The White House Briefing Room

August 12, 1998



                           THE WHITE HOUSE

                    Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release                          August 12, 1998     

                         PRESS BRIEFING BY 
                        The Briefing Room    			     

1:30 P.M. EDT
	     MR. LOCKHART:  Good afternoon, everyone.  I'm looking to 
see if there are any hearty souls who actually were with us last 
night on our adventure back from the West Coast.  Mr. Bloom.
	     As you know, the President has spent the morning, after 
getting a little rest himself, with his national security team.  So 
I'm going to ask Colonel Crowley to come up and give you a readout on 
his meetings, and then after that I will be available for any other 
questions you might have.  
	     COLONEL CROWLEY:  Good afternoon.  Let me run through a 
little bit of the President's day overall.  As Joe said, actually en 
route back from Andrews this morning he had the opportunity to talk 
briefly with Secretary Albright as she was heading to Ramstein Air 
Base.  I'm sure the President shares the Secretary's view that -- for 
the deep respect that she feels and that he feels for the 10 
Americans that the Secretary will bring home to Andrews Air Force 
Base tomorrow, and our determination that we will hold accountable 
those who are responsible for these attacks.
	     Later on in the morning the President had his regular 
briefing with Sandy Berger, the National Security Advisor, and then 
went into the Sit Room for discussion with his foreign policy team on 
the situation in Kenya and in Tanzania.  The President used the 
opportunity first to thank his foreign policy team and to ask them in 
turn to thank all those both on the ground in Nairobi and Dar es 
Salaam and others who have worked so tirelessly in response to the 
attacks on Friday.
	     He received an update from Under Secretary of State 
Pickering on the current situation on the ground in Africa.  We have 
between 600 and 800 agents on the ground now doing the hard work not 
only of assisting the injured, tending to the families, and seeing 
what we can do to help the people of Kenya and Tanzania, as well as 
conducting the investigation.  The Attorney General and her team
updated the President on the status of the investigation.  Obviously, 
it's not something we're going to go into here.

	     But at the conclusion of the meeting, the President 
asked the State Department in conjunction with OMB to review what 
will be required to reconstitute the embassies in Nairobi and Dar 
es Salaam, to assess the costs of the continuing emergency response 
that we have in Africa and to evaluate and come back with the list of 
the priorities for improving our security, particularly at high-risk 
posts around the world.  And we would expect the President to receive 
a report from the State Department and OMB in the next few days.  And 
he will consult with Congress, in the meantime, looking towards the 
prospect of an emergency supplemental on those security steps that we 
need to take.

	     Q	  P.J., what do you make of the report of these 
arrests in Nairobi?

	     COLONEL CROWLEY:  David, we're aware of the reports.  I 
think one of the things that the Attorney General briefed the 
President on during the course of his trip -- or during the course of 
the meeting, I'm sorry -- was the fact that we have had outstanding 
cooperation from both the governments of Kenya and Tanzania from the 
outset following these attacks.  And they are cooperating fully in 
the investigation.  We have had access and would expect to have 
access to all of the suspects that have been detained in conjunction 
with last Friday's events.

	     Q	  If I could follow up, P.J., is there a break -- do 
you think there has been a break in this with those arrests, or is 
this more just a roundup, as you talked about last week?
	     COLONEL CROWLEY:  David, I think there's no way of 
assessing at this point.  We expect and will have access to interview 
these suspects and we'll evaluate that as part of the investigation.
	     Q	  You've already had access or you're going to have 
	     COLONEL CROWLEY:  I think -- we have had access.  These 
are not -- if this is true, these are not the first suspects that 
have been detained.  We have been impressed with the access we've had 
throughout the investigation since last Friday and we expect that to 
	     Q	  If the Senate gets around to appropriating more 
money, how quickly, realistically, do you think it can be done and 
how quickly can you implement greater security?
	     COLONEL CROWLEY:  I think those are exactly the kinds of 
questions the President asked during the course of his meeting and 
we'd expect to have those kinds of response in the next few days.
	     Q	  Any suspicion of the motivation, or was this a 
Muslim cult of some sort?
	     COLONEL CROWLEY:  I think, Helen, you'd be asking me to 
speculate about that.  This is all the kinds of things that are 
underway as part of the investigation.
	     Q	  You have no motivation at all, and no threats, 
nothing that would have led --
	     COLONEL CROWLEY:  Other than going back to where we were 
on Friday.  You know, obviously, this was a coordinated attack.  
Obviously, it was aimed at the United States.  And beyond that I 
think this is all a matter to be investigated.
	     Q	  The money you talked about, the emergency 
supplemental for security -- will there be money to rebuild these two 
embassies and what's the President's idea on that?
	     COLONEL CROWLEY:  I think that's exactly the kind of 
thing he asked the State Department and OMB to come back.  Obviously, 
we want to reconstitute these embassies as quickly as possible.  
Obviously, it's a clear statement that we want to make both to the 
perpetrators of this attack and to the world that we are not going to 
create a fortress America, we're not going to retreat from the world.  
The world still looks to us for leadership and we will be there when 
it's required.
	     Q	  Does the President feel that there's any need for a 
new law or change in policy in order to bring the perpetrators to 

	     COLONEL CROWLEY:  This is one of the things actually 
that we've anticipated in recent years, the emergence of terrorism as 
a major global threat, and we've taken a number of steps including 
implementation of a number of laws to give our law enforcement 
agencies the best tools possible in order to address terrorism as the 
threat of the '90s and will be, I think, the threat into the next 
century.  Just for one example, new laws that restrict fundraising 
within the United States as aiding and abetting terrorism, to try to 
cut back on the resources that these groups would have at their 
	     Q	  Well, if I may follow up, I have in mind 
specifically the question of whether U.S. law and policy should 
change so that if we apprehend terrorists overseas they could be 
executed, assassinated.
	     COLONEL CROWLEY:  I think these are the types of things 
the President raised in his meeting today, what are the lessons 
learned and the implications of these bombings, and what kind of 
steps do we need to take both in terms of physical security and other 
steps that will help us give law enforcement the tools that they need 
in order to address this in the future.
	     Q	  Just so it doesn't go too far, though, I mean, 
you're not suggesting that the President of the United States 
discussed potential assassinations?
	     COLONEL CROWLEY:  No.  Right -- thank you.  No.  
Obviously, we have worked hard -- (laughter) -- maybe you should come 
up here, I should go back there, we'll do better at this.  We have 
seen terrorism as an emerging global threat among various 
transnational threats where there are rogue groups that, rather than 
try to address America where its strengths lie, they're addressing 
America in other ways.  And we have anticipated this.  We have 
already taken major steps in recent years in terms of laws, in terms 
of restructuring the federal government to be able to anticipate 
counterterrorism efforts, to be able to counteract and combat these 
threats before they occur, but also to be able to respond more 
appropriately and better if we have situations like we did on Friday 
where they do happen.  And I would expect that effort to continue, 
without getting into specifics about what that would be.

	     Q	  Are we in a state of war -- we have a war on drugs.  
Are we in a state of war against terrorism, or does that require a 
declaration in order for us to fight?

	     COLONEL CROWLEY:  I think we see terrorism as the 
emergent threat of the '90s.  It will be the major threat that 
America faces globally into the next century.

	     Q	  Are we in a state of war against it so that we can 
fight these people if we can't apprehend them?

	     COLONEL CROWLEY:  I think we recognize the dangers and 
we're taking appropriate steps to address them. 

	     Q	  P.J., did the President make any decisions today, 
or did he simply listen to all the briefings?

	     COLONEL CROWLEY:  I think primarily this was an 
information briefing.  He was very active, very engaged in terms of 
the situation on the ground in Africa, some of the implications of 
last week's bombings and obviously set in motion a process where the 
interagency will come back with some specific recommendations on 
improving security around the world and he would receive those in the 
next few days.
	     Q	  Did you sit in on them, the briefings?
	     Q	  Sir, did the President raise at the meeting the 
issue that several embassies have been closed recently, and is he 
concerned of how that may be perceived worldwide?
	     COLONEL CROWLEY:  I think in a broad sense, Under 
Secretary Pickering updated him on the response to the bombings in 
Africa.  I think that probably would involve just the security steps 
that we have taken.  They had a discussion of some of the additional 
measures that were being contemplated.  I can't tell you whether that 
was specifically mentioned.
	     Q	  As a result of today's meeting, does the President 
have a better idea of the perpetrators?
	     COLONEL CROWLEY:  To the extent that he was updated on 
the status of the investigation.  I won't get into specifics about 
what we know or what he was told at that point.
	     Q	  Can you more fully address the impact of the 
closing of certain diplomatic facilities and the restrictions of some 
operations and how long that might be expected to continue, and what 
impact the might have on U.S. citizens abroad or foreign residents 
wanting consular services.
	     Q	  He just asked that.  
	     COLONEL CROWLEY:  All right, let me answer that more 
broadly.  Yesterday, the State Department went into great detail 
about the specific steps they've taken with respect to five posts 
that they assess that have taken kind of a temporary suspension as 
they work out additional security measures.  I think it's safe to say 
both from a diplomatic standpoint and from a military standpoint that 
ambassadors, commanders around the world are assessing their security 
measures in light of last Friday's attacks, and taking appropriate 
security steps.  
	     The context of temporarily suspending operations in five 
posts was taken within the context of giving the embassy kind of a 
time-out, so to speak, so they could take some prudent measures in 
light of last Friday's events.  But this in no way signals that 
America is planning to retreat from the world. 

	     Q	  The security that you're talking about, improving 
security at other embassies in the supplemental or whatever efforts 
you now make -- are those things that you wanted to do before that 
Congress would not provide the money for?  What is it that you're 
doing that you hadn't already tried to do? 

	     COLONEL CROWLEY:  What the President asked for was a 
kind of, in priority, a list of those short-term to medium-term 
security measures that could be taken where perhaps they had not been 
undertaken to this point because of a shortfall in funding, and what 
steps could prudently be taken around the world that would improve 
security overall around the world at our embassies.

	     Q	  You mean, the things that Congress had refused to 
give you the money for? 

	     COLONEL CROWLEY:  Well, things where resources had not 
been available to fully do all the things -- we've had a systematic 
effort throughout the '80s and '90s assessing our diplomatic 
security, reviewing at least on an annual basis -- assessing our 
security at posts around the world.  Obviously, that process will 
intensify in the next few days.  And to the extent that there are 
concrete measures that we can take in the short-term, the 
medium-term, to improve our worldwide security, these are the kinds 
of things the President wants a full report on. 

	     Q	  I'm trying to figure out, is this something that 
you think that you overlooked, that people weren't aware that there 
was this big a threat, or it was something that Congress prevented 
you from doing.

	     COLONEL CROWLEY:  I think you heard from various 
briefers last week that we believe our process of evaluating security 
has been a good one.  Posts are evaluated based on the perceived 
threat.  Lots of security measures have been taken worldwide.  But to 
the extent that there are some buildings that were older -- those 
buildings, for example, built after 1985, fully incorporate security 
measures that were evaluated and recommended in the Inman report.  
But he wants an assessment of those things that -- additional steps 
that could be taken in light of Friday's attacks.
	     Q	  What are you trying to do that you weren't already 
	     COLONEL CROWLEY:  These may be things that we'd already 
evaluated as being necessary, however, might not have yet been 
implemented because of a lack of funding.
	     Q	  Are we getting the full cooperation from 
intelligence sources in other countries, intelligence agencies in 
other countries that we would expect to get for this kind of thing?
	     COLONEL CROWLEY:  Let me simply answer that by saying 
that part of the effort that we have recognized in combating 
terrorism more effectively around the world is to increase 
international cooperation.  I've heard of no problems that we've 
encountered thus far.  I think we, along with our allies and friends 
around the world, recognize terrorism as an emerging threat and we 
are cooperating fully and taking appropriate steps.
	     Q	  Is there a concern that the perpetrators in these 
two bombings might strike again?
	     COLONEL CROWLEY:  I think that we recognize that 
terrorism is a continuing threat that we always have to try to 
combat, evaluate, and be able to effectively preclude those attacks 
where we can or respond effectively to them if we can't.
	     Q	  Do U.S. investigators believe that they have found 
the vehicle used in the bombing in Nairobi?
	     COLONEL CROWLEY:  David, I think it's not appropriate 
for me here to do a play-by-play in the investigation.  I think 
you'll just have to let the investigators do their work out there and 
when we have things we can share with you, we will.
	     Q	  Can you just clarify one thing on the suspects?  
You were saying at the top the U.S. investigators have interviewed 
the people who have been arrested in Kenya?
	     COLONEL CROWLEY:  I cannot speak for this latest report 
of new suspects being arrested.  To the extent that there have been 
suspects arrested beginning on Friday and over the weekend, we have 
had full access to those suspects, and we would expect that any 
future suspects arrested by Tanzania authorities or by Kenya 
authorities we would have the complete cooperation that they have 
shown us this far.

	     Q	  Suspects in both countries? 

	     COLONEL CROWLEY:  I believe there have been suspects 
arrested in both countries. 

	     Q	  And you have interviewed -- have American 
investigators interviewed them?


	     Q	  You said the President had asked for 
recommendations and expected some answers in the next few days.  What 
specifically is he asking for, and when we will get these answers? 

	     COLONEL CROWLEY:  He's asking for what short-term or 
medium-term additional security measures could be implemented at 
posts worldwide, but more specifically at what we would assess to be 
high-risk posts in light of Friday's attacks.  And he would expect to 
have that kind of response from the State Department and OMB in the 
next few days. 

	     Q	  Sir, besides the discussion about improving 
security, did the President ask Defense Secretary Cohen about 
possible military options should the investigation reach a rapid 

	     COLONEL CROWLEY:  I'm not aware of that kind of briefing 
this morning. 

	     Q	  To follow up on Larry's question, which isn't 
really facetious, this is a country that believes in capital 
punishment.  Innocent Americans and Africans were killed.  How would 
the U.S. look toward other countries assassinating or taking out 
foreigners who were involved in this?  I'm serious, now, it's a 
serious question. 

	     COLONEL CROWLEY:  I think that you're getting way down 
the road here in terms of if we have suspects, if they eventually 
prove to be a part of these attacks who would have jurisdiction.  
These are all elements that will be reviewed by law enforcement 
officials as we go through the investigation. 

	     Q	  P.J., are you aware of the article in the Israeli 
newspaper about Israeli security officials telling the United States 
not to trust a warning that the U.S. got from a source about an 
imminent attack on the U.S. embassy in Nairobi?  And if so, what's 
your reaction to the article?

	     COLONEL CROWLEY:  I'm aware of that article, but again, 
warnings, specific information, what we may or may not have known at 
the time of the attack is also subject to the investigation.  I'm not 
going to comment on it.  

	     Q	  Let me take one more stab at Larry's original -- 
can you state for us exactly what U.S. policy is in regard to 
assassination, not of head of state but of potential terrorists now, 
and whether it's under review?

	     COLONEL CROWLEY:  Let me take that question.  I just 
don't know the answer. 

	     Q	  You say that what the President wants is an 
assessment of what the high-risk sites are.  But the original 
explanation that we got for this bombing was that it was precisely 
because they were targets of opportunity in places that were thought 
not be high risk that they were attacked.  So how does assessing 
high-risk targets prevent something like this from happening? 

	     COLONEL CROWLEY:  I think that what we have done 
prudently, from a diplomatic standpoint and from a military 
standpoint is simply, in light of what we know about the attacks on 
Friday, we're asking our posts around the world to evaluate their 
security measures and to take those additional measures that are 
appropriate.  But we can also calculate that there are places around 
the world in dangerous places, dangerous capitals, that if there are 
things that, in light of these attacks, that we can do, that's the 
type of feedback the President wants to receive from the State 
Department and he'll get those answers in the next couple of days.
	     Q	  Well, will he be told that there was a breakdown in 
intelligence, where we actually got a warning and didn't heed to it?

	     COLONEL CROWLEY:  Helen, I think you just have to let 
the investigation take its course.
	     Q	  Usually you never tell those things --
	     Q	  It will leak.
	     Q	  Is Congress being briefed on the status of the 
investigation and on what the administration may want from them 
further?  And who are you talking to over on the Hill?
	     COLONEL CROWLEY:  The President indicated in his meeting 
today with his foreign policy team that, just as the State Department 
and OMB are evaluating what additional security measures could be 
taken, he will be consulting with leadership in Congress to see what 
kind of action could be taken on an expedited basis once they return 
from recess.
	     Q	  And they haven't been consulted with at this point, 
the congressional leadership?
	     COLONEL CROWLEY:  I think the President will discuss 
this with the leadership, see what the prospects are for an emergency 
supplemental, based on the feedback he gets from the State Department 
on his directive today, once Congress returns.
	     Q	  No sense at this point about what the prospects are 
for getting that money from Congress?
	     COLONEL CROWLEY:  I think other than there have been 
some indications from the congressional leadership that they'll be 
very supportive, in light of this.  I think that's the kind of thing 
the President will be talking to Congress about.
	     Q	  In this meeting today was there any kind of ranking 
for U.S. embassy vulnerability across the country -- I mean, in the 
	     COLONEL CROWLEY:  Again, that's the kind of thing that 
the President asked the State Department to come back to -- is 
exactly those kinds of -- assess the additional risks that we 
perceive in light of these attacks and what steps we should take as 
quickly as possible to improve security around the world.  So to the 
extent that the state Department might access specific needs in 
specific posts that have not yet been implemented, these are the 
kinds of information the President is expecting to get from State in 
the next couple of dates.
	     Q	  What kind of overall vulnerability ranking would 
you say right now at this point -- vulnerability for another attack 
for any other embassies in the world.
	     COLONEL CROWLEY:  I think we recognize terrorism as an 
ongoing threat to our diplomatic posts around the world.  We have had 
a very intensive system of evaluating security through the years, and 
particularly in the last decade or so.  Many of those steps have 
already been taken.  And the President asked today for what 
additional measures that we could take in the short-term and he'll 
expect that report from State in the next couple of days.

	     Q	  You won't tell us whether there was a specific 
threat against the embassy in Nairobi; I can understand that.  Will 
you tell us, was the President informed that the American ambassador 
to Nairobi had specifically and recently complained about the poor 
security at her embassy? 

	     COLONEL CROWLEY:  I'm not aware of that level of 
discussion.  But again, on the broad topic, that's part of the 

	     Q	  Can I ask you a follow on that point?  The question 
is whether or not, on the medium- and short-term security measures 
you're talk about the President seeking, is it the case that you   
previously tried to do these things and could not get the money from 
Congress, or are these things you just thought of?
	     COLONEL CROWLEY:  We have had a very intensive review of 
security worldwide in recent years in light of the increase in 
terrorism globally.  We have gone through a systematic program of 
upgrading embassies and particularly incorporating upgrades into new 
construction.  But systematic also means that progress has been made 
and there is also progress to be made.  So what the President asked 
for was, in light of restrictions in funding that has perhaps not 
allowed us to make these improvements at a pace that we would like, 
what are our top priorities in terms of things that could be done and 
could be done perhaps more quickly should additional funding be 
available to improve security around the world.


	     Q	  On the unspecified threat that was received in 
Kenya, is it true that that did talk about -- it was from another 
intelligence source and it did talk about perhaps an Islamic group 
staging an attack in Kenya, not necessarily against an embassy?  And 
also, is it a coincidence that there are large Islamic populations in 
Yemen, Malaysia, and Egypt?  Is there some connection here with some 
of the threats you're receiving?

	     COLONEL CROWLEY:  Any answer I would give you, Eileen, 
would be based on speculation.  Other than any answer I would give 
you on warnings would be subject of the investigation.  I just can't 
go down that road. 

	     Q	  Do you have any credence to this report about the 
Iranian ambassadors having been withdrawn two weeks before, their 
ambassadors to Kenya and Tanzania?

	     COLONEL CROWLEY:  If the Iranian ambassador were 
withdrawn for any reason, it would be up to the Iranian government to 
explain the reasons for that. 

	     Q	  You mentioned that there was not quite enough 
funding to change these embassies over as quickly as the 
administration would like.  Is that because Congress failed to 
appropriate enough?  Did the administration seek more funding than 
was actually appropriated? 

	     COLONEL CROWLEY:  I think it's fair to say that we have 
been concerned for a number of years about the lack of money to fully 
fund our diplomatic program around the world.  What the President 
asked his foreign policy team is to assess, in light of restricted 
funding, what we could on an expedited basis to improve security 
around the world. 

	     Q	  But is it less money than the administration 
actually asked for?  Is this Congress's fault that there wasn't 
enough money?

	     COLONEL CROWLEY:  I think we have been asking for 
additional funding to make sure that the United States is able to 
play its global leadership role.  Full funding for our diplomatic 
programs or foreign policy is essential to that. 
	     Q	  On the bombing investigation, is there anything 
about the investigation so far that would lend any sort of hope that 
early progress can be made?  In other words, is the investigation at 
this point in any way different from previous terrorist attacks that 
you may have more data, what with reports of the vehicle against the 
wall or suspects being questioned?
	     COLONEL CROWLEY:  Again, I think it's very difficult for 
me to do a play-by-play of the investigation.  We'll just have to let 
it take its course.

	     Q	  You've said that the governments of Kenya and 
Tanzania are being very cooperative in the investigation, and I know 
that Israel is helping to contribute to the investigation as well.  
Are we seeking assistance from the Saudis in this investigation, 
since they obviously have a great deal of experience in situations 
like this as well? 

	     COLONEL CROWLEY:  I think to the extent that one of the 
keys to combating global terrorism will be seeking greater 
cooperation not just from the immediate victims of this attack, but 
overall from various governments around the world, if we have a need 
for support from various governments around the world, I would 
imagine that would be forthcoming. 

	     Q	  Indonesia is a Moslem country.  Any indication of 
any special threats or trouble ahead over there for us?

	     COLONEL CROWLEY:  I can think of -- I think the 
Indonesians have experienced their share of both social turbulence 
and also economic turbulence.  I'm not aware that that is related to 
this issue.  

	     Q	  Thank you.  
	     Q	  Great brief.  Well done.


	     Q	  Thank you.

             END                          3:43 P.M. EDT