MS. BORGER: Do you trust the Pakistanis?
SECRETARY POWELL: I don't see any reason not to trust the Pakistanis. So far, they have been forthcoming. They have given assurances to me, they have given assurances to the President. And we will see now what they are actually going to do when specific requests are put before them. We have had a strong relationship with Pakistan for many, many years. We have been friends of Pakistan and the Pakistani people for many, many years, and I hope that friendship will continue and the relationship will grow.
MR. SCHIEFFER: Mr. Secretary, the last time you were on this broadcast, the Chinese were holding American airmen captives after the forcing down of the reconnaissance plane. And the first question I asked you that morning was, "What is your message to the Chinese?" I ask you the same question this morning because I remember that message. What you said was later put on Chinese television, and after that the crisis broke and the men were eventually freed.
I would ask you this morning: What is your message to the terrorists? What is your message to the American people?
SECRETARY POWELL: My message to the terrorists is that you don't know what you've gotten yourselves into. You have pulled America together in a time of tragedy. You will now see what we are made of. You will see the steel that holds up this country. You will see our determination. You will see our firmness. And you will realize you are at war with a powerful adversary who will defeat you.
And we will do what is necessary. We will use all the instruments of power available to us: domestic power, the strength of our society and protecting ourselves domestically; internationally with our diplomatic efforts, our military efforts, intelligence, law enforcement. You are going to see the full weight of the American Government and the American people brought to bear against this kind of activity.
To the American people, I would say we have a tragedy that we will get through. It is so reassuring to see American flags out again, to see the pride that exists within our country, to see our country coming together. It shows who we are and what we are. And I would say to the American people: We will prevail.
MR. SCHIEFFER: Secretary of State Colin Powell. Thank you so much.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE Office of the Spokesman
For Immediate Release September 16, 2001
Secretary Of State Colin L. Powell On CNN's Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer
September 16, 2001
MR. BLITZER: Now let's go back to the diplomatic effort involving the United States to try to put together a coalition against terrorism. Earlier today I spoke with the Secretary of State, Colin Powell.
Mr. Secretary, thank you so much for joining us. Who is responsible for these attacks?
SECRETARY POWELL: Well, the prime suspect, I think, is the al-Qaida organization, which is essentially a holding company of terrorist organizations that have worldwide presence. And the head of the al-Qaida organization is Usama bin Laden.
Now, the evidence is still mounting but certainly that organization, al-Qaida, is the prime suspect.
MR. BLITZER: Do you believe that other terrorist organizations were cooperating with al-Qaida and Usama bin Laden?
SECRETARY POWELL: We don't have enough information yet to make that case, but we are looking at every lead we have. Right now, the prime suspect is al- Qaida, which is headed by Usama bin Laden.
MR. BLITZER: Is there any evidence that any state in the region or around the world may have supported, financed, directed, this operation?
SECRETARY POWELL: We have not seen any such links yet, but you can believe we are working hard to see whether such links exist.
MR. BLITZER: How do you do that? How do you find out if there are such links?
SECRETARY POWELL: Well, as you know, the FBI and other agencies of government are hard at work. Some 4,000 FBI agents are working on this. And as they look at those 19 terrorists who killed themselves September 11th, they will start to turn up leads. And they'll follow those leads and follow them wherever it takes them, one, to make sure there are no other terrorists loose in the country, and, if there, let's get after them and get on them and roll
it up; and also, to find out the origins of this group and to go after those
origins and pull up the sources and to find those who gave them haven, those
who gave them support, those who gave them financial support, and start ripping up this entire network.
That is why we keep saying it's going to be a long-term campaign against this enemy, whether it is al-Qaida or any other terrorist organization that comes
after us, our interests, or, frankly, those after the civilized world.
MR. BLITZER: When you say long term, how long?
SECRETARY POWELL: We're probably going to be in the counter-terrorism business at a very high level of intensity for as long as anyone can imagine, as long as there are people out there who are willing to do the kinds of things those terrorists did this week, then we're going to have to be on guard and constantly looking for them, trying to penetrate them and trying to stop
them -- and not just respond to them, but to stop them; get ahead of them, to get inside their decision cycle.
MR. BLITZER: This is not weeks or months, but this is years?
SECRETARY POWELL: No, no. In the near term we will go after the specific organization responsible for what happened at the World Trade Center, at the
Pentagon. And we'll get the evidence and we'll get the goods on them. And
we'll go after them. And we've already started that. You've seen the diplomatic effort that we've made over the last four or five days, which has
produced results already. And then we will do whatever is necessary to take
care of this organization and make sure they are not able to commit this kind of offense against us again and against the civilized world.
It's important to remember that it's not just US citizens who were lost here. Some 40 countries lost people in the World Trade Center. And they are all outraged. The whole world is outraged over this kind of terrorist incident.
And it has to be a worldwide response, a worldwide campaign using all the tools that are available to the United States and available to like-minded nations around the world who see this as a scourge on the face of the Earth to do something about it.
MR. BLITZER: As you know, Usama bin Laden and al-Qaida, his organization, have operated within Afghanistan, supported -- if you will -- by the Taliban
regime over there. The United States occasionally talks to the Taliban leadership. What are you saying to them right now?
SECRETARY POWELL: Well, we're not talking to them right now. But I expect we will be in the days ahead. And we are going to make it clear to them that they must comply with previous directions they have received from the United
Nations and other organizations to stop this, to expel this organization, to
destroy this organization, or to help us to destroy this organization. And they will be held accountable for the support they have given to this organization if that's who we finally determine is responsible and we are going after them.
They will have to make their choice -- whether they want to be on the receiving end of the full wrath of the United States and others, or whether they want to get rid of this curse that they have within their country.
MR. BLITZER: Do you have any expectation that they will change their policy
and cooperate now with the US and the west and arrest, if you will, Usama bin Laden?
SECRETARY POWELL: I'm not carrying an expectation. The only thing I'm looking for is results. They either do or they don't. It's binary -- yes or no. You either respond to this crisis, this tragedy, this horrible thing that was perpetrated by perhaps al-Qaida and Usama bin Laden. And all, all the indications point in that direction. You either respond and rip them up, help us rip them up, get rid of them, or you will suffer consequences.
MR. BLITZER: Now, specifically what does that mean to the Taliban, who may be watching right now?
SECRETARY POWELL: They will --
MR. BLITZER: What kind of consequences will they suffer?
SECRETARY POWELL: They will suffer consequences. We have a variety of means at our disposal, which are political, diplomatic, international, military, intelligence -- lots of things that are available to us. All the elements of national power will be brought to bear on this problem.
The Taliban have a problem right now in hosting this kind of regime, in the form of the al-Qaida regime, the al-Qaida network, and those who support the
al-Qaida network. And they will have to make a choice as to whether or not they are willing to pay the price that they may have to pay to continue to support this kind of activity.
MR. BLITZER: As you well know, there have been reports over the years that this organization, al-Qaida, Usama bin Laden's troops and forces, have also operated in Yemen, in Sudan, and other countries. Are you giving them the same warning?
SECRETARY POWELL: Yes. We are talking to all of our friends and partners in this coalition. And what we are saying to them, not necessarily a warning, but saying to them, look, this is the time to end this. Whatever host support you have been providing to this network, stop it. There are UN resolutions and there are other directions from international communities that these things should be ejected from your country, these kinds of cells, this kind of activity.
And we are just going to remind them of their responsibilities and let them know it will be a means by which we measure our relationship with them in the future. It's not necessarily a warning; it's just a clear statement of fact
and principle. We are going after them, and you can either help us go after
them, and if you choose not to help us go after them, this will have an effect on the relationship that we have with you.
MR. BLITZER: There are reports this morning that the Government of Pakistan
is now about to send a delegation into Afghanistan and demand the arrest of Usama bin Laden. Did you ask Pakistan to do that?
SECRETARY POWELL: We have asked Pakistan for a number of things. I have seen that report, and our Ambassador in Islamabad is in touch with Pakistani authorities. And I know the Pakistani Ambassador will be on your show a little later this morning. But I cannot confirm yet exactly what the Pakistanis might be doing tomorrow.
I know that there is movement in such a direction, and I know that the Pakistanis have made some contacts in the UN on such a move. But we will wait to see, but I am not in a position right now to confirm it.
MR. BLITZER: Have you been in direct touch -- I know the President has spoken to President Musharraf, Pervez Musharraf, the leader of Pakistan. What specifically has the United States asked Pakistan to do?
SECRETARY POWELL: Well, as you know, the President did speak to him yesterday. I spoke to President Musharraf several days earlier and Deputy Secretary Armitage spoke to some associates of the president who were in town. And we gave them a list of things that we thought they should be responsive to, and we would be giving them greater specificity with respect to what we wanted off that list in due course.
But since that is a matter of, as you can imagine, sensitive diplomatic discussions between the two sides, I think it's best that we follow up on that list. They have come forward with a very supportive statement. They have said yes. And President Musharraf said that to President Bush against last night. And so what we now have to do is send a team to Islamabad as soon as
we have a better idea of what we will need and what kind of support might be
required, and talk directly to our Pakistani friends.
MR. BLITZER: When will that team leave, and who will head the delegation?
SECRETARY POWELL: It's not yet been decided, but I am sure it will not be in the distant future -- I would expect in the very near future, the next several days. And we will put the team together and determine who the head will be,
and when they go over they will also be working with our ambassador, Ambassador Wendy Chamberlain, who has been doing such a great job over the last four days.
MR. BLITZER: One of the statements issued by the Government of Pakistan is that they will cooperate as long as you don't get the Israelis and the Indians -- the Government of Israel and the Government of India involved in this because presumably they would be embarrassed. What is your reaction to that?
SECRETARY POWELL: Well, we'll see what their position is. We'll talk to them. And right now, you know, we are not planning a -- we do not have a multi-national force going anywhere yet. And so we understand the sensitivities that would be involved in anything that might involve India or
Israel. And we will take those sensitivities into account. At the end of the day we will do what we think is appropriate and necessary.
MR. BLITZER: Have the Pakistanis agreed to allow the US to go over their air space with missiles or with planes if, in fact, there is going to be a military operation aimed at Afghanistan?
SECRETARY POWELL: What we are going to do is sit down with the Pakistanis and discuss with them what we might need. I don't want to give any indication or hints as to what might or might not be planned as a military operation or a diplomatic operation or any kind of international initiative at this time.
MR. BLITZER: What about their ground positions as staging points? Or their
ports for US naval vessels to --
SECRETARY POWELL: We have not approached them yet on any specific requirements. And when we do it will be in a confidential channel so we are
not giving any indication of what we might or might not be doing militarily.
MR. BLITZER: If you look at the map of Afghanistan, it's landlocked. To the north is Uzbekistan, one of the republics of the former Soviet Union. Is there any need for cooperation, for example, from Uzbekistan?
SECRETARY POWELL: We will be talking to the Uzbek authorities. There may be something they can assist us with. But we will explore that with them. They have been forthcoming.
MR. BLITZER: And as you know to the west is Iran. Any prospect at all of seeking and receiving cooperation from Iran?
SECRETARY POWELL: Iran has always had difficulty with the Taliban regime and recognized the nature of that regime. And they gave a rather forthcoming statement of condolence and how there might be ways of cooperating with us in the response to what happened. But at the same time we have always seen Iran as a state that sponsors terrorism. So we will explore what they have said to us without making any commitments, of course.
And if they are interested in fighting terrorism, it has to be terrorism not
just related to this incident but terrorism of the kind that they have sponsored in the past. So if this represents a new page in Iranian thinking, then let's see what's written on that new page.
But we're prepared to explore. But we have no illusions about the nature of
the Iranian regime.
MR. BLITZER: So you would want them specifically, for example, to back off in their support of Hezbollah?
SECRETARY POWELL: Yes, they can't say we will help you fighting terrorism here but we will not help you fighting terrorism elsewhere. Terrorism is terrorism. And Hezbollah is a threat to the region, just as al-Qaida is a threat to the world. And I think we have to see this not only as a struggle
against what happened the other day and a struggle against al-Qaida, if that's who we ultimately determine we should go against. But there are other acts of terrorism that take place perpetrated by other terrorist organizations. And
so it is a scourge, as I said before, against civilization. And we have to go against this scourge in the most comprehensive way possible.
MR. BLITZER: Are Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and other states in the Gulf, in the Persian Gulf region with whom the United States has close relations, are they ready to cooperate militarily with the United States in this new war?
SECRETARY POWELL: They are ready to cooperate. They have all been supportive. Now, we have not asked them for any particular military components of that cooperation yet, but I have been very impressed by the speed with which our moderate Arab friends in the region have come forward to express condolence and also show support. Saudi Arabia particularly reminded everybody that they stripped Usama bin Laden of his citizenship years ago and consider him a disgrace to his Saudi heritage. Senior Saudi clerics have spoken out strongly against this kind of activity in the last several days. I am pleased with that.
We have also heard from Israel and so many other friends. So lots of people
are coming forward. But we haven't placed any specific military requirements or demands or requests on any of them yet.
MR. BLITZER: Where does the Iraqi president, Saddam Hussein, fit into this entire scenario for war?
SECRETARY POWELL: Well, he is one of the more despicable persons on the face of the Earth, and we have not heard of course -- and wouldn't expect to hear
from the Iraqis -- any sense of understanding of this loss of life and the fact that not just the United States, but 40 other nations, to include Arab nations who lost lives in the World Trade Center. So far, we have not discerned any link between the Iraqi Government and what happened the other day, but we are certainly examining links that might exist between what happened the other day and any country and any terrorist organization in the
world. We are determined to run this to ground, get them out of their holes, pull it all out, see what's there, and then deal with it.
MR. BLITZER: Over the years since your experience as a young officer in Vietnam and during the course of your more subsequent experience, you have come up with what is called The Powell Doctrine: a defined mission, overwhelming force, exit strategy.
Let's go through that right now. What is the defined mission?
SECRETARY POWELL: To make sure that nothing like this happens again; and to
make sure nothing like this happens again by going after the sources, the terrorist sources and those who harbor terrorist activities and terrorist groups; and destroying those networks, those groups; and making sure it is no longer in anyone's interest to harbor or provide haven to such groups.
MR. BLITZER: It sounds like a very broadly defined mission.
SECRETARY POWELL: It isn't. No, I think it's pretty specific. It is a broad mission, but it is a very specific mission.
MR. BLITZER: Overwhelming force. What should that require?
SECRETARY POWELL: It requires political, diplomatic, intelligence, law enforcement, financial and military effort -- all coming together in a campaign. And nobody should think this is going to be we go in and it's over in two days and we're out. This is going to change the way we do business.
It's going to change the way we go about our daily life here in the United States. It is going to require a greater emphasis on homeland defense so we
can defend ourselves against those who, notwithstanding our best efforts overseas, are still trying to get into the country to hurt us. And so we should see this as a long-term campaign, and do apply decisive force to it.
And that force isn't just military force; it's all the elements of national power that are at our disposal.
MR. BLITZER: Presumably, beyond the 50,000 reservists and National Guard troops who are being activated, the number could go way up.
SECRETARY POWELL: But don't just see it in terms of activating reservists.
The Pentagon has a fabulous force, all of whom now want to be a part of this
campaign. But just don't see it in those distinctly military terms because,
in fact, going after a lot of these cells and finding these people, it's more an intelligence war, and we have got a great intelligence community. It's a
law enforcement war. It's finding out how they get their finances, how do they move people, how do they cover people when they get into a place like the United States. They were in this country legally.
And so it's that kind of war which isn't just a military war. It's a different kind of war. And the so-called Powell Doctrine, as you describe it, can cover this kind of contingency as well: Use all the forces at your disposal, make sure you know what you're going after, and stick with it until you succeed and get that decisive victory.
MR. BLITZER: And what is the exit strategy?
SECRETARY POWELL: That was never part of the Powell Doctrine, but I'll accept the question. The exit strategy is when we know that the American people are living in safety without this kind of a threat. And it may be a long time before we can create such circumstances again, but we will get there because
we are a proud people, we are a strong people. Notwithstanding the depth of
this tragedy and the sadness it has inflicted upon our nation, look at the strength that has emerged, look at how people are shaking each other's hands
and hugging each other again and going to our churches and mosques and synagogues and reinforcing our belief in our society. They can knock down buildings, they can kill thousands of us and cause so many Americans to grieve. They can't destroy our society. They can't destroy who we are. They can't destroy America.
MR. BLITZER: Since 1976 when President Ford was in the White House, there has been this executive order on the books. Let me read it to you. "No person employed by or acting on behalf of the United States Government shall engage
in or conspire to engage in assassination."
Is it time to change that?
SECRETARY POWELL: It is still on the books, and as part of our campaign plan we are examining everything -- how the CIA does its work, how the FBI and Justice Departments does its work. Are there laws that need to be changed or new laws brought into effect to give us more ability to deal with this kind of threat? So everything is under review.
MR. BLITZER: What is the difference now, as opposed to ten years ago when you led the US military? You were Chairman of the Joint Chiefs in the Gulf War.
What is the biggest difference between this war and that war?
SECRETARY POWELL: That war was easy to see, easy to define, with an enemy that essentially sat there waiting to be attacked when we finally did attack
it. In this case, the enemy is clever, more resourceful, broken down across
the world in many, many countries in small cells, doing everything to remain
hidden, with a long-time horizon. They will take months and years to plan an operation. And so it is a much more difficult enemy to find and fix. But that's what we're working on -- finding them and fixing them. And when we find them and fix them, then we will go in and finish them.
MR. BLITZER: So what I am hearing you saying is that there still may be terrorists at large even here in the United States right now?
SECRETARY POWELL: I can't ignore that possibility. It would be foolish to do so. And I can assure you that the law enforcement activities of the United States Government are following every lead. Four thousand FBI agents are working this in the field. Another 3,000 support personnel are working. The CIA and many other agencies are hard at work using their vast resources to go after this problem and to deal with that possibility.
MR. BLITZER: And finally --
SECRETARY POWELL: At the same time, even though there may be people wandering around, America has got to get back to work. We have got to get back to some sense of normalcy. If we stick in our bunkers and walk around afraid, they will have won. Well, we're not a fearful people. We know how to overcome tragedy and we will restore a sense of normalcy to this society, to this country very quickly in a way that will impress the world.
MR. BLITZER: On that note let me thank you, Mr. Secretary. Thank you very much.
SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you, Wolf.