U.S. Department of State[...]
Daily Press Briefing
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2000
Briefer: JAMES P. RUBIN
QUESTION: Last Wednesday, The New York Times editorial complimented Secretary Albright on her openness in following President Clinton's order to disclose information about the murder of two Americans in Chile --
MR. RUBIN: I missed that editorial. It's rare that I see such a thing, so I'm surprised I missed it. I'll have to read that.
QUESTION: I'll quote it exactly.
MR. RUBIN: You could quote the whole thing if you wanted to. But let's save your colleagues that. Why don't you --
QUESTION: Well, the verbatim is: American intelligence and military officials may have encouraged General Augusto Pinochet's security forces to round up Charles Horman and Frank Teruggi even though it was clear that the two men, like thousands of Chileans who were arrested during the same period, were likely to be mistreated if not killed. It is now time for the Central Intelligence Agency and the Pentagon to follow Mr. Clinton's order and the example of openness set by Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.
Do you know whether Secretary Albright has had any success in persuading her colleagues at the Pentagon and the CIA to follow her example of openness?
MR. RUBIN: Very well formulated question.
We certainly have tried here at the State Department to be as open as possible in the declassification of documents from this period. There is an interagency task force that is designed to deal with this very issue. The other agencies will obviously have to speak for themselves. I can certainly say that we - Secretary Albright enjoys a very good working relationship with Director Tenet and has been encouraged by his willingness to try to deal with these problems.
Without speaking for another agency, it is not as easy for other agencies sometimes to make the decisions that this agency has made but we certainly are determined to be as open as possible in this regard.
QUESTION: On that, and I would just make as an aside, speaking of editorials, the lead editorial in today's Washington Post looks like it could have been written by you.
MR. RUBIN: I was sorry I hadn't come up with that phrase "sanction sanctimony."
QUESTION: On The New York Times editorial that she's referring to, and the stories that it was based on, I was under the impression that these documents were actually released in October.
MR. RUBIN: There is a set of documents.
QUESTION: Are there new documents?
MR. RUBIN: How many sets now? One full set and there is a second one coming. There is a regular process by which these documents are declassified. Some of the groups who get access to them then complain that there are certain things that are redacted or additional documents have not been provided on a timely basis. So it is not a one-time process; it is an ongoing, rolling process. But I'll get you the dates on when the document - I believe there have been two times when we've made available a set of documents, but I'll check that for you.
QUESTION: And the last one?
MR. RUBIN: I'll get you the dates after the briefing.