Pentagon Spokesman's Regular Briefing
DoD News Briefing
Tuesday, December 5, 2000 2:30 p.m. EST
Presenter: Rear Adm. Craig R. Quigley, DASD PA
Q: Craig, there was a news report yesterday which said that an
American citizen is detained in Jordan as a suspect in the Cole
bombing. Do you have any information about that?
Quigley: I saw those reports, certainly, but I have no information to
augment. I can't even confirm for you that the reports coming out of
that part of the world were correct. Perhaps the FBI could shed some
additional light on that. But that's not information that I've been
able to find here in the building.
Q: What about - it also said that this person had talked of
additional plots against American military aircraft. Do you have
anything on that?
Quigley: It's just not stuff that I've been able to find here within
the Department of Defense. Perhaps those doing the criminal aspect of
the investigation - again, FBI - might be able to shed some light on
that, but I'm not sure. I don't want to send you on a wild goose
chase. I can just tell you that I have not been able to find
confirmation of that here within DoD.
Q: ITAR-TASS has reported, I think Monday, that the Yemeni government
was done with the investigation. Has the Pentagon been notified of
Quigley: No, not --
Q: Identified six people and they were going to stand trial and they
Quigley: I have not seen any announcements by the Yemeni government
that they think that their investigation into this has been completed.
I've read continuous reports that say that - and clearly tell me --
that progress is being made. But I have not seen a Yemeni official in
a position of authority to make such a statement. I have not.
Q: Can you tell us when the USS Cole will arrive at Pascagoula? And
what is the current estimate for repairs, dollar estimate?
Quigley: I believe it will arrive sometime next week down at
Pascagoula. The exact day, I don't think we know that quite yet. It's
going to depend on the weather and the speed of advance of Blue Marlin
in that weather. But pretty confident that it will be sometime next
week down at Pascagoula.
I don't have a good estimate on the repairs. I'm sure that was
probably a work in progress as Blue Marlin continued across the
Atlantic with estimators and engineers and repair officials on board
doing a further refinement. There's probably a better answer for that
in Navy. I apologize for not having more definition there. But that's
still probably a work in progress would be my guess.
Q: And do you have any idea whether we'll hear any time soon, like for
instance this month, any results from either the Cole Commission
investigation or the Navy's JAG Manual investigation of the Cole. Do
you know what the timetable is for those reports?
Quigley: On the Cole - let me start with the Cole Commission first
under General Crouch and Admiral Gehman. The secretary did not give
them a specific time by which he wanted a completed product. But I
think that I would just take General Crouch and Admiral Gehman at
their word from this podium when they started their endeavor that they
are very much trying to have a completed project to the secretary
before the end of this administration so that he can take action as he
deems appropriate and not leave this hanging for the next
So I think their goal on that remains the same. And I would be very,
very hopeful that we could have something before the end of the
administration. Now is it December? Is it January? I don't know that.
I don't think they do either. But the goal is certainly to have
On the Navy's JAG Manual investigation: After the JAG Manual - as I'm
sure you know the process here - is completed, it begins a series of
reviews ending here in Washington to be reviewed by the chief of naval
operations, I believe. But I am not sure whether it has actually moved
from the investigating officer doing that to its series of reviews to
Vice Admiral Moore in the Fifth Fleet in the Arabian Gulf. Then I
believe it'll move to Admiral Natter down at that Atlantic Fleet
headquarters in Norfolk, and eventually then up here to Admiral Clark.
But I don't know where in that process it is.
Q: Have you heard whether there has been any definitive link made
between the Cole attack and bin Laden?
Quigley: No, I have not.
Q: It'll be two months since the attack, I believe, next week.
Quigley: Right. The 12th.
Q: And ships in the Gulf have been at sea continually since that time.
Is there any plan to end that and to let those ships start making port
calls again? And if not, are special arrangements being made to do
something for those sailors and crews during the holiday season?
Quigley: On the first part of your question, this is something that is
constantly being looked at, both by the - by General Franks at
Central Command, Admiral Moore at the Fifth Fleet, and other
commanders in the region as well, not just the naval component
But I don't know as - if they've come - I don't think they have come
to a decision yet to relax that posture and allow those ships to come
into ports in the region for port visits. All I can tell you, Dale, on
that is when the time is right, and they think it's appropriate and
safe for our sailors and Marines to do that, I'm sure those commanders
will take that action and allow that to happen.
There's a great desire, of course, to relax that posture and to have a
more comfortable and relaxed standard of living, if you will, for our
sailors and Marines in that area. And yet the first priority has got
to be the force protection issues that are there, and so it's a
constant assessment of the threat that they feel against U.S. forces
in that region. And when the time is right, they will change that
Q: And just to follow that up, is there any effort under way now to
harden or make more secure any particular port, with the idea that
when we do feel it's comfortable or feel comfortable about letting
people come in, that there will be a place that we have extra sense of
Quigley: I think you're going to see a review of all of the ports that
we use to have Navy vessels visit either for brief stops or for
extended stays, in a variety of nations overseas. This is going to end
up being a series of bilateral discussions between the navies of the
two nations involved and the embassy, the U.S. ambassador in those
nations, to come to an agreement that would provide a continued
presence in those countries overseas, for a variety of reasons, and
yet trying to ensure the maximum degree of safety and force protection
that we can negotiate with the nations around the world.
So I'm sure it'll probably have a little bit different look in each
nation, depending on the circumstances, the physical layout of the
port, the arrangements that we have with other nations' militaries,
and it's going to be probably a very involved process. But it's one
that we absolutely have to do
Q: One more thing on this force protection thing we were discussing a
moment ago. In these discussions with countries in Southwest Asia that
the United States is going to have or perhaps is already having --
Quigley: Let me stop you real quick. It will not be necessarily
restricted to Southwest Asia. But go on.
Q: In these discussions, then, wherever they might be, is the United
States saying to these countries, "We need you to provide certain
steps to ensure the security of our ships if you want our ships to
come calling." Or are we saying, "This is what we need, and we'll
provide it, but we need your approval to put boats in the water and to
take certain steps."
Quigley: No, I understand. I think it's probably going to take a very
different form with each nation. I really was very specific in my
choice of words when I said a series of bilateral discussions and,
ultimately, agreements, because you find the circumstances different
in different port cities even within the same nation, let's say.
So you're going to have to deal with the facts as you are presented
them and the capabilities of any given nation, the physical layout of
their port structure, what services do they have to provide that we
could use. And you're going to find a different answer, I think, at
each and every port, and treated as the unique place that it is. And
you're going to very likely have very different answers in each and
every port city.
Q: - on Dale's Cole question? Have you yet to approve the request for
additional Navy and Coast Guard harbor security in the Persian Gulf
that's been made by the commanders out there?
Quigley: There has been a deployment order that Joint Staff signed out
for the Navy and Coast Guard, I believe, port security forces. I don't
know if - I don't have a description of exactly which ones they were,
but those units are authorized to acknowledge that they're being sent
to that region, yes.
Q: Well, how many - when was this signed, and how many troops are
involved in it? The Navy and Coast Guard?
Quigley: It was Navy and Coast Guard, Barbara. And I want to say it
was about the latter part of last week. Let me take that and we'll get
those answers for you.
Q: I think the questions, at least for me, would be how many, when do
they go, and anything you can tell us about where they're going to be
Q: And how they're going to be equipped.
Quigley: I think the latter two questions we will be quite vague on,
exactly where they're going and how they're going to be equipped.
Q: And what their mission will be, if you can --
Quigley: It will be port security.
Q: But, I mean, presumably there already is port security, so what
will they be adding to the mission?
Quigley: Additional security levels in the region, Pam. You know, if
you have more people with additional equipment performing the same
mission, you are, generally speaking, better served in that regard.
Q: And could you also tell us, in that deployment order is it a
60-day, 90-day, open ended?
Quigley: We'll take that.
[At the request of the commander in chief, U.S. Central Command, the
secretary of Defense has ordered additional units to deploy to
Southwest Asia. Regional commanders routinely assess their forces and
request additional resources as needed to complete their various
missions. Port security units, comprised of personnel and equipment
from the U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard, will deploy to the region in
the coming weeks. For reasons of operational security, we do not
discuss details such as the number of personnel being deployed, the
specific countries to which they are being assigned or the deployment