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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
June 20, 2002

Press Briefing by Ari Fleischer

James S. Brady Briefing Room

12:20 P.M. EDT

MR. FLEISCHER: Good afternoon. Let me give you a report on the President's day, and I have two items I want to fill you in on, as well. The President began this morning with a CIA briefing, followed by his FBI briefing. And then the President toured and made remarks at the White House Fitness Expo, where he urged Americans to exercise more regularly as part of an ongoing, lifelong effort, which also is good for people's health care.

The President then dropped by a meeting with the President-elect of Colombia -- I'll have more on that for you in a minute. Later this afternoon, the President will make remarks to the Business Roundtable about the economy and Social Security and the importance of corporate governance and good corporate governance.

And finally, this evening the President will make remarks to the 3rd Biennial Leon H. Sullivan Summit Dinner. This dinner is to pay tribute to the late Reverend Dr. Leon Sullivan and his efforts to bridge relations between America and Africa, at an annual conference that Dr. Sullivan started of African national leadership and a biracial group of American business and community leaders.

I earlier today put out some information about the funding in that. I hope everybody was able to take a look at that information.

During the visit that the President had with the President-elect, President-elect Uribe of Colombia, the President met with him, along with Dr. Rice. President-elect Uribe stated his government's determination to continue a strong bilateral relationship and to work closely with the United States on our shared objectives. President Bush reiterated U.S. support for Colombia in its efforts to counter both narcotics trafficking and terrorism. President Bush and President-elect Uribe talked about the need to fight terrorism within the framework of democratic institutions and with full respect for human rights.

The President, also this morning, spoke with Prime Minister Sharon of Israel. The President expressed his sympathy for the families of those who have been victimized in the recent suicide attacks. The President also expressed his determination to pursue peace and to provide for a security for Israel, and hope for the Palestinian people as a result of his efforts to pursue peace in the region.

With that, I'm happy to take your questions.

Q How long was the phone call, Steve wants to know, and could you also tell Steve whether he briefed the Prime Minister at all about his upcoming speech?

MR. FLEISCHER: They spoke for about 10 to 15 minutes, and most of the conversation was about condolences and sympathy for what Israel is going through, what the people of Israel are going through, and the sheer quantity of the number of people who have been killed or injured recently.

The President reiterated, just as I indicated, his determination to push for peace and to find a way to provide more security for Israel and hope for the Palestinian people.

Q Did he give him an idea about what his plan will be?

MR. FLEISCHER: They talked generally, Ron.


Q Has he talked to the NSA Director about the information that's flowed out of it concerning 9/11?

MR. FLEISCHER: I don't know that the President talked to General Hayden today. They do talk from time to time; I don't know if they talked today.

Q What does he think about -- I mean, does he think the American people have a right to this information? Or is he so obsessed with leaks -- so-called leaks, which is information, that he doesn't think we should have this?

MR. FLEISCHER: I think your question is in regard to a report that was in the newspapers and widely on TV yesterday and this morning that had extraordinarily specific information that was provided under a promise of confidentiality to the committees that are doing the investigation of events leading up to 9/11. And the information that was leaked is alarmingly specific. And the President does have very deep concerns about anything that would be inappropriately leaked that could in any way endanger America's ability to gather intelligence information, anything that could harm our ability to maintain sources and methods, and anything that could interfere with America's ability to fight the war on terrorism.

The President was deeply concerned about these leaks. We do not know who did it. The President earlier today asked the Vice President to call the chairmen of the committees who are doing the investigation. The Vice President spoke with Congressman Goss and with Senator Graham to convey the President's concerns about anything that would be released that could indeed harm America's ability to gather information and to maintain access to that information. And the President and the Vice President are satisfied that the chairmen will address this issue.

Q Would a blue ribbon commission keep a secret better?

MR. FLEISCHER: No, I have no reason to believe that. I think it was just a case of this committee has important obligations. The President believes the committee understands that. The chairmen certainly do. And, as I indicated, the Vice President spoke to the two chairmen and the President is confident that it will be addressed and addressed wisely and properly.

Campbell. I'll come back, Helen.

Q Can you explain why these intercepts, in particular, what was reported -- without confirming it -- what we've all read about in the papers would be a threat to national security?

MR. FLEISCHER: Let me try to walk it through as specifically as I possibly can without giving you in any way at all any indication about whether whatever has been leaked is true or not true, because I won't discuss that.

The problem we have as a free society and a democratic society that places an important value on providing information to the press and to the public is we are in the middle of a war, and one of the ways to prevent attacks on the United States and to win the war is to be able to obtain information from our enemies. And I'm not going to describe how we obtain information from our enemies. But common sense shows and says that if our enemies know, with great specificity, that we have means of obtaining things that they say, and all of a sudden they find out that something they said with specificity is known by our government, they're going to change their methods.

Sometimes people get lazy, sometimes people forget. It is not helpful to the cause to provide specific information that makes people take efforts to avert America's ability to defend itself or to protect itself.

And in 1998, as a result of an unauthorized disclosure of intelligence information, it was revealed publicly that the United States had Osama bin Laden's satellite phone. As soon as it was publicly revealed, we never heard from that source again. We never again heard from that satellite phone.

That can damage America's ability to know important information that this government needs to protect the country. Public disclosure of that information can damage our ability to protect the country. So the President does feel very strongly about it. He has concerns, and those concerns were conveyed. And the President is confident that it was well-received.

Q Was this information put out in a closed meeting of the committee?


Q So everyone on the committee knew about it?

MR. FLEISCHER: I think that you'd have to ask that to the appropriate people on the committee, but, yes, it was put out in a closed session.

Q Ari, is the implication of the --

MR. FLEISCHER: And that's not confirming the specific information, Helen. But it was a closed session at which people apparently have said some things.

Q Isn't the implication of the Vice President's phone call that you believe that this information came off the Hill? And if so, how do you know that? I mean, the sourcing of the stories is "intelligence official."

MR. FLEISCHER: Reporters reported it yesterday. You can just look at the reporting, and the reporting says "congressional sources."

Q I looked at that stories. There are a couple of stories in the Post and in the Wall Street Journal today that quote "intelligence sources." And one of them quotes a "senior administration official" commenting on the matter. So have you also taken actions to make sure that -- to determine whether there was a leak from the administration and --

MR. FLEISCHER: The President is satisfied it's not coming from his administration. And again -- I can cite you the news organization, if you're interested, that explicitly reported on the air in its TV report that their sources were from the Hill. Wherever the source is, the point is the same. This is not to finger-point, this is not to place blame. If it comes from the administration, it's wrong. If it comes from the Hill, it's wrong. No matter where the source, no matter where it comes from, we all are in this together, and everybody needs to remember the delicacy of this information and the sensitivity of the information, and the fact that making specific information of this nature public does raise important concerns, because it can harm our ability to continue to gather that information.


Q Can you tell us what happened last night in the evacuation of the White House, and why the President wasn't informed when some of us were hustled out to the street?

MR. FLEISCHER: A little bit after 8:00 p.m., when the President returned to the White House from the President's Dinner, the White House received information about a small aircraft that entered what is called the temporary flight restricted area of the White House. The aircraft did not enter the permanent space closer to the White House, but it did enter the temporary flight restricted area.

As a result, the Secret Service took precautionary steps to protect the White House, in case it was necessary. As events turned out, it indeed was not necessary to take any additional actions. The President was neither notified, nor moved because of the nature of the threat did not indicate that he needed to be.

Q Can you spell out why the President wasn't notified or moved, but there were agents coming through this part of the building saying, evacuate?

MR. FLEISCHER: And it's because of the precautionary nature of what the Secret Service is trained to do. And within that training, individual Secret Service agents are able to exercise their discretion in their immediate areas of watch. And so the Secret Service went through its routine, precautionary steps that they take. And again, there was never a threat to the President.

Q Just one more on this. We're told by the Pentagon that the F-16s that were scrambled from Andrews arrived here after the aircraft had left the restricted airspace. Do you think there are lessons to be learned about protecting the White House?

MR. FLEISCHER: Well, suffice it to say after any type of action at the White House of a potentially serious nature, the Secret Service always goes back and reviews. It's a part of what a good law enforcement agency always does -- takes a look and learns lessons from real life incidents to see if there's anything that can be done better, differently. That's something historically they do. I anticipate it always -- it will be done here, as well.

Q Because the F-16s were not in the air, but were on strip alert, and apparently could not have gotten here in time to intercept that aircraft had it had evil intentions, does this not raise a level of concern, and suggest that there is a security hole here, if someone wished to exploit it?

MR. FLEISCHER: Suffice it to say there are multiple levels of protection for the President that are somewhat redundant, that are overlapping. And I'm not going to be able to discuss each and every one of those. But again, the Secret Service is extraordinarily good at what they do. The President has full confidence in them. And I think last night's events bore that out.

Q But let me just follow up, if I may. The President wasn't informed. They didn't deem this to be of sufficient importance to inform the President or move him to a more protected place.

MR. FLEISCHER: Correct. Exactly right.

Q So, given the fact that this was potentially very dangerous, because it doesn't seem that the F-16s could have stopped it had it been here -- had they been trying to do some damage, it seems to be perhaps an error in judgment not to protect the President.

MR. FLEISCHER: He was protected. There was nothing that threatened him.

Let me remind you -- let me remind you, and you are all aware of this, there are incidents that take place at the White House. You are aware of fence-hoppers, you are aware of things of that nature, that don't rise to the President's level of attention, because it never put him in any physical harm.

And so, things come up, unfortunately, in our free society. Last night's event, as you all know, did not -- again, as I pointed out at the beginning, the plane entered the temporary, expanded, extended airspace around the White House. It did not enter the airspace closer to the White House. The Secret Service was ready, prepared to do anything they thought was necessary. It wasn't necessary.

Q Was this a lateral violation or an altitude violation?

MR. FLEISCHER: You would need to check with the FAA or the Secret Service.


Q Ari, again, you know, we're only a few yards away from the residence. Why the press, yes, and the President, no?

MR. FLEISCHER: Again, the Secret Service, acting within their authority, has discretion in any one area. And -- as well as the South Lawn, there were some staffers on the South Lawn helping set up this morning's event. They, too, were asked to leave. So, again, the Secret Service uses its judgment about where it's appropriate, where it's not.


Q Well, one more question. Was the President upset about not being briefed until this morning? What if he was watching the news last night and found out about an evacuation and then said, how come no one told me about it?

MR. FLEISCHER: Because it didn't rise to his level. Like I said, the President could be watching the news and he could hear that there was a fence-jumper at the White House. That happens. When there is a fence-jumper at the White House, do you think they tell the President every time? Of course not.


Q Isn't the President more important than the press? So why -- (laughter.) I assume.

MR. FLEISCHER: Oh, Elizabeth. (Laughter.) That's a softball. I know it's an exercise day here at the White House.

Q -- you didn't even bother to tell the President? I mean, is he considered more safe in the residence -- is that the answer -- than the press is here? It seems strange to me that you would -- you would not even tell the President and that you would get staffers out quickly.

MR. FLEISCHER: Again, staffers, as I indicated, some on the South Lawn, were asked to leave. Not all staffers were asked to leave. And the Secret Service makes those judgments.

Q -- considered more secure than other people at the White House?

MR. FLEISCHER: I think it's obvious the President is always kept the most secure person in the White House.

Q How did he find out this morning about the incident?

MR. FLEISCHER: He was notified by a staffer.


Q Can I just follow on? You said the Secret Service always reviews these matters after something happened. Is it fair to say NORAD is reviewing it as well about how quickly these F-16s were able to get into the air and whether any changes might -- is that under review?

MR. FLEISCHER: I don't know. You would have to check with DOD. I just don't know.


Q Isn't it also safe to say someone made a serious error in judgment, if one person decided to evacuate the press and another person, using the same information, decided to keep the President put?

MR. FLEISCHER: No, again, Secret Service agents acting in their area of proximity exercise their discretion and their judgment, and they did so last night. And, again, the Secret Service will take a look at everything and that's where we are.

Q Ari, I wanted to ask you about Colombia --

Q Hold on. Can I get one more?

MR. FLEISCHER: NBC had its question earlier. We'll come back up.

Q Ari, on another security matter, has the source of the bullet found at the speech last night been identified?

MR. FLEISCHER: I have not conclusively heard. This is a question you may want to address to the Secret Service.

Q What was that about?

Q What bullet?

MR. FLEISCHER: The question addressed a reporter last night found a bullet in a garage where the President was, and the press pool last night knew about this. And from all indications, it was a law enforcement official who simply dropped a bullet. (Laughter.)

Q That's very reassuring. (Laughter.)

MR. FLEISCHER: Well -- no, it's fair to say, if you take a look what happened with the Federal Reserve last night, with this, and then with the airplane, these things come in threes. And we had three false alarms that never rose to any higher level than that.

Q Is that agent now in Fargo?

MR. FLEISCHER: I'm sorry?

Q Is that agent now in Fargo? (Laughter.)


Q Getting back to the Middle East, did the President place the call to Prime Minister Sharon? Did he speak to any Palestinians? And is there any date for the President's Middle East speech?

MR. FLEISCHER: Secretary Powell has made a series of calls to Arab leaders today, and I think the State Department has already given some information about that. And the President is not, as he indicated this morning, giving a speech today. And we'll keep you informed about the timing of anything the President decides.

Q He placed the call to Sharon, I assume?

MR. FLEISCHER: In this case, actually, the Prime Minister placed the call to the President.


Q Ari, first on the speech, does the President hope to give this speech before he goes to Canada for the G-8?

MR. FLEISCHER: Jim, the President doesn't look at the trip to Canada as if that is an event that would dictate the timing of when to give the speech. The President will decide when to give the speech based on his sense of when the speech will do the most good to help the parties in the region. And so it could be before the trip to Canada, it could be after the trip to Canada. That will be a judgment the President makes.

Q So, in other words, he's looking for the right set of circumstances, when both sides might be receptive to his message, you're saying?

MR. FLEISCHER: The President is looking for the right circumstances, when all sides would be most receptive to his message.

Q And if I can get just one more question on the plane? I mean, clearly, the concern here is that you have a small plane which could have been, if you worry about worst-case, loaded with explosives. And yet the President was neither told nor moved.

MR. FLEISCHER: Correct. The reason the President was neither told nor moved was because the judgment was made, accurately so, that the plane did not pose a threat. I think it's fair to say that if the plane had continued on a different course or taken any different action from what the Secret Service knew it was taking, the Secret Service would have done differently. Of course so. The President would have been moved, the President would have been notified. But because of the path the plane was on, because of what the Secret Service knew, that did not rise to that level.

Q Well, then why evacuate the press?

Q You mean there was sufficient time, there was sufficient time given the speed of the airplane, that they would have had time to move him, is what you're suggesting?

MR. FLEISCHER: That's correct.

Q And I assume that there is defensive action that could have been taken here. Nevertheless, the President could have been exposed, if in fact that plane had gotten closer.

MR. FLEISCHER: Jim, again, as I say, the President has full faith in the Secret Service, in the judgments they make and in the resources they have, and in the soundness of their discretion.

Q And one of the differences between us and between the President is that it's easier to move one person to safety than to move a large group of people to safety? Is that part of the consideration here?

MR. FLEISCHER: Again, I leave it as I explained it earlier.

Q There was a story in The Washington Post this morning about European participants in the international security and assistance force in Afghanistan signing an agreement with the Afghan government, basically giving European participants in that force immunity from prosecution and arrest at any international court -- for example, the International Criminal Court. Some people say the Europeans speak with a double tongue, they make a fool of themselves. What's your take on it?

MR. FLEISCHER: Well, the United States is very concerned about U.S. forces on U.N. peacekeeping missions, and that they may be subject to politically motivated prosecutions by the ICC. U.S. forces on peacekeeping missions already enjoy immunity from prosecution in the countries that they are assigned to. We want to assure that these immunities are extended so that U.S. peacekeepers are not subject to ICC jurisdiction. And so those are the reasons the United States has taken the actions its taken, vis a vis the ICC.


Q Back to the leaks matter, did the Vice President in his conversations with the chairmen this morning suggest in any way that the White House is reconsidering the amount of information and the kind of information it shares, or that it would like that information to be shared with a smaller universe of people on the Hill?

MR. FLEISCHER: No, not that I'm aware of. I talked to the Vice President about his phone call. He didn't mention anything about that to me, so I don't believe so. What the Vice President said is that he and the President -- and I talked to the President about it -- they both have confidence in the chairmen's desire to address this issue.


Q Ari, can I come back --

MR. FLEISCHER: We'll come back. I want to get everybody new.

Q When the President spoke to Prime Minister Sharon, did he discuss with Prime Minister Sharon Israel's actions since the last two homicide bombings? And did he in any way suggest that Israel should limit its actions?

MR. FLEISCHER: What the President said vis-a-vis action was that he was looking for action from the Palestinians and the Palestinian Authority. The President said that it's very important for the Palestinian Authority to demonstrate in action that they will help crack down on the violence, and stop the violence and fight the violence, so that all parties in the region can live in peace and in security.

Q Can I just follow on that briefly, Ari? Could I just ask you, does the fact that --

MR. FLEISCHER: You'll lose yours.

Q No, he won't lose his.

MR. FLEISCHER: There are a lot of people in the back who don't have opportunities for their questions to be answered yet. And I've been getting a lot of complaints from reporters in the back that everybody in the front gets all the questions, if you know what I mean.

Q I was going to say it's all in the front row, not the third row. Ari --

MR. FLEISCHER: That's not what the people in the fourth row say.

Q Well, that may be, but it's certainly not -- I wanted to ask you, since yesterday's briefing we now know that it's the al Aqsa Brigade that claimed responsibility. That is part of Fatah. Does the President, therefore, regard Arafat in a sense as personally responsible for this latest incident?

MR. FLEISCHER: The President believes that Yasser Arafat needs to demonstrate that he wants to stop the violence, and to do so in action, not just rhetoric. Nothing's changed.


Q Thank you, Ari. It's well-proven that Iran is behind many of the suicide attacks on Israel. Is the President doing anything to halt Iranian support for Middle East terrorism?

MR. FLEISCHER: Well, as you know, in the President's State of the Union address he discussed Iran in a very straightforward way, and called Iran what Iran is, which is one of the members of, as the President called it, the "axis of evil." And the reason is because Iran, which is listed by the State Department as a terrorist state, supports and sponsors terrorism. It's an important issue and a serious problem.


Q The former President of the Southern Baptist Convention, the Reverend Jerry Vines, recently denounced Islam as a religion "founded by a demon-possessed pedophile who had 12 wives", and he went on to say that the God that Muslims worship is not the same as the God that Christians worship. Does the President agree with those statements?

MR. FLEISCHER: You've heard, Ken, the President say on numerous times that Islam is a religion of peace. And that's what the President believes.

Q This was in the Southern Baptist Convention, and organization the President recently praised for its tolerance. And yet several Baptist leaders have come to Reverend Vines' defense. Does the President have anything to say --

MR. FLEISCHER: Ken, I think you can go to any organization in this country, of any size, and find one individual or two individuals who will say something that is not representative of the organization.

Q That's a bigoted thing to say, though, isn't it?

MR. FLEISCHER: What he said?

Q Yes.

MR. FLEISCHER: It's something the President definitely disagrees with. The President said that Islam is a religion of peace.

But the President -- I'm not going to put the President in between everybody in this country who would say something that the President would strongly disagree with, and bring it to the White House podium. There are many people in many organizations who have said things that I don't put the President in between.

Q Ari, in the White House's reckoning, how many times has Yasser Arafat asked for an end to suicide bombings? And do you believe this Arafat request will bring an end to such mass murdering of civilians?

MR. FLEISCHER: This is why the President is so focused on creating this environment that I keep talking about, that provides security for the people of Israel and hope for the people of Palestine.

Q Hasn't he asked for it before?

MR. FLEISCHER: Yasser Arafat?

Q Arafat.

MR. FLEISCHER: Yasser Arafat has spoken on this issue. The President is still waiting for --

Q Before?

MR. FLEISCHER: Yasser Arafat has spoken on this issue. The President is still waiting for him to act.

Q There has been nationwide media coverage of a McKee's Rocks, Pennsylvania, councilwoman who has charged that racial profiling has been done by Dolpho, the borough's one police dog, for whom she has demanded the death penalty. And my question is, while I know of no law allowing the President a right to commute the capital punishment of a dog, as the owner of two beloved dogs, the President surely hopes that McKee's Rocks will not allow this execution on such an absurd charge, doesn't he, Ari?

MR. FLEISCHER: I think you just validated the point I was making to Terry that the President is not involved in every issue across America with everybody who does or says anything.

Q But he doesn't want that dog put to death, does he, Ari?

MR. FLEISCHER: Lester, I think you need to bark up a different tree. (Laughter.)


Q The Supreme Court today ruled that retarded people cannot be executed. Given his stand on the death penalty in some of the cases that -- some of the people who were put to death in Texas when he was governor, does he agree with that ruling?

MR. FLEISCHER: The President supports the death penalty for those people who commit violent, heinous crimes because he believes that it saves lives. The President has previously said, and you're aware of this, that we should not execute people who are mentally retarded. Federal law already prohibits the execution of mentally retarded -- Texas law, under Texas law, juries are required to consider such mitigating factors during both the trial phase and the sentencing phase that deal with issues involving mental abilities.

Q When was it he said that? Was that during the campaign, do you recall?

MR. FLEISCHER: That was in summer of 2001.

Q When the President, Ari, faced this issue as governor, did he ever have to deal with a mentally retarded --

MR. FLEISCHER: The President supported laws in Texas -- here's what the Texas law calls for. The Texas law provides protections that provide juries the ability to determine whether a felon convicted of a capital crime fully comprehends an understands the difference between right and wrong and the nature of the crime they committed and the consequences of their actions. And that's required under Texas law for juries to consider. That's the Texas law.

Q Did he ever have a case in front of him involving someone who was to be executed who was -- who was claiming mental retardation --

MR. FLEISCHER: I don't know, Ken.

Q And you can be mentally retarded and -- that isn't necessary under Texas law.

MR. FLEISCHER: That's a description of the Texas law. And, as I indicated, the President is on the record as saying that we should not

execute people who are mentally retarded. That's what he said.

Q President Bush met today with the President-elect of Colombia, Alvaro Uribe Velez, who won a resounding mandate in the first round of elections. He won it because of his stand on taking sterner measures to stop terrorism. Having met Mr. Uribe, does the President feel now Colombia will take tougher measures? Will Colombia be a bigger ally, a stronger ally in combating what you said, narco-trafficking and terrorism, under Uribe?

MR. FLEISCHER: Colombia certainly does face a terrorist threat from within, that is involving narco-terrorism. The FARC has been kidnapping legislators. And the President has expressed his support for the people of Colombia and the effort to counter and to fight this terrorism that is within Colombia's borders and in the region. And the President will be a strong supporter of the Colombian people, in that regard.

Q Does he feel that the new President, when he takes office, will be the better partner in that war? That's what I'm saying.

MR. FLEISCHER: The President believes that the new President will be an ongoing partner in that war, yes.

Q Ari, what would be the President's objectives in going to Africa?

MR. FLEISCHER: Well, Africa is a key region in the world. And the President is very pleased that early in his administration he signed what's called the African Growth and Opportunity Act, or AGOA. This is a measure that takes down tariffs and barriers to trade with Africa. And there are several nations within Africa that are surging in trade. And this presents important opportunities not only to help the people of these African nations to have a better chance of an economic future, it helps Americans, too, in creating jobs here at home as we trade more with Africa.

So the President looks forward to visiting, and we'll work on and we'll announce to you the list of the specific countries later, closer to the trip. But the President looks forward to going to Africa to talk about some of the successes.

Q What about the AIDS problem?

MR. FLEISCHER: And, of course, on the AIDS problem, that is something that tears at the President's heart. And the President has made a series of announcements to create a global AIDS fund, working with the United Nations, to help combat AIDS worldwide, particularly in Africa where it is running rampant in many countries. The President just yesterday announced an initiative that's aimed at fighting mother-to-child transmission of AIDS. It's a vital issue. It is an issue that in so many places in Africa is running rampant, denying people their ability to even have a future. And the President is committed to working to try to address that, to reverse that, and to help the people of Africa have what they deserve, which is the same chance at life of everybody else in every other continent in the world.

Q Ari, one more on the Middle East in response to Deb's question. Can we conclude from your answer that during that conversation the President did not ask Israel to exercise restraint, or did not convey in any way the hope that this would be a temporary move, the retaking of Palestinian lands?

MR. FLEISCHER: I think I addressed that yesterday, and the answer remains the same.

Q But this was a conversation they had today. So did the President convey in any way to the Israelis --

MR. FLEISCHER: Our policy is the same.

Q Did he convey that to the Israeli leader --

MR. FLEISCHER: The President expressed his sympathy and his condolence for the attacks. The conversation was not a tactical conversation in regards to what Israel is doing, should do, et cetera. It was not that type of conversation. It was really the purpose of expressing condolences and sympathies.

Q On Arafat, if I could, Ari, I know that you -- the view is that words are not enough. But what did you think of his words today?

MR. FLEISCHER: Again, the President is focused on action. And I don't think it should surprise anybody that if you're in a position of would-be responsibility and hoped-for responsibility in the world, you would think that these people would want to take the action at a leadership level to stop the violence that is coming from land that their authority controls. It is the natural thing to do. And it's not yet being done. And the President is a bottom-line leader; he is focused on results, he's looking for results.

THE PRESS: Thank you.

MR. FLEISCHER: Thank you.

END 12:52 P.M. EDT


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