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 Home > News & Policies > May 2002

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
May 30, 2002

Press Briefing by Ari Fleischer

The James S. Brady Briefing Room

12:20 P.M. EDT

MR. FLEISCHER: Good afternoon. Let me give you a briefing on the President's day, and then I'm happy to take your questions. The President this morning had his usual round of intelligence briefings from the CIA and then the FBI. Then he led a one-hour long Cabinet meeting where the members of the Cabinet went around the table discussing the various items under their jurisdictions. The President discussed with them the results of his trip to Europe. Most of the meeting focused on the trip to Europe -- Secretaries Rumsfeld and Powell gave updates in their areas. And then the domestic agenda, there was discussion about the importance of welfare reform, the FBI reorganization to fight terrorism, and other domestic issues.

And then the President, as we speak, is having his weekly lunch with the Vice President. And then the President will do a drop-by of the Staff Service Fair, which is a fair that's been set up through Freedom Corps, involving White House staffers to encourage them to volunteer and participate in community events, wherever they live, in terms of giving their time for volunteerism. With that, I'm happy to take your questions. Ron.

Q Is the Secretary of Defense going to both Pakistan and India?


Q He's going to both countries?

MR. FLEISCHER: That's correct.

Q What day is he going and what is his mission?

MR. FLEISCHER: It's next week, and DOD can give you more precise information about exactly what times, et cetera. But he is going -- and this is a follow-up to a series of visits that have been undertaken in the region. There is a significant amount of concern not only in the United States, but internationally, about reducing tensions between India and Pakistan. The European Union has sent officials into the area; Jack Straw of Great Britain just returned from the area. Deputy Secretary of State Armitage will be heading to the area, and then Secretary Rumsfeld will be heading, as well.

All these visits are part of the international community's ongoing diplomacy to work with India and Pakistan to reduce the tensions in the area and to convince both parties that war does not serve either of their interests.

Q Will he meet with the President and Prime Minister of both those countries?

MR. FLEISCHER: Again, you'll get the exact itinerary from the Department of Defense.

Q To follow on a couple of points, what is it that the Defense Secretary will be bringing with him, beyond a pressure tactic on those in the region to make the point that war is not in their interests? And what specifically can, or is Musharraf doing to satisfy the President's threshold of living up to his word and cracking down on militants?

MR. FLEISCHER: David, I think he'll be bringing with him -- to be direct, the Secretary will be bringing with him logic and diplomacy. Often at times like this, nations find themselves on paths that spiral in the wrong direction as a result of the desire to have peace, but events sometimes take a momentum of their own. And it's important for the international community and the United States to work diligently with India and Pakistan to convince them that war is not the answer, war will not solve the problems, that they have to pursue a different path.

Often at times like this, nations welcome the participation of others to help them find a way out of a dangerous spiral. And that's what he will be doing when he goes on the trip -- so, too, Secretary Armitage, et cetera; so, too, all the other diplomats from around the world.

Q -- about Musharraf? What specifically is he already doing, or can he do, to live up to what the President is saying, which is for him to live up to his word that he'll crack down on militants crossing into Kashmir on terrorism missions?

MR. FLEISCHER: Well, Pakistan has a robust military force, and the ability internally to take action to prevent terrorists from crossing through the Line of Control. And it's important to take the steps necessary to prevent terrorists or would-be terrorists from crossing the line and engaging in terrorist or hostile acts.

Another piece, by the way, of the international situation, that the President discussed directly with President Putin, is there will be an upcoming meeting that President Putin will be attending, along with Prime Minister Vajpayee and President Musharraf. President Putin will be doing his part, as well. What's interesting, it is a rather robust, worldwide collaborative effort to reduce the tensions in India and Pakistan.

Q Is there any element of Secretary Rumsfeld's mission to look at what the United States can do to shore up, using the President's words, its efforts on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border? Is that part of it, to see what can we do to try to go after Taliban and al Qaeda in that region? And is there any effort also --

MR. FLEISCHER: Let me do this. The Secretary --

Q Is there any effort to seek permission for U.S. troops to operate in that theater on the Pakistani side to try to crack down there?

MR. FLEISCHER: The Secretary will be having a series of events, not only in India and Pakistan, but in other regions. And I think it's only right to let the Department of Defense announce the Secretary's travels and his itinerary, the purposes of the visit, who he will be meeting with. So I think you'll be able to get those answers directly from the Department of Defense. They brief today, I think.

Q And, Ari, the world just went through this nuclear brinkmanship on the subcontinent a few months ago. This is after a war broke out there a couple of years ago. The underlying problem remains. Does -- is Secretary Rumsfeld's mission, is all this diplomacy aimed at doing anything to address the underlying problems, or is this just putting out the fire again, which is bound to flare up again? Is there any comprehensive effort to go after the underlying problem?

MR. FLEISCHER: Well, the immediate priority is to reduce the tension. There's no question about that, given the way the situation has built itself up. What's very important now is for the world to join together and bring it back down again, and that's underway. And, again, there will be a series of efforts by numerous diplomats, American and foreign, who will be going to the region. And I think it's fair to say that many ideas are going to be looked at, Terry.

Q Okay, can I follow up on one specific idea -- which was first proposed back in 1949, and that was by the United Nations Security Council, a plebiscite, for the people -- Kashmir to determine which way they wanted to go. At the time, both Pakistan and India agreed to it, and it's now being resurrected. Maybe that is the way to go, ask the people what they want. Where does the President stand on this?

MR. FLEISCHER: Well, I think it's -- to state the obvious, that it's an important part of any solution that both parties agree to that the concerns of the Kashmiri people are reflected. But I wouldn't go beyond that and endorse any one specific plan like that. As I indicated at the beginning of that statement --

Q Why not?

MR. FLEISCHER: Because it's important to have -- any idea that can be long-lasting and meaningful needs to be accepted by both parties.

Q Ari, on that point, the Pakistanis or the Muslims are in the majority there, and that's why the Indians obviously do not want a plebiscite, but that would seem to be the fairest solution.

My question is, how much power does Ashcroft have to dig into everybody's personal life in this country? The invasion of privacy, the widening of powers of the FBI -- I mean, is there any full stop?

MR. FLEISCHER: Well, as the President said in the Cabinet meeting, at the end with the press, the President knows that in the finest American tradition, that we can and we will always honor our Constitution and protect people's freedoms. That is what America stands for, and the President has every faith and confidence that's exactly what will be done.

Q But he doesn't think there will be any infringement on the First Amendment if he widens the powers of the FBI to go into libraries, the Internet, personal lives, without any proof of a potential threat of terror or a crime?

MR. FLEISCHER: As the President indicated, he has every faith that this will be done in a way that honors our Constitution and protects freedoms. And just a point of fact -- and I know that the Attorney General will be describing his initiative later today -- but I think you should take a look at -- the items that are being discussed are the very same things that the current law enforcement community can do, that currently local police can do. The local police are not in as strong a position to counteract terrorism as the FBI is. And so I don't think it's fair to suggest --

Q You mean they already have the right to go into any file --

MR. FLEISCHER: Public place.

Q -- any public library --


Q -- and list?

MR. FLEISCHER: Sure. Law enforcement has the right to go into public places.

Q Without having any evidence?

MR. FLEISCHER: Law enforcement has the right to go into public places.

Q Ari, apparently in mid-1999, the Clinton National Security Council had evidence of Pakistan moving nuclear weapons during the Kargil conflict. Do you have any evidence now that that's going on on either side, India or Pakistan? Or do you have any evidence that any kind of nuclear devices are operationally deployed?

MR. FLEISCHER: Nobody's discussed any of that information with me, so I don't have anything for you on that.

Q Ari, the Pakistanis are now talking about reassigning troops from the Afghanistan border and moving them toward Kashmir if necessary. Is that of particular concern to the United States? And how would it impinge on our efforts to seal the border there against al Qaeda?

MR. FLEISCHER: Well, there are two important priorities in the region, and one is the continued fight against terrorism, wherever it may be. And two is reducing the tensions on the border. Clearly, when the tensions are reduced, it means more resources available in the war against terrorism.

But the President is satisfied that between the United States, between our allies, and between the Pakistanis, that we have sufficient resources to finish the job at hand, which is the long war against terrorism. Clearly, reducing tension in the region serves the broader cause of fighting terrorism more broadly.

Q So you're saying that it would not degrade our capabilities to keep al Qaeda from moving back and forth across that border, even if Pakistani troops were moved away from --

MR. FLEISCHER: Well, as I indicated, the President is satisfied that, together with our allies, we have sufficient resources to get the job done. But also, reducing the tensions will further contribute to us having those resources.

Q The other question, the other part of that question was -- or the other part of the concern now is the evacuation of American personnel. The President said today he's got the two Secretaries looking at that.


Q Is there a concern that any sort of -- that some exchange between the two sides could spill over or possibly threaten American troops in Afghanistan or American diplomats in Pakistan and elsewhere in the region?

MR. FLEISCHER: Well, as you know, in response to earlier events in March, the United States government already has taken action vis-a-vis our diplomatic personnel and nonessential personnel in Pakistan. The United States embassy in Islamabad and consulates in Karachi, Lahore and Pesha will remain open for business, even while we ordered dependents and nonessential personnel home as of March 21st, which followed the March 17th attack on the protestant church in Islamabad.

We've issued several travel advisories, urging citizens to defer travel to Pakistan. And that is the latest information about any warnings that Americans have been given involving travel and people working there.

Now, around the world, unfortunately, this is not something new, in terms of preparing Americans in regions where there is chance of any harm. And so there are always around the world plans to help protect the American citizens, and those plans at times of tension rising get looked at and made sure that they are as effective as can possibly be. Clearly, there are many people who will want to stay, no matter what circumstances are.

So plans are in place. Plans, as the President indicated, get looked at. The Secretary of Defense, Secretary of State are doing that. And they have within their own discretion any number of options for what to do with personnel. As I indicated, the Department of State has already taken action in Pakistan. Action can be taken at the ambassadorial level, it can be taken at the secretary level. The President is already talking with the Secretary of Defense and State about anything else.

Q Though we're clearly trying to avoid it, if there were a nuclear exchange between these two --

MR. FLEISCHER: Jim, I'm not going to -- that's a hypothetical.

Q It's a hypothetical the U.S. government is worried about.

MR. FLEISCHER: I don't know how to answer the question you're about to ask.

Q Okay.

Q Mine is kind of a follow-up to Jim's. Is there any reliable assessment of how dangerous, in terms of nuclear fallout, such an exchange would be for the rest of the world? And also -- excuse me if this has been answered -- but would the U.S. accept an independent Kashmir?

MR. FLEISCHER: Connie, I think that it's fair to say that any type of war is dangerous for the world. The situation between India and Pakistan is tense, and the United States and others are making every effort to reduce that tension. And we will continue to actively and closely monitor the situation.

As I indicated earlier, at times like this, nations welcome the help from other nations trying to help them find a way out. And that's why the United States has been working this so hard, so diplomatically for so long. And our efforts are in mid-stream. As you know, there are additional people who are about to leave for the region. And the President believes their departure can be productive in helping the leaders of India and Pakistan achieve what they'd like to achieve, which is a lessening of tensions.


Q To go back on the question from Jim, what is the White House assessment of how likely either side is to use nuclear weapons right now?

MR. FLEISCHER: Again, the President views any type of war as a dangerous siltation. And that's why we're making every effort to stop war of any type.

Q But specifically, the nuclear weapons?

MR. FLEISCHER: Well, I think it goes without saying that the use of nuclear weapons presents an unparalleled danger.

Q What about the independent Kashmir that I asked about? Would the U.S. accept --

MR. FLEISCHER: I'd go back to the answer I gave earlier about work with all the parties.

Q What kind of message General Musharraf was sending when President Bush was meeting President Putin in Moscow, and testing missiles? And is it true that what some Pakistanis are saying, that American troops in Pakistan are an insurance policy for General Musharraf? So that's why he keeps taking advantage of the American troops --

MR. FLEISCHER: I didn't catch the second part of your question. Is it true that American troops --

Q American troops or American presence in Pakistan is an insurance policy for General Musharraf --

Q Insurance, insurance policy.

Q -- so that India cannot attack them, because he was still testing missiles while the two Presidents meeting in Moscow.

MR. FLEISCHER: Secretary Powell was asked that question during the trip, and the Secretary talked about how the testing of the missiles was not helpful. And our focus is on the broader issue. It is, regardless of what military capability you have, and whether people are testing it or not testing it, or deploying, not deploying, the whole situation, across the board, involving militarization needs to be calmed down. And that's the purpose of our efforts there -- across the board, with every type of possibility of harm, from whatever type of military source, missile or otherwise.

Q Let me clarify what President Bush said that I don't care, or not worried about missile tests by Pakistan, but more worried about not to support the terrorism into Kashmir?

MR. FLEISCHER: Well, the President didn't say that.

Q -- means that he --

MR. FLEISCHER: The President never said that. I think what the Secretary of State indicated was that we are focused on -- the missile test was not helpful, but what we're focused on is, just as I indicated, the broader issue.

War is war, regardless of the means with which it is carried out. And whether it's with a certain type of missile, or whether it's with artillery, or whether it's with gunfire, it all involves the taking of lives. And whatever form it may take, it's important for the world to join together and work diligently and directly with Prime Minister Vajpayee and with President Musharraf to lessen that tension, because war does not serve, either in the short-term or the long-term, the interests of either the people or India or Pakistan, or the leadership of those two nations.

Q Many high-level visits were --

MR. FLEISCHER: Last question, Goyal. You only get five.

Q Many high-level visits were --

Q Five? (Laughter.)

MR. FLEISCHER: Well, he's on his sixth, so I'm trying to cut him back.

Q When do I get one, Ari?


Q Just to follow, I'm sorry -- many, many high-level visits took place to India, including Christina Rocca and many others recently. And now the Secretary of Defense visit. How much do you think this will help for tension forever, once and forever?

MR. FLEISCHER: Well, as I indicated, I think at times like this, as events start to unfold, people who get caught in a -- potentially, at least rhetorically -- escalating sense of conflict welcome the presence of outsiders who can help reduce those tensions and find a way out that the two parties sometimes would have more difficulty if it was just doing it on their own. That's why diplomacy is an age-old art that has proven its cause, proven its worthiness, and that's why we're so engaged in it now.

Q Ari, why is the President sending Secretary Rumsfeld and not Secretary Powell, if this is chiefly a diplomatic mission, as you say?

MR. FLEISCHER: Well, as I indicated, Secretary Armitage is going there now. Secretary Rumsfeld has other travels that bring him close to the region. And the Department of Defense will brief you on that.


Q She asked it.

MR. FLEISCHER: Okay. That's really the reason.

Q Well, as a follow-up to that, though, is it because they have so many weapons pointed at each other at this point, that this would require someone with more military knowledge? Do they feel comfortable with him going there?

MR. FLEISCHER: I think you need to see this as just ongoing diplomacy. And that's why I indicated the British Foreign Minister Jack Straw was there; the European Union had a representative there. Deputy Secretary of State Armitage, Secretary Powell, President Putin. You can see that the world is joined together at a variety of levels, at a variety of different agencies of their governments, in working with India and Pakistan to help them find a way out of this.

Q Ari, different subject. The value of the dollar has been declining against the major currencies during the past weeks. Was the issue discussed at the Cabinet meeting today? Is the President paying attention --

MR. FLEISCHER: There was no discussion of currency issues at the Cabinet meeting today.

Q Ari, was there -- does the President have any concrete expectations of CIA Director Tenet's trip to the Middle East, or are we still in the talking phase as he prepares to go back there now?

MR. FLEISCHER: No, there are concrete things that are important to look at. And Director Tenet has been very involved over the years working directly with Israeli and Palestinian security officials. He's earned their trust. He knows them. He knows the players up and down at various levels. And there is a real focus now in the Palestinian Authority in bringing reform to itself. And this is something the Palestinian people have been calling for, and the United States is pleased to join in that call. So he'll be meeting with Palestinian officials to talk about how to create a real security force.

Part of the Oslo Accords, which are important to keep in practice, were that if the Palestinian Authority heard of potential terrorist attacks, if Israel brought information to the Palestinian Authority saying they had heard of potential attacks, the Palestinian Authority would have both the will and the means to stop the attack from taking place. Clearly, this has not been happening; the attacks continue.

And what's important now is for the Palestinian Authority to focus on how to prevent attacks if they're given information, if they're given knowledge. That's part of what they pledged at Oslo. And Director Tenet will be going there to help them.

Q What about a specific security agreement between the two sides? Is there any expectation on the President's behalf of that?

MR. FLEISCHER: Between Israel and the Palestinian Authority? I think what's important now, you have basically the Oslo Accord as the fundamental agreement. Where, as I just said, what could be more important than if the Palestinian Authority hears about a potential attack, they move to stop it. That's what police forces do. If they hear about a crime that's about to get committed, they stop the crime from being committed -- in this case, suicide bombers from crossing from Palestinian land into Israel. And it would be a very productive part of the broader mission of developing a state that is a state that Israel knows can live in security if the Palestinian Authority were to be able to take these steps. It's an important part of something that is concrete.

More broadly, there will, of course, be other talks going on. Secretary Burns from the State Department is in the region now and, as you know, President Mubarak will be coming to Camp David the week after this to meet with the President and to discuss peace efforts. And all of this will be part of the mixture that goes into the determination by Secretary Powell for the conference that he will be holding this summer.

Q There are reports that India has deployed medium-range missiles armed with conventional warheads. Is the United States -- is the White House concerned that that move could be seen as provocative by Pakistan and could make the situation worse?

MR. FLEISCHER: As I indicated earlier, the President's concern is about war between India and Pakistan, at whatever level of weaponry it involves. As I indicated, whether it's artillery fire over the Line of Control now that takes lives, or whether it's rifle fire, or whether it's missiles or any type of weapon, the President's focus is on reducing the tension and stopping the killing from taking place. So the media tick-tockery of weapons is not as important, in the President's eyes, as the efforts to stop anybody on either side from using whatever weapons are at their disposal.

Q Just a follow-up. Can you distinguish between the missions of Armitage and Rumsfeld, what makes them different?

MR. FLEISCHER: They're both aimed at the same cause, fundamentally they both are the same. And the mission is to reduce the tension and help President Musharraf and Prime Minister Vajpayee to find a way out, to reduce the tension. They both are expert in different areas, so I think you can anticipate -- and State can probably brief you and Defense can brief you on anything beyond that. But the cause -- the purpose is the same.

Q On Tuesday, in the case of that missing five-year-old child in Florida, a task force produced a report that underscored the shortcomings of the state's department -- Florida's State Department of Child Welfare. I think it's safe to say that that report left the Democrats with an issue and the Governor somewhat on the defensive. The next day, unannounced, or at the last minute, the White House added the environmental rollout. I assume that those two events were not coincidental.

MR. FLEISCHER: Actually, before we left for Europe, I was in a meeting in the Oval Office, where we talked about the announcement that was made yesterday. And so, that's -- as you know, from the White House's way of viewing business, we very often like for the President to -- the President makes the news himself. And we're pleased that that took place yesterday. That was a good news announcement for people who care about the environment. And the President was very pleased to be able to make it.

Q Why was the meeting added then at the last minute? Why wasn't it on the schedule that was released the day before?

MR. FLEISCHER: I knew about it on the flight back yesterday, so -- or the flight back two days ago. So if there was something on the schedule, Finley, I'd be more than happy to take a look at it. But as I indicated, the policy decision was made --

Q There was nothing on the schedule.

MR. FLEISCHER: Yes, I'll take a look at it. It very well could have been just because of -- it could have been just because we had half the staff traveling, half the staff was here. I'll talk a look at that. But as I indicated, those decisions at the policy level were made before the trip to Europe.

Q Ari, Congressman Tauzin has made the point that as House-Senate conferences begin on some of these bills, like energy, that the President's going to have to put some of his political capital to bear on these. Can you give us any sense of a preview about how Senate conferences, which ones he may get more involved with, or not?

MR. FLEISCHER: I think, first of all, one of the reason that we had the prospects of getting a good energy bill developed into law is because the President has worked so vociferously on this issue, both in private and in public. Keep in mind this is the first President in a long time in Washington to come out with a comprehensive energy policy. The President announced a policy that was broad-based, that focused not only on conservation and preserving resources, but on development of energy, of development of tax plans to help individuals buy alternative energy forms such as hybrid cars, modernizing electricity infrastructure -- kind of a boring issue, but an issue that is vital so people can flip on their switch in one region of the country and get electricity that's in surplus in a different region of the country.

This President wrapped his arms around all those issues in a way no previous President has done in recent times, to put comprehensive energy policy on the table. And if you add up what's in the House bill and what's in the Senate bill, you've got the makings, if the two can come together well, of a fundamental, good, comprehensive energy policy.

Q And on energy, will the President or the White House be responding to Senator Lieberman's inquiries? He's expecting more information next week.

MR. FLEISCHER: We are, and we've been releasing to you on a regular basis the information that's been circulated around the White House seeking information. We'll continue to do that. That's what we've always been doing.

Q Ari? Ari?


Q Thank you.

MR. FLEISCHER: Les, you know our routines here. I know we've been traveling, and you've missed us --

Q Missed you very much.

MR. FLEISCHER: I missed you. But I miss you in order. (Laughter.) Sarah?

Q Welcome back. Welcome back. Is the United States planning to airlift U.S. civilians and military personnel from India and Pakistan? If so, when?

MR. FLEISCHER: I think we've already addressed that here, Sarah.

Q Ari, to get back to an earlier question, in spite of some upbeat figures that have been released over the last few days regarding the economy -- consumer confidence is up and other figures are up -- the stock market continues to go down in a rather dramatic way. More importantly, as was pointed out, the dollar has been dropping against all the major currencies. You indicated that the question had not come up at the Cabinet meeting today, but I'd like to ask, is this really on the President's radar screen, the economy, at all? And if so, does he see danger signs in terms of the -- of the dollar over the last few days?

MR. FLEISCHER: Well, the economy is always on the President's radar screen, I can assure you. In unrelated policy meetings, very frequently the President will turn to Larry Lindsey or to Glen Hubbard and say, how's the economy doing? This is on domestic policy, on a faith-based initiative, he'll turn to those experts if they're in the room.

If you take a look at some of the most recent data, as you know, first quarter GDP came in on the flash estimate, the first estimate of the three that are provided for GDP, at 5.8 percent. And then it was revised down -- I think 5.8 -- and then it was revised downward by one-tenth of one percent, a rather small revision from the initial flash estimate to the second estimate. There will be one more revision, which is the final one, as you know. So the first economy numbers seem to be holding up, first quarter numbers. Certainly, those numbers are robust. Whether they'll be repeated in subsequent quarters is doubtful. But we still see signs of growth in the economy.

But the President does remain concerned. This is why the President worked with the Congress to get a stimulus package put into place. He did not get everything he wanted in the stimulus package. The President would have preferred to have had an acceleration of the across-the-board income tax cuts as part of the stimulus package. He thinks that would have provided a good insurance policy for an economy that is showing some signs forward, some signs backward, even now.

But, by and large, the economy has emerged from its slowdown that began in the summer of 2000, and it remains to be seen just how robust it will be. The President is prepared to keep working with the Congress on it.

Q Is he in favor of a strong dollar?

MR. FLEISCHER: The President's position on the dollar remains unchanged.

Q Ari, different subject. Why was no senior administration official in New York today for the ceremony?

MR. FLEISCHER: The Director of FEMA was there for the ceremony.

Sarah, you must have forgotten something.

Q My second question. Since there is no longer a Soviet Union, and since Russia now has a working relationship with NATO, why do we need NATO any longer?

MR. FLEISCHER: Well, as the President has said in his remarks in Germany, NATO is needed now more than ever. When the President looks at the type of threat that is posed to the Alliance, the type of threat from terrorism, the President sees and NATO sees a clear need for its military functions. And that's been proven by events recently around the world. In Afghanistan, take a look at some of the efforts of the peacekeeping forces that are in Afghanistan. Most of those come from NATO nations, from their militaries. So there remains a key role and a central role for NATO's military operations around the world.

Q The President has never criticized any of his seven presidential predecessors because they had intercontinental ballistic missiles aimed at every city in the Soviet Union in case they mutually attacked us, has he, Ari? I don't recall that he has. Do you recall that he has ever criticized any of these seven because they had missiles aimed at every Soviet city?

MR. FLEISCHER: What's your real question, Lester?

Q Well, no, I mean, I just wonder -- you would agree, he has never done this, right?

MR. FLEISCHER: Yes, Lester?

Q Good. That's a "yes." (Laughter.)

Given Secretary Rumsfeld's prediction of nuclear terrorism, which was so horribly detailed in Sunday's New York Times Magazine, you wouldn't deny that those Arab countries who have helped and harbored terrorists now have their cities so targeted, in case a nuclear terrorist kills a million more New Yorkers, would you, Ari?

MR. FLEISCHER: Well, Les, if you're asking any questions about targetry of weapons, you need to address that to the right people, which is the Department of Defense.

Q Well, I mean, we -- everyone knew that all Soviet cities were targeted -- so were ours -- in the Cold War. Now, are you telling me that there's no targeting of any Arab country that is harboring terrorists or helping them, Ari?

MR. FLEISCHER: I'm telling you that the Office of the White House Press Secretary targets no one. (Laughter.) I think you should ask that to the Department of Defense.

END 1:50 P.M. EDT