Transcript: Rice's Testimony on 9/11
FIELDING: It may be solved at the top. We've got to make sure it's solved at the bottom.
RICE: I agree completely.
FIELDING: And kind of related to that, we've heard testimony, a great deal of it, about the coordination that took place during the millennium threat in 1999 where there were a series of principals meetings and a lot of activity, as we are told, which stopped and prevented incidents. It was a success. It was an intelligence success. And there had to be domestic coordination with foreign intelligence, but it seemed to work.
The time ended, the threat ended, and apparently the guard was let down a little, too, as the threat diminished.
Now, we've also heard testimony about what we would call the summer threat, the spike threat, whatever it is in 2001. A lot of chatter -- you shared some of it with us directly -- a lot of traffic, and a lot of threats.
And during that period -- actually you put in context, I guess it was the first draft of the NSPD was circulated to deputies. But right then, when that was happening, the threats were coming in, and it's been described as a crescendo and hair on fire and all these different things.
At that time the CSG handled the alert, if you will. And we've heard testimony about Clarke warning you and the NSC that State and CIA and the Pentagon had concerns and were convinced there was going to be a major terrorist attack.
On July 5th, I believe it was, domestic agencies, including the FBI and the FAA, were briefed by the White House. Alerts were issued. The next day, the CIA told the CSG participants, and I think they said they believed the upcoming attack would be spectacular, something quantitatively different from anything that had been done to date.
So everybody was worried about it. Everybody was concentrating on it. And then later the crescendo ended, and again it abated.
But of course, that time the end of the story wasn't pleasant.
Now, during this period of time, what -- and I'd like you to just respond to several points -- what involvement did you have in this alert? And how did it come about that the CSG was handling this thing as opposed to the principals?
Because candidly it's been suggested that the difference between the 1999 handling and this one was that you didn't have the principals dealing with it; therefore, it wasn't given the priority; therefore, the people weren't forced to do what they would otherwise have done, et cetera. You've heard the same things I've heard.
And would it have made a real difference in enhancing the exchange of intelligence, for instance, if it had been the principals?
I would like your comments, both on your involvement and your comments to that question. Thank you.
RICE: Of course. Let me start by talking about what we were doing and the structure we used. I've mentioned this.
The CSG, yes, was the counterterrorism group, was the nerve center, if you will. And that's been true through all crises. I think it was, in fact, a nerve center as well during the millennium, that they were the counterterrorism experts, they were able to get together. They got together frequently. They came up with taskings that needed to be done.
I would say that if you look at the list of taskings that they came up with, it reflected the fact that the threat information was from abroad. It was that the agencies like the Department of State needed to make clear to Americans traveling abroad that there was a danger, that embassies needed to be on alert, that our force protection needed to be strong for our military forces.
The Central Intelligence Agency was asked to do some things. It was very foreign policy or foreign threat-based as well. And of course, the warning to the FBI to go out and task their field agents.
RICE: The CSG was made up of not junior people, but the top level of counterterrorism experts. Now, they were in contact with their principals.
Dick Clarke was in contact with me quite frequently during this period of time. When the CSG would meet, he would come back usually through e-mail, sometimes personally, and say, here's what we've done. I would talk everyday, several times a day, with George Tenet about what the threat spike looked like.
In fact, George Tenet was meeting with the president during this period of time so the president was hearing directly about what was being done about the threats to -- the only really specific threats we had -- to Genoa, to the Persian Gulf, there was one to Israel. So the president was hearing what was being done.
The CSG was the nerve center. But I just don't believe that bringing the principals over to the White House every day and having their counterterrorism people have to come with them and be pulled away from what they were doing to disrupt was a good way to go about this. It wasn't an efficient way to go about it.
I talked to Powell, I talked to Rumsfeld about what was happening with the threats and with the alerts. I talked to George. I asked that the attorney general be briefed, because even though there were no domestic threats, I didn't want him to be without that briefing.
It's also the case that I think if you actually look back at the millennium period, it's questionable to me whether the argument that has been made that somehow shaking the trees is what broke up the millennium period is actually accurate -- and I was not there, clearly.
But I will tell you this. I will say this. That the millennium, of course, was a period of high threat by its very nature. We all knew that the millennium was a period of high threat.
And after September 11th, Dick Clarke sent us the after-action report that had been done after the millennium plot and their assessment was that Ressam had been caught by chance -- Ressam being the person who was entering the United States over the Canadian border with bomb-making materials in store.
I think it actually wasn't by chance, which was Washington's view of it. It was because a very alert customs agent named Diana Dean and her colleagues sniffed something about Ressam. They saw that something was wrong. They tried to apprehend him. He tried to run. They then apprehended him, found that there was bomb- making material and a map of Los Angeles.
Now, at that point, you have pretty clear indication that you've got a problem inside the United States.
I don't think it was shaking the trees that produced the breakthrough in the millennium plot. It was that you got a -- Dick Clarke would say a "lucky break" -- I would say you got an alert customs agent who got it right.
And the interesting thing is that I've checked with Customs and according to their records, they weren't actually on alert at that point.
So I just don't buy the argument that we weren't shaking the trees enough and that something was going to fall out that gave us somehow that little piece of information that would have led to connecting all of those dots.
In any case, you cannot be dependent on the chance that something might come together. That's why the structural reforms are important.
And the president of the United States had us at battle station during this period of time. He expected his secretary of state to be locking down embassies. He expected his secretary of defense to be providing force protection.
He expected his FBI director to be tasking his agents and getting people out there. He expected his director of central intelligence to be out and doing what needed to be done in terms of disruption, and he expected his national security advisor to be looking to see that -- or talking to people to see that that was done.
But I think we've created a kind of false impression -- or a not quite correct impression -- of how one does this in the threat period. I might just add that during the China period, the 11 days of the China crisis, I also didn't have a principals meeting.
FIELDING: Thank you, Dr. Rice.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
KEAN: Thank you, Commissioner Fielding.
GORELICK: Dr. Rice, thank you for being here today.
I'd like to pick up where Fred Fielding and you left off, which is this issue of the extent to which raising the level to the Cabinet level and bringing people together makes a difference.
And let me just give you some facts as I see them and let you comment on them.
First of all, while it may be that Dick Clarke was informing you, many of the other people at the CSG-level, and the people who were brought to the table from the domestic agencies, were not telling their principals.
Secretary Mineta, the secretary of transportation, had no idea of the threat. The administrator of the FAA, responsible for security on our airlines, had no idea. Yes, the attorney general was briefed, but there was no evidence of any activity by him about this.
You indicate in your statement that the FBI tasked its field offices to find out what was going on out there. We have no record of that.
The Washington field office international terrorism people say they never heard about the threat, they never heard about the warnings, they were not asked to come to the table and shake those trees.
SACs, special agents in charge, around the country -- Miami in particular -- no knowledge of this.
And so, I really come back to you -- and let me add one other thing. Have you actually looked at the -- analyzed the messages that the FBI put out?
GORELICK: To me, and you're free to comment on them, they are feckless. They don't tell anybody anything. They don't bring anyone to battle stations.
And I personally believe, having heard Coleen Rowley's testimony about her frustrations in the Moussaoui incident, that if someone had really gone out to the agents who were working these issues on the ground and said, "We are at battle stations. We need to know what's happening out there. Come to us," she would have broken through barriers to have that happen, because she was knocking on doors and they weren't opening.
So I just ask you this question as a student of government myself, because I don't believe it's functionally equivalent to have people three, four, five levels down in an agency working an issue even if there's a specialist. And you get a greater degree of intensity when it comes from the top. And I would like to give you the opportunity to comment on this, because it bothers me.
RICE: Of course.
First of all, it was coming from the top because the president was meeting with his director of central intelligence. And one of the changes that this president made was to meet face to face with his director of central intelligence almost every day.
I can assure you, knowing government, that that was well understood at the Central Intelligence Agency, that now their director, the DCI had direct access to the president.
Yes, the president met with the director of the FBI -- I'll have to see when and how many times -- but of course he did, and with the attorney general and with others.
But in a threat period -- and I don't think it's a proper characterization of the CSG to say that it was four or five levels down, these were people who had been together in numerous crises before and it was their responsibility to develop plans for how to respond to a threat.
Now, I would be speculating, but if you would like, I will go ahead and speculate to say that one of the problems here was there really was nothing that looked like it was going to happen inside the United States.
The threat reporting was -- the specific threat reporting was about external threats: about the Persian Gulf, about Israel, about perhaps the Genoa event.
It is just not the case that the August 6th memorandum did anything but put together what the CIA decided that they wanted to put together about historical knowledge about what was going on and a few things about what the FBI might be doing.
And so, the light was shining abroad. And if you look at what was going -- I was in constant contact to make sure that those things were getting done with the relevant agencies -- with State, with Defense and so forth.
RICE: We just have a different view of this.
GORELICK: Yes, I understand that. But I think it's one thing to talk to George Tenet, but he can't tell domestic agencies what to do.
Let me finish.
GORELICK: And it is clear that you were worried about the domestic problem, because, after all, your testimony is you asked Dick Clarke to summons the domestic agencies.
Now, you say that -- and I think quite rightly -- that the big problem was systemic, that the FBI could not function as it should, and it didn't have the right methods of communicating with the CIA and vice versa.
At the outset of the administration, a commission that was chartered by Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich, two very different people covering pretty much the political spectrum, put together a terrific panel to study the issue of terrorism and report to the new administration as it began. And you took that briefing, I know.
That commission said we are going to get hit in the domestic, the United States, and we are going to get hit big; that's number one. And number two, we have big systemic problems. The FBI doesn't work the way it should, and it doesn't communicate with the intelligence community.
Now, you have said to us that your policy review was meant to be comprehensive. You took your time because you wanted to get at the hard issues and have a hard-hitting, comprehensive policy. And yet there is nothing in it about the vast domestic landscape that we were all warned needed so much attention.
Can you give me the answer to the question why?
RICE: I would ask the following. We were there for 233 days. There had been recognition for a number of years before -- after the '93 bombing, and certainly after the millennium -- that there were challenges, if I could say it that way, inside the United States, and that there were challenges concerning our domestic agencies and the challenges concerning the FBI and the CIA.
We were in office 233 days. It's absolutely the case that we did not begin structural reform of the FBI.
Now, the vice president was asked by the president, and that was tasked in May, to put all of this together and to see if he could put together, from all of the recommendations, a program for protection of the homeland against WMD, what else needed to be done. And in fact, he had hired Admiral Steve Abbot to do that work. And it was on that basis that we were able to put together the Homeland Security Council, which Tom Ridge came to head very, very quickly.
But I think the question is, why, over all of these years, did we not address the structural problems that were there, with the FBI, with the CIA, the homeland departments being scattered among many different departments?
And why, given all of the opportunities that we'd had to do it, had we not done it?
And I think that the unfortunate -- and I really do think it's extremely tragic -- fact is that sometimes until there is a catastrophic event that forces people to think differently, that forces people to overcome all customs and old culture and old fears about domestic intelligence and the relationship, that you don't get that kind of change.
And I want to say just one more thing, if you don't mind, about the issue of high-level attention.
The reason that I asked Andy Card to come with me to that meeting with Dick Clarke was that I wanted him to know -- wanted Dick Clarke to know -- that he had the weight not just of the national security advisor, but the weight of the chief of staff if he needed it. I didn't manage the domestic agencies. No national security advisor does.
And not once during this period of time did my very experienced crisis manager say to me, "You know, I don't think this is getting done in the agencies. I'd really like you to call them together or make a phone call."
In fact, after the fact, on September 15th, what Dick Clarke sent me -- and he was my crisis manager -- what he sent me was a memorandum, or an e-mail that said, "After national unity begins to break down" -- again, I'm paraphrasing -- "people will ask, did we do all that we needed to do to arm the domestic agencies, to warn the domestic agencies and to respond to the possibility of domestic threat?"
That, I think, was his view at the time. And I have to tell you, I think given the circumstances and given the context and given the structures that we had, we did.
GORELICK: Well, I have lots of other questions on this issue. But I am trying to get out what will probably be my third and last question to you. So if we could move through this reasonably quickly.
I was struck by your characterization of the NSPD, the policy that you arrived at at the end of the administration, as having the goal of the elimination of al Qaeda.
Because as I look at it -- and I thank you for declassifying this this morning, although I would have liked to have known it a little earlier, but I think people will find this interesting reading -- it doesn't call for the elimination of al Qaeda.
And it may be a semantic difference, but I don't think so. It calls for the elimination of the al Qaeda threat. And that's a very big difference, because, to me, the elimination of al Qaeda means you're going to go into Afghanistan and you're going to get them.
And as I read it, and as I've heard your public statements recently, there was not, I take it, a decision taken in this document to put U.S. troops on the ground in Afghanistan to get al Qaeda. Is that correct?
RICE: That is correct.
GORELICK: Now, you have pointed out that in this document there is a tasking to the Defense Department for contingency planning as part of this exercise -- contingency planning, and you've listed the goals of the contingency plans.
And you have suggested that this takes the policy, with regard to terrorism for our country, to a new level, a more aggressive level.
Were you briefed on Operation Infinite Resolve that was put in place in '98 and updated in the year 2000?
Because as I read Infinite Resolve, and as our staff reads Infinite Resolve, it was a plan that had been tasked by the Clinton administration to the Defense Department to develop precisely analogous plans. And it was extant at the time.
And so I ask you -- and there are many, many places where you indicate there are differences between the Clinton program and yours. This one jumps out at me.
Was there a material difference between your view of the military assignment and the Clinton administration's extant plan? And if so, what was it?
RICE: Yes, I think that there were significant differences.
First of all, Secretary Rumsfeld, I think, has testified that he was briefed on Infinite Resolve. It would have been highly unusual for me to me to be briefed on military plans were we not, in fact, planning to use them for employment. And so I'm not surprised...
GORELICK: Well, except that you were tasking them -- pardon me for interrupting -- you were tasking the military to do something as part of this seven-and-a-half-month process. So it would strike me as likely that you would have wanted to know what the predicate was.
RICE: We were tasking the secretary of defense, who in fact had been briefed on Infinite Resolve, to develop within the context of a broader strategy military plans that were now linked to certain political purposes.
I worked in the Pentagon. I worked for the Joint Chiefs of Staff. There are plans and plans and plans. And the problem is that unless those plans are engaged by the civilian leadership on behalf of the president, unless those plans have an adequate political basis and political purpose in mind, those plans simply sit and they in fact rarely get used.
Now, the whole tortured history of trying to use military power in support of counterterrorism objectives has been, I think, very admirably and adequately discussed by your staff in the military paper.
And what is quite clear from that paper is that, from the time of Presidential Directive 62, which keeps the Defense Department focused on force protection and rendition of terrorists and so forth, all the way up through the period when we take office, this issue of military plans and how to use military power with counterterrorism objectives just doesn't get addressed.
What we were doing was to put together a policy that brought all of the elements together. It tasked the secretary of defense within the context of a plan that really focused not just on al Qaeda and bin Laden, but also on what we might be able to do against the Taliban. And that gave the kind of regional context that might make it possible to use military force more robustly, to work plans in that context.
I think without that context, you're just going to have military plans that never get used.
I read Sandy Berger -- or saw Sandy Berger's testimony. He talked about the fact whenever they started to look at the use of military plans, the issue of whether you would get regional cooperation always arose. That was precisely what I was saying, when I said that we had to get the regional context right.
I am not going to tell thaw we were looking to invade Afghanistan during that seven months. We were not.
But we were looking in the context of a plan that gave you a better regional context that looked to eliminate the al Qaeda threat or al Qaeda that looked to eliminate Taliban support for them -- how to use military power within that context.
KEAN: Last follow-up.
GORELICK: In order to keep us to our schedule, I'll just make this comment, and we'll, I think, profitably follow up with you in a private session.
PDD 62, which was the presidential directive in the Clinton administration, was not the only way in which the Defense Department was tasked. I mean, Infinite Resolve went well beyond what you describe PDD 62 as doing. That's number one.
And number two, however good it might have been to change the text in which the military planning was ongoing, neither I, nor, I think, our staff, can find any functional difference between the two sets of plans. I'll leave it to my colleagues.
RICE: Well, thank you very much. But I continue to believe that unless you can tell the military in the context what it is they're going after and for what purpose, you're going to have military plans that, every time you ask for the briefing, turn out to be unusable.
GORELICK: I'm sure that this debate will continue.
KEAN: Senator Gorton?
GORTON: Before 9/11, did any adviser to you, or to your knowledge to this administration or to its predecessor, counsel the kind of all-out war against the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan that the United States actually conducted after 9/11?
RICE: No, sir. No one counseled an all-out war against Afghanistan of the kind that we did after 9/11.
There was a good deal of talk about the inadequacy of military options to go after al Qaeda. Dick Clarke was quite clear in his view that the very things that had been tasked were inadequate to the task.
And so, people were looking for other kinds of military options. But no, an all-out invasion of Afghanistan, it was not recommended.
GORTON: Was it possible to conduct that kind of war in Afghanistan without the cooperation of Pakistan?
RICE: It was absolutely not possible.
And this goes also to the point that I was making to Commissioner Gorelick. You can have lots of plans but unless -- since the United States sits protected by oceans, or no longer protected -- the United States sits across oceans -- unless you find a way to get regional cooperation from Pakistan, from the Central Asian countries, you're going to be left with essentially stand-off options, meaning bombers and cruise missiles, because you're not going to have the full range of military options.
GORTON: Now, your written and oral statement spoke of a frustrating and unproductive meeting with the president of Pakistan in June. Let me go beyond that.
How much progress had the United States made toward the kind of necessary cooperation from Pakistan by say the 10th of September, 2001?
RICE: The United States had a comprehensive plan that the deputies had approved that would have been coming to the principals shortly -- and I think approved easily, because the deputies are, of course, very senior people who have the consonance of their principals -- that was going to try to unravel this overlapping set of sanctions that were on Pakistan. Some because of the way Musharraf had come to power, some because of nuclear issues. We were looking to do that.
Rich Armitage tells me that when he approached the Pakistanis after September 11th, he did presage that we would try and do this also with a positive side, but the plans were not in place. Changing Pakistan's strategic direction was going to take some time.
GORTON: Would the program recommended on September 4th have prevented 9/11 had it been adopted in, say, February or March of 2001?
RICE: Commissioner, it would not have prevented September 11th if it had been approved the day after we came to office.
GORTON: Now, in retrospect, and given the knowledge that you had, you and the administration simply believed that you had more time to meet this challenge of al Qaeda than was in fact the case. Is that not true?
RICE: It is true that we understood that to meet this challenge it was going to take time. It was a multiyear program to try and meet the challenge of al Qaeda.
That doesn't mean that when you get immediate threat reporting that you don't do everything that you can to disrupt at that particular point in time.
But in terms of the strategy of trying to improve the prospects of Pakistan withdrawing support from Taliban, with presenting the Taliban with possible defeat because you were dealing not just with the Northern Alliance but with the southern tribes, that, we believed, we going to take time.
GORTON: It turned out, in retrospect, you didn't have the time to do it.
RICE: We didn't. Although, I will say that the document that was then approved by the president after September 11th, what happened was that the NSPD was then forwarded to the president in a post- September 11th context, and many of the same aspects of it were used to guide the policy that we actually did take against Afghanistan.
And the truth of the matter is that, as the president said on September 20th, this is going to take time. We're still trying to unravel al Qaeda. We're still trying to deal with worldwide terrorist threats.
So it's obvious that, even with all of the force of the country after September 11th, this is a long-term project.
GORTON: One subject that certainly any administration in your place would not like to bring up but I want to bring up in any event is, the fact is that we've now gone two and a half years and we have not had another incident in the United States even remotely comparable to 9/11.
In your view -- there have been many such horrific incidents in other parts of the world, from al Qaeda or al Qaeda lookalikes.
In your view, have the measures that have been taken here in the United States actually reduced the amount of terrorism, or simply displaced it and caused it to move elsewhere?
RICE: I believe that we have really hurt the al Qaeda network. We have not destroyed it. And it is clear that it was much more entrenched and had relationships with many more organizations than I think people generally recognize.
I don't think it's been displaced. But they realize that they are in an all-out war. And so you're starting to see them try to fight back. And I think that's one reason that you're getting the terrorist attacks that you are.
But I don't think it's been displaced; I think it's just coming to the surface.
GORTON: Well, maybe you don't understand what I mean by displacement. Do you not think that al Qaeda and these terrorist entities are now engaged in terrorism where they think it's easier than it would be in the United States? That's what I mean about displacement.
RICE: Oh, I see. I'm sorry. I didn't understand the question.
I think that it is possible that they recognize the heightened security profile that we have post-September 11th, and I believe that we have made it harder for them to attack here.
I will tell you that I get up every day concerned because I don't think we've made it impossible for them.
We're safer, but we're not safe.
And as I said, they have to be right once; we have to be right 100 percent of the time.
But I do think some of the security measures that we have taken, some of the systemic and systematic security measures that we have taken, have made it a lot harder for them.
GORTON: I think, in one sense, there are three ways in which one can deal with a threat like this, and I would like your views on how well you think we've done in each of them and maybe even their relative importance.
So one is hardening targets, like kind of disruptions we have every time we try to travel on an airplane.
The second is prevention. And a lot has been spoken here about that, whether we're better able to find out what their plans are and frustrate those plans.
And the third is one that you talked about in your opening statement: preemption, going at the cause.
How do you balance, in a free society, those three generic methods of going after terrorism?
RICE: I sincerely hope that one of the outcomes of this commission is that we will talk about balance between those, because we want to prevent the next terrorist attack. We don't want to do it at the expense of who we are as an open society.
And I think that, in terms of hardening, we've done a lot. If you look at the airport security now, it's considerably very much different than it was prior. And there's a transportation security agency that's charged with that.
Tom Ridge and his people have an actual unit that sits around and worried about critical infrastructure protection and works with local and state governments to make sure the critical infrastructure is protected.
I think we're making a lot of progress in hardening. In terms of -- but we're never going to be able to harden enough to prevent every attack.
We have, in terms of prevention, increased the worldwide attention to this problem.
When Louis Freeh put together the Legat System, the Legal Attache System, abroad, it was -- and I'm sure that you, Commissioner Gorelick, as a former deputy attorney general, will remember that -- it became a very important tool also post-9/11 to be able to work with the law enforcement agencies abroad now married up with foreign intelligence in a way that helps us to be able to disrupt abroad in ways that I think we were not capable of disrupting before.
Many of our democratic partners are having some of the same debates that we are about how to have prevention without issues of civil liberties being exposed.
We think the Patriot Act gets just the right balance and that it's extremely important to prevention because it makes law enforcement -- usually in law enforcement you wait until a crime is committed and then you act. We cannot afford in terrorism to wait until a crime is committed.
And finally, in terms of preemption, I have to say that the one thing I've been struck by in the hearings is when I was listening to the former secretaries and the current secretaries the other day, is the persistent argument, the persistent question of whether we should have acted against Afghanistan sooner.
Given that the threats were gathering, given that we knew al Qaeda had launched attacks against us, why did we wait until you had a catastrophic attack to use strategic military power -- not tit for tat, not a little tactical military strike -- but strategic military power against this country.
And the president has said many times that after September 11th, we have learned not to let threats gather. And yet we continue to have a debate about whether or not you have to go against threats before they fully materialize on your soil.
GORTON: Well, Ms. Rice, one final comment.
I asked both the secretary of state and secretary of defense that question about whether or not they didn't think we had more time than we were actually granted the luxury of having; they both ducked the question totally. You at least partly answered it.
Thank you very much.
RICE: Thank you.
KEAN: Thank you, Senator.
KERREY: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
And thank you, Dr. Rice.
Let me say at the beginning I'm very impressed, and indeed I'd go as far as to say moved by your story, the story of your life and what you've accomplished. It's quite extraordinary.
And I want to say at the outset that, notwithstanding perhaps the tone of some of my questions, I'm not sure had I been in your position or Sandy Berger's position or President Bush or President Clinton's position that I would have done things differently. I simply don't know.
But the line of questioning will suggest that I'm trying to ascertain why things weren't done differently.
Let me ask a question that -- well, actually, let me say -- I can't pass this up. I know it'll take into my 10-minute time. But as somebody who supported the war in Iraq, I'm not going to get the national security adviser 30 feet away from me very often over the next 90 days, and I've got to tell you, I believe a number of things.
I believe, first of all, that we underestimate that this war on terrorism is really a war against radical Islam. Terrorism is a tactic. It's not a war itself.
Secondly, let me say that I don't think we understand how the Muslim world views us, and I'm terribly worried that the military tactics in Iraq are going to do a number of things, and they're all bad. One is...
No, please don't -- please do not do that. Do not applaud.
I think we're going to end up with civil war if we continue down the military operation strategies that we have in place. I say that sincerely as someone that supported the war in the first place.
Let me say, secondly, that I don't know how it could be otherwise, given the way that we're able to see these military operations, even the restrictions that are imposed upon the press, that this doesn't provide an opportunity for al Qaeda to have increasing success at recruiting people to attack the United States.
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