Great Seal

U.S. Department of State

Daily Press Briefing


1Casualty Figures: Deaths / Injuries / Missing / Medevaced
1Search and Rescue: Accounting for Missing FSNs / Searching for Trapped Victims
1-2,8,15Assistance: US Rescue Teams / Medical / K-9s / Equipment / Security / Airlift Missions / International / Blood Donations
3,9Secretary's Travel to Germany / Return of Remains of US Victims
3Investigations into Bombings / Film in Cameras
3-4,8Suspects & Link to Iran / US Access to Suspects
4Secretary's Future Travel to Region
4-5Comparison with Bombing in Al Khobar
8Rewards for Bombers
9US Help to Kenyan Victim Employees & Families
10Reopening Embassies in Nairobi & Dar es Salaam
5-9Closings at Discretion of Ambassadors / Threats Against US Embassies / Categories of Risk Factors / Resources for High-Risk Facilities / Inman Standards
10Funding Categories for Embassy Security

DPB # 98
TUESDAY, AUGUST 11, 1998, 3:25 P.M.

MR. FOLEY: Good afternoon. Welcome to the State Department. Again with us today are two senior State Department officials, Assistant Secretary for Administration, Patrick Kennedy, and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for African Affairs, Ambassador Carson. They will assist me in this briefing as we get into the particulars of your questions.

Let me start just by bringing you up to date on some of the facts that you're interested in, especially those involving the casualties. Some of this information is not new, but I'm giving it to you again to confirm the figures. As you know, the number of Americans killed in Nairobi remains at 12, and we expect that is the final figure. Our Foreign Service Nationals in Nairobi, we have lost 33 of our colleagues; and the number of civilian dead, of course, is well over 200. As I indicated yesterday, I don't have authoritative figures on that. That would be for the Kenyan authorities to answer.

We have no missing Americans we're aware of in Nairobi. There are, unfortunately, still eight missing Foreign Service Nationals in the explosion. In terms of those we've Medivac'd from Kenya to Germany; the total of Americans is 10 - nine in Germany, one has now been moved onward to Walter Reed Hospital. The number of Kenyan Foreign Service Nationals in Germany is now 12; I believe another seven were transported to Germany today, and it's possible that there will be further numbers of Kenyan Foreign Service Nationals transferred in the coming days to an American hospital in Germany.

In Dar es Salaam, those numbers have not changed. The Americans - none dead. We had one Medivac and nine of our employees, Tanzanian, I believe - mostly Tanzanian - but Foreign Service Nationals, deceased in the bombing in Dar es Salaam; and approximately 70-plus local citizens injured.

In terms of the search and rescue efforts, I can tell you that they do continue. The rescuers will continue to search and visit morgues and hospitals and maintain contact with family members in Nairobi in an attempt to locate the eight remaining missing Foreign Service Nationals I mentioned. Eleven bodies were pulled from the rubble of the Ufundi Building in Nairobi late last night and early this morning. Workers are continuing to dig through the rubble around the clock - not giving up in their efforts to find other trapped victims.

In terms of US assistance to Kenya and Tanzania, some of this you have; I'd like to give it again, though, for the sake of thoroughness. Some of it may be new. In conjunction with the FBI, the Department of Defense and other US Government agencies, we are providing a broad range of assistance around the clock to Kenya and Tanzania. This assistance includes, as you know, the 66-member Urban Disaster Support Team from Fairfax County, which is conducting search and rescue efforts of the US Embassy in Nairobi and the neighboring area. We've also sent a six-person disaster assessment response team to Nairobi. The Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta have dispatched two officers to assess Kenya's medical needs. We've provided four specially-trained dogs for use in the search and rescue efforts in Nairobi - that's both in the embassy building and the adjacent Kenyan building.

We've provided 55,000 pounds of search and rescue equipment for the ongoing rescue efforts. This includes generators, lights, hydraulic machines, telescoping cameras, core drills, listening devices and communications. Current support includes providing security forces for the American Embassy compounds, medical personnel, equipment and supplies, evacuation and treatment of Kenyan and American personnel, as I mentioned, and coordinating airlift of personnel into and out of Kenya and Tanzania.

Eight Department of Defense missions were flown into Nairobi and Dar es Salaam to provide urgent medical and material assistance within 33 hours of the outbreak of the crisis. The Defense Department has now completed 17 airlift missions in and out of Nairobi and Dar es Salaam. These missions have logged 120,000 miles.

We have well over 100 investigators who've been flown into both sites altogether in Dar Es Salaam and Nairobi; 288 units of blood have been sent to Nairobi alone, and we have pre-positioned another 220 units for dispatch.

The Department of Defense - and this is in response to a question that was raised yesterday - has provided a total of approximately 250 US military medical and support staff to treat the victims, including surgical teams, medical specialists and evacuation personnel. In addition, approximately 250 US civilians are assisting in these efforts.

Finally, in terms of the international assistance -- I mentioned the notable Israeli search and rescue efforts yesterday - but I hasten to add that there has been considerable and remarkable outpouring of support from other nations. Great Britain has provided lighting equipment for search and rescue and communication channels, as well as military security who happened to be in the city. South Africa has provided three planes to help us send our assistance people and medical people to Dar es Salaam and Nairobi. Germany has donated 244 units of blood, and one of our FSNs is being treated in a German hospital. The Israeli support - the two aircraft containing search and rescue teams and dogs and medical supplies - we noted earlier. Australia has provided security guards for our chancellery in Nairobi. Kenya has provided, of course, and Tanzania, substantial assistance not only in their own efforts to deal with their nationals who suffered from the explosions, but in assistance with our own efforts; we've worked very cooperatively. France has provided two trauma teams and there have been other offers of general assistance. I can note Greece, Norway and Japan; and apologize to note those nations I've neglected to mention.

Finally, Secretary of State Albright is, as you know, departing very early tomorrow morning from Andrews Air Force Base at 6:00 a.m. to go to Germany to Ramstein Air Base. She will proceed, as we said yesterday, immediately to the hospital to visit the American and Kenyan wounded, and return the next morning with the bodies of 10 American deceased for the ceremony that the President will speak at, as will Secretary of State Albright, Thursday morning at Andrews Air Force Base.

Finally, I know that on your minds are a whole series of questions concerning the early stages of the investigations underway in Dar es Salaam and Nairobi, and that's very natural; we understand your interest in these stories. A lot of information has been leaking out, I think -- especially on the ground, but here as well, and that's inevitable. But I can tell you that officially speaking, we are not able to comment in any way about an ongoing investigation of this sensitive nature. I had my own knuckles rapped today for talking a little bit out of school yesterday about the incident involving one of our security guards at the embassy in Nairobi - I just say that to make graphic the point that we are being admonished by the security people on the ground who are investigating these bombings not to release any information about the course of their investigation.

With that, I'd like to turn to your questions, and I will cede the floor as appropriate to Ambassador Carson and Mr. Kennedy.

QUESTION: Can you explain the discrepancy? Yesterday there were 11 bodies to come back and today there's only 10.

MR. FOLEY: Yes. As I understand, first of all, we have had 12 Americans killed in the bombing in Nairobi, as you know, and I noted yesterday that one family wished to have the deceased buried in Kenya. I can tell you that that is the family of Jean Dalizu. The other American, the remains of Air Force Senior Master Sergeant Sherry Olds are being flown back from Ramstein immediately by the Air Force at the request of her family. After an autopsy in Dover, her body will be returned to her family in Florida. We believe that there will be 10 deceased returning on that flight, but I don't have final word on that figure until, I think, we're over there in Germany.

QUESTION: There's a report out of Dar es Salaam that the cameras at the embassy were, in fact, turned on but had no film in them, citing an American security official. Can you comment on that, please?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY KENNEDY: That falls under two rubrics which I can't comment on; one is the ongoing investigation and second is the exact nature of the security procedures we use at our facilities.

QUESTION: Just probably the same thing - you're not going to be able to go very far because it's the investigation. I know you've spoken to the question of suspects before, but would you rule out that this attack could have been coming from Iran and is targeted at the new president's moderate approach and wanting to resume relations with the US in any way?

MR. FOLEY: I think I'll handle that. We're not speculating in any way about the origin of the attack. It would be irresponsible to do so. We're not going to point fingers in any direction at this point, until we're able to establish the facts. As you know, that's something that can take a lot of time, given the nature of these crimes.

QUESTION: Let me just follow up on this - would you say that Iran is being ruled out in all points of --

MR. FOLEY: Well, that would be to speak to the focus of the investigation, and I can't do that. I can assure you that the investigators will follow leads wherever they go.

QUESTION: On another - the Secretary mentioned she wants to travel to Tanzania and Kenya soon. Would we be talking September or in the coming months?

MR. FOLEY: To answer that question, I'd have to be able to tell you if I knew when such a visit would not pose a burden on our hard-pressed and traumatized embassy staffs in both places. The Secretary is clearly eager to go to Dar es Salaam and to Nairobi to express the solidarity of the American people with the victims, both American, Tanzanian and Kenyan, of these terrible bombings. It's something that she feels very strongly about that we need to symbolize the fact that we're not going to be intimidated; that we will rebuild our embassies and we will maintain our presence in those two countries, as indeed around the world.

But by the same token, Secretary Albright is extremely mindful of what our people in both embassies and what both host governments are going through right now. People are still dealing with the rescue efforts - trying to find if there are any remaining victims still alive - and to begin the investigation. Our personnel have, as I said, been traumatized; they have lost loved ones, they have lost colleagues and many colleagues are injured and many of our Foreign Service National colleagues have died and are grievously injured. So under those circumstances, a visit of that nature, as Secretary Albright indicated yesterday in the State Department, she doesn't travel alone and those can be very burdensome visits, as those of you who have traveled with the Secretary understand - that our embassies are mobilized to support Secretary of State visits. So it's something we can't project.

She used the word "soon," and that, I think, reflects her heartfelt desire to go there and give testimony not only on her own behalf, but on behalf of the entire American people for how we feel about those who were victimized and how we feel about standing up and showing that we're not going to be intimidated by this.

But I can't tell you exactly when. It's something we'll have to decide - the Secretary will decide in consultation with our Ambassador in Nairobi and our Charge and embassy in Dar es Salaam.

QUESTION: Not to be insensitive, but why is this bombing different from the Khobar bombing, which Secretary of State Warren Christopher went to in about six hours?

QUESTION: With a full press corps.

QUESTION: And with a full press corps.

MR. FOLEY: I'm not sure why you're mentioning the press in this respect. Are you comparing that to her visit to Ramstein?


MR. FOLEY: Tomorrow, when she's not traveling with press?

QUESTION: No, what you just said - the rationale you gave for her not going as being too burdensome for Americans on the ground. I'm just asking why the bombing of Khobar Barracks, where Secretary Christopher went, within about six hours, from Jerusalem - why the calculations now are different than they were then?

MR. FOLEY: I can't speak precisely to the difference in circumstances because I wasn't here in Washington at the time. But my gut feeling is the following - that, as I mentioned a minute ago, we require American Embassy support for the visit of a Secretary of State. In the case in the Saudi bombing, of course, it wasn't the embassy nor our consulates themselves who were affected much as the embassy was mobilized there to deal with the crisis.

In this case, the bombs blew up our embassies and killed our diplomatic personnel. The very people whom we would depend on to enable us to visit are those who were killed, who were injured or who are dealing with the aftermath of those terrible events. So the precise answer is that the Secretary has spoken to Ambassador Bushnell and our Charge in Dar es Salaam, and they will keep her posted as to when they believe that her visit will provide the morale boost that we want it to provide and not in any way overburden the efforts that they're focusing on at the moment.

QUESTION: Jim, can you go into a little bit about the closing temporarily - the shuttering of various embassies? As I understand it, ambassadors have the option of deciding to close down for a day or two or three in certain circumstances using their own judgment. This evidently is having a ripple effect. Of course, I'm not even going to ask you about the logic of making brave statements or standing tall, when, on the ground, a phone call and an embassy closes down, which sort of gives terrorists or even pranksters some sort of leverage over the proud US Government.

MR. FOLEY: I'm going to ask Pat Kennedy to answer the question.

QUESTION: Take the first part first -- Uganda evidently --

MR. FOLEY: But your more philosophical point about the kind of message it sends.

QUESTION: Yes - can you address that?

MR. FOLEY: Security is number one; and if we have threats or concerns, we have to take them into consideration, make tactical decisions on that basis. The larger, political point that, from the President and Secretary Albright on down, all the officials have made is that our foreign policy is not going to be changed. Our robust presence, both diplomatic and military in the world, is not going to diminish as a result of any terrorist acts.

But in terms of how we're positioning our embassies on a day-to-day basis, I'd ask Pat Kennedy to answer the question.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY KENNEDY: American embassies get a large number of threat calls each year, and I'm afraid I don't have that exact number I've used before - I said there's 31,000 security incidents a year and that is the full gamut of calls to brown paper bags seen outside embassies which have to be investigated and make sure they don't contain bombs. We have always said to our chiefs of mission that they are responsible to protect the lives and safety of personnel overseas. If, in a period of heightened threat, a chief of mission feels that in this shifting where the threat levels that we have used in the past, which are fully interagency coordinated, may not be totally valid at this point -- having to reassess those - if a chief of mission feels that there is information available to him or her that says I must take a particular step, including potentially briefly suspending operations, until adjustments to the security posture can be made, then we feel that is absolutely the right thing to do.

We are not shutting the embassies down in a permanent sense; we are not leaving. We are taking, in effect, a brief time-out in order to make the security adjustments that are necessary to be responsive to a threat.

As I said, when a call comes in or whatever it is, each call is analyzed and measured and then the post, the ambassador, the regional security officer, the emergency action committee at the post does what is appropriate.

QUESTION: Remember yesterday, you spoke of a huge increase in phone threats -- that's only one kind of a threat - maybe a dozen to two dozen. Could you return to that subject and could you tell us how those threats come in various forms? We're learning that these closings are temporary closings, one by one. Could you give us some overview or give us some count or identify the embassies that have taken time-outs? And again, do you want to upgrade your dozen to two dozen of yesterday?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY KENNEDY: I'll leave it about the same number. And, Barry, I prefer not to go into identifying specific embassies. I think that just probably leads to more copy-cat calls.

QUESTION: Can you tell us how many -

ASSISTANT SECRETARY KENNEDY: I think we've got - we get calls in all regions in the world.

QUESTION: No, not calls. How many embassies have been briefly closed down and in what regions of the world?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY KENNEDY: I would say that we've probably suspended briefly in - for a brief period of time maybe a half-dozen.

QUESTION: And can you say what regions?


QUESTION: My question is for Mr. Kennedy, also. Could you please explain the categories of low, medium and high risk; and what factors go into determining if embassy X should go in medium or embassy Y should go in high?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY KENNEDY: No. I am not going to describe those criteria because those criteria, if publicly discussed, could serve as aid to terrorists who might be deciding what to do. Basically, though, there is a process in which the interagency facilities in Washington, led by the Diplomatic Security Service, consults the post, consults the regional security officer, the ambassador, the emergency action committee of the post and the full panoply of US Government organizations that deal with security and intelligence and develops a list that says, that, given the circumstances, potential threats and whatever, this country is relatively more endangered than some other country. And I should say it's a relative scale; it does not say if you're the bottom there is no threat. It just says that threat is relative.

QUESTION: When did this categorization begin?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY KENNEDY: I'll have to get that for you. To my knowledge, it's been in existence for a large number of years. I think about a decade ago.

QUESTION: Why not just say if terrorism is, by definition, something that is unpredictable, why not just put every embassy in a high-risk category?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY KENNEDY: Basically, because when you are deploying resources around the world, you want to make sure that you put the most resources against the greatest level of threat. You deploy your resources, obviously, relatively. There is not an infinite number of resources. It is good risk management to make sure that those locations which are more endangered get a higher degree of protection, and those locations which have been identified through the interagency process as less threatened get the proportionate share of resources.

QUESTION: Do you think they should be re-evaluated after what happened on Friday?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY KENNEDY: That is a process that's ongoing at this moment.

QUESTION: Jim, kind of one, I guess, for you, and one, perhaps, for Pat. Yesterday I asked Pat if he knew whether the rewards offered in this case was the soonest after an incident of any previous case and you said you'd check. Maybe it's been posted; but I haven't seen it. Secondly, in terms of the blood drive today, is it the Red Cross collecting blood here or is it the Armed Forces? And if so, perhaps either by the end of the briefing or sometime later this afternoon, could we get a count on how much blood has been donated here by State Department employees?

MR. FOLEY: I understand it's the Red Cross. We'll try to get you an answer on that.


MR. FOLEY: In terms of the speed with which the reward was offered, we may still be checking on that; yes, we'll get you that.

QUESTION: There's an Army colonel downstairs who's working on this blood donation thing, and he told me that 188 units of blood had been sent to Africa. You said 288; do you know which is correct?

MR. FOLEY: Well, we got our figures from our task force working directly on this. So I would stick by that, unless otherwise advised.

QUESTION: The Tanzanian authorities have been talking about 14 foreigners that they've rounded up in connection with the bombing in Dar es Salaam. Have US investigators had a chance to talk to these people?

MR. FOLEY: What I can assure you is that our investigators on the ground are enjoying the excellent cooperation I described yesterday, and that they have had the access to the information that they require. I don't want to speak about modalities in that respect. But we're very satisfied that we're obtaining the information that we need.

QUESTION: This is a question for Mr. Kennedy. The US Embassy being built now in Ottawa, Canada, is being built on a site that was previously rejected. It's reported that several requirements or the recommendations of the Inman Act were waived to have this embassy built on its present location. The street was too narrow; it's too close to the - or the frontage was too narrow, et cetera. Do you know anything about this?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY KENNEDY: There are no specific requirements worked into the Inman Act. The Inman Act called upon the Department of State to set standards. An interagency group called the Overseas Security Policy Board, OSPB, set a full range of standards. The standards that we are employing in Ottawa are the same standards that we would employ for constructing facilities in the continental United States.

QUESTION: But why did you, then, reject the site in 1988 and are now building on the site?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY KENNEDY: I wasn't here in 1988. The standards that we are using to construct the embassy in Ottawa are the standards that we would use in the United States.

MR. FOLEY: Do we have many more questions, because both gentlemen, as I said yesterday, are leading the response to the crisis. I don't want to keep them long, but I don't want to lose them before we exhaust their expertise.

QUESTION: Can you tell me if any decisions have been made as to how we are going to help the Kenyan employees who have been injured or who may have died? Are we going to pay for funerals? Is the US going to help their families in any way that you can tell us? Have any decisions been made?

DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY CARSON: We are looking into a number of proposals that will be able to assist the Kenyans, including establishment of a fund that would benefit the survivors of the victims at our embassies. Over the next several weeks, we will be coming up with a number of proposals aimed at showing our gratitude for the local employees of our embassies in both Tanzania and in Kenya.

MR. FOLEY: I apologize once again for Ambassador Carson's voice. You can count on it that he has not had the opportunity for rest that his voice requires at the moment. Just a couple more questions and then we'll have to close.

QUESTION: Do you know how many of the victims will be buried in Arlington?

MR. FOLEY: I can tell you that we've had, I believe, two requests. They're going to be expedited through the normal decision-making chain. I would ask Mr. Kennedy if he knows the details on that chain. I believe the Secretary of the Army must make that decision. I believe the Secretary of State may make a request to the Secretary of Defense that goes to the Secretary of the Army.

QUESTION: Is that the father and son?

MR. FOLEY: I believe they are among the two requests. When I say two requests, I think -

ASSISTANT SECRETARY KENNEDY: Two families have made a request.

MR. FOLEY: Last two questions, and then we'll close this file.

QUESTION: Just to follow up on something you said, Pat - without tipping off the bad guys. You said the embassies were briefly closed down so that security could be looked at and beefed up if necessary. Generally speaking, I mean, there's more security going to these two East African countries now, more soldiers. Can you talk generally at all about the kind of things that might be in these embassies once they re-open? Are you talking about procedures, are you talking about people or -

ASSISTANT SECRETARY KENNEDY: We're talking about procedures; we're talking about people; we're talking about physical changes, technical upgrades. There's a full panoply. We look at security personnel staffing, physical barriers, technical measures, surveillance cameras, et cetera. It's a large range of activities.

MR. FOLEY: Last question on this.

QUESTION: Also for Mr. Kennedy, please. How much money - and I apologize for asking a question that came up yesterday, but that was without cameras. How much money is allotted for embassy security and how does that work?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY KENNEDY: The State Department receives funds for security purposes basically through several appropriations. There is an appropriation called salaries and expenses which covers certain headquarters expenses. There is an appropriation called diplomatic and consular programs which funds security personnel and operating expenses overseas. There is an appropriation called security and maintenance of buildings abroad which does the physical construction, repair, upgrade of buildings, as well as cover other costs - routine maintenance and repair.

The appropriation for security and maintenance of buildings abroad is around plus or minus $400 million a year, but that covers the full range. When you go through that category, it is difficult to break out what is security and what is not. The installation of electrical wiring for a new television camera - you can describe that as security, but you can also describe that as an electrical upgrade. So you have these large categories, and within them we make sure that security is always a very, very high priority. And if a post identifies, either to the Bureau of Diplomatic Security or to the Office of Foreign Buildings in the Bureau of Administration, that they need additional assets and additional resources, we take those requests very seriously, compare them against the security of the Overseas Security Policy Board standards and deploy the necessary resources.

MR. FOLEY: Thank you, Johnny and Pat. Thank you. So we'll move on to other issues. We do have other issues around the world, and this is an opportunity to address some of them.


QUESTION: Jim, you ticked off several countries - maybe 10 - about who have made contributions in assistance. Is that an inclusive list - because there are some areas of the world, some wealthy countries, that are noticeably absent.

MR. FOLEY: I took care, Barry, I can tell you that - and you've been here in the Department longer than I have, so you've dealt with many of these crises. You know that, especially since they're taking place many thousands of miles away, that information can change; information is always being updated. On that basis, I noted very carefully that I may have neglected to mention other nations. We'll keep an eye on that, though, because we've had so many messages of condolence and solidarity and I don't want to offend any nation that's already supplying support or has some on the way.

Thank you very much.

QUESTION: Thank you.

(The briefing concluded at 4:15 P.M.)

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