13 May 2003
Transcript: Powell Says Riyadh Attacks Will Not Deter U.S. Anti-terror
(Secretary says attacks have "all the fingerprints" of al-Qaida) (770)
Secretary of State Colin Powell says the attacks against western
targets in Riyadh May 13, in which at least seven Americans were
killed, "will not deter the United States" from continuing the war
Combating terrorism "has to be the number one priority, not only for
the United States, but for the civilized world, so that things like
this cannot continue to happen," he said in remarks at Vinell Compound
in Riyadh a few hours after the attacks. Estimates of those killed in
the attacks have varied substantially, but based on the best available
reports, the death toll is at least twenty.
Powell said the attacks were well planned and "very well executed. ...
[I]t certainly has all the fingerprints of an al-Qaida operation....
"These are people who are determined to try to penetrate facilities
like this for the purpose of killing people in their sleep, killing
innocent people, killing people who would try to help others."
The secretary said the United States will continue to work with other
countries "to go after this kind of terrorism" -- their finances,
their information systems, their intelligence systems, and will "make
sure we take full advantage of our law enforcement assets" in the
United States, Saudi Arabia and around the world.
Following is the transcript of the secretary's remarks:
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman
May 13, 2003
Remarks by Secretary of State Colin L. Powell
May 13, 2003
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
(10:50 a.m. EDT)
SECRETARY POWELL: One again, as we said earlier, we deeply regret the
loss of life that has occurred here, our sympathy goes out to the
families of those who did lose their lives and to those who were
injured. This was a well-planned terrorist attack, obviously. The
facility had been cased, as had the others. Very well executed. And it
shows the nature of the enemy we're working against. These are people
who are determined to try to penetrate facilities like this for the
purpose of killing people in their sleep, killing innocent people,
killing people who would try to help others.
And notwithstanding what you see here today and the damage you see
here today, it will not deter the United States, and I am sure will
not deter Saudi Arabia, in our mutual effort to go after this kind of
terrorism and roll it up: go after their finances; go after their
information systems, their intelligence systems; make sure we take
full advantage of our law enforcement assets, both in the United
States and Saudi Arabia and around the world.
And this is why the President has said that this has to be the number
one priority not only for the United States, but for the civilized
world, so that things like this cannot continue to happen. This is
criminality, terrorism at its worst, and there is no justification for
it in any way, shape, fashion or form.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, have you changed the estimate of the
Americans killed? It was ten.
SECRETARY POWELL: You always have changing numbers in a situation like
that. Ten was what I heard earlier, but I think I'll leave it now --
it's in that order, maybe a little less, but I'll leave it now to the
Ambassador to make the official determination.
QUESTION: And the others?
SECRETARY POWELL: Others were -- it was a large number, but I'm going
to leave that to the Saudi Ministry of Information because I would
just be guessing at the number.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, have you any more information to indicate
whether or not al-Qaida was responsible for this?
SECRETARY POWELL: I have been in meetings so I have not received any
additional information, but it certainly has all the fingerprints of
an al-Qaida operation.
QUESTION: What kind of investigation is going on right now? What did
you hear from the Saudis?
SECRETARY POWELL: Well, I think that's a question you should put to
the Saudi authorities who are handling this. And, of course, they're
working closely with the U.S. authorities and the U.S. experts that
will be brought in in the course of the next 24 hours, but I don't
think I want to speculate on the nature of the investigation.
Obviously, they are looking at everything.
QUESTION: So there are some coming in? Are they from the FBI or --
SECRETARY POWELL: Well, there will be experts coming in to assist in
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