of Q&A with White House spokesman Scott McLellan, March 15, 2002
was with SCOTT MaCCLELLAN aboard Air Force One en Route Fayetteville, North
Carolina this morning:
Q Are you going to
be able to aid the Colombian government in their battle against the FARC?
MR. MCCLELLAN: Let
me make a couple of points. One, there continue to be ongoing consultations
with Congress about the situation in Colombia, as well as our desire to
respond more fully to Colombian requests for support in defending democracy.
And we are determined to seek new and more explicit legal authorities
for State and Department of Defense assistance to Colombia, to support
the Colombian government's unified campaign against narcotics trafficking
and terrorist activities.
We will continue
to adhere to the requirements of the Byrd and Leahy amendments. Those
requirements limit -- put limits on U.S. civilian and military personnel
in Colombia, and ensure that we're not assisting military units whose
members violate human rights.
But terrorist attacks
are a serious threat to Colombia's democratic institutions. And we'll
continue the review requests from the Colombian government for counterterrorism
Q -- how about the
cap on troops?
MR. MCCLELLAN: I
think we adhere to the Byrd and Leahy requirements, which put -- that's
what I just said -- they put limits on U.S. civilian and military personnel
Q Scott, what about
the timing? Are we talking this coming week, perhaps, to have something
MR. MCCLELLAN: Again,
that's what I said, they're ongoing consultations with Congress. When
there's more announce, then we'll let you guys know.
Q Were your talking
points, we are determined to seek new and more explicit authority -- was
that the word, "explicit"? Is that what you said?
MR. MCCLELLAN: I
said, new and more explicit legal authorities. It will all be in the transcript.
But for State, the Department of Defense to assist Colombia and support
the Colombian government's campaign against narcotics trafficking and
Q Scott, is this
request for these new authorities, is that considered part of the administration's
global war on terrorism?
MR. MCCLELLAN: No.
Q The FARC and the
terrorist threat in Colombia is not a global threat?
MR. MCCLELLAN: Terrorism
is a threat to the democratic institutions in Colombia. But, no, in response
to that question.
Q Will you seek more
money, or is there money already in the pipeline, you would just divert
MR. MCCLELLAN: As
I said, yes, there are ongoing consultations here with Congress.
Q -- seek these new
and explicit authorities from Congress, obviously, right?
MR. MCCLELLAN: Yes.
That's what we're talking about. We're consulting with Congress now, ongoing
consultations and that we are determined to do that.
Q And "authorities"
is plural, right?
MR. MCCLELLAN: --
consulting with Congress on it.