Asst. Sec. of Defense (Public Affairs) Rear Adm. Craig Quigley
Interview with ABC Radio
September 20, 2001
QUESTION: First of all, how are things over there?
QUIGLEY: I think the recovery operation is going very well on the point of attack
of the Pentagon. We have had literally hundreds of people working around the
clock now since the attack on the 11th of September, working initially to extinguish
fires, and they've been successful in that. We continue to successfully remove
remains because the families, as you can understand, are very anxious to try
to understand the status of their loved ones. Then little by little, removing
the rubble resulting from the attack.
QUESTION: How many bodies have been recovered now?
QUIGLEY: I don't have an exact number for you. I know it's more than 100. We
have a total of 188 people that were killed here, and that includes 64 on the
airliner and 124 people that were normally assigned to work in the Pentagon.
QUESTION: Okay, I thought it went up to 189 because someone who was hospitalized
had died. Was that incorrect?
QUIGLEY: No, we had an initial number of 189, but we were double-counting someone.
So we tried to correct that number. We're pretty sure the correct number is
QUESTION: Okay, great.
What can you tell us now about the deployment and what's going on with the troops
that are being called up and all that kind of detail?
QUIGLEY: There's really two issues there. One, last Friday the president authorized
the call-up of up to 50,000 reservists from around the nation in all of the
branches of the armed forces. You will see them used in a variety of ways to
augment the homeland defense mission as well as to, some of the combat and combat
support missions as well. Then in the last couple of days we have started to
reposition forces outside of the United States to do the Defense Department's
portion of the president's efforts in the war on terrorism.
QUESTION: How long will it take to get the planes and the troops over there
that are in this first deployment into position?
QUIGLEY: I can't be too specific for you on that, but it will not take very
long. We're quite good, actually, at moving quickly when the nation calls.
QUESTION: There's been a lot of talk about the use of Special Forces because
of the nature of this conflict with the terrorists. What can you tell me about
QUESTION: Pam, this will be a very different war than America has ever experienced
before. It is literally impossible to draw parallels between something as recent
as say Desert Storm or Kosovo or any other effort. This is not an enemy that
uses conventional armies and navies and air forces. It's an enemy that fights
and lives in the shadows. So the use of Special Forces will definitely play
a role in the weeks and moths ahead.
QUESTION: And the Special Forces like the Rangers, the Delta Forces, the Navy
SEALS, they're all specially trained for this kind of thing, aren't they?
QUIGLEY: Our Special Forces are quite literally just that, Pam. They receive
a variety of specialized training to carry out very, very specialized missions
and they're very good at what they do.
Question: We know we're going to be hearing from the president on what lays
ahead for the country. Is this something that people are going to have to get
used to, almost a constant activity by the military in going after terrorists?
QUIGLEY: It will be a much broader effort than just military, although we will
play a role. This is going to be diplomatic, financial, legal, economic, and
military as well. These are networks of terrorists and networks of networks.
So it's not about one person, it's not about one network. It's about a system
of organizations that are attacking our very way of life.
QUESTION: I know how professional everyone is over there, but let me ask you,
after having the Pentagon itself take such a horrible blow, is there any kind
of feeling on the part of some people that it's a little bit personal?
QUIGLEY: I think that most of us have moved through a variety of emotions in
the last ten days. Initially it was concern and fear and exactly what's happening,
very unsure of circumstances. Then I think it was anger, and sadness, of course,
for those of our friends and fellow professionals that are missing, and as we
confirm their deaths. But now I think it's just a very quiet but very determined
resolve to see this through.
QUESTION: I have to say earlier today I interviewed Lieutenant Colonel Marilyn
Wills who was one of the people hurt and who is now out of the hospital. I was
just amazingly impressed at her coming through what she came through and how
she helped get other people out and that kind of thing. So it just seems like
an amazing thing that happened over there.
QUIGLEY: I think one of the goals of the terrorists who attacked us on the 11th
was to make America afraid and change our way of life. We will not do that.
We will, one by one we will disassemble the sources of support for terrorists
around the world and we will change their way of life, not ours.
QUESTION: One last question in that regard. The military has kind of done things
one way for decades now, many, many years, and now there is going to have to
be a major change in course. How difficult is it going to be to ferret out these
terrorist cells that are all over the place and kind of scattered in small numbers?
QUIGLEY: You hit it right on the head, Pam. This will be very difficult. It
will be long term, but it is something that we just have to do. The alternative
is to surrender the freedoms and the way of life that Americans hold so dear.
And I must say, it's a lot broader than just America. Terrorists have shown
repeatedly over the years that they don't care a bit about national borders,
and any number of nations around the world have suffered terribly from terrorist
attacks. That is why I think we are so heartened by the support that we have
received from such a wide variety of nations.
QUESTION: Well I do think you have the support of people here, too.
QUIGLEY: Oh yes, indeed. It's something that affects, it goes to the very heart
of what we are as Americans and we don't like walking around looking over our
shoulder wondering when the next attack is going to come. And that way of life
is something that many Americans have fought and died for for centuries, and
we will fight to get that back.
QUESTION: Thank you very much, Admiral. We greatly appreciate your calling.