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U.S. Department of State - Great Seal

U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action


Jen Psaki
Spokesperson
Daily Press Briefing
Washington, DC
July 9, 2013


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Index for Today's Briefing
  • SECRETARY KERRY
    • Participation in U.S.-China Strategic & Economic Dialogue
  • EGYPT
    • Prime Minister Appointed
    • U.S. Continues to Monitor Efforts for Inclusive and Democratic Process
    • Ambassador Patterson Engaged with Broad Range of Officials on Ground
    • Aid Situation
  • AFGHANISTAN
    • Taliban Announces Closure of Doha Office
    • Reports of "Zero Option" / U.S. Fully Supports Sovereign Afghanistan
  • SNOWDEN
    • Communication with Foreign Governments / Venezuela
    • Second Passport
  • LIBYA
    • Benghazi / ARB Report
  • SYRIA
    • Situation in Homs


TRANSCRIPT:

The video is also available with closed captioning on YouTube.

1:39 p.m. EDT

MS. PSAKI: Hi, everyone. Thanks for your patience. I know we’re a little late today.

QUESTION: A little?

MS. PSAKI: I apologize.

QUESTION: There’s not going to be any food left for lunch.

MS. PSAKI: You can leave the building, too. That’s possible.

QUESTION: I know.

MS. PSAKI: Well, let’s get to what’s on all of your minds.

QUESTION: You have nothing? Can I just – I think we all got the statement from Glen about the Secretary.

MS. PSAKI: Yeah.

QUESTION: I just have a logistical question to start first.

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm, sure.

QUESTION: That is, it says that he’s going to come back to DC to open the U.S.-China S&ED. That’s today, tonight? This is the dinner that he’s going to come back for?

MS. PSAKI: He’ll be coming back later today. I don’t have an exact time on his arrival.

QUESTION: I’m not looking for that. I just want to know what is the opening exactly. Is it the dinner? Is that the opening –

MS. PSAKI: I believe he will be here for the dinner this evening, yes.

QUESTION: And then he’s going to go back to Boston?

MS. PSAKI: We haven’t determined when he’ll go back. Obviously, we’ll adjust the schedule as needed.

QUESTION: So – okay, I’m just trying to figure out. So we don’t know yet whether he’s actually going to be at the regular – the business session of the – tomorrow. Tomorrow --

MS. PSAKI: The plan is for him to be there. But obviously, we’ll make changes as needed, and he’ll go back to Boston as needed.

QUESTION: Okay.

MS. PSAKI: And as we noted in our media note, if he is unable to be at any of the sessions, Deputy Secretary Burns will be there on his behalf.

QUESTION: Okay. But I just – so at the moment, the only thing we know for sure that he’s going to be doing is the opening today?

MS. PSAKI: Correct.

QUESTION: All right. Assuming no one has any other questions about the schedule, I’d like to go to Egypt.

MS. PSAKI: Okay.

QUESTION: Where do we stand today? Is the situation – there’s been a prime minister appointed. What’s your reaction to that? And how goes the coup review?

MS. PSAKI: Well, I don’t have any updates on the second question you asked. The Administration – we’re continuing to discuss and we’re continuing to take the time necessary to review what’s taken place and monitor efforts by Egyptian authorities to forge an inclusive and democratic process forward. As we do that review, as I mentioned yesterday, we will, of course, take into account the requirements under the law consistent with our policy objectives.

And on the first question you asked, we’ve, of course, seen the announcement coming out of Egypt. As we have conveyed to all of Egypt’s leaders, we want to see an inclusive government that addresses Egypt’s many political, economic, and social challenges and builds – as well as building a greater consensus. This is part of the transition. They also announced, of course, additional steps regarding a constitution and elections, as I know you’ve seen.

QUESTION: I’ve got two more things really briefly. The first is: Yesterday you and the White House, and I think maybe also the Pentagon, all called on the Egyptian military to show – exercise maximum restraint.

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Do you think that they have done so thus far since making the call? Are you pleased with the action of the – the actions of the Egyptian – sorry, I almost said Israeli – of the Egyptian military?

MS. PSAKI: That’s another important topic. We are not going to make a day-by-day analysis or evaluation.

QUESTION: Well, have you seen anything to suggest that they are not – since the call for maximum restraint, that they are not exercising maximum restraint?

MS. PSAKI: Well, Matt, obviously we’ve expressed through the course of this where we’ve had concerns, including some actions by the military, and we’ll continue to do that. Events are ongoing on the ground, so I don’t have any updates as of the last couple of hours. But we’ll continue to monitor, and as needed, we’ll speak out when needed.

QUESTION: All right. So then the second one and the last one for me on this – I hope, I think – is that – is it fair to say that the review – that the coup review will take as long as necessary for the provision in the law requiring aid to be cut off, for that to no longer apply?

MS. PSAKI: No, it is not. We’ll take as long as is needed to review the facts on the ground, review the steps that have been taken, review our legal authorities, and make an evaluation.

QUESTION: Okay. So several weeks or months from now when the provision of the law no longer applies and there hasn’t been – the review has not been completed, you will understand why I and I’m sure others will raise the question, correct?

MS. PSAKI: Well, I’ll look forward to discussing in several months, but it’s only been about six days here.

QUESTION: Jen, you didn’t actually really answer Matt’s question about what the assessment is of the plan laid out by the interim president. Could you give us that, please?

MS. PSAKI: Well, we are, of course, encouraged that the interim government has laid out a plan for the path forward. The details of a path back to a democratically elected civilian government are, as we’ve long said, for the Egyptian people to decide. This process, the amending of the constitution, which was referenced in the announcement, a referendum on that constitution, parliamentary elections, and presidential elections should move forward with the maximum possible inclusion and consensus, and we’re hopeful that will be how it happens. So there we are.

QUESTION: Why are you encouraged?

QUESTION: I mean, he’s talking about – sorry – they were saying about three to six months. Is that timeframe too long or too short?

MS. PSAKI: We’re not going to prescribe a timeline here. We’re – it’s up to the Egyptian people to determine that. And obviously, this announcement was just new in the last 24 hours.

QUESTION: Why are you encouraged?

MS. PSAKI: Jo asked me about the announcement about –

QUESTION: I know, and you said that you were encouraged that they’ve laid out a path forward. Why are you encouraged by the path forward that they have laid out?

MS. PSAKI: Well, we’re encouraged that they laid out a path forward and the steps that that entails. Of course, this needs to implemented, and we have called for and encouraged that to move forward with the maximum possible inclusion and consensus, which, as we all know, is an important part of this being successful.

QUESTION: The Muslim Brotherhood, which, of course, won the last election, has already rejected this. Is that encouraging?

MS. PSAKI: Well, I think, again, this is just a proposal of a plan, Arshad, and that’s what’s encouraging. Obviously, all sides need to participate in the process. We’re encouraging all sides to do that, and we’re taking it day by day.

QUESTION: Is it conceivable to – in your view, is it conceivable to hold parliamentary elections within six months?

MS. PSAKI: Well, they’ve laid out their own timeline. We’ll see how these pieces unfold, but we’re not going to get ahead of the process and where things stand right now.

QUESTION: Why should the Muslim Brotherhood, which after all won an election, participate in a proposed election whose very purpose seems to be to ensure that they are not in power? Why should they take part in that?

MS. PSAKI: Well, I would disagree with the second part of your assessment. Obviously, since the election, events have unfolded on the ground. You’re familiar with the concerns expressed by millions of people in Egypt as it related to the rule of President Morsy. This was not happening in a vacuum without concerns from the Egyptian people. And so of course, we will continue to encourage the Muslim Brotherhood, leaders from that group, to participate in the process. We know this is not going to be an easy process, but that’s what we’ll continue to encourage.

QUESTION: On the issue to designate or not to designate what happened as a coup, are you in talks with Senators McCain, Patrick Leahy, and others that insist it is a coup, and therefore consequences should be undertaken?

MS. PSAKI: Well, we’ve, of course – we will coordinate, have coordinated, will continue to coordinate very closely with members of Congress, including those who have been most vocal. I don’t have any specific meetings or calls. I’m happy to check on that for you. We have been, of course, in close contact and have heard from a number of these officials.

QUESTION: And I know I asked this yesterday. You’re saying that you’re in contact with all different political orientations and so on. Assuming that you are contact with the Muslim Brotherhood, could you tell us how far have you gotten along in trying to convince them or make them see the broader picture that this is really for the good future of Egypt?

MS. PSAKI: Well, Said, that continues to be the case. I just don’t have anything about the private conversations to read out for you.

QUESTION: Is it safe to assume that perhaps Ambassador Patterson is conducting these talks with the Muslim Brotherhood?

MS. PSAKI: I think they’re – it’s safe to assume that Ambassador Patterson is very engaged in this process, as are a number of other officials. But she’s also engaged with a broad range of officials on the ground.

QUESTION: I guess my question is that we know that, let’s say, the Secretary of Defense is in touch with Sisi or --

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- or you may be in touch with others in the government and so on. Who is in touch with the Muslim Brotherhood and who is the counterpart?

MS. PSAKI: Well, again, I’m not going to read out the specifics of that. We’ve read out the Secretary’s calls. I know the Secretary – the Defense Department and our friends over there have read out some of his calls. We’ll continue to do that in terms of who’s speaking with whom. But I don’t have any other specifics for you.

QUESTION: And finally, just to follow up on Arshad’s question, why shouldn’t the Muslim Brotherhood consider that they have been robbed of this election? I mean, to use like a great American electoral term, they’ve were robbed.

MS. PSAKI: Well, again, I would point you to the concerns and voiced views expressed by many Egyptian people on the ground that expressed concerns about the rule of President Morsy. It’s, again, up to the Egyptian people to make these determinations, but we’re in a different place than we certainly were just around the time of the election.

QUESTION: Do you maintain that the U.S. Government is not taking sides here?

MS. PSAKI: We do.

QUESTION: And you have no preferred outcome for who might win the parliamentary or eventual presidential elections?

MS. PSAKI: Correct.

QUESTION: How do you answer people who – including many Egyptians – who feel that by the very fact that the U.S. Government has not called for Morsy’s – the democratically elected president who you referred to in the past tense yesterday – for his reinstatement and your voicing encouragement at the path forward that entails a new election that would replace the results of the election that he and his party previously won is, in effect, taking sides and that you are basically taking sides against them? How do you answer that?

MS. PSAKI: Well, I think we’ve seen it – or seen it accused all – of all ways of all different sides that we’re apparently taking. I can assure you that we’re not aligned with or supporting any particular party or group. In the case of the arbitrary arrests of many Muslim – many members of the Muslim Brotherhood, we have expressed concern about that. We certainly believe, as we would in any country, that there must be transparency and due process and respect for the rule of law. And I was simply stating what the fact is on the ground, which is that there were millions of people who expressed their concerns, and we believe the voices of the Egyptian people deserve to be heard. But in terms of the path forward and what the coalition will be and who will rule, that is up to the Egyptian people to determine.

QUESTION: And as a general principle, does the U.S. Government believe that democratically elected heads of government who have not been constitutionally removed or impeached in accordance with their own laws should be allowed to serve out their terms?

MS. PSAKI: Well, every case is different, Arshad. And certainly, the situation on the ground in Egypt is unique. Certainly, we support Egypt’s transition to democracy. We know it will take time. We support efforts to continue to do that. But every situation is unique. Certainly, the situation on the ground in Egypt is, and I’m not going to make a sweeping declaration.

QUESTION: Jen, sorry --

QUESTION: But you don’t – just to be clear, so you do not support allowing democratically elected heads of government who have not been removed constitutionally or impeached in accordance with their country’s laws to serve out their terms? That is not a position the United States Government will take?

MS. PSAKI: Arshad, of course, we support the democratic process, including the election of democratically elected officials, certainly. But what I’m saying – and I know you’re asking this question as it relates to Egypt – is I’m not going to make a sweeping claim as it relates to a very unique situation on the ground.

QUESTION: So, basically, your answer is that most of the time you support democratically elected governments, not all the time?

MS. PSAKI: Matt, we certainly support --

QUESTION: Right? Is that --

MS. PSAKI: -- the democratic process. This is a unique situation on the ground. I’m not going to make a sweeping accusation --

QUESTION: All right.

MS. PSAKI: -- or a sweeping claim as it relates to the situation on the ground in Egypt.

QUESTION: But surely you see the twisted logic of the idea that you’re not taking sides, because I mean, I just don’t see how anyone in the Administration can intellectually – can be intellectually honest or can stand to give this argument. If you haven’t condemned the ouster of a democratically elected leader, you’re taking the side of the people that ousted him or her. And that’s just logic. I asked you the other day about syllogism. I mean, this is just pure – there isn’t any other way to describe it. You can’t pretend not to be taking sides when you have taken a side by not taking a stand against the removal, unconstitutional removal, of a democratically elected leader. So I guess my question is: At least admit, or I would ask you to at least concede, that the Administration has taken a side, which is the side of the millions of people in the – millions of Egyptians who have problems with President Morsy. Is that correct?

MS. PSAKI: No, we have not taken a side. We remain in touch with representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood. We want the process to be inclusive. That’s what we’ve been encouraging as they determine the process for an interim government, select leaders for that, and move towards the other additional steps.

QUESTION: Were you able to get an answer to the question I asked yesterday about the last time there had been some contact with President Morsy?

MS. PSAKI: I’m – certainly not during these events, I’m not aware --

QUESTION: So the last time that you think or you know was the President’s call a week --

MS. PSAKI: I’m not aware of any other contact from this building since then.

QUESTION: And since you’ve talked bout --

QUESTION: No, no, not just this building, but --

QUESTION: Well, the U.S. Government generally.

QUESTION: Yes.

QUESTION: And did you check?

MS. PSAKI: Yes, Arshad, I did check. Thank you.

QUESTION: Did you get an update on the Secretary’s calls?

MS. PSAKI: I do, certainly.

QUESTION: I’m particularly interested to know if he thinks that he has a counterpart, a foreign minister counterpart, in Egypt right now. And if he – whether he does or he doesn’t, who he’s been talking to. Has he also called General al-Sisi?

MS. PSAKI: He has spoken with him, yes. He spoke with him yesterday. I’m not aware of a new call today. I mentioned some of the calls he made yesterday yesterday. I don’t have any other additional updates beyond those and the ones that we read out this weekend.

QUESTION: Sorry. Which calls? I – which calls did he make yesterday? Could you --

MS. PSAKI: Well, he spoke with ElBaradei yesterday.

QUESTION: Yesterday.

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: But also over the weekend, correct?

MS. PSAKI: Correct. He did.

QUESTION: So ElBaradei and al-Sisi yesterday?

MS. PSAKI: Yes, that’s correct.

QUESTION: And has he spoken with the Israelis on this issue? Has he been in contact with his Israeli counterparts?

MS. PSAKI: He spoke with Prime Minister Netanyahu this weekend, and we read out that call as well – or listed or released the list of --

QUESTION: Right. I mean, in the Israeli press, they are saying that there’s been a lot of concern expressed from the Israeli side to the U.S. Administration that they should not freeze the aid because they think it would go against the national security interests of Israel.

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Could you comment on that?

MS. PSAKI: I am not going to speak to private conversations or read out the concerns expressed by any government, including Israel. Obviously, we’ve said, and I know the White House said, and we said from here yesterday that we do not believe it’s in the best interest of the United States to immediately change our assistance to Egypt.

Of course, we’re reviewing our obligations under the law and will continue to consult with Congress on the path forward, but certainly, the concern about the reasons why we’ve given aid in the past, the security impact on Egypt, on the region, and the United States own security interests are, of course, all issues that others have expressed as well.

QUESTION: But you won’t tell us if the Israelis have asked you to – not to freeze the aid?

MS. PSAKI: I’m not going to speak on their behalf. It sounds like they’ve spoken out about their concern.

QUESTION: But it would make sense. If your interests are national security interests, it would also make sense that on the Israeli side, they would also have some security interests in the region, particularly with what’s been happening in the Sinai.

MS. PSAKI: Well, I would just point you to them for any comments on the concerns they expressed.

QUESTION: Well, on the aid situation --

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- I believe the U.A.E. has announced a huge 3 billion, which is double your --

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- aid package, and the Saudis are expected to contribute another 5 billion. Is this something that you welcome? This is to Egypt, to the – whatever the government is that they have now.

MS. PSAKI: Well, I don’t know the circumstance of those particular aid packages, so we’d have to take a closer look at that. Obviously, there are a number of types of aid that the United States and others provide, including military aid, including economic aid, given the situation on the ground. But beyond that, we’re obviously making an evaluation about our own aid, and I just made a pretty clear comment on where we stand on that at this point even though we’re reviewing it, and obviously other countries will make their own decisions.

QUESTION: One billion dollars is a grant, and according to the newspapers, the one --

MS. PSAKI: Can you say that one more time? I’m sorry.

QUESTION: One billion dollars is a grant, which the money – which will be coming from the Emirates and the $2 billion from Saudis is a loan --

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- and 2 billion, another loan by the Emirates and they will be free to use all the money according to the news reports, I don’t – as they want. I don’t know the detail, but --

MS. PSAKI: Okay. Is there a question?

QUESTION: -- is it – because you are sending $1.3 billion as --

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- a military aid, but this money’s going to the – maybe civilian service because they had promised the --

MS. PSAKI: Well, we provide different kinds of aid to Egypt as well. There is the military aid, but we also provide economic aid, as many countries do. So I just would have to take a closer look at the specific aid that’s being provided, but certainly, each country will make their own decisions, and we’re doing our own evaluation about ours as well.

QUESTION: As a follow-up about not taking the side, according to the news report, also the – both sides are accusing U.S. to help to their enemies. I mean, isn’t it the – I mean, how do you read this – the take of this, both sides to blame U.S. to help the other side?

MS. PSAKI: Well, I think that may be a further point, that we are not aligned with or supporting any particular party or group, which is certainly the case from here, and certainly, that’s how we are conducting our relationship and our business as it relates to the path forward.

QUESTION: And how are you going to change that image if both sides are unhappy with the U.S. and they have deep mistrust with the U.S.? What is your way of changing it? I mean --

MS. PSAKI: Well, obviously, the President, the Secretary, and our high-level officials on the ground and here in Washington have been both in close touch with Egyptian officials as well as officials in the region, and we’ll just continue to communicate what the truth is and what we’re pushing for and what our principles are moving forward.

QUESTION: And Human Rights Watch yesterday has condemned the arbitrary arrests against the Muslim Brotherhood. They’ve listed at least names of 16 of the top leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt who were arrested. And they’ve asked for the release and they’ve also condemned the crackdown on media in Egypt.

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: I mean, if Human Rights Watch says so, knowing who they are, that means there is something wrong there. The way forward, the democratic process, the future plan in Egypt, do you think this is the right way to proceed with it? Is this going to lead to democracy in Egypt?

MS. PSAKI: Well, I was critical yesterday and I’m happy to be critical again, of course, of arbitrary arrests that have taken place. And our message has been clear that we want to see transparency, we want to see respect for due process, and for the rule of law. And certainly, that’s where we would like to see the path moving forward. We’d like to see an inclusive process moving forward. And so I think we’ve been pretty clear on how we feel about those arrests.

QUESTION: Are you conveying this message clearly to the interim government in Egypt right now? I mean, are you making sure that they understand what this means?

MS. PSAKI: We are conveying this message.

Dana.

QUESTION: As a follow-up to my question --

MS. PSAKI: Uh-huh.

QUESTION: -- yesterday, you said that you would get back to me about whether there are specific standards or procedures that the Administration is looking at when analyzing whether what took place was a coup or not. Do you have an answer to that?

MS. PSAKI: Well, let me make one thing clear that I think there’s been some confusion about. The legislation that is applicable here, which is part of a provision of the appropriations bill, is not specific about a deciding authority. So this goes to Arshad’s question yesterday. So – I know this isn’t exactly your question. I’m just trying to answer a few things that came up yesterday. And so the legal advisor’s office, as I mentioned yesterday, of course, has a role to play here, and they’re certainly very engaged in the process. And as part of that, they’re taking a look at – by working with the policy team on the events of what happened on the ground.

In terms of what they’re specifically looking at, I mean, you can look at, of course, the legislation itself, and that is available online. I’m sure we can find that for all of you which is specific to this case. The legal advisors, the entire Administration, as they look at the policy – and I think I said this yesterday, but – is looking at the events that transpired last week, what’s happening now, and where things are going moving forward. So all of those are factors as we look at how we’re going to handle our policy.

QUESTION: And just as a follow-up, I’m sorry.

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Sure, please.

QUESTION: Besides the fact that we give $1.3 billion of military aid to Egypt, what exactly does make the situation on the ground very unique from other coups? You have a democratically elected president that was ousted by a military even though there was popular support. Today he’s been put on house arrest. You have arbitrary detentions. What makes the situation in Egypt, besides our involvement, very unique from other coups, and even popular coups?

MS. PSAKI: Well, I actually wasn’t at all talking about our aid to Egypt. I was talking about the fact that millions of people have voiced their concerns on the ground.

QUESTION: But as I said – right. But as I said yesterday, like in Niger --

MS. PSAKI: Every case --

QUESTION: -- tens of thousands of people voiced their concerns --

MS. PSAKI: Sure.

QUESTION: -- on the ground, and the United States still had no problem calling it a coup, and it was a very similar set of circumstances. So when you say that --

MS. PSAKI: Well, you can’t use --

QUESTION: -- in Egypt it’s very unique, I’m just asking what you said about it that’s very unique.

MS. PSAKI: You can’t use any particular case as a cookie cutter of any other particular case. We’re taking the time to review this, which is common practice in any of these cases. I understand you have one particular example there, but we do take the time to review these when the facts on the ground and the situation warrants, and that’s what we’re doing in this case.

QUESTION: But what makes it very unique? Like, you keep saying that this situation is unique; it’s very unique from other situations. What in your – obviously, you’ve done some analysis if you’re able to say that it’s very unique – besides the fact that we give so much aid, what is making this situation very unique?

MS. PSAKI: Well, clearly – and you know the history with Egypt here, but they have taken steps in recent years to move towards democracy. Obviously, that’s going to take some time. They’re in a – they’re moving through that path now. You know the large number of people who express their legitimate concerns on the ground, and certainly we have taken note of that and are looking at that, of course. And yes, of course, assistance and these – the role that Egypt plays in the region, the importance of the regional security there, is also important. These are all not factors in the determination, but in terms of the uniqueness of the situation on the ground all relevant pieces of that.

QUESTION: But in fact the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 had a cookie cutter approach to the usurpation of power – the usurpation --

MS. PSAKI: Well, the legislation – what we’re talking about here is not that. It’s the appropriations – it’s a provision of the appropriations.

QUESTION: Okay, but – okay, well, I assumed – I mean, I think I know a little bit about the law because I read about it.

MS. PSAKI: I know you do.

QUESTION: Okay. I read about it.

MS. PSAKI: You educate me every day.

QUESTION: Actually – well, in fact, it does fall under that. I mean, what has taken place is the usurpation of lawful power by military force. I mean, how do you define --

MS. PSAKI: Well, all I can tell you is that we’re taking the time to review the situation on the ground. I don’t have any updates for you on – of course, we’re taking into account the requirements of the law.

Go ahead, Arshad.

QUESTION: Yeah, so two things. One, you’re right that the law does not specify who specifically within the U.S. Government makes the determination.

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: What is your view? Is it your view that the Secretary of State makes that determination, or is it your view that the President makes the determination? Or who ultimately – where does the buck stop here?

MS. PSAKI: Well, the decision hasn’t been made yet, Arshad. Obviously, there’s an interagency process and --

QUESTION: But who makes the decision? It seems a reasonable question.

MS. PSAKI: Well, I’m not going to read out for you what the final decision – who makes the final decision that hasn’t been made yet. So there’s ongoing discussion in the interagency process. Those conversations and meetings are ongoing. Obviously, the Legal Adviser’s Office here plays a significant role in evaluating and providing advice. The Secretary, of course, is very engaged in this, as you know. But beyond that I don’t have a tick-tock for you on exactly the order of decision-making.

QUESTION: Well, why can’t – I mean, it seems like a reasonable question to ask who ultimately makes the call here. Why are you not willing to give your interpretation of who ultimately makes the call?

MS. PSAKI: Well, if I have an update on that for you, Arshad, I’m happy to provide it.

QUESTION: And then unrelated, you talked about how you could make available the law, but it’s pretty easily available, and it doesn’t actually specify definitions of a military coup or a decree or a coup d’etat in which the military played a, I think, it’s “significant role.” It’s not defined; the specific factors are not defined. Which, I think, is one reason why we are interested--

MS. PSAKI: Sure.

QUESTION: -- in what are the factors beyond – or any specificity on what are the factors that you consider beyond what happened, what’s happening now, and where things might go. I mean, can you offer any more detail than that?

MS. PSAKI: I can’t. That’s – those are the parameters that are being looked at.

QUESTION: Okay, and then last one for me on this, and forgive me if you were asked this before I came in.

MS. PSAKI: That’s okay.

QUESTION: Do you have any specific comment on the designation of Hazem el-Beblawi as the Prime Minister?

MS. PSAKI: I did say something, I believe, at the top on that, which I can point you to or I can repeat it, too.

QUESTION: I’ll take it out.

QUESTION: Can I just raise my objection to this continued use by Administration after Administration of the cookie cutter approach? Surely you don’t believe that all cookie cutters are the same shape and size, do you?

MS. PSAKI: I will find a different phrase for you, if you’d like.

QUESTION: Because not every cookie in the world is shaped the same.

MS. PSAKI: Gingerbread cookies. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Maybe. I don’t – I’m not a big cookie maker, but can – just see if we can find another phrase to use?

QUESTION: Syria?

MS. PSAKI: We will task that for tomorrow, Matt, for you.

Sorry. Go ahead, Catherine.

QUESTION: Do you have – I think it was asked yesterday – an update on the number of U.S. personnel in Egypt, the Embassy update?

MS. PSAKI: So I can tell you that – and I wanted to check on kind of what information I was able to provide publicly, of course. For obvious reasons, we don’t provide actually the specific number, but I can say that they have ordered a non – a departure of nonessential staff and families. So that is what has been underway.

QUESTION: So nothing. That was like last week.

QUESTION: (Off-mike.)

MS. PSAKI: Correct. There’s not a new update to that. But we’re not going to get into specific numbers of who was on the ground. Obviously, the Ambassador remains there, which I know you asked about yesterday.

QUESTION: So that’s a specific number. One is a specific number.

QUESTION: Also there are some protesters specifically outside the Embassy – your reaction to that? And has there been any physical damage to the exterior?

MS. PSAKI: I’m not aware; I’m happy to check on that. Obviously, if you’re asking as it relates to security – is that why you’re asking?

QUESTION: Right.

MS. PSAKI: Obviously, this is something that is evaluated regularly and certainly in this case evaluated probably on a nearly daily basis, and as – if decisions are needed to be made – if we are – if we need to make decisions we of course make those decisions, and the last update on an official decision on staff is the one that I just referenced that was announced last week.

QUESTION: (Off-mike.)

QUESTION: I mean, you say you were encouraged by the formation of the cabinet and the steps taken regarding the transition, but we can see that the Muslim Brotherhood are not part of this process.

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: What do you think is – why you are encouraged?

MS. PSAKI: Well, what I said was we’re encouraged that the interim government has laid out a plan for a path forward, and of course, any process moving forward must be inclusive and take the consensus into account. So it’s all about how things happen moving forward as well, including having an inclusive process.

QUESTION: So you’re assuming that the Muslim Brotherhood will participate one day or another?

MS. PSAKI: Well, I think inclusive means all parties.

QUESTION: I have another question.

MS. PSAKI: Okay.

QUESTION: Yesterday, Jay Carney said you also condemn the explicit calls to violence made by the Muslim Brotherhood.

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: And it seems that this – I don’t know how to say it – explicit calls to violence still going on, and more is said. So how do you evaluate that? How do you see it today, or – in a different way?

MS. PSAKI: Well, we are always concerned. Obviously, in this case and how volatile and fluid the situation is on the ground with any – not just calls to violence, but any incidents of violence and we’ll continue to condemn those and do that publicly and privately.

QUESTION: So with – and then my last question: Without going into details of the legality of it’s a coup or not --

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- or the uniqueness of Egypt, and I know it’s a fluid situation, if you say what are your main concerns now about Egypt – because everybody – now we are discussing about it’s a coup or not, Muslim Brothers are participating or – I mean, what are the main concerns regarding Egypt now from your point of view, one, two, three, four, whatever?

MS. PSAKI: Well, I don’t know if it’s concerns as much as it’s what we’d like to see. We’re certainly concerned about violence and violence that is ongoing on the ground. And we’d like to see steps toward an inclusive process. Obviously, the announcement of a plan for a path forward is a step, but steps need to be taken beyond that.

QUESTION: Jen, I had one more question.

MS. PSAKI: Oh, go ahead.

Hold on.

QUESTION: Quick follow-up on that.

MS. PSAKI: Sure, go ahead.

QUESTION: If I may say --

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: You said that you will condemn acts of violence when they occur.

MS. PSAKI: Yeah.

QUESTION: Did you yesterday condemn, or do you now condemn the killing of more than 50 people by the armed forces?

MS. PSAKI: Well --

QUESTION: I don’t recall your condemning that. I recall your calling for maximum restraint.

MS. PSAKI: Yeah, we are.

QUESTION: Do you condemn it?

MS. PSAKI: Condemn the violence?

QUESTION: Condemn what is widely reported by many news organizations to have been the killing of more than 50 people yesterday in Egypt, most of them civilians, by the military. Do you condemn that?

MS. PSAKI: Well, again, there’s going to be – there’s two separate questions in here, which is how this happened and what happened. There’s going to be an investigation. We’ll see that take place, and that will be soon underway, we hope. Of course we condemn any acts of violence and the deaths of innocent civilians. I think I did that yesterday, but we’ll look for the investigation to take place to unwind all the specific details on the ground.

QUESTION: So you don’t feel like it’s clear enough yet that some of the people who were doing the firing were the military against people who were not armed? You don’t think that’s clear yet?

MS. PSAKI: Well, I don’t want to evaluate what may or may not be. Obviously, we’ve seen lots of reports. There are lots of reports coming out of Egypt. There will be an investigation. We’ll look forward to that, the results, and we’ll evaluate those when they come out.

QUESTION: Jen, after Jay Carney’s statement yesterday, do you consider that the Muslim Brotherhoods are behind the violence in Egypt?

MS. PSAKI: I think we have been very clear in being critical of all incidents of violence. Obviously, we’re looking at – the situation on the ground is very volatile on all sides. But beyond that I don’t know that I have any further update for you.

QUESTION: Is anyone keeping track of the current status of President Morsy? I mean, his well-being, has he been bodily harmed, whatever? I mean, how do you keep track of where he is now?

MS. PSAKI: Well, we have not, of course, been in touch with him, as I mentioned yesterday. That still is the case. We’ve seen the same reports that you all have seen. We, again, of course call for not just fair treatment, but on in terms of arbitrary arrests, we’re very opposed to those. We want to see transparency, we want to see respect for the rule of law, all in these cases.

QUESTION: Yeah. I just want --

MS. PSAKI: But I don’t have any update for you on his status from here.

QUESTION: My question is: Does his well-being really figure into the conversations that are ongoing now between, let’s say, the Pentagon and their counterparts in Egypt?

MS. PSAKI: I would send you to the Pentagon for that.

QUESTION: Well, what about conversations with Mr. Baradei between the Secretary of State and --

MS. PSAKI: I don’t have anything further to read out about their conversations than I’ve done.

QUESTION: Jen, in your voluminous guidance on this, do you have – does it say anything about whether the Administration believes that President Morsy acted illegally in – violated Egyptian law or the constitution?

MS. PSAKI: That’s not an evaluation we’re making. Obviously, we call – we have been calling for respect for rule of law here --

QUESTION: Right.

MS. PSAKI: -- and any steps that need to be taken to evaluate that.

QUESTION: But as far as you know, the Administration doesn’t think that there was cause, legal cause, for President Morsy to be removed from power?

MS. PSAKI: We have not made any statement accusing anyone of – of him of illegality.

QUESTION: Okay. Then why can’t you say that it – why can’t you condemn it? If you don’t believe that he acted in violation of his --

MS. PSAKI: Well, again, Matt --

QUESTION: -- of Egyptian law or the constitution?

MS. PSAKI: -- I pointed yesterday to what the President said just a few days ago about this – the – his arrest.

QUESTION: Yes, but not taking the advice of the President of the United States is not a crime. It’s not a violation of Egyptian law or the Egyptian constitution.

MS. PSAKI: Oh, I’m referring to the President’s comment where he was critical of the arrest. That’s what I’m referring to, not other pieces of the statement.

QUESTION: Right. But as far as you know, the Administration hasn’t taken a position on whether President Morsy – or ex-President Morsy, as he may now be known – violated either the Egyptian law or the constitution?

MS. PSAKI: I’m not aware of --

QUESTION: You’re not. Okay.

MS. PSAKI: -- a legal position. Obviously, we’ve spoken in --

QUESTION: No, no, no, no. Not even --

MS. PSAKI: -- voluminous forms on our view --

QUESTION: Yeah, yeah.

MS. PSAKI: -- on what’s happening in Egypt.

QUESTION: Okay. All right.

QUESTION: Are you trying to reach President – because you have said – well, you didn’t call him past-president, you just said he was the president, had been. But are you trying to reach Morsy?

MS. PSAKI: Not that I’m aware of.

QUESTION: Why not?

MS. PSAKI: Again, I think we’re in touch with a range of officials, including members of the interim government, the opposition, the Muslim Brotherhood. That’s who we’re in touch with right now.

QUESTION: Are you concerned about his welfare?

MS. PSAKI: Well, of course, Arshad. I think I was clear that we believe that respect for rule of law should be taken into account here in all of the cases of arrest.

QUESTION: Do you know his whereabouts?

QUESTION: Then if you’re concerned about his welfare, then why aren’t you trying to get in touch with him?

MS. PSAKI: I don’t have anything more for you.

QUESTION: Do you know of his whereabouts?

MS. PSAKI: I don’t have any update on that for you.

QUESTION: Can we move on?

MS. PSAKI: Yeah. We can move on.

QUESTION: Just to quickly – just to clarify for the purpose of the timeline. Is the --

QUESTION: Do not want to move on. Do not want to move on. I have an Egypt question.

MS. PSAKI: Oh, okay. Go ahead, Nicole.

QUESTION: Sorry.

QUESTION: Yeah.

MS. PSAKI: Nicole hasn’t had one, so let her --

QUESTION: It’s an Egypt one.

QUESTION: Okay, I just want to --

QUESTION: Is the timeline one of the factors of the determination about the coup, or, I mean, the – how much the timeline is important in the determination of the Administration about the --

QUESTION: (Off-mike.) (Laughter.)

MS. PSAKI: I’m not sure. Do you mean how long it will take us to determine, or --

QUESTION: If, for example, the interim government promises that the next election and the constitutional change will be made within the next six months, will it be enough for you to --

MS. PSAKI: I’m not going to get ahead of where we are in the process. As I mentioned, obviously, the steps taken moving forward are all being looked at as well.

Go ahead, Nicole.

QUESTION: So, I wanted to ask about the Muslim Brotherhood. If the Administration wants them to take part in a democratic process for the second time how do you expect them to do that if members of their leadership have been arrested and/or detained and the person they back as a presidential candidate has been under house arrest in some place unknown?

MS. PSAKI: Well --

QUESTION: How can they function under those circumstances?

MS. PSAKI: Again, we have been clear about our views on arbitrary arrests and how we feel that has been handled.

QUESTION: Well, how --

MS. PSAKI: So moving forward, we are in touch – we have been in touch with members of the Muslim Brotherhood. We want them to be a part of the process moving forward. We don’t --

QUESTION: But the question is: How can they be, though?

MS. PSAKI: -- think the process will take place in --

QUESTION: How can they be?

MS. PSAKI: -- the process is going to take place over a long course of time.

QUESTION: Right.

MS. PSAKI: So obviously, we believe that in cases where there were an arbitrary arrest, they should be released --

QUESTION: Have you asked the military to do that?

MS. PSAKI: -- and they should be able to participate in the process.

QUESTION: Have you asked the military to do that?

MS. PSAKI: We’ve said publicly that we don’t support arbitrary arrests. And we’ve made that clear.

QUESTION: But have you directly asked them to release the leadership figures that they have --

MS. PSAKI: I don’t have anything more on private conversations beyond that.

QUESTION: Change of topic?

QUESTION: Yeah.

MS. PSAKI: Sure.

QUESTION: Can I go to the Taliban, please?

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: The Taliban announced today that they’re temporarily closing their office in Doha because of broken promises by the Americans and by President Karzai. Could you comment on that, please?

MS. PSAKI: Sure. We’ve always known, Jo, that this would be a challenging process with bumps in the road. And we’re trying to still move it forward despite the difficulty of the process. The opening of the Taliban office just a couple of weeks ago, of course, was intended to facilitate negotiations with the Afghan High Peace Council, as you know. We believe that misunderstandings that arose in the context of the opening should not stand in the way of moving forward on reconciliation, if the Taliban wishes to do so. And we’ll continue to support and reiterate our call for that process to move forward.

QUESTION: But how are you going to do that if they don’t have a political office? Surely you’ve just gone back beyond square one – back to square one again.

MS. PSAKI: Well, obviously, we know the office has been closed, as you said in your opening question here. But again, we’re going to continue to work through the bumpy road, and we’re hopeful that we can get it back on track.

QUESTION: So nothing is scheduled at the moment? There’s no --

MS. PSAKI: There’s nothing scheduled to update you on at the moment.

QUESTION: Is it your understanding that the Taliban – the reason – that their reasons for doing this are purely related to their pique at not being able to use their sign and their flag, or is there something more substantive to it?

MS. PSAKI: I don’t want to do an analysis of their motivation here.

QUESTION: Well, the reason I ask is that – well, I mean, several of us spoke to a senior official last week who said that that was, in fact, the case, that it --

MS. PSAKI: Well --

QUESTION: -- that essentially it all boils down to the name on the sign and the flag, and that you were hopeful that this closure wouldn’t happen. Is that basically correct?

MS. PSAKI: Sure. Certainly.

QUESTION: All of that is correct?

MS. PSAKI: That is correct. But if there are other reasons, I don’t want to ascribe them on their behalf.

QUESTION: Okay.

QUESTION: Just staying in Afghanistan, there was a report in the New York Times this morning about the possibility that the United States is now saying it may instigate a zero option, which means leaving no troops behind after 2014, because talks have obviously stalled with the Afghan leaders. Is that your understanding of the situation?

MS. PSAKI: I did read the story this morning, of course. We are committed – let me just – bear with me here, just to give you a broad overview of our approach – to continuing to support a fully sovereign, democratic, and united Afghanistan. We have been clear in public and in private, as have many of our allies and partners in ISAF and in the broader international community, that we do not intend to repeat the mistakes of the ‘80s and ‘90s, and that as the Afghans stand up they won’t stand alone.

As you know, this is a decision that the President will make. He is still reviewing options from his national security team and has not made a decision about the size of a possible U.S. presence. He’s considering a range of options, as you know, and we made clear as far back – made that clear as far back as January. So any report stating a decision is being made, or has been made, I should say, is inaccurate.

QUESTION: But there is a zero option; that’s one of the options still on the table?

MS. PSAKI: That has been an option that has been on the table for quite some time.

QUESTION: So has it moved up the pecking order from number one, two, three, four? Has it become one of the more serious options?

MS. PSAKI: I would point you to the White House for that. This is a decision the President will make. But my understanding is that any rankings or notion that a decision has been made are inaccurate.

QUESTION: Just for the record, the New York Times story did not say that a decision had been made. In fact, I think it went out of its way to say the decision had not yet been made.

MS. PSAKI: Okay.

QUESTION: Yeah. So when you’re saying that any reports that a decision had been made would be wrong, you’re not referring to that report, right?

MS. PSAKI: Well, Arshad, I think that was what the question was about the New York Times story. No decision has been made. It was very forward about where a decision was leaning.

QUESTION: But it didn’t say it.

MS. PSAKI: So I wanted to make clear --

QUESTION: Yeah.

MS. PSAKI: -- that a decision has not been made. And again, I am doubtful that my friends over at the White House are going to confirm any rankings of orders. But this option has been on the table for some time, and the President’s continuing to consider options being put forward by his national security team.

QUESTION: So you would say that a report that said that there was a lean in a certain direction is wrong as well? Is that what you’re trying to say?

MS. PSAKI: Again, I would point you to my friends over at the White House for any further analysis.

QUESTION: In other words, you wouldn’t deny it. Can I just ask you what you mean when you said – and I’m sure that there’s some background there --

MS. PSAKI: Well, let me just say one more thing here. That option has been out there for a long time. So --

QUESTION: Yes. But the zero to 100 option is – if you’re considering all options, you’re considering leaving no one or you’re considering leaving infinity or however many people you have in the entire army. So, I mean, the range of options is always from zero to 100 if you want to put it that way.

MS. PSAKI: That’s true. But this is a decision the President will make.

QUESTION: And you’re saying that there is no leaning --

MS. PSAKI: So for any further clarification of that I send you over there.

QUESTION: Okay. Fair enough. Can I just ask you to say what you believe the mistakes of the ‘80s and ‘90s were when you say that we’re not going to repeat the mistakes of the ‘80s and ‘90s in Afghanistan? What mistakes would those be?

MS. PSAKI: Well, Matt, I think the clear point here is making sure that the Afghan people know that we stand with them, that we’re going to support them, and that we’re going to under – have a proper transition take place here.

QUESTION: Well, okay. But when you say the mistakes of the ‘80s and ‘90s, what mistakes are you referring to? And are you referring to American mistakes?

MS. PSAKI: We’re referring to how we’re learning from the past to manage things moving forward.

QUESTION: But you told me just the other week that you didn’t look in the rearview mirror.

QUESTION: No rear view mirror. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: But that’s – you hear that – I’m just wondering, these mistakes, these are mistakes that this Administration is saying that previous administrations, the Reagan Administration, the first Bush Administration, the Bush father Administration, the Clinton Administration all made in Afghanistan? Or are you saying that the whole world made mistakes in Afghanistan or that the Afghans made mistakes in Afghanistan? What mistakes are you specifically talking about?

MS. PSAKI: I’m not going to outline them. I will just tell you that we’re --

QUESTION: All right.

MS. PSAKI: -- going to ensure the Afghan people know we stand with them.

QUESTION: Okay. Can I --

QUESTION: On reconciliation?

QUESTION: For what it’s worth, I think Secretary Clinton said when she was in office that – I think she said this publicly and I think several times – that she felt that the U.S. Government had precipitously withdrawn from Afghanistan after the Soviets withdrew. Is that maybe what you were thinking of?

MS. PSAKI: Thank you for your educational quote there, Arshad. I appreciate it.

QUESTION: I’m throwing you a lifeline is what I’m doing --

MS. PSAKI: I appreciate it.

QUESTION: -- but you don’t have to grab it.

MS. PSAKI: Thanks, as always, for your contribution.

QUESTION: On the question of reconciliation, as you have just reiterated that it should go forward. But considering the 2014 drawdown and the upcoming Afghan presidential elections, how soon this reconciliation process should move forward? Is there a timeline that you want to be there?

MS. PSAKI: For the – well, obviously, we would like to see – and this was clear, as evidenced by our opening of the – support for the opening of the office just a few weeks ago. Certainly, we would like to see a reconciliation process move forward sooner rather than later, but we certainly understand the bumps in the road that we have experienced.

QUESTION: But are you hopeful that in the face of continuing differences between the Afghan President and the United States and the bumps in the road, will this reconciliation process be able to achieve something before the Afghan presidential elections?

MS. PSAKI: I’m not going to give a timeline. Obviously, we continue to be focused on it.

QUESTION: Real quickly on Snowden --

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- you seem – well, what’s your understanding of his current status? Still in the airport, you don’t know --

MS. PSAKI: That is our understanding.

QUESTION: Do you not know – and I don’t know that you would have any way of knowing – whether he has accepted any asylum offers or not? You don’t; is that correct?

MS. PSAKI: I don’t think we have a means of speaking on his behalf.

QUESTION: Okay. Then is it your belief that there is no way that the Venezuelan Government or any other government could have misunderstood the messages that they are getting from the Administration about what you want to see happen to Snowden? Is there any way that – to your knowledge, can you conceive of a way that any government that you’ve been in touch with on this case might misunderstand your position?

MS. PSAKI: Well, given how often we’ve stated it publicly in addition to private conversations --

QUESTION: But I mean, in private conversations, sometimes – sometimes when you say something publicly, when you go in and say it privately, there’s a wink and a nod.

MS. PSAKI: No, I don’t, Matt, and I actually have an update for you. I know someone asked yesterday about contacts with Venezuela, and we of course have been in touch at senior levels, orally and in writing. Assistant Secretary Roberta Jacobson, John McNamara, who is the director of the Andean Affairs Office, have spoken with Charge Ortega and to the Venezuelan Ambassador to the OAS Roy Chaderton about Snowden and asylum.

QUESTION: Okay. But I just want to make sure that because there is often --

QUESTION: When was that?

MS. PSAKI: Let’s see. The last meeting took place Friday evening. I’d have to check if there was another contact in the last few days, but it’s fair to say in the last couple of days.

QUESTION: And you can say 100 percent that there is no difference in the message that you’re presenting publicly regarding your desire to have Snowden returned to the United States – there’s no difference between that, what you’re saying to us, and what you have told the Venezuelans in private? There isn’t any kind of --

MS. PSAKI: Well --

QUESTION: -- wink or nod going on? There’s no way that they could have misunderstood and not – there’s no way – do you believe that there’s any way that they could think that you don’t really want him back or that there might not be – it might not have a deleterious effect on the relationship if they took him in?

MS. PSAKI: It’s hard to see how.

QUESTION: Okay.

QUESTION: Just to follow up, I think your understanding on Venezuela --

MS. PSAKI: And I’m getting the hook here in a moment, but go ahead, Said.

QUESTION: Just very quick. Was there, like, a time limit on the offer by Venezuela? Somebody said, what, that the offer expired or the deadline has passed. When you talk to Venezuela --

MS. PSAKI: I would point you to the Venezuelans. I didn’t see one (inaudible).

QUESTION: But right now, you think that this is – I mean, even though ultimately he would have to go to a country like Venezuela or somewhere else --

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- you still think that this is in Russia’s hands, whereas they have the potential to send him back from this transit area to the United States.

MS. PSAKI: Certainly, and if he were to be transported anywhere else, other countries would be involved, which is why we’ve been in touch with a broad range of countries across the world.

QUESTION: But I mean, in terms of your discussions with Russia, do you feel that this is still a kind of productive dialogue, or have you given – have you kind of much – just chalked it up that the Russians will let him go wherever it is that he can get asylum?

MS. PSAKI: No, we still feel it is productive. You’ve seen the statements by – I guess it was – the last one may have been last week by President Putin.

QUESTION: Well, the statements were that they’d like him to go.

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: They didn’t say anything encouraging about --

MS. PSAKI: They did say they didn’t want this to impact our relationship. There are a lot of issues that we work together on --

QUESTION: But is there any --

MS. PSAKI: -- but they still have the opportunity to do the right thing here, absolutely.

QUESTION: If – they say they don’t want it to impact the relationship, but if they do anything other than send him back to the United States, is that going to impact the relationship?

MS. PSAKI: Well, I don't know what that would be, so it’s hard for me to speculate on that, obviously.

QUESTION: Well, isn’t the only option really to send him – I mean, to send him back to the United States? Otherwise, anything that would help him get asylum would impact the relationship at this point.

MS. PSAKI: Certainly that would be a step that we would take into account as considering our relationship.

QUESTION: Two small, quick things.

MS. PSAKI: Yeah.

QUESTION: I think you’re aware of the tweet that was put out by a Russian lawmaker --

MS. PSAKI: Yes, mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- and then taken down saying that Snowden had accepted. Do you have any reason to believe that that is accurate, that he has accepted an offer?

MS. PSAKI: I don’t have any way of knowing what Mr. Snowden did or didn’t do, so --

QUESTION: Great. And then secondly, the note about Mrs. Heinz Kerry’s improvement in her condition said that the Secretary will briefly travel to Washington today for the opening.

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: But the opening is tomorrow, so he’ll be here today and stay at least through tomorrow?

MS. PSAKI: Well, as you know, he’s – I think Matt referenced this in the beginning --

QUESTION: Sorry.

MS. PSAKI: -- that he’s --

QUESTION: It’s already been answered.

MS. PSAKI: He had planned to host a dinner.

QUESTION: Got it.

QUESTION: Jen, quickly --

QUESTION: Hold on a second here.

MS. PSAKI: Okay.

QUESTION: One more on Snowden here.

MS. PSAKI: Sure.

QUESTION: Earlier today at the OAS, a French diplomat – a very young French diplomat, I might say --

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- said that the French Government had, in fact, revoked permission for President Morales’ plane to go, but he said that it was a technical error based on a misunderstanding. Do you and the United States have any idea what that technical error – that technical reason that was based on a misunderstanding or an incorrect assumption might have been?

MS. PSAKI: I don’t.

QUESTION: Jen, any reaction --

QUESTION: (Inaudible) had a second – yesterday, I asked you a follow-up --

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- about Snowden possibly being in possession of a second U.S. passport.

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: I’m holding here a diplomatic note that was released in The Guardian over the weekend, and it says that Snowden – this is – your diplomatic note says Snowden may be in possession of another U.S. passport, number 018111064. Is there any follow-up on that?

MS. PSAKI: I just don’t have – I’d have to check on kind of exactly how it works, if your passport is revoked, does it mean you can use a different passport.

QUESTION: He had previously reported it lost or stolen, so it – maybe this is a sign of premeditation, perhaps?

MS. PSAKI: I don’t have anything – any analysis on that for you or any validation of that actually being fact.

QUESTION: The U.S. adjudicates passports, so you would know that – if he had two, right?

MS. PSAKI: I would have to check on the actual --

QUESTION: Can you check?

MS. PSAKI: I’m happy to check if there’s more we can share, and --

QUESTION: Also, on Benghazi, Jen --

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- as you know, you’ve gotten a look at a book excerpt that appears in the August issue of Vanity Fair concerning Benghazi. The author appears to bring a wealth of new detail to the timeline of events from the night of the attack on the consulate. Their chief conclusion seems to be that the attackers enjoyed detailed “knowledge,” quote-unquote, of the consulate’s layout, even to the point of knowing where the gasoline cans were located, all of which suggest that this terrorist attack was much more premeditated and carefully thought out than has previously been understood.

Does the Department dispute any accounts of this?

MS. PSAKI: Well, I’m aware of the article. I haven’t read the article and there hasn’t been any analysis of the article. As you know, our official account of the events from that night is in the unclassified ARB report. This article seems to draw heavily from that. In terms of other details that don’t correspond with it, I just don’t have anything further for that – on that for you.

QUESTION: And based on what we know now, including the details amassed by these authors --

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- Messrs. Burton and Katz, how much premeditation do we believe the Benghazi attack benefited from? Where did the intelligence possibly come from for them to know where this stuff was?

MS. PSAKI: Again, I’m just not going to have a further comment on a situation that you know is being looked at, that’s ongoing, and --

QUESTION: Right, and when --

MS. PSAKI: -- and we’ve already put out an unclassified ARB report accounting the details of the event.

QUESTION: And when Secretary Clinton famously asked about Benghazi, was it because of guys out for a walk one night and decided they would go kill some Americans, this article clearly suggests that that was not the case, and that the consulate was under careful observation for some time. Can you comment on that and maybe about outsourcing security to other host nations?

MS. PSAKI: This has all been addressed, and --

QUESTION: Could you also ask for – maybe you should put that quote in context.

MS. PSAKI: Fair enough, but it’s all been addressed in the ARB report.

QUESTION: U.S.-China?

QUESTION: Homs.

MS. PSAKI: One more. Go ahead.

QUESTION: Homs. I mean, the regime has been bombarding Homs nonstop --

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- for days now, when you – the Administration a few days ago has asked the world community, the ones that have friends to the – Bashar al-Assad and his regime to talk to them to have safe passage for the humanitarian aid workers.

MS. PSAKI: Yes, that’s right.

QUESTION: Has any of this happened? What do you think is going on in Homs? And how do you see things unfolding in the near few days?

MS. PSAKI: Well, you are absolutely correct. Of course, the fighting continues on the ground between both sides. You may have seen the UN estimates that as many as 4,000 civilians remain trapped inside the city without food, water, electricity, or medicine. Our understanding is that remains the case, and we are very concerned, as the UN and others are, about the inability for humanitarian assistance to get through.

QUESTION: Can I ask you this, Jen --

MS. PSAKI: Thank you. I think we’re done, but we can come over here. Thanks, everyone.

QUESTION: Thanks, Jen.

(The briefing was concluded at 2:36 p.m.)

DPB # 114



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