Mark C. TonerDeputy Spokesperson
Daily Press Briefing
March 30, 2012
(Extracts relevant to Pakistan)
QUESTION: New topic?
MR. TONER: Yeah.
MR. TONER: Okay.
QUESTION: On the reports that Usama bin Ladin’s wife is saying that he was always in Pakistan, is it your assessment that the Pakistani Government was consistently lying to the U.S. Government over the years?
MR. TONER: Again, I don’t think we have an assessment. We have – as you know, immediately after the Abbottabad raid, we asked the Pakistani Government the question of whether there was a larger network at play here or there was some kind of network of support, I guess, for bin Ladin when he was there. We have not received any information that indicates that there was such a network of support there. So I don’t really have anything new for you on that.
QUESTION: So you don’t believe that they were lying?
MR. TONER: I don’t believe so. Again, we haven’t received any indications that indicate that there was some broader network, no.
Go ahead, Shaun.
QUESTION: On Burma, Myanmar?
MR. TONER: Yeah. Go ahead.
QUESTION: Just a follow-up real quick?
MR. TONER: On Pakistan? Yeah, go ahead. Let’s stay on Pakistan.
QUESTION: A just quick one that Pakistanis are again angry at the U.S. because of this recent attack, drones and also –
MR. TONER: Recent? I’m sorry. Recent –
QUESTION: Missile attack.
MR. TONER: Okay.
QUESTION: Over Pakistan. I believe they are saying three people were killed and they are asking the U.S. that they should stop this as far as drone attacks and missiles are concerned in order to have good relations or opening of the doors and all so forth.
MR. TONER: Well, you know where we’re at on this, Goyal. We continue to await the results of the parliamentary review. That’s still ongoing. But I think that in terms of our relations, we continue to have engagement at all levels within the Pakistani Government. And we certainly respect the review process that’s underway and we look forward to the results, and then we’ll be willing to discuss some of the issues raised by that. But as to this incident, I don’t have any comment.
QUESTION: Just one quick one. I just got – today, there was a hearing for this Dr. Fai as far as his connection working for Pakistan. He has been sentenced for 24 months because his connection with Pakistan and working against the U.S. Any comments on that?
MR. TONER: I don’t have any comments.
QUESTION: Thank you, sir. And finally, Secretary, are you buying any Mega tickets? (Laughter.)
MR. TONER: Oh yeah. I wish. (Laughter.) You wouldn’t see me at the podium on Monday, if that were the case. (Laughter.)
QUESTION: Thank you, Mark.
(The briefing was concluded at 1:33 p.m.)
Daily Press Briefing
Washington, DCApril 3, 2012
QUESTION: Lashkar e-Tayyiba. The U.S. has put out a $10 million reward for the arrest and prosecution of Hafiz Saeed, who is the head of the affiliated charitable organization. He’s suspected of being the mastermind behind the Mumbai killings. Why now? That happened more than three years ago, and his organization, as well as Lashkar e-Tayyiba, have already been on this – the U.S.’s terrorist list.
MS. NULAND: Well, this effort to arrange a Rewards for Justice bounty, if you will, for Hafiz Mohammad Saeed and also for Abdul Rahman Makki has been in the works for quite a number of months. These things are somewhat complicated to work through all of the details. So the announcements were only able to be posted when the process was complete. But there was – we’ve been working on this for some time.
QUESTION: More than a few months? More, less than a year? Can you characterize?
MS. NULAND: I think less than a year but more than three or four months.
QUESTION: Can you explain exactly what it is about – what’s so complicated about offering money for some of – what – printing the posters? What is it that’s so complicated?
MS. NULAND: Well, there is a review process to determine, in the first instance, whether offering a bounty of this kind – in this case, it’s $10 million for Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, it’s $2 million for Abdul Rahman Makki – is likely to lead to any results in the case. So there has to be an intelligence evaluation, there has to be a policy evaluation, there has to be a discussion with Congress. This is a lot of money for the U.S. taxpayer to put up. And so that process takes some time. Things have to be correlated. There is an entire review process. There’s an interagency rewards committee that has to look through this. And then the Secretary has to approve it.
QUESTION: Right. But if it’s only started a couple months ago – Mumbai was quite a – when did the process begin?
MS. NULAND: I can’t speak to whether, right after the bombing, we looked at this at that time. But I think sometimes what happens is intelligence and other information comes later with regards to whereabouts of individuals, which leads one to think that offering a reward might cause citizens who know where they are to come forward. And sometimes that isn’t evident right at the time of the crimes. So sometimes it comes up later. As you may know, one of these individuals has been appearing on television and has been quite brazen. So I think the sense has been over the last few months that this kind of a reward might hasten the judicial process, if you will.
QUESTION: So you’re saying –
QUESTION: (Inaudible) you know his television appearances, he did speak to Al Jazeera today about this bounty being placed on him. And he suggested that this is being done because he has been putting pressure on the government in Islamabad to not reopen the southern transport routes for supplies to NATO ISAF forces. Is there anything to that, or is this specifically because of his suspected involvement in the Mumbai attacks?
MS. NULAND: No, it has everything to do with Mumbai and his brazen flouting of the justice system.
QUESTION: Just to –
QUESTION: As he lives more or less openly in Pakistan, has there been communication with the Pakistani Government, the Pakistani authorities, seeking for his arrest?
MS. NULAND: Absolutely. We have been in communication with Pakistan on this issue.
QUESTION: And he is wanted –
QUESTION: Have they acceded to his placement on this list? Because there’s been some analysis suggesting that doing so could put even more strain on the U.S.-Pakistani relationship. And to follow up on that, is that something that Deputy Secretary Nides would be dealing with in his meetings in Islamabad on Wednesday?
MS. NULAND: Well, on the latter question, the full range of issues related to international terrorism, terrorist threats in Pakistan internationally, is obviously one of the subjects that Deputy Secretary Nides will be talking about. We have continued to impress on the Government of Pakistan that we believe it has a special responsibility to fully investigate and bring those to – those responsible to justice, to the extent that it can. The Government of Pakistan has regularly, in our conversations with them, pledged its cooperation in the investigations. We fully expect that it will follow through on those commitments. I would guess that this case probably will come up.
QUESTION: Is this reward has been – in the consultation of the Indian Government?
MS. NULAND: My understanding is that the primary work that is done before we offer these rewards is internal, that we do advise affected governments that we intend to do this, but it’s not a consultative process, per se.
QUESTION: Thank you, ma’am. Can we change topics?
MS. NULAND: Yeah.
QUESTION: No. It’s – the reward is for information that leads to the conviction of – conviction where?
MS. NULAND: Wherever he can be found. It’s not specific in the way that it goes –
QUESTION: You’re trying to charge – has he been charged with the murder of the six Americans in Mumbai?
MS. NULAND: I don’t have any back –
QUESTION: I guess I’m just trying to find out, why is it for the United States to offer a reward for this guy? Is that the reason?
MS. NULAND: Well, it’s because we want to see him brought to justice. I believe that he has been charged, but I don’t have the – I’ll get you some more on that.
QUESTION: But do you – I mean, you want him brought to justice here? In India? In Pakistan? Where is it that – I mean, what – if I gave you information that he was on such street corner and he gets picked up and arrested, how do I –
MS. NULAND: My understanding –
QUESTION: – where does he have to be convicted so I can get the money?
MS. NULAND: Okay. Let us get you some more information. But my understanding of this – and I may have it wrong – is that he’s actually been charged in India –
MS. NULAND: – in connection with this case, that he has been at large –
MS. NULAND: – and has not been able to be either arrested –
MS. NULAND: – or brought to trial.
MS. NULAND: So the precise formulation in the Rewards for Justice announcement is $10 million for information leading to the arrest or the conviction of either – of this individual, $2 million for the other individual.
QUESTION: How much are the Indians offering for this?
MS. NULAND: I don’t know the answer to that.
QUESTION: Are they offering anything, do you know?
MS. NULAND: I do not.
QUESTION: I’m just curious as to why it’s the U.S. job to offer a reward for this guy when –
MS. NULAND: Well, we have Americans killed and it’s only cooperate –
QUESTION: I understand. Six Americans were killed.
MS. NULAND: Correct.
QUESTION: But you also have Americans killed in other places where you’re not offering any rewards or –
MS. NULAND: Well this program, as you know, we have –
QUESTION: Well, it seems to be that the vast amount of damage that this guy and his group has done is to India, and I’m not aware that they’re offering any rewards. So I want to know why the U.S. taxpayer is offering a reward. That’s –
MS. NULAND: Well, I can’t speak to whether India has its own Rewards for Justice-type program. I’m going to refer you to the Indians with regard to that. This is a program that we’ve had for a long –
QUESTION: I understand that, but –
MS. NULAND: Can I finish my point? We’ve had for a long time, when we are concerned that people who have killed Americans overseas are not being able to be brought to justice. So again, this is a case that’s been going on for a long time. This is with regard to justice being served on people who have killed Americans –
QUESTION: Right. Can you –
MS. NULAND: – so that there is no impunity for them anywhere in the world.
QUESTION: Can we – can you find out, though, where it is that this guy has to be convicted for the reward to be –
MS. NULAND: We will get you a little bit more information on that, Matt.
QUESTION: Thank you.
MS. NULAND: Okay.
QUESTION: One more about the overall program?
MS. NULAND: Yeah.
QUESTION: It’s been noted that upwards of $100 million have been paid. Is there a breakdown by amounts, since I understand that there’s no revelation of the people who get the rewards? Is there a breakdown per case, how much was paid out, and when they were paid out?
MS. NULAND: I’m going to take that, Ros. As you know, to protect those who come forward, we don’t generally advertise these things. How much – whether we do an accounting of how much has been authorized under the program and for what cases, I’m not sure. So let me take it.
QUESTION: On Pakistan?
MS. NULAND: Yeah.
QUESTION: Two questions, quick. One, are you worried about ongoing violence, especially in Karachi? And second, Pakistan is now deporting three wives of Usama bin Ladin, two to Saudi Arabia, one to Yemen. If – you had access to them because they had vital information about Usama bin Ladin’s activities?
MS. NULAND: Well, I’m not going to speak to our intelligence relationship with Pakistan. I think it’s now an internal matter between Pakistan and those governments about the disposition of the wives.
QUESTION: And violence – ongoing violence in Karachi?
MS. NULAND: I don’t have anything in particular on that. If we have anything to say, we’ll let you know.
Defense Department Regular Briefing
Q: My question is as far as opening the doors of Pakistan's — the supply route to Afghanistan for the U.S., Secretary Panetta also spoke very clearly about this, that Pakistan is now sending a mixed signal rather than a clear policy or clear — what they want. But what Pakistan is saying — that really that if the civilian government opens the route for the U.S. for supply and they have threats from the religious organizations and terrorist organizations that if they — if the civilian government opens the route, then they will march to Islamabad — and so what's happening? What's going on?
And also, ongoing violence in Karachi also is a threat to the stability in Pakistan.
MR. LITTLE: Well, let me break apart that question into a couple of answers, if I may. First, with respect to the ground supply routes into Afghanistan, we remain hopeful that those routes will be reopened in the near future, and discussions with the Pakistanis continue on a range of issues. General Allen and General Mattis had a very good session with General Kayani and other Pakistani officials recently, and we look forward to future discussions. As I've said on repeated occasion to all of you, the relationship with Pakistan remains very important to the United States and we're always looking for ways to explore further cooperation. And it's important to recognize that cooperation does continue on a variety of fronts, and that includes the issue of counterterrorism and also coordination along the border with Afghanistan. So we think that we are — the relationship is settling and, even though we've been through a rocky period, we can get through it.
On the issue of terrorism, the Pakistanis have been the victims of very devastating violence inflicted by terrorists, so we share a common cause in thwarting al-Qaida and other terrorist groups that are operating in the region, and we're going to continue to try to work closely with our Pakistani counterparts to prevent terrorist attacks against Pakistani interests, against American interests and those of our allies.
Q: (Off mic) — quickly, that if Secretary Panetta has said that Pakistan think or Pakistanis told him that India's a threat to Pakistan. That's why maybe this problem is going on.
MR. LITTLE: I'm not quite sure –
Q: If Secretary Panetta has said in his interviews or in his remarks, I believe, that Pakistanis told him that India is a threat to Pakistan.
MR. LITTLE: I'm not going to get into private discussions that the secretary may or may not have had at various points. But everyone recognizes that there have been tensions in that region for some time. We recognize those, and we believe that — and to the extent that we can do so, we will — we'll try to forge our greater cooperation to prevent unintended consequences of historic tensions from creating greater conflict.
Q: The U.S. had a 10 million (dollar) bounty on Lashkar-e-Taiba leader Hafiz Saeed. And Hafiz Saeed is blamed for having some sort of support from Pakistani intelligence. Don't you think it will affect those ongoing efforts being made by intelligence officials from both sides to improve the strained relationship?
MR. LITTLE: I'm not going to comment on reported ties between the — elements of the Pakistani government and certain groups inside Pakistan. The LET, from the U.S. perspective, is a very dangerous group that has mounted operations externally and continues to plot attacks. This is a very serious issue for us, and I think that's why you saw this announcement. You know, we believe that this group remains a threat, remains a threat to people in the region and to us.
Q: Can I follow up on this quickly?
MR. LITTLE: OK.
Q: The U.S. military says that it has good contacts with the Pakistani military. The generals were here a couple — a few days ago. So what is the feedback that you are getting from the Pakistani military on this issue? Because this man, who has killed dozens of Indians and six American citizens, is roaming free in Pakistan. So what is the feedback that you are getting from your military counterparts?
MR. LITTLE: I'm not going to get into the specifics of our discussions with our foreign counterparts. The focus with the military in Pakistan right now is continuing to look for ways to cooperate. That's an essential part of the relationship, to cooperate on a number of levels, political being one and of course military being another, and there are other means of cooperation as well. So I think the government of Pakistan understands our long- standing concerns about LeT and I'll — I think I'll leave it there.