Admiral William J. Crowe, Chairman
Press briefing on the Report of the Accountability Review Boards on the Embassy Bombings in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam
Washington, D.C., January 8, 1999
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ADMIRAL CROWE: Good morning. This is my first experience in a press conference at the State Department; also an intimidating one, I might say.
As the Secretary informed you, the two commissions which I head, which investigated the Nairobi and Dar Es Salaam bombings, have submitted a combined report today after some three months of deliberation. These efforts include visits to Nairobi and Dar Es Salaam. We have interviewed, in total, over 130 witnesses.
First I think it appropriate to make a few general comments about the report, and then I will address any inquiries that you might have.
Please understand that today we are releasing an unclassified version of a longer and more complete classified report. At the outset, I should note that this was not a pleasant task. Throughout, we have painfully aware of the human toll that was involved. I would like to reflect, as the Secretary did, our heartfelt sympathies to the families and friends of the victims; and I include in that the Kenyans, Tanzanians, as well as Americans.
To recap, the two terrorist bombings resulted in the deaths of over 220 persons and injuries to more than 4,000 people. Twelve American US Government employees and family members and 40 Kenyan and Tanzanian US Government employees were among those killed. Both chanceries and several other buildings were severely damaged or destroyed.
The security of our people has been the key focus of the boards' work. That is, our primary concern was the future protection and security of the thousands of Americans and foreign nationals who worked for the United States in hundreds of overseas missions. The report should be examined in this light.
The Accountability Review Boards, which I chaired, were a group of distinguished Americans who withdrew from their normal occupations for the last three months and devoted their considerable talents and energy to this task. They represented a wide range of experience -- diplomatic, military, intelligence, legal and academic. I am especially proud of their dedication and the study that they produced. Perhaps most important, and I want to stress this, I am convinced that their labor was completely devoid of pressure from any government agency. I can testify from personal experience that they went to exceptional lengths to reach sound, fair-minded and independent judgments.
The boards did not find reasonable cause to believe that any employee of the United States Government or member of the uniform services breached his or her duty in connection with the August 7 bombings. However, we found that security affairs in today's complex bureaucracy are widely dispersed. Consequently, it is difficult to pinpoint responsibility.
Nevertheless, we believe that there was a collective failure by several Administrations and Congresses over the past decade to reduce the vulnerability of US diplomatic missions adequately.
In this regard, the boards were most disturbed by two inter-connected issues: First, the inadequacy of resources to provide protective measures against terrorist attacks; and second, the relative low priority accorded security concerns throughout the US Government by the Congress, the Department, other agencies in general, and the part of many employees -- both in Washington and in the field.
Saving lives and adequately addressing our security vulnerabilities on a sustained basis must, in our judgment, be a given higher priority by all those involved if we are to prevent such tragedies in the future. Let me stress a clause in the last sentence: "by all those involved." We discovered that many people want to continue to do their work as always, but consider it the job of someone else to make them safe. In today's world, I'm afraid it's not that simple. Security -- to use a Navy expression -- is an "all-hands" proposition. All employees serving overseas must adapt their lifestyles to make their workplace and their residences more safe.
The security systems and procedures of both posts at the time of the bombings were in general accord with current Department policy. Alarmingly, those procedures and systems followed by the embassies under the Department's direction did not speak to large vehicular bombs with any specificity or trans-national terrorism, nor the dire consequences that would result from them. This gap existed throughout the system.
Both embassies were located immediately adjacent or close to public streets and were especially vulnerable to large vehicular bombs. The boards found that too many of our overseas missions are similarly situated. Unless these vulnerabilities are addressed on a sustained and realistic basis, the lives and safety of US Government employees and the public in many of our facilities abroad will continue to be at risk from further terrorist bombings.
The boards further found that intelligence provided no immediate tactical warning of the August 7 attacks. We understand the difficulty -- in fact, more than we did when we started -- of monitoring terrorist networks, and concluded that the current role or state or play in the intelligence community and intelligence expertise offers us no assurance that we will have tactical warning and that our missions which are vulnerable will have such warning.
In any case, there are instances, of course, that we have tactical warning, but they are more the exception than the rule. We must consider that a bonus rather than a normal event. We found, however, that both policy and intelligence officials have relied in the past on warning intelligence to measure threats; whereas experience has shown, that trans-national terrorists often strike without warning at vulnerable targets in areas where expectations of terrorist acts against the United States are relatively low.
In our investigations of the bombings, the boards were struck by how similar the lessons were to those drawn by the Inman Commission over 14 years ago. What is most troubling is the failure of the US Government to take the necessary step to prevent such tragedies through an unwillingness to give sustained priority and funding to security improvements. We viewed as our primary and overriding responsibility the submission of recommendations that will save lives of personnel serving at US missions abroad in the future.
We are advancing, in this report, a number of proposals that deal with a handling of terrorist threats and attacks; the review and revision of standards, including a review of the Inman Report; also, a review of procedures to improve security readiness and crisis management; the size and composition of our missions; and the need to have adequate and sustained funding for safe buildings and security programs in the future.
Some of these recommendations are, of necessity, classified. We recognize that the Department of State and other US Government agencies are already making adjustments. In fact, we have cooperated with that by, as our investigation proceeded, occasionally telling various concerned departments of some of the things that we were encountering and some of the measures that we might suggest. They are in essence taking measures now to enhance the protection of our personnel in facilities abroad. It is clear, however, that still much more needs to be done.
While many of the recommendations in our report identify problems which we found in various areas of security, none of this should obscure the outstanding and often heroic efforts made by the diplomatic and Marine security guard personnel in the field in the wake of the horrific terrorist attacks. They often save lives and acted in the highest traditions of government service. It was a very moving experience to encounter this.
In closing, I would like to express both a warning and a plea. The boards concluded early in their deliberations that the appearance of large bomb attacks and the emergence of sophisticated and global terrorist networks aimed at US interests abroad have dramatically and irrevocably changed the threat environment. Old assumptions are no longer valid. Today, US Government employees from many departments and agencies overseas work and live in harm's way just as military people do.
We must acknowledge this fact of life and bend every effort to continually remind Congress and our citizenry of this reality. In turn, I would vigorously argue that the nation must make greater exertions to provide for their safety. Service abroad can never be made completely safe; we fully understand that. But we can reduce some of the risks to the survival and security of our men and women who conduct the nation's business far from home. This will require a much greater effort in terms of national commitment, resources and procedures than in the past.
In fact, it involves a sea-change in the way we do our business. We have a choice, of course: we can continue as we have been, we can continue to see our embassies blown away, our people killed and our nation's foreign reputation eroded. I would hope we would not take that choice.
I would be happy to address questions that you may have.
QUESTION: Admiral Crowe, does your report deal with the contradiction between an attempt to have absolute security and the need for diplomats to reach out to the community and have the community accepted by them? How do you square that circle?
ADMIRAL CROWE: Certainly it is a difficult question, we would be the first to acknowledge that. The commissions had many spirited discussions on that.
I think there are several things you've got to recognize. First of all, when you talk about openness and your ability to conduct business, the threat has already closed up many of our current embassies in the middle of communities. When I was the Ambassador to Great Britain, we were a very tight embassy because of security. You just didn't walk into our embassy; you had to have business there. Even an American citizen could not come in without business or a contact. We were not an open embassy.
I think more important to understand -- now, take the case of Nairobi where 4,000 people were wounded. There were very few Americans in that total number. It's important to the host country that we be invulnerable, that our embassies not be vulnerable. They don't enjoy having their citizens killed or wounded, and they don't want an embassy in the middle of their cities that's going to be that vulnerable or that attractive a target.
So part of our foreign policy in this new age of new bombs, new ways to look at things, is it's very important and symbolic and of significance that we have embassies that are invulnerable and that can deter this kind of attack. I think that this transcends some of the old arguments that we must fly the flag in certain places; we must be open; we must always be available and conveying an American image of openness, et cetera. The fact is that we have to change our way of looking at the world. When you talk about lives at stake, they should assume a very, very high priority -- not only on our agenda, but also on the agenda of the host country.
QUESTION: There are two major embassies under construction -- one in Berlin and one in Beijing. Did you look at those; and did you offer any advice?
ADMIRAL CROWE: No, we did not. Our charter was not to look at those. We were limited -- one of the problems in a commission like this -- we were limited to the two instances which we were examining. On the other hand, we were determined from the very outset to try and reach conclusions that extended beyond just these two embassies.
Now, we were aware that a new embassy was being contemplated in Berlin, and I actually did have an opportunity to mention to the Secretary my concerns about just letting symbolic things control. I was not familiar with the details, I'm not quite sure exactly what the embassy's like and so forth; but I thought it was important that in selecting that embassy and going forward, that security be very high in the considerations of the State Department.
QUESTION: Admiral Crowe, it's my understanding that among the many recommendations that the board made, and that would reflect this sea change in what you said, in the way that we do our business overseas would be the recommendation to close some embassies in, for instance, Africa and perhaps other regions as well and to consolidate some of those embassies. Could you address that please? And could you explain whether or not the board thinks that it's likely and realistic that the US Government would do that?
ADMIRAL CROWE: Again, we didn't consider specific embassies because it was not in our charter. We didn't have the time to go -- but we did consider the general subject that you're talking about. There was considerable experience on the board that have had embassies. We had four ambassadors, I believe; and they all thought that two subjects should be looked at: number one, the manning of our embassies -- whether they could be cut back with the use of modern technology and so forth. We didn't say cut back a or b; we said the subject is an important one, particularly if you're going to the Congress and ask for more money, you should also say to the Congress that we have pared down what we are doing.
And secondly, we should look at the possibility of reducing the number of embassies. Incidentally -- let me be very candid -- that's a tender subject in the State Department, because it has always been an American principle that we will fly the flag in as many locations as possible overseas. But it was our view that given this new threat environment, that if a host country cannot protect your embassy -- which, incidentally, is one of their responsibilities -- if the embassy is inevitably at high threat, that we should look at some kind of other arrangement where we consolidate embassies. We do have some precedent for this -- I believe in the Caribbean, for example, where we move to one embassy that is not such a threatened area, spend money to make it safe and deter, and accredit the ambassador to satellite posts, which are convenient, et cetera, and then he would have an office in each of those places that's much smaller and not near as appealing a target, et cetera, et cetera.
Now, we did not get into many of the specifics here because we didn't feel it was our business nor were we confident to talk in great detail. We strongly urged that this subject be examined and that these possibilities be looked at very carefully with an open mind.
QUESTION: Admiral, you've spoken about the global terrorist network and the dramatic and the irrevocable impact that they've had on the threat environment, but isn't it a fact that in this case there's a bin Laden network and he's located in a specific country and you know where it is and I don't know how many other terrorist networks there are -- I mean, I'm not quite sure what this global threat really is, after the bin Laden people are taken care of. Isn't there another way to take care of them -- simply dealing with the Afghans or dealing with him directly?
ADMIRAL CROWE: Well, it's not our charter nor am I going to get into how we solve a terrorist problem around the world for the United States. I'll be happy to talk about it as it concerns embassy security and safety of our people, et cetera, et cetera. But you have really opened up a very big subject; and one that, incidentally, is part of the US Government is charged with addressing directly -- and I'm talking about the Department of Justice and the FBI. The State Department's involved, but the differences between our investigation and the one that the FBI is currently doing is that they are looking for people who are responsible with the idea of ultimately prosecuting them. We did not go into that question at all.
QUESTION: Secondly, you talked about creating invulnerable embassies. I'm not quite sure how you're going to do that except for --
ADMIRAL CROWE: I don't think I used the world invulnerable, but certainly that we create embassies that are safer than they currently are and that take advantage of some of the technology that is now in the research lab. And it is possible to make buildings more safe. I can't envision an invulnerable embassy; and certainly not an invulnerable embassy that doesn't have large stand-off distances.
QUESTION: What's the cost of it going to be? How many additional resources do you think have to be brought to bear --
ADMIRAL CROWE: Well, we hit this subject very hard and we recommended a couple of things. That is that the capital account for keeping embassies current and solving these problems be separated and distinct and that the State Department have a sustained program of over ten year of about $1.5 billion a year for that period of time, apart from the monies that are funded for political purposes and for their regular functions. This should be over and above that. It shouldn't come out of the funding that the State Department normally receives.
Now, I'm not naïve; I've been around quite a while. I've served in the US Government over 50 years. One of the questions you probably ask is, is that realistic? That's not our problem. Our problem is what kinds of threats are we facing, what can we do about it and to compare or rather to present the dilemma, are lives worth that or not worth it?
QUESTION: Admiral, although your team didn't look at specific other embassies, did they come up with an estimate of the number of embassies worldwide that maybe at "sub-par" security; and how dangerous is that situation?
ADMIRAL CROWE: Well, there are quite a few figures on that and it's certainly a matter of interpretation. About two-thirds of our embassies have not met Inman standards and still require some kind of improvement to reach the minimum level. It's a big job.
We have the Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security. Would you like to speak to that, David?
QUESTION: Yes, and if you could just respond when you have two-thirds that are sub-par, how concerning is that to you, obviously?
ADMIRAL CROWE: Oh, very concerning; that's the thrust of the whole report. That's the reason we stressed funding. Funding's not the only thing we hit, but we stressed funding because when you track down these various threats and so forth, you also end up somewhere spending some kind of money. Do you have the money or don't you have the money for it? But we made a very big issue out of funding, sustained over a long period of time.
Now, let's face it, we're not going to have new embassies in all those places in very quick order. So we're going to have a high risk and a lot of embassies in harm's way for quite some time. Now, we believe that in recent technological advances and more that we know about these attacks and so forth that there are things less costly than building a new embassy that can upgrade the physical protection of these places and save lives. I don't mean that they're going to completely deter attacks or they're not totally invulnerable; but they can avoid some of the things that we had in Nairobi and Dar Es Salaam if we take advantage of those. We recommended a number of those.
They will cost money also, but it will be on a more modest scale than a complete rebuilding.
QUESTION: The Secretary, in her opening statement, said that the United States must not hollow out our foreign policy. Do you have any doubts about whether this Department and the Administration gets it when it comes to adequate security, or has your message really gotten through?
ADMIRAL CROWE: Well, one of the purposes of this report is to raise the sensitivity level, which we think has been historically very, very low. We think the time, the window that is open to us to hit this subject is very appropriate and right now it's timely. We hope that those portions of the report that talk to this subject will have some impact. And my discussions this morning with the Secretary before we came here suggest that they are going to.
I would be the last one to say that there is no problem between the old way of doing business and the new way of doing business and how much are you going to impact of the traditional functions of the State Department in order to improve the security here and so forth. That is always an issue, and will be for quite some time.
On the other hand, we contend -- and I think the report speaks straightforwardly to this -- that you've got to look at those functions. There were several ambassadors on the commission who said they said they thought there were areas where we could cut back in other things that we do and functions that would generate less vulnerability and also free up some funds for other purposes.
Now, we didn't advise exactly how to do that; we're not telling Secretary of State how to run her business. But we're telling her it's an appropriate area to look at. This attitude that I want to be able to do my business as I've done it for the last 50 years and don't bother me with security and somebody else should take care of me without me having to change anything has got to go. Because of the impacts of these bombs, and the things that they can do to you, security's got to be a higher priority, and other things are going to have to, in a certain sense, step aside a little bit -- maybe not down the priority list -- but they've got to make some accommodations with this new world.
I'm a military man by trade, and one of the big issues in the earlier part of this century was whether tanks would replace cavalry. Many people said, well, if we take tanks, the enemy will prevail because he has them, and we don't want to let him prevail, we'll stick with horses. We couldn't do that. The cavalry disappeared, and people had to make a decision they didn't like to make. That's sort of the way with security. We're going to have to accommodate security in a more positive, and a more comprehensive way than we have in the past. It will affect other functions. The question "how much" -- I don't know. It's important to us and to the country that we do preserve our foreign policy functions; that's what embassies are for. It's now become a part of foreign policy and our impression and our reputation overseas that our embassies be safe, and that our people be safe.
QUESTION: Admiral, you said, in your opening statement, that there was no immediate tactical warning of the attack. It's my understanding that there was sort of some generalized intelligence regarding the threat that had been discarded as not serious. Could you address that?
ADMIRAL CROWE: I enjoy your word, "generalized;" I think that is true. Please bear in mind how many thousands of threats come through the State Department system -- about 30,000 a year, or something like that. All the embassies, when I was in, we constantly were dealing with threats, whether they were credible or not.
There were some contacts made in 1997 in the Nairobi embassy that suggested that perhaps an attack was aborning against the embassy. This was followed up by some more information which was very general, not specific, not tactical in any nature of the word, and was also constantly changing. They said no, no, it's no longer a car attack, it's going to be an assassination. Then, subsequently, no, no, it's been put off until after elections, et cetera.
These threats were evaluated by the entire intelligence community, which is our practice with all threats, and they were essentially discredited. This view was reinforced by the fact that with the passage of time, nothing did happen; that at the same time, some of the non-governmental groups that we were really not in agreement with and that we were concerned about in Kenya were taken down and the main players were deported, leading our intelligence people to believe that probably the main threat had gone away -- at least any real threat against the American Embassy.
Then, we went through a very long period of no information whatsoever. Now, the question would arise in your mind, when you get a warning, how long do you keep that warning -- one year, ten years, 20 years? We just had a silent, black hole there. So we did come to the conclusion, after interviewing everybody involved in the process, that there was not a legitimate or genuine tactical warning. To this day, after the explosion, we still have no evidence that those particular warnings were connected in any way with the actual attack.
But the more significant conclusion we came to -- which, incidentally, so did the Inman Report, but we just reinforced that -- is that this is not a matter of intelligence failure. I don't like that term. The fact is that in the state of intelligence today, and in the state of how complex these organizations, are and the difficulty of deriving what they're doing, that it's just not within our reach to have tactical warning. We may have it sometimes, but that's a bonus, not something we can depend on. We've got to assume that we will be without tactical warning and proceed on other bases. That's not a new conclusion; that's not unique to us. It's been drawn by many people, and we just reinforce it.
MR. RUBIN: Thank you, Admiral Crowe. I know the Assistant Secretary would like to say a few words and answer some of your questions.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY CARPENTER: If I may start by saying, I was sworn in on August 11: that's four days after the bombings. But that is not to say that, had I been in this capacity prior to the bombings, this would have been prevented.
I was drawn to the one question about sub-par security. We do have -- we found out after the bombings -- that 88 percent of our embassies did not meet set-back standards that were established following the Inman Commission. That's not to say that we have sub-par security at any of these facilities; we're simply lacking in that one element.
I'd also like to -- I feel compelled to second both everything the Secretary said, and the things that the Admiral has most recently said here in his statement. This Department takes very seriously what happened in Nairobi and Dar Es Salaam. There has been no lack of will or spine to go forward and establish the best security possible for our people out there.
But one of the things that I have to mention, and one word that I've become, over my career, very frustrated with is "risk management." As you see risk increase and funds decrease, you're no longer managing risk; you're taking risk. That's the position that some of our facilities found themselves in -- making decisions on where best to put their efforts and their money, when their efforts and money needed to be spent in a lot of different arenas.
So I, quite frankly, since I've been here, have been very proud of the efforts at not only this Department, but other government agencies in supporting our efforts, as well as host governments in supporting our efforts, have provided to keep us safe to date. We have a lot more to do. We're continuing being very aggressive; we're continuing to be proactive.
In reference to the Admiral's last comments about intelligence: Intelligence is nice when you've got it. But when it's not provided to you, you have to be prepared, 24 hours a day, for some sort of eventuality as occurred in Dar Es Salaam and Nairobi. That's the approach we've taken to secure our facilities the best we can for all eventualities, not only car bombings, but other assaults, in the light of today's environment, and what we're facing in that environment.
QUESTION: Can you say whether you have done an evaluation of all of our embassies; and those that do not meet Inman standards, where you have made a determination as to the number that should be relocated -- those that are (under) the greatest threat?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY CARPENTER: I can say we've made an evaluation of every embassy, and our potential vulnerabilities to car bombs and other types of attacks, and are working closely with our ambassadors and our regional security officers at each of these embassies, asking their input into what is needed.
Again, the one major problem that we have against a car bomb -- or, we found to have --
is set-back. Clearly, in some instances, we cannot obtain that set-back. But there are other alternatives to set-back, and we're exploring those very vigorously.
QUESTION: You can't help but notice that steps that have been taken here around the State Department as far as set-back goes. Does this building now meet Inman standards as far as set-back goes?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY CARPENTER: I'm glad you noticed our enhancements; that's encouraging. Yes, we have taken steps here at the Department of State. The standards as set forth by Inman ideally call for 100 feet of set-back. You can go out and look around the building and in some locations, there's not. We are trying, or working with DC Government to try to increase our set-back here at State. By putting the barriers that you see out there, we have, in some locations, increased our set-back dramatically, in other cases, not quite as much as we like.
QUESTION: Are you considering closing C Street?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY CARPENTER: That is a part of our ongoing evaluation.
QUESTION: Mr. Carpenter, what is your bureau's current resources? How much money do you have available annually?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY CARPENTER: The current budget is around $300 million.
QUESTION: And so then, under the Crowe proposals, that would go up by $1.5 billion per year or what --
ASSISTANT SECRETARY CARPENTER: The $1.4 billion is money allotted in an emergency supplemental, not only for State Department but for other agencies to deal with the aftermath of the bombings.
ADMIRAL CROWE: But our continuing proposal would be an additional --
QUESTION: $1 billion a year over ten years is what you said, right?
ADMIRAL CROWE: That would be more than operational; it would be also capitalization.
QUESTION: Come back to the question about the terrorist threat, because there seems to be kind of a worse case scenario that you've developed as part of your whole report, which is the assumption that there will be more networks developed parallel or similar to the bin Laden one. I'm wondering if that is really a realistic assessment? And secondly, whether it also impinges -- and this is a twist on an earlier question -- that people who work for the State Department abroad -- there's so many names in the lobby on the charts there of people who were killed -- they know that they're going out and taking a risk as much as a military person does. But they accept it as the price of doing business as diplomats today. I'm just wondering whether you're not accepting that yourselves in going the worst-case scenario route and trying to, basically, close off the embassies, reduce them in size, and so on.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY CARPENTER: Well, I think you speak to a number of issues in that statement. I would only say that as a security professional, it's my job to look at the worst case scenario. It's my job to prepare against the worst case scenario, taking into account that this is a building that the public has to feel free to access. We don't want to be off-putting in our security measures, but we do have to look at all eventualities. Admiral, I don't know if you wanted to comment on that?
ADMIRAL CROWE: Well, I think by implication I did comment on it when I said that we're in a new environment, and we do anticipate -- and I don't know any section that deals with this that doesn't agree with this -- we do anticipate more and more frequent attempts. And we even are afraid of other developments: not only larger bombs, but going to other methods of attacking us.
QUESTION: You mean like rockets or stand-off type weapons?
ADMIRAL CROWE: No, weapons of mass destruction -- not nuclear, but biological, chemical, et cetera, et cetera.
QUESTION: It comes back to my point, isn't there a price of doing business, and that there are some things that you cannot defend against, you can only respond to when they happen? I mean, Pearl Harbor, there's some things that occur like that.
ADMIRAL CROWE: I don't agree with that. That has certainly been the attitude. That's the traditional and the historical, but given today's research and some of the things we know about -- as we've said, we're not going to make them totally invulnerable, but we think we can save more lives and that we can preserve people if we're smart.
May I say just one more word about David's business. I noticed in the papers this morning what was, to my commissions, a very disturbing trend -- that several of the articles were quick to lay the blame totally on the State Department, and to have found a villain, and go after it pretty heavy: That everything that happened was the State Department's fault.
That is certainly not the view of the commission. As I said, we have come to the opinion that a collective fault for the US Government, including the people that appropriate funds in this country, and that terrorism is now threatening to grow to the point where it's everybody's business, and everybody's got to accept a role and responsibility. We would never say that it was totally the State Department's fault, as I saw in some of the articles.
QUESTION: Okay, this question is for Assistant Secretary Carpenter. You've heard Admiral Crowe, and I'm sure you've read his report, and among the recommendations to shut down or consolidate some of the embassies. Would that make your job easier, and is that a recommendation that you might have as well?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY CARPENTER: I think one can assume that if you have fewer targets out there, that your job will be easier. That's not something that -- we're looking at the number of embassies that we have now, and doing the best job we can to secure them. I think that there are groups that are meeting to discuss the viability, the practicality of having smaller embassies, or larger embassies that service different parts of different countries. The security will be factored into those decisions as they go through them.
I did want to make one statement if I may, too, about acceptable risk. The State Department personnel that goes overseas, they do accept a certain amount of risk, but they're not suicidal. They're given a certain amount of training relative to security awareness. Once they arrive at their post, they get continued training. This is an ongoing process here. So sometimes a problem appears so large that there may not be a readily available solution. That doesn't mean that we don't continue to work on it.
We are working with a number of agencies. This is not just a State Department effort to come up with a silver bullet that keeps this from happening. We're looking to other agencies for assistance, guidance, looking at technology, how it can be used to best protect these people, so that when they go out there, that risk that they're accepting -- and they are accepting a certain amount of risk, certainly -- is reduced to an absolute minimum.
QUESTION: The Admiral evoked the possibility of chemical and biological attacks on US embassies. I wondered whether either the commission or your bureau had considered countermeasures to prevent such attacks, and what conclusions did you come to. If you hadn't come to any conclusions, whether perhaps it would be better to spend some of that money, or most of that money, on dealing directly with groups likely to do that, whether you've considered that might be a better way to spend the money. And also, can we have a copy of the non-classified report?
MR. RUBIN: We're giving you that after the briefing.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY CARPENTER: I'll take this first. Of course we are, as the Admiral mentioned, when we talk about worst-case scenario, one cannot look at worst-case scenario without looking at how you counter, or propose to counter, chemical, biological attack and/or nuclear.
There are a number of entities within the US Government -- this is a government-wide coordinated effort to look at how do we deal with this phenomenon. This is something relatively new -- relatively new in the last five or six years. There are a number of groups that are meeting, trying to discuss this. The State Department is an active part of it. We feel that we're sort of on the tip of the javelin when it comes to this. We feel that perhaps we may be as vulnerable as anyone else, and want to participate in the solution to that, and are working very hard to that end.
QUESTION: There was a public announcement issued earlier this week, I believe it was, for Egypt -- a warning to Americans there. It sounded like it was not only official Americans, but it was also Americans who may be traveling there -- civilian Americans. Is there anything else that you can tell us about that threat? My understanding is that you all were also going to be doing some security training for American civilians in that community. Is that a new part, a new duty that you're taking over under this?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY CARPENTER: No, this is a part of an ongoing program. There are parts of the world who continue to get what I would consider a very, very high number of threats, both towards the embassies and/or the American community at large. Our embassies are very active, which is why, I guess, maybe speaks back to a little bit about going with the regional embassies. We need representation out there to work with our American citizens on a continuing basis, to make sure that they're safe, they feel safe and they are in touch with the latest information.
These travel warnings in Egypt are nothing new. You can be assured that our people in the embassies are, in fact, working directly with the community.
QUESTION: Since you raised it, you talked about these extraordinary measures you're considering to protect the embassies and the diplomatic personnel. How exposed are American business people, and how can they -- they don't have those types of resources, or anywhere near those types of resources. What should they do? Should they just close up shop and forget about it?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY CARPENTER: Absolutely not. I think what your question gets to -- a much larger issue on how do you do security worldwide, and it's not cookie-cutter. One size does not fit all here. We've got to adapt measures taken to the community and the threat and the number of American personnel there -- where are they located; where are their businesses; what security is currently in place? A lot of American companies operating overseas have very, very professional security in and around their facilities.
We are -- the State Department, and specifically Diplomatic Security -- involved in the overseas OSAC, Overseas Security Advisory Council, which deals with the communities in most of our posts overseas, relaying information back and forth, receiving information from them, and working on a monthly basis to make sure that everyone stays in touch.