printable banner

U.S. Department of State - Great Seal

U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action


Philip J. Crowley
Assistant Secretary
Daily Press Briefing
Washington, DC
June 30, 2010


Share
Index for Today's Briefing
  • DEPARTMENT
    • Secretary Clinton Meeting with UN Development Program Administer Helen Clark / U.S. Leading Donor to UNDP / U.S. Commitment to Millennium Development Goals and MDG Summit
    • Swiss Ambassador to Iran Livia Leu Agosti Visit to Washington / U.S. Protecting Power in Iran
    • George Mitchell Travel / Meeting with PM Netanyahu and Defense Minister Barak / Assistance to People of Gaza
    • Special Envoy Stern Travel to Rome / Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate Meeting
    • Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill / Offers of Assistance
    • Secretary to Pay Respects to Senator Byrd before Her Trip
  • DEEPWATER HORIZON OIL SPILL
    • Reimbursable Offers of Assistance / BP to Reimburse Trust Fund / Assistance from Numerous Countries / Working through Governments
    • Jones Act
  • ISRAEL
    • Under Secretary Burns Meeting with Parents of Rachel Corrie / Ongoing Civil Lawsuit Filed by Family against Israel / U.S. Call for Thorough, Transparent and Credible Investigation / Continue to Talk to Israelis
  • AFGHANISTAN
    • Ambassador Eikenberry / Contact with Afghan Officials
    • Corruption / On-Going Challenge / President Karzai Commitment to Rooting out Corruption
    • Department of Justice Involved in Promoting Rule of Law
  • IRAN
    • Amiri Case / U.S. Did Not Kidnap Him from Saudi Arabia / YouTube Video / Whereabouts Unknown
    • Under Secretary Burns' Meeting with Swiss Ambassador to Iran / Implementation of Resolution 1929
  • CHINA/TAIWAN
    • Taiwan's Defense Needs / Taiwan Relations Act / Dialogue with Taiwan
  • CHINA
    • Ongoing Negotiations with Google / Matter Between China and Google
  • NORTH KOREA/SOUTH KOREA
    • Investigation into the Sinking of the Cheonan / International Participation / North Korea Should Take Responsibilities for its Actions / China's Position
  • RUSSIA
    • Offer of Assistance in Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill
    • Dialogue with Russia Regarding the Spy Case / State Department Aware of Investigation / Supporting Investigation / Diplomatic Steps / Confidentiality of Extradition Requests
    • START Treaty


TRANSCRIPT:

1:37 p.m. EDT

MR. CROWLEY: Good afternoon and welcome to the Department of State. A handful of things to mention before taking your questions. Secretary Clinton met with United Nations Development Program Administrator Helen Clark this morning. It was their first official meeting, although they have spoken in the past. The United States is the leading donor to the United Nations Development Program, contributing around $300 million a year. The Secretary pledged to continue our active support for the UN’s premier development agency. They also discussed the U.S. commitment to the Millennium Development Goals and the upcoming Millennium Development Goal Summit in New York in September, as well as the role of gender empowerment in achieving the MDGs.

With us today here at the State Department is Swiss ambassador to Iran Livia Leu Agosti. She is visiting Washington this week as we commemorate the 30th anniversary of the agreement establishing Switzerland as the United States protecting power in Iran. Over the past 30 years, the Government of Switzerland has demonstrated its unwavering commitment to representing the interests of the United States in Iran, and we would like to especially recognize Ambassador Leu for her exemplary dedication and valiant efforts on behalf of those citizens currently detained and missing in Iran. She has greatly assisted our government in our efforts to ensure fair and humane treatment for Sarah Shourd, Josh Fattal, and Shane Bauer, who have been detained without charge for nearly a year, and to Reza Taghavi, who has been detained without charges since May 2008. She has also amplified our call on the Iranian Government for cooperation in the case of Mr. Robert Levinson, who disappeared in Iran over three years ago in March 2007. We remain committed to securing the safe and immediate return home of these American citizens.

In terms of senior officials on travel, I think you noticed George Mitchell was in Israel today. He had meetings with Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Barak. He also joined General Dangot at the Kerem Shalom land crossing to observe firsthand the expansion of assistance going into Gaza. He will meet tomorrow with Palestinian President Abbas and Palestinian Prime Minister Fayyad. But at this point, it appears that between 130 and 140 truckloads of goods are now entering Kerem Shalom crossing. This compares with roughly 77 truckloads that were entering the crossing on June 20 prior to Israel’s announcement of its new policy. So we continue to see that as a positive step and meaningful and tangible increase in assistance going to the people of Gaza.

Todd Stern, the U.S. special envoy for climate change, is leading the U.S. delegation to a meeting of the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate in Rome this week. The meeting runs through July 1st. The purpose of the forum remains to facilitate a candid dialogue among developed – major developed and developing economies to make progress in meeting the climate change and clean energy challenge, including promoting technology cooperation.

And finally, a couple of quick points. We released a Media Note last night that indicated that we are in the process of sending letters accepting an additional 22 offers of assistance regarding the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. You’ll recall that up to this point, we’ve accepted five offers of assistance from four countries. And I should emphasize that in addition to what we are doing through the National Incident Command and through BP, BP itself is tapping into a wide range of international sources to bring assistance and equipment to help with the oil spill. But we will update the matrix in the next couple of days, as soon as we have notified – these 22 additional offers of assistance will come from 12 countries. There might be some overlap in terms of those countries that have already provided assistance in the past. And we’ll update our list as soon as we have formally notified the countries involved.

And finally, you’ve asked about the Secretary’s travel plans. She will delay her departure tomorrow by just about an hour so that she may go to the Capitol before leaving on her trip to pay her respects to Senator Byrd.

QUESTION: Just --

QUESTION: Hold on a second. A couple things. One, on the oil spill aid, are these all – are these offers that have to be reimbursed --

MR. CROWLEY: Yes.

QUESTION: -- that are going to be accepted?

MR. CROWLEY: These are all reimbursable offers of assistance, and we would expect ultimately that BP would pay for this assistance.

QUESTION: And how much would that amount to?

MR. CROWLEY: I don’t think we have a figure yet.

QUESTION: And you say “ultimately.” Does that mean the U.S. Government is going to pay for it initially and then --

MR. CROWLEY: Well, it’s depends – you’ll recall in the case of – I think the assistance that we received from Canada, that was actually a transaction on a government-to-government basis. In other cases, these were offers of assistance that were accepted by BP. But even in using the oil liability trust fund, ultimately, BP would reimburse the trust fund. So there can be a variety of mechanisms through which this assistance is provided. But ultimately, we believe that BP will be the bill payer for this.

QUESTION: All right. And I just have a couple of logistical things about the rather extensive schedules that are being released now. I notice that Ambassador – that Special Representative Holbrooke is meeting – met this morning with the new British ambassador to Israel. Can you explain why?

MR. CROWLEY: I cannot. I’ll take that question.

QUESTION: Yeah. Can you look into it? It seems to be a bit out of his region, but maybe not. I don’t know.

And then I also noticed that Under Secretary Burns is meeting with Rachel Corrie’s parents.

MR. CROWLEY: Yes.

QUESTION: Can you explain that? And --

MR. CROWLEY: Sure.

QUESTION: -- have you talked to the Israelis about the fact that this meeting was happening?

MR. CROWLEY: Rachel Corrie’s parents have visited the Department regularly since March of 2003 and her tragic death, and we continue to provide them with support and assistance. And the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv is attending an ongoing civil lawsuit filed by the family against Israel, and that opened in Haifa on March 10th. We continue to stress to the Government of Israel at the highest levels to continue a thorough, transparent, and credible investigation of the circumstances concerning her death.

QUESTION: Okay. She was – she died how many years ago?

MR. CROWLEY: Seven.

QUESTION: Seven years ago. And you don’t believe --

MR. CROWLEY: And the family has touched base with us from time to time.

QUESTION: Okay. But you don’t believe that the Israelis have conducted – yet have finished a full, transparent investigation?

MR. CROWLEY: We have received – I believe the family has received some information from the Israeli Government, and we continue to push the Israeli Government to be more forthcoming.

QUESTION: More forthcoming? After seven years?

MR. CROWLEY: Yes.

QUESTION: And so you believe that the Israelis are capable of doing an investigation into the flotilla incident when, after seven years, you’re not—you’re still not satisfied with what they’ve done in the death of just one person in a – what I think was an almost videotaped incident?

MR. CROWLEY: I wouldn't draw a direct comparison between the two. In fact, if you look at the Israeli efforts in its flotilla investigation, it is expanding the authorities of that panel as we speak, including their ability to subpoena high-level officials so that they can arrive at what we hope will be a thorough and credible account of what happened.

QUESTION: P.J., what sort of support are you providing her parents? Like what does that mean?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, we touch base with them from time to time to keep the other one updated on our contacts with the Israelis, the information that is passed to them or may, in fact, be passed to us.

QUESTION: On the – related to their lawsuit?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, related to their desire to have as much information as is available about the circumstances surrounding her death.

QUESTION: On the flotilla panel, had the U.S. Government communicated to Israel that it thought that the panel should have subpoena power or is this just purely a self-generated --

MR. CROWLEY: Well, this is – we, obviously, have an interest in the outcome of this investigation. We continue to talk to the Israelis about it. But this is their investigation, and I think this is a demonstration of how – why we believe that we have full confidence in the institutions of government of Israel to be able to conduct an impartial and credible and complete investigation.

Yes.

QUESTION: Yes, I asked a question about Afghanistan – the problem that happened between Eikenberry and attorney general in Afghanistan. Do you have any comment? Although, attorney general of the U.S. been in Afghanistan today.

MR. CROWLEY: I would simply say that Ambassador Eikenberry is doing his job as our civilian representative in Kabul. He has regular contact with officials of the Afghan Government from President Karzai through the cabinet to local officials when he travels out around the country. He continues to encourage the Afghan Government to follow through on the vision that President Karzai has laid out, particularly regarding corruption and capacity within the Afghan Government. I’m not going to comment on a specific exchange between the Afghan attorney general and the ambassador other than to say that we are – the ambassador continues his important work and working with, but also encouraging the Afghan Government to do everything it can – not just because we’re telling them to, but because this is important in terms of showing the Afghan people that this is a government that is going to root out corruption; this is a government that’s going to expand the services that are available to its people.

QUESTION: Follow up on Afghanistan?

QUESTION: New topic?

QUESTION: How satisfied were the steps being taken by Afghan Government with regard to corruption, the massive corruption is there in the Afghan Government?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, I mean, there are many things that the government is doing, but we have to recognize that this is a significant ongoing challenge. There is not the kind of robust financial structure in Afghanistan that there is in a developed world. That actually might work to Afghanistan’s advantage given what’s happening here in the last couple of years. But this is largely a cash economy. There’s a lot of money flowing through Afghanistan and out from Afghanistan. We are – obviously, this has come to the attention of congressional figures and we’re going to answer the questions that the Congress has raised about the accounting systems that are being put in place, the transparency that is being put in place. The ability of Afghanistan to track money flows around the country has expanded significantly in recent months. President Karzai just this week has recommitted himself publicly to rooting out corruption.

So there’s a lot of work being done, a lot of support for this being provided by the United States.
But we still recognize this is a very significant ongoing challenge.

QUESTION: Just to follow.

MR. CROWLEY: Yeah.

QUESTION: This may be the first time that our attorney general is visiting Afghanistan or many different countries. Is he carrying any special message from the Secretary or --

MR. CROWLEY: No, I think we’re --

QUESTION: -- anybody from the U.S. Government?

MR. CROWLEY: Goyal, I think we’re talking about the Afghan attorney general.

QUESTION: Eric Holder is in Kabul.

MR. CROWLEY: Oh, I --

QUESTION: Yeah, our attorney – the U.S. attorney.

MR. CROWLEY: I didn’t know that.

QUESTION: Yeah, he (inaudible) there. So I thought if you know that if he’s carrying any special message from anybody from the U.S. Government.

MR. CROWLEY: Well, the Department of Justice has been very significantly involved in promoting the rule of law inside Afghanistan. You’ve got to strengthen institutions of government. The people have to have confidence that if corruption or malfeasance is discovered, it will be aggressively investigated and prosecuted. That continues to be our message to the Government of Afghanistan and, in fact, we are helping Afghanistan to expand its capacity to do these various things. So I don’t know that Attorney General Holder is carrying a specific message other than part of the consistent message that we have been conveying since the President’s strategic review last year.

QUESTION: So he must be also discussing as far as terrorism is concerned because that comes under his command here. Is he discussing terrorists? Is he discussing terrorism?

MR. CROWLEY: Again, I’ll defer to my colleagues at Justice in terms of the particular agenda – his particular agenda and the things that he wants to accomplish. But obviously, DOJ is a critical part of the whole-of-government effort that we have going on in Afghanistan.

QUESTION: New topic on Iran. (Inaudible) seemed to have lost track of your defector. Mr. Amiri posted a new video on YouTube saying that --

MR. CROWLEY: Then we know exactly where he is. He’s on YouTube.

QUESTION: No, he’s in Virginia, I guess. (Laughter.) He said that he’s escaped his U.S. captors and the – one of the videos that said that he was free to study in the United States is not true. It was fabricated by the U.S. He said he’s not free and not allowed to contact his family. And if he doesn’t return to his country soon, the U.S. Government will be directly responsible for it.

MR. CROWLEY: I don’t have any comment on that video.

QUESTION: Well, are you – can you confirm or deny whether his charges that he was kidnapped by the United States --

MR. CROWLEY: I don’t think we’re in any position to confirm or deny --

QUESTION: You can’t deny that you kidnapped him from Saudi Arabia?

MR. CROWLEY: The United States has not kidnapped him from Saudi Arabia.

QUESTION: Just a quick follow – he says that he’s being prevented from returning to Iran by the U.S. Government. Do you have any comment on that?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, I don’t know where he is. So I can’t comment on that, but – I mean, this is ostensibly a third video. But I don’t think we’re in a position to validate what is on the video or the circumstances surrounding the video.

QUESTION: Have you found – that it actually is the guy? I mean, is that – is the person who appears in the video is that actually this man?

MR. CROWLEY: I have not looked at the third video to say. I do not know the man, so I can’t comment on that.

QUESTION: Well, but he makes some pretty serious charges against the United States. And whether or not you want to admit whether you know where he is, whether he defected or not, but he makes some serious charges that he was kidnapped, held against his will, is not free to travel within the United States, and that he is at risk here in the U.S.

MR. CROWLEY: I do not know where he is and I can’t comment on the particular charges because I don’t know where he is. And I don’t know the circumstances of what he’s doing wherever he is.

QUESTION: Can we stay on Iran for a second?

MR. CROWLEY: Sure.

QUESTION: Briefly on the – Under Secretary Burns’s meeting with the Swiss ambassador to Iran. You said it was the 30th anniversary of the agreement on the protecting power?

MR. CROWLEY: Right.

QUESTION: Is that something that needs to be renewed? Or does it just last until it – you and Iran –

MR. CROWLEY: I don’t think it has –

QUESTION: -- reestablish –

MR. CROWLEY: It’s –

QUESTION: Okay, the reason I ask –

MR. CROWLEY: -- just a milestone.

QUESTION: All right. The reason I ask was that the previous administration at several points was quite frustrated with the Swiss and there was some serious talk about replacing them as the protecting power. Is that – that is not the case with this Administration?

MR. CROWLEY: We are very grateful for the support that we have received from Switzerland. I know of no desire to replace them. We’re gratified that they continue to do important work on the ground in Tehran to help us with our interests.

QUESTION: Okay, and you’re not at all concerned about potential Swiss investments in Iran? That was one of the reasons –

MR. CROWLEY: Well, that is an issue that is being debated at high levels within the EU and it is something that I believe we’ll hear more about next month. You’ve had meetings of the foreign ministers and leaders. They’ve committed to fully implement Resolution 1929. They are now going through the process of determining how best to do that. And we would expect the EU to have an aggressive program going forward in terms of carrying out the international mandate under Resolution 1929.

QUESTION: Can I go back to the oil spill offers of assistance?

MR. CROWLEY: Sure. All right.

QUESTION: Can we check for the record, is Switzerland actually a member of the EU?

MR. CROWLEY: We can check that for the record.

QUESTION: It’s not.

QUESTION: No, it’s not.

MR. CROWLEY: All right.

QUESTION: Can I go back to the BP?

MR. CROWLEY: But we – all right.

QUESTION: It is a member of the UN.

MR. CROWLEY: It is a member of the UN. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Just a discrepancy between what you guys put out last night saying 27 countries offered assistance –

MR. CROWLEY: No. Did we put out 27?

QUESTION: I thought that was –

MR. CROWLEY: I thought we put out 22.

QUESTION: That was the number, right?

MR. CROWLEY: 22.

QUESTION: No, 22.

QUESTION: 22. Thad Allen said 44 today.

MR. CROWLEY: Pardon me?

QUESTION: Thad Allen said 44 today. I’m just curious if there’s –

MR. CROWLEY: Offers of international assistance.

QUESTION: From – he said 107 offers from 44 countries. I’m wondering if there’s any way you can kind of –

MR. CROWLEY: All right. We’ll –

QUESTION: -- check up on both sides of –

MR. CROWLEY: (Inaudible) there’s obviously a disconnect between what is being said here and what is being said there.

QUESTION: Yeah.

MR. CROWLEY: I mean, I would ultimately defer to Thad Allen in terms of – now, remember, we’ve done two things here. We’ve had offers that have come in to the United States from specific countries and we’ve had where we’ve gone out and identified source – potential sources of things like boom and skimmers, equipment that we’re running through our domestic sources and obviously have an ongoing need. And so that may be the differentiation between the number 22 and the number 44.

QUESTION: And about how --

QUESTION: Hold on a second.

MR. CROWLEY: We’ll clarify. That’s a very fair point.

QUESTION: Okay. And you may not have this also, but if you can at least take the question and hopefully get us something today on the timeline of the new – of the one since your last update on the 17th. At that point, there were four offers accepted. I think in your release yesterday, you said there were now 12. Can you give us a timeline on when those additional eight were accepted?

And then one other clarification: In the clarification that you provided after the Media Note went out last night, you said that there was an offer of assistance from countries including Brazil since – prior to May 11th. I don’t think we’d heard of Brazil being an offer accepted before. So I was curious when that one came – was accepted.

MR. CROWLEY: We’ll – well --

QUESTION: The previous four were Norway, Canada, Mexico, and Netherlands.

MR. CROWLEY: And the Netherlands.

QUESTION: And then in yours yesterday, you said that, prior to May 11th, Brazil was part of that. And I don’t think that had been previously mentioned.

MR. CROWLEY: There’s a disconnect here, yeah. We’ll clarify.

QUESTION: Okay, and then my last question just to – if you can kind of explain for your people at home who may not completely understand the process, when you look at the chart that you guys put out last night, the vast majority of the offers still say “Pending” or “Still being considered.” Can you explain why, now several months after the accident began and several weeks after at least most of the offers that have been received, why those are still pending, why it’s not as simple as all hands on deck, let’s accept all the offers, especially, for things that are not chemical dispersants that may be banned, things like additional boom and skimmers?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, if you want to try – we had boom arrive from Brazil on May 11th. So if we have – that’s something that I can report to you. And we’ve had new offers of assistance that have come in from Belgium, Denmark, and El Salvador.

Look, what’s happening here is that we’ve had offers of assistance. We’ve been evaluating for some time. We’ve identified and gone out and expanded – identified important sources of information for the equipment that we know we’ll need over time. The unified command is running through domestic sources of things like boom and skimmers. So as we begin to exhaust domestic sources, that’s why we’re now expanding our list of accepted offers. So this is, as we anticipated it, first identifying domestic sources of support and then, as needed, tapping into the international offers of assistance and those sources that we’ve identified overseas as we need more equipment. This has – and – but this has not prevented BP itself from also, through its own channels, tapping into a variety of international sources for support.

QUESTION: And then I understand that this is not solely a State Department process, but can you explain why it is taking so long to go through this whole process of evaluating what’s out there –

MR. CROWLEY: That probably is a better question to pose to the National Incident Command and Admiral Allen. We have been in touch with governments. We’ve been working through governments to identify additional sources of potential support. But the decision-making process in terms of pulling the trigger and saying, “Okay, now we need source XYZ,” those are the decisions that are made by the National Incident Command.

QUESTION: So what –

QUESTION: And (inaudible) my final question – sorry, just real quick – was on the Jones Act and why it has taken so long to get a waiver for those. I understand it’s, again, not solely your process. But my understanding is that after Katrina, it only took about a week or two –

MR. CROWLEY: I’m not aware that the Jones Act – we’ve required waivers at this point. No Jones Act waivers have been granted for foreign-flagged vessels currently involved in the oil spill because none of these vessels have required a waiver as they conduct operations as part of the response.

QUESTION: There was a gentleman appearing on – testifying on Capitol Hill this morning saying that he was spearheading this effort to bring in a number of foreign-flagged vessels that had the specific skimming capability that could be used. And he said that he had been working to get a Jones Act waiver for some time and has been unable to do so. My understanding is that there are some people that are trying to get these assets in place and are unable to do so.

MR. CROWLEY: Again, I would defer those questions to the National Incident Command.

QUESTION: So just to be clear, you’re really just funneling the offers, giving them to the people that are making the decision –

MR. CROWLEY: Yes.

QUESTION: -- and providing the answers.

MR. CROWLEY: Yes.

QUESTION: You’re more of a --

MR. CROWLEY: Facilitator.

QUESTION: -- liaison.

QUESTION: -- facilitator and liaison –

MR. CROWLEY: Yes.

QUESTION: -- but you have no –

MR. CROWLEY: We’re not making the decisions here.

QUESTION: P.J., the Defense News’s article came out this Monday indicate that U.S. is holding back arms sales to Taiwan because pressure from China. Do you – can you confirm the report?

MR. CROWLEY: We continue to evaluate Taiwan’s defense needs under the Taiwan Relations Act. And we make those decisions in consultation with Taiwan and we do not consult with any other country in making those decisions.

QUESTION: In the –

MR. CROWLEY: And we make those decisions based on our policy and the – and Taiwan’s needs as outlined in the Taiwan Relations Act.

QUESTION: In the article, there’s a note from Congress. To your knowledge, do you realize there’s a note?

MR. CROWLEY: Hmm?

QUESTION: A note from Congress?

MR. CROWLEY: A note from Congress?

QUESTION: Yeah, about holding back on sales to Taiwan.

MR. CROWLEY: Well, we – as we do on an ongoing basis, we evaluate Taiwan’s defense needs. You’ve heard in recent months announcements that we’ve made in terms of decisions based on our dialogue with Taiwan, and that process continues. So as we’ve made clear all along, we won’t hesitate to make sure that Taiwan has the support of the United States that it needs.

QUESTION: P.J., on China?

MR. CROWLEY: Yeah.

QUESTION: Can you say anything about Google’s troubles in China?

MR. CROWLEY: I think there are negotiations ongoing and these are a matter between China and Google.

QUESTION: North Korea?

MR. CROWLEY: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: North Korea today sent a letter to the UN Security Council suggesting that there should be a new investigation in the Cheonan that would involve both North Korea and South Korea and potentially others to look again at this issue. Do you have any response to that?

MR. CROWLEY: I think we stand by South Korea. We’ve – there has been a thorough investigation of the sinking of the Cheonan, and it was the evidence that was assembled during that investigation points clearly to North Korea and a North Korean torpedo. So we don’t think at this point that another investigation is warranted. South Korea led the investigation, included international participation. We think the result is clear and compelling. We continue our discussions in New York about an appropriate and timely response to this provocative action. So, at this point, we think it’s more important for North Korea to be accountable and to cease its provocative behavior and seek better relations with its neighbors.

QUESTION: But couldn’t it be useful for North Korea to be involved in the process? I mean, if you’re actually trying to investigate what happened, why wouldn’t you want them to be involved to take questions? And secondly, it seems that China, for one, isn’t particularly persuaded by the results of the South Korean investigation. Why wouldn’t going over this again in a public UN context bring some of the (inaudible) to the realization of what actually happened?

MR. CROWLEY: Again, I can just repeat what I just said. We don’t think another investigation is warranted at this point. We would like to see North Korea take a different course of action – construct a different kind of relationship with its neighbors. We respect the fact that China borders North Korea. It has a direct interest in North Korea’s future. But as the President made clear, there’s – we don’t see any ambiguity here and it’s time for North Korea to take responsibility for its actions, to cease its provocative behavior, and move in a more constructive direction.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MR. CROWLEY: Wait. Hold on.

QUESTION: Related, actually.

MR. CROWLEY: Go ahead.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) the Chinese foreign ministry denounce President Obama for his remarks on on the “willful blindness” to North Korea. And the foreign minister said that China’s position on the Cheonan issue is very fair and justified. Any comment?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, I mean, the President framed this, we think, appropriately so. We continue our discussions with China and other countries in New York. But we think there’s – at this point, there’s little ambiguity and we believe that the international community needs to send a direct and clear message to North Korea.

QUESTION: Do you have any details on (inaudible) between Russian and American officials regarding the alleged spies? And another question is, is the United States are going
to – are United States are going to take an offer of Russian assistance regarding oil spill?

MR. CROWLEY: I didn’t hear the second part of your question.

QUESTION: Are United States plan to – do they plan to accept offer of Russia regarding the assistance of – on oil spill?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, we have accepted as I just said, a number of offers from countries. We’re in the process over the next 24 hours or so of formally notifying those countries. As we notify them, we’ll announce that publicly and update the matrix that’s available to everybody on the status of these various requests. We are grateful for the many offers of assistance, including Russia. But as to whether the National Incident Command has accepted Russia’s offer, I don’t have that information at this point.

QUESTION: On the first question on the – on her first question about the spy case --

QUESTION: Yeah.

QUESTION: -- can you update us on any diplomatic contacts that --

MR. CROWLEY: We continue our dialogue with Russian officials both here in Washington and in Moscow. And as we’ve made clear and I think as officials in Moscow have made clear, we are going to work as hard as we can to move beyond this and continue to focus on the many issues with which we have common interest and that our focus is on the process going forward.

QUESTION: Do you expect there to be any diplomatic consequences for this, whether that includes PNG’ing any of the supposed handlers?

MR. CROWLEY: I’m not projecting any diplomatic consequences other than the good will that we hope will be there going forward to continue to focus on the issues that –
where we agree and to engage constructively in the areas where we disagree.

QUESTION: And there have been none so far, correct?

MR. CROWLEY: Right.

QUESTION: Are you at all concerned that this is going to play into the START ratification debate in the Senate?

MR. CROWLEY: I don’t think so. The START treaty is in our national interest. We’re not doing a favor to anybody. It’s in our compelling interest to ratify that treaty and continue to work on arms control with Russia.

QUESTION: And has the Secretary spoken to her counterpart in Russia since the spying incident broke?

MR. CROWLEY: No.

QUESTION: Has Deputy – has Deputy Secretary Steinberg spoken --

MR. CROWLEY: Various officials in the Department of State have spoken to their counterparts in Russia. I do not have a comprehensive list.

QUESTION: Nothing face-to-face so far? Everything is all on the telephone? Have there been any face-to-face meetings on this (inaudible)?

MR. CROWLEY: I haven’t been checking John Barley’s schedule in at the Embassy in Moscow. It wouldn’t surprise me if we’ve had some kind of face-to-face meeting about this. I just don’t know.

QUESTION: Well, considering you put out like a four-page list of – every day, of officials that are meeting with various people in this building, if you can take the question if anyone in this building has met with the Russian ambassador here, that would be helpful.

MR. CROWLEY: I’m not going to take the question formally, but I will ask the question.

QUESTION: Were you able to find out if – from yesterday’s briefing if there was any State Department role in this – in the investigation?

MR. CROWLEY: Officials within the State Department were aware of the investigation and some were aware of the timing of the law enforcement action. I mean, we have in the State Department an important counterintelligence unit, and we have been supporting the investigation and continue to support the investigation.

QUESTION: When you say the “law enforcement action,” you mean the actual arrests, yes?

MR. CROWLEY: Right.

QUESTION: How about the announcement of the arrests? Were they aware of the timing of the announcement of the arrests?

MR. CROWLEY: I mean, some people were aware of the fact that the – that law enforcement was going to take action; I was not one of them.

QUESTION: Was the Secretary one?

MR. CROWLEY: Hmm?

QUESTION: Was the Secretary one?

MR. CROWLEY: I’m not going to detail all the people who --

QUESTION: Well, but she’s not all the people. She’s the head of --

MR. CROWLEY: I mean, the State Department at the highest levels both were aware of the investigation and the action that was taken – started over the weekend.

QUESTION: Now, being aware of it is one thing, but did you – did this building participate in any way in the investigation?

MR. CROWLEY: Was the State Department supporting the investigation --

QUESTION: No.

MR. CROWLEY: -- the answer is yes.

QUESTION: Well – supporting. Okay, how?

MR. CROWLEY: Look Matt, I’m not – you’re getting into intelligence matters. I’m just not going to --

QUESTION: I’m actually only trying to find out the answer to the question that I asked yesterday which was based on a footnote which is based on the criminal complaint, which says that you guys provided the FBI with a photograph of the visa application of these – of this second secretary to the Russian mission to the United Nations.

MR. CROWLEY: Okay. I’m not – I’m not disputing that footnote.

QUESTION: Well, when I asked --

MR. CROWLEY: I’m just saying that – that --

QUESTION: When I say – when I asked --

MR. CROWLEY: We have a counterintelligence operation here in the Department of State, and if we need to provide any assistance through any number of our operations that might be linked to this, we will not hesitate to do that.

QUESTION: Well, do you know if your support extended beyond that?

MR. CROWLEY: I don’t know how to answer that question without getting into intelligence matters.

QUESTION: What did you mean by --

QUESTION: Well, P.J., is there still a prospect that any Russian officials that may have facilitated this spy ring will be asked to leave the country?

MR. CROWLEY: I’m not anticipating that – we are not anticipating any additional diplomatic steps on our end at this point.

QUESTION: What did you mean by when you just said they were aware since last weekend – as of last weekend?

MR. CROWLEY: No, no. I was saying that – I mean, as you know, this investigation has been going on for a number of years.

QUESTION: Right.

MR. CROWLEY: And we have been aware of the investigation and supporting the investigation and there were officials in the Department that were briefed that the law enforcement was going to take the action that they did beginning this weekend. So were we aware of the investigation? Yes. Were we aware of the takedown? Yes.

QUESTION: For how long? How long have you been aware of the investigation? Do you know?

MR. CROWLEY: I can’t answer that question. I don’t know.

QUESTION: Have you formally --

MR. CROWLEY: I don’t know.

QUESTION: Have you formally asked Cyprus for the extradition on the 11th suspect?

MR. CROWLEY: Extradition requests, if we’ve made any to any country on any suspect, are confidential.

QUESTION: All right. In your answer to Dave just now, you said we’re not anticipating any additional diplomatic steps. But have there been any? What do you mean by additional?

MR. CROWLEY: I’m not aware that we are going to expel any diplomats at this point.

QUESTION: Why are --

QUESTION: Hold on, hold on.

MR. CROWLEY: All right. I’m --

QUESTION: You said “additional diplomatic steps,” which implies that there already have been some diplomatic steps.

MR. CROWLEY: No, we – I mean, by diplomatic steps, we are in touch with the Russian Government on these issues. But all right, I’ll be as specific as I can. We have arrested 11 individual – or we’ve arrested 10 individuals and there’s an additional arrest in Cyprus. Are we going – are we planning to expel any Russian diplomats who might be involved in this? At this point, I’m not projecting that step.

QUESTION: Why are extradition requests confidential? I mean, this person allegedly broke the laws of the United States, and wouldn't it be the desire to assure the American people that you’re going to prosecute these people to the fullest extent of U.S. law?

MR. CROWLEY: I certainly agree with you. But in --

QUESTION: So how can the American people be assured of that if you’re not going to tell --

MR. CROWLEY: As a general – as a general rule, sometimes you make extradition requests regarding individuals who may not yet be in custody. We – if we were to broadcast every extradition request that we may or may not provide to a foreign government, you might actually jeopardize the ongoing investigation.

QUESTION: Okay, I understand the general rule, but this person is in custody.

MR. CROWLEY: I understand that.

QUESTION: So --

MR. CROWLEY: I just follow the advice of my lawyers. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: You mean that this country sometimes submits extradition requests to countries that have not – where a suspect may or may not be? How is that possible? How do you even know if --

QUESTION: No, may or may not be arrested.

MR. CROWLEY: May not be in custody.

QUESTION: Well, but you may not – they may not be there. How do you know that --

MR. CROWLEY: You may take, for example, the recent case in Jamaica as being a perfect case in point.

QUESTION: P.J., during my short trip to India, the major concerns Indians at this time – one is that U.S. should help or take action as far as terrorism is concerned from across the border because it is flowing information or people, basically also Americans of different country citizens, American citizen but from different country, like five arrested in Pakistan, and they are also going back and forth to India and to U.S. if they are U.S. citizens.

Also, what they’re saying is Mr. Anderson should be brought to justice to India if Indian Government has made any request at this time, because burning issue in India at this – during this – my trip there. And what I’m asking you is that there is a request or not officially from the Indian Government, because they are considering to extradite him to India.

MR. CROWLEY: And, Goyal, it works in both directions. That confidentiality works in both directions.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MR. CROWLEY: Thank you.

(The briefing was concluded at 2:15 p.m.)



Back to Top
Sign-in

Do you already have an account on one of these sites? Click the logo to sign in and create your own customized State Department page. Want to learn more? Check out our FAQ!

OpenID is a service that allows you to sign in to many different websites using a single identity. Find out more about OpenID and how to get an OpenID-enabled account.