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Daily Press Briefing

Sean McCormack, Spokesman
Washington, DC
June 5, 2007

INDEX:

LEBANON
Fact Sheet on Aid on Flash Appeal for Aid to Palestinian Refugees in North Lebanon
RUSSIA/UNITED KINGDOM
Extradition of Andrei Lugovoy / U.S. Encourages Russian Government to Work With UK
SPAIN
ETA's Ending of Ceasefire / Differences Should be Resolved Through Dialogue
No Excuse for Terrorist Tactics
U.S. Will Continue to Work Closely With Spain on Fighting Terrorism
PAKISTAN
Crack-Down on Media Freedom / U.S. Watching Events Closely
Pakistani People Must Decide if Rule of Law Followed
U.S. Encourages Pakistan to See Media as Critical Function of Democracy
ISRAEL / SYRIA
Israel's Decision to Resume Peace Talks with Syria
DEPARTMENT
Council on Foreign Relations Report on Foreign Service Staffing
Personnel Resources Request to Congress for Training Needs
Critical Times Call for Adjustment of Foreign Service
IRAN
Ryan Crocker's Meeting with Iranians
MISCELLANEOUS
Dismissal of Charges against Two Guantanamo Detainees
U.S. Solution to Detainee Issue Has Been Reviewed by Congress, Courts / No Easy Solution
Al Hurra Broadcasts / Secretary Rice's Testimony on Nasrallah Speech
Problem was Fixed / Broadcasting Board of Governors Has Tightened Internal Controls
Possible Outside Group to Evaluate Al Hurra
UAE
Camel Jockey Lawsuit and Reported Letter of Support from Secretary Rice
LAOS
Arrest of Laotian Suspects in California / Ongoing Law Enforcement Matter
INDIA
Progress of Talks on Civil-Nuclear Deal / U/S Burns's India Trip


TRANSCRIPT:

12:48 p.m. EDT

MR. MCCORMACK: Good afternoon, everybody. I don't have anything to start off with. Take note of the fact sheet regarding the Flash Appeal for emergency needs of the Palestinian refugees in North Lebanon -- $3.5 million in response to an UNRWA appeal which came out just two days ago. This is designed to assist those people who are fleeing the refugee camp that has been inhabited in part by this terrorist organization. The Lebanese Armed Forces have been fighting them for the past couple of weeks. So this is designed to help those people who are victimized by that.

QUESTION: So it's three and a half million --

MR. MCCORMACK: Three and a half million, yeah.

QUESTION: On a separate issue, unless anyone has anything more. Vladimir Putin over the weekend commented on the extradition of Andrei Lugovoy and he said that the case was politically motivated and he said it wasn't backed up by enough evidence. I just wondered whether you had any comments on his point of view on this case and whether you thought that -- whether you supported Britain's view that Mr. Lugovoy should be extradited.

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, we would encourage the Russian Government to work closely with the UK judicial authorities and the Crown prosecutor. This is a case that needs to be resolved. This murder of Mr. Litvinenko was just terrible. You know, this is an awful, terrible way to die through this radiation poisoning not to mention the other people possibly put at risk through what was done.

So, you know, I can't offer any comment as to the evidence. That's really something for the UK authorities to speak to. But what we would encourage is for the Russian authorities to work very closely with the UK and the UK authorities in bringing a close to this matter.

QUESTION: But do you think that so far they haven't worked closely enough? Do you think that they're being obstructive?

MR. MCCORMACK: I'm not going to -- you know, I can't from this distance make that judgment. I think it is clear that -- there have been comments coming out of the Russian leadership talking about their insistence that they aren't going to cooperate. We would encourage them to cooperate in this matter.

QUESTION: And do you see Mr. -- do you see President Putin's comments as being unhelpful?

MR. MCCORMACK: I think I'll leave that sort of assessment to the UK authorities and how they feel as though that's affecting Russian cooperation or lack thereof.

QUESTION: Did you offer the same advice to British authorities to assist in pending Russian extradition requests? Quite a number of those.

MR. MCCORMACK: Absolutely. If they're -- I'm sure they're taking a close look at them. I don't have the specifics of any particular cases.

QUESTION: You know, for the business people --

MR. MCCORMACK: Berezovsky and so forth.

QUESTION: Yeah.

MR. MCCORMACK: You know, that's for them to resolve. Of course what we encourage is an attitude of cooperation and working together closely. The important thing here is to try to answer the question as to who killed this man. The British authorities think that they have enough evidence to bring this particular person to trial.

Yes.

QUESTION: Yeah, I wonder if you could tell me what's the State Department's reaction to Spain's terrorist group ETA decision to put an end to the ceasefire that they declared for two months ago?

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, it's disappointing that this terrorist organization is once again recommitting itself to the use of violence and to the use of terror. Everybody's hope, of course, is that if there are any differences that exist between the Basque people and the Spanish Government that those can be resolved through political dialogue and offers of negotiation. There's no excuse for resort to terror tactics. And we fully support the Spanish Government in their efforts to combat terrorism and we work very closely with them on that.

Yep.

QUESTION: Sean, there was a letter written to Secretary Rice last week by three members of Congress calling for a public statement on the crackdown on demonstrations and on the media. Has that been responded to? And also --

MR. MCCORMACK: In --

QUESTION: In Pakistan?

QUESTION: In Pakistan.

MR. MCCORMACK: In Pakistan.

QUESTION: Yes. And it seems that the response so far to the apparent crackdown on the media has been somewhat circumspect in comparison to other countries like say, Venezuela. How would you respond to that?

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, we're watching very closely the events in Pakistan. I know this is a very sensitive issue for Pakistanis; how to resolve this judicial case within the bounds of Pakistani law. I know that President Musharraf's decision within Pakistan, if you read the media accounts, has been quite controversial. Obviously, you've seen that with a number of demonstrations.

So the Pakistani people are going to have to resolve this issue for themselves. They are going to have to decide for themselves whether or not rule of law has been followed, whether or not proper procedures have been followed. It's not something that we can dictate nor want to dictate to the Pakistani people.

There have been advances in bringing greater freedoms, including greater freedom of the press in Pakistan over the years under President Musharraf's government. There has been -- there have been some openings in that regard. Certainly, nobody would want to see those openings reversed. And I know that the decree was issued, and I'm not sure -- at least to my knowledge -- that there had been any media outlets that have been closed down as a result of the decree, certainly that would be a step that we would watch very closely.

And, we would just encourage our friends in Pakistan to look at the role of a free media in a society as one that ultimately strengthens a society. It's a critically important function that the media serve all around the globe. And they have certain responsibilities, obviously, that come along with a free media: to report accurately and objectively.

So as of right now, it's a situation, I think, that we're watching closely. But we are right there with Pakistan as they make these political and economic reforms that are ultimately going to result in a different kind of Pakistan. That's what everybody wants to see: a more politically stable, more open, a more economically prosperous Pakistan. And that's -- that is the program that President Musharraf's government has laid out. And we support that, we encourage that. There's a lot at stake, certainly. Pakistan is an important country in a very important region that has not known a lot of stability, if you look back over the past 40 or 50 years. If you look back, you know, over the recent history, that area has been -- constituted what some have referred to as a crescent of crisis.

So the steps that the Pakistani Government are -- have taken over the past several years, we believe are generally in the right direction and we want to encourage them. But it's also important to remember that even though a situation may be somewhat difficult and that there is some turmoil in the system, over the long term, it is important not to roll back any of the advances that have been made over recent years.

QUESTION: And did the Secretary respond to the letter about the --

MR. MCCORMACK: Yeah, I can't tell you. I don't know. I'll check for you. I'll see if she's actually written a response or we have written a response on her behalf.

QUESTION: Sean.

MR. MCCORMACK: Yeah.

QUESTION: May I follow up?

MR. MCCORMACK: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: The situation is kind of running out of the hand of General Musharraf because of demonstrations and -- also, he has warned the press and also the demonstration -- demonstrators that if you don't, then I will control and I have to use my military powers against (inaudible). And how much do you think Secretary's worried about it? Because the situation -- really, what we see here is much more worse than what we hear and see here, because televisions, they have been banned, they cannot take any videos and photos and all that and press has been warned very strictly, that's what the local Pakistanis told me, including the press people here.

What -- my question is that -- also, Germany's talking --

MR. MCCORMACK: Is there a question in here, Goyal?

QUESTION: Yeah. Also, Germany is talking about (inaudible) as the next prime minister. You have any idea if anybody is in talk with the former prime minister (inaudible) back home?

MR. MCCORMACK: I don't know. I don't know.

Michel.

QUESTION: Do you support any Israeli decision to resume peace talks with Syria at this time?

MR. MCCORMACK: Same answer as this morning. I know that that ultimately is -- how Israel conducts its foreign policy is one for the Israeli Government to make on behalf of the Israeli people. At this point, I can't see that Syria has put itself out there as a proponent of positive change throughout the region in supporting greater freedom and democracy, but again, how Israel conducts its foreign policy is going to be a decision for them to make.

QUESTION: Do you encourage Israel to resume these talks?

MR. MCCORMACK: Michel, that's a -- you know, I'm not going to try to make foreign policy for Israel.

Yeah.

QUESTION: Sean, do you have any comment on this Foreign Affairs Counsel report which has come out which talks of -- that the State Department or the Foreign Service particularly being very stretched by the wars in Iraq with 200 posts unfilled abroad and also, you know, the need for 900 training slots so that you're prepared --

MR. MCCORMACK: Right.

QUESTION: In addition -- oh, I'll come back to the rest.

MR. MCCORMACK: There's more?

QUESTION: There's always more, yes.

MR. MCCORMACK: There is more. Well, look, I took a quick look at the report and -- you know, essentially, it boils down to support of the State Department's FY08 request for more resources and more critical resources, the most important of which, are people. And the real importance of the -- of our '08 request to the Congress for additional personnel resources is increasing what is referred to as the training float. And that might seem as though it's something that could be dispensed with very easily, the training float, but actually it's very important because -- and here's the reason why it's important is it takes two years to train up somebody to professional level of proficiency in some of the more difficult languages, including Arabic and Chinese. And because of the pressing needs that we have around the globe, we currently aren't able to optimize what we think is the right number of people to have in training so that we can get them up to where they need to be in terms of their language training. So that's the reason why we have put in that additional request. And we welcome the fact that this report has come out and supports that request.

I know it talks about the resource drain on the Foreign Service because of Iraq and Afghanistan. Well, you know, point out for me two more important foreign policy challenges facing the United States right now. I think you'd be hard-pressed to find them. And the fact of the matter is the Secretary is proud of the fact that the Foreign Service and the State Department is stepping up in those two places to bear our share of the burden in trying to work with the Iraqis and the Afghans to build a different kind of country. So I know they refer to it as an 800-pound gorilla in the report. Well, you know, frankly, this is a burden that the -- and a task that the Secretary is proud to take on and she's proud that the men and women of the Foreign Service and the State Department have stepped up to the challenge.

QUESTION: The report also talks about the problem of morale within the Department because you're stretched, but this is having an impact -- especially on those who are going to Iraq and other places or on the posts where they're going unaccompanied, like without their family. Do you think there is a morale problem?

MR. MCCORMACK: You know, I can't tell. I think it refers to anecdotal evidence. I don't know what that means. Look, it's a -- isn't a -- are we in a peacetime situation? No. And are we designed like the military or accustomed to having long, you know, deployments of the military service member overseas, unaccompanied in very difficult, hostile terrain? No, we're not, we're civilians.

So it's a matter of some adjustment, I would say, for the State Department and the Foreign Service. We've always served in difficult, inhospitable spots and many people in the Foreign Service are very proud of that and they should be. But this is something of a different scale. But it is something of a different scale because of the times in which we live. And Iraq, Afghanistan and some of the other places where people serve in unaccompanied posts signify the fact that we are living in a time of transformation. We are living in a critical time. We are living in a consequential time.

So as difficult as these things may be on individuals and individual families there's a reason why. And while they may find it difficult, and I know sort of words of encouragement may not assuage the difficulty of being separated, but it is -- they're making a worthy and noble sacrifice in trying to help the people of these countries who are fighting for their own freedom and liberties.

QUESTION: And the report also takes aim at the Secretary in saying that, you know, her management skills in filling these posts have not necessarily born fruit, maybe I could say. But that she needs to improve her management skills in being able to fill all these posts. What would your response be to that?

MR. MCCORMACK: You know, it's armchair quarterbacking, I guess.

QUESTION: And do you -- sorry, just one more -- do you agree with the 200 figure that they put in, that there are 200 posts that are unfilled and the 900 training slots? Are they accurate?

MR. MCCORMACK: I don't know aggregate numbers. What we'd like to do in terms of the training slots is we currently have about 6 percent in training. We'd like to get that up to about 18 percent, again for the reasons I talked about. And we're working very hard with folks up on the Hill, and there was a lot of support for this. But we're also dealing with a budget situation, which there are a lot of almost equally important demands on the American taxpayer's dollar. And Secretary Rice is an absolutely firm believer in being a good steward of the taxpayers' dollars and using our resources efficiently and effectively. That's one of the reasons why she has come up with the global repositioning initiative and that is an initiative that she has started and, I would expect, is going to continue over time, which -- you want to match your resources with your strategic objectives. She has made a lot of tough calls in moving personnel slots from places in Western Europe to other critical posts where they're needed in Indonesia, China, and India as well as other places.

There was an anomalous situation in which you had as many reporting officers in Germany -- and I'm not picking on Germany, but just using it as an example. It's an important country with important relations that we have with them, but as many reporting officers in Germany as we did in India. That's in a country of -- what, 70 million people and a country of a billion people and you had the same number of reporting officers. You know, that doesn't make any sense.

So she has actually -- you know, taken on the existing structure that she was handed; in a sense, a structure that was more attuned to the Cold War and the immediate post-Cold War period and is trying to reorient it to the challenges of the 21st century. So I think she's been a bold leader and a bold manager in trying to reorient the State Department to the tasks of the 21st century as opposed to the 20th century.

QUESTION: A follow-up on Spain?

MR. MCCORMACK: Yeah.

QUESTION: You said that you support Spain's government efforts to combat terrorism and that you work very closely with them on that. What do you mean by that exactly? I mean, are you going to support Spain's effort to combat ETA or what do you mean by working very closely with them on that?

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, I think others -- I'll see if I can find more information about specific programmatics, but we have -- it's no secret we have very close counterterrorism cooperation with Spain. They have -- the Spanish people have suffered quite a bit from terrorism, whether it's from ETA or from foreign-born terrorists in Spain. I don't have -- I can't tell you exactly the nature of that cooperation beyond very general terms of intelligence-sharing, sort of interaction between our security and military forces, but beyond that, I don't have any specifics for you.

Yeah.

QUESTION: Any update on the Crocker meeting with the Iranian -- any date or plans at this point?

MR. MCCORMACK: Nothing new, no updates. It's where Ryan left it.

Yeah, Nina.

QUESTION: Sean, can we talk a bit about this -- the Guantanamo detainees whose charges have been dropped?

MR. MCCORMACK: Sure.

QUESTION: We were talking about that this morning. You know, the common criticism is -- you know, the popular criticism is that these guys have very little in the way of legal rights, but can you counter that argument? I mean, they've obviously taken this case pretty far.

MR. MCCORMACK: Right. Well, look, we have said repeatedly that we do not want to be the world's jailers. We don't want to have Guantanamo Bay open indefinitely. But the fact of the matter is -- there are dangerous people that are incarcerated in Guantanamo Bay who are there for a reason. They have been given rights under our legal system. They have a -- there is a system of appeals. There is a system of evidentiary standards that have to be met and in the face of some unique challenges use of information from highly classified sources. But there have been workarounds that have been vetted through our court system, through our Supreme Court, through our Congress. In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, we were faced with the problem of terrorists who have no allegiance to any state; who don't wear a uniform; who hide among populations; that pose a direct threat not only to us but other freedom-loving populations around the world that want nothing more than to destroy the system of liberal democracies and free-market exchange that we have set up in the post-war era.

So the question is, how do you deal with these individuals that pose a real threat to the security of the United States and the security of our friends and allies? And we have -- we came up with a solution. Now that solution was reviewed. It was reviewed in our Congress and it was reviewed by our courts. You had the situation where Usama bin Laden's driver successfully sued the U.S. Government all the way up to the Supreme Court, and the Supreme Court sided with his argument. Now that is a measure of justice that these individuals and the groups with which they are associated, don't afford their victims. The way they treat their victims is they summarily execute them; they slit their throats. We've seen it.

So while we may not have come up with the perfect solution initially, we do -- we are a nation of laws and we are a nation of rules. And I think it is testament to those values and the fact that we are a nation of laws that you have the example of Usama bin Laden's driver being able to successfully sue the U.S. Government concerning the rights, or in his view, lack thereof, accorded him at Guantanamo Bay.

So I understand fully that Guantanamo Bay is a -- among some foreign publics -- controversial, and that they'd like to see it close down. We would like to see that some day -- absolutely. But the fact of the matter is you have to deal with these people that pose a threat not only to us but those -- some of those publics from which this criticism emanates. And we have returned hundreds of individuals who had been incarcerated at Guantanamo Bay, either to their home countries or to other countries that said that they would accept them, under the conditions that their human rights wouldn't be violated, and that they wouldn't walk in the front door of the jail and go out the back, only to pose a threat to others in the future.

So yeah, I know that this is, you know, an emotional issue on the international scene. We come in for a lot of criticism about it; fully get that. But it is also important to understand the problem with which we're dealing. And although they're -- critics like to imply that they're easy solutions to this, I'd put to you that the solutions aren't so easy when you are the person that has to sit in the chair and be responsible for the decision of: how do you deal with this person; how do you stay true to your values, while making sure the American people and foreign publics are protected? It becomes a little more difficult when that problem lands on your desk and you're not afforded the luxury of just criticizing from the outside.

QUESTION: Sean, now these cases in particular seem to have been thrown out on a semantic technicality. They weren't -- these guys weren't originally designated unlawful enemy combatants. That seems to be the problem. Is this going to create even more problems with trying to try similar individuals who didn't have that original designation?

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, I think the folks over at DOD who are running the tribunal process would probably be in a better position to explain the ins and outs of this for you. But I do understand that there's an appeal process. They can appeal this decision and I think they've indicated that they intend to. So again, it's a judicial process. It will play out. And again, just the very fact that these things are moving forward in an open and, what I would argue, transparent manner is really testament to the fact that we are trying to deal with a very difficult problem within the confines of our laws, our values and our history.

Yeah.

QUESTION: You know, the fact that the Supreme Court sided with Usama bin Laden's driver, I mean, doesn't that tell you something about the route that you chose?

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, what I said was that we came up with a solution and that solution was subject to review by our Congress and by our courts. I don't think anybody has claimed that we have come up with the perfect solution. I'm not sure that there is one objective right answer. But what we can come up with is our systems, procedures, and operations that are true to our Constitution, to our laws, to our history and our values. And you have -- you know, the President of the United States has sworn to uphold the Constitution and protect the American people and those are weighty responsibilities and those are tough decisions. So while nobody's claiming that we have every single right answer, what we can do is come up with what we think is the best possible solution under our laws. And where some disagree with that, with the solution, it is part of our system where you can have a free and open debate about that and that you can actually change -- make changes to the systems and procedures and that's what's happened.

QUESTION: Just as sort of interest, what is the State Department's view on the fellow -- the 15-year-old or the guy who was 15 who was brought in and I think he's now 18 or 19 and being tried? What's your view on that? Do you see that within the child soldier protocols within the State Department because there's a lot of discussion as to how this person should be treated within the court system? And internationally, for example, if he were being tried, you know, in the tribune in Sierra Leone, he would not face the same sort of justice system as here. They're looking at those cases differently within the sort of protocol of child soldiers. What's your view on that?

MR. MCCORMACK: I'm not a lawyer. I can't -- you know, I can't tell you when that particular treaty might apply or when it might not. My understanding is this individual is accused of killing an American solider. So I -- you know, as for this treaty, I don't know, I can't tell you. But let's also not gloss over the reason why he found himself in Guantanamo Bay.

Yeah.

QUESTION: Another subject?

MR. MCCORMACK: Yes.

QUESTION: There is legal action going on currently in Florida against the Emir of the Emirates and because of the use of children in camel races; the children who were kept in slavery.

MR. MCCORMACK: Right, right.

QUESTION: Can you confirm that Secretary sent a letter of support to the Emir, to the judge?

MR. MCCORMACK: I don't know. I know that there was an ongoing court case in Florida. I know that the UAE has made some changes to that practice. It's been a real source of discussion between us and the Emir. I can't tell you. I don't know. Very often the Secretary of State or the State Department is asked to weigh in on cases involving plaintiffs from the international system, governments, governmental leaders, et cetera. In this particular case, I can't tell you. I'm happy to check for you.

QUESTION: Yeah. The defense lawyer is quoting the Secretary, so I would like to know if it's --

MR. MCCORMACK: Okay. I don't know. I'll look into it for you. But just -- it is not unusual that the United States -- that the State Department is asked to provide such letters in cases involving international plaintiffs.

Yeah.

QUESTION: Do you have anything on these guys in California who were recently arrested for plotting to overthrow the Laotian Government? The State Department --

MR. MCCORMACK: Not much information, other than to say it's an ongoing law enforcement matter. And whenever you involve the Department of Justice and law enforcement and they have ongoing investigations or prosecutions, there's not much we can say about it.

QUESTION: But since it's dealing with a foreign government, do you --

MR. MCCORMACK: It's still a matter of domestic law enforcement.

QUESTION: Okay.

MR. MCCORMACK: Yes.

QUESTION: On the topic of Al Hurra.

MR. MCCORMACK: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: I was curious about the State Department's position about Al Hurra referring to the creation of Israel back in 1948 May 15th they referred to it as al-Nakbah, which is the term in Arabic that means "the catastrophe." And also, to follow-up to something we had talked about on the phone how -- how does Secretary Rice feel about having received false information in her briefing packet before testifying to Congress on Al Hurra about the Nasrallah speech?

MR. MCCORMACK: Okay. Let me take the first one.

QUESTION: Okay.

MR. MCCORMACK: The last one first. As for her testimony, I haven't asked her about it. My understanding is that Nasrallah's speech went on for an hour, an hour and ten minutes, something like that. And I think in her testimony, she talked about 30 minutes. Absolutely, we want to make sure the record is correct. I think it was an hour and ten minutes. But the -- you know, the fact is -- to my -- my argument is that that doesn't really qualify as a qualitative difference.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) also know about the speech that followed -- the rebuttal -- which was actually saying that Nasrallah was not anti-U.S. and anti-Israel enough?

MR. MCCORMACK: Right.

QUESTION: Which is different than I'm sure Secretary Rice's understanding was when --

MR. MCCORMACK: I think her views on Hezbollah and Nasrallah are pretty clear. I don't think anybody's confused about that. But in terms of the number, absolutely we want to be correct; it's an hour and ten minutes, as I understand it. And she would want to be correct about that.

In terms of any sort of qualitative difference, I would argue that there's probably not a whole lot between a half hour and an hour and ten minutes. Too long. I think there would be a real problem here if you had been talking about -- well, we had a representative of the State Department -- this is like a two-minute clip that you might see on any of the cable news networks or any of the broadcast networks. So the qualitative difference is, I would argue, really not significant when you're talking about this argument. Too long -- it was a problem. It was fixed. And I understand from the Broadcasting Board of Governors folks that they took steps with internal controls to make sure that that didn't happen.

Now you asked about "al-Nakbah." And let me make clear, we don't view it as the catastrophe. I understand that among some in the Arab world, they view it as a -- some may refer to it as such. What I understand from -- indirectly through the Broadcasting Board of Governors folks is that this was in a crawl at the bottom of the screen, and it ran for about an hour before it was caught, then they fixed it. And I guess that they have, as some other networks have had problems with what goes into the crawl. I see that frequently. I've called up myself sometimes and said, look, you've got to fix this. So my understanding is that they fixed it as soon as they caught it, which was after about an hour; it shouldn't happen.

And just -- when -- one general comment about Al Hurra -- I understand that the Broadcasting Board of Governors folks are looking into having an outside group take a look at the operations of Al Hurra -- I don't think they've finalized that yet -- but to take a look at their newsgathering operation, whether or not it meets in their current practices and standards, what a journalistic organization that we recognize and that we would want to associate ourselves follow.

QUESTION: A follow-up on that?

MR. MCCORMACK: Sure.

QUESTION: You said that it has been fixed and that there were internal editorial controls put into place. What is your comment about the fact that the internal editorial control, the person who was hired as chief editor of news, was the former broadcast editor from Al-Jazeera who had made the decision to put the bin Laden propaganda videos on the air unedited, defended that decision publicly, and wrote some other disturbing things about Saddam and Iraqi Shiites on his personal website? And the fact that in addition to the Nasrallah speech, you had speeches -- several speeches from Hamas leaders, an interview with an al-Qaida operative, you had the Hamas anniversary celebration aired live on December 15th, you had the broadcast of Ahmadi-Nejad's Holocaust denial conference.

And I only list all these because you had made a misstatement two weeks ago saying it was only two incidents that were being referred to.

MR. MCCORMACK: Those were the only two incidents that were brought up to me.

QUESTION: Okay. That's fine. That's the reason I'm just -- I'm listing --

MR. MCCORMACK: It wasn't a misstatement as to what was --

QUESTION: No, no, no misunderstanding on your part and that's fine, that's fine. But I was wondering what your comment is to that and especially that the proposed fix or the one they had for two months was hiring this Al-Jazeera person.

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, what I would say to you is that the Broadcasting Board of Governors is having an outside group take a look at Al Hurra and looking at these questions of newsroom procedures, journalistic standards, and how it operates. And so we're going to take -- the Board of Governors is going to take a look at what they have to say and -- you know, I'm sure it will look into those as well as other questions that others raise.

QUESTION: Is that a review that the Broadcasting Board of Governors initiated on its own or was it recommended or suggested from elsewhere?

MR. MCCORMACK: I can't tell you. I don't know. Check with those guys.

Yes, Goyal.

QUESTION: New subject.

MR. MCCORMACK: Are you going to keep it short?

QUESTION: Yes, sir. Sean -- Sean, when we --

MR. MCCORMACK: No opening statements; just a question.

QUESTION: Sean, when we talked about clean air and climate change as far as the U.S.-India Civil Nuclear Agreement, the concern is getting (inaudible) now and Mr. Nick Burns, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, was again in India. And I understand this week, President Bush and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will meet in Germany on this issue also. So how much do you think Secretary -- or how she's going to really solve this problem as far as some Congressmen have issues that -- like India and Iran relations and also some other issues are pending there, how she's working with the U.S. Congress on these issues?

MR. MCCORMACK: Well, I think that if we can get the terms of the nuclear deal right, that it will move through. But these are some pretty tough negotiations. We'd like to -- you know, you had Nick Burns there recently. We made some progress. And we would like to get this deal done as quickly as we possibly can. There are going to be follow-up conversations. You mentioned a couple of them, so we'd like to see it get done.

Nicholas. Oh, you --

QUESTION: Just a quick follow-up on this since you were focused on other things last week, but where you said Nick Burns made progress --

MR. MCCORMACK: I was traveling, yeah.

QUESTION: Well, right. What progress did he make? You said he made progress when he was there last week. What progress did he make?

MR. MCCORMACK: I think they aired some of their differences over a couple of the issues.

QUESTION: Thank you.

(The briefing was concluded at 1:26 p.m.)

DPB # 100



Released on June 5, 2007



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