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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 29, 2013


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Index for Today's Briefing
  • SYRIA
    • UK Consultations
    • P-5 Meeting / Russian Position on Syria
    • Secretary Kerry's Calls
    • Use of Chemical Weapons / U.S. National Security Threatened
    • Congressional Outreach
    • Intelligence Assessments
    • UK Actions
    • Information Sharing with Allies and Partners
    • UN Inspection
  • PAKISTAN
    • Dr. Afridi's Sentence Overturned
  • ISRAEL/PALESTINIANS
    • Invested in Process
  • IRAN
    • Detained / Missing American Citizens


TRANSCRIPT:

The video is also available with closed captioning on YouTube.

1:28 p.m. EDT

MS. HARF: Good afternoon. Welcome to the daily briefing. I do not have anything at the top, so we’ll go ahead and open it up to your questions.

QUESTION: Okay. Well, let’s start – no surprise –

MS. HARF: Syria.

QUESTION: -- here with Syria. Yeah.

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Well, actually, not with Syria directly, but with what’s going on in Britain. How badly did the British reversal of its original position impact your – the Administration’s plans?

MS. HARF: Well, (a) the President still has not made a decision yet about a response. We are staying in close touch with our UK counterparts, are clearly aware of the discussions taking place in their parliament today. I’d make a few points. First, that consulting with close allies and friends like the UK is an important part of this process as the President weighs his options. We share the UK’s strong view that the Syrian regime must be held accountable for the indiscriminate use of chemical weapons, and we will continue consulting closely with them as we consider our response.

QUESTION: Right. Well, were you surprised at all, or has it complicated your or the President’s – the Administration’s deliberations or timing of when – what to do and when to do it?

MS. HARF: I’m not going to characterize it in that way, Matt. Clearly, the President hasn’t made a decision yet. We’ll continue consulting with our allies, including the UK. I think I made clear yesterday that we make our own decisions on our own timelines.

QUESTION: Yeah.

MS. HARF: But that being said, we will remain in close consultation with them.

QUESTION: You are perhaps familiar with the phrase “perfidious Albion.” Does that apply here? Is it – is that an appropriate expression to use?

MS. HARF: I’m not going to characterize it in that way, Matt.

QUESTION: Well, then can I just ask whether or not the – and I think you answered the question just now. Does it matter to you whether the British parliament approves an action –

MS. HARF: I’m not going to comment on potential British parliamentary action in any way. Obviously –

QUESTION: No. I’m just asking whether that is something that makes a difference to this Administration.

MS. HARF: Again, I’m not going to comment on a potential parliamentary action in any way. We will continue consulting with our UK allies going forward.

QUESTION: But you will act as you see appropriate in America’s national security interests, not beholden to any international organization – well, not beholden to a UN Security Council decision and not beholden to the British parliament, correct?

MS. HARF: The President will continue contemplating what decision to take in close consultation with our allies. I’m not going to go any further than that, except to say that we make our own decisions in our own timeline. But clearly, the consultation piece of this is an incredibly important one.

QUESTION: Right. But I just want to make sure that you’re saying that the Administration will act in the best interests of U.S. national security interests regardless of what anyone else or any other body does or says.

MS. HARF: I think every action we take is --

QUESTION: Correct?

MS. HARF: -- we always take in conjunction with our national security interests, yes, and we will continue consulting with our allies about the best way forward.

QUESTION: There --

MS. HARF: Yes.

QUESTION: I believe that there is another meeting of the P-5 today.

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Given what you said yesterday about the Russian position and that you saw no way forward, why have another meeting?

MS. HARF: Well, I understand that the Russians have called a P-5 meeting this afternoon up at the United Nations. I have been talking to our counterparts up in New York about this. I don’t want to get ahead of any meeting that hasn’t happened yet. Our position is clear and unchanged from yesterday. We’ve seen two years of Russian intransigence on the Syria issue at the UN, but again, I don’t want to get ahead of a meeting that hasn’t happened yet.

QUESTION: Have you discerned any shift in the Russian position since what you – the way you assessed it yesterday?

MS. HARF: We haven’t seen a shift in two years. I’m not sure why we would expect one today, but, again, I don’t want to get ahead of a meeting. They called the meeting, they can speak to their reasons for doing so, and I just don’t want to get –

QUESTION: Has the Secretary had any – can you read out –

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- his calls, and in particular, has he talked to Foreign Minister Lavrov?

MS. HARF: He has not. The calls today so far regarding Syria are to the French Foreign Minister Fabius, Polish Foreign Minister Sikorski, and Qatari Foreign Minister al-Attiyah. Again, this evening, we will send around an update if there are any other calls to read out. He’s made the consistent and clear point in all of these calls that the Assad regime used chemical weapons against their own people and needs to be held accountable.

QUESTION: Can I ask a follow-up?

QUESTION: Did you just – did you answer – are you going to participate – is Ambassador Power going to participate in this P-5 meeting this afternoon?

MS. HARF: I don’t have all the details on it, but my understanding is, yes, that the U.S. will be participating.

QUESTION: Yes. So you haven’t said no, there’s no point –

MS. HARF: No.

QUESTION: -- and we’re not going to go?

MS. HARF: Again, this, I think, just came up. I would check with my friends at the UN, but it’s my understanding that we will be participating, yes.

QUESTION: Let me ask you on a question that is Syria-related.

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Does the United States State Department have a definition of what constitutes a war by one country over another?

MS. HARF: A war?

QUESTION: Yes.

MS. HARF: I’m –

QUESTION: What constitutes a war of one country over another?

MS. HARF: I don’t have a specific definition in front of me, Said. What is the crux of the question that you’re asking?

QUESTION: The crux of the question is that the President is saying that whatever action is taken in Syria, which is obviously alluding to some sort of bombardment, perhaps, by cruise missiles and so on –

MS. HARF: Well, he hasn’t made a decision yet.

QUESTION: No, I understand. But he says accountability – they want to hold with accountability.

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: I want to ask you: Does lobbing off cruise missiles, whether there are 10 or 90 or 100, does that constitute an act of war on another country, especially if Country B that is being attacked has not provoked any kind of belligerence towards the United States of America?

MS. HARF: I’m not going to define hypothetical actions that haven’t been decided to be taken yet. I will point to a couple points the President made in his interview last night. He talked at length about the national security interest for the United States that are wrapped up in any indiscriminate use of chemical weapons – I think he made that point very clear – and that we need the Assad regime to understand that they’re not only breaking international norms by using chemical weapons, but they’re creating a situation – and I’m quoting directly here – where U.S. national security interest are threatened.

QUESTION: Okay. So Syria – you concur that Syria at the present time presents an imminent threat to the national security of the United States of America?

MS. HARF: I didn’t use that term, Said.

QUESTION: Okay. But do you feel that Syria should be held accountable because it does compromise the national security of the United States of America?

MS. HARF: The Syrian regime’s use of chemical weapons –

QUESTION: Right.

MS. HARF: -- against their own people –

QUESTION: Right.

MS. HARF: -- presents a situation where, yes, U.S. national security interests are threatened. It’s in our interest – in our national security interest, but in the world’s security interest –

QUESTION: Okay.

MS. HARF: -- to not allow this use – these use of chemical weapons to go un-responded to.

QUESTION: Could you explain to us how the use of chemical weapons, whether at this scale that we have seen last Wednesday or before, how does that in any way or directly affect the national security of the United States?

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm. Well, I think I talked a little bit about this yesterday. Clearly, we have an interest – a national security interest in upholding an international norm against the use of chemical weapons. There’s a reason that 98 percent of the world’s peoples live in countries that have said these weapons should not be used.

Also, we have a national security interest in not allowing the proliferation of these weapons and not allowing them to be used in a region of the world that’s already incredibly volatile, that has incredible national security interests, including Syria, which is bordered by some of our allies and friends and closest partners in the world.

So clearly, those are core U.S. national security interests as well.

QUESTION: Okay. And you believe – just indulge me a little longer. You believe that --

MS. HARF: I’m always happy to, Said.

QUESTION: Thank you, thank you. I appreciate it.

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: You believe that the evidence presented is completely incontrovertible, correct?

MS. HARF: Let me make a clear point on this. Our intelligence supports two claims: the first, that there were chemical weapons used on August 21st in Syria; and the second, that it’s the Assad regime that’s responsible for that use. I want to make that point crystal clear.

QUESTION: Right, okay. So – but that evidence is solid. Is that evidence – if this – if the world was a court of law, that evidence would stand, correct?

MS. HARF: I think I just made clear that our intelligence supports these two facts. I’m not going to go into more on the intelligence assessment. I know you all probably have many questions about it. I’m not going to go into more details about it today.

QUESTION: Okay. The reason I ask this because --

MS. HARF: I’ll get to you in one second.

QUESTION: I’m sorry. The reason I ask this because Mike Rogers yesterday – the Chairman of the Intelligence Select Committee in the House – said that the evidence was not compelling, although he is convinced. Could you explain to us what that means, it’s not compelling?

MS. HARF: Well, (a) I’m not going to speak for Representative Rogers. I’m going to – I’ll – let me make two points. The Chair and the Ranking Member of the Senate Select Committees on Intelligence came out today. Saxby Chambliss said, quote, “Based on the available intelligence, there can be no doubt the Assad regime is responsible for using chemical weapons on the Syrian people. Senator Feinstein said, “I have been briefed by the intelligence community on last week’s chemical weapons attack in Syria, and I believe the intelligence points to an attack by the Assad government.” Excuse me. So these are the Chair and Ranking Members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

And let me just make one more point on congressional outreach that, obviously, the views of Congress are important to this process, and we will be continuing to engage with them. Today at 6 p.m., Senior Administration Officials will hold an unclassified phone briefing for congressional leadership, and the Chairs and Ranking Members of national security committees to build on the Administration’s ongoing engagement with members of Congress. Senior Administration officials participating in this unclassified call include Ambassador Rice, Secretary Kerry, Secretary Hagel, Director of National Intelligence Clapper, and Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Winnefeld.

Yes.

QUESTION: “Points to” is not the same as unmistakably establishes, right? So you just read out a statement from Senator Feinstein in which she said that based on her briefing by the Administration, the evidence, quote, “points to,” unquote.

MS. HARF: And I read Saxby Chambliss’s. And also, I would point out that the classified assessment has not yet gone to the Hill. But I think I made very clear that the – that our intelligence supports two claims, and we’ll be talking more about the assessment in the coming days. I know we all are waiting for an unclassified version to be put out publicly, but I want to be crystal clear on what the intelligence shows here.

QUESTION: Sorry. The White – your colleague at the White House, just before you came out here, used the same two quotes from Senators Feinstein and Chambliss. And I await, frankly, honestly, with bated breath the next time anyone from the Administration quotes Senator Chambliss as a good thing. But he said – Mr. Earnest, your colleague, said very earnestly that these comments were based on the classified intelligence.

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm. They --

QUESTION: Not – and so --

MS. HARF: Go ahead.

QUESTION: Is that – that’s your understanding as well?

MS. HARF: Yes, that they have been briefed on the intelligence, but we’ve talked about --

QUESTION: On the classified intelligence?

MS. HARF: Correct, yes.

QUESTION: Right.

MS. HARF: But we’ve talked about when an official – a classified assessment goes to the Hill.

QUESTION: Okay.

MS. HARF: You’ve asked a lot about that timing.

QUESTION: So – right. So --

MS. HARF: That has not gone yet.

QUESTION: Right. So even though they have seen the classified or have talked about it or have access to it --

MS. HARF: Been briefed on it.

QUESTION: -- been briefed on it, -- they don’t say that it proves. They say, as James said, “points to.” And you yourself say the intelligence supports.

MS. HARF: Absolutely.

QUESTION: Support is not the same --

MS. HARF: There could be no doubt the Assad regime is responsible.

QUESTION: Support – you’re saying that supports --

MS. HARF: That’s what Saxby Chambliss said.

QUESTION: -- equals prove?

MS. HARF: I don’t – define the difference for me. What are you actually getting at here? I’m curious.

QUESTION: I’m wanting to know if --

QUESTION: “Points to” is circumstantial. “Proves” is definitive.

MS. HARF: Again, I said the intelligence supports --

QUESTION: The intelligence supports --

MS. HARF: -- two claims, period.

QUESTION: And is it your position – is it your position that – but that “support” means proves?

MS. HARF: I’m not going to get into a linguistic argument with you about what term I’m using. I think – let’s take a step back for a second and talk about all the things we’ve talked about in here as well; that first, there is a preponderance of publicly available information that shows that chemical weapons were used on August 21st. The world doesn’t need an intelligence community assessment --

QUESTION: And I’m not --

MS. HARF: -- to show them that.

QUESTION: Well, I don’t think anyone --

MS. HARF: Let me --

QUESTION: I don’t think --

MS. HARF: Let me finish up and then I’ll get to your next question, Matt.

QUESTION: But I don’t think anyone is doubting that.

MS. HARF: Matt.

QUESTION: The question is whether you have something that would prove, without a doubt, that the regime was responsible.

MS. HARF: Again, I’m not going to outline the intelligence assessment – I’ll go to your next, Elise – the intelligence assessment before we release a version of it. I am being very clear about what it shows. I would also say that we have known for a long time and continue to assess – I’ve been clear about this – that there is one party in Syria who has the capability to deliver chemical weapons using this delivery system in this large-scale manner, and that is the Assad regime, period.

So based on these multiple, independent streams of information available publicly – again, what our intelligence also points to as well – and we’ll be talking more about the specifics in the coming days – that there can be no doubt that chemical weapons were used by the Assad regime in this case, period.

QUESTION: I want to, with Elise’s kind permission --

QUESTION: Yes.

QUESTION: I want to focus on a different word.

MS. HARF: Okay.

QUESTION: You said when you initially read that statement about the two points, you said “supports two claims,” and at the end of it the transcript will show these are “facts.” Facts and claims are very different.

MS. HARF: Well, the claims are what has been made for days, and I am saying today that we believe both of these to be facts. Yes.

QUESTION: Okay. You believe them to be facts.

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: But you don’t state them as facts. You don’t say --

MS. HARF: I’m not sure what the difference is, Arshad. Honestly, I don’t know what the difference is.

QUESTION: There’s a big difference between a claim and a fact. A fact --

MS. HARF: But there have been claims --

QUESTION: Let me --

MS. HARF: out there for days.

QUESTION: Can I finish? Can I finish?

MS. HARF: Yes.

QUESTION: I mean, there are claims out there all the time.

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Many of them are untrue.

MS. HARF: Yes. And the intelligence supports them.

QUESTION: Supports the claims. But somehow you do this very slick thing where you go from support to claims to --

MS. HARF: I’m actually not trying to be slick here.

QUESTION: -- to fact.

MS. HARF: I’m not trying to be slick here. I’m trying to say that the intelligence --

QUESTION: It sounds --

MS. HARF: I’m not, actually.

QUESTION: But a fact is incontrovertible, right? I mean, there is somebody sitting over there with earphones. That’s incontrovertible, right? Supporting a claim of something is by no means necessarily incontrovertible. And there is – I mean, nobody has said it today, but there is a reason why you get very hard questions when you state things as supporting claims. And that is --

MS. HARF: Then let me say it a different way.

QUESTION: Let me finish.

MS. HARF: Yeah.

QUESTION: And that is that the U.S. intelligence that justified the Iraq War was obviously deeply flawed, and ultimately proved in many respects to be grossly erroneous. So I think – I mean, if you believe – if you’re saying these are facts --

MS. HARF: Yes.

QUESTION: -- then I think you ought to change the “supports the claim” language to say “proves.”

MS. HARF: Can I respond?

QUESTION: Please.

MS. HARF: Okay. I’ll use another word, if this was better. The intelligence shows that chemical weapons were used on August 21st, and that they were used by the Assad regime.

Again, we’re going to talk – let me – and let me get to the Iraq comparison as well, because I think this is an important one to talk about. Again, we’re going to be talking about the intelligence assessment in the coming days. So there will be more backing this up in the coming days. But I know there have been some questions about it today, so I wanted to make clear what it does show.

And the Iraq comparison, I think it’s important to note the considerable differences here when we’re talking about the intelligence. Obviously, as we all know in Iraq, the U.S. was trying to prove the existence of weapons of mass destruction. In Syria, we know that chemical weapons not only exist, but that they were used, that they were used three months – we determined three months ago that they had been used. And we’ve said, based on public and other information, that they were used on August 21st. So that’s not in question. That’s undeniable. No one, again, needs the intelligence community to tell them what is in front of our eyes, that the Syrian regime is the only one with the capabilities to use these kinds of weapons with this delivery system.

So Iraq and Syria are in no way analogous. We’re not considering analogous responses, clearly, in any way. So I would really caution people against using both the language that people used in the Iraq intelligence assessment, but also making any kind of intellectual comparisons, because they just don’t exist.

QUESTION: Can I follow up, though?

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: But it seems as if what you’re saying is, when you’re making the comparison – when you’re tying to the fact that only the regime had the chemical weapons --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- therefore they must have used them, sounds like a circumstantial --

MS. HARF: And that’s not what I’m saying the intelligence shows. I’m saying that when we talk about the public information, we saw that chemical weapons were used, and we know – we’ve talked for months about the fact that they’re the only ones that have these capabilities. What I’m saying is – and I’m not going to detail what’s underlying this intelligence, I’m not going to get ahead of a public discussion of an unclassified assessment – but what I’m saying is that the intelligence shows that these two things are, in fact, the case.

QUESTION: And it does – I mean, just to follow up on Arshad’s point --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- the reason that everyone is going on about this, because I understand what you’re saying, that some of the facts in the Iraq War are different and the circumstances might be different --

MS. HARF: Completely different.

QUESTION: -- but the idea that an administration went out and said, trust us, our case is incontrifutible, we have evidence that will show – in retrospect they did not have evidence that showed that there were chemical weapons in Iraq. I’m not saying that we’re doubting that there’s chemical weapons in Syria or that they were used. But when you lay out – when you talk about the strength of your intelligence --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- and there are officials now that are saying, like, oh, well, it’s not slam dunk, and it’s just all of these comparisons --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- to the botched intelligence analysis of what was going on in Iraq, that’s where the comparison comes in.

MS. HARF: And I understand the temptation to make the comparison, but I want to underscore that there are considerable differences here. And I’m just going to go over them again, because I do think this is an important point.

QUESTION: But there are considerable differences --

MS. HARF: Let me address what you just said.

QUESTION: -- with the situation.

MS. HARF: Right, but let me address what you just said.

QUESTION: But it’s a re-do of these intelligence, of the challenging of the intelligence.

MS. HARF: But it’s – I would encourage people not to equate the two intelligence assessments --

QUESTION: Okay.

MS. HARF: -- because nobody needs an intelligence community assessment to know that chemical weapons were used here. In Iraq, we were waiting for an intelligence community assessment to determine whether they even existed. Those are two categorically different levels of assessment being done here.

QUESTION: We – actually, the fact of the matter with respect to Iraq – and this is not really a great line of inquiry I want to pursue, but just where the record is concerned, there were intelligence assessments, not only from the United States but from European governments, that concluded that, in fact, Saddam Hussein did possess WMD. We weren’t waiting for those assessments. It was on the basis of those shared assessments that action was taken – just for the record.

MS. HARF: (Inaudible.)

QUESTION: Marie, here – the problem with you knocking down the Iraq comparison --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- is that you’re knocking down a false comparison. The comparison should be --

MS. HARF: But people keep making it, though.

QUESTION: No, the comparison is not what you think it is, or not what you’re trying to tell us it is and then denying it.

MS. HARF: Okay. What do you think it is?

QUESTION: The comparison is that in both cases, the administration of the United States was trying to sell the American people and Congress on the need to take military action, whatever that was. It was not whether or not the facts on the ground were one thing or whether they were another. The fact – the comparison is that in both cases, you were trying to convince, or to get – to rally public support – not you, the administration of the – at the time were trying to get this public support and get support from Congress to take some kind of military action. That is the comparison, and does not – doesn’t have anything to do with whether chemical weapons were used in Syria or whether Saddam had weapons in Iraq. Okay?

MS. HARF: Well, can I speak to that comparison before we move on, actually?

QUESTION: So, the problem --

MS. HARF: I would like to.

QUESTION: Okay. Go ahead.

MS. HARF: Okay. Again, we’re – first, again, I will say the President hasn’t made a decision. But when we were – what we’re talking about here in terms of potential responses are also grossly different in nature.

QUESTION: I know, and --

MS. HARF: But the facts on the ground actually – the difference in nature, both of what the intelligence is looking at, the situation, and the potential responses, are of such a grossly different nature. And I do think that that’s an important distinction to make. Nobody’s talking about boots on the ground in Syria. Nobody’s talking about regime change through military options in Syria.

QUESTION: Right. And no one is --

MS. HARF: Those are categorically different things.

QUESTION: But no one is suggesting that that is the comparison. The comparison – do you acknowledge or not that the – that what you are doing and what your colleague at the White House is doing is trying to make the case that it is in the United States national security interest to do something? I know the decision hasn’t been made, but it is in U.S. national security interests to act. Is that not what you’re trying to do?

QUESTION: Based on intelligence.

MS. HARF: Well, actually, I would say --

QUESTION: Is that what you’re trying to do?

MS. HARF: We are saying that we believe it is in the U.S. national security interest, indeed the world’s interest, that we need to respond to an indiscriminate mass scale use of chemical weapons. That is categorically different than the conversation we were having about possible action in Iraq, period.

QUESTION: No.

QUESTION: But Marie --

MS. HARF: It is, actually.

QUESTION: No.

MS. HARF: Yes. Go ahead.

QUESTION: But Marie --

MS. HARF: This is a response to something that’s already happened.

QUESTION: I understand. I understand that.

MS. HARF: So it’s different.

QUESTION: But to say – you’re trying to compare it to something that is different. The comparison – the valid comparison here is an administration trying to sell Congress and the public on the need to act. It doesn’t have anything to do with anything else. That’s it.

QUESTION: Based on an intelligence assessment.

QUESTION: And that’s why it’s so important, and that’s why you’re getting the questions about how solid this intelligence is, and whether it simply supports a claim or whether it proves a claim.

MS. HARF: Well, I would make two points: First, that what we’re talking about is not just an intelligence assessment but a preponderance of publicly available information. And second, I do not think there are any legitimate comparisons between what we were talking about in Iraq and what we’re talking about today. I just don’t think there are any valid comparisons, Matt.

QUESTION: All right, let’s move on.

QUESTION: Can you tell us whether in fact --

MS. HARF: Yep, let’s move on.

QUESTION: -- the issues associated with the Iraqi intelligence assessment of a decade ago are making the job of U.S. officials harder today?

MS. HARF: In what way?

QUESTION: Because there may be amongst allies and adversaries and members of Congress, or anybody who needs persuading at this particular juncture, a certain suspicion of U.S. intelligence or our use of it dating back to that time.

MS. HARF: I would point to the multiple statements made by foreign leaders in foreign governments, from the UK to the Arab League, around the world, saying that they believe chemical weapons were used here. Again, because we can all watch the videos. We’ve all heard the stories of survivors saying that chemical weapons were used and calling for accountability. So I think they all speak for themselves, and I don’t think those statements actually are anything less than categorical about what they think happened.

QUESTION: But don’t you think --

QUESTION: So Iraq is not a factor today; that’s what you’re telling us. Iraq is – the long shadow of the Iraqi intelligence wars is not a factor today. That’s what you’re telling us.

MS. HARF: A factor in what?

QUESTION: Don’t you think there’s a higher --

QUESTION: In what you’re --

MS. HARF: In anything?

QUESTION: Don’t you think – come on. It would be disingenuous to – it would really be disingenuous to not acknowledge that given after what happened with Iraq and how it really hurt U.S. credibility around the world, that this Administration said it needed to come in and spend four years repairing --

MS. HARF: And that’s exactly what this Administration has done.

QUESTION: Okay. But if you spent so much time repairing the damage that was done with a faulty intelligence assessment, you’ve got to acknowledge that the bar this time is higher, because you don’t want to repeat the same mistakes and you need to show the world that you’re not going to repeat the same mistakes.

MS. HARF: I think we’ve been clear in this Administration that we are not going to repeat the same mistakes of the Iraq War; that’s why we ended the war, period. I would also say --

QUESTION: There’s a difference between ending a war and not repeating the same mistakes with a faulty intelligence assessment.

MS. HARF: And again, I would say – I would make two points here. First of all, there are a lot of intelligence assessments done all the time by our intelligence community, so I would caution anyone from comparing this situation to that one. I just would. I would also say that, again, this is a unique situation in some ways, that there is so much so quickly – publicly available information. I’m not basing, clearly, everything on that, but that there are almost a hundred videos on YouTube, I heard at last count, showing what was clearly people suffering from chemical weapons symptoms.

QUESTION: Do you think that – when you say that there is a preponderance of publicly available evidence and you’re citing all this, do you think that regardless of your intelligence assessment, which I know you’re going to show --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- do you think this preponderance of publicly available evidence is case enough to respond?

MS. HARF: I think that the preponderance of public information is certainly demonstrates to the world that chemical weapons were used here. I think we’ve all been clear about that.

QUESTION: No one’s disputing that they were used.

MS. HARF: Again, and we’ve said publicly – very publicly – before we talk about an intelligence assessment that the only one capable of doing this is the Syrian regime.

QUESTION: So isn’t that a circumstantial case?

MS. HARF: Not at all. I would not say that at all.

QUESTION: Can I move on to a housekeeping business?

QUESTION: Marie, would you agree, on the comparison issue – I’m sorry, just one second. Would you agree on --

MS. HARF: One more, and then we’re going to move on from this, guys.

QUESTION: On comparison --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: On comparison, would you at least agree that they can be compared on – based on the fact that intelligence then was supplied by an Iraqi opposition that had an interest in toppling the regime, and this intelligence was also supplied by a Syrian opposition that is interested in toppling the regime?

MS. HARF: Said, I don’t think --

QUESTION: Would you compare --

MS. HARF: -- you have idea where our intelligence came from --

QUESTION: Okay, okay. That’s fine.

MS. HARF: -- in this matter. I think you’re making a lot of assumptions that aren’t backed up by facts.

QUESTION: Okay, let me give you a chance to refute something that Representative Rogers also said.

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: When asked point blank, when asked point blank, that what is the – a plausible scenario that the opposition may have gotten its hand on some chemical weapons and used it to drag the U.S. into this mess, they asked him to refute that and he said that is a probability. Do you agree that that is a probability?

MS. HARF: I didn’t see Chairman Rogers’s comments and I don’t know if you’re actually characterizing them correctly. Our assessment --

QUESTION: I am characterizing them correctly. He was asked this question point blank, and he said that is always a possibility, that’s why we have to be very careful. So do you --

MS. HARF: Possibility is different than probability, Said.

QUESTION: Probability. Okay, fine.

MS. HARF: Okay?

QUESTION: Okay, fine. Do you consider that to be --

MS. HARF: They’re different words.

QUESTION: Do you consider that to have been a possibility?

MS. HARF: In this case? No. We have talked – we talked yesterday --

QUESTION: You are 100 percent certain --

MS. HARF: Said.

QUESTION: -- that the chemical weapons were used by the regime.

MS. HARF: We said yesterday that the only people in Syria that are capable of firing multiple rockets using this delivery system at an opposition neighborhood in Damascus is the regime. Now, clearly, we obviously would be concerned if we got reports that anyone in the opposition had access to these – clearly, we would be concerned about that. But we’re talking about what happened on August 21st. It was a situation where there was a large, mass-scale attack undertaken that there’s only one party in Syria capable of doing, period.

QUESTION: Marie, can we move on to some housekeeping issues here?

MS. HARF: We can, of course.

QUESTION: When this briefing takes place of members of Congress --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- and leaders in key committees, apparently at 6 p.m. this evening --

MS. HARF: I just said that.

QUESTION: Okay. Is --

MS. HARF: I confirmed it.

QUESTION: Is this the same thing as the providing of the report – the classified report?

MS. HARF: It’s an unclassified call, I just said.

QUESTION: Okay.

MS. HARF: So it an unclassified briefing.

QUESTION: Okay. So after that briefing has concluded, we should still await the provision of a classified report to members of Congress?

MS. HARF: Correct. Yes.

QUESTION: Okay. As well as --

MS. HARF: It’s my understanding --

QUESTION: -- an unclassified version --

MS. HARF: Yes.

QUESTION: -- to the public --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Right? Of that report?

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: All right.

MS. HARF: Correct.

QUESTION: Secondly, we covered this yesterday and I’m just sort of touching bases here again to cover it again, but is there any active effort at diplomacy with the Syrian regime underway?

MS. HARF: Not to my knowledge, no.

QUESTION: Okay, which is another way of saying, it seems to me, and correct me if I’m wrong, that there is nothing the Syrian Government can do at this point to avoid the kind of campaign that – or the kind of steps that the President’s considering, right? That’s going to happen to them no matter what they do right now, correct?

MS. HARF: Well, we’ve been clear there will be a response, and I don’t think I want to go any further than that. On potential diplomatic outreach, again, not to my knowledge, nothing planned, to my knowledge.

QUESTION: And no ultimatum has been presented to the Assad regime prior to the commencement of such a response?

MS. HARF: Well, the response – the decision hasn’t been made yet.

QUESTION: But no ultimatum has been presented to the regime, as far as you know?

MS. HARF: Not to my knowledge, no.

QUESTION: The British Government today put out a statement setting forth what London sees as the legal justification --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- for allied action absent UN Security Council authorization. And the specific term that was cited was that the legal justification rests on the fact that this is a humanitarian mission. Is it the view of the United States Government as well that the action to be taken, whenever it is decided upon --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- is a humanitarian action, and that is what grants it legal status?

MS. HARF: Well, I’d make a few points. Again, as you said, the President hasn’t made a decision yet. If a decision were taken, we would not necessarily act on the same basis of the same legal doctrines as our allies, nor would we need to act on the same legal basis as our allies. Again, if a decision is made at some point to undertake some sort of military action, we’ll certainly explain our basis when we get to that point, but again, no decision has been made.

QUESTION: And the UK’s statement further went on to say that the goals of the response, whenever it is decided upon --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- will include deterring and disrupting the ability of the Syrian regime to launch further chemical attacks. Does the U.S. share those objectives?

MS. HARF: Well, I think, broadly speaking, we’ve been clear that we want to show the Syrian regime that they can’t use these weapons and that they shouldn’t do so in the future. So clearly, deterrence is part of that. I think the President last night spoke a little bit about this, so I would point you to his comments as well. But clearly, that’s something that we think is very important.

QUESTION: The key word that I --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- wanted to direct to your attention was disruption --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- deterring and disrupting.

MS. HARF: Again, I --

QUESTION: Is it a goal of the United States response, whenever it is decided upon, to disrupt Assad’s ability to use chemical weapons?

MS. HARF: I’m not going to go any further in terms of goals for a hypothetical action that hasn’t been taken yet.

QUESTION: Just a couple more.

MS. HARF: I’m just not going to go any further.

QUESTION: Just a couple more real quick.

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: There is expected to be a British parliamentary consideration on Tuesday, if I’m not mistaken. Does that affect our timing or our decision-making process at all, the fact that it’s not until Tuesday that the UK parliament is expected to address this?

MS. HARF: Well, as I said, I think maybe before you walked in, that we’re staying in close touch with our UK counterparts, obviously aware of this discussion that’s taking place in Parliament. We’ve also said that the President will make a decision and will act on any response on our own timelines, but clearly, we believe consultation with the British Government is incredibly important.

QUESTION: Two last things, two last things --

QUESTION: Can I just follow up on that one point? You believe consultation with the British Government is important --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm, yeah.

QUESTION: -- but do you believe that acquiescence from the British parliament is critical?

MS. HARF: I’m not going to further comment on a hypothetical, also, further comment on parliamentary action. I’m just not.

QUESTION: Two last things --

QUESTION: But if it hampers the British, who are your major partners --

MS. HARF: Again, they have an internal political situation that they’re going through right now. I’m not going to further parse how that might affect any potential U.S. response.

QUESTION: Is it --

QUESTION: Could you just clarify what conversations anyone’s had with the British?

MS. HARF: Well, I think we’ve read a lot of them out. The President – I believe the President spoke with David Cameron a few days ago. I --

QUESTION: Anything planned in the next 24 hours?

MS. HARF: I’m sorry?

QUESTION: Is there anything planned in the next 24 hours?

MS. HARF: Not to my knowledge, but we’ve stayed in close consultation with them. The Secretary has spoken with Foreign Secretary Hague. I believe the Vice President has as well, but I’m not positive. You should check with the White House on that.

QUESTION: Is --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- it a legitimate concern that the passage of time somehow serves to erode the international legitimacy of any response the President might commence? In other words, the longer we wait from August 21, the less legitimacy in the eyes of the world the action might hold. Is that a legitimate concern? Is that something people in this building are talking about?

MS. HARF: No.

QUESTION: Last question: Has this building, or the United States Government more broadly, arrived at any assessment as to the likelihood of the Syrian Government launching any retaliatory strikes on Israel as a result of any action the President might decide to take?

MS. HARF: Well, broadly speaking, James, I think as I have said, clearly when the President and his team are looking at potential courses of action, we take into account a wide range of possible consequences from those actions. I’m not going to go more specifically than that, I don’t think, at this point. But clearly, we have friends and allies and partners in the region, and all of those are factors playing into a potential course of action.

QUESTION: But has a conclusion about the likelihood of retaliatory action against Israel been taken into account?

MS. HARF: I’m not going to get into any more specifics than that. Of course, these factors are always taken into account.

QUESTION: When was the last time Secretary Kerry spoke to Prime Minister Netanyahu or – well, there’s no foreign minister now, but --

MS. HARF: I can find that out for you. I don’t have that in front of me.

QUESTION: Yeah, can you find that out, please?

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm. I can.

QUESTION: Why is this --

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

QUESTION: Why is this evening’s briefing going to be unclassified?

MS. HARF: I would, I think, refer you to the White House for more details about it. I think part of the reason might be because Congress is in recess and people are calling in from all across the country. I think that might be a logistical reason, but I would refer you to them for a further response to that.

QUESTION: And how – you said that – I mean, I guess if it’s so important to consult Congress, it would seem that it would be equally important to consult Congress as fully and richly as you possibly can, and that would mean including classified assessments. So --

MS. HARF: And they’ve certainly – the people that are party leadership or chairs and rank in these committees clearly get classified information and they will get classified assessment when it’s finished as well.

QUESTION: Well, but the point is – I mean, if it’s so important to consult them, why isn’t it so important to consult them with the full array of information that you can give them? In other words, why not find a way to get them a classified – to a classified line?

MS. HARF: That will be happening as soon as humanly possible. Clearly this isn’t our only consultation with leadership and ranking members and chairs of these committees. This is one conversation that a lot of people have focused on. This consultation’s been going on for days and it will continue, and we’ve shared classified information as appropriate with them. And again, when the assessment’s done, we will share that as well.

QUESTION: And do you expect the – do you expect tonight the release of an unclassified assessment to the public?

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

QUESTION: And Marie, just one --

QUESTION: And last one from me on this --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- do you have an estimate on the completion of the classified assessment?

MS. HARF: I don’t.

QUESTION: So I just want to follow up on this, on the call.

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: So the lawmakers who dial in to this call tonight should not expect any classified information at all.

MS. HARF: It is an unclassified call, yes.

QUESTION: So what – what is it that they’re going to hear, beyond the talking points that you and the White House and Secretary Kerry and the President’s interview last night – what are – are they going to hear anything other than that?

MS. HARF: Well, I think it’s safe to assume that our conversations with Congress are fulsome on this. There’s a lot, as we’ve said --

QUESTION: By the way, let me just interrupt you there. The word “fulsome,” I don’t think, means what you think it does.

MS. HARF: Are we going to do definitions today, or are you going to let me finish?

QUESTION: Yeah, I think if you look at the main definitions on “fulsome,” you’ll find that it means almost probably the opposite of what you intend it to mean. But --

MS. HARF: Okay. Well, let me finish what I was saying, please --

QUESTION: -- go ahead.

MS. HARF: -- before you do definitions on me again today. Our conversations with Congress have been extremely detailed, I think. And there’s a lot, as we’ve said in this room, that we can talk about at an unclassified level about what happened here. There just is. There’s so much unclassified information about this out there, that it will be --

QUESTION: I understand, but do you --

MS. HARF: -- it will be a good discussion --

QUESTION: -- but is it --

MS. HARF: -- and again, we can talk about it after it happens.

QUESTION: Okay. Fair enough.

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: But, I mean, is the Administration comfortable going – taking, or even considering military action on the basis of 100 YouTube videos?

MS. HARF: First of all, the President hasn’t made a decision yet, and he’s taking into account --

QUESTION: I know, but the President is clearly considering all options on the table, right, except for boots on the ground. So that includes some kind of military activity.

MS. HARF: He’s taking into account --

QUESTION: You’re talking about unclassified information. You’re saying that on the internet, you can find – you said – 100 YouTube videos at last count. Is that really enough for the President of the United States to consider military action?

MS. HARF: The President is taking into account the host of information that he has.

QUESTION: Okay, but the --

MS. HARF: A lot of that is classified information. It’s the intelligence assessment. It’s incredibly highly classified information. It’s also --

QUESTION: Right.

MS. HARF: -- publicly available information.

QUESTION: Well, it can’t be both.

MS. HARF: It’s all of the above. Why can’t it be? Absolutely, he’s --

QUESTION: No, no, no. It can’t be at the same time. It can’t be highly classified and public at the same time.

MS. HARF: Those are two separate --

QUESTION: Okay. So why --

MS. HARF: -- buckets of information.

QUESTION: So then it gets back to Arshad’s question, and the question about: What exactly is the utility of this phone call to members of Congress tonight?

MS. HARF: Because we believe we want to stay in close contact with members of Congress.

QUESTION: All right. But if --

MS. HARF: This is not the entirety of our consultation with Congress by any means.

QUESTION: Okay. But if I’m a member of Congress and I have questions about this, I certainly am not going to be satisfied with the Secretary of State telling me that I can go to YouTube and look at 100 videos.

MS. HARF: Don’t assume you know what the Secretary’s going to say on this call today, Matt.

QUESTION: I’m only using your words, when you said --

MS. HARF: Right. And he’ll say something, I’m sure, different tonight.

QUESTION: Okay. But --

MS. HARF: And go into more detail.

QUESTION: But nothing classified.

MS. HARF: But again, we’ve had classified discussions with members of Congress --

QUESTION: With two that you’ve mentioned.

MS. HARF: -- leading up to this day. And that’s not the entirety of it, I would say, with those two members.

QUESTION: Did the other people that get classified information – that were briefed on the classified information – you’re not quoting from them. Were they less – were they – were any of them less --

MS. HARF: I just gave two examples, because they’re the chair and the ranking member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

QUESTION: Okay. All right.

MS. HARF: Our classified conversations have been ongoing with them, and they will continue to be. So this meeting tonight does not represent the breadth of our consultation with Congress. I would strongly encourage you not to report it that way.

QUESTION: Okay.

QUESTION: But given the urgency --

QUESTION: (Off-mike.)

MS. HARF: Yes. Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- excuse me, Said. Given the urgency of trying to issue some sort of convincing response to the Assad regime --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- why isn’t this Administration working more closely with Speaker Boehner and with Leader Reid on trying to get Congress back here? It was pretty amazing that in London you saw a standing-room-only crowd in the House of Parliament today, with people wanting to get in their two cents about the utility of launching some sort of military action, and here in the United States everyone is still basically on holiday.

So my first question, one, is: Where’s the urgency if the Administration truly believes that some sort of robust response is necessary? And number two, going back to the point that both James and Elise made, I think quite convincingly, which is that the standard for convincing the American public as well as the U.S. Congress is extremely high.

MS. HARF: As it should be.

QUESTION: It’s even – it’s much higher --

MS. HARF: As it should be.

QUESTION: -- than it ever was since Iraq. Does the Secretary believe that as much of the information should be made available, much of this information which is currently deemed classified – does he believe that as much of it as possible should be put out to the public in order to satisfy the very high levels of skepticism, not just in our political government, but also in our public government as it were --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- as this is a representative democracy?

MS. HARF: Well, let me address both of your questions. The first is that there’s been a high level of consistent consultation with Congress, even while they’re not in Washington. So I understand the question. The Secretary’s been on the phone, folks from the White House have been as well, as has Secretary Hagel. So don’t assume just because Congress isn’t in session that there hasn’t been a high level of consultation. That will continue.

QUESTION: Well, let me stop you there, Marie.

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Because on the – on a separate issue of dealing with domestic surveillance, many members of Congress complained that it was incredibly difficult, if not outright impossible, for them to be able to make the time to meet at the SCIF, the secured classified information facility on the Hill, in order to be able to review the information about the surveillance programs. When people are scattered to the four winds, how is it possible that any of them would be able to get the kind of briefing and the kind of understanding that they say they would need in order to possibly sanction any sort of U.S. military action? How is that reasonably possible?

MS. HARF: Well, first I would say that there’s a reason that classified information can only be read in secure places, and it’s a very good one, point A. Point B, clearly some members of Congress have been in appropriate places to get classified briefings or read classified information. So --

QUESTION: But some does not equate all 435 members.

MS. HARF: Well, they all have the opportunity to come back to Washington and discuss this in classified settings here. So I would make that point crystal clear. And the second point was – what was your second question again? Sorry.

QUESTION: Does the Secretary believe that as much of the information --

MS. HARF: Oh, yes. Thank you.

QUESTION: -- beyond what is going to be discussed on this phone call tonight, whatever is in that classified report that goes to members of Congress --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- should as much of that information as possible be included in the public version of that document? Because otherwise I think what you’re going to find is even more opposition to the idea of another U.S.-led intervention somewhere in the Middle East. The burden is on this Administration to prove it.

MS. HARF: Two points I would make. Nobody’s talking about a large-scale military intervention, which is a word you used, and it’s an incorrect word. We’re talking about a response, but nobody’s talking about an Iraq-style intervention.

Point two that I would make is clearly we all agree that as much information as we can declassify the better. We all operate under that premise. But as I said on I think Tuesday maybe – the days are all running together at this point – there is a reason that certain sources and certain methods will never be declassified, and it’s a very good one, partly based on the fact that we want these sources and methods to be able to detect future use of chemical weapons, a goal I think we all think is – would say is important. So we will endeavor to provide as much information as possible, but there will inevitably, for very good reasons, be some things we will not be able to declassify.

QUESTION: To follow up on Roz’s question though --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- you’ve made it clear that the Administration is engaged in extensive consultation with Congress.

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Is the Administration seeking the sanction of the Congress?

MS. HARF: I would underscore that the President hasn’t made a decision, and I’m not going to further detail what those consultations have entailed at this point.

QUESTION: On Assad, I wanted to ask on – your position is still that the goal of whatever operation is not regime change, correct?

MS. HARF: Correct.

QUESTION: Okay.

MS HARF: We do not believe that there – we are not seeking regime change through any military option. Correct.

QUESTION: Okay. And Assad’s person is not a target for these strikes, is he?

MS. HARF: Again, I think I just made very clear what our position is.

QUESTION: Okay. And I’m talking about his person, his wellbeing, his person, not his regime.

MS. HARF: We are not considering any military options aimed at regime change.

QUESTION: Well --

QUESTION: Okay. But if he happens to be somewhere where a cruise missile could fall and that can bring about his demise, that would be okay, wouldn’t it?

MS. HARF: Again, Said, no decision has been made about a response. You’re doing a lot of hypotheticals with me here.

QUESTION: Well, but --

QUESTION: Yeah, but --

MS. HARF: But we are not pursuing regime change through military options.

QUESTION: But you --

MS. HARF: We believe the only option here is a political solution. That has not changed.

QUESTION: But when you say regime change --

QUESTION: Yeah, but you keep talking about unintended consequences. I mean, there could be one of the unintended consequences of, let’s say, a cruise missile that has gone awry is actually could fall on Assad, bring his demise. Would that be a good thing for the U.S.?

MS. HARF: I’m not going to comment on every hypothetical possible outcome here.

QUESTION: Okay.

MS. HARF: Clearly we believe that it is in the best interest of the Syrian people to get a political solution where Assad is no longer in charge of their country.

QUESTION: I have a couple of questions.

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: So first of all, just a quick one, when you say you’re not pursuing regime change, do you equate President Assad with the regime, or when you say you’re not looking for regime change, you mean the whole current government as it stands?

MS. HARF: Well, I think it’s clear that President Assad is head of the Assad regime, and we are not pursuing regime change through military options.

QUESTION: So you’re not pursuing the ousting of President Assad?

MS. HARF: I think that would be one definition of regime change, yes.

QUESTION: Okay. So – but why would you – I mean, I understand that you’re not doing that. But – I mean, there have been some foreign policy experts that say why are you putting out there the limitations of this campaign? Is that for, like, the American public and Congress to be assured that more troops won’t die or anything like that? Because it does seem as – from a military kind of strategic point of view, you’re almost kind of letting him know that it’s not going to be so bad that he’s going to lose power, and that’s his main – his survival is his main goal. So what incentives do you have to kind of tell the regime what this is not going to be?

MS. HARF: Well, I think the President was clear last night in his interview that we can take limited and tailored approaches. I think he used the term, “sending a shot across the bow,” in response to this situation.

I think we believe that we should be upfront about the American people while these discussions are ongoing about the boundaries of the discussion about possible responses. Clearly, we’re not going to get more specific than that, but we think it is important to say, look, we’re not talking about an Iraq-style invasion; we’re not talking about a Libya-style, open-ended no-fly zone and operation; and I think that’s an important point that the President and we all think should be shared with the public as we debate these issues.

QUESTION: But are you – I mean, is a shot across the bow enough to change his behavior, or are you, when you say that this is not going to be regime change, and I know the President hasn’t made any decisions, but whatever decisions he makes, are you planning this to be something where he’s going to – this is going to effect a change in his behavior? Is this just a slap on the wrist, or is this something that’s going to have, while not regime change, but an effect on the ground which will hamper his ability to hurt his people again?

MS. HARF: The President will take appropriate action that’s appropriate in response to such a large-scale use of chemical weapons. That’s the decision that’s being talked about right now. So I’m not going to go any further and characterize it in any of those ways. But you have – well, we believe that the regime needs to be held accountable, but we’re talking real responses here.

QUESTION: Accountability is fine. Accountability is fine and a response, but do you consider any response having to prevent future atrocities like this?

MS. HARF: Clearly, I think that’s a goal that we think is important here. Yes, absolutely.

QUESTION: But are – (inaudible) --

QUESTION: Marie, you were very explicit yesterday --

QUESTION: -- atrocities called by chemical weapons, not other atrocities, correct?

MS. HARF: This is a specific response to chemical weapons use.

QUESTION: So non-chemical weapons atrocities are not – are okay --

MS. HARF: In no way have – would I would ever take that from what I just said, Arshad. We have repeatedly said that the Assad regime is brutalizing its own people through traditional military means before – separate and apart from chemical weapons use, so --

QUESTION: But the purpose of this is narrowly tailored to chemical weapons use.

MS. HARF: The purpose of this response is narrowly tailored – excuse me – to respond to their use of chemical weapons.

Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Marie, you were very explicit yesterday from the podium and forthcoming in telling us that the United States and its allies had sought authorization from the UN Security Council for the decisions the President and our partners are going to take, and that it was Russian obstructionism which prevented us from receiving that authorization from the UN Security Council. What is it that prevents you from telling me whether our government is also – your Administration – is also engaged in the business of trying to secure authorization from the U.S. Congress? Why are you unwilling to address that?

MS. HARF: Well, I don’t believe I further specified yesterday when I talked about the UN. I said we believe the UN Security Council should make a strong statement here. I didn’t further detail what we were seeking there. I also outlined the problems with that. So I said we’ll consult with the UN and we’ll consult with Congress. I think both of those things are true.

QUESTION: I just wonder if in addition to consulting with the Congress you are seeking the approval and authorization of the Congress, and why are you unwilling to tell me whether that is true or not true?

MS. HARF: Again, the President hasn’t made a decision and I’m not going to further detail our discussions with congressional leaders on this.

QUESTION: So you are unwilling even to say whether you believe the United States Government requires congressional approval for what it wants to do.

MS. HARF: I am not going to speak to the hypothetical, no.

QUESTION: Is that --

QUESTION: Didn’t several lawmakers say, though, that it’s not required?

QUESTION: Well, hold on a second, isn’t that also because the President hasn’t decided what, in the range of options, is not all military, is it?

MS. HARF: Absolutely. It – the President hasn’t made a decision yet, so we’re all getting about four steps ahead of the game here when we’re talking about these issues.

QUESTION: So in fact --

MS. HARF: They’re all hypothetical at this point.

QUESTION: So in fact, once he decides, then you will decide whether whatever it is he has decided on requires congressional approval or not, right?

MS. HARF: When he makes a decision, we will decide at that point what we have to do going forward. Yes.

QUESTION: Can I just – does the Administration endorse or believe in the concept – the responsibility to protect a concept?

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: It does. And that would be one of the justifications for action in this case, correct?

MS. HARF: I think there are a number of justifications. I don’t want to get ahead of where we are because we haven’t made a decision. Our --

QUESTION: Well, but there is going to be some kind of action, whether it’s military or not, there is going to be something.

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: And that – and the justification for that action would be – one of them would be responsibility to protect, correct?

MS. HARF: I’m not going to lay out what our justifications are going to be. Clearly, broadly speaking, we believe in the responsibility to protect, but I’m not going to lay out justifications for a decision that hasn’t been made.

QUESTION: All right, but then just -- okay. Fair enough.

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: But just getting back then to what Arshad was saying, I mean, you believe the responsibility to protect only applies to chemical weapons use?

MS. HARF: No, not at all.

QUESTION: Because a hundred thousand people have died – very, very few of them, percentage-wise, have died from chemical weapons. And if you believe in the responsibility to protect, then I think – how do you explain not having done anything to specifically deter the Assad regime from using conventional weapons to slaughter tens of thousands of people.

MS. HARF: Well, I would strongly disagree with your notion that we’ve done nothing.

QUESTION: No, no – nothing to deter him. Nothing that you have done, whether or not the goal – whatever the goal has been of it – has deterred him from either continuing to slaughter his own people with conventional weapons or using chemical weapons.

MS. HARF: Well, I think what we’ve done is strengthen our support for the opposition so they can better defend themselves on the ground, they can grow in strength, and we can work towards a Geneva-like process, which we believe is the only way to end this conflict in this situation.

QUESTION: Okay, I guess what I’m really trying to get at is that the responsibility to protect argument – or that concept that you support – you would not only apply that in the use of weapons of mass destruction, is that correct?

MS. HARF: No, no.

QUESTION: Okay.

MS. HARF: I mean, look, we believe --

QUESTION: (Laughter.) That’s it, it’s not a trick. That’s all I wanted to ask.

MS. HARF: Well, I know, but let me say we believe that killing of civilians by any means --

QUESTION: Is a bad thing. Yes.

MS. HARF: -- across the world is a bad thing. Okay, and in Syria that’s why we have consistently increased our aid to the opposition and that we have tried to push both sides, we’ve worked with the Russians in the UN to get a political solution here.

QUESTION: Right. But you can’t argue – you can’t make the argument that what you have done to this point has made it – has deterred --

MS. HARF: Well, there’s no – we certainly don’t have a political solution here yet, but we have helped the opposition grow in strength and we have seen them in some cases make some gains because of that. Yes.

QUESTION: So if Bashar al-Assad listens to this briefing today, should he take solace and comfort in the fact that he is not a target, his regime is not a target, and 24 hours after the bombing began, he can go on using conventional weapons to do whatever he wants? Correct?

MS. HARF: Said, I don’t think Bashar al-Assad should take any comfort in anything we’re saying. I think he should be crystal clear in knowing that the international community is standing up against what he has done to his own people. The U.S. Government is going to respond and that he and his regime is going to be held accountable for that use.

QUESTION: Okay, but you are making it crystal clear that his regime is not a target; he is not a target physically or otherwise?

MS. HARF: I am not saying that. I’m saying that we are not undertaking military action aimed at regime change.

QUESTION: Marie, yesterday the Chinese Foreign Minister -- sorry, it’s about Chinese view – China’s view of the situation in Syria --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Yesterday, the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, he said it should be ensured that there will be no interference in UN’s investigation, that no interference in UN’s investigation and no prejudgment for the investigation results. And he also stressed, again, that the political settlement has always been the only practical way of solution to the Syrian issue.

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: So how would you respond to his comments? And I know you are still making decisions.

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: So when you are making decisions, are you considering the views that supports the political solution? Thank you.

MS. HARF: Well, I’d make a few points. The first is that the only party in Syria that’s prevented the UN from investigating is the regime. So we have called on the regime from day one to allow unfettered access. The opposition from day one has said they will allow the investigation team to areas that they control. So there is only one group in Syria today that has not allowed the UN team to investigate, and that’s the regime.

QUESTION: Hold on. But you would concede, though, that they are investigating now, correct?

MS. HARF: At every step of the way, the Syrian regime has stymied this effort, including multiple days of shelling. I understand that they’ve announced that they will be returning on Saturday, I believe. But yes, it’s my understanding that they’re still on the ground. But I’ve repeatedly said that too much time has elapsed for this to be --

QUESTION: Right, right. And I understand that.

MS. HARF: -- a credible process.

QUESTION: But they did get out there.

MS. HARF: They got out there after repeated days of shelling –

QUESTION: Right.

MS. HARF: -- by the regime.

QUESTION: But they did get out there.

MS. HARF: And then they were actually postponed when they got out there by the – by them being attacked – excuse me – with snipers.

QUESTION: But they did get out there, and they have done an inspection.

MS. HARF: Yes.

QUESTION: And it’s an inspection that some countries, including the Brits, think is important to hear the results of.

MS. HARF: But again, their –

QUESTION: Right? Is that correct?

MS. HARF: -- their mandate isn’t --

QUESTION: Is that correct?

MS. HARF: -- that they are out – what you said is just correct, Matt. But again, I would reiterate their mandate isn’t to determine culpability.

QUESTION: Right.

MS. HARF: And there is no question –

QUESTION: Which is exactly why –

MS. HARF: -- that chemical weapons were used here.

QUESTION: Which is exactly why you’re getting all these questions about what the U.S. or other people’s intelligence things are.

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: If the UN isn’t going to even in the best possible scenario for your – for you – if they can’t tell you who is responsible for it --

MS. HARF: Right.

QUESTION: -- that’s why people are looking for proof from somewhere else as to who was responsible for it, and that’s why you’re getting – just so you understand, no one is debating whether or not they were used or not. It’s the question of culpability. It’s the question of who was responsible. And if you can only say that the intelligence supports the claim that the Assad regime did it –

MS. HARF: I just said the – I said the intelligence shows that the regime was responsible.

QUESTION: Right. But not --

MS. HARF: And I –

QUESTION: But “shows,” again, is not proved.

MS. HARF: I would also say that there’s not just intelligence, but that there’s a lot of public information indicating the regime was responsible.

QUESTION: Right. A hundred YouTube videos.

QUESTION: Do you have confidence in the veracity and the integrity of the inspectors’ findings on Saturday?

MS. HARF: In what way?

QUESTION: In whatever findings they have. Will you take their findings to be credible and have integrity, and so on?

MS. HARF: Well, we’ll certainly look at it.

QUESTION: Because you said that time has elapsed, and time has really vitiated whatever integrity the findings may have been, so –

MS. HARF: Well, we will certainly look at their findings. I don’t – I think that there’s a process here once they return. I don’t think anyone should assume that there will be something made public from UN on Saturday --

QUESTION: But you don’t --

MS. HARF: -- although you should check with them on that.

QUESTION: Right. But you don’t expect these findings to sort of sway the decision one way or another?

MS. HARF: I’m not going to characterize it that way, Said. I think, obviously, any additional information we get from the UN or elsewhere we would welcome. But we would also say that we believe the Assad regime has used the UN investigation at times and its response to the UN investigation to stall. They’ve used it to hide behind, quite frankly. And that’s why – clearly, we welcome their work, we would welcome what results they bring back. Those are both true statements.

Yes. Let me go to you, and then I’ll go to you.

QUESTION: One of the key points –

MS. HARF: Let me go to her first. Yeah, go ahead.

QUESTION: One of the key points the Chinese Foreign Minister – he said China is not convinced that Assad regime used chemical weapons. So are you going to share your intelligence with the Chinese and to persuade them to believe your view?

MS. HARF: Well, we’ve shared information and intelligence with our allies and partners. I don’t have anything specific on what we’ve shared with China or if we have, but I think we’ve continued these consultations with foreign leaders to talk them through why we believe the Assad regime is responsible here.

QUESTION: But you’ll go it alone if you have to? You won’t wait around for the British, for example?

MS. HARF: Again, the President hasn’t made a decision. We are in close consultation and touch with our –

QUESTION: It’s not contingent on getting the support of the Brits, for example?

MS. HARF: I’m not going to put any sort of contingencies on a decision that hasn’t been made yet. I’m just not.

QUESTION: Marie –

MS. HARF: I’ll go to you next, and then I’ll –

QUESTION: As I asked, you are still making the decisions.

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: So are you considering the views that just only support the political solution?

MS. HARF: Absolutely not. The President considers a wide range of views when he takes such serious decisions, clearly, from his national security team. Also that’s why we’ve been talking with our P-5 counterparts and our allies and partners around the world, and we take a range of views into account when making these decisions.

Yeah.

QUESTION: So Marie, you said – you just said that you would welcome the UN inspection team’s findings.

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: But you also said yesterday that you believed that too much time has elapsed for their findings to be credible --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- and that you’re moving ahead on your own timetable. Is that still the case?

MS. HARF: Yes, absolutely. Look, they’ll get back to New York, and we’ll take a look at what they bring back, but we do believe that so much time elapsed with the shelling that we needed to move forward with our own assessment. Clearly, that’s why we’ve done our own intelligence assessment.

QUESTION: So I understand that, and I understand that you also place the onus of responsibility for this lapse of credibility squarely on the Assad regime. But I mean, isn’t it nonetheless a concern that sort of pushing – like pushing the UN report off to the side or the briefing of the inspectors’ findings sort of devalue not only the work of that team, but also the work of future such teams when they try to find --

MS. HARF: Not at all.

QUESTION: You don’t think –

MS. HARF: I’m sorry. Go ahead.

QUESTION: No. Go ahead.

MS. HARF: No. Not at all, and I want to make this point crystal clear here, because we’ve talked a lot about the UN investigation, and we clearly value the work of the United Nations investigative teams in Syria, elsewhere where they’ve been on the ground. We talked about it. We’ve talked about it for months, quite frankly, that we think this is an incredibly valuable tool in determining what happened.

In this case, we believe that there’s such a preponderance of publicly available information that chemical weapons were, in fact, used, and again, being that that’s their only mandate as part of this investigation and that the Syrian regime has used them as a stalling tactic, we believe it’s just a – it’s an analysis in weighing things against each other. And so clearly, we’ll look at what they bring back to New York, and going forward, UN investigations clearly are an important part of what we think should happen in these situations.

QUESTION: But it still seems like the UN report would carry some legitimacy and credibility that’s not conferred from publicly available information like YouTube videos or --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- or open source news reports, and that it would be a sort of an important sort of galvanizing point for any kind of response that the U.S. undertakes either with or without international support.

MS. HARF: Well, again – and we’ll take a look at it when it comes, and I don’t want to get ahead of that process, but I think I’d also make another point. Everyone keeps bringing up YouTube videos, in part because I bring them up a lot. So I will concede that point to the group. But I’d also say that there are just some key facts here that are publicly available, that this attack took place in an opposition-controlled area that we know the regime has been trying to take action against and clear for months. So that’s a publicly available fact. That’s not a YouTube video; that’s a fact.

QUESTION: Sorry. I didn’t mean to denigrate the YouTube videos –

MS. HARF: No, no, no. I know. But –

QUESTION: -- or the use of –

MS. HARF: -- people have brought this up, so I’m actually going to go through a little bit of the other publicly available information – that we know that the regime has used chemical weapons during this conflict. We made that assessment three months ago. We know that the regime maintains custody of their chemical weapons stockpiles. We know that the regime, again, has been unsuccessful in clearing this specific area with conventional weapons prior to this chemical weapons attack. And we have multiple streams of publicly available information from witnesses describing an event consistent with a chemical weapons attack.

So it’s not just people sitting around watching YouTube videos. Clearly, we’ve seen them. We’ve seen the pictures. We’ve heard the stories. But there is a broad range of information that is actually, I think, quite compelling to determining what happened here.

QUESTION: But just one more, sorry.

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Getting back to the original – the point of the whole UN inspection, though, I mean --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Are you not concerned that in the – that if the U.S. moves ahead with its response, whatever that may be, outside of the UN inspection’s results, in the future, similar situations where regimes would be forced to let in a UN inspection team might sort of use this precedent that you’re setting as grounds to not allow the UN inspection team to do its work, to say that it’s not –

MS. HARF: I would actually maybe say the opposite, right? That I think that other regimes should say – we would be having a different conversation today potentially if the Syrian regime had let in the inspections team on day one or day two –

QUESTION: Just to be fair, the UN said itself that it didn’t ask to go in on day one. It didn’t ask until several days after the attack. So for the Secretary to say they waited five days, that’s not really true, because the UN did not ask to go onto the – into the site until Saturday, so –

MS. HARF: So why did the regime shell the site consistently for five days, setting aside the UN team?

QUESTION: That’s not what it – that’s not –

MS. HARF: That’s not the behavior of a regime with nothing to hide. That’s not the behavior of a regime that isn’t responsible for what happened there, setting aside the UN team.

QUESTION: But you keep – but I mean, just on that one point, you keep saying that they denied them access.

MS. HARF: The Syrian regime could have come out on day one, as the Secretary directly asked of them, and said we welcome the UN team coming here, we have said we have nothing to hide, we did not perpetrate this attack, so we will let them on the ground, setting aside when the UN asked. And they didn’t do that. In fact, they did the opposite. They systematically destroyed evidence, and that’s what they’ve continued to do since then.

QUESTION: At the time, did you --

QUESTION: So was that the purpose of the call?

QUESTION: Did you – yeah, it was the purpose of the call. But did you ever – what was Muallim’s response? Sure, bring him in?

MS. HARF: To the Secretary?

QUESTION: Yeah, when he said, look, if you guys really have nothing to hide, let the inspectors in, will you – I presume he said, “Will you do that?” – what was Muallim’s response?

MS. HARF: Well, I’m not going to give you a line-by-line accounting or a transcript of their call.

QUESTION: Well, I mean, it might be helpful. If they guy said sure, as soon as they ask, they can come in, and then if they didn’t ask until Saturday, and we’re talking about this happened on Wednesday --

MS. HARF: Safe to say that wasn’t the response from the Syrian Foreign Minister.

QUESTION: He said we have nothing to hide, and we’re not going to show – and we’re – take our word for it.

MS. HARF: The Syrians have repeatedly said that they were not responsible --

QUESTION: Right.

MS. HARF: -- that – and again, they’ve said that publicly, I believe.

QUESTION: Right.

MS. HARF: And that was certainly the position the Foreign Minister conveyed to the Secretary. The Secretary made clear that if indeed they have nothing to hide, access should be granted immediately.

QUESTION: Okay.

QUESTION: And is it the understanding in this building that the regime has been testing your resolve by using first a very small dose, and a bigger dose, then finally last Wednesday this huge dose? Have they been testing your resolve on the redline?

MS. HARF: I’m not going to do analysis on the Syrian regime’s reasons for doing anything at any certain time. I think let’s just do a few more on Syria and then maybe move on.

Yes.

QUESTION: I mean, yes, set aside this video YouTubes of – or the brutality of the – which is clear already for two years or more than that of regime, can you make it crystal clear why U.S. has to take an action, and this type of action which is – nobody is aware or nobody is even can calculate what will be the consequences? It’s not going to deter or it’s not going to disrupt the chemical system or the regime itself. So what is crystal clear going to be achieved by that action? Is it like a giving a lesson or take a step or what?

MS. HARF: Well, I think that the President made very clear last night that the Assad regime needs to understand that by using chemical weapons on a large scale against its own people, against women and children, civilians, that you’re not only breaking international norms and standards of decency – I believe those were his words – but that you’re creating the situation where U.S. national security interests are threatened. So he made very clear why we believe it’s in our interest to respond here.

QUESTION: But if it’s international norm, I mean --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- many of people in this part of the world and all over the world, they see that a lot of norms are broken all the time. And if it’s everything is going to be taken as a – like an action, Tomahawk cruise or similar or – I know the decision is not made yet --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- how you put as a channel or a – somehow language of diplomacy or use this podium to send a message?

MS. HARF: Well, we respond to every incident, every time civilians are killed or every time there is a tragic incident, of course, with an appropriate response. We believe that this was such a mass use on such a mass scale of a weapon that so much of the world had said – has said should not be used, that we will respond appropriately here. So I think we take every situation individually. This is such a gross violation of norms against chemical weapons use that that’s why we’re taking appropriate action – we will be taking appropriate action at some point.

QUESTION: Can we move on?

QUESTION: Do you agree or disagree --

MS. HARF: Yes. We’re going to move on right after this one, Said.

QUESTION: Okay. I promise this is my last question.

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Do you agree or disagree with Hans Blix, the Swedish diplomat, who was pulled out on the 17th of March 2003, two days before the invasion of Iraq and the bombing of Iraq, who said that the United States should not be the policeman of the world?

MS. HARF: I am not going to entertain any kind, in any way, of comparisons between this situation and anyone that worked on Iraq or anything surrounding it. I’m just not. And we’re – I think we’re going to move on now.

Yes.

QUESTION: How about former U.S. weapons inspectors? You don’t want to talk about them at all?

I want to move to Pakistan, if I could.

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Do you have any reaction – positive, negative, or otherwise – to the decision on the doctor who assisted in the bin Ladin raid, the (inaudible) case?

MS. HARF: We have seen the reports that Dr. Afridi’s sentence was overturned. Our position on Dr. Afridi has long been clear. We regret both that he was convicted and the severity of his sentence. We hope this latest development leads to an outcome that reflects the fact that bringing Usama bin Ladin to justice was clearly in Pakistan’s interests as well as ours. We continue to believe, of course, that the prosecution and conviction of Dr. Afridi sends exactly the wrong message about the importance of this shared interest.

QUESTION: Do you --

QUESTION: Well, wait. Just so – this is the first step in something that would send – that you hope sends the right message? Is that correct?

MS. HARF: We hope this latest development leads to an outcome that reflects the fact that we believe this was in both of our shared interests. I know there’s a process, and I just don’t want to get ahead of it.

QUESTION: I understand, but I’m looking for you – I’m looking to find – I’m trying to find out if this is something you welcome, you’re pleased with.

MS. HARF: I’m not going to use those words.

QUESTION: Change topic?

QUESTION: So --

MS. HARF: I’m just not going to use those words, Matt.

QUESTION: Staying with this --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- do you regret that Dr. Afridi’s identity became public knowledge?

MS. HARF: I’m not going to entertain that question from here. I just don’t have anything for you on that.

QUESTION: Why not?

MS. HARF: Because I’m not.

QUESTION: Well, no, but “because” is a reason that even four-year-olds find hard to accept. I mean – and the reason I ask is that it is difficult to – I mean, if you think about a signal that is sent by the fact that he was outed – right? – it sends a signal to people who might cooperate with U.S. intelligence that they can’t really be sure that they’re going to be protected. And that’s why I ask.

MS. HARF: I believe people, including former CIA Director Leon Panetta and others, have spoken to this. I’m not going to speak further to it from here. I’m just not.

Yes.

QUESTION: Can we change topics?

MS. HARF: Yes. Yes, we can.

QUESTION: The Palestinian-Israeli peace process?

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Is there anything that you could possibly share with us, or is this going to be the case throughout the next nine months, that we come and we ask, we don’t know what’s going on, we cannot measure the progress, and then at the end of that period, we may end up with nothing?

MS. HARF: Or we may end up with something.

QUESTION: Okay. So is it your feeling that we will end up with something?

MS. HARF: When we have updates for you, Said, we will give them. Clearly, we believe that it’s an important step that both sides are back at the table. We wouldn’t be so invested in this process if we didn’t think it had a chance to succeed.

QUESTION: Okay. What kind of things that would prompt you in one way or another to actually update us on what is going on?

MS. HARF: I’m not going to further go into that.

Yes.

QUESTION: Has Senator Feingold or anyone else in this building spoken to anyone about the fighting north of Goma?

MS. HARF: I don’t know if I have anything on that for you. Let me see. Hmm, I don’t think I have anything for you on that, Scott. Let me check into that and get back to you if I have an update. I’m sorry, I just don’t have anything for you.

QUESTION: The Secretary issued a statement yesterday about looking to Iran for help with Mr. Levinson and other U.S. missing Americans believed to be in Iran.

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: What is the point of that kind of statement? Was there an anniversary or a marker? Are there any – has there been any change in their cases that alarm you?

QUESTION: Yes. Two years.

MS. HARF: I believe there was an anniversary. I’m sorry, I don’t have this all in front of me. I do know that we’ve repeatedly talked about the importance of our serious concern about the fate of these three U.S. citizens that are detained or missing in Iran. I know that we put out a statement yesterday on this. We continue to call on Iranian authorities to permit a visit by officials of the Swiss Embassy in Tehran to determine the wellbeing of both Mr. Abedini and Mr. Hekmati, and of course, to release them.

QUESTION: Can – hazard your guess as to why the word “respectfully” was used in this statement --

QUESTION: Yeah.

QUESTION: -- whereas it has not been before? Do you think sugarcoating it with the word “respectfully” is going to make President Rouhani more sympathetic to cooperating?

MS. HARF: I’m not going to parse the statement for you any further. I think we’ve been crystal clear what our position is on this. That hasn’t changed.

QUESTION: But do you have some reason to expect that with this new president who seems to have a more forward-leaning foreign policy position that this might be a good time that there might be some movement in these cases?

MS. HARF: I’m not going to venture a guess on that, Elise.

QUESTION: Yes, please.

MS. HARF: Yes.

QUESTION: Egypt.

MS. HARF: Yeah.

QUESTION: Do you have any update about Egypt concerning that this focus about Syria and anything is --

MS. HARF: I do not have any update for you on Egypt.

QUESTION: Nothing at all?

QUESTION: But it’s still a focus.

MS. HARF: Of course it’s still a focus. I don’t have any updates for you.

QUESTION: I mean, about the arrests of new people and --

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

QUESTION: -- about the last day of being – Mrs. Ambassador Patterson today and somebody has to replace him – her?

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

Said.

QUESTION: Could you comment on Mr. Satterfield likely assumption of duties in Egypt and Cairo?

MS. HARF: I don’t have anything for you on that.

QUESTION: So can you --

MS. HARF: If I have any personnel announcements to make, I will do so.

QUESTION: Can you confirm or deny that Mr. Satterfield is taking responsibility for the Embassy in Egypt?

MS. HARF: I don’t have anything for you on that, Said.

QUESTION: But you – it’s a reasonable expectation to ask where the – a top U.S. diplomat --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- of his stature is right now. Is he in Cairo?

MS. HARF: I don’t know the answer. If I have more details for you, I will let you know.

QUESTION: Could you take the question?

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: I’m just wondering if there’s any update on Ambassador King.

MS. HARF: No. I don’t have any updates for you.

QUESTION: You still, though, expect he’s – everything is on track for him --

MS. HARF: I just don’t have any updates for you today on that, Matt. If I do, I’ll let you guys know.

QUESTION: Well, as far as you know, though, there’s no change. He’s still on his way.

MS. HARF: Again, no updates for you.

QUESTION: I can’t tell if that – what that means. Do you know if anything has changed in his – his travel plans?

MS. HARF: I just don’t have any update for you than when we talked about it yesterday. I honestly don’t.

Is that it?

QUESTION: Thank you.

MS. HARF: Thanks.

(The briefing was concluded at 2:38 p.m.)

DPB # 147



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