U.S. Department of State Daily Press Briefing #39, 00-05-03
From: The Department of State Foreign Affairs Network (DOSFAN) at <http://www.state.gov>
U.S. Department of State
Daily Press Briefing
I N D E X
Wednesday, May 3, 2000
Briefer: Richard Boucher
1 Condemnation of Actions in Sierra Leone / U.S. Condemns the
Revolutionary United Front in the Strongest Possible Terms
2-3 No-Fly-Zone / U.S. Actively Working to Prevent Saddam's Illegal Oil
Exports and Make the Oil for Food Program Work
3 Security Situation
4-5,13 Security at the Department / Missing Laptop
12-13 Physical Security at Overseas Missions
5 Trial of Iranian Jews
6 President Kocharian Dismisses Prime Minister
6 Opposition Demonstrations in Baku / Parliamentary Elections
TURKEY / GREECE
6-7 Secretary Albright's Meetings with Turkish and Greek Foreign
Ministers / Relations Between Greek, Turkey and Cyprus Discussed
7 U.S.-Canada Defense Relation / NMD / U.S. has Close and
Long-Standing Defense Relationship with Canada that Includes both
NORAD and NATO
7-8 Visit of Duma Members in Washington, D.C. / U.S. Committed to
Continuing Discussions with Russia on Modifications to the ABM Treaty
8-9 Pan Am 103 / Lockerbie Trial / Restrictions of Use of
U.S. Passports for Travel to Libya Under Review
9-10 Trilateral Consultations with U.S., Japan and South Korea on North
Korea Policy in Tokyo on May 12 / U.S.-North Korea Bilateral Talks
to Resume May 24 in Rome
ROMANIA / MOLDOVA
11 U.S. Welcomes Bilateral Treaty
11 U.S. Supports Land Reform in a Legal and an Orderly Process /
President Mugabe's Use of Presidential Powers to Seize White-Owned
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
WEDNESDAY, MAY 3, 2000, 12:55 P.M.
(ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MR. BOUCHER: All right. I tried to escape and they've caught me because
of our security. They wouldn't let me out of the C Street entrance with my
badge, so they made me come back.
QUESTION: Where is your badge?
MR. BOUCHER: My badge is -- I just take it off for the cameras. I have
it right here in a pocket.
QUESTION: Likely story.
MR. BOUCHER: Got it right there.
QUESTION: It's good to be aware of the camera.
MR. BOUCHER: I take it off so that people who write about me won't write
that he was wearing his badge at the briefing.
All right, ladies and gentlemen. It is a pleasure to be here with all my
friends. I'm not going to have any profound reflections at this stage; I
am just going to try to do the job that you expect me to do and that the
Secretary expects me to do.
So, with that, let's jump right in. I would like to start by talking a
little bit about Sierra Leone and the situation there.
The actions that have been taken there by the Revolutionary United Front
are a direct contravention to the Lome Peace Accords and, as the UN has
said, they're outrageous and criminal. The United States condemns these
actions in the strongest possible terms.
The killing of personnel deployed in the UN Mission to Sierra Leone, the
taking of hostages and the attempts to obstruct disarmament, demobilization
and rehabilitation over the past several days are unacceptable and they
must cease immediately. All hostages should be released unconditionally
and all violations of the cease-fire should stop. The Lome peace process
must be fully implemented.
It is not subject to re-negotiation. Without the cooperation on
demobilization, disarmament and rehabilitation, other areas of the peace
accord cannot move forward in a timely manner.
We again demand that all the parties to that agreement, in particular the
Revolutionary United Front and its leader, Foday Sankoh, discharge their
responsibilities including disarmament and demobilization.
We also reiterate our appreciation for the efforts of the UN forces there
and our full confidence in the force commander, that he will take all the
measures necessary within the terms of his mandate, to reestablish security
within Sierra Leone and we call on all parties in Sierra Leone to work with
the United Nations and the international community to implement the peace
accords and work to build a better future for Sierra Leone.
And that's my only statement. I would be glad to take your questions.
QUESTION: This may not be a good way to get started, but --
MR. BOUCHER: Should we do Sierra Leone first or come back to it?
QUESTION: I was wondering if anyone had a Sierra Leone question,
QUESTION: What are you planning to do about it, aside from saying it is
unacceptable and criminal? What is the US trying to do?
MR. BOUCHER: We are, at this moment, consulting very closely with the
members of the Security Council. There have been meetings in New York and,
I think, statements there. We are consulting closely with friends in
Africa and with allies. What we are doing is considering ways to improve
and support the UN presence there and the UN forces there, including
consideration of some sort of reaction force capability.
QUESTION: Does that involve US troops, possibly?
MR. BOUCHER: I think it's premature to speculate on that.
QUESTION: Last fall, the Secretary was there, met with Sankoh and the
others. But my question is: Does the Secretary feel like she has been
lied to by Foday Sankoh?
MR. BOUCHER: I think at this point we've seen him fail to live up to his
obligations under the Lome Accords and, second of all, to take actions
which we consider outrageous and criminal.
I'm not sure I will add to that the accusation of lying, but taking
hostages and killing UN peacekeepers is what has us upset.
QUESTION: These questions may have been more appropriately asked to the
Spokesman before you on his last day, but the bombing now again today of
northern Iraq -- no-fly zone violations -- stirs in me again the question,
we don't hear anything any more about any great alarms, as we used to hear
every day, about Iraq's different weapons programs and how every 24 hours
that goes by without intensive investigation, inspection, you know, is
very dangerous. We don't hear about that.
Throwing everything at you at once, and I don't expect you to answer it all
today, we don't know about the Khobar bombing, in which 19 Americans were
killed. It suddenly dropped out of sight.
We don't hear about the Egyptian Air disaster. Pick any one you like, or
pick any time you like, but it seems this Administration has been marked by
periods of, you know, large, bold declarations and then things just slip
off the scope.
And I know you have problems getting unity on Iraq, but is Saddam Hussein
making headway, do you think, in menacing the world or has he stopped being
MR. BOUCHER: Well, it sounds like he's making headway with you, Barry.
The answer is no, he's not making headway.
I think the surprising things for some people who read wires or newspapers
is that we actually work on this issues, every single one of them, every
day. We're out there pursuing these issues.
If there's a threat to our forces, they're going to respond.
We're actively working to prevent Saddam's illegal oil exports, and as
well as to make the oil-for-food program work. We're patrolling the
Persian Gulf. We're taking diplomatic action. We're working with
opposition forces every day of the year.
And we care about these things, and will continue to care about them and
work on them every day of the year.
QUESTION: Can we go back to Sierra Leone for a second?
MR. BOUCHER: Sure.
QUESTION: Richard Holbrooke is either in Africa or going.
Is there any effort to employ him in this instance even though he's there
for Congo? And at what point do you reassess the security for US personnel
there, Americans and diplomats?
MR. BOUCHER: I'd have to double-check as far as the security situation
there. At this point, Holbrooke's trip, I don't think, involves Sierra
Leone. But it is a Security Council issue and they are working on
QUESTION: You've dealt with Iraq. Do you feel like approaching the
other two subjects?
MR. BOUCHER: Barry, you told me I could pick any one I wanted so I
QUESTION: And you picked the only --
MR. BOUCHER: I will give you an --
QUESTION: You picked a live one.
MR. BOUCHER: I'll have statements on everything tomorrow.
QUESTION: No, I wonder what Khobar -- I'm serious. Khobar Towers seems
to have -- you know, is there an investigation --
MR. BOUCHER: I don't have anything new on Khobar Towers.
I'm sure investigations probably continue, but I'll double-check on that
one for you.
QUESTION: Okay, thanks.
QUESTION: An hour or so ago, we were told that the public disclosure of
the laptop's disappearance made the investigation much more difficult.
That story was attributed to a Senior State Department Official. Has that
official been disciplined because of this lapse?
MR. BOUCHER: I'm not quite sure I have this question right.
Let me differ with the premise of your question, I think.
What I understand from State Department officials is that the process of
investigation often goes through several stages and, in initial stages,
there is an attempt to keep things as quiet as possible so they can
identify more clearly what might have happened and who might be responsible.
That was the only statement, I think, that was made. The public disclosure
aspect, I don't remember it being handled in quite that manner.
But I think it's important to remember that we have an obligation to deal
with these things. The Secretary dealt with them in a very public way
today and she wants everybody who works in this building, everybody who is
packing the room, everybody who was watching it on TV, to understand that
these matters are very serious and we do take them seriously. We have to
talk about them openly but deal with them seriously.
QUESTION: I thought that since they weren't sure whether it was missing
or stolen, that it might have been stolen just for simply the value of the
laptop, that they did want to keep it a secret -- what was contained on it -
- so that if it's sitting in a pawn shop right now --
MR. BOUCHER: I don't know what I'm supposed to do here, whether I'm
supposed to stand up and put everything that might have been said by some
official on to the record and discuss it that way, or maybe we should talk
about this later.
QUESTION: I want to go back to something that we brought up briefly
yesterday with Phil.
QUESTION: Can we stay with the laptop? CNN is reporting that this
laptop stored thousands of documents related to sources and methods used to
collect data on nuclear proliferation incidents.
Can you confirm that?
MR. BOUCHER: I don't think I can confirm at this point exactly what was
on the laptop. There was very sensitive information on the laptop. It's a
QUESTION: So you can't confirm about the sources and methods listed --
MR. BOUCHER: I can't talk about specifics of those.
QUESTION: A new subject? This again was brought up a little bit briefly
yesterday with Phil on Iran, but it's taken on added importance today
because it appears as though almost the entire Jewish population of Shraz
was moonlighting for the Mossad, or at least according to what their
admissions are. We have two more alleged confessions to this, and I'm
wondering -- so making a total of three.
The US has been very concerned about this trial. I am wondering what you
make of now the fact that three of the accused have confessed?
MR. BOUCHER: I think our reaction would have to be the same as
yesterday; that we can hear these reports, we can see these reports, but we
and the rest of the world have no way to judge the legitimacy of these
confessions. Our concern from the start has been that these individuals be
accorded due process of law in keeping with internationally-recognized
The Iranian Government at one point assured the international community
that it would provide those arrested with due process.
However, we see the trial is off limits to the press and to international
observers. That really makes it impossible to judge the fairness of the
proceedings and whether the defendants are being accorded due process.
QUESTION: Right. But are you worried at all about the fact that there
seems to be more -- there is now a trend toward these confessions in a
trial which you can't assess the validity of?
MR. BOUCHER: Well, we've expressed our concerns about due process all
along, and the fact that there are more and more examples of why due
process is important merely makes the point.
QUESTION: These people are accused of spying for Israel and for the
United States. You speak for the United States. Is there a basis for such
an allegation? Due process is a cardinal principle to the United States,
but the US has been dragged into this. Is there any foundation for Iranian
allegations like that?
MR. BOUCHER: I will have to check on whether they've been accused of
spying for the United States as well. I was not aware of that. I know
that Israel, for itself, has denied the charges, denied that they were
QUESTION: Another subject. On the situation in Armenia, the president
fired the prime minister and it seems like, it seems to me, may get violent
there. And also the situation in Azerbaijan, the government -- the
government used police forces against the peaceful demonstrators last
Saturday and the police arrested 46 opposition leaders, representatives,
among them prominent leaders.
Do you have any reaction on that issue?
MR. BOUCHER: Let me try to do both separately.
On Armenia, we know about the reports. Our Embassy has reported on this as
well. In dismissing the prime minister, we understand that President
Kocharian exercised authority that is granted to him by the Armenian
constitution. He didn't announce his reasons, but the president and prime
minister have differed on various issues on several occasions.
I think the point for us, though, is not really the internal government
workings but, rather, we just don't think is related to the peace process.
Armenia's political leaders have all expressed their commitment to a
peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute, and that's what
important to us.
On the issue of Azerbaijan, we're very aware of the events there.
We've had reporting from our Embassy. They say that there were somewhere
between 1,000 and 5,000 demonstrators that tried to rally downtown in Baku
on Saturday, despite the government's refusal to issue a permit. The
government offered a location that was several kilometers outside the city
but not accessible by public transportation as an alternative.
According to international observers, the confrontation did lead to
violence. The opposition claims several hundred demonstrators were injured,
and 46 detained.
In the months leading up to the November parliamentary elections, we think
it's especially important that the government and all political groups
maintain their dialogue to ensure that these elections are conducted in a
free and fair manner, and that Azerbaijani citizens are really offered a
QUESTION: Yesterday in New York, the Secretary met separately with the
Turkish and the Greed Foreign Ministers, and also she met in a three-party
meeting. What was the so-important subject to bring to three Foreign
MR. BOUCHER: The occasion for bringing the three ministers together --
the Secretary and the Greek and Turkish Foreign Ministers -- was the
evening event, was the award that she was going to present to them for
their efforts to bring the two countries closer together and to cooperate
with each other in many, many ways.
She wanted, first of all, to congratulate them on the award and recognize
their efforts personally, but also to talk to them about what they were
doing and talk to them about how their process was working and the things
that they were doing. So the subjects covered were, I guess I'd say
relations between Greece and Turkey, and also Cyprus.
QUESTION: Did they get any developments, a new step about Cyprus?
Because I believe next week the Cyprus meeting will be starting.
MR. BOUCHER: Thank you. May 23rd in New York, although it's up to the
UN to confirm that scheduling because of other developments. But it gives
me the occasion to say everybody has agreed not to talk about what's being
discussed, so I won't.
QUESTION: On Vice Admiral Brown's statements yesterday that the US
wouldn't shoot down any missiles targeted on Canada if Canada doesn't
participate in National Missile Defense, is this a reflection of US policy?
And why the pressure now for Canada to come on side on NMD before the
President himself has decided whether the program is deployed?
MR. BOUCHER: I had to hesitate there because since I was last up here,
Canada moved from Europe to America, so it's under a different color.
Let me say that the remarks that have been attributed to Vice Admiral Brown
in the Associated Press report don't reflect official US Government policy.
We've had a close and a long-standing defense relationship with Canada that
includes both NORAD and NATO.
With regard to possible deployment of US limited missile defenses, the
United States is conducting close consultations with our allies and our
friends. The President, however, has not yet decided, made his deployment
decision, which he will make this year. And the government of Canada has
not yet made a policy decision regarding possible US deployment.
So the final understandings between our countries may not have been reached,
but we've had a long and very close defense relationship.
QUESTION: Isn't that considered a priority if the NMD does go ahead that
Canada participate? How important is that participation?
MR. BOUCHER: As we have discussed, every possible defense issue with our
Canadian allies is one we would like -- I'm sure we will be discussing and
working out with them.
QUESTION: Has Vice Admiral Brown been made aware by this building of its
displeasure with the comments?
MR. BOUCHER: Well, I think I may just have done that.
I don't know, I'll have to check. I'll have to check if we have otherwise
communicated this to him directly.
QUESTION: On the matter of the BMD, the Ballistic Missile Defense, some
members of the Duma have been visiting in the Congress and reportedly have
said that a new Cold War could begin with the deployment of a Ballistic
Missile Defense by the United States, a new arms race, an alliance between
Russia and China. There is quite a bit of rhetoric about it -- other
sobering reports from what the State Department has been involved in in
discussions with the Russians on this particular issue?
MR. BOUCHER: Those remarks don't reflect our policy either.
The visit of the three Duma members is going on in Washington.
They are participating in a policy seminar organized by the Free Congress
Foundation. We understand they return to Moscow today.
Obviously, we would think these visits are useful and important,
particularly interaction with our Congress, and we encourage discussions.
But that doesn't necessarily mean that we endorse all the views of people
who might be visiting in the United States.
I think we heard a lot of different views since the Duma was considering
ratification of the START II treaty, and we made quite clear what our view
is, that we are committed to continuing our discussions with Russia on
modifications to the ABM treaty. We think modifications are required for
the deployment of a limited national missile defense and that we can
simultaneously make progress on further strategic arms reductions, and our
hope and desire is to do that in cooperation with the Russians.
QUESTION: So these rather dire predictions, then, do not square with the
facts as far as you can see?
MR. BOUCHER: No. We don't expect that course to be followed.
We would hope to be able to reach agreement with the Russian Government on
the appropriate modifications to the ABM Treaty so that we can deal with
new threats, as we continue to reduce and contain the old strategic balance,
the old threats.
QUESTION: With the beginning of the Lockerbie trial now underway, there
is already talk of acquittal. Is the United States Government prepared to
promise the Lockerbie families that the US Government will pursue this case
at the highest levels of the Administration until someone is found guilty
in the bombing?
MR. BOUCHER: We have worked long and hard to get to this trial. We have
worked hard with the Scottish investigators, we've worked hard diplomatically,
and we've ensured that we now have a trial going on in a Scottish court for
a crime that was committed there. That is important to us and, frankly, we
are glad that we've been able to bring it to this point.
From here on in, we look to the trial to be free and fair. We, as we have
worked hard in the past, would continue to work hard to make sure that
whoever is responsible for the bombing of Pan Am 103 is brought to justice
now and in the future. And we would still maintain that everyone should
cooperate with the court, give the court their full cooperation. That is
required by the UN resolutions.
QUESTION: Can I just follow up on that? The families are already upset
by what they see as some degree of opening and the recent delegation that
traveled to Libya to assess security situations. Can you describe the full
purpose of that visit and all the different things that it entailed?
MR. BOUCHER: The restriction imposed by the Secretary of State on the
use of US passports for travel to Libya was imposed in 1981 because it was
deemed that travel to Libya posed an imminent danger to the physical safety
of US travelers. And that is the standard that we have to look at.
The restriction has been reviewed every year since 1981 and we are
currently reviewing conditions in Libya to determine whether there
continues to be an imminent danger to Americans of traveling there. At
this point, no decisions have been made, though.
QUESTION: Has that report been finished?
MR. BOUCHER: No, the report has not yet gone to the Secretary.
QUESTION: Has it been finished, though?
MR. BOUCHER: It's not finished until it goes to the Secretary.
QUESTION: Is there some reason why it is taking, you know, weeks? It's
usually pretty --
MR. BOUCHER: No. I mean, it's a process -- I mean, it's not just saying,
you know, "I went to Libya and this is what I saw." It is taking the
results and the views of the people who went there and had meetings with
consular officials in Libya, putting that together with all of the
available information, and then having a process that produces a recommendation
for the Secretary.
That's ongoing. It has to be complete, it has to be thorough, and it's
going to take whatever time it takes.
QUESTION: Also on the trial, you probably wouldn't want to comment on it
because it's a trial but I'll ask anyway. The lawyers for the accused are
trying to pin the blame on Palestinian terrorists, which doesn't necessarily
sound like in the spirit of your wish that the Libyans cooperate with the
trial. Do you have any comment on this?
MR. BOUCHER: I think we have faith in the court and Scottish justice as
it will be carried out. And certainly as much as due process is important
anywhere else, it is important here. So the lawyers have a right to make
QUESTION: North Korea. You've announced more talks, trilateral and
MR. BOUCHER: We issued an announcement yesterday on the talks that we're
going to have. Do you have that? Do you want to know about that?
There will be trilateral meetings. The United States, Korea and Japan will
meet for trilateral consultations in Tokyo, May 12th.
Delegations from three countries will discuss a range of issues in our
ongoing coordination of policy towards North Korea. The United States
delegation is led by Ambassador Wendy Sherman.
This has been a process of consultation. We have had several of these
meetings. En route there, she is going to stop in and visit a number of
capitals, Paris, Berlin, then talking to our South Korean allies in Seoul
and Chinese in Beijing, May 10th and 11th. And then Ambassador Charles
Kartman will meet in Rome to resume the talks that have adjourned May 15th
in New York.
That meeting will begin on May 24th.
QUESTION: And the topics specifically for Kartman to be going over with
the North Korean counterpart will be? Will it include the senior level
visit to the United States --
MR. BOUCHER: The Perry process deals essentially with a variety of
issues, but nuclear questions and missiles as well.
It's posited that if we address those issues successfully, we can move
into a different kind of relationship. So we've had these discussions.
We've had meetings. I think the latest set of meetings were in March and
there were some understandings to continue those discussions.
These discussions will focus on that Agreed Framework to deal -- let me get
it exactly -- in Rome talks we will cover implementation of the Agreed
Framework and other issues of concern in the nuclear area. The visit to
Kumchang-ni was an example of such an issue, and we'll also discuss the
QUESTION: When is that visit scheduled, back to Kumchang-ni?
MR. BOUCHER: I don't have a date yet.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) - on that?
MR. BOUCHER: That's to be discussed.
QUESTION: If I could follow up on that, I was just wondering if you can
un-convince me that the reason for choosing Rome as a venue is completely --
is not related to the fact that the World Food Program is based in Rome and
that the North Koreans are very much interested in receiving more grain,
more food supplies, from the United States.
MR. BOUCHER: That's an interesting theory but, since it's about the
North Koreans, I suggest you ask them.
QUESTION: So they were the ones who wanted Rome to begin with?
MR. BOUCHER: I'll have to double-check on that.
QUESTION: Is that --
MR. BOUCHER: I'll double-check on that before I confirm it.
QUESTION: I think Japanese Prime Minister Mori will arrive at Washington
tomorrow. What can you tell us about the agenda of the meeting between the
President and Mr. Mori Friday?
MR. BOUCHER: I think the question of the agenda for the President needs
to be asked at the White House, I'm afraid. I'm sure they'll talk about --
QUESTION: What can you expect from that visit?
MR. BOUCHER: That's a question, again, you'll have to ask at the White
House. It's important to the Japanese Prime Minister who's coming. I'm
sure they'll talk about the G-8 and a lot of different issues that we
cooperate and work together with with Japan, but for any more specific list
than that you'd have to ask what's on the President's mind.
QUESTION: Central Europe. Do you have anything regarding the political
bilateral treaty between Romania and Republic of Moldova?
MR. BOUCHER: Just a general statement that welcomes it.
We think this is an important development. They initiated the bilateral
political treaty on April 28th. It represents, in our minds, a very
important contribution to stability in Southeastern Europe.
QUESTION: One more question on Zimbabwe. I'm wondering if the
Department has any thoughts on this new plan that's been submitted by the
government for the reapportionment of half of the white-owned farmland.
And, also, if you have any response to President Mugabe's statement that
the actions of -- that he's still not going to do anything to stop the
squatters and that he had been "pleasantly surprised" by what they
MR. BOUCHER: I think there are a number of things to say about this. I
mean, first, it has to be understood that the United States supports land
reform, but in a legal and an orderly process.
Using presidential powers to confiscate land without compensation, for
example, would undermine confidence in the equal treatment under the law of
all Zimbabweans. It would also deter international investment to the
The overall situation has been of great concern to us. There have been
people killed. Farms are still being occupied. People are still being
harassed and intimidated. And we've called for an end to this sort of
violence. But we've also noted the leader of the war veterans has called
for an end to the violence and end to interference in farm operations. So
we really think that's the way things ought to go, and they ought to go
back on a legal track.
The Commonwealth Nations met in London May 2nd and addressed their concerns
to this as well and are taking some actions.
QUESTION: You don't have a response to President Mubage's comments?
MR. BOUCHER: Well, I did have a response to the announcement that he
would use his presidential powers. I hadn't seen the figure "one-half of
the land" but he announced that he would use presidential powers to take
over white-owned farms.
And that, to us, is not the way to go, as I said.
QUESTION: No, but I am talking about his comments about being pleasantly
surprised by what the squatters did.
MR. BOUCHER: Well, we're not.
QUESTION: We're what?
MR. BOUCHER: We're not pleasantly surprised.
QUESTION: We're not?
MR. BOUCHER: Yes.
QUESTION: A different subject. Today, in her town hall meeting, the
Secretary noted that she had just visited some embassies that had -- I
forget what word she used -- but abysmal security.
I assume that's Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.
MR. BOUCHER: I think she said abysmal conditions. You know, everybody
does their best and tries their hardest to maintain security, given the
buildings we're in. But we visited the embassy in Tashkent, which is an
old Komsomol party house, and everybody is jammed in together and they
don't have a whole lot of -- they don't have a decent enough building, it's
harder to maintain security at. But we do, obviously, do everything we can
to protect our people, both physically and technically, from espionage.
QUESTION: Did visiting raise any alarms for those specific embassies?
Are any steps being taken as a result of that trip to increase security?
MR. BOUCHER: Well, steps to try to give them a building where they can
be safe, secure and comfortable and have decent working conditions, yes.
But specific -- we didn't go out there and find specific security problems
of one kind or another that might be associated with espionage. We went
out there and found that people were working in difficult conditions in an
embassy that wasn't up to par and that needed to be improved.
QUESTION: Not on espionage so much as just like the danger to their
physical security. So there were no steps taken on her coming back to do
anything to bolster --
MR. BOUCHER: No, I think they are looking at some improvements to the
situation. I will have to try to get you what I can on that.
QUESTION: Can we go back to the laptop?
MR. BOUCHER: To what?
QUESTION: Could we go back to the laptop for a minute?
MR. BOUCHER: Okay.
QUESTION: I know you said this is sensitive information.
Would you categorize this as the potentially most sensitive information
that would be stored?
MR. BOUCHER: No, I can't categorize it in any way for you now other than
to say it's very sensitive information; it's information that should have
been controlled very carefully. The laptop should have been controlled very
carefully, and it's missing and that's a problem for us.
As the Secretary directed this morning, we're taking steps to make sure
that people follow the procedures. And she directed -- she referred this
morning to the fact that she's asked the Diplomatic Security Bureau to
brief -- to remind every employee in every room, in every office of this
building of their security responsibilities and they will be carrying out a
whole series of briefings on an expedited basis over the next few weeks
And she also instructed us to comment on security procedures in everybody's
rating. It is rating period for Foreign Service officers, and so that's
being done, and generally encouraged everybody or told everybody they had
to follow the procedures and be aware of their security.
QUESTION: Some of this sensitive information, has she or anybody in
Diplomatic Security suggested that you stop logging some of this sensitive
information until more procedures are in place?
MR. BOUCHER: No, I can't talk about information and how we handle it.
We don't do that, and I'm sorry.
(The briefing was concluded at 1:40 P.M.)