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U.S. Department of Defense
Press Operations
News Transcript

Presenter: Defense Secretary Jim Mattis June 28, 2017

Media Availability by Secretary Mattis en route to Belgium


Q: Have you seen anything else that's worrying since Monday or Sunday as far as chemical weapons preparations or anything else that's been --

SEC. MATTIS: It appears that they took the warning seriously.

Q: Okay. And has the Pentagon prepared, you know, targeting or options at this point?

SEC. MATTIS: I don't talk about possible future operations at all. I never do. So don't take that as -- we're doing something, but I just don't talk about future ops as you all know.

Q: How serious did you see these preparations? And how -- how strong do you think the --


SEC. MATTIS: I think the president speaking about them says how seriously we took them. He wanted to dissuade them.

Q: When you say they took the warning seriously, what indications are there about that? Did they cease the activity?

SEC. MATTIS: They didn't do it.

Q: They just didn't -- (inaudible).


Q: (inaudible) -- strike, but you haven't seen -- have you seen other activity or any sort of -- (inaudible)?

SEC. MATTIS: They didn't do it.


Q: There's no more movement at the air base as far as you can tell?

SEC. MATTIS: There's always movement at air bases.

Q: But not the suspicious -- not what you saw -- (inaudible)?

SEC. MATTIS: They didn't do it.

Q: But the fact that they didn't do it, does that suggest to you that they completely turned this off? Or do you think there's a plot -- and idea --

SEC. MATTIS: I think you better ask Assad about that.

Q: But what's your sense of confidence in this?

SEC. MATTIS: I'm not paid to have confidence in this sort of thing.

Q: Have you seen any activity --

SEC. MATTIS: I'm paid to be one of the sentinels that watches for it.

Q: Mr. Secretary, have you seen any activity beyond Shayrat?

SEC. MATTIS: I, you know, beyond Shayrat activity, there's tons of --

Q: I'm sorry. Let me be clearer --

SEC. MATTIS: -- military activity, aircraft activity --

Q: Chemical weapons.

SEC. MATTIS: I'm not going say where all we saw it.

Q: I'm sorry?

SEC. MATTIS: I'm not going to say where all we saw it.


SEC. MATTIS: Like I said yesterday, I'm not going to say where all -- what all the data is.

Q: Okay. We did learn that it was Shayrat from the Pentagon. So, are you suggesting that it could be beyond that, too?

SEC. MATTIS: Pardon?

Q: Are you suggesting it could be beyond that, too?

SEC. MATTIS: I think that Assad's chemical program goes far beyond one airfield.

Q: Beyond that, have there been any additional worrisome activities in southern Syria where the trainee base is? Any additional warnings?

SEC. MATTIS: You'll have to ask Assad.

Q: Do you have an on-the-record assessment of how much chemical weapons he may have now?

SEC. MATTIS: An off-the-record assessment?

Q: No, on-the-record assessment.


Q: Thank you.


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