News from the Washington File

01 October 2001 Transcript: White House Daily Briefing, October 1, 2001 (President's schedule, travel, vaccinations, terrorist threats, Reagan National Airport, anti-terrorism legislation, personal income/spending, military draft, Americans held in Afghanistan, funding of rebel groups in Afghanistan, Afghanistan, harboring terrorists, India, U.N. Conference on Terrorism, Mideast, Bush/visit to mosque, Afghanistan/aid, federal funds/rates) (5560) White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer briefed. Following is the White House transcript: (begin transcript) THE WHITE HOUSE Office of the Press Secretary October 1, 2001 PRESS BRIEFING BY ARI FLEISCHER INDEX --------------------President's schedule Travel Vaccinations Threats of additional terrorist attacks Reagan National Airport Anti-terrorism legislation Domestic agenda Personal income and spending Draft Americans held in Afghanistan Funding of rebel groups in Afghanistan Government of Afghanistan Harboring terrorists India U.N. Conference on Terrorism Transcript discrepancy Middle East President's visit to mosque Aid to Afghanistan Federal funds rates

THE WHITE HOUSE Office of the Press Secretary October 1, 2001 PRESS BRIEFING BY ARI FLEISCHER The James S. Brady Briefing Room

and he warmly thanked the Czech President and the people of the Czech Republic for their strong support in recent weeks since the terrorist attack on our country. We'll have additional information on more specifics of the visit closer to it. and to talk to children about what they're thinking.N. . QUESTION: Did you say what day that trip is? Wednesday. EDT MR. And he will depart from the White House in the early afternoon to the Federal Emergency Management Administration to talk to employees of FEMA and to discuss actions against the -. it has been very difficult on children and the President is very concerned about that.M. to visit a local elementary school and to talk to the children and to the teachers. what they're going through. FLEISCHER: Q: Day trip? MR. President Havel reiterated the Czech Republic's desire to help in the war on terrorism in any possible way. MR. The President will travel to New York City on Wednesday this week.12:05 P. The President also spoke this morning to Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir. And the President emphasized that the struggle was against evil. in Shanghai in a couple of weeks. The President was pleased to hear that President Havel's health is improving after his recent hospitalization. The President convened a meeting of his National Security Council earlier this morning. They look forward to exchanging views in more depth at the APEC leaders meeting. that's not -- MR. FLEISCHER: Good afternoon.in the war on terrorism. And they discussed the economic repercussions of the attack.N. FLEISCHER: I think it will be a message to help New Yorkers recover and rebound from the attacks. What about the U. will he speak to U. which the President will participate in. The Two leaders agree that the unprecedented nature of the terrorist threat requires new types of tactics and international -.new forms of international cooperation. And President Havel noted that he and his countrymen would do all they can to make that an important and successful meeting. The President thanked the Prime Minister for his condolences on behalf of the people of Malaysia in the wake of the terrorist attack. One other note. FLEISCHER: Q: Is the elementary school the focus on the attacks or reading or education or -MR.. and also to discuss how to help New Yorkers and New York City rebound and recover from the attack. FLEISCHER: Q: Day trip. The President began his morning with a phone call to Czech President Havel. people? No. and not Islam. And the President told President Havel that he looked forward to NATO's summit in Prague in November of 2002. this week.

get back to work.) I have not. we've not been able to rule out plans for hijacking additional aircraft. FLEISCHER: Well. I think what you heard over the weekend. Q: Have you updated your vaccination? MR.possible -threat of biological or chemical attacks in this country? MR. to let Americans know that threats do remain. stories over the weekend indicated that administration officials said that there was no new intelligence. but the government is as prepared as possible to do as much as can be done. Q: Has the President updated his small pox vaccination? Has he had an anthrax inoculation? And have gas masks been issued in the White House? MR. including planning domestically at home.Q: Will the First Lady go with him? MR. yet attacks still took place. Obviously. as you've heard since September 11th. FLEISCHER: I'll have to ask on the vaccinations -. That's a question more for health professionals. Ari. So what the President is working very hard to do is find that balance. do you think it would be wise for Americans to consider doing such a thing. The government is taking all steps necessary to counter those threats. But the most important action the government can take is going after the terrorists who did it. and he went on to say. Q: On the broader question. Q: What Attorney General Ashcroft specifically said is there is a very serious threat of additional problems now. get up in the skies. the federal government moved supplies into the region that turned out to be unnecessary. (Laughter. FLEISCHER: Well. And those threats are of a general nature. Q: In spite of the continued warnings of the possibility of further terrorist attacks. But that's the tenor of it. Helen. I'm not aware of anybody advising the American people to do that. What is it? . so they don't have any abilities to do it again. America. I think Secretary Thompson of Health and Human Services addressed that last night. that's separate and apart from the important need to pass legislation on the Hill that can give the government the tools it needs to fight terrorism.comport with what you understand? MR. FLEISCHER: I'll have more information to you shortly. And I'm not aware of any distribution of gas masks to staff in the White House. we did not have any specific information about the attacks on September 11th. FLEISCHER: Thank you for your interest. I don't have that yet. when he indicated that in the wake of the attack on New York City. The President has also been out there saying. But I have not heard any such advisement. And out of concern I guess also to get the anti-terrorism package passed -.I don't know the answer to it. has been reminders that the United States still faces threats. that this was based on the situation as it had developed and on proper concern. considering what some administration officials have said about the possible -.

and I think that's plain for all to see. Air travel has been increasing on a regular basis. government. the President is very. very aware of the implications of leaving National Airport closed for the people who work in Northern Virginia. getting back to Reagan National. Q: Well. Does the President. so long as we are free and so long as we are open. there's a version out there he's leaning in the direction of opening it. it will be shared with you. for the thousands of employees and their families and the impact that leaving National closed would have on . we've discussed this here repeatedly. more federal marshals. Q: Just to follow up on this. Is that true? MR.MR. federalization of background checks and screening. does that in any way inhibit the choices he may make? MR. particularly in the last week. FLEISCHER: I think if you look at the reactions from the American people.S. though. are administration officials unnecessarily alarming people. FLEISCHER: Well. FLEISCHER: Terry. military retaliation. so Americans can again find that balance between liberty and fear. in reality. And that's why the President announced the airline safety package last week that he is intent on moving forward to provide greater security in the cockpits. will the President make a decision this week? It's supposed to be soon. number two. FLEISCHER: Major. But it's also important the government has been forthright about it. And the American people are responding. but the President is going to have additional conversations with his staff this week about that. MR. And that's why the President is as determined as he is to treat this as a war. And as soon as there is something more definitive to say. that threats remain. and so liberty can win. So a series of actions have been taken and will continue to be taken to do everything possible to make America as safe as can be. threats from terrorism remain. and it's both. Q: Ari. of the U. and that's why you're hearing these measured statements from government leaders. And the President will take whatever actions are necessary to take this war to the terrorists who have already attacked our country and to those who continue to harbor the terrorists. FLEISCHER: I don't have a hard schedule for you on when the President will make a decision about that matter. with these very strong warnings of serious threats of additional terrorist activity? MR. agree with that? And. But the one issue will always remain in our country. the American people are appreciative of the forthrightness of the government. I think the point that the Attorney General and others are making is that threats do remain. greater training. And events changed life on September 11th. But in no case will those threats deter the President from carrying out this mission and winning this war. I think the government has an obligation to be forthright. And that's the reality of life in America today. number one. and to take it to the enemy so that the cause of terrorism can be rooted out. and that's a healthy sign across the country. Q: The Attorney General also said yesterday that it was his estimation that the threat of a terrorist attack could increase in this country based on the retaliation.

He's also aware of the implications of leaving National closed would have on US Airways and its ability to operate. which literally puts the airplanes on the flight path to and from National seconds away from many major federal facilities. But when do you cross the line of trying to keep the nation safe and fears of anthrax and fears of another airport -. I think throughout the country people are re-jiggering what they took for granted. He's very sensitive on those points. I think they've found it. You listen to the American people go to airports now. People saying. you know -. And I think you have to wait and hear what the resolution is and the manner in which it's resolved. I'm not sure I would say that any one outweighed the other. Look. and they'll react well. And that's why I say. the economy outweighed security on this matter? MR.them. Q: On the anti-terrorism legislation. And I think that's a line that the government officials you've heard talk have tried to find. FLEISCHER: You have faith in the American people. When is the fine line crossed between security and the economy? I mean. and they're accepting of it. The specifics will be very important. And that's the strength of our country. There are obviously security considerations because of the unique location of National Airport. I mean. So the President is listening to his top transportation and security experts on that issue.airline running into another building? What do you do? MR. that immigrants suspected of terrorist actions or being involved in terrorist actions should remain in jail until their cases are adjudicated? Or does he believe there should be a time limit. Q: Wait a minute. we know National Airport. you have faith in the country. The American people want to know what the facts are. people are saying that they understand the need for more security at this time. I'm happy to wait in line an hour. So there always is that issue of how a government official can find the appropriate balance between letting the country know the facts and taking all appropriate action to deal with those facts. as Attorney General Ashcroft. I don't think it's anything that anybody wants. but they understand it. And the American people will react accordingly. But it will be a question of finding the appropriate balance. what all of us took for granted before September 11th. . FLEISCHER: No. and it always has been. Q: On the issue of National Airport. I think that a balance would have been found. just to follow up. and statements that people are making now are statements they never would have made before September 11th. Ari. Does the President feel. but I think the President is very hopeful that he can find a solution that allows all those concerns to be addressed.that airport has a lot of employees that live in this area. FLEISCHER: The President supports the package that the Attorney General has proposed to the Congress. the seven days being considered -MR. Ashcroft was out this weekend talking about the continued threats. too. But if National is reopened this week.

MR. FLEISCHER: The President supports the package the Attorney General has sent to the Congress. So. FLEISCHER: Well. having . It's a potential that there will be action in the House Judiciary Committee on it this week. the President wants bipartisan mechanism with the leaders in private at these meetings and talk agreements together. it's very important to listen to Congress and to work the deliberative process the Congress puts in place. I don't think there are going to be any decisions made. typically what happens is each leader has to go back and talk to their rank and file. action on education. But the point is. airline workers.or counter-terrorism package that he was talking about. And those efforts are underway now. the President is going to have a meeting tomorrow morning with the congressional leadership. economic stimulus. there's the economic stimulus package. that means each leader has to go back and talk to scores of people. On the question of stimulus. In the case of the House. FLEISCHER: Q: Germ warfare. And you can add to that list the domestic agenda. In the case of the Senate. necessarily. FLEISCHER: Well. and then let the from there. as well as with Chairman Leahy and others in the Senate who have just jurisdiction over this. there really isn't an established set of priorities at this point? MR. there's a package about germ warfare. Q: What about these other things that I mentioned? Give me some specifics again. there's one on infrastructure security and probably others I don't even know about. The administration has been working very closely with members of the House. FLEISCHER: Well. at tomorrow morning's meeting. as always. Q: Ari. and an aid to people who have lost their jobs as a result of the attacks. There's the anti-terrorism -. MR. After these meetings take place. for example. clearly it begins with the package that the Attorney General has proposed. to put together a very so that he can share their ideas about how they can get deliberative process take over Q: So are you saying that after the counter-terrorism bill. infrastructure security. which is the subject of discussion on the Hill as we speak. that means each leader has to talk to a couple hundred people.Q: You do not see a concern there in cases that perhaps drag on. I think they're all important. This is now part of what I would refer to you as his weekly consultative meetings with the leaders. because that will always be important to this country in times of war and peace. each one of those is a different topic. FLEISCHER: Q: On the counter-terrorism? On the whole -- MR. there is a whole bunch of legislation now on the Hill dealing with this attack and the fallout from it. and people being held during that period of time? MR. Are there priorities here that the White House would like to set for Congress? MR.

improved public schools. this morning. but. the energy package remains important. but to analyze and absorb and study the data.some people will tell you having the savings rate up is a good thing. You had said earlier that when the administration has been indicating there is a serious threat and we have to be prudent and vigilant about possible exposure to chemical or biological agents. again.you know. in saying that threats to remain. And. which is exactly what the public is entitled to. light rail. FLEISCHER: She broadened her question. I think the process is going to be a deliberative one.2 percent. the Commerce Department released statistics on personal income and spending. of course. I'll try to give you some type of information after tomorrow morning's meeting. where it would also be considered a job stimulus package as well as something -MR. But more significantly. And I'm not aware of any statements made by government officials that people need to do that. Does that put any increased pressure on you to get a deal tomorrow or earlier this week as the Republican leadership has called for? MR. Has the administration weighed in at all on this idea of a major infrastructure package. FLEISCHER: No. the highest it has been in more than two years. I mean. the savings rate for August was 4. FLEISCHER: Helen asked that question earlier. as Chairman Greenspan has advised. and I said that I'm not aware of any -Q: She asked about -- MR. you can go down the list. as you've cited. you've said the administration is looking at the supply side options. where the President will work with the Congress on this and. I don't know if that's an idea that the leadership on the Hill is sponsoring. FLEISCHER: I think you just have to wait and see if that comes up at the leadership level tomorrow. not rush to make any hasty judgments. to help people who are in poverty. the patients' bill of rights. also. suggesting that people weren't spending the tax rebates as much as the administration had hoped. the faith-based agenda. Q: Ari. There are 535 members of Congress. Congress still was able to take action on the domestic agenda and all those items can be considered. at 0. in times of war and in times of peace. other people will say failure to spend it is a bad thing. Should they take preventative steps and make sure their small pox vaccinations are updated? Should they be doing things like that? MR. as well as Keynesian. it still doesn't seem clear to me whether you're saying the American people should take preventative steps. and I can't comment on every individual one of theirs different ideas. Those all are important issues -. . And I think the American people understand that. Q: And. And spending was up slightly less than expected. And that's something the President is focused on. But what the President is saying is he's being forthright with the public. previously.1 percent. Q: On the stimulus package. We'll see when the economists reach conclusions. an unrelated follow up. the savings rate is up and there are two sides to every statistic when it comes to economics -. where there would be a lot of public works projects. increased spending.

Does the White House envision a time when the draft would be reactivated? And also. Q: If it's true that there is an increase risk of bioterrorism -people talking about it over the weekend -. the United States is not going to get in the business of choosing who rules Afghanistan. Christian aid workers who are under arrest? MR. or more. create a version of the Taliban as. FLEISCHER: That fighting the Taliban could result in that? Q: Funding other groups perhaps that could end up replacing the Taliban could end up creating just a replica version of something as extreme. Ari? Q: Is there a long-term plan being looked at by the White House for consistent aid over a period of years? Or is it just being looked at in the short-term? . I'm not aware of anybody in government who has recommended such a step. Q: How will it do that. Q: Is the President concerned that funding some of the rebel groups in Afghanistan could. I know you don't negotiate with the Taliban. when the President says those things I think it's also very helpful to local police and state police and others who are not directly under federal jurisdiction about the importance of the role that they play throughout the country in being the eyes and ears of the law enforcement community at the grass-roots level. in the President's address to the Congress and to the nation two Thursday nights ago. the President did say that one of the demands is the unconditional release of the Americans who are being held by the Taliban for preaching Christianity. in the end. as I've indicated twice earlier in briefings over the last couple of weeks. And on the question of the workers in Afghanistan. FLEISCHER: I did not get that impression from listening to him. MR. or whatever. What did he say? MR. although -MR. D. radical than the one that exists there now? MR. Q: But Rumsfeld seemed to open the door a little bit yesterday. FLEISCHER: Q: He seemed to -. but do you have any words of warning to them about the foreign aid.C.I got the impression that it was not totally ruled out on the future. if you recall.But you know. particularly in potentially affected cities like Washington. FLEISCHER: On the question of the draft. FLEISCHER: Those statements would come from the appropriate law enforcement officials based on any information they have. I've checked with DOD and they have told me that there is no discussion of that.? MR. FLEISCHER: Well. And as I indicated. But the United States will assist those who are seeking a peaceful and economically developed Afghanistan that does not engage in terrorism. Q: Two more on Afghanistan.why shouldn't Americans take more preventative actions? Why shouldn't they be looking for different types of inoculations or gas masks.

has now resorted to such measures as taking away the international food that has been provided to the people of Afghanistan. as I said. the United States is not going to choose who rules Afghanistan. again. FLEISCHER: Again. FLEISCHER: We didn't need to hear that statement from the Taliban to know that they harbor terrorists. who simply want to live their lives. MR. FLEISCHER: Well. from the Taliban. Q: One of the people that the administration has been talking to through our embassy in Rome and congressional delegation is the exiled King. and what does that mean to them? MR. And the United States is the world's largest donor of food to the people of Afghanistan. Q: It's a live more than -Often. MR. as long as they're for a peaceful and economically engaged Afghanistan that doesn't support terrorism. . But the United States message to the Taliban could not be more clear. Q: If there is a coalition government centered around this exiled King.? And can you clarify that? MR. and has indications that there would be willingness on the part of the Taliban. so what's next? I'm not going to tell you what's next. that's fine with the administration? MR. Q: Okay. And the President has made it very clear that he is prepared to take action in a host of areas against those who engage in terrorism and against those who continue to harbor terrorists. which would include the Taliban. Helen. to enter into some kind of unity government which would include the Taliban. the United States will not -. So there really is a difference between the regime that so-called represents the people of Afghanistan and the desires of the people. FLEISCHER: The President made clear that the United States will treat those who continue to harbor terrorists the same as it treats terrorists. Q: Well. FLEISCHER: Well.S. He has said that he would be willing. I can't comment on anything that is a hypothetical. Would you call that harboring.is not in the business of approving or creating a new government for Afghanistan. FLEISCHER: Q: Do you stand by your statement earlier today. and the President remains committed even going forward to providing food to the people of Afghanistan.MR. and of course. it is always important to separate the people of Afghanistan. which has repressed the people of Afghanistan. FLEISCHER: Major. But that's a hypothetical. we know now the Taliban has acknowledged that they know where bin Laden is. Would that be acceptable to the administration? MR. hypotheticals have some degree of being live. that the purpose of the mission is to eliminate those who harbor terrorists so that they can't practice terrorism again against the U. of course.

Q: Any change in the U. assistance to those who seek to overthrow the Taliban? MR. FLEISCHER: I think we addressed that last week.S.S. Q: According to an article in India Globe. in the context of that answer. is -. conference on terrorism going on.N. Q: Ari. if there's any policy change towards India. financial -. And it should not come as any surprise that when the President says that we will treat those who continue to harbor terrorists the same as we treat terrorists. And if you take a look at transcripts. FLEISCHER: That meeting is with Dr. unfortunately. that it wasn't there. but that's a reiteration of something you've heard for a long time. you said that Americans need to watch what they say and watch what they do. Andrew Card said the same thing.S. free of terrorism. And the first I heard of it was when I came back from my trip to New York that day. military. political. so that's a question you can address there. How is the U. one. if there's any readout on the meeting. every now and then there is a mistake in it. government going to go about doing that? MR. Rice. the U. between U. And I know State is briefing at 12:30 p.. economically-developed Afghanistan. playing? MR. But it's with the National Security Advisor. you might have already answered this. Q: And the U. what role is the U. he's meeting with the President. and also. Q: When you say military. is playing? And. Do you know why? MR. FLEISCHER: . FLEISCHER: There's nothing that I'm aware of. What role the U. MR. number two.S. Secretary Rumsfeld said the same thing. FLEISCHER: Through a variety of ways which can involve political. This should not be a subject of a lot of guessing. But that's a meeting with Dr.direct U. Indian Foreign Minister is in the building meeting somebody here. And that's what I think happened. Rice. diplomatic -. I'll try to give you a read if that happens.S. you said.S. Les. That line for some reason wasn't in the official White House transcript. Again. policy towards India? MR.N. what relation -MR.Q: You said that the United States government will assist those who seek to create a peaceful. FLEISCHER: Let me check with the State Department to see exactly who may be up there. Q: Thank you.m.all of the above. FLEISCHER: I'm not going to go beyond that statement. Whether. diplomatic. And if there are any other developments in the meeting or anybody else drops by. we'll try to provide it. Ron. and India. but last week when you were asked about Bill Maher. too.conference on international terrorism going on right now at the United Nations. It was a mistake. the President has said he's going to take action to protect our country from terrorist attacks.

I can't indicate that that's an accurate number or not. FLEISCHER: I don't have the precise figure in front of me.S. the President does believe it's very important to work with the various sides in the Middle East to help bring about peace. Ari. sponsored a speaker who announced that Jews are descended from apes. that will remain an objective of the President. and what they've said. And as I indicated going forward. the Muslim Public Affairs Council and the American Muslim Reliance -. Q: Nine-hundred-million dollars? MR. Les. is to do everything possible to help the people of Afghanistan. Q: What is the administration's understanding of the prospect of a humanitarian catastrophe inside Afghanistan this winter? What steps would we take beyond the food aid contributions that we've already made to try and prevent it? And would we. the New Yorker reports that only four months ago the U. the Holocaust is denied. FLEISCHER: As I indicated already. reports the Weekly Standard. to create peace in the Middle East. would that be a reason for military action against the Taliban? MR. when the President meets with groups. I'll say it again. They should not be punished because of the actions of the regime that represses them. There are often times that the President can meet with people and not share their opinions. You should never assume that when the President meets with a group for important reasons of meeting with a group that he would ever agree with anything anybody in that group has said. and met with them? MR. Who arranged this mosque meeting. particularly as winter approaches. the United States and President Bush are very concerned about the actions the Taliban regime has taken to seize the food of the people who need the food the most. FLEISCHER: Wendell.S. has given $900 million to the PLO. it's not an indication. and the Washington Times reports that since the Oslo Accords the U. and why wasn't the President warned about that? MR.if your question is about the Middle East. Ari. that he agrees with everything anybody may have said in that group.Q: Ari. And my reaction then is the exact same as my reaction now. the President -. and the President remains very concerned about it. FLEISCHER: A similar question came up at Friday's briefing as well. government gave $40 million to the Taliban. why does the President allow such federal government expenditures? MR. And my question is. Q: He knew about this. and a comparison of Palestinian suicide bombers to American Minutemen. FLEISCHER: Well.have. Q: Was the President made aware before he visited the mosque that three of the organizations that met with him -. It is a concern. and that's the people of Afghanistan. of course. given the Taliban has now seized international food contributions. these people. which produces suicide bombers and thousands who cheered at the September 11th mass murder. given the fact that the United States is the world's largest donor of food aid to the people of Afghanistan. .the Council on American Islamic Relations. about some statements that reportedly were made by some of the people the President met with. But the President has said that it's important to work with the parties to help bring them together.

and others who say that the spread between short-term and long-term is a policy issue. Q: Despite a series of short-term -. Q: Ari. I just wanted to follow on that.Q: And our assessment of the threat they face? Our assessment of the threat they face? MR. FLEISCHER: It's a serious humanitarian problem.M. .policy makers with that twist between low short-term rates and high long rates? And how do you propose to address the problem? MR. everybody. Department of State. Department of State.S. Links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views contained therein. FLEISCHER: Well.S. FLEISCHER: And anything dealing with operational elements I'm just not going do discuss. It's just one of scores of pieces of economic data that's often analyzed. 12:34 P. as evidenced by the fact that they're seizing the food of the people of Afghanistan. even on the humanitarian nature like that when you talk about the military drop in food. and more short-term cuts are probably in the offing. and -. long-term rates have remained quite high.of cuts in the short-term federal funds rate. that's often one of those issues where economists differ about the meaning of it. My question is. EDT (end transcript) (Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs. So that's one of the many factors that are being addressed as the President talks to Congress about a possible economic package. where do you stand now on this thought about having direct food drops in Afghanistan by the Air Force or by other military forces? MR. there's none that I've heard. given the fact that the Taliban regime continues to repress the people of Afghanistan. again. FLEISCHER: No. Q: Just to follow up on Wendell's question. So there are some people who say that's a sign of anticipated strength in the economy. how concerned is the administration.gov) Return to the Washington File This site is produced and maintained by the U. Web site: http://usinfo.state. Thank you. Is there disagreement within the administration on the proposition that long rates are a deterrent to investment and to growth? MR. THE PRESS: END Thank you. which is why long-term rates don't come down even further. U.

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