Date: May 8, 2012
State Department Regular Briefing
1:13 p.m. EDT Date: Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Q: Given the recent terrorist incidents which are being noted in Yemen, do you believe that the center of terrorist activities is gradually moving from Afghanistan-Pakistan region to Yemen, or is Af- Pak in still the center of terrorist activity?
MR. TONER: I think I would just refer to what other experts far more knowledgeable about this topic than I am have already said, which is that, you know, we’ve dealt major blows against al-Qaida over the past two years, but remnants of al-Qaida do remain resilient and do remain a threat, whether they in be in Yemen, in Pakistan or elsewhere, and we’re going to continue to pursue those threats as they — as they — you know, and they’re going to continue to make efforts, as we saw, to strike the U.S. and other partners.
Q: And on Pakistan itself, has the U.S. ambassador to Pakistan offered to resign? He’s leaving the post by the end of this summer.
MR. TONER: He did in a staff meeting at the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad announce that he’d made the personal decision to depart Pakistan this summer. This is at the conclusion of his tenure, I believe, at the end of two years, which is a perfectly normal period for an ambassador to Pakistan. I do note that Secretary Clinton did praise his efforts and his performance earlier today in an interview that she did in New Delhi and also noted that she understood his decision.
Q: Just going back to Pakistan about Mr. Warren Weinstein’s abduction. My question was that — you got Osama bin Laden, and Mr. Warren Weinstein is still there. Are you getting cooperation from the Pakistan government as far as his presence or his pleas concerning Pakistan? And that means al-Qaida and terrorism is still based.
MR. TONER: Oh, we talked a little bit about this yesterday, Goyal, when the video actually began hitting the news cycle. You know, we are cooperating with Pakistani authorities on this case. We’re still seeking to confirm the credibility or veracity of the video, obviously. We do call for his immediate release. And beyond that, we believe he’s somewhere in the western part of Pakistan, but we don’t have any other details.
Joint Press Availability
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton
Indian External Affairs Minister Somanahalli Mallaiah Krishna
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Q: Thank you, Secretary Clinton. I’d like to ask you in particular about the latest underwear bomb plot in Yemen and how that relates to other terrorist issues in Pakistan involving Ayman al- Zawahiri, involving Hafiz Saeed, and your thoughts also on the rise of the Haqqani Network in Afghanistan, whether you feel that the efforts against terrorism are indeed still working, or is there something else needed.
SEC. CLINTON: Well, Richard, that’s obviously an incredibly important question that is on the minds of not only our government but, of course, the Indian Government, because we both know the tragedies and losses that come with terrorism on our soil. So we have increased our cooperation between India and the United States, and we’re going to continue to do everything we can not only to prevent terrorists from carrying out their evil acts of violence, but also to try to convince people not to be recruited into terrorism, which is very much of a dead end, literally and figuratively, when it comes to pursuing any kind of political or ideological aims. In democracies like ours, people should be in the marketplace of ideas. If they have views, they should put them to the test of the debate, the dialogue, and the political process. So with respect to the plot that was discussed in Washington, as the White House said, the device did not appear to pose a threat to the public air service, but the plot itself indicates that these terrorists keep trying. They keep trying to devise more and more perverse and terrible ways to kill innocent people. And it’s a reminder as to why we have to remain vigilant at home and abroad in protecting our nation and in protecting friendly nations and peoples like India and others. With respect to the question on the terrorist groups that still operate out of Pakistan, we are committed to going after those who pose direct threats to the United States, to Afghanistan, and to our allies in Afghanistan. We are also cooperating closely with India regarding the threats that emanate against them. The 166 people killed in Mumbai during that horrific terrorist attack in 2008 included six Americans. So as part of our Rewards for Justice Program, we have offered a $10 million reward that could lead to the arrest or conviction of Hafiz Saeed for his role in those attacks. Our Rewards for Justice offer demonstrates our seriousness in obtaining additional information that can withstand judicial scrutiny and that leads to arrest or conviction and brings the perpetrators and the planners of the Mumbai attacks to justice. Because this effort that we are pursuing, it’s not just about the United States. Combating violent extremism is something we all agree on, and we need to do more. And we look to the Government of Pakistan to do more. It needs to make sure that its territory is not used as launching pads for terrorist attacks anywhere, including inside of Pakistan. Because the great unfortunate fact is that terrorists in Pakistan have killed more than 30,000 Pakistanis. So it’s very much about the people of Pakistan and their right to go to a market or go to a mosque, to live their lives. And we need stronger, more concerted efforts on behalf of governments and societies against the scourge of terrorism. Terrorism is a tactic. It is a losing tactic. But we have to prevent as much death and destruction as possible as we uproot and destroy these groups and convince those whom they recruit that that is no longer a decision that should be made.
MODERATOR: (Inaudible) from (inaudible).
Q: Secretary Clinton, it’s interesting that you talk about the 10 million bounty of Hafiz Saeed. My question to you is that: In order to sound politically correct in Pakistan, is the U.S. indulging in double-speak on the issue of Hafiz Saeed? And I would like to draw your attention to what Ambassador Munter said in Islamabad, that there is no exclusive bounty on Hafiz Saeed. And my question to Foreign Minister Krishna is: Did you raise this issue, because this is contrary to the things that were told to us, to our government, by the ambassador, the U.S. Ambassador in India.
SEC. CLINTON: Well, I’m sorry; I don’t really follow your question. We have a Rewards for Justice Program that we have used quite successfully for a number of years. It has led to evidence and information and tips that we have used to bring terrorists to justice. We’ve used it in Pakistan. We’ve used it around the world. So this is not unique. This is not a special case. We wanted to raise the visibility and make it very clear that the United States had reason to believe that Hafiz Saeed had been one of the principal architects of the attack against Mumbai, and therefore we wanted to send an unmistakable message of solidarity with India, but not only with India — solidarity with people everywhere who will not tolerate the continuation of terrorism and want to see terrorists brought to justice wherever they may be.