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U.S. Department of State - Great Seal

U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action


Marie Harf
Deputy Spokesperson
Daily Press Briefing
Washington, DC
August 20, 2013


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Index for Today's Briefing
  • DEPARTMENT
    • Status of Officials Placed on Independent Leave following Benghazi Attack / Reassignment to Different Positions
    • Enhancing Embassy Security / ARB Recommendations
  • EGYPT
    • U.S. Aid/Assistance to Egypt
    • Disbursement of Obligated Funds
    • Policy and Legal Review
    • Violence / Attacks on Coptic Christians
    • U.S. Relationship with Egypt Regarding Assistance
    • Integration of Issues, Inclusion, Democracy, Assistance, National Security
    • Components of Egypt Policy Review / Sinai Security as a Component of Review
    • Condemnation of Statements that Israel is Responsible for Situation in Egypt
  • PAKISTAN
    • Case of Dr. Afridi
  • MIDDLE EAST PEACE
    • No Updates
  • AUSTRALIA
    • Death of Australian Citizen in Oklahoma
  • BANGLADESH
    • Elections / Minority Rights
  • YEMEN
    • Embassy Status
  • NIGERIA
    • Reports of Death of Boko Haram Leader / Continued U.S. Support for Nigeria's Peace Efforts
  • MALI
    • U.S. Assistance


TRANSCRIPT:

This video is available on YouTube with closed captions.

 2:03 p.m. EDT

MS. HARF: Good afternoon, everyone. I’m so sorry for the delay. I have nothing at the top. Let’s go ahead and get started.

Deb.

QUESTION: Can we yet again --

QUESTION: Can we yet again go to Egypt?

QUESTION: Can we just have a quick question on the --

QUESTION: Can we go to Egypt?

MS. HARF: Just one second. We'll go to Egypt in a second, Arshad.

Go ahead.

QUESTION: Can we just ask quickly about the State Department employees before we get to Egypt? Because I know this could take a long time.

MS. HARF: I think both could take a while, but let’s start with that, and then we’ll go to Egypt, yes.

QUESTION: Okay. Is it true that Secretary Kerry has not issued any kind of disciplinary action – formal disciplinary – against the four employees who were criticized in the investigative report? And are they back at work?

MS. HARF: The State Department has determined that the four officials who were placed on administrative leave following the independent Benghazi Accountability Review Board’s report should be reassigned to different positions within the Department, and they will be returning to work. The State Department’s own review over the last months reaffirmed the findings of the ARB, that there was no breach of duty by these four employees, and that coupled with our efforts to strengthen security, the right answer for these four was reassignment. What we’re focused on at the State Department is making sure we’re doing everything in our power to prevent another tragedy even though we recognize that we operate in a volatile and dangerous world, and everyone from the Secretary on down is squarely focused on moving forward to strengthen security and protect our people and our facilities all around the world. Clearly, we know we can never completely eliminate the risk, but we are firmly committed to making sure we do everything we can to stand by our people in the field.

QUESTION: Are they back at work?

MS. HARF: I don’t have specific details about when they will actually start back at work, but as of today, yes, they have new assignments.

QUESTION: Was the independent Accountability Review Board then wrong in its assessment of the account of what happened that night?

MS. HARF: Well, no. Actually, what I just said, I think, is that the State Department’s own review which has taken place over these months actually reaffirmed the Accountability Review Board’s findings, which were that they saw serious concerns – or concerns with some of the steps and actions of these four individuals, but that they did not determine that there had been a breach of duty. So what we’ve done over these past few months is go back and look at all the facts and also take into account the totality of these four employees’ overall careers at the State Department, and what we found in that review is that many of – they have served honorably, often in very tough places, and that was all taken into account. But actually I would disagree with the notion of your question. I think our review reaffirmed the ARB’s –

QUESTION: But the ARB did say that the actions that were taken were – and I’m using the quote that the ARB used --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- was – “were inadequate.” Is that correct?

MS. HARF: I don’t have that quote in front of me.

QUESTION: And those actions were made by these four individuals?

MS. HARF: I know that when it comes specifically to these four individuals that we’re talking about today, that specific part, that they said – the ARB found that there had been a lack of proactive leadership and management abilities specifically regarding what happened in Benghazi.

QUESTION: Specifically regarding these four individuals?

MS. HARF: Correct, but that there was no breach of duty.

QUESTION: Who are back to work today?

MS. HARF: But that there’s no breach of duty. So the State Department reaffirmed that same finding and made a decision that all four would return to work, but they would be reassigned.

QUESTION: Marie.

MS. HARF: Yes, Jill.

QUESTION: When you say “no breach of duty” --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- are you speaking legalese here? In other words, is this a bureaucratic decision by the State Department that according to the rules of the State Department, you can’t fire somebody because “no breach of duty?” Is that – you’re being very precise?

MS. HARF: Well, “breach of duty” is a technical term, yes. And as I said, the ARB did not find that there was a breach of duty, and neither did the State Department’s own review. I think when we took a step back and looked at both what the ARB found, but what the Secretary and his team has been doing over these past few months is doing more fact finding, going into what happened on the ground, but also looking, again, at the totality of these four employees’ careers at the State Department. Again, they’ve served in tough places. There were a lot of examples where they’ve had very exemplary careers here. So that was all looked at as we made this determination about what was appropriate.

QUESTION: Okay. But just – I guess when you stand back again and look at it --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- this is such an extraordinary thing --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- an ambassador killed under hideous circumstances, many things we – looking at the ARB, we can see management deficiencies at senior levels, et cetera. Wasn’t there a reason to go beyond just bureaucratic definitions and to actually make somebody responsible for this?

MS. HARF: Well, I think first I’d make crystal clear that the people ultimately responsible for what happened in Benghazi are the terrorists who perpetrated this terrorist attack. So, (a) I would make that point; (b) what the ARB did was look at our processes and look at our systems and make recommendations about how to improve and enhance our security in the future. So the ARB took a hard look at this and did make some determinations about these four individuals. That’s why they were placed on administrative leave and we undertook such a comprehensive look at them, at what they had done, and indeed, at their entire careers at the State Department. So clearly we take very, very seriously what happened that day. I think that should go without saying. And we’ve taken a look at the ARB’s recommendations and have reaffirmed their findings in this decision.

QUESTION: Marie.

MS. HARF: Yes.

QUESTION: The statement that was released on this last night and which was attributable to a senior State Department official --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- stated that Secretary Kerry, upon assuming office in February, launched this internal review of the ARB’s findings. That disclosure, in turn, raises a number of questions, which I’d like to go through with you in turn. Number one, who led this review of the ARB?

MS. HARF: Okay. Well, first, not – I would like to clarify exactly what that statement means. Secretary Clinton, obviously, was the Secretary when these four were put on administrative leave. When Secretary Kerry came into office here, he basically picked up the ball. It was a continuation of that review that had already been started. He wanted to take the time to get all the facts himself. He wanted to take the time with his senior team to sit down and go over the ARB’s findings in great depth and look into the situation of these four in their careers.

QUESTION: Stop right there.

MS. HARF: Yeah.

QUESTION: The statement said that he launched this upon assuming office. Now you’re telling me there was an ongoing internal review of ARB that Secretary Clinton transferred to him?

MS. HARF: I think you’re using the term “review” specifically. What we’ve been – wait. Let me finish, James.

QUESTION: I’m using your statement.

MS. HARF: Okay. Can I finish?

QUESTION: Please.

MS. HARF: Thank you. I think we made it very clear when these four people were put on administrative leave that there was a review process into them that was ongoing. Obviously – so that process was ongoing before Secretary Kerry got here. That’s been well documented publicly.

Point B is that when Secretary Kerry took office, he wanted to make sure that he himself and his senior team did a thorough investigation into what had happened, picking up on the work Secretary Clinton had already done, but obviously he would be the one making the decision, so he wanted to make sure he was acquainted with all the facts, and that we looked into all of the things that might go into a decision surrounding these four.

QUESTION: Okay. What was the actual scope of this review by Secretary Kerry? Was it just with respect to these four individuals or was he reviewing the entire findings of the ARB?

MS. HARF: Again, I think you’re using the term review in a way that I’m not using it. When I say review, he wanted to make sure he was well acquainted with all of the facts. He wanted to dive deeply into all of the issues involved with the ARB, which obviously now fell under his purview to make decisions. So it’s not like he was making a judgment on the ARB. That’s not at all what I’m insinuating. That he was himself looking at the ARB, diving into the details, and also gathering other facts that may go into his eventual decision about these four.

QUESTION: You just stated earlier in response to another question from one of my colleagues that he did engage in, quote, “additional fact finding.”

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: What did that entail? Were documents reviewed? Were new depositions taken? What kind of fact-finding mission are we talking about?

MS. HARF: Well, I think most specifically what I’m referring to is that we took – he and the team took a look at the totality of the careers that these four individuals have had at the State Department. Again, they’ve served honorably, had distinguished records, and all of that wanted to be taken into account. When, quite frankly, you’re making decisions about real people and their careers, he wanted to not only look at the ARB and what happened that day, but look at what they had done overall at the State Department.

QUESTION: Whose recommendation was Secretary Kerry following when he made this determination about these four individuals?

MS. HARF: Well, his senior team, and I don’t have a specific name for you about who led that. I can endeavor to get more details on that. If I can share them, I will. I’m not sure I can. But setting that aside, there was – his senior team looked at – took a look at the situation, looked at the four, looked at their careers, made a recommendation to him which he agreed with, and he ultimately made the final decision.

QUESTION: We have had in this briefing room --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- since Secretary Kerry assumed office, multiple discussions about the ARB --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- particularly in and around May 8, when the two whistleblowers, Mr. Hicks and Mr. Thompson testified before the Congress. And yet at no time did the State Department, either at this podium or in any other forum, disclose that Secretary Kerry had engaged in this process such as you’ve described it.

MS. HARF: I think we --

QUESTION: Why was that fact withheld from the public?

MS. HARF: Well, I would disagree with the premise of your question to start, but second I would say we’ve been --

QUESTION: What premise do you disagree with?

MS. HARF: Let me – can I finish and I’ll tell you?

QUESTION: Tell me.

MS. HARF: Okay. What I would say is we’ve been clear, every single time we are asked about the status of these four, that Secretary Kerry is undergoing a process in conjunction with his senior team and will make a decision at some point in the future. Every single time someone from this podium has been asked that, that’s exactly what they’ve said.

This, quote, “review,” whatever word you want to use for it, his looking --

QUESTION: I’m using your words.

MS. HARF: -- right, and I’m using it too – his looking at the facts, his in-depth look at the ARB and their careers are what played into this process of how he would eventually make a decision about the four. So there’s not – we have not been at all secret about the fact that Secretary Kerry has been leading a process.

QUESTION: Last two questions – you’ve been very patient and so have my colleagues – was there an actual final report of some kind, in some form, that was presented to Secretary Kerry prior to his making these decisions that the Department would be willing to make public?

MS. HARF: I don’t know the answer to that question.

QUESTION: Was there any kind of report at all?

MS. HARF: I don’t know. That’s the – I do not know the answer to that question.

QUESTION: Last question.

MS. HARF: I can take that question.

QUESTION: With respect to the two aforementioned whistleblowers, Mr. Hicks --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- and Mr. Thompson, what is their status now?

MS. HARF: I don’t have any updates for you on that. I can endeavor to get an update for you. Again, I don’t have details on that in here, but I can get back to you on that.

QUESTION: Is it not a fact that they remain in limbo?

MS. HARF: I don’t know the answer to that, James. I really don’t.

QUESTION: Marie, could you just, for the record, give us the names of the four? And also, is Boswell – is it correct that he is a political appointee?

MS. HARF: I’m not, from the podium, going to read out the names of the four. I know it’s been widely reported. Again, there are different specifics about political appointees. It is my understanding that one of the individuals is, but again, they’ve all been reassigned and will be taking up new positions going forward.

QUESTION: So political appointees can be reassigned?

MS. HARF: It is my understanding that that’s the case, yes.

QUESTION: Marie, I realize you can’t talk about some of these personnel issues from the podium --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- but can you, generally speaking, give us a sense of the reassignments of these four, whether any of them, say, have anything to do with security at any U.S. diplomatic post abroad?

MS. HARF: I can’t give you any details about their specific onward assignments.

QUESTION: Why?

QUESTION: Do any of these reassignments since the Secretary decided that they couldn’t remain in the positions they previously held – what defined the parameters for where they would be allowed to work?

MS. HARF: Well, these four individuals will be or have been reassigned to positions that are best suited to their experiences and capabilities. Again, I can’t share with you further details about their onward assignments.

QUESTION: Were these positions existent prior to them assuming the duties of this – these new positions?

MS. HARF: I believe so, but I’m not positive. I can double-check that.

QUESTION: Have they been asked to sign nondisclosure agreements?

MS. HARF: I don’t know that, but I ask that – I don’t know that specifically on this. I have said from this podium categorically that no State Department employees have been asked to sign additional nondisclosure agreements in addition to the standard protection of classified information one everyone signs upon entering State. I have said --

QUESTION: And that still stands?

MS. HARF: Correct, yes, that still stands.

QUESTION: One more on that --

QUESTION: And Marie, just one – another to make sure we understand: You can’t say this because of rules and regulations, internal personnel regulations?

MS. HARF: Yes, correct.

QUESTION: Okay.

MS. HARF: Yes.

QUESTION: Did the Secretary feel that to take any action beyond having placed the four on administrative leave would be to make scapegoats of them?

MS. HARF: I wouldn’t characterize it that way. He – when he came into the State Department, there were four people on administrative leave. When we’re talking about this case, it’s a very limited case of these four people. I think broadly speaking, what you’ve seen the Secretary do is continue the implementation of the additional embassy security measures that we’ve talked about a lot in here that are in the ARB. So what he’s focused on is moving forward, figuring out the best way to enhance our security, to keep working with Congress to do so, and that’s really been his main focus from this point on.

QUESTION: And does he feel that “breach of duty” should be the appropriate standard here?

MS. HARF: Appropriate standard for what?

QUESTION: For deciding – I mean, you’ve made – you’ve emphasized several times that --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- as with the ARB, they found that there was no breach of duty.

MS. HARF: Correct.

QUESTION: The ARB also found that it believed that the criteria – and I regret I don’t have them in mind --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- specified under the law --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- set too high a bar for taking action against individuals who might have failed to properly do their jobs. And I’m wondering if – so I don’t remember if breach of duty is what was in the law and if they therefore felt that that was too high a standard – but since you keep emphasizing that the Secretary agrees with the ARB that there was no breach of duty --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- I wonder if that – ultimately, if the Secretary feels that should be the standard, that breach of duty is what would trigger some kind of action in such a case.

MS. HARF: Well, I don’t want to, I think, draw conclusions from this, broadly speaking, about how the Secretary looks at disciplinary action for employees. I think in this case, he was presented with a very limited situation of four employees. The ARB had made some conclusions about their performance, and the review that we undertook reaffirmed that when we made a decision about the four.

Going forward, I don’t have anything new to announce in terms of how we will make these decisions in the future. Needless to say, I think the Secretary, again, as I said, is focused on taking the recommendations in the ARB, particularly on the embassy security recommendations, and moving forward with those.

QUESTION: Marie, one last way to --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- sort of approach this: To the average American sitting at home, they see four dead Americans, including our Ambassador; they see that there’s some kind of blue-ribbon panel that’s set up, we know as a function of a congressional mandate called the Accountability Review Board --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- and at the end of it, not one person is held accountable. How do you explain that to the American people?

MS. HARF: Well, again, I would make two points, James. The first is that we’ve all made clear that we are focused on bringing to account those that were responsible for this tragedy in Benghazi, and that means finding the terrorists who actually perpetrated this horrible tragedy, period.

Secondly, we take a very thorough and careful review of what happened that day, and we all wish there was some easy answer, just one thing we could have pointed to that would mean today that those four Americans are still here, but we have to let the facts lead where they do. And in this case, the Secretary took a very thorough look at four people and their situations, and made a determination on what their future should look like.

Clearly, there is nobody in the world that is more saddened and upset and cares more about what happened that day than the people who work in this building, and believe me, they are doing everything in their power to bring to account those that were actually responsible for what happened that day.

QUESTION: So there’s not a single – amongst the 20,000 worldwide State Department employees, there’s not a single one of them who acted foolishly, stupidly, neglectfully, so much so that they should lose their job over it?

MS. HARF: James, clearly the Accountability Review Board indicated there were deficiencies. Clearly, things could have been done better. I think that’s patently obvious to everybody who’s followed this for almost a year now. But again, we have to let the facts lead where they may, and these are people with real lives and real careers, and we can’t just take action that’s not warranted against them just to make us all feel better. That’s not the way the process works, and quite frankly, we owe it more to our diplomats serving all around the world to have thorough processes and to look at all of this from an independent lens, which is exactly what the ARB did.

QUESTION: Can we go to another topic?

QUESTION: Oh, just one more?

QUESTION: Can we go to Egypt?

QUESTION: Just one more?

MS. HARF: Yeah, we’ll go to Egypt next.

QUESTION: Marie, then, in a way, I guess, is it too much to say that the entity that is being held responsible is the entire State Department and the system that is here that failed? Is that correct?

MS. HARF: Well, I don’t know if I would term it exactly that way, Jill. I think we’ve been clear that there are additional steps that the ARB recommended that we agree with that we need to take, and as you all know, Congress right now is debating different ways to further enhance our embassy security. That’s what we think everybody should be focused on going forward. That’s what’s really, in the future, what’s going to be important on the ground.

So I don’t know if I would use those words. Clearly, everybody – every single State Department employee – felt a profound sense of loss that day and has ever since. But what they’re focused on now is making sure that we do everything in our power to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.

QUESTION: Walk us through some of the steps that you’re taking that the Accountability Review Board --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- recommended that you are in fact taking.

MS. HARF: Yep, I can walk through a couple of them, and we have, I think, more detail on this if folks would like it after the briefing.

We’re bringing on more security personnel and enhancing their training. There were 29 recommendations, I should underscore here, that the ARB put forward. We’re putting more Marines at our high-threat diplomatic posts. We’re making sure that protecting our people is a priority mission for them. We’re working more closely with our Defense Department partners on supporting our missions before, during, and after crises. We’re upgrading our facilities and building new embassies and consulates, and we’re making sure that concerns about safety and security always get the attention they need.

So I would also encourage everyone to take a look at the unclassified ARB that’s out there for everyone to read their recommendations. We’ll continue working with Congress to enhance our security going forward.

QUESTION: Egypt?

MS. HARF: Egypt.

QUESTION: So has the U.S. Government obligated any funds for Egypt from either the military or the economic categories of funding since the July 3rd coup against Morsy?

MS. HARF: Well, let me first start by saying – thank you for the question, Arshad – that we have not made a policy decision to suspend our aid to Egypt, period. We have not made a decision to suspend all of our assistance to Egypt or to slow our assistance. Any reports to the contrary are simply false.

In terms of your question specifically, I think, as we were clear the other day, there’s a bucket of remaining money – it’s 585 million – that has not yet been obligated on the FMF side. None of that has been obligated yet. On the economic side, I don’t have an exact number for you. Some of – as we’ve said, we continue to pay our bills; some of that has been ongoing. But we are, as everyone knows, I think, doing a comprehensive review of all of our assistance to Egypt and will be (a) continuing to operate within the law, but (b) making decisions going forward about where that goes from here.

QUESTION: “We continue to pay our bills,” does that mean --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- that you have, since July 3rd, obligated any funds out of the economic assistance for Egypt – since July 3rd?

MS. HARF: Well, just, economic assistance goes both to the Egyptian Government but also to various NGOs --

QUESTION: I know.

MS. HARF: -- that would not be affected – I know you know; I don’t know if everyone knows – (laughter) – that would not be affected necessarily by some of the legal restrictions that we’re talking about right now. It is my understanding that some of that has gone forward. I don’t have an exact number for you, but it is my understanding that until a decision has been broadly made about the future of our assistance to Egypt, we will continue doing things like paying our bills.

QUESTION: Since July 3rd, some of it has gone forward?

MS. HARF: It’s my understanding, yes, and again, the economic side includes NGOs. But we – on everything we’ve gone forward with, we are doing so consistent with the law.

QUESTION: So how do you explain all these stories, and there are now at least two --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- that state that the Administration is in some manner slowing, if not cutting, reducing its dispersal of aid to Egypt?

MS. HARF: Well, I can’t explain them other than to say that they’re false. We’ve been very open when we’ve made decisions to not do things, like we were with the F-16s, like we were with Bright Star. We’ve also been very clear that there is an ongoing policy review underway about all of our assistance, but again, we have not made a policy decision to suspend our – all of our aid to Egypt, period. So I can’t describe the discrepancy.

QUESTION: But not all of our aid?

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Any of our aid?

MS. HARF: Well, we’ve been clear, when we – like with the F-16s, for example, but again, all of it is under review right now, and an overall policy decision has not been made.

QUESTION: So let me ask it this way: If you had a trend line of the anticipated disbursal of all assistance –

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- which I’m sure you do – of the disbursal of all U.S. assistance, military and economic, to Egypt over the course of the current fiscal year –

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- so you have a line that reflects --

MS. HARF: Yeah.

QUESTION: -- what you should have been paying out at what points --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- that line is totally unchanged other than the F-16s from where it otherwise would be?

MS. HARF: Well, none of the future – none of the remaining FMF --

QUESTION: Right.

MS. HARF: -- that 585, has been obligated yet. And the previous FMF was obligated before July 3rd.

QUESTION: So is --

MS. HARF: And there’s no time by which we are legally required to obligate the remaining funds.

QUESTION: Okay.

MS. HARF: So we’re not missing deadlines here, is what I’m saying.

QUESTION: What I’m trying to understand --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- is whether there may be a de facto stop in aid to certain categories of aid to Egypt, including the 585 million on the military side and the non-NGO/non-democracy-related, et cetera, et cetera, aid on the economic side.

MS. HARF: Well, I think what you’re seeing right now is both a policy and a legal review at all of that.

QUESTION: No, no, but I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about – it’s, I think, de facto versus de jure is what’s important here.

MS. HARF: Yes.

QUESTION: And I understand that you --

MS. HARF: I took six years of Latin. I’m right there with you, Arshad.

QUESTION: I’m delighted, I am delighted, I am delighted. And I’m interested not in the de jure question, because you and Josh Earnest --

MS. HARF: Correct.

QUESTION: -- and everybody has addressed that.

MS. HARF: Yes.

QUESTION: I’m interested in the de facto question and if there is any way one could construe the disbursements of aid to Egypt since July 3rd as de facto being slower than they otherwise would have been --

MS. HARF: Right. And I understand the question. And I think – I can only, I think, say what the facts are here. The first is that when we have made two policy decisions to either cancel a military exercise or not deliver something, we’ve been very open about that. Those are the two policy decisions we’ve made. The – and the reason I keep going back to this overall policy review is because these decisions all fall under that.

Right now, all of our experts are looking at every single piece of aid we give to Egypt and whether a certain legal restriction might be triggered, whether it’s not. And until there’s an overall decision made about where we go from here, we continue, again, to pay our bills but look very carefully at what we’re doing. And I think our goal has always been that we need to continue with our assistance by applying the law and what’s necessary under the law.

QUESTION: So simple --

QUESTION: What is – wait, I’m sorry, I’ve got – I’ve just got two ot three more --

MS. HARF: That’s fine.

QUESTION: -- and then I promise I will stop.

MS. HARF: It’s fine.

QUESTION: Well, I’m apologizing to my colleagues.

MS. HARF: You’re all very polite to each other today. I like it.

QUESTION: Yesterday, I asked Jen what was the value of the portion of the economic assistance --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- that might be – might have to be stopped because of the coup and the subsequent violence.

MS. HARF: Yes, mm-hmm.

QUESTION: What – and she finally said that it was less than half the total. What is that amount?

MS. HARF: So I know you asked the question. I don’t have an exact number yet. As you all know, this is very complicated. And it’s not that we’re just not telling you; it’s that our folks right now are looking at every single piece of this and trying to determine what falls into what bucket. I will say this: that we promise to endeavor to share as much as we can about that. Our folks are going through it right now. Much of our budget request, just so folks know, is posted online. I don’t know how much of the breakdown it has, but there is a lot of information actually online about our aid to Egypt on our website and OMB’s and others.

QUESTION: Right. But if I could --

MS. HARF: I don’t have an exact number for you today --

QUESTION: Do you have a rough number?

MS. HARF: I don’t. And our folks are looking at it. We’re endeavoring to get you an answer to that. I, unfortunately, just don’t have it today.

QUESTION: Okay.

QUESTION: On that point, on the 585 million --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- you can explain to us in simple terms that all the aid that was already allocated to Egypt to have been – to be received by now was actually received, and all the aid that is not allocated, in fact, it is not frozen but it has not matured yet. Is that the way it is?

MS. HARF: So when we look at FMF, one big tranche of it was delivered – I’m answering your question, I promise. It was delivered before July 3rd.

QUESTION: Right.

MS. HARF: The rest of it we have no date by which we have to deliver that, except by the end of the fiscal year. So there has been no hold on that, there’s been no stop on that; it just has not been obligated yet.

QUESTION: So – and that is in September, correct?

MS. HARF: And that will fall under the broad policy decision that the White House – and with the input of us and many others – ends up making.

QUESTION: So in very clear terms --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- with the exception of the F-16s there has been no stop, no cutoff of any kinds of aid to Egypt?

MS. HARF: With the – well, we’ve also --

QUESTION: With the exception of the F-16s --

MS. HARF: So right, we’ve been very clear that we did not deliver the F-16s and we canceled Bright Star, which I know is not technically assistance; it’s a military exercise. All of our aid is being reviewed right now, and broadly speaking, we are going to make decisions about every piece of that going forward based on what we have to do with the law and where our policy review ends up. But we have been clear that until that decision is made, we continue to pay our bills in conjunction with what our legal obligations are.

QUESTION: On the 585 --

MS. HARF: Yes.

QUESTION: -- how come that has not been obligated yet? I mean, we’re almost at the end of the fiscal year, aren’t we?

MS. HARF: There’s no time by which – every year is a little bit different – we delivered a large tranche of it late in the spring. So I don’t have a specific reason for you. I know there’s not a hold on it. But again, things get delivered at different times for different reasons, and there’s not a policy reason that it hasn’t been delivered yet.

QUESTION: Do you think it will be?

MS. HARF: I don’t want to speculate what the outcome of the policy review might look like.

QUESTION: What will --

QUESTION: Marie, can I --

QUESTION: -- Secretary Kerry be recommending when he attends this cabinet-level session this afternoon?

MS. HARF: I’m not going to get into internal deliberations about these issues. I think when we have announcements to make about our decisions, we will do so.

QUESTION: Is he going to --

QUESTION: Marie, can you --

QUESTION: -- attend it, or is he going to be videoed in?

MS. HARF: When Secretary Kerry is out of town, he attends meetings through videoconference, and I can assure you, will be fully engaged on this topic, as necessary.

Yes.

QUESTION: Can I ask you just to clear something up that I think all of us have read, and I’m sure you have since Senator Leahy is chairman of the subcommittee for appropriations that helps to handle paying the bills here?

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: So his office has said that there’s a difference between policy and practice and that they have been informed that the transfer of military aid was, in fact, stopped. Again, they’re phrasing it as practice, not official policy. When you say that since July 3rd we’ve continued to pay our bills --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- that seems to contradict this. So --

MS. HARF: And DOD has been on the record talking about some of the things at this point, I believe, that they’ve continued to provide in the broader term of paying the bills. But DOD has been very clear that they’ve been sending things as well.

QUESTION: So when you are saying that we’re paying the bills, can you break down for us what is actually being paid there? Because the committee that’s helping to oversee financing here basically says they’ve been told something else, that this building is doing something else. Why are they confused?

MS. HARF: Well, you’d have to ask them what the genesis of their comments are. All I can speak for here is what our policy is and what I know is our practice, that we have not made a decision to suspend all of our aid to Egypt, we haven’t made a decision to slow it down. This is all being reviewed right now, and that’s why you see DOD being very clear that they’re still sending some things. We’ve been clear – and I don’t have a breakdown about a specific example – I think DOD has some good ones that they’ve put out there – about the assistance we’ve continued providing. So I – again, I’d refer you to them to explain their comments. All I can do is explain what the Administration’s position and practice is.

QUESTION: So for practice-wise, though, can you explain to us that perhaps when something’s under review --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- what that means? Does that mean that we’re waiting for the principals here to make the decision, thus the guys on the Hill have been told to stop what they’re doing until they get that decision? So are they just stopping what they’re doing rather than stopping the overall process? I think we’re getting tangled in language here.

MS. HARF: I think we’re getting tangled in language on a lot of fronts today, but let’s step back for a second. The Hill clearly plays a role in this, but in terms of who actually either pays the bills or sends these things or obligates money, that is done, of course, by the Administration. So we will continue consulting with Congress, and I would also underscore here that there are a wide diversity of opinions in Congress about where our Egypt policy should go from here. I think that’s an important point.

QUESTION: Could I --

MS. HARF: But that the actual – hold on one second, Said. The actual implementers of who delivers things is the Administration, so I can speak for what we’re doing and what our policy is. Again, there’s a policy review underway and decisions will be made by the interagency, of course, led by the President and the national security team about where we go from here.

QUESTION: Your policy --

QUESTION: Do you have a clue about the discrepancy? Do you have any clues, like what it might be?

MS. HARF: I would not even want to venture a guess. I wouldn’t.

QUESTION: But it’s correct to say that while a policy review is ongoing that it does not stop the pipeline in any way?

MS. HARF: Not in any way. We’ve been clear --

QUESTION: Beyond the F-16s?

MS. HARF: Yeah. We keep going back to the F-16s. (Laughter.) No, that – look, we’re taking a look at all of our assistance. And if there are certain parts of it that may be subject to legal restrictions we won’t – legally speaking, we won’t deliver those, right.

QUESTION: So anything that might fall in that category then of the --

MS. HARF: If there are things that are determined --

QUESTION: -- it can’t go forward?

MS. HARF: Well, it’s not – I don’t want to do a blanket statement here, because there’s not a blanket answer. Everything’s under review. If there are things that are – that we determine may be subject to restrictions, that’s a legal conversation we have at that point. There’s a broader policy discussion ongoing about all of this, regardless of legal restrictions.

QUESTION: Could --

QUESTION: Can I ask a policy question?

QUESTION: Can I ask about this? Sorry, just to understand the details of this.

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: But Marie, then the Times maybe was right on Monday, because anything – I don’t see how you could legally go forward with assistance that might be subject to restriction under U.S. law. So it seems to me --

MS. HARF: Well, assistance is a big word there. There’s a lot – I mean, assistance covers a lot of things.

QUESTION: Yeah. But my point is that I don’t see how you could legally be giving the Egyptians any money that you thought might be subject to some kind of a restriction.

MS. HARF: Well, we’ve undertaken a legal review and have determined that we have the legal authority to continue to provide most of our assistance without regard to whether a certain coup restriction applies.

QUESTION: Okay. So --

MS. HARF: So we’ve actual undertaken a legal review that we can continue to provide most of it – I’ll say this again, most of our assistance – without regard to whether that specific restriction applies.

QUESTION: But not all of it?

MS. HARF: On the bucket of stuff – and that’s most, so on the small bucket of stuff that may be restricted, our legal analysis of that is ongoing. So we will make --

QUESTION: But you’re not giving that money?

MS. HARF: I don’t want to make a blanket statement, because I don’t know --

QUESTION: Well, but --

MS. HARF: -- on every single little example of this where that stands, Arshad.

QUESTION: Marie, how could you be giving that money if you’re not sure if you legally can do so?

MS. HARF: Because that legal review is ongoing.

QUESTION: No, no. But if you’re not sure of something legally, I don’t see how you could do something potentially --

MS. HARF: Well, we obviously wouldn’t move forward --

QUESTION: Let me finish --

PARTICIPANT: -- before a review is done.

QUESTION: -- potentially – well, let me finish.

MS. HARF: Yeah.

QUESTION: -- potentially illegal by giving that money.

MS. HARF: Correct. And we wouldn’t move forward, hypothetically, with assistance before that legal review was done.

QUESTION: Right. Okay.

MS. HARF: Correct. Yes.

QUESTION: So is that money on hold then?

QUESTION: But Marie --

QUESTION: It is.

MS. HARF: There’s not a specific bucket of money. This is much more complicated and complex than there’s one bucket and two buckets and three buckets and we just checkmark, checkmark about when things can be delivered. There’s a bucket of FMF that we have not yet obligated.

QUESTION: Could I ask you a policy question?

QUESTION: But Marie, just to follow up on --

MS. HARF: Wait.

QUESTION: I got that. Keep going. Keep going.

MS. HARF: I was going to keep going. (Laughter.) There’s a bucket of economic security funding that we’ve talked – I think is what we’re talking about. We have made a legal determination that we can continue to provide most of that assistance without --

QUESTION: NGOs.

MS. HARF: -- regardless of the restriction that may apply.

QUESTION: NGOs and the --

MS. HARF: Well, there’s also some governmental funding --

QUESTION: Democracy.

MS. HARF: -- for democracy --

QUESTION: Right. Okay.

MS. HARF: -- health issues.

QUESTION: Got it.

MS. HARF: So most of our assistance can continue. So for that tiny bucket that there’s a legal question about, there’s a legal review. And of course, we would not do anything illegal.

QUESTION: So maybe is that money on hold?

MS. HARF: Of course we would not provide that before the legal review is undertaken.

QUESTION: So isn’t that money on hold then?

MS. HARF: That money is on – I wouldn’t say that it’s on hold. There’s a review under – the process underway. If it’s determined that we can legally provide it, we will. If it’s determined that we can’t, we won’t.

QUESTION: And --

QUESTION: Is this like money that’s in the steam right now, so you’re either going to have to hold it or stop it or you’re going to have to let it go?

MS. HARF: I don’t understand your question. I’m sorry. What stream?

QUESTION: Is it like a spigot? Is --

MS. HARF: It’s – aid to Egypt is in no way like a spigot.

QUESTION: Okay.

MS. HARF: I think that’s one misperception that we either turn it on or off.

QUESTION: No, no. Let’s not – nobody’s talking about spigots here, except you and Josh Earnest.

QUESTION: Okay. Nobody’s talking about spigots.

MS. HARF: She brought up spigots.

QUESTION: I didn’t mean to bring it up. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: She said stream, not spigot.

MS. HARF: Well, she brought up spigot first.

QUESTION: Okay. Forget the spigot. (Laughter.)

MS. HARF: Okay. Yes. Continue.

QUESTION: Okay. So these programs that you’re still looking at, right --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- that the legal review is deciding whether you can do this legally or not --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- are these programs that have already been going on, or are these programs that are just like over here and ready to start?

MS. HARF: I think it’s probably a combination of both. I don’t have a specific breakdown of those programs. That’s why I don’t want to make a blanket statement.

QUESTION: So – okay.

MS. HARF: It’s not because I don’t want to tell you.

QUESTION: So some of them are continuing on, right?

MS. HARF: I do not have a specific breakdown on that.

QUESTION: Can we go back to the – you said that you --

MS. HARF: I just don’t, Deb.

QUESTION: Okay.

MS. HARF: I’m not trying to avoid the question. I just don’t.

QUESTION: You said that you have done a review that you can provide --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- most of your assistance without contravening any coup-related --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm. Correct.

QUESTION: -- laws and regulations.

MS. HARF: Yes.

QUESTION: And then you referred to that tiny bucket --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm. Because most --

QUESTION: I get it.

MS. HARF: Yeah.

QUESTION: Okay.

MS. HARF: Okay.

QUESTION: But you characterized it as tiny.

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Since you have done that review and you have come to a conclusion that you can release most of it, except for that tiny bucket --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- how is it that you don’t know what is the value of that tiny bucket?

MS. HARF: I just don’t have that number. Again, this is more complex than it sounds, Arshad.

QUESTION: No, but how can --

MS. HARF: It’s much more complex than it sounds.

QUESTION: But if the State Department has made a determination that it can proceed with all of this stuff, but not with that stuff --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- I don’t see how somebody in this building doesn’t know the value of that stuff.

MS. HARF: Again, I can endeavor to get you more specifics about numbers. But I’m trying to make it very simple here by putting things into buckets, but as you all know, there are programs that do different things. There’s funding that goes to programs that might do one thing that’s acceptable and what’s not. I’m not dodging the question.

QUESTION: No, no, I understand that. I understand that. But I just don’t believe --

MS. HARF: So that’s part of the problem here.

QUESTION: I just – I don’t see how the Department could not have some estimate of the value of the monies whose legality – of whose legality it is uncertain. But --

MS. HARF: And all I can tell you is I am endeavoring to get you as specific a number as I can and I do not have it in front of me. That’s all I can say on this one.

QUESTION: And Marie, Marie --

QUESTION: Can I ask you a policy question, please? Could I ask a policy --

QUESTION: -- just one clarification.

MS. HARF: I’ll go to you next, Said. Yes, Jill, you go first.

QUESTION: Okay. For those of us who do not have a legal degree, I just want to make sure – a law degree – I just wanted to make sure that when you say regardless of the restrictions that apply --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Now, where are these restrictions coming from?

MS. HARF: The restriction --

QUESTION: Is this if the Administration defines it in the national interest or whatever? Because getting back to Arshad’s question --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- forget about the coup, forget about the issue of the coup or anything that’s going on --

MS. HARF: Right.

QUESTION: -- previous to this, wasn’t everything, right from the beginning, determined to be legal before it became part of the aid?

MS. HARF: I don’t know exactly what your second question’s getting at. We’ve said that part of the legal review we’re undertaking involves our restrictions that Section 7008 may trigger. Again, we’ve been very clear that we’re not going to make a determination one way or other on the coup and that we legally don’t have to. But there are certain legal restrictions in terms of assistance that we must still abide by.

QUESTION: Just so we’re clear --

QUESTION: Okay. So if a coup were to be – if it were established to be a coup, that’s what you’re saying – so regardless of the restrictions that apply --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- if it is to be deemed a coup --

MS. HARF: Under that specific restriction, yes, that deals with that issue.

QUESTION: Okay. All right. Gotcha.

MS. HARF: Yes.

QUESTION: Can we go to policy?

MS. HARF: We can, Said.

QUESTION: On Egypt? Now your policy stand is calling on the current authorities in Egypt to pull back from whatever they’re doing in terms of repressing --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- the demonstrations and so on. But on the other hand, they’re not listening to you at all. They are – have arrested Mohammed Badie, the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood. They arrested Safwat Hegazy. They arrested a whole number of people. So the fact that you are not even using or waving the threat of cutting off aid and so on is actually emboldening them. Do you believe that? Do you concur with that?

MS. HARF: I don’t at all, Said. I would say a few things. First, we’ve made it clear, and the President made it clear, that business as usual cannot continue with Egyptian – with the Egyptian Government – excuse me – when the situation on the ground is happening. And that’s why we’ve taken steps, like delaying the F-16s, like canceling Bright Star. And we’ve also made very clear to the Egyptian Government that what happens on the ground is going to impact our policy review. And so it’s incumbent upon them to move away from violence and towards an inclusive process. It’s also incumbent upon all other parties in Egypt to move away from political polarization and rejoin – as hard as it is, as tough as this process is – an inclusive process as well. And we believe that we do need to remain engaged with the Egyptian Government. What form that takes is obviously part of the ongoing review, but we think it’s in our best interest to help play a role – again, even though it’s tough – to get Egypt back to a more inclusive place.

QUESTION: So can I understand that not doing business as usual is actually the – you cut off the F-16s and canceling Bright Star, which is really not a huge exercise – it involves about 2,000 people and so on, and it was, in fact, put out a couple years ago. So this is not really a tremendous punishment.

MS. HARF: Well, it’s part of the overall picture.

QUESTION: Part of it, but in terms of other things, not, let’s say, business as usual, let’s say your leverage at the IMF or your leverage at the World Bank, or in terms of investment or tourism or whatever. Are you using any of that to say that business cannot go on as usual?

MS. HARF: Well, I think the President publicly said that business can’t go on as usual. And I think the Egyptian interim government is well aware that right now we are doing a policy review to determine what our relationship will look like with Egypt going forward.

QUESTION: But --

MS. HARF: I think we’ve been clear that there – we have serious concerns. We’ve condemned some of the things they’ve done. But we’ve also made clear that this is a very longstanding, important relationship. And this is a balancing act between how we best promote our interests and our values and our principles and can, going forward, have that kind of influence with the Egyptian Government.

QUESTION: So General Sisi could look and see that you have a halfhearted effort to express your anger with them. On the other hand, he’s getting all the support from your allies – Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states, everybody that – even Israel – they’re all running – rallying around him to embolden him, to give him – and say, “Go on, rah rah,” and all this thing. He’s not basically pulling back. So he’s not doing this inclusive – or taking that one step on the roadmap and which they had promised a month and a half ago.

MS. HARF: Well, I’d make a few points. First, we’re not at the end of this process. Clearly, this has been a long road that started in 2011, and on any given day, we can talk about the state of play. But our goal is to get back eventually to an inclusive process. But I would say that we have a very unique assistance relationship with Egypt, and we bring specific capabilities to the relationship that even Egyptian leaders have talked about.

So assistance to Egypt and getting Egypt back to a better place economically is about more than simply writing checks. It’s about foreign investment in Egypt; it’s about encouraging tourism; it’s about the international community being fully invested in helping Egypt grow its economy. And that is something that is very much, I think, dependent on our relationship with Egypt and others as well. So it’s not just about sending money; it’s about helping them get their economy to a sustainable place that’s best for the Egyptian people.

QUESTION: Okay. My last question: Are you disappointed with your allies – Jordan, Saudi Arabia, even Israel – for rallying into the – to the side of General Sisi?

MS. HARF: I don’t want to use that term, Said. I think we will continue our discussions. The Secretary talks frequently with our partners in the region about this and other issues. We have had the same consistent message with our partners, with all parties in Egypt, about what our policy is, and are encouraging everyone to encourage the interim government and all parties, including the Muslim Brotherhood, to play a constructive, inclusive role going forward.

QUESTION: Yes, please.

MS. HARF: Yes.

QUESTION: First question related to the aid --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- but I’m not going to the buckets and all these things --

MS. HARF: Spigot. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: (Off-mike.)

MS. HARF: Someone should be playing bingo.

QUESTION: It’s just when you use the term, “pay the bills” --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- you are talking about the American companies of manufacturing weapons, or pay the bills of – to Egypt?

MS. HARF: I’m using that term colloquially, a little loosely, right. So basically, where there are ongoing programs and there – because there hasn’t been a policy decision made to suspend our assistance to Egypt. Where there are ongoing programs, we have continued participating in those programs. Again, we’ve announced when we haven’t. We’ve talked about the F-16s and Bright Star here. But until a policy decision’s been made, that’s how – that’s what we’ve been operating under, yes.

QUESTION: Second question related to same: And it was raised the issue of Apache helicopters.

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Is Apache helicopter – I don’t know if --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- clear for you – is part of the 585 million, or it’s already approved already that one?

MS. HARF: I don’t know the specifics. I just know that we have nothing to announce at this point on the Apache helicopters.

QUESTION: Okay. Yes. The – it was raised the issue of the arresting Mohammed Badie and I would just dispute the idea of the spiritual leader. Muslim Brotherhood are not Sufis nor Zen Buddhists. It’s like it’s political activist or political party. So based on that, and the process of arresting people, do you have any contacts with Egyptians regarding these issues in particular? Are you raising the issue, in what level? And how do you contacting the Muslim Brotherhood side, especially the incitement are still going on, which using power or force or, whatever, violence?

MS. HARF: Well – oh, sorry.

QUESTION: I’m just trying to –

MS. HARF: Okay.

QUESTION: It’s yours.

MS. HARF: We’ve said repeatedly that we oppose arbitrary arrests and detentions in Egypt, of course, as we do around the world. This case is no different. I don’t have any specifics about diplomatic conversations to read out for you. Our folks on the ground are engaged in this very closely, but I don’t have any specifics.

I think one point we’ve consistently made is that the interim government has responsibilities to move away from violence and to move towards an inclusive process, but also that the Muslim Brotherhood and other parties have responsibilities as well to protest peacefully, to work towards rejoining an inclusive process, even though it is an incredibly difficult thing to do after what we’ve seen, but because it’s in the best interest of the Egyptian people. So we will keep making that point with all of the parties on the ground there.

QUESTION: Yesterday, from this podium was used the suspicious killing of the --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- arrested people. Are you still trying to figure out what is the real story about it?

MS. HARF: Yes. I don’t have any updates for you on that.

QUESTION: And the second one, which is related to the mosques, the Christian churches in Egypt: It was mentioned that – some reports in the newspapers and editorial, that the main reason of these attacks was that they are not – they were not protected by Egyptian police. Do you dispute this story or it’s true that it was attacked because there was no enough security?

MS. HARF: Well, I don’t have exact details on the security situation. But what I’ve said, and what we will continue to say, is these are heinous acts. There’s no place for this kind of violence against churches or other places in Egypt, but particularly against Coptic churches. I don’t have specifics on the security situation, but I think we’ve made that point very clear and underscored that it needs to stop.

QUESTION: Tomorrow in Brussels, the foreign ministers of European Union are meeting and discuss different measures. Are you in touch with the European Union to make a kind of – as people are asking for – punishment or incentives or whatever you can call it regarding the Egyptian rulers’ attitudes towards the Islamism or the Islamist inclusion?

MS. HARF: Well, we’ve stayed in constant communication with our counterparts in Europe. I believe the Secretary talked to the EU High Representative Ashton today. I can double-check on that. Clearly, this is a topic of conversation that they have a lot and that we will continue pressing our position with them and encouraging them, of course, to keep playing the role that they’ve played.

QUESTION: Has the Secretary spoken to any of his counterparts in Saudi Arabia, in Egypt, other countries?

MS. HARF: I don’t have a full list. Let me see what I can get for you. I believe he’s made a few calls, but I just want to make sure I have an update one. I can get it after the briefing.

QUESTION: But you know --

MS. HARF: Yes. I’ll go to you, Said. Go ahead, yes. You’ve been very patiently waiting, yes.

QUESTION: Thank you so much. And from Egypt to Bangladesh --

MS. HARF: Oh, wait, hold on, let me finish Egypt and then we’ll go to Bangladesh.

QUESTION: Okay.

MS. HARF: You’re up next.

QUESTION: Very quick on Egypt.

MS. HARF: Yes.

QUESTION: The Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia made very strong words; actually, they were almost hostile to the United States of America. Do you have any comment on this, I mean, considering that they are friends, the Secretary of State and the Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia in this case?

MS. HARF: Well, we have a very close relationship with the Saudis. I think you’ve – we’ve all been on trips --

QUESTION: I’m just following up on Margaret’s question --

MS. HARF: -- with the Secretary where he’s gone there. Yeah.

QUESTION: -- in terms of speaking with any of these --

MS. HARF: Yeah, I don’t know if there’s been a phone call with the Saudis. I can double-check, Said. But we’ve been in close communication with them. Clearly, we’ve kept pressing what our position is, and while every country has the ability to make their own policies, we will keep talking with them and discussing with them ways we can play productive roles going forward in Egypt.

Yes, Egypt still?

QUESTION: Yes, Egypt.

MS. HARF: Okay.

QUESTION: Thanks, Marie.

MS. HARF: Yep.

QUESTION: Not to beat a dead horse, but I just want to be absolutely clear. For that tiny, figurative bucket --

MS. HARF: Yes.

QUESTION: -- of funds whose legality is under review --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- are funds in that bucket being temporarily withheld during the legal review?

MS. HARF: It’s my understanding – let me get a better answer for you before I make a blanket statement. It’s my understanding that that’s the case. But again, we have made the legal determination that most of our assistance can continue. Obviously, if there’s a legal question, we wouldn’t go forward with something. But again, there’s been no blanket hold put on all of our assistance. There’s not been a decision to suspend assistance. That policy review is still ongoing.

QUESTION: But that’s what I was asking. I was asking whether or not there’s been any kind of hold on that – the tiny bucket, or if that’s just moving along as (inaudible).

MS. HARF: If there’s a legal – I think I’m safe saying here that if there’s a legal question about whether something should be sent, we will not send it while the legal review is ongoing. Yes.

QUESTION: But the legal review has to do with things that would be related to military financing, security and the like, even though that’s from the portion that’s not in the 1.3 billion – from that 260 million --

MS. HARF: From the --

QUESTION: -- that remains?

MS. HARF: Correct. And a lot – I mean, it’s things, for example, that would go to the government, but a lot of that money – as I said, most of it we can continue providing.

QUESTION: Okay. Do you know what the 585 is for?

MS. HARF: The rest of the FMF?

QUESTION: Yes.

MS. HARF: I don’t have a specific breakdown on what that’s for. I can try to get more details on that. I just don’t have a breakdown in front of me.

QUESTION: I know it’s not obligated, but it could be earmarked.

MS. HARF: I don’t – the answer is I don’t know.

QUESTION: Okay.

MS. HARF: I can try and find out.

QUESTION: So there is a – maybe that’s the difference between what the Hill people are saying and what you guys are saying, the discrepancy is that that money in that tiny bucket is kind of on hold until you finish your legal review because you don’t want to break any laws.

MS. HARF: I think what – the stories I’ve been seeing out there and these reports I’ve been seeing out there that the Administration has made a decision to suspend or hold all of our assistance to Egypt – that’s the story that’s out there right now. I am saying categorically that’s not true.

QUESTION: True. Okay. We get that. But if this little --

MS. HARF: Yeah. But that’s been the story that’s been out there.

QUESTION: But if the – but you have put a hold on this little thing until you decide whether or not it’s going against your – the laws, right?

MS. HARF: I mean, certainly, yes, we’re doing a legal review of that bucket to make sure that we can proceed with it or we can’t. But there’s been no Administration policy decision on this, which I think has been a lot of the confusion --

QUESTION: Got it.

MS. HARF: -- out there, quite frankly. And some – which the stories have said.

QUESTION: Okay, well that’s – so that’s, like, a pretty easy – that’s pretty easy to understand. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: But Marie, was – (laughter) – Marie, was that --

QUESTION: She said it wasn’t --

QUESTION: Was the money in the tiny bucket, or whatever it is – (laughter) --

QUESTION: We don’t know how much money --

QUESTION: -- it’s driving me insane – was that already previously assigned?

MS. HARF: The answer is I don’t know. I believe that a lot of it has been, but I don’t know if some of its ongoing, if some of its new. I just don’t have a specific breakdown. Again, I’m endeavoring to get you more on all of this, but it’s complex and there’s a lot of different factors at play, even with that tiny bucket, surprisingly.

QUESTION: Does the – does this Administration believe that in many parts, aid is – governments feel that aid needs to continue flowing into – so that you have leverage? Pulling aid back is complicated and it’s hard to restart, that kind of aid. What is the feeling of the State Department about continuing aid to make sure that many areas are not compromised? And also, that signal that the U.S. sends by stopping aid is a very strong signal for other development projects and so on that goes on in the world. How much of that money – I mean, how much of this do you feel that the Administration needs to keep on pushing through that aid, no matter what?

MS. HARF: Right. Well, first I would say that this is part of the discussion that’s ongoing right now at very high levels in this government about exactly that: What should our relationship with assistance look like with Egypt going forward? What makes sense? What doesn’t? Do some things make more sense than others? That’s part of what’s going into this whole policy review right now. I don’t want to get ahead of that. I don’t want to prejudge. Clearly, we believe that engaging with the Egyptian Interim Government, whatever means that takes going forward, is important and that we have to make decisions on these issues based on our national security interests, which we’ve said from the start, and also on our values and our principles and what makes sense for us to do going forward. I don’t want to get ahead of that process. Again, people are – at a very high level are in discussions about all of these issues on an ongoing basis right now.

QUESTION: Are you – when we want to talk about this tiny bucket, what can we say? What’s the amount of the (inaudible)?

MS. HARF: I don’t have a number for you. I don’t.

QUESTION: But we cannot say “tiny bucket.”

MS. HARF: I – (laughter) – I said we have determined legally that we can continue to provide most of our assistance regardless of whether this restriction will apply. There’s been a legal determination about most of our assistance, and this is under the ESF, this, I think, 250, 260 number that we’ve been talking about. Again, there’s a tiny portion of that that we’re doing a legal review of right now. But again, that’s a very small portion of the overall policy review that we’re doing on everything. So I know we’re very focused on that tiny bucket, but I would actually encourage folks to take a step back and say, okay, there’s a broader policy review underway about what our entire relationship with Egypt and their assistance will look like going forward. So I know it’s tempting to get down in the weeds, and it’s important to get down in the weeds, but we need to bring it up a little bit and say, okay, where are we going from here and what is going to happen with all of this money and our relationship going forward?

QUESTION: So do you believe that this --

MS. HARF: I’ll go to you next there.

QUESTION: -- strategic relationship with Egypt, that has been nurtured over a period of 35 years, has been irrevocably hurt in the last month?

MS. HARF: I wouldn’t use those terms at all. I think we have made clear throughout the decades, through a lot, quite frankly, including in 2011 and including in the months and years since, that this is an important relationship, that Egypt plays a key role in regional stability, and that we have a relationship with Egypt that is important and that we will continue to work with them going forward. But clearly, we can’t ignore what’s happened in the past days and weeks, and that’s why you’ve seen the President order his national security team to say, okay, what are we doing going forward? Where does our assistance go? What should this relationship look like? Because of exactly what’s happened in the last few days, but it’s a complicated relationship.

QUESTION: Marie, is any of that money in the tiny bucket – is that – was that part of any budget assistance to the government?

MS. HARF: I do not know the answer to that.

QUESTION: And just one more weeds question.

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: If you’re making a legal review to decide whether or not such a designation is going to affect you being able to spend the money --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- why do you have to do the legal review again? Because you’ve already decided you’re not going to determine whether it’s a coup or not.

MS. HARF: Well, restrictions – certain restrictions apply whether or not you officially designate a certain event as a coup or as not a coup. So certain restrictions may apply in certain situations. Again – I hate to keep saying this – but it’s complex, and that’s why it’s not an easy yes-or-no answer.

QUESTION: But it’s still the coup law, right?

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm. It’s the same restriction, but again, that’s separate from whether or not we are legally required to determine whether a coup has happened or not.

QUESTION: Can I change subject?

MS. HARF: Anything else on Egypt?

QUESTION: How do you view the security situation --

MS. HARF: Okay.

QUESTION: -- in Egypt? Do you think that it’s getting better, or how do you look at it?

MS. HARF: Across all of Egypt?

QUESTION: Yeah.

MS. HARF: Broadly speaking, well, we remain concerned, of course, about the security situation, particularly in certain places. We’ve called on the interim government as the ones with the preponderance of power to take steps to reduce violence and ensure the security and safety of their people. We’ll continue talking about specific incidents as they arise, and we’ll keep giving the same message to the interim government that we have all along. Of course, we’ve talked a little bit about the Sinai in here as well, so we’ll remain very focused on the security situation in the Sinai as well.

Yes. And then I’ll go to you. Yeah.

QUESTION: I was wondering, back when Jen announced the – or when she commented on the decision to cancel Bright Star --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- she mentioned that it wouldn’t have any – that nobody thought that it would have any kind of impact on the situation on the ground, rather that it was sending a message. Do you think that withholding any or all of U.S. aid would have an impact on the ground, or would that also be more aimed toward sending a message?

MS. HARF: Well, I think those things are a little bit related, and I was here that day and I remember her comments. I don’t have those exact comments in front of me.

QUESTION: Yeah. I’m paraphrasing as well.

MS. HARF: Yeah, I know, and it’s okay. But I think – look, we have a relationship with Egypt. We are pressing them through diplomatic channels, through very high-level diplomatic engagement at times, and also with other leaders in Washington, to move back towards an inclusive process. We’ve been pushing that from the beginning. Our assistance is one part of the overall relationship, so I would caution people from saying if we make one policy decision or another that the next day something will or won’t happen. That’s not how the world works, quite frankly, and it’s certainly not how Egypt works.

So I think what you’re seeing right now is everybody saying: Okay, how can we best promote our interests and our policy, which is getting back to a democratic process? How can we best work with all parties? How does assistance fit into that? Where does it fit into that? And so all of these complicated issues are right now being discussed by our national security team. And if there were easy answers, we would have already made these decisions, but there aren’t, as all of us who have studied Egypt for a long time know. So I think all of those play into what happens next.

QUESTION: And beyond, like, national security interests and --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- values, which you mentioned before, are there – can you go into any more detail and provide any more criteria or factors that are playing into that policy review, that decision --

MS. HARF: Well, clearly, the situation on the ground and what decisions the interim government’s taking obviously – I think it should go without saying – play into that. But our national security interests, including the role that Egypt plays in regional stability, the economic situation that Egypt is currently facing and how we can best help them move forward with economic growth and assistance in that way as well. So there’s a lot that goes into this, as we all are well aware.

Yes.

QUESTION: Is ensuring that the Egyptian military still has full control in the Sinai and securing the border of Israel a factor in the policy review?

MS. HARF: Well, clearly, we’re concerned about the security situation in Sinai. We’ve encouraged the interim government to pay attention to it, as we have. Again, I’m not going to put any specific criteria or litmus tests on the table for how this policy decision’s being made, but clearly, Sinai is a key area for us for a number of reasons, one of which is, of course, Israel, but for other reasons as well.

QUESTION: I have a question on a totally different subject.

MS. HARF: Let me finish Egypt and then I’ll go to you.

QUESTION: Sure.

MS. HARF: Is there anything else on Egypt or have we exhausted Egypt?

QUESTION: Yeah, I wonder if you could have a comment on Mr. Erdogan’s comment that Israel stands behind --

MS. HARF: I do.

QUESTION: -- the coup in Egypt.

MS. HARF: We strongly condemn these statements. Suggesting that Israel is responsible for recent events in Egypt is offensive, unsubstantiated, and wrong. These statements distract from the urgent need of all regional countries to work together through constructive dialogue to address the fluid and dangerous situation in Egypt.

Egypt, still? Hold on one second. Egypt?

QUESTION: One last one.

MS. HARF: Okay.

QUESTION: Egypt-Israel.

MS. HARF: Okay.

QUESTION: Is the present situation in Egypt a factor in Israel asking for more military aid?

MS. HARF: I haven’t seen those reports, and I actually don’t have anything for you on that.

QUESTION: Can we go to the Israeli-Palestinian talks?

MS. HARF: Yeah, let me do – and then we’ll go to you.

QUESTION: This is a one-question subject, I promise you.

MS. HARF: I’m going to hold you to that.

QUESTION: (Laughter.) What is the United States doing to help get Shakil Afridi, the physician who assisted the United States in the hunt for Usama bin Ladin, freed from prison in Pakistan?

MS. HARF: Yes, thank you for the question. We obviously regret that Dr. Afridi was convicted and the severity of his sentence. The Secretary raised Dr. Afridi’s case with Pakistan’s leadership during his recent trip to Islamabad. Bringing Usama bin Ladin to justice was clearly in Pakistan’s interest as well as in our own. The prosecution and conviction of Dr. Afridi sends exactly the wrong message about the importance of this shared interest. We have clearly communicated this position to Pakistan both in public and in private, and we’ll continue to raise this issue during our discussion with Pakistan’s senior leadership.

QUESTION: And you get no good answers?

MS. HARF: I don’t have anything for you on that about our private diplomatic discussions. We have been clear what our position is, and we’ll continue raising it at a high level.

QUESTION: So there’s no reason to believe he’s going to be free anytime soon?

MS. HARF: I don’t have any predictions to make for you, other than to tell you that we’ve raised the issue, the Secretary raised it recently, and we will continue to do so.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MS. HARF: Yeah.

QUESTION: Marie, do you have any update on the Israeli-Palestinian talks? We understand that they could be resuming, going into the next phase in Jeddah?

MS. HARF: I don’t --

QUESTION: They were held today?

QUESTION: Not Jeddah, Jericho.

QUESTION: No.

QUESTION: They were held today?

QUESTION: No, they have resumed in Jerusalem today apparently.

QUESTION: Oh, they did?

QUESTION: Yeah.

MS. HARF: I don’t have any – I can just let you guys litigate this now.

QUESTION: (Laughter.) If you could just --

MS. HARF: I don’t have any updates for you or additional readouts. Our Ambassador Indyk remains in the region, but I don’t have any additional details for you about the talks.

QUESTION: But you do – you confirm that they did have a meeting today in Jerusalem?

MS. HARF: I don’t have any additional details to confirm for you, Said.

QUESTION: No date on Jericho?

MS. HARF: No dates for you yet.

QUESTION: You’re not aware that there was a meeting? Well, then how --

MS. HARF: That’s different than “I don’t have anything to confirm for you, Said.”

QUESTION: Okay. But --

MS. HARF: That’s a different statement.

QUESTION: No, let me just – but the meeting has already taken place in Jerusalem, correct?

MS. HARF: I have no additional details or readout from any meetings that may have taken place on Middle East peace. We’ve been clear, we’ve tried to set expectations that we won’t announce every meeting, we won’t talk about every meeting, and we won’t read out every meeting. And that position holds.

QUESTION: Marie, do you have any comment about this murder of the Australian – I’m sorry – the murder of the Australian in Oklahoma?

MS. HARF: I do. The United States is deeply saddened to hear the tragic news of the death of an Australian citizen in Oklahoma. This is clearly a tragic death, and we extend our condolences to the family and the loved ones. We understand that local authorities are focused on bringing those responsible to justice. Clearly, we would support that.

QUESTION: Yes.

MS. HARF: Bangladesh, go ahead. Do you have a follow-up?

QUESTION: I guess not, no. Thank you.

MS. HARF: Okay. I can come back if you do.

QUESTION: Well, thank you very much. As we speak, Bangladesh democracy is now again under threat. As you are aware of, that the Prime Minister has stalled any dialogue with the opposition leading to a situation that may be very explosive in days coming up. And this is against this – on the issue of a caretaker government, the opposition leader has taken her position, and no election, she made it very clear, can be held under her administration. So things are going into – in a different shape. Hope not there is violence and bloodshed, but the concern here is that the minorities – the minorities in Bangladesh are scared to death now, because if anything happens leading up to the election and post-election, whatever that may be, the minorities may be affected by it. Especially our big neighbor, India, is very much concerned about their latest political situation that is unfolding in Bangladesh with these political things going on, a very explosive thing, and they have rightly spotted that.

What is the position of the State Department? Because State Department seems to be a little bit mum on this issue other than Ambassador Mozena having a latest round of talk with the senior policy maker Begum Zia of the opposition, and we don’t know the outcome, whether that was being made as a specific suggestion for having a government which is acceptable to all in conducting of elections and how to avoid bloodshed in a post-election scenario. So this is a very, very tricky situation that Bangladesh is in now.

MS. HARF: And I appreciate the question. I don’t have a lot of specifics for you. I don’t have any diplomatic conversations to read out. Clearly we are concerned, as we are everywhere, about minority rights and the protection of minority rights. I think that certainly goes without saying that we are here as well. I can endeavor to get you some more specific response to what you asked about. I just don’t – I don’t have any additional detail right now.

QUESTION: Would you please take this question?

MS. HARF: I will. I will take it as a question for you.

QUESTION: Thank you so much.

MS. HARF: Yes.

Let’s go to Scott, and then I’ll come up to Jill.

QUESTION: Marie, what can you tell us about the status of the American Embassy in Yemen?

MS. HARF: The American Embassy in Yemen reopened. I think we announced that a few days ago. Did we?

QUESTION: No.

MS. HARF: Hold on. Let me double-check on that then. I believe that it reopened, but let me double-check on that. I thought we’d announced that, but I might have my embassies mixed up. Let me double-check on that and get back to you. I’m sorry I don’t have that in front of me.

Anything else? Yes, Scott.

QUESTION: Yes, another, please.

MS. HARF: Sorry.

QUESTION: There’s reports from the Nigerian Government about the possible death of the Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau. Does the United States have any information about that?

MS. HARF: Yes. Just give me one second, please. We have seen these reports and are working to ascertain the facts. As many of you know, he was also falsely reported dead in 2009. He’s the most visible leader of Boko Haram, and if his death – it turns out to be true, the loss of such a central and well known figure would set back Boko Haram’s operations and remove a key voice from its efforts to mobilize violent extremists in Nigeria and around the world. So we will continue to support Nigeria as it works to reach a comprehensive and lasting peace in the north. I don’t know if we’ve talked about this before, but recently on August 15th, Under Secretary Wendy Sherman actually traveled there, talked – and heard discussions about regional security, including how we can further partner with Nigeria to develop and implement effective counterterrorism measures.

QUESTION: And on Mali –

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- the President today congratulated Mali on –

MS. HARF: Yes.

QUESTION: -- the election. Does that mean that aid that was frozen last year during the coup can restart or resume?

MS. HARF: That’s all being looked at right now. I think the President’s statement speaks for itself. Clearly we’re all on the same page there, and that’s a process that logistical in nature, and that’s being looked at right now. I don’t have anything to announce, but as we have decisions made on this or any other assistance, we’re happy to announce them.

Thanks, guys.

(The briefing was concluded at 3:09 p.m.)

DPB # 141



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