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Victoria Clarke, Asst. Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs
David Chu, Under Sec. of Def. for Personnel and Readiness
Meg Falk, Director of the Office of Family Policy
Maj. Gen. Jim Jackson, Cmdr of the Military District of Washington
Ed Plaugher, Arlington County Fire Chief
The Pentagon
Arlington, Virginia
September 12, 2001
10:16 A.M. EDT

QUESTION: And what's being done at military bases across the country?

CLARKE: Barbara?

And -- I'm sorry, I'll give you some -- there are meetings at the White House today. There will be congressional briefings.

QUESTION: With air traffic, commercial air traffic still stopped in the United States, why is NORAD and the military continuing to fly combat air patrol over New York and Washington?

CLARKE: Barbara, I'm not going to get into any details about what we're doing and what we're not doing. We're taking the appropriate precautionary measures, we're taking the appropriate steps, but we're just not going to go into details about what they're doing and what they're not doing.

Yes?

QUESTION: Can you confirm that bodies were taken out overnight from the site?

CLARKE: No, I cannot.

QUESTION: You can't confirm that there were --

CLARKE: No, I cannot.

QUESTION: Can you say whether bodies have been identified and next of kin notified?

CLARKE: The process is beginning. That's all I can tell you at this time. But again, they're taking things very, very carefully.

QUESTION: The process of identification or notification?

CLARKE: The process of locating and identification has begun.

QUESTION: Torie, have they gone through the blueprints or talked to people doing the renovations? Do you have a list of exactly which offices were even affected?

CLARKE: Yes. And the MDW folks -- if you want to come up, General Jackson, and talk about that -- can talk a little bit about that.

JACKSON: All I can do is offer to you that in several of the meetings I've been in, the contractors who were involved with the renovations of the building have been involved. They are providing support in the way of blueprints and construction reports that they've got, to include equipment that they have and shoring material out on the outside. And so they've been -- they're tied in directly to all the liaison work with all the agencies.

QUESTION: Can you tell us which offices are now out of commission?

JACKSON: No, I can't tell you. I can't tell you that right now specifically. I mean, I just don't know them.

QUESTION: What percentage of the offices were unoccupied as a result of the renovations?

JACKSON: I don't know that. Again, the number situation is difficult because any given moment there were people moving around the building, the rooms, moving from one to the other, moving the equipment back and forth. It's hard to pinpoint the numbers.

QUESTION: What extra security measures have you taken here in the building in lieu of the --

JACKSON: The only thing we've done is I've offered up some of the soldiers that work for me to seal off the internal parts of the building to -- again, to keep people out of that, to allow the firefighters to do their work in a safe manner. And that's to include both the fire hazard and smoke hazard that is continuing as the fire continues. It's just soldiers there advising people not to go down certain corridors. That's all it is.

QUESTION: D.C. Guard and Virginia Guard. Can you give us some estimate of sort of who's being called?

JACKSON: Sir, I don't really have that information.

My focus has been totally on my business. I really don't know what -- (off mike).

QUESTION: General, of the about $10 billion renovation of the Pentagon that's scheduled, how much has been completed and how much was involved in this --

JACKSON: Sir, as I don't work -

QUESTION: -- percentage aside.

JACKSON: I don't work in the Pentagon. I really don't know that answer. I'll have to defer that to somebody else.

QUESTION: Is it true -- (off mike) -- Old Guard? Is that who you've got doing this; the guys who do the ceremonial --

JACKSON: Yes. The Old Guard is an active duty infantry organization with a multiple mission requirement, and one of them is to be able to do contingency work like this. And they do spend a significant amount of their time practicing these skills.

QUESTION: I notice that funerals were proceeding at Arlington Cemetery this morning, at least some. I heard 21-gun salutes while I was -- (off mike).

JACKSON: We have reduced some of our support to the funerals, but some are, in fact, going on based on capabilities and families' desires.

QUESTION: Sir, so some of the people that would normally be involved in funerals are now guarding some of the entryways here in the building?

JACKSON: That's correct.

QUESTION: Can you tell us a little bit more in detail about this engineering company that you said was on the ground here, and sort of what their capabilities are and, you know, what their technical --

JACKSON: What it is is it's a military version of the urban search and rescue organizations. They work closely with those teams that you heard mentioned before, they train with them, we do joint exercises with them periodically. The skills are identical; the equipments are very similar.

QUESTION: Can you go into any details?

JACKSON: It's a fairly long list of stuff. Much of it is commercial grade bought off the shelf, some of it is purchased specifically for their purposes. It's the SCBA bottles; the heavy masks that you see them carrying; a lot of protective gear to be able to cut through concrete, wood, metal and so forth.

QUESTION: (Off mike.)

JACKSON: They are an urban search and rescue organization, much similar to what we have on the ground with the other counties.

QUESTION: Are they a part of NDW too or did they come in from some other --

JACKSON: No, they're part of my organization.

QUESTION: And where are they based?

JACKSON: Out of Fort Belvoir.

QUESTION: General, does the military district remain Threat Con Delta?

JACKSON: Yes, sir, they do.

QUESTION: In the whole arena?

JACKSON: Yes, sir, they are.

QUESTION: Torie, is it proper to say that roughly half the Pentagon cannot be occupied today?

CLARKE: You know, I saw that number, I don't know where someone got it. It is incorrect to say anything because we don't have the exact assessment yet. There are certain portions of the building, obviously, that cannot be used. We don't have exact numbers of who's coming in and who's not.

But I can tell you, the overwhelming majority of people who can be here today are here. I don't know who was here at 5:15, 5:30 this morning, but the parking lots were filled and people were doing everything to get here and get to work.

QUESTION: Torie --

CLARKE: And other -- no, let me finish. Other offices were making accommodations to provide office space for those who don't have it. So we don't have exact numbers, John, but --

QUESTION: So you can double-team in various offices --

CLARKE: Sure.

QUESTION: -- bring people in, even though maybe physically half the Pentagon is out of commission.

CLARKE: Right.

QUESTION: Torie, does the military remain on ThreatCon Delta around the world?

CLARKE: You know, Charlie, I'm not going to talk about the force protection conditions and threat conditions from here for right now. I know we talked about it yesterday; it is an exception. And we'd rather not get into every single day analyzing what that is. Again, it's just not helpful. It's just not helpful, and it's not constructive.

QUESTION: Can you give us an idea about what the Navy has stationed outside New York on the East Coast?

CLARKE: No, again, we're not going talk about military operations. What we're working on now is some briefings for you all about what they are providing in terms of civil support. But we are not going to be talking about the military operation.

QUESTION: Are the military operations being directed from this -

QUESTION: Torie, can we just ask --

CLARKE: Wait, let me take it back here.

QUESTION: Are the military operations being directed here, or is Joint Forces Command handling that? They're usually the ones that are thought of as responsible for homeland defense.

CLARKE: I think it is -- it is accurate to say that this has been an incredibly cohesive activity for the last -- however long we've been -- been at this now -- over 24 hours. And it is very accurate to say the president of the United States is in charge of what is happening. He is fully engaged. He is fully aware of what is going on. And that is where the action is being directed.

QUESTION: Have the carriers that have put to sea --

CLARKE: Charlie?

QUESTION: -- is it a safety factor for them, or to give the American people a sense that they're being protected? The ships that have put to sea.

CLARKE: I'm not going to talk about what they're doing and why they're doing it. Just not going to do it.

Yeah.

QUESTION: Could you get for us a list of the -- of the departments or agencies that are now not able to work because corridors two through six are closed?

CLARKE: We'll see what we can do -- see what we can do.

One point I did want to make about the Guard -- our estimates -- and again, I apologize that we don't have hard and fast numbers on all of these things. There are a lot of things going on out there. But we believe there are about 2,800 Guard who are working in a variety of places around the country. We will try to get more information about that. In addition to those who have been called up, there are, I'm sure, hundreds by now who have volunteered on their own.

QUESTION: When do you expect to be able to give us some numbers?

QUESTION: How many -- how many have been actually called up as a -- as a part of this?

CLARKE: Approximately 2,800.

QUESTION: Around the country or just --

CLARKE: Around the country.

QUESTION: Actually involuntarily called up -- the presidential call- up of 1995 --

CLARKE: No, by the governors.

QUESTION: By the governors?

CLARKE: Yes.

QUESTION: Governor Glendening said yesterday that some of his MPs have been federalized.

CLARKE: That is not my understanding. I know we have some of the Maryland Guard here. That is not my understanding, Jim, but we'll check that for you.

QUESTION: When do you expect to be able to give us some kind of an estimate --

CLARKE: Wait, Charlie, let me go -- let me go back there for a second.

QUESTION: Have you started making any sort of medium-term plans over the next week or two for where you're going to relocate people from those offices, whether in the Pentagon or in extension offices in Northern Virginia?

CLARKE: Again, the priority today is to take care of the injured or take care of the dead, to take care of their families, to make all the appropriate provisions for them. As I said, a lot of people are here. They are working. The Pentagon is up and functioning, I'm sure as the hours go on, will make those provisions. But as I say, it's already happening. People are already moving into other folks' offices and doubling up on desks in other places.

QUESTION: The chief said that there were firefighters that came from all around, places you didn't even know. Have you guys reached a limit of the volunteer help that you need, or could you use more firefighters from around the area?

CLARKE: I'd direct that to the chief. They're in charge of that. We'd direct that to them.

QUESTION: Do you have any estimate of the number of people who reported to work here today?

CLARKE: No, but we can try to get it. I don't know how we do that, but we can try to get that number.

QUESTION: Thousands? Hundreds?

CLARKE: Oh, definitely in the thousands.

QUESTION: Torie, do you have major reports of power outages here or loss of command and control capability? Can you give us anything?

CLARKE: No. I mean, there are certain sections, obviously, that are not up and operating, but most of the places where we can go are up and operating, the power is on, the lights are on, computers are working.

QUESTION: At the command center --

CLARKE: Yes?

QUESTION: How about yesterday when --

CLARKE: Suzanne in the front.

QUESTION: Haven't the various senior staffs of the military, however -- they relocated yesterday, the Army to the -- (inaudible word) -- Air Force elsewhere. Can you give us some sense of where the senior leadership is?

CLARKE: Well, the senior leadership I can tell you about is the president and the vice president and the secretary of State and the secretary of Defense and the chairman and the vice --

QUESTION: How about the military services?

CLARKE: The military services, I know Secretary White is here, Secretary England was in Texas, Secretary Roche, we can check on his location.

QUESTION: How about the Joint Chiefs?

CLARKE: Joint Chiefs, the chairman and the vice are in the building right now.

QUESTION: I understand General Shinseki was out of the country. Were there any other service chiefs that needed --

CLARKE: Not to my knowledge. No.

I'm sorry, in the back?

QUESTION: We heard that you stayed here yesterday and Secretary Rumsfeld was in, and you were with him, in the command center.

CLARKE: Right.

QUESTION: How many people were not evacuated from the Pentagon?

CLARKE: I don't have that number.

We can try to get that for you, but I don't know how many people --

QUESTION: A small core of essential people stayed?

CLARKE: Boy! Everybody's essential. In the NMCC, in the National Military Command Center, throughout the day it ranged from, you know, five or six dozen to probably 150, 200 at any given time.

Yeah.

QUESTION: You don't have an idea of when you're going to be speaking to us again today: for example, who else might be coming down to talk to us for any reason? Do you --

CLARKE: Right now we're really taking it hour by hour. As I said, we're trying to work with the services, work with the military to see what they could do in terms of briefing you on the civil support, because that is very important. We're taking it hour by hour. We'll do the same with the secretary as well.

QUESTION: Do you have any idea when you'll be able to give us some kind of figure on how many people were in that part of the building, all that should have been or were scheduled to be? Do you have --

CLARKE: I don't want to give you a deadline that I don't know if we can meet, Charlie. But we'll work on it.

Okay.

QUESTION: Could you give us your personal impressions of yesterday? You're new here, and this is obviously an unprecedented act. I mean, you were down in the NMCC while it was operating, probably for the first time. What did you see, hear, smell, what did you feel like what was the mood down there?

CLARKE: The people were just absolutely amazing. I mean, the response was incredible. People got to the business at hand, got to work and took all the appropriate actions quickly, efficiently. It was truly remarkable. I told the story yesterday about Captain Liebner. That is just one example of the kind of efforts people have been putting forward. Admiral Quigley and I were talking this morning. I think this morning is when it begun to sink in to people just what happened and how huge the impact has been, and the loss of life, which is just incredible. Yesterday everyone was so consumed with dealing with the situation at hand and taking all the appropriate steps you didn't have too much time to actually think about what had happened. And certainly today it has begun to sunk -- sink it.

QUESTION: Torie, one housekeeping thing.

CLARKE: Sure.

QUESTION: Around that side of the building where the fire is and where the fire fighting's going on, I would appreciate it if you could intercede on behalf of the FBI to make sure reporters are allowed into a certain area there and allowed access in there so -- and not being threatened or, in fact, handcuffed and dragged away, that reporters do have an area close to the action where they won't necessarily interfere with things. But I -- would you --

CLARKE: Absolutely. You know, as I tried to say at the beginning of this, we understand and appreciate what you're trying to do. Understand and appreciate just how difficult this all is.

You know, Pam, as you said, this has never happened before. People are dealing with it remarkably, and we are going to make every effort we can to provide that kind of support, that kind of news and information to you, as we can. So we will work on that.

QUESTION: The only reason I say that is the FBI was just -- granted they have a job to do, but they were a bit overzealous yesterday I think, and -- and just --

CLARKE: Let me push back on you a little bit. The FBI is doing a phenomenal job. And they have an extraordinary task on their hands, both here and elsewhere. And we, I think, surprised them a little bit, saying hey, here we come, and we didn't give them much advance notice. But going forward -- and, you know, as you get into day two of this, we can start to put a lot more of those processes in place. So, heard and understood.

QUESTION: Is there a -- as we have heard in the New York disaster, there are cases now of where people are being actually found in the rubble. You know of none -- no such instances overnight where people have been found alive, is that correct?

CLARKE: Know of no such instances. And we checked with the fire chief this morning.

Okay. Thank you very much.

QUESTION: Thank you.

END