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[infowar.de] Washfile 18.12.01: Rumsfeld / NATO /Cyber Attacks
18 December 2001
Transcript: Rumsfeld Urges NATO To Prepare For New Threats
(Threats come from terrorism, cyber-attacks, WMD) (3540)
U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says NATO, as a security
alliance, is far from becoming less valuable in the post-Cold War
period as it faces challenges of increasing importance from deadly new
threats in the 21st century.
At a regular NATO defense ministers meeting December 18, Rumsfeld said
the 19-member alliance discussed a full range of asymmetric threats,
including terrorism, cyber-attacks, advanced conventional weapons --
such as cruise missiles and ballistic missiles -- and weapons of mass
"Each of these pose a threat to the alliance and to the members of the
alliance, and none can be ignored," Rumsfeld said. "In particular, I
emphasized the threat posed by terrorist movements in terrorist states
that are seeking weapons of mass destruction. I expressed our concern
with the overlap between the listed states that sponsor terrorism and
terrorist networks, given the fact that a large number of the
so-called terrorist states have active chemical, biological and/or
Rumsfeld said that the events of September 11th could be a preview of
what could come if the alliance nations fail to prepare today against
adversaries with weapons of increasing power and range.
NATO invoked Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, declaring that
the attacks on the United States by terrorists were an attack on all
members of the 19-nation alliance.
His remarks came at a brief news conference after he spoke before the
closed session of the North Atlantic Council at NATO headquarters in
Brussels December 18.
He praised the improving relationship with Russia following a meeting
he held with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov. "Russia and the
United States are working together to combat terrorism, and as I'm
sure you're aware, each of our two countries has announced dramatic
reductions of strategic offensive deployed nuclear weapons," he said.
President Bush announced in November the United States would reduce
its strategically deployed nuclear arsenal from approximately 6,000
warheads to between 1,700 and 2,200. Russian President Vladimir Putin
announced a similar reduction to between 1,500 and 2,200 warheads.
Rumsfeld said he conveyed to the NATO council President Bush's strong
support for building a new NATO-Russia relationship that seeks ways to
encourage political cooperation between Russia and NATO, though while
"preserving the integrity of the alliance's decision-making process
and its ability to take independent action."
Following is a transcript of Rumsfeld's remarks:
U.S. Department of Defense
Presenter: Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld
(News briefing in Brussels after meeting with NATO defense ministers.)
Rumsfeld: Good afternoon.
I believe you have been provided some copies of some unclassified
remarks that I made.
I look over here and see the photograph of Joseph Luns, who was
secretary general of NATO 30 years ago, when I was an ambassador to
NATO. I've seen a lot of NATO meetings, and I must say that the
meetings today have been very good. I've -- there's no question but
that there is a broad area of agreement among the countries and the
ministers, and the discussions and conversations have been very
constructive and useful.
Needless to say, I thanked all of our allies for their very strong
support in the wake of the September 11th attacks in the United
States. It is deeply appreciated by the American people. Needless to
say, you're all aware that thousands of people from dozens of
countries were killed, including many NATO nations -- people of all
races, religions and walks of life.
The attacks in New York and Washington, D.C., are vivid reminders to
us all that the world remains a dangerous place. Far from becoming
less valuable, one would have to note that NATO, in the post-Cold War
period, is taking on increasing importance as Western democracies face
deadly new threats in the 21st century. We discussed a variety of ways
to strengthen NATO for the challenges ahead by improving the
capabilities that members bring to the alliance; by bringing in new
members; and by addressing older missions, so that we can take on new
ones in the war on terrorism.
We discussed the need to prepare for a full range of asymmetric
threats, including terrorism, cyber-attacks, advanced conventional
weapons, cruise missiles, ballistic missiles, and, certainly, weapons
of mass destruction. Each of these pose a threat to the alliance and
to the members of the alliance, and none can be ignored. In
particular, I emphasized the threat posed by terrorist movements in
terrorist states that are seeking weapons of mass destruction. I
expressed our concern with the overlap between the listed states that
sponsor terrorism and terrorist networks, given the fact that a large
number of the so-called terrorist states have active chemical,
biological and/or nuclear programs.
The nexus between states with weapons of mass destruction and
terrorist networks raises the danger that September 11th could be a
preview of what could come if the enemies of freedom gain ability to
strike our nations with weapons of increasingly greater power. I
discussed the ways in which the ABM treaty is beginning to constrain
our research and development with respect to missile defense, causing
cancellation of several tests thus far this year; and, of course, why
the president felt that it was time to announce the withdrawal by the
United States from that treaty and his intention to continue working
with Russia, as we began last evening in my meeting with Minister
Ivanov, to continue working to find a framework for our relationship
going forward -- one that emphasizes mutual cooperation, as opposed to
mutual assured destruction.
I emphasized that President Bush and President Putin had both agreed
that our differences over the treaty would not affect our other areas
of cooperation. We discussed the progress that they have made, the two
presidents, in forging a new security relationship that puts the Cold
War animosities and hostilities behind us and embraces 21st century
Russia and the United States are working together to combat terrorism,
and as I'm sure you're aware, each of our countries has announced
dramatic reductions of strategic offensive deployed nuclear weapons.
Last, I expressed the president's strong support for building a new
NATO-Russia relationship and for finding ways to encourage political
cooperation between Russia and NATO while preserving the integrity of
the alliance's decision-making process and its ability to take
In closing, I would just say that there is no question but that the
events of September 11th have had a significant effect on the world in
the sense that, as I travel around and visit with leaders of many
countries, I can sense different perspectives on their part and indeed
different priorities. And I suspect we'll look back in five years and
sense that a good deal has shifted on this globe, and that people will
be fashioning new relationships, they will be rearranging their
orientations in the world, and that NATO, as well as all of our
countries individually, will have many opportunities to try shape --
to try to shape a considerably safer and more stable world.
I'd be happy to respond to questions.
Staff: Sir, right here. Charlie first.
Q: Mr. Secretary, Charlie Aldinger with Reuters. You warned your
allies today that this could happen almost anywhere -- London, Paris,
Rome, Berlin. Have you a commitment from the allies to provide
military support no matter where the hunt for terror might take you,
be it Iraq or Somalia or Sudan or anywhere else?
Rumsfeld: What we've decided in the United States was that every
country is different, every alliance is different, and each nation and
certainly the alliance have to think through their circumstance and
decide in what ways it's appropriate for them to provide assistance.
President Bush and the United States have asked for the help of all
nations on the face of the Earth to try to deal with this problem of
terrorism. Some nations are helping in one way. Another nation may be
helping in still another way. Some nations do it publicly. Some
nations do it privately. Our attitude is that we need to deal with
terrorists and terrorism and states that harbor terrorism, and we need
all the help we can get. And we're delighted to have people give us
the help they feel is appropriate, given the task that we have ahead
I've said before that I really believe that the mission determines the
coalition, and the coalition does not determine the mission.
Q: Are you confident -- are you confident -- that you would receive
whatever military help you needed from Europe, no matter where you
went in this war on terrorism?
A: Charlie, I think I've answered that. I think that every country has
to look at a situation and make their own judgment as to what ways
they feel they can be helpful, given a specific task. And every
country has a somewhat different circumstance, and we have been
delighted to have the help of literally dozens and dozens and dozens
The fact that NATO, for example, in this instance, for the first time
in its history invoked Article 5, and that the countries have stepped
forward and offered troops and offered lift and offered ships and
offered intelligence and have been participating in freezing bank
accounts and in increasing law enforcement -- all of that has
contributed greatly to applying pressure on the al Qaeda and on the
Taliban, and is leading to the progress that we're achieving in
Afghanistan, and we're deeply grateful for it.
Staff: (Off mike.)
Q: Secretary Rumsfeld, a question of (inaudible name and organization)
from the Netherlands. You talked this morning about the asymmetric
threat for NATO, which the alliance should address. Does that require
a total new focus of NATO and perhaps even a rewriting of the
A: No, I think not. I think that the reason that we are not attacked
by armies, navies, and air forces is because we have effective armies,
navies, and air forces. It's perfectly logical that we are going to be
attacked, therefore, by people who will look for vulnerabilities.
They'll look for vulnerabilities, for example, in our dependency in
various types of communications.
They'll look for vulnerabilities by using cruise missiles or ballistic
missiles or weapons of mass destruction.
That requires that we address those threats that run across that
so-called asymmetrical spectrum, but it does not suggest that it
allows one to simply forget more basic threats. It requires that NATO
and each country, I think, recognize that we do face different
technologies and different capabilities. And we need to see that we're
arranged to deal with that full spectrum of capabilities, regardless
of where they come from -- the threat comes from.
Q: Mr. Secretary, Jamie McIntyre from CNN.
You seem to have come here today delivering a wake-up call of sorts.
Your theme seems to be that NATO is unprepared to face the growing
threat of terrorism. To what extent do you think that's true, and what
concrete things would you like to see the alliance do to compensate
for that or to correct that? For instance, increased spending on
military or whatever.
A: Well, I would say it would not be an accurate characterization of
our meetings at all that I came to deliver a wake-up call. These are
thoughtful people; they know what's going on in the world. They
recognize the threats. They know what happened on September 11th. They
know how they're arranged individually and collectively to deal with
those, and they -- it didn't require my calling them -- all of these
things -- to their attention.
We had discussions about various ways to deal with it, and you're
quite right; one of the points of discussion was the so-called DCI
initiative here at NATO and the need for additional funding, so that
the NATO nations increase their defense budgets in a way that will
enable our countries individually and collectively to contribute to
the kind of deterrence that will contribute to a peaceful and stable
world. Without a peaceful and stable world, none of our economies will
prosper; our people will not prosper. And it is that -- it is the
defense capability of our countries in our alliance that creates that
stable world and is the underpinning of our economic opportunities.
Q: Peter Mueller from NATO -- (inaudible). Mr. Secretary, at the end
of the last century, the out-of-area discussion was going on. Now, in
this century, we should look for a global goal. Now my question is
now, how far in your opinion, is NATO able to go global?
A: It's an interesting question. I well remember all the talk of NATO
not doing anything out of area for a good many years. And it is also
quite true that a problem like terrorism is global. And we face that
in the United States when we receive those attacks and recognize the
reality that it is not possible to defend against terrorism in every
place, in every location, against every conceivable technique of
That means that you have no choice but to take the battle to the
terrorists, wherever they may be.
And so I think the answer to your question is, it really isn't out of
area, if you will. The only way to deal with a terrorist network
that's global is to go after it where it is. The only alternative
choice is to sit there and think you're going to take the blows, one
after another. And given the increasing power of weapons and the reach
of weapons today, that would be foolhardy and dangerous and
self-defeating. So I think that the definition of what is in or out of
area has really been changed because of the reach and power of weapons
Q: Mr. Secretary, Nora O'Donnell with NBC News. Can you give us an
update on the war in Afghanistan? Over the weekend we saw some of the
heaviest bombing to date in Tora Bora. That has lightened a bit. What
has changed? And are we any closer to getting Osama bin Laden?
A: The effort continues. Neither he nor Omar or several of the other
senior Taliban or al Qaeda leadership have been located.
We have reduced the number of areas within Afghanistan where they're
likely to be. Those areas are being attacked from the ground by Afghan
forces, with the support of coalition forces. They are being attacked
from the air. And additional prisoners have been taken today,
additional ground has been covered, and progress continues to be made.
But the task is still ahead of us, and it should not be considered
that it will be accomplished in a short period of time. It's going to
be tough, dirty, hard work.
Q: (Off mike) -- daily newspaper, the Czech Republic. What elements do
you think should construct the strategic framework with Russia in the
future that you are going to negotiate with them?
A: Well, for one thing, we both, Russia and the United States, as well
as all the countries that have been interested in arms control over
the years, are interested in transparency and in predictability. Each
of our countries has said that we're going to go from thousands and
thousands of strategic deployed offensive nuclear weapons -- in our
case, down to 1,700 to 2,200, and in the case of Russia, I believe
they said from 1,500 to 2,200 -- over a period of a decade.
Now as you do that, it's in both of our interests that we do it in a
way that we have transparency and predictability, that we communicate
with each other, that -- for example, there are several ways the
United States could reduce those weapons.
We may start down one path, thinking that it's the most efficient,
cost effective and the most efficient way to do it, and then, at some
point, two, three years down the road, we may get a phone call saying
that one of our weapon categories is no longer safe or reliable, in
which case -- and we had, say, for the sake of argument, to rely on
that -- in which case, you would shift gears, and you would take that
less reliable or less safe weapon out and leave one of the other ones
that you might've planned to take out. Now that's the kind of thing
that you'd want to know about the other party. And so we certainly
want to be talking about those types of things.
And I think one other thing: Since our missile defense system is
clearly not designed to be capable of dealing with the kinds of
numbers of weapons that Russia has, I think, as we go along, we would
very likely have ways that we would continue to communicate with them
about the nature of our limited missile defense system, as we get to
the point where we fashion one and begin to deploy it -- which, of
course, we're not at that stage at the present time.
Q: Mr. Secretary, (inaudible name) from the Arab Television MBC.
I would like to ask you a question about the issue of expanding the
military campaign and security. Would you need a new Security Council
resolution or, if you have to conduct the operation, you can do it
without -- based on the previous Security Council resolution? And if
you can --
A: Are you referring to the United Nations Security Council?
Q: Yes. Yeah.
A: The short answer is that every provision of the United Nations
provides for self-defense. So nothing is needed by way of additional
authority. Every nation has the right to defend itself.
Q: Can I just ask you about the level of cooperation? We are looking
that Yemen authorities, authorities of Sudan are conducting operation
against activists -- suspected people of al Qaeda and they're -- are
you cooperating with these government? Are you happy with them?
A: Well, there are, obviously, a number of countries that have active
al Qaeda cells, and Yemen is one. Sudan is, obviously, one. Somalia
used to be a location where senior al Qaeda officials spent time.
There are a number of other locations around the world where that's
There's no question but that the coalition forces across the globe
that have decided that terrorism is bad and evil and dangerous and has
the potential of killing tens of thousands of human beings -- innocent
human beings -- have cooperated by trying to freeze bank accounts, by
trying to improve exchanges of intelligence, by increasing their law
enforcement, by arresting people, by interrogating those people, by
gaining more knowledge and more information that leads us to arrest
still additional people -- and that is taking place across the globe.
And the effect of that is to put pressure on these networks.
Now am I happy with it? I'm -- we're doing a lot better than we were
before September 11th. Would I like to see more bank accounts frozen?
You bet. Would I like to see more countries get more energy into their
law enforcement? You bet I would. I would like to create a world that
is inhospitable for terrorists and for nations that harbor terrorists.
Staff: Sir, last question.
Q: Mr. Secretary, Bret Baier from Fox News. Are U.S. troops in
Pakistan, hunting for Osama bin Laden? And if so, what is their role
there? You've said the U.S. will chase down bin Laden wherever he
A: The government of Pakistan has been -- I have a practice of trying
not to characterize precisely what other governments are doing,
because it seems to me it's for them to characterize what they're
doing, and there are sensitivities.
So I can say this: that the government of Pakistan has been enormously
cooperative. They have been a terrific help in this effort. There is
no question but that the president of Pakistan has deployed a large
number of Pakistan Army forces along the Pakistan-Afghan border. The
reason, obviously, is because those borders are porous, and we are
putting a great deal of pressure on the Taliban and the al Qaeda
forces in Afghanistan, which is causing them to move and flee and run
and hide. And one of the places they can flee to is Pakistan. And
needless to say, the president of Pakistan has a minimum of high
regard for that possibility. He does not want those forces coming into
his country, and therefore he is doing a good job.
Getting a little closer to your specific question, there's no question
but that there's a good deal of communication between his army forces
along the border and our forces in Afghanistan.
Q: But are U.S. troops in Pakistan?
A: I think I'll leave that to the Pakistanis to handle.
Staff: Thank you, sir.
Rumsfeld: Thank you very much.
(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)
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