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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Richard Armitage Testifies Before 9/11 Commission

Aired March 24, 2004 - 15:49   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Judy Woodruff in Washington. We're continuing our live coverage of these commission -- 9/11 Commission hearings. You're looking at the honorary -- the co-chair of the 9/11 Commission, former New Jersey Governor Tom Kean, other members of the panel. They're getting ready to hear from the number two man at the State Department, Richard Armitage.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

RICHARD ARMITAGE, DEPUTY SECRETARY OF STATE: It's not more than a minute or two. Mr. Chairman, if I may.

I think regarding Dr. Rice, I'm very pleased to hear you say how forthcoming and candid she was. She's, of course, prepared to meet with you all in camera at anytime. I think this is not her personal wish. It's a matter of separation of powers and things of that nature. Mr. Ben-Veniste is the lawyer here. He can take it wherever he wants. I'm not...

RICHARD BEN-VENISTE, 9/11 COMMISSION MEMBER: Overruled.

(LAUGHTER)

ARMITAGE: Not yet. You'll have your time. I wanted just to take two minutes, sir, and tell you where I think we are at least for what I've gleaned thus far that each individual who witnesses these hearings and the important work you all are doing would make their own mind up.

But here's what I'm kind of hearing. I think there was a pretty smooth hand-off from the administration of President Clinton to the administration of President Bush, particularly in the counterterrorism area. The reason I say that is because there was, for transitions, I think a stunning continuity.

When the Bush administration came in, there were a number of issues that had been on the table for a couple of years. They weren't on the table because the Clinton administration wasn't working like crazy. They were on the table because we're meeting on these matters. They were on the table because they were difficult, knotty issues.

We made the determination under the guidance of Dr. Rice and the president to vigorously pursue the policy which we inherited while developing our own approach to the problem of al Qaeda, specifically, and terrorism more generally. And along the way, we tried at least through the deputies level to make decisions and to approve things and to push them up the food chain.

The president said that he was tired of swatting flies. He gave us a little more strategic direction. It was clear to us that roll- back was no longer a sufficient strategy and that we had to go to the elimination of al Qaeda.

To that end, at least through the deputies prior to the horror of September 11th, decisions were approved to arm the Predator, to increase the assistance to Uzbekistan, to work with the Northern Alliance in a bigger way, to try to reinvigorate what was going on with Pakistan. And certainly in order to bring some stability to South Asia we had to have a different relationship with India and one that's not hyphenated, Indo-Pak.

So I saw in both administrations a lot of people working terrifically hard doing the best jobs they could. But a lot of people in successive administrations working just as hard as they can on the issue is not a source of any satisfaction for anyone. I don't think any of us, or anyone who's worked on these issues can feel any sense of satisfaction with 3,000 of our fellow citizens horribly murdered.

So the inevitable evisceration of Osama bin Laden personally will be a very good thing, but in itself it's not going to bring any satisfaction or justice. True satisfaction and true justice, in my belief, will only come for Americans -- and for that matter now for Spaniards and Turks and Saudis and Moroccans -- when we've put an end to terrorism.

The terrible thing is, I'm afraid that's going to be at some far- out date in the future, and we just have to steel ourselves for it.

So thank you, Mr. Chairman, Mr. Vice. Look forward to your hearing.

THOMAS H. KEAN, 9/11 COMMISSION CHAIRMAN: Thank you very much for your opening comments.

Commissioner Ben-Veniste will now begin the questioning.

BEN-VENISTE: Mr. Secretary, I want to thank you for your service to the country, and my comments to you are not meant as any personal criticism. You are here because the administration asked you to come here. We asked for Dr. Rice.

The NSC is the lead on coordinating and implementing counterterrorism in its policy during the key investigative period that we are charged with investigating, from 1998 to 9/11, 2001.

The State Department was one of several line agencies that the White House staff worked to coordinate. It was a spoke in the wheel, not the hub. The hub was Dr. Rice. Just as Sandy Berger was for the Clinton administration, Dr. Rice would be to provide us with our understanding here.

In some respects, I think you're in the position of Admiral Stockdale when in 1992, he said, "Why am I here?" I'd like to ask that question of you. When did you learn that you would be the person to testify, that the White House would request that you come here today?

ARMITAGE: First of all, the 13th Amendment applies to me as well as it does to all of my colleagues, Mr. Ben-Veniste.

(LAUGHTER)

And I'm under no force to be here. They did request me.

I'm here, I think, in large measure because, like Dick Clarke, who's a longtime colleague, I was in on the beginning. I was in on the takeoff of this back in 1983. And through the initial embryonic setting up of counterterrorism centers and the embryonic efforts at the agency, et cetera, and the rendering and faras unis (ph) and these fellows. So I'm here because I've been involved for awhile.

BEN-VENISTE: Well, Mr. Clarke said that the folks in the Bush administration, Bush II, came in with more or less the same agenda that they had left with in Bush I.

And so in certain regard you actually were not in on the transition, isn't that so? You did not receive the classified briefings until your confirmation, which I believe was in March. Is that right?

ARMITAGE: Yes, it was.

BEN-VENISTE: And so all of the initial briefings, you were not party to. Is that correct?

ARMITAGE: I was not in the initial briefings for the president. I was on his team, of course. And I did have a clearance from '97 on because of my work on the National Defense Panel, which eventually formed the basis for the president's Citadel speech and homeland security.

BEN-VENISTE: Well, you told us that you are not privy to the initial briefings because the powers that be decided that those who were not yet confirmed would not get those briefings.

ARMITAGE: The powers that be and the U.S. Senate, who looks very poorly on any administration -- incoming administration people even being perceived as taking an active participation role in decision- making.

However, in a period of time leading up to my confirmation, I certainly had briefings from the entire organization in the State Department, to include counterterrorism.

BEN-VENISTE: Now, the 13th Amendment notwithstanding, may I ask you when it was that you were advised that you would be requested by the administration to come up here in lieu of Dr. Rice?

ARMITAGE: I'd say about ten days ago.

BEN-VENISTE: That's interesting.

ARMITAGE: Might have been a week. But ten days -- a week to ten days.

BEN-VENISTE: We were advised not quite that long ago that you would be coming. In the...

ARMITAGE: In fairness, I was told that if I do it, I'd be welcome. However...

BEN-VENISTE: We welcomed you yesterday.

ARMITAGE: However, there was a big debate in the administration about this because as I said in my opening remarks, I think Dr. Rice, if she was left to her own personal judgment, she'd be very pleased to be here.

BEN-VENISTE: Well, you know, I agree with you. We had a useful period of time with her. She understood that we would need to question her again because we did not have the PDDs and other materials that she recognized would be necessary to complete her interview at the time that we did question her.

On the other hand, there are number of things which we would have liked to explore with her in person. And I just want to end with saying that, from my personal standpoint -- although the commission has unanimously requested repeatedly that Dr. Rice come before us -- my own view is that the president has said repeatedly through his spokesperson that he remains committed for full cooperation with this commission.

Now, I brought to your attention, all joking aside, the fact that other national security advisers have come before the Congress and have testified in open session, including Mr. Berger, including Zbigniew Brzezinski.

And my point is that if the White House wanted to fully cooperate and make Dr. Rice available, there would be no impediment for their doing so.

And I'll leave it at that.

ARMITAGE: If I may, sir, I was under the very strong impression that sitting national security advisers have not testified in open session before. However, they have, as Dr. Rice did, certainly participated in commissions as far back, that I know, to the Tower Commission.

BEN-VENISTE: That's I offered you this report from the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress which documented times and places for Brzezinski and twice for Berger, who did in fact come and testify in open session.

ARMITAGE: Also, I see you're the attorney; I'm not. You went to law school; I went in the Navy. I defer to your legal judgments on this. BEN-VENISTE: Well, I think it's not a fair fight, frankly...

ARMITAGE: ... if I may...

BEN-VENISTE: ... and I think the...

ARMITAGE: ... if I may...

(LAUGHTER)

BEN-VENISTE: I think the -- I think the White House has, again, over-lawyered this, because they've created impressions here that are unnecessary in my view, just speaking for myself.

I'd like to get into substance.

ARMITAGE: I'd love to, but I would just say I think those situations which you described, sir, are all distinguishable, one from the other, for different reasons.

But as I say, you're the lawyer; I'm not.

BEN-VENISTE: They are all for reasons that I've explained on the record, none of which, I would have to say, sir, even approaches the seriousness of the mission of this commission; that is, looking into how it was that this country was attacked and 3,000 souls lost on 9/11/2001 in the worst attack on our homeland in the history of this country.

Now, substance. Start the clock.

(LAUGHTER)

ARMITAGE: It's going to be one of those afternoons, is it?

BEN-VENISTE: Is it correct that -- let me go to the period of just prior to 9/11. At this point you were confirmed?

ARMITAGE: Yes, sir.

BEN-VENISTE: At this point you were aware, were you not, of the most heightened alert level in the United States up to that point with respect to the potential for a terrorist attack of significant magnitude.

ARMITAGE: Yes, I was. I was one of those to whom Director Tenet turned, along with other seniors in the administration, and made it very clear that we had a big problem coming. He didn't know where and he didn't know when, but he said it was coming.

BEN-VENISTE: And we have heard from Mr. Clarke, who continued on into the administration as the coordinator for counterterrorism, although in a somewhat reduced capacity from his status in the Clinton administration, that there certainly was no way they could rule out an attack upon the United States.

ARMITAGE: Right.

BEN-VENISTE: And do you agree with that?

ARMITAGE: Oh, yes, I do.

BEN-VENISTE: Now, Dr. Rice told us that Mr. Clark had briefed her that there were al Qaeda sleeper cells in the United States. Dr. Rice told us that she did not know what basis Mr. Clarke had for that. She told us that the FBI was trying to actively find al Qaeda personnel.

She did not, she told us, talk to Richard Clarke prior to 9/11 about the potential for al Qaeda sleeper cells. Were she here, I would ask her the question as to why she did not discuss the issue of al Qaeda sleeper cells in the United States with her counterterrorism coordinator.

Do you have any information you might be able to shed on that subject?

ARMITAGE: No, of course not.

BEN-VENISTE: Dr. Rice, following 9/11, made a statement that -- I want to make sure I get it right -- she said, "I don't think anybody could have predicted that those people could take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center. Take another one, and slam it into the Pentagon. That they would try to use an airplane as a missile, a hijacked airplane as a missile."

Do you recall that she made that statement publicly?

ARMITAGE: No, I didn't see that.

BEN-VENISTE: Similarly, yesterday, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld made a statement with respect to anticipating the use of commercial airplanes as weapons. And then after I questioned him about it, he retracted that statement and said that he personally could not have or did not imagine that such a thing might happen.

Dr. Rice told us privately that she wished to correct that statement that she made publicly by saying to us that she misspoke and that she, like Secretary Rumsfeld yesterday, would say that she could not have imagined using planes as missiles.

Can you shed any light on who then in the apparatus of protecting the United States against threats, both foreign and domestic, ought to be coordinating this information for the benefit of the president?

ARMITAGE: I know that the director of Central Intelligence had, on at least one occasion to my knowledge, talked about hijacking of aircraft. I just don't think we had the imagination required to consider a tragedy of this magnitude. I don't know what other answer to tell you. We didn't have a homeland security czar. We've traditionally, generally, in terrorism unfortunately looked overseas. Of course, that's the major direction of Secretary Powell's and my attention. BEN-VENISTE: Well, can you tell me, since you're sitting in for Dr. Rice, what it was that Dr. Rice had before her to suggest that the United States might be a target in this period of extraordinarily heightened threat during the summer of 2001?

ARMITAGE: I can't.

BEN-VENISTE: Dr. Rice told us that at some point, I think it was in early July because of the extraordinarily increased threat level, that the intelligence services were picking up that the president asked her to go back and collect for her or get a report for her on what the potential was for a domestic incident of some magnitude. Are you familiar with the fact that Dr. Rice took that position?

ARMITAGE: No, I'm not.

BEN-VENISTE: I believe she's expressed it publicly in recent days.

ARMITAGE: I'm not aware of it.

BEN-VENISTE: Have you paid attention to at least some of the appearances Dr. Rice has made on the airwaves?

ARMITAGE: No, actually I haven't.

BEN-VENISTE: Do you own a television?

ARMITAGE: Yes, and it's generally on. And I won't tell you what it's on.

(LAUGHTER)

BEN-VENISTE: I guess it wasn't on any of the talk shows because she's been on about every one of them.

ARMITAGE: You know what...

BEN-VENISTE: But not here before the commission...

ARMITAGE: Administration witnesses are on those shows all the time. And I'm sorry, when you see one of your colleagues up there, you don't stop in the airport and stare. You don't stop everything you're doing. You do your work because it's hard enough as it is without being diverted.

BEN-VENISTE: Well, I appreciate that.

TIMOTHY ROEMER, COMMISSION MEMBER: Mr. Ben-Veniste, you might want to have Mr. Armitage clarify his remarks. I'm sure the TV is on basketball these days, isn't it Mr. Armitage?

ARMITAGE: You know a little too much, Commissioner Roemer.

ROEMER: I hope to know more...

(CROSSTALK)

BEN-VENISTE: You know, it's tough serving on a commission with two of these Hoosiers, let me tell you. All they want to do is watch basketball.

But in seriousness with respect to your position here...

KEAN: ... last question?

BEN-VENISTE: Well, actually, I got a couple more because of the initial nonsubstantive areas that we have gone back and forth on.

(LAUGHTER)

KEAN: I don't think that's the rules.

BEN-VENISTE: If the chairman will indulge me for just two questions.

In preparation for appearing here as Dr. Rice's doppelganger, did it not occur to you to familiarize yourself with what it was she was saying or had said?

ARMITAGE: I'm not here as Dr. Rice's replacement. I'm here as someone who's been involved in counterterrorism for several administrations over a long period of time; that's why I'm here.

BEN-VENISTE: I thought you were here yesterday in that capacity.

ARMITAGE: I was here yesterday to support the secretary of state, sir.

BEN-VENISTE: Let me ask you whether you were aware of the fact that the CIA has now said that the August 6, 2001, presidential daily brief, which Dr. Rice indicated to us privately, was prepared at the request of the president was in fact prepared independently of any request so far as they knew by the CIA.

ARMITAGE: I read the document sometime after it was passed around to the seniors, which is generally what happens to the deputies, and was unaware of that.

BEN-VENISTE: Mr. Chairman I would have more questions of Dr. Rice/Armitage team, and if we have remaining time I'd like to ask those.

KEAN: We may.

Commissioner Thompson?

JAMES THOMPSON, COMMISSION MEMBER: Mr. Secretary, I'm willing to accept you in your own capacity.

ARMITAGE: Thank you, Governor.

THOMPSON: Not as anybody's substitute. When the Bush administration took office in January of 2001, you had, I believe, quite a long and complex foreign policy agenda, is that right?

ARMITAGE: Yes, sir.

THOMPSON: China, Russia, missile defense, Iraq, Middle East peace process, just to name a few.

ARMITAGE: India was on there, as well.

THOMPSON: And India, Pakistan, nuclear power in Asia. The list probably is endless and probably changed daily -- or was added to daily, let me clarify.

Would you give us sort of a rough order ranking, if you could, or if it's appropriate, and then indicate to me where you think the issue of terrorism and counterterrorism fit into that order of priority?

ARMITAGE: Yes, sir. I don't know that I can adequately order them, but I can say that Secretary Powell's view, I think as evidenced by the fact that the first briefing he received at his request was on counterterrorism, was that this was a real problem. And he'd seen it from several different seats, NSC, as well as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

But we don't have the luxury, as I think he tried to explain yesterday, of actually ranking them in order.

I'll tell you why. Let's say that in early April, the entire administration was spending the entire day on counterterrorism. And we had a military aircraft knocked out of the sky by a Chinese fighter. And so for the next 13 days, Secretary Powell and I and the president and Dr. Rice were intimately involved and continually involved in that.

And then when that resolved itself, we went back to the other agenda. And then there are trips and meetings of people who are coming and going that raise issues to a higher level for a time, or lower them for a time. So I don't think I can satisfy you with a one, two, three. From our point of view, terrorism and counterterrorism were urgent.

THOMPSON: You were a new administration, so I presume that during this period of time you were sort of besieged by ambassadors and representatives of other nations wanting to take your measure and communicate with you?

ARMITAGE: I know you'll be shocked to find out that most of them already had during the campaign.

They generally do make sure they check with the political opposition just so they won't be surprised at anything when the new administration starts.

THOMPSON: Both in his book and in his testimony here today, Mr. Clarke complained that the eight-month gap between the time the administration took office in January of 2001, and the time that the NSPD (ph) was produced in September -- I believe -- September 4th of 2001 was an inordinately long time to formulate a process. Do you agree with that?

ARMITAGE: No, I don't. But I'd like to say that -- the words of Samuel Clemens come to mind, and that is that even though you're on the right track you can get run over if you're not going fast enough. And I think it is the case. It's certainly in hindsight that we weren't going fast enough.

Now, you can make your own judgments about whether we were moving faster or slower than other administrations. But were are a lot of complex issues and we thought we were getting or trying to get our arms around all of them and not just pieces of them.

THOMPSON: The establishment of a policy dealing with al Qaeda that was finally ready for presentation to the president in September of 2001, obviously involved more than simply a military response to al Qaeda. Pakistan was involved, is that correct?

ARMITAGE: Yes, sir.

THOMPSON: And so those charged with the responsibility of dealing with Pakistan and trying to balance between keeping the Pakistanis flexible had to be a part of the policy, is that right?

ARMITAGE: Governor, yes. Thank you. This is an important point, and it gets at something Senator Kerrey was talking about, I think, twice yesterday, he was quite frustrated with.

You know the giving of an order by the president improved the relationships with Pakistan so that we can have a better chance of uprooting Taliban, et cetera. That's a pretty simple statement and it doesn't look like much, but if you peel back the onion, what you see in Pakistan's case is we'd had over ten years of divorce from their military. We had no inroads there. We had very limited intelligence work. We had no political relationship worth a damn with them. We had stopped all the World Bank or international financial institutions. We didn't have many places of purchase.

So the order given to improve a relationship with Pakistan, then as you go down the food chain there are more and more and more activities that are associated with doing just what the president wanted, and that's true with all these issues.

You could add in the al Qaeda case; Iran was part of it. We actually had to work with Iran if we had military action. So it is complicated.

THOMPSON: Uzbekistan?

ARMITAGE: Uzbekistan was a special complication for two reasons. The affection for human rights there was not what we wanted and desired, and we had some questions about whether we'd be able to base there and what would be the reaction of the Russian federation. So we had to work those things out.

THOMPSON: You needed more funding?

ARMITAGE: Funding, I think Dick Clarke and others have spoken to it. Making a decision to fund is one thing, and then going through the appropriations process is quite another.

THOMPSON: How to get arms to the Northern Alliance, if that was to be the policy...

ARMITAGE: Getting arms to them was not so difficult. It was making sure that we wouldn't be, one, embarrassed by what they were. And no matter the charismatic nature of Ahmed Shah Massoud -- and he was quite charismatic -- that doesn't make up for raping, drug dealing, et cetera, which many of the Northern Alliance had been involved with. So it's not easy.

And that's why, I think, you don't see -- we're not sitting up here saying, well, why didn't people do it in the '98 time frame? They had two years. The fact is, they're hard. It's difficult. It's not like falling off a log.

THOMPSON: During the Bush administration, the early part of the Bush administration when the decision was made to put the CSG under the deputies committee rather than under the principals committee where it had sat during the Clinton administration, did Mr. Clarke ever complain to you about that change?

ARMITAGE: Not to me sir, no. But I was not in the entire Bush administration. I was in and out. I three times did special jobs, one of them -- two of them which took a year apiece. But I was out as a private citizen for some of that time, as well.

THOMPSON: You've been quoted as saying earlier that the deputies committee hasn't worked as speedily before since 9/11. What did you mean by that?

ARMITAGE: I was frustrated as anyone else that it takes a long time to fashion a policy. I'm one of those, the difference with the Commissioner Gorelick, I think we need fewer meetings, not more, as we've all got to put into effect the decisions that are made at these meetings. So that's been a frustration of mine. I think Paul Wolfowitz evidenced his own frustration with it yesterday.

THOMPSON: Of course on some of these issues you can never work speedily enough. Is that correct?

ARMITAGE: I'm sorry, sir?

THOMPSON: On some of these issues you can never work speedily enough, it's part of the process.

ARMITAGE: No. That's unfortunately true.

THOMPSON: Let me go back to my previous question, because I think you misunderstood me. I wasn't talking about the first Bush administration, I was talking about the second.

ARMITAGE: I'm sorry.

THOMPSON: During the period January to September 2001, did Mr. Clarke ever complain to you or within your hearing, or to anybody else to your knowledge about the switch from his activities being taken from the principals committee to the deputies committee?

ARMITAGE: No, sir.

THOMPSON: Was there a reason why the Bush administration did not respond to the attack on the Cole, even though the Clinton administration had not responded?

ARMITAGE: We were coming to the view that al Qaeda was responsible. The president had been frustrated by sort of a lack of a real target that he could hit in a meaningful way. And it was when that NSPD was framed up, finally from the president. It was -- a strong mention of the Cole was in it.

As I recall, I know my own building, when I first got there, would give us warnings to be careful, the evidence is not deep enough, it's not strong enough.

It certainly wouldn't hold up in a court of law. But I think there is a good deal of frustration -- it would hold up in a court of our opinion. But for the reason I spoke, we didn't move.

THOMPSON: The NSPD on al Qaeda, do you know how that came about? Who was writing it? Who was directing it? Who was contributing to it?

ARMITAGE: Well, Dick was writing some of it. Dick Clarke and others in the regional bureaus were writing some of it. When the deputies looked at it, we would make comments on it. I have one difference with my former colleague, Dick Clarke, on what I just heard backstage.

I remember the version that the deputies had having elimination of al Qaeda in it. And Dick, I think said it didn't, it wasn't in the, it was removed by the deputies. And I must say that is not in my recollection at all. But I'm sure the staff has the draft of the NSPDs. And you can come to your own conclusion.

THOMPSON: Do you want to give us a summary of sort of what our relations with the Saudis were prior to 9/11? And then afterwards, were you ever completely happy with the Saudis and the cooperation they were giving us in the war on terrorism?

ARMITAGE: Nobody has been satisfied with this. The relationship has been described as complex, OK. It's more than that. It's also one that occasionally has real troubles in it. Troubles, we've had severe difference of agreement over everything from religious freedom, and the Saudis have been cited in all three of the religious freedom reports of this administration. We've had problems at OPEC on occasion with them. We've had a lot of problems. We had problems in counterterrorism cooperation until May 12th. And after the May 12th bombings in Riyadh, I would say the scale fell from their eyes and they've been really getting after it. And that's the version, or that's the view, of our counterterrorism folks, Cofer Black and others who were working with them. It's the view, I think of our Treasury folks who finally are getting real purchase on financing and the informal financing networks that feed these horrible people.

THOMPSON: Do you know anything about the decision that was made to allow the Saudis to fly their people out of Washington immediately after September 11th?

ARMITAGE: No, sir.

THOMPSON: Part of our responsibility, Mr. Armitage, is to look to the future and to find ways to present to the administration and to the American people and to the Congress that we can, if humanly possible, lessen the odds on another September 11th. Would you give us some notions of what you, if you were in our place, recommend on that score?

ARMITAGE: I think you've got a terribly heavy responsibility: the responsibility to be completely fair and honest without being seen as being partisan. It's hard. It's hard when this tragedy is built up over, I think since 1989, frankly culminated in the attack in 2001.

I'd like to give you the easy answer and say, "Oh, we've got to completely depoliticize the people who work in the organization, the counterterrorism field." But that's the wrong answer because you do need occasionally some new blood to come into the herd and to spur things up and make sure you're not drinking your own bath water, that you do things in a new way on occasion and that you don't just rely on the old tried and true tricks. So I don't know that I have any corner on wisdom.

Clearly, we have to continue to look very closely at the CIA, law enforcement and personal liberties of our citizens issues and weave our way through those very carefully, but very astutely. And it seems to me that's the first issue.

The second is, I think the direction that Director Tenet has taken the Central Intelligence Agency has been extraordinarily noteworthy, but some of us were around at a time when the agency was frightened away from doing the dirty, hard and dangerous work that needs to be done to secure our nation. And I think to the extent that you can make covert actions more acceptable and more understood, more broadly, then you'll be doing the lord's work.

THOMPSON: Would it cheer you to know that in more than a year that this commission has been in operation we've never taken a partisan vote?

ARMITAGE: I'm not surprised.

THOMPSON: Have you read this book? ARMITAGE: I'm the only honest person in Washington.

(LAUGHTER)

I gave it the Washington read.

THOMPSON: You looked in the index to see if your name was in it?

ARMITAGE: And then what was said about me.

(LAUGHTER)

THOMPSON: I think I ought to quit there, Mr. Chairman.

KEAN: OK.

I've got a brief question, Mr. Secretary.

ARMITAGE: Yes, sir.

KEAN: We've had a response coming out of, I guess -- I don't know if it originally out of the Congress, previous administrations. But the policy generally is that we expect the world really to live up to our values, particularly in areas like human rights. And when they don't, we have certain sanctions. And we do the same thing if somebody is proliferating a nuclear -- people who do things that we think are bad and don't like. We have various sanctions that we impose.

But every time we impose a sanction -- I think you can go to the issue of Pakistan on this one -- every time we impose a sanction we lessen our contact or our leverage in that particular society or that particular country.

So, as they have less and less contacts and leverage from us, they've of necessity turned sometimes to our enemies, sometimes other places, and it almost seems to be counterproductive.

Now, I understand the reasons for the policy, but in this new world we live in, in a world where terrorism is the enemy and particularly Islamic terrorism, is this always the best policy to pursue, to sort of isolate these countries who are doing things that we don't approve of internally?

ARMITAGE: No executive branch witness of any political stripe will ever argue for sanctions or for anything that in anyway inhibits the power of the only nationally elected leader. You can just take that as a given. And I'm right on board with that.

There has to be a way to show -- there has to be discipline in any administration to be able to show our displeasure and to, ourselves, withhold assistance or stop trips -- all these means of things that go short of sanctions.

But bureaucracies do go on and they kind of run on their own steam. And left to their own devices, no bureaucracy is going to say, "Oh, no, you can't cut my assistance to Pakistan, you know, voluntarily."

By the same token, members of Congress get extraordinarily frustrated with the same old State Department and other witnesses coming up saying the same old things. And they want to feel good and they want to do something, so they put sanctions on them.

And when they do that, we argue as strenuously as we can to please give us the flexibility, the presidential waiver flexibility, et cetera -- sometimes with effect and sometimes to no effect.

But I think it's generally accepted now that engagement is better than nonengagement, except in the most abhorrent countries.

KEAN: Commissioner Gorelick?

JAMIE GORELICK, COMMISSION MEMBER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

And thank you, Secretary Armitage, for returning to us as a witness in your right...

ARMITAGE: Thank you.

GORELICK: ... and also for Dr. Rice. You are a wonderful public servant and we appreciate your service. You may be the last honest person -- although we didn't ask the other witnesses if they looked at the index.

You're in a difficult position for the questions I have, because I have been troubled personally by what I feel are hyperbolic statements by National Security Adviser Rice about the matters that we have under discussion, statements that she's made in the press but not to us here publicly where we can discuss them with her.

I'm not going to ask you rhetorical questions. I'm going to ask you questions I do think that you can answer.

ARMITAGE: Thank you.

GORELICK: The first is this: We seem to have a consensus of every Cabinet officer of the two administrations that we've had before us in two days of questioning that, a, that you could not have invaded Pakistan -- I'm sorry, it's late in the day -- that one could not have invaded Afghanistan prior to 9/11. And your boss testified to that. And do you agree with that?

ARMITAGE: Well, yes, there was no way to get there without overflight. I think we could have put troops in Afghanistan. We wouldn't have been able to support them. So I certainly agree with it.

GORELICK: But you couldn't have gotten congressional approval?

ARMITAGE: I'm more inclined to Senator Kerrey's view on that. I was one of these who in the late '80s when we had a lot of trouble in the Persian Gulf, the U.S. Senate was entirely opposed to an Operation Earnest Will where we wanted to actually escort ships who were getting attacked by the Iranians. And the president and his team showed the leadership and got it done. And I generally think that the executive branch when they put the point on the spear can get things done.

GORELICK: Let's explore that some. Secretary Rumsfeld, I think in a very persuasive statement, when asked about what could have been done with regard to the Cole said that he advised the president that the only response that he could make that would be effective would be to put people on the ground, boots on the ground. Do you agree with that?

ARMITAGE: I think given what we've heard over the last two days about lack of targets or targetable intelligence, whatever Senator Gorton was saying, yes, I would.

GORELICK: Now, you all, the deputies committee and ultimately the principals committee, worked for seven-plus months on NSPD-9, as we've been talking about. That's the policy that went to the principals on September 4th of '01.

And as we see it, it had three elements. The first stage was warning the Taliban in no uncertain terms. The second stage was pressuring the Taliban, diplomatic pressure, other pressures on the Taliban. And the third was trying to figure out a way to oust the Taliban, but not with our boots on the ground -- with somebody else's boots on the ground.

And then have some contingency planning, although, as Dick Clarke said, that was part of the usual process, to have contingency plans in the wings. You just said that you might have suggested, and I don't want to put words in your mouth, that the president could have, should have, advocated to Congress and to policymakers putting boots on the ground. I don't see any boots on the ground in NSPD-9.

Is that correct?

ARMITAGE: First, it's not necessarily correct that I would advocate putting boots on the ground.

GORELICK: I didn't mean to put words in your mouth.

ARMITAGE: No, but it's an important point. As far as this citizen is concerned the decision to commit men and women, who are also sons and daughters, to combat is an extraordinarily important one and not to be done to just feel good; to be done to absolutely accomplish a mission.

Now, sometimes I'm accused of being a foot-dragger, not wanting to go along with the force. But I'm sorry, that's my view.

Having said that, the Taliban, for a lot of reasons we were handling them somewhat gently. Some of our citizens were still there. Some of our NGOs were the only thing keeping some segments of the Afghan population alive and feed programs and things of that nature. So you don't want to throw the baby out with the bath water, generally. And so the question of the Taliban is a tough one. There was no question about, I think, in anybody's mind about the desirability of putting soldiers on the ground if we could catch or capture or kill bin Laden. But as a discreet element.

GORELICK: I'm talking about an invasion of the sort that we did post-9/11. And there is nothing in the NSPD-9 that came out of September 4th that we could find that had an invasion plan, a military plan. And even that plan of Deputy National Security Adviser Hadley said was contemplated to take three years.

ARMITAGE: Right.

GORELICK: So I would ask you whether it is true, as Dr. Rice said in The Washington Post "Our plan called for military options to attack al Qaeda and Taliban leadership, ground forces and other targets, taking the fight to the enemy, where he lived"? Was that part of the plan as prior to 9/11?

ARMITAGE: No, I think that was amended after the horror of 9/11.

GORELICK: Pardon me? I see my time is up. I have more questions to which I would like to return if I might.

KEAN: Commissioner Lehman?

JOHN F. LEHMAN, COMMISSION MEMBER: Thank you.

Mr. Secretary, I think it's particularly appropriate that you're here as wrap-up witness -- along with Dick Clarke -- because you and Dick more or less started in the counterterrorism business at about the same time.

ARMITAGE: Actually I was before him.

LEHMAN: Sorry. As particularly as boots on the ground.

But I'd like to get your perspective on the long view, specifically back to a trauma that you and I both lived through in the Pentagon in '83 when our Marines were killed in the terrorist suicide attack in Beirut. And it's particularly apropos to this, to our mission, because Osama bin Laden has cited that as a seminal event in his awakening to the vulnerability of the U.S.

And it also illustrates, particularly since in the last year as a result of a trial, some of the most sensitive classified documents have become declassified, it illustrates some of the deep dysfunctions in our government, particularly in the handling of intelligence and in making of decisions based on intelligence.

And as you'll recall, we did not retaliate, even though we now know that there was an intercept directly of the Iranian government ordering the assassination of our Marines, and that was in the hands of a few, although not all, policy-makers.

And as a result, even though the president wanted a retaliation, no retaliation was ever ordered for that. And Osama is our authority to say that the fact that there was no retaliation, and it was followed by the withdrawal of the United States from Lebanon, exactly what the purpose of the attack was to achieve, laid the groundwork for a tide of subsequent terrorist acts.

There were repetitive and growing instances of terrorism over the years. There were a few instances of retaliation. I would have to say they were episodic. The Tripoli bombing was one.

But I'd really like to have you share with us your overall perspective of both the effects of immediate retaliation -- like we did not do in '83, we did not do for the Cole, we did not do in the '93 World Trade Center, we did not do after '98 -- and also the reasons why we didn't that seem to run through so many of them, which is stovepiping and lack of full picture and all these voices saying, "Well, we don't yet have a full picture. There may be Lebanese civilians in the target area," or, "We don't know whether the Cole was really -- whether they were al Qaeda."

ARMITAGE: Yes, sir. As you, I was personally affected by that tragedy, those Marines and Navy corpsmen who were killed. And I remember a discussion with you, when you and I were on the same page. We wanted to put a cruise missile in the window of the Iranian ambassador in Damascus. Is that not a quote that you...

LEHMAN: That's correct.

ARMITAGE: And we thought it would be very salutary.

LEHMAN: Had them on the New Jersey.

ARMITAGE: However, the Beirut bombing: I think the reason we were very slow and did not retaliate had to do more with the huge policy differences about why we were there.

Remember, the mission of the Marine Corps there. You argued against it. It was called presence. We didn't know what presence was. And slowly, over time, we became a factor in someone's civil war and we were seen as taking sides, and, boom, we got hit -- that's exactly what happened.

So I think each episode a little bit sui generis.

Now, on the question of Hezbollah, who did that, I don't think that we knew -- we didn't know then what we know now about the worldwide nature of these guys. I've called them the real "A Team" of terrorism, because they are global. And they can reach out when they're ready.

We have to make sure we understand what we're getting into. And I would have said the Beirut bombing, though you and I were on the same side, I'm not sure we understood what we were getting into.

I think each of these other things are sui generis: the decision of Mr. Clinton to knock out the intelligence headquarters, that's great; our decision in '86 to bounce Tripoli around a little bit. and we almost got the colonel. And that would have been a fine thing.

But you remember the discussion we had in the U.S. Congress at the time? Big debate about whether we were trying to assassinate somebody. And we won that debate because he was the military commander and this was a military retaliation.

So it wasn't a violation of 12333, the executive order.

But these are the kind of things that in that day we'd argue about.

Because of the horror of 9/11, it's been pretty much swept aside. I think we're in a new day from the fights we used to have -- not with each other, but in general.

LEHMAN: Thank you.

KEAN: Congressman Roemer?

ROEMER: Thank you.

I just have one question for the secretary, and I will yield the rest of my time to Commissioner Gorelick who has some more questions.

I join in thanking the commission, thanking you from the commission, Mr. Secretary. In my 16 years as a member of Congress and as a staff member up on Capitol Hill, your reputation is one for directness for honesty, refreshing comments to people, dedication to public service. And I appreciate you being here and appreciate the tough role you're serving in serving our country.

That doesn't mean to say that I wouldn't like to have Dr. Rice here to continue the good dialogue that she gave us in private in public. And if the administration has this compelling and convincing story, then I think the American people should hear. It shouldn't be in the privacy of a skiff.

It should be out in public because we do have some disagreements from what Mr. Clarke said today. And Mr. Clarke and Dr. Rice had some of these conversations. So it would be helpful. I would really hope the administration might reconsider their decision because Dr. Rice is such an articulate and compelling person, as you are, to tell the story.

ARMITAGE: Much less articulate, much less compelling.

(LAUGHTER)

ROEMER: Actually, very refreshing and very direct. And that's how Mr. Clarke, I think has a reputation for being direct, trying to get things done. One of the things that you said in your private interview to the 9/11 commission staff was that you're not a patient guy. You like to get things moving along. You said that the deputies process has not worked, quote "speedily before or since 9/11" unquote. Can you expand on that a little bit. ARMITAGE: I've long held the view and it's well known to the administration, as I said. We ought to have less meetings and be more crisp. I missed some things, but I'm fairly crisp. I was impatient on this and other issues. But I think all of my colleagues wanted to get it exactly right.

And I'll tell you from my point of view from the Department of State -- and this is a factual point; it is not a partisan comment. I found the State Department, and Secretary Powell stepped into a State Department which for almost twelve years had been neglected in terms of management, in terms of budgets and everything else.

And my impatience with a lot of these meetings had to do with the necessity of getting back to try to do our part along with our colleagues in the Department of State to resuscitate that place and make it something that would make you and the members of our public at large proud of what they did. That's where my impatience came from.

ROEMER: I appreciate and respect that desire to try to get things done in Washington, D.C., Mr. Secretary. And as Mr. Clarke said today, in about the spring of 2001, he became very frustrated with this process that you said was moving too slowly.

And in an interview on TV with Lisa Myers, Dr. Rice said this, and I quote, "We were then able to really on an accelerated basis over the next 230 days, to put in place a policy that was more robust, that really did envision a fairly dramatic restructuring of our diplomatic initiatives, that put real funding behind the intelligence," and she went on.

Let's just have a legitimate discussion about was there real funding for that? People have said no, there was not real funding behind that. Was it an accelerated basis? No. Some people wanted that process to move much more quickly. How can we get it done better in the future?

So that's the only point I make. And I'd yield the rest of my time to Commissioner Gorelick.

Commissioner, do you want me -- 30 seconds, I think.

ARMITAGE: Commissioner, do you want me to respond?

ROEMER: I'm on a roll. No. If you want to, Mr. Secretary.

ARMITAGE: The definition of whether eight months was too long or not, each of you will have to come to your own conclusion on. I would suggest you need to bounce it against other such deliberations of those who came before and probably people who will be deliberating this long after. It's a relative thing. And it's relative to what. As we look back, clearly, as I said earlier in the Samuel Clemens, that we were on the right track. We weren't going fast enough. Now I'm, as every witness up here said, I don't need these to look backwards.

ROEMER: Thank you, sir. KEAN: Commissioner Ben-Veniste?

BEN-VENISTE: I want to emphasize publicly what Commissioner Jim Thompson had said. And that is, that this commission has never had a partisan vote. And I think the public needs to hear that. Because there's a lot of interest in the media, and elsewhere in this town in trying to make this commission into some partisan operation. That's not the case.

We have worked together now for a year under extraordinary leadership from our chair and vice chair, and we may have differing opinions. And we do. And we express those to each other.

But this has not been a partisan commission, and I believe that we will be able to satisfy the expectations of the public in doing our work in a nonpartisan way, in an objective and professional way, which will make for a credible final report that this commission will issue.

Let me ask two things. One, I thank you for your refreshing and direct answers and candor, Mr. Secretary.

When you indicated that you looked through the index of Mr. Clarke's book, that sparked me to borrow Mr. Thompson's copy and take a look at page 30. And in that regard there is a discussion of the immediate aftermath of 9/11, when the top leaders of our country assembled at Camp David with the president.

On that occasion, according to Mr. Clark, and I guess, as previously reported by my friend Bob Woodward in his book, there was a discussion of the possibility of an invasion of Iraq, utilizing 9/11 as the pretext for that invasion.

According to Mr. Clarke's book, both you and Secretary Powell resisted any notion put forward by Secretary Rumsfeld or Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz that the events of 9/11 justified the invasion of Iraq. Could you comment on that?

ARMITAGE: I was not at Camp David. I was off on another mission for the president to go to Russia. My secretary was there. He spoke about his remembrance of what went on there.

There was no question in our mind that Afghanistan was where we had to go. Secretary Rumsfeld and Mr. Wolfowitz have their own views. I don't think it was unreasonable in the wake of this horror to speculate on how much of an interaction al Qaeda and others might have had with Iraq.

But the president, as was reported to me by the secretary, listened carefully, made the decision to remove the others from the table and concentrate on Afghanistan when he came down from Camp David that Monday.

BEN-VENISTE: Well, putting aside the Camp David part of my question, is it correct that you discussed with Mr. Clarke in the aftermath of 9/11 the fact that the secretary of defense and his deputy were advocating for a strike against Iraq? ARMITAGE: I don't recall that conversation. It's possible.

BEN-VENISTE: Do you recall the event itself that the secretary and the deputy were advocating for an invasion of Iraq?

ARMITAGE: I was not at that -- I don't have that separate knowledge.

BEN-VENISTE: No one told you about that.

ARMITAGE: No, we've had the debates in this administration about Iraq, about when and how to strike Iraq. But in the immediate aftermath of September 11th, I think everyone quickly fell in line. But the president had made his decision that's where we're going to spend our efforts.

BEN-VENISTE: And prior to the decision being made, my question focuses on whether it was advocated for.

ARMITAGE: You've read Mr. Woodward's book and you've talked to the secretary. He said that Mr. Wolfowitz had strong views. He's not bashful. And I think the president welcomes all those views. But I was not there.

I can read the book and just report that, but I wasn't there.

BEN-VENISTE: Finally, with respect to the Cole: In your interview with our staff you indicated that as of the transition, the evidence was not yet presented to the White House that al Qaeda was responsible for the Cole. Is that correct?

ARMITAGE: I recall the staff members who talked to me indicating there was, what they felt, was a very stunning piece of intelligence and asking me had I seen it regarding the Cole, and I had not.

BEN-VENISTE: And the stunning piece of intelligence?

ARMITAGE: The implication to me was that this was sort of a smoking gun. But I had not seen that.

BEN-VENISTE: That indicated that, in fact, while reasonable people may have had some doubt prior to this piece of intelligence being presented that following the presentation of this piece of intelligence, there was little doubt or no reasonable doubt.

ARMITAGE: They did not show me the intelligence, and I haven't seen it, so I don't know what they were talking about.

BEN-VENISTE: Well, let's just then focus on your state of mind.

KEAN: The last question, unless...

BEN-VENISTE: As of the transition, was the FBI telling you, was the CIA telling you -- the new administration -- that al Qaeda was responsible for the Cole?

ARMITAGE: I did not have conversations with the FBI, and had conversation with the CIA only after I got in.

My conversations during my transition into office were primarily with the counterterrorism staff. Secretary Powell had made it very clear to me that he felt that this was a big problem and he wanted me to spend my time with our counterterrorism people learning what tools we had, what was available to us and how we could implement them.

BEN-VENISTE: Well, when did you learn for the first time that al Qaeda was responsible for the Cole?

ARMITAGE: I don't know the exact date. I think it's just like building coral: came to the conclusion.

BEN-VENISTE: Some time after March?

ARMITAGE: Yes, that would be my recollection.

BEN-VENISTE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

And thank you, Mr. Secretary.

KEAN: Senator Gorton?

SLADE GORTON, COMMISSION MEMBER: Mr. Secretary, I want to go through a bit of our history with al Qaeda and our attempts to get at bin Laden and make a few statements and see whether or not you agree with them, disagree with them or want to supplement them.

I think we've pretty much found, it's in our staff reports, that the United States didn't being to recognize the seriousness of bin Laden as more than a financier until essentially after he had left Sudan and had found refuge in Afghanistan.

Secondly, very shortly after he got to Afghanistan, the Taliban seized control of a large part of the country.

Third, while there were many diplomatic efforts in the Clinton administration, and at least one last one in the Bush administration, through diplomacy to get the Taliban to give up bin Laden, in retrospect, in this 20/20 hindsight, that was going to be absolutely impossible.

As it turned out the Taliban, you know, was willing to be destroyed before it would give up bin Laden.

But it would have been for all practical purposes impossible for anyone to have come to that conclusion any earlier than it actually happened.

Fourth, the effective military action, either against al Qaeda or against the Taliban itself, required a large American presence that was impossible without the aid and assistance of Pakistan -- or Iran, which we weren't going to get -- or Uzbekistan, because they're the only significant countries that border on it.

And fifth, that while some of the policies that were at least inchoate in the Bush administration were to change our policies toward Pakistan, it was actually only 9/11 that in effect gave us the ability to say, "You're with us or against us," and to require a really quick decision on the part of Pakistan to be on our side in what was now evidently a war as far as everyone in the world was concerned, and that you would have had a very difficult time in getting Pakistan to that point in the absence of a 9/11.

Is that an accurate statement of our history in your view...

ARMITAGE: I think it is an accurate statement, if I can -- I don't want to advise and extend your remarks...

GORTON: I think you should. I want you to.

ARMITAGE: But on the question of Pakistan, we did give them a black and white choice, I mean, no question about it, and gave them one day to think about it.

But I don't think they could have even come to the decision if there hadn't been some preparatory diplomatic work by the president of the United States, who had communicated at least twice with President Musharraf, and the secretary of state, who was also developing a relationship with him and his foreign minister at the time, Foreign Minister Sattar, as well as by others in our department who were traveling back and forth.

So the ability to say yes by Pakistan I think was to some degree, and you can put whatever percentage on it you want, a function of the diplomacy and the credibility that the president and his administration had shown to the Pakistanis that we would stick with them this time.

One of their major gripes was that we used them and pitched them as soon as the Soviet war was over. And they don't want to be a Dixie cup. And so I think that to a certain extent, that seven or eight months of diplomacy that went into Pakistan made it easier for them to say yes with conditions.

GORTON: And perhaps one other commentary. There was a very serious attempt, Dick Clarke expressed his frustration sometimes that there was no action, to find and eliminate Osama bin Laden, more than al Qaeda as a whole, for an extended period of time. And in retrospect, I take it that's been a lot more difficult task. We haven't been able to find bin Laden at this point after two years-plus in Afghanistan on the ground.

And so I suppose it's probably accurate to say that the chances of finding him with a cruise missile or with any of the less invasive ways than we actually engaged in was going to be extraordinarily difficult, if not impossible?

ARMITAGE: Yes, sir.

GORTON: Thank you.

ARMITAGE: I agree with that. KEAN: Commissioner Gorelick?

GORELICK: Mr. Secretary, I have just a few additional questions. You indicated that in the NSPD-9 that was the subject of the September 4th meeting that there was a strong mention of the Cole in it. I think that's what you said. I don't mean to put words in your mouth if that's not what you said.

But in any event, there was no response to the Cole in it.

ARMITAGE: No, the response came after the 9/11, and it was wrapped in our activities in NSPD-9 after 9/11, which the president finally signed, wrapped in. So I might have misspoken on this.

GORELICK: Well, I think you were trying to say -- well, let's not have me talk about what you were trying to say.

ARMITAGE: I need the help.

GORELICK: As of September -- you need help. We all need help. It's very late in the day.

WOLF BLITZER, HOST, "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS": Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage is testifying before the 9/11 Commission on Capitol Hill. I'm Wolf Blitzer in Washington. We'll have a complete wrap-up of the hearing and all the day's news coming up on "WOLF BLITZER REPORTS." In the meantime, CNN's special coverage of this hearing continues.

GORELICK: ... forceful response to the Cole in that, as of September 4th. Is that correct?

ARMITAGE: There were contingency plans, but they're not specific to the Cole.

GORELICK: And they were way down the line. They got -- the third stage got -- became the first stage after 9/11, but they were not the first stage as contemplated on September 4th.

In addition to -- and I don't mean to seem fixated on this, but it just kind of sticks in my craw. In addition to saying to The Washington Post and to Russert and other news shows that the policy that was being developed in the spring marshalled military might against al Qaeda and the Taliban, which it did not do, Dr. Rice also says that because 16 of 19 hijackers were here as of June 2001, nothing that could have been done that spring would have made a difference. The hijackers almost certainly, she says, would have carried out their plan.

I would note that of the four -- that 18 of the 19, including three of the four pilots, came to this country after April. So it depends on what date you choose. And others -- three of the four pilots came in after June.

So while it is true that I have said, "Why didn't you act on these urgent matters while you were doing the policy?" I'm not somebody who loves meetings for meetings.

But my question is: In retrospect, don't you think that there were actions you could have taken prior to 9/11 on an urgent basis to try to address the very high level of threat that you were seeing?

ARMITAGE: Given all that we know now, anyone who wouldn't say yes would be wrong. So obviously, the answer has to be yes, we've found out these characters were down in San Diego. If we had have known about, that that would have done something.

You heard Mr. Clarke earlier say he hoped he could have connected the dots had he known all those things. But we didn't.

An so that's where we are and the chips will fall where they may.

On the question of meetings: I don't think that the significance of the director's meeting with the president almost every day, personally directly, and the principals having a phone call every day in which they discussed not only intelligence, but any impending policy issues, that that is a new way of doing business.

Now, you'll say, "Oh, the telephone calls, everyone makes call" -- not in a consistent way with the purpose of talking about what went on, or what's going on that day, or the intelligence they've all just read because they had the CIA briefers in.

I'm not going to go quarrel with you on the question of meetings at all. But meetings alone don't accomplish much.

There were a lot of things that went on in this administration in the beginning that had been -- weren't the fault of Clinton administration, they weren't the fault any of specific administration -- but a lot had atrophied and a lot of old think was still around, and had been around for successive administrations, and all that had to be cleared out. * UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just a correction for the record: I believe that all of the pilots were in the country by the 1st of January and all of the muscle by June.

GORELICK: Three of them went out and came back in in the spring. We have that...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They had arrived. Some went in and out. But they were...

GORELICK: They came back again is the point I was trying to make...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They were coming in and out.

GORELICK: The record is what it is.

Again, I very much appreciate your testimony. You are not Condi Rice, but you have been very helpful to us nevertheless.

Thank you.

KEAN: Mr. Secretary, thank you very much. We hope we can ask you perhaps more questions for the record as time goes on before we finish.

I thank you and all those who have testified before us today and the public who's taken the trouble to attend.

This now concludes our hearing.

We will hold our next hearing in Washington, D.C., April 13th and 14th when the commission will focus on law enforcement and the issue of intelligence.

Adjourned.

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