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Welcome to "Ask the White House" -- an online interactive forum where you can submit questions to Administration officials and friends of the White House. Visit the "Ask the White House" archives to read other discussions with White House officials.

Sean McCormack
National Security Council Spokesman
April 9, 2004

Sean McCormack
Hi, I'm Sean McCormack, it is a pleasure to be able to answer you questions. For those of you who don't know, I am the spokesman for the National Security Council as well as the Deputy White House Press Secretary for Foreign Affairs. I work both for Dr. Rice and Scott McClellan.

Jerry, from Rancho Murieta, CA writes:
This is not really a question, but I am seeking a site where I can email Ms Rice to tell her how proud we are of her phenomenal job testafying before the 9-11 Commission earlier today. I am appalled at the line of questioning by the clearly biased Democratic members; it showed without question that this "kangaroo court" is just that, attempting to discredit the Bush White House for not taking action in 233 days of office, when the Clinton Administration demonstrated 8 full years of inaction. The whole idea of the commission is an outrage and is an embarrassment to our country.

Sean McCormack
Hi Jerry

Let me just say that Dr. Rice believes she was treated fairly and with respect while she testified before the Commission. She was pleased to be able to speak directly to the Commission and to the American people so that they could both understand better what actions their government took prior to 911; what actions their government took on 911; and what we have done after 911 to try to better protect the American people and American interests around the world.

Kevin, from Palm Beach, FL writes:
Do you think the war on global terrorism is making a improvements in eliminating terrorists' networks around the globe?

Sean McCormack

After 911 the President and his National Security team developed and are pursuing a three fold strategy to take the fight to the terrorists.

First, we are going after individual terrorists and terrorist networks in an attempt to disrupt and prevent the possible future terrorist attacks. The goal of these actions is to break apart these terrorist networks.

One good example of this was the capture and arrest of Hambali -- a key Al Qaida associate we believe responsible for the bombings in Bali, Indonesia.

Second, we are acting to try and make the terrorist world smaller by cutting off their sources of funding and territory available to them from which they can plan and launch attacks.

For example, in Afghanistan we eliminated Al Qaida's primary training area and safe haven.

And third, we must also try to change the environment that has produced individuals willing to fly airplanes into crowded buildings. As part of this effort, Iraq is among other things part of this effort.

We have eliminated the most dangerous regime that was sitting in the world's most unstable region. No longer will Saddam Hussein be able to harbor and support terrorists and he will no longer be a threat to his neighbors and population.

An Iraq which is free, stable and prosperous can serve as a beacon of hope for all in the region.

Ian, from Washington writes:
Mr. McCormack, The current uprising in Iraq presents a significant threat to the Administration's plan to meet the June 30 dealine for a transfer of power.

How does the Administation plan to sucessfully transfer power in lieu of a Sunni and Shiite rebellion?

Sean McCormack
It is important to remember that the Iraqi people want a transfer of sovereignty on June 30. This is an important date for them and we will in concert with our coalition partners and others transfer sovereignty back to the Iraqi people on that day.

It is no coincidence that the enemies of freedom -- foreign terrorists, former regime elements -- seek now to prevent that transfer of sovereignty. Why? Because they understand that Iraq is now the central front in the war on terrorism and that moving forward with this transfer of sovereignty will deal a blow to their efforts intended to take back all the gains realized by the Iraqi people over the past year.

We are witnessing efforts by an extremist cleric to make a power play in Iraq. He will fail. Our troops are performing magnificently in Iraq and they will stand with the Iraqi people in the fight for freedom.

We are with them now and we will stand with them as well after June 30.

Sharon, from Maine writes:
We want to state that Condoleeza Rice gave an unwavering public testimony, and she did it with grace and as a lady, although she was badgered by some of the liberals on the commission panel. Is it your strong assertion that Miss Rice was exceptional in her testimony?

Sean McCormack

As a fellow Downeaster, I appreciate your comment and your question.

I have the privilege everyday of working with Dr. Rice and my colleagues here at the White House. It was a source of pride for Americans to be able to see for themselves the person with whom I work everyday.

America should be proud that they have such a person working tirelessly on their behalf to make this world a safer and better place.

GERALD, from ANDRUS writes:


Sean McCormack
As Dr. Rice said yesterday this country is now at war. This President has mobilized all the elements of national power to harden the homeland and to take the fight to the terrorists.

There are thousands of dedicated government professionals who work day and night in the country and around the globe to try to ensure that terrorists are not able to strike us again.

This President and the people who work for him should take it as their most solemn duty to protect the American people.

This is not a guarantee, however. We have to be right 100 percent of the time and the terrorists have to get it "right" only once and they are trying every single day.

caleb, from Luverne,Alabama writes:
hi my name is caleb kelley and i'm 5 years old and i'm in kindergartin.i go to school at luverne elementary.why do we have to have nap time at school???????please don't make us have it anymore (.p.s. if your wondering who is typing this it is an eleven year old girl named jenna stone)

your very good friend, caleb james kelley

Sean McCormack

One bit of advice, there will come a time when you will WISH you had nap time. But in the meantime, it is important to study hard and above all, listen to your parents.

I'll pass your thoughts on to Dr. Rice.

Your very good friend,

Sean McCormack

Jan, from Nuremberg, Germany writes:
First question: Why doesn't the U.S. talk to Al-Qaida, other terrorist groups and terrorist regimes? Many people around the world including me think that diplomacy has to be improved, no matter whether they are enemies or not.

Sean McCormack
The simple fact of the matter is there is no negotiating with terrorists. They attack us because they hate freedom and our way of life. What we can do is work closely with other countries through diplomatic and other means to expand and deepen our coalition in the war against terrorism.

One of the great advances we have made in fighting the war on terrorism is our cooperation on the diplomatic, intelligence and law enforcement fronts. Through this cooperation we have been able to bring to justice many of those who would wish to do us harm.

In effect, we now have global web of intelligence cooperation that has as its main focus fighting terrorism. This is a great tribute to the President and all those who work to advance our diplomacy and intelligence cooperation.

Sean McCormack
Thank you for allowing me to answer your questions. I apologize to those who submitted questions and didn't receive an answer this time around. I hope to do this again sometime soon.

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