CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Defense Secretary Comments After Meeting With Congress
Aired September 18, 2002 - 13:37 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is going to make comments now.
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DONALD RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: ... that I haven't already said.
QUESTION: Sir, have the allies you've consulted and you've gotten private support from, have they granted -- have they given you permission for the various things you laid out in terms of overflight rights, basing (ph), port access, you just can't name the countries, but the categories of aid, have they granted...
RUMSFELD: We are, needless to say, comfortable that in the event the president decided that it was appropriate to take some action that that could be done. We are talking to other countries and discussing various ways that they can be helpful as well and seeking that type of broad support that the president proposed at the United Nations.
QUESTION: Sir, on the expansion of Special Operation forces, do you have a plan to consolidate all the counterterrorism under Special Operation? And is that a measure to free General Franks so he can concentrate on war Iraq?
RUMSFELD: General Franks is doing a terrific job, and General Holland's doing a terrific job with Special Operations. And when we have something to announce with respect to command arrangements, if in fact we ever do, we'll announce it. And we don't have anything to announce today. As the general said, we're still worrying our way through some of those issues.
QUESTION: Are you upset with the Germans, that they don't want to join in a military action against Iraq?
RUMSFELD: You trying to get me to say something undiplomatic?
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, you wanted the Congress to vote before the Security Council. What if the Congress did not vote before the Security Council?
RUMSFELD: Oh, I think they will. It's the right thing to do.
QUESTION: Congressman, are you convinced that there's a need for regime change?
REPRESENTATIVE DUNCAN HUNTER (R), CALIFORNIA: Well, I'm convinced that there's a need to keep Saddam Hussein from acquiring nuclear systems. And I think it's very clear that he is going to acquire those systems, in my opinion, in the very near future, looking at all of the classified information that we've had and also the open information that we've had.
So I think it's necessary to do what it takes to make sure that we don't pass on to the next generation this problem of having a Saddam Hussein with nuclear weapons. And the real answer to that question is the nature of the target, whether or not you could -- we could destroy that complex, which is a pretty extensive complex, and I'm talking about the nuclear, biological and chemical complex, without having to have a regime change.
So I think that's a question that goes to an analysis of the target and it's something Congress is going to have to discuss. If it takes a regime change to eliminate the prospect of nuclear weapons, my answer is yes. And I think a number of members, having heard the classified briefings this morning and having heard the secretary and General Myers today, would share that view.
Let's take one more -- one more question.
PHILLIPS: A number of hearings taking place on the Hill. This one, aside from the Joint Intelligence Committee that we had been following, we also were following the House Armed Services Committee. That's where Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld came before leaders to make his case for a war against Iraq. That was Representative Duncan Hunter, Armed Service Committee vice chair -- not really saying much. But once again, Rumsfeld pushing his case about a regime change in Iraq.
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