White House Daily Briefing
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
February 5, 2001
PRESS BRIEFING BY ARI FLEISCHER
Q: At the Wehrkunde Strategic Policy Conference in Munich over the
weekend, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld said in effect that the decision
to deploy a national missile defense is a done deal. As you know,
there is strong opposition on the part of many NATO members, as well
as Russia and China, and there are some who believe that Russia could
try to use this issue to split the Alliance. Having said all that and
realizing that, is there any wiggle room in there? Are there any
conditions under which the President would choose not to deploy, or is
he still totally committed to it?
MR. FLEISCHER: I think if you go back to September of 1999 and examine
the President's statements at the time he gave a series of defense and
foreign policy speeches, it is very clear that President Bush believes
very deeply that the best way to preserve the peace is through the
development of a national missile defense to protect against an
accidental launch or a rogue missile launch - rogue nation launch of
a missile. And he intends to pursue that matter in consultation with
our allies, and he will indeed pursue it. He believes it's a very
effective way to protect America and our allies.
Q: One follow-up. If this opposition becoming a groundswell and really
becomes serious, and there's danger of the Alliance falling apart, any
MR. FLEISCHER: I'm not going to comment on any hypotheticals like
that. We're going to continue, the President will continue to consult
with our allies and friends as we proceed and move foward.
Q: Ari, you talked about the possible missile attacks by rogue states
in the context of a national missile defense. Is North Korea one of
those rogue states you have in mind? Does this administration still
call North Korea a rogue states?
MR. FLEISCHER: I am not going to go down and start delineating states.
The President's concern is general.