The transcript from today’s White House press briefing.
SPEAKER: SCOTT MCCLELLAN, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY
MCCLELLAN: Good afternoon, everyone.
I don’t have a prepared statement for today so we can go ahead with questions. Yes.
QUESTION: Scottie, we have been hearing reports today about the construction of three large government facilities of some sort in remote parts of Nevada. A Halliburton construction worker at one of the sites said they resemble concentration camps. Are they?
MCCLELLAN: No. That’s absolutely ridiculous. These facilities are government storage facilities. Nothing more.
QUESTION: Follow-up. They are described as being surrounded by fences with razor wire and as having guard towers.
MCCLELLAN: Those are ordinary security measures for these types of facilities. In the back.
QUESTION: What will be stored at these places?
MCCLELLAN: Whatever needs to be stored at these types of facilities.
QUESTION: Are they related in any way to the war on terror?
MCCLELLAN: Yes. The fact that we are discussing them already puts their usefulness in jeopardy, but they are intended to be important instillations related to the war on terror.
QUESTION: When you say ‘storage,’ do you mean equipment, supplies, etc.?
MCCLELLAN: That is correct.
QUESTION: What about people? Would they ever be used to house people?
MCCLELLAN: Ladies and gentlemen, we are at war with fiends whose only goal is to destroy us and our way of life. They do not hesitate to kidnap and torture westerners when they have a chance. They want to crush us. It’s that simple. We need to have weapons that are potent enough to meet this threat and overcome it. With that in mind, these facilities being built in Nevada will, in very rare cases, be used to house known terrorists and sympathizers. But—
QUESTION: Scottie, what do you mean by ‘sympathizers?’
MCCLELLAN: Obviously, those people who would lend aid and comfort to the enemy through their words and deeds.
QUESTION: Words? Can you be more specific?
MCCLELLAN: The enemies of freedom and democracy take many forms. They do not all wear turbans and live in the Middle East. Here in our own country we have people who work tirelessly day and night to undermine our fight against terrorism.
QUESTION: Do you mean administration critics?
MCCLELLAN: Actually, I was pointing to the person behind you.
QUESTION: Congress has approved the construction of these facilities and sees them as a necessary effort in our continuing struggle against the forces of evil. What do you think are the motives of those who criticize this much needed project.
MCCLELLAN: This type of criticism is generally from people who are ill-informed or have a partisan ax to grind. In America, everyone is entitled to their opinion, of course, but in the state of war in which we find ourselves, critics can unwittingly lend comfort to our enemies. We need to monitor that very closely if we are to prevail.
QUESTION: Switching gears, Scottie, the President is at his Texas ranch today. Will he be clearing brush?