For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
September 24, 2001
Press Briefing Index
President's Schedule 1
Foreign Leader Visits 1
Education Loan Relief/Mortgage Relief 2
List of Terrorist Organizations/Freezing Assets 2-4; 6-8; 9; 17
Investigation/Evidence of Bin Laden 4-6; 9-10; 11-13
Arms Sales 6
Statement From Bin Laden 10-11
King Zahir Shah 13
Rudy Guiliani 13
Domestic Agenda 14-15
Pennsylvania Plane Crash 16
the White House
Office of the Press Secretary
Immediate Release September 24, 2001
the James S. Brady Briefing Room
1:02 P.M. EDT
MR. FLEISCHER: Good
afternoon. I want to give you an update on the President's
day. Earlier this morning the President called Thai Prime
Minister Thaksin to discuss ways the United States and Thailand can
cooperate in the war against terrorism.
He signed an executive order last night,
for which he held a ceremony in the Rose Garden today, with Secretary
O'Neill and Secretary Powell, in which he froze the financial assets of
terrorist organizations linked to the al Qaeda organization, or part of
the al Qaeda organization in the United States.
The President also held a meeting of his
National Security Council this morning. And, as we speak, he
is just concluding a luncheon meeting following his Oval Office meeting
with America's good friend, the Canadian Prime Minister.
Immediately following that, the President
will have a meeting with the families of passengers and the flight crew
of Flight 93, which, as you know, went down in southwestern
Later this afternoon, the President will
have a meeting of the Domestic Consequences Committee to discuss
domestic planning for how to help America recover from this attack.
Two foreign leader visits I want to bring
to your attention. The President will welcome Belgium Prime
Minister, who also is the President of the European Council,
Verhofstadt, on Thursday this week, the 27th. And he will
welcome King Abdullah of Jordan to the White House for a working visit
on Friday, September 28th.
Finally, let me give you an update on
several actions across the Cabinet, designed to help
America. Secretary of Education Rod Paige today directed
lenders and colleges and universities to provide members of the
National Guard relief from their student loan obligations -- these are
members of the National Guard who have been called up to active duty
service. Lenders will automatically postpone the student
loan payments of borrowers during the period of the borrowers'
Secretary Paige also announced that the
Department of Education is providing $500,000 to Connecticut's
Department of Education and providing $250,000 to the District of
Columbia's Department of Education, in immediate assistance to help
students and faculty and teachers directly impacted by the terrorist
There will be an announcement made shortly
this afternoon by Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Martinez,
along with Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, concerning mortgage payment
relief for reservists who are going on active duty status.
The Department of Justice, General
Ashcroft and several officials from the Department of Justice will be
testifying before the House Judiciary Committee today regarding the
legislative proposal to give the government additional tools to combat
terrorism. That testimony is scheduled for 2:00 p.m.
And, finally, at the Department of Labor,
Secretary Chao has announced today that the Department of Labor will
begin an education campaign for employers, as well as National Guard
and Reserve units to ensure that civilians called up for active duty
are re-employed in their previous jobs after completion of their
And with that, I'm happy to take your
Q Ari, what have we
got in terms of the list of organizations and individuals who are being
targeted to have their financial assets squeezed? What about the issue
of domestic fundraising? How much of a part does the White
House believe that may have played in this terrorist network?
MR. FLEISCHER: It's
unclear. And I think it's one of the most insidious signs of
what these organizations and front groups represent, because there may
very well be elements to these groups that help people, that help
children, that do work. And they can very well have received
money from Americans or from others abroad who thought they were doing
good for people who need relief.
But then there's another side to these
organizations, and that's why they're listed today as terrorist
organizations. They took that money, they diverted portions
of that money and used it to finance the war on -- their terrorist
actions. That's one of the items that we're up against.
Q Are you aware of
any specific incidence of domestic fundraising for the al Qaeda group?
MR. FLEISCHER: You'd have to
talk to Treasury for anything involving specific
examples. But in terms of these groups -- and that's why
they call them fronts, they do raise money from innocent people who
give for good reasons, but then unknown to many of those people, they
take that money and they use it for insidious purposes, including
Q Bin Laden was a
known and indicted terrorist when he came to office. And the
President in the campaign called terrorism one of the great threats of
our times. Why wasn't this done seven months ago?
MR. FLEISCHER: Well, if you
noticed, what was done today goes beyond anything that was previously
done. And there had already been an executive order in
place, signed by President Clinton.
What this does is allow the United States
government to go well beyond anything that was previously
done. And the principal way it does that is by sending a
message to foreign banks that they need to take action, and we're going
to work with foreign governments so they can take action against
anybody who -- any terrorist organizations or front groups that have
assets in foreign countries that are beyond the immediate reach of the
United States government.
But the signal being sent is if you don't,
we are prepared to take action against your financial interests in this
Q Why didn't this
administration send that signal two or three months ago? Why
did it take this tragedy to --
MR. FLEISCHER: Well, I think,
Ron, what you're seeing across the board is, unfortunately, this
tragedy has resulted in an increase of security -- domestic, financial,
diplomatic, political -- across the board. We were on a peacetime
footing. The previous executive order had been in
place. But this now goes beyond anything that was previously
Q Can I just follow
up on that one question? Is it unprecedented, then, for this
administration -- has an administration ever before done this, where it
says foreign banks, if you do not stop the flow of money going to
terrorist organizations we will put sanctions on you, we'll freeze your
assets in the U.S.? Was that ever done before?
MR. FLEISCHER: I have no
information about any precedence for it, in all the briefings I had,
this goes beyond anything that was previously done. I
believe it is without precedent.
Q Ari, yesterday
Secretary Powell was very precise that he was going to put out a report
on what we had on bin Laden that could be reported, and not
classified. Today, the President shot him down -- and he's
been shot down many, many times by the administration -- you seem to be
operating -- he also retreated a question of putting out a
report. No, I'm wrong?
MR. FLEISCHER: No, I think that
there was just a misinterpretation of the exact words the Secretary
used on the Sunday shows. And the Secretary talked about
that in a period of time -- I think his word was "soon" -- there would
be some type of document that could be made available. As
you heard the Secretary say today, he said "as we are able," as it
Q -- much more
emphatic yesterday, I thought.
MR. FLEISCHER: Well, I think he
said the word "soon," as I was reminded today by a very knowledgeable
official at the State Department, that's called "State Department
soon." And so it's fully consistent with what the President
has been saying and the Secretary said. You know, I mean,
look, it shouldn't surprise anybody. As soon as --
Q The American
people thought "soon" meant "soon." (Laughter.)
Q Is this a sign,
Ari, that --
MR. FLEISCHER: Kelly, let me --
I was getting there, I was answering Helen. Helen, what I
was saying is, it shouldn't surprise anybody that as soon as the attack
on our country took place, the immediate reaction is the investigations
begin. They begin with the intelligence agencies, they begin
with domestic agencies, they begin with a regular law enforcement
authorities. And they start to collect a whole series of
Some of that information is going to end
up in the form of grand jury information, which of course is subject to
secrecy laws. Others coming from intelligence services is by
definition going to be classified, and will be treated as such.
Over the course of time, will there be
changes to that, that can lead to some type of declassified document
over whatever period of time? That has historically been the
pattern, and I think that's what the Secretary was referring to.
Q That's 50 years
from now, if you're talking about a State Department white paper.
MR. FLEISCHER: Well, again, I'm
not aware of anybody who said, white paper, and the Secretary didn't
say anything about a white paper yesterday.
Q Is this a sign,
though, that allies, particularly Arab and Muslim allies, really want
to see the evidence because they're concerned about any potential
action in Afghanistan could lead to instability in the region, so they
want to be certain that you have the evidence?
MR. FLEISCHER: Actually, in the
course of the conversations that the President and the Secretary have
been having with foreign leaders, their support has been very
strong. And they also have information, they also have
knowledge. And I remind you, it's not just the United States
that collects information and knows that all roads lead to the al Qaeda
organization. Other nations have similar means of collecting
Q Ari, it does seem
that across the board, on proving that these charitable organizations,
non-governmental organizations, banks have links to terror; on proving
that bin Laden is behind these acts; on what plans the administration
has post whatever movement we make in Afghanistan; the answer is
always, that's classified, trust us. Does that really serve
the democracy well if all this information on which the government is
basing its actions is classified?
MR. FLEISCHER: I think the
American people get it. I think they understand that as the
nation moves from a peacetime footing to a wartime footing, the
government's need to hold certain pieces of information closer is an
important need. And I think the American people are
accepting and understanding of that. And I think you all
will be the judge if you believe the government has gone too far.
But I don't think there's any indications
among the public, certainly, that that is the case. And I
think it's perfectly understandable, as people hide in Afghanistan
today, who know that if they were to start moving, the United States
would take action.
The one thing they want more than anything
else is, what information do we have that lets us know who they are and
where they are and how quick do we get that information. And
we are not going to provide that information.
Q Ari, on the issue
of Bush seeking power to lift the arms curbs. That's exactly -- these
are countries such as, or they could be countries such as Iran,
countries that we have formally, before, said that we are going to curb
our arms sales.
How different is that than what we
actually did with the Taliban, because we supported a government that
MR. FLEISCHER: I think that if
you didn't hear the President address that question today in the report
that you are citing he indicated is wrong.
Q Ari, back to the
list. A lot of former Clinton Treasury people who worked on
this somewhat have said that one of the big problems was technology,
especially in the Middle East, in terms of their banking system -- it
doesn't exist, it's nothing comparable to what we do
here. So how do you trace, how do you actually implement
what you're trying to do, when transactions are being made almost word
MR. FLEISCHER: There is no
doubt that in some nations this will be easier, in other nations it
will have more hurdles. But what has changed fundamentally
in the world, including many of the nations you cited, is the
recognition that this is entirely different from anything that anybody
has faced before, and that the nations of the world are going to war
And that has led to a much higher level of
cooperation, much more interaction between nations. I think
you'll have to develop it and watch it over time. The United
States is looking for good allies to help in this effort to shut down
the financial sources of the terrorists. And the cooperation
from nation to nation may be different.
But make no mistake that the world is
beginning to turn its sights on it in a way that has never been done
Q But there is a
fundamental problem in that the countries that are likely to be the
most resistant to providing you with the information you want are the
very countries where the technology doesn't exist, and it's easy for
them to say, we don't know.
MR. FLEISCHER: Perhaps,
Campbell. There is also evidence that that's not the place
that many of these terrorists like to put their money.
Q -- the Swiss and
the Cayman Islands and other governments, places where money is usually
-- large amounts of money are usually stashed and they have strict
rules about giving out information to law enforcement?
MR. FLEISCHER: As I indicated
earlier, we're going to continue to work with all nations around the
world and we're going to continue to see what the level of cooperation
is with each nation.
But make no mistake, what is so different
about the executive order the President signed last night is now the
United States is prepared to take action against nations that don't
take action themselves.
Q So the U.S. is
willing to take action against the Swiss?
MR. FLEISCHER: The United
States is prepared to take action against nations that don't help in
Q How will that
process work? For instance, you identify one of these groups
and you go to a foreign bank and say, we want you to freeze the assets
of this organization. Will the U.S. just attest that this is
linked to terrorists? Will they supply some sort of detailed
information? How do you avoid -- how do you do that and avoid using
sources and methods?
MR. FLEISCHER: Well, every case
is going to be different. And, again, the President signed
this last night, he announced it today in the Rose Garden. I
think these are good questions, but you may want to address these to
different foreign nations around the world.
I can't be in a position of being the
spokesperson for every bank or foreign nation around the
world. We'll see what they do to cooperate. But
as I indicated earlier, the cooperation around the world has never been
Q No, but I was
asking you what the administration intends to do, not what they intend
to do -- what you intend to do to give them information to convince
them? I mean, if someone came to a U.S. bank and said, by
the way, lock up this account because we think these guys are
terrorists -- you would have to go through some legal procedures, you
couldn't just say, oh, the Swiss told --
MR. FLEISCHER: I think the
Treasury addressed that this morning. You really -- Treasury
is going to be the preeminent authority -- and, of course, with State,
also -- in working directly with those nations. So if you
want to know what you're doing, what the government is doing with a
specific nation -- and as you point out, in accordance with laws --
those will be the most appropriate places to go.
Q On something we
talked about this morning. Will the government, will the
administration be asking courts for more leeway if challenged by
organizations or banks for evidences to why these charitable
organizations or banks are suspect or on this list?
MR. FLEISCHER: Well, under
domestic laws, these laws have been on the books and the President has
invoked his authority under the books, as you see in the executive
order he signed -- he gave the citations for the laws that were written
by the Congress, signed by previous Presidents, allowing the
administration at a time of emergency like this to enact these
So, of course, it is always going to be
done in accordance with those authorities.
Q But it will also
be litigated, undoubtedly, and there have been cases in the past where
judges and courts have said, unless you give us the evidence, we're
throwing out the case.
MR. FLEISCHER: Now you're into
hypotheticals, and that's why I also indicated that the President
signed it last night. He announced it today. I think you
need to let it unfold.
Q The Treasury --
the response from the Treasury Department to that this morning was, we
will act like responsible adults. I think those were the
words he used, even. I mean, you're really asking people to
trust the government on this. And without being more
specific, do you intend to be more specific soon?
MR. FLEISCHER: I think what you
need to do is talk to these foreign governments and talk to the foreign
banks and get their point of view. I think you are surmising
what their point of view may or may not be. And what's
happened in the world since September 11th is the levels of
international cooperation have never been so good. These
nations recognize that they have terrorist threats, as
well. They share an interest with us in drying up the assets
of those nations that practice terrorism or those organizations that
And so it's beginning with a fresh
cooperation that is unparalleled or unprecedented. That's
the context in which this action begins. And we'll see where
it goes over time.
Q On the question
of evidence, has the United States received information from other
countries that have supported America's case against bin Laden?
MR. FLEISCHER: Ed, I think it's
a safe bet to say the United States always works collaboratively with
its best friends around the world. And when I talked about
areas of cooperation that are available, you've heard the President say
one of the areas of cooperation will be in intelligence
sharing. You can always presume that's the case with our
Q A couple of these
trust funds that were outlined in the executive order today are
administered through the State Bank of Pakistan. Has
Pakistan agreed to freeze the accounts on these -- freeze the money in
MR. FLEISCHER: We've reached
out to many of the governments, or in the case of Pakistan, talked to
Pakistan about this action. And they've been very supportive
of what we are doing.
Q Is this going to
create any sort of diplomatic briar patch situation with coalition
members, since a lot of these banks --
MR. FLEISCHER: No, and that's
why I indicated also, it's not just American citizens who may have
given money to a cause that they believed in, that turns out to have an
insidious dark side, that took their money and diverted it to
terrorists. That happens abroad, as well. And
many of the people abroad who participated may not have known about the
darker side of some of these organizations.
But certainly now is a chance for all
nations around the world to stand with us -- and all people around the
world to stand with us, as they realize more information, thanks to the
information the United States provided this morning.
Q Ari, I just want
to make sure I understand the White House position in terms of evidence
in general. And I realize you're saying that a lot of
governments understand and share information privately. But
is there any plan to present public evidence so that the average
citizen, not just Americans, but people all over the world can
understand the case against bin Laden?
MR. FLEISCHER: Well, I think as
Secretary Powell said, there is hope to do that, and to do so in a
timely fashion, over some course of time. That's always important in a
democracy. In a democracy it's always important to provide
the maximum amount of information possible. But I think the
American people also understand that there are going to be times when
that information cannot immediately be forthcoming. And the
American people seem to be accepting of that.
Q But I really am
talking even bigger. You're talking about actions in other
parts of the world. And certainly you want the support of as
many people around the world as possible. I guess it seems
as though you're asking everyone to trust you, but without supplying
information to show why you should trust -- I mean, to go to a point
and then stop.
MR. FLEISCHER: Two
points. One, again, many of these nations know what we
know. And they are working with us, because they know a lot
of the things that we know. There are many conversations
that take place between the United States at the state level, at the
presidential level, with foreign leaders, that if there were to be a
transcript of that conversation, for example, it would be classified,
because they discuss secrets. There is a sharing of
information. You're presuming that there's no such sharing
of information in private. There can be, and there is.
That's not the type of information that
can always be publicly shared. And I think the country has an
appreciation for that. But you just have to gauge the
reaction of nations around the world for themselves. They
are working with us, because they believe us. They're
working with us because of things they know, and because of the trust
they hold in the United States government.
Q Ari, I just want
to follow on the Pakistan question. Without getting too much
into the fine details of this, one of the groups that's on the list is
the Harakat ul-Mujahidin, which provides a lot of the funding for the
resistance in Kashmir, the rebels in Kashmir. Do you have a
commitment from Pakistan yet to cut off funding -- or if by freezing
the assets of that group you would cut off funding to the rebels in
Kashmir? Has Pakistan signed on to that idea?
MR. FLEISCHER: I'm not in a
position to go down the list of each organization and tell you what the
international commitment is to take action on each of the 27 groups
that were listed today. You may want to refer that to the
Q A statement
broadcast today, apparently a fax from Osama bin Laden, in which he
called on Muslims in Pakistan to, "fight the American
crusade." A, does this administration believe the statement
is credible, and do you have any reaction to it?
MR. FLEISCHER: Well, there have
been so many different statements coming out of the Taliban that I
think the only statement that the President is looking for is a
statement of action. And the words that were issued today by
the Taliban are a chilly reminder about how serious and real this is.
The words of attack that they have
launched against freedom-loving people, Christians and Jews around the
world, is consistent with the statements that Osama bin Laden has made
in the past, urging people to rise up and kill Christians and
Jews. And it is a chilling reminder of how serious and real
Q Ari, a lot of
nations, foreign nations that have weak banking laws also serve to
create offshore tax havens for corporations. And the OECD
has been going after tax havens for a while; the Bush administration
hasn't shown a whole lot of support for that effort. Is
today a sign that that might change, that the administration begin
supporting the --
MR. FLEISCHER: I think you
should not confuse the two issues. One deals with domestic
laws and dealing with tax consequences and tax dodgers or tax
evasions. This deals with terrorism.
Q Let me try one
more. Once more, if I could, on the proof issue, I think the
picture that we all have in our minds is of Adlai Stevenson at the
United Nations, passing around previously classified photographs of
missiles with the understanding that America could, within days, if not
hours, be the target of those missiles. What's the
difference between then and now, in terms of publicizing information
that would point the court of public opinion directly toward those who
we think are responsible?
MR. FLEISCHER: Well, first of
all, you can't compare what's happened in the past with what's
happening today with the instant communication age. Don't forget,
anything that is said here in this White House today can be broadcast
and be watched by terrorists around the world, as it's said. There is
a huge difference in terms of the instant transmission of information
and the ability, therefore, of people to take advantage of it for
But as I indicated, in the democracy,
there still remains an always important goal of sharing as much
information as possible with the public. And the President, Secretary
Powell, Secretary Rumsfeld, all remain committed to
that. And I think you will just be the judges over time
about whether that balance is struck. And I submit to you it
has been struck, and struck well.
Q The differences
is, like, the 24-hour news cycle and the availability of
MR. FLEISCHER: And it's also
just the means of how information is collected. And every
administration makes a different determination about how to protect
that means of collection of information.
But, you know, again I remind you, I
understand the frustration that journalists feel in this
regard. And we're going to continue to do the best as an
administration in providing information. But I also remind
you that nations of the world are not passing this message on to the
United States; the message has been one of cooperation and
trust. And the administration will continue to work hard to
keep it that way. And every sign points that it's going that
Q I think some of
the confusion over this was caused by a couple of reports that there
was a white paper and some other reports that there was going to be
evidence in a couple of days and that it would be put out before you
moved militarily and that sort of thing.
I just want to see if I can be clear in my
mind. Are you saying there is some specific effort underway
now to provide a -- to work up a nonclassified document that can be
shared with the public, here and abroad, and other governments, or is
it just a general intention to do so?
And on another track, is there some other
effort to come up with a classified document just for use by government
officials so that everyone knows you're on the same page?
FLEISCHER: Okay. On your first question, I cite
Secretary Powell's words today. As the Secretary said in the
Rose Garden, as we are able and as it unclassifies, which clearly
implies it is a classified document that is not unclassified.
Q Say that
MR. FLEISCHER: It's a
classified document that is not unclassified. The Secretary said, as
we are able and as it unclassifies -- those are his words and he's
right, and that's accurate. So he's indicating
then there will be, over time, different issues will be looked at with
an eye toward whatever can possibly be publicly shared. But
as we speak today, and as the Secretary said, as we are able and as it
Now, of course, right from the beginning,
as I indicated in the top of the briefing, as soon as the attack was
launched, the investigation began. That investigation, of course,
compiles documents, assembles information, and does so in a manner that
will reveal how do we know these things, by what sources, by what
methods do we know and have received that information. Of
course, that's a classified document.
Q The point is,
what I'm trying to figure out is, is a group of people somewhere being
tasked with coming up with a document that can be scrubbed of
classified material so that you can lay out the case? Is
that an effort that's now underway? Is that just an
intention somewhere down the road?
MR. FLEISCHER: It remains a
classified document; a series of classified documents, to be more
Q Ari, do you know
if classified documents are being supplied to the grand jury that's
looking into this in New York?
MR. FLEISCHER: You need to talk
to the Justice Department about anything dealing with grand juries.
Q Is the U.S.
analyzing the possibility of supporting the return of King Zahir Shah
to Afghanistan and maybe create another government?
MR. FLEISCHER: As Condoleezza
Rice said yesterday, the United States will continue to be in contact
with numerous parties. And that's the position.
Q Can you confirm
he possible landing of two American planes in Uzbekistan as
preparedness for the operation over there?
FLEISCHER: No. And to follow on with what I know
is a difficult series of questions for the press, where you want these
answers, I will not get into any operational details of the missions.
Q Ari, what are the
benefits for Rudy Giuliani staying in as Mayor of New York in the midst
of this terrorist situation?
MR. FLEISCHER: That's not a
matter for the White House, and so there's nothing for me to indicate
Q Has the President
talked to him recently about this possible --
MR. FLEISCHER: Not to my
knowledge, April; I don't believe he has.
Q Are there any
nominations that you have now or are pending that you think are
especially urgent for Congress to pass as a result of this -- the
MR. FLEISCHER: Interestingly,
in the meeting that took place with the congressional leadership on
Wednesday, September 12th, the day after the attack, a couple of the
nominations were brought to the attention of the Senate. And
the Senate immediately took action. U.N. Ambassador
Negroponte, for example, the Senate confirmed him, which is -- the
President was very grateful to the Senate for taking such swift
I'll have to take a careful look at a more
detailed list to see if there are any other pending nominations that
need to be expedited. I'll take that question and see if I
can't get back.
Q I have another
follow up, and that's -- the President this morning again said this is
the primary focus of his administration, but you clearly want to move
ahead on some of your domestic agenda. At this point, you
obviously can't do everything. Besides education, what are
your main priorities that you really want to see get done this year?
MR. FLEISCHER: The President's
domestic agenda has not changed, despite the fact that the nation is
increasingly shifting to a war footing to deal with the international
crisis that has hit home. It still is terribly important, in
the President's opinion, to have public schools that serve our
children, to have a patients' bill of rights so patients can continue
to get the protections they need in their dealings with HMOs. It's now
more important than ever to get energy legislation passed to help
protect and promote American energy independence.
It remains important, in the President's
opinion, for the faith-based initiative to pass and move forward,
because there still are millions of Americans who are in need who can
find solutions to their problems through some of these more community-
and faith-based solutions.
So the domestic agenda continues, and part
and parcel of that, too, is always in the need, both in war and peace,
to keep a careful eye on taxpayer dollars.
So while the domestic agenda will
certainly not have the prominence it was going to have, it still
remains of importance to this President.
Q Ari, on Canada,
can you, because it is a -- and because there are separate concerns
with regard to Canada, in terms of --
MR. FLEISCHER: Oh, let me --
I'm sorry, I want to back up, because there's one other I should have
mentioned, and I did not, and I saw that Ambassador Zoellick addressed
this rather forcefully today, and that is trade promotion authority,
securing that for the President.
Q Working with
Canada, especially in terms of preventing future attacks, terrorists
coming in the country through Canada, the discussions today, are they
focused at all on the immigration laws on how people are getting in,
coming through Canada?
MR. FLEISCHER: Number one,
cooperation with Canada on border issues, on immigration issues has
always been very, very strong. I would not be surprised --
and the meetings, as I indicated, wrapped up just as I began this
briefing, so I'm not in a position to give you any information about it
right now. But I would not be surprised if areas of
cooperation were discussed between the United States and Canada on
border issues. That's common sense.
Q Was the President
concerned about how easily some terrorist affiliated individuals can
get into Canada and, therefore, from Canada into the United States?
MR. FLEISCHER: John, as I
indicated, cooperation with Canada on border issues has been and
continues to be very strong.
Q But is that a
concern of his?
MR. FLEISCHER: Well, I think
it's a reflection more broadly of the fact that we are such an open
society. And open societies can be
vulnerable. And of course that vulnerability showed up in
the attacks against us on September 11th.
Q Does he think
Canada should be --
MR. FLEISCHER: No, that's why I
began it by saying that the President is satisfied that border
cooperation with Canada is strong. Now, in the midst of that
strength, are there opportunities to look and see if there are any
additional things that can be done? I will never rule out
that possibility. And that could be discussed in their
meetings. And we'll try to have a read for you.
Q Do you know if he
expressed that concern?
MR. FLEISCHER: No, because I'm
here with you.
Q No, but has he
expressed it prior to this meeting, in other meetings?
MR. FLEISCHER: Not that I'm
aware of, particularly.
Q Can you make sure
that question is answered in the readout?
MR. FLEISCHER: Yes, I think
what we're going to try to do is get you some type of read on the
Q Ari, going to the
meetings with the families of the victims and the flight crew on the
Pennsylvania crash. Number one, is the administration
sharing or will it share the transcripts of the cockpit voice recorder
with the families? Is the administration planning to make
that public? And has there been a determination about who
was actually flying the plane when it crashed?
MR. FLEISCHER: Those type of
issues I think need to be addressed to the appropriate agencies,
particularly in terms of who was flying the plane when it
crashed. The cockpit recordings, I don't have any
information about whether that will be released.
Q Can you deny
reports that it might have been shot down by us?
MR. FLEISCHER: Oh, that's been
denied for almost two weeks now. Right from the beginning that
question was asked, and right from the beginning Secretary Rumsfeld and
the administration said no, it had not been.
Q Getting back to
the list of terrorist individuals and organizations, it encompasses
people across a wide variety of countries: Egypt, Libya, Palestinian
groups, Pakistani. And there is concern in the Arab and
Muslim world that the U.S. is out to achieve other objectives, regional
objectives, settle old scores, as this war on terrorism proceeds. What
do you say to those concerns, and is there any truth to them?
MR. FLEISCHER: Can you tell me
specifically who was making those concerns known?
Q I saw some press
report in -- you know, it was a Middle Eastern -- it was Palestinian.
MR. FLEISCHER: Was it a
government, or was it a person?
Q It was a -- there
was concern on the street.
MR. FLEISCHER: Of any
identifiable background, or --
Q There is a lot in
the American press about trying to get Saddam.
MR. FLEISCHER: I think Terry's
question deals with the seizing of assets.
Q It seemed to be a
reflection of public opinion, concern that America was flexing its
MR. FLEISCHER: The message the
President has been hearing from foreign governments, including the Arab
states, is one of support. They don't want these terrorist
organizations operating within their own boarders. And
they're aware of the internal threats that these organizations present
to them. And as a result of the manner in which the United
States is putting together this coalition and leading the world, this
provides these nations an opportunity to have meaningful action taken
which will result in hopefully more security for these states.
So I anticipate that these states will
join with the United States and the international community in helping
to dry up the sources of terrorist funding, even within their own
THE PRESS: Thank you.
MR. FLEISCHER: Thank you.
1:38 P.M. EDT