2:30 P.M. EST
MODERATOR: Good afternoon, everybody. Welcome to the Foreign Press Center. We are happy to have with us, yet again, Assistant Secretary P.J. Crowley for Public Affairs. Please remember when you ask questions, say your name and media organization. If you have a follow-up, please don’t just talk. Wait for the microphone so it can show up on the transcript and everybody can read your very interesting questions. All right. And here’s Assistant Secretary Crowley.
MR. CROWLEY: A few of you I just saw a few minutes ago. (Laughter.) So I suggest that there should be no double-dipping here. Good afternoon. You probably have seen, either in person or on the TV screens, the State Department briefing that we just finished. I won’t repeat everything I said at the start there, but if there’s any topic of conversation, I’ll be happy to go back over it.
We promised to talk to you about WikiLeaks, and I should say at the outset we will not engage in any conversation about any specific cable. These are still classified, but by the same token, we will – we would be willing talk about the potential implications here. And I would say clearly first there has been real impact on the national security of the United States. The release of this volume of material in our view does harm our interests, but it’s not just our interests; it is the interests of other countries and other people.
But by the same token, what you see in the full context of these documents is United States diplomats fully engaged around the world working cooperatively and collaboratively with other countries, conversations with diplomats and officials of other countries, conversations with members of civil society of other countries, pursuing our interests, but pursuing also our mutual interests consistent with our values and our laws and the laws of other countries. And that is not going to change.
I think what the most significant response to what has happened is exactly what Secretary Clinton is doing in Astana, Kazakhstan as we speak. She is there working constructively together with other leaders of European nations, nations of the Central Asian states, on cooperation and security in a very important part of the world. That is what diplomats led by Secretary Clinton do every single day. It’s what we’re going to continue to do every single day.
Clearly, the release of – the unauthorized release of these documents represents risk to the United States and to others with whom we collaborate. We are very conscious of the fact that individual cables report on confidential conversations that we have with sources inside governments, inside the civil society, and we are genuinely concerned that the release of these documents without regard to the welfare of individual people does, in fact, put real people and real interests at significant risk.
We have taken aggressive steps anticipating the release of these documents to contact our sources and to warn them of the potential release of these cables and we will do everything in our power to help to protect people who have helped us understand events around the world. And this is why we condemn what WikiLeaks has done, because these cables are being released without regard to the welfare of individual citizens around the world who do help us day in and day out interpret events in various countries, understand developments in various regions, and that information helps us in the conduct of the foreign policy of the United States.
But as Secretary Clinton is demonstrating in Astana, is that we will continue to engage fully with countries. Our interests have not changed; these are mutual interests. And we – those interests have not changed. We will continue to engage. We’ll continue to cooperate. We’ll continue to work constructively along with other countries, allies, friends around the world to try to solve the global challenges that confront our people and the people of the rest of the world. And with that, I will be happy to take your questions.
MODERATOR: We’ll start with right here. The microphone.
QUESTION: Alex Spillius, Daily Telegraph. I just wondered, without – I know you’re not going into specific cables, but I just wondered if there are any countries or parts of the world where what has come out has been so embarrassing and has broken trust so much that you thought ambassadors or diplomats in those countries can no longer carry on serving in that particular post and might have to be moved or recalled.
MR. CROWLEY: It’s a fair question. I don’t think we are aware at this point that we think any particular diplomats have been compromised to the point that they may not be effective. But that is something that we will continue to monitor.
MODERATOR: We’ll come up front. Up front with Sonia. There you go.
QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. Crowley. Sonia Schott with Globovision Venezuela. With WikiLeaks, too, everybody was saying that there is no consistent diplomacy or policy toward Latin America from the U.S. And actually, the leaks reveal quite the same. There is no way consistent or a policy towards Latin America, towards Venezuela. Do you think this – what we know about this WikiLeaks will change in any way the way U.S. is doing politics with Latin American countries and specifically with Venezuela? Thank you.
MR. CROWLEY: Well, as we have made clear in the context of Venezuela, we want to have a better relationship with Venezuela. We have offered to engage constructively with the Venezuelan Government. We still intend to place a new ambassador in Caracas. We’re waiting to see if the Senate will confirm a new ambassador for Venezuela. But in terms of our bilateral relationship, responsibility rests on both sides. We have concerns about Venezuela’s activities in the region. We have not hesitated in the past to voice those concerns, and we will continue to do so.
Your – the first part of your question, I think what you have seen – and it’s not a matter of private cables; it’s a matter of what the United States has done day in and day out in plain sight. Clearly, we have reengaged Latin America in a – what we think is a very constructive and very aggressive way. The Secretary of State has made a number of trips to the region in her first two years in office, and we will continue to have personal engagement, direct engagement, across the region in pursuit of our interests.
But here in this hemisphere, we think we have very significant common interests. One of our primary focus areas in this region is citizen safety. That is something of concern to us when you see the scourge of illegal criminal activity that endangers our people, but endangers people across the region, including right next door in Mexico. We are concerned about illicit activity that warps economies across the hemisphere and can fuel crime, corruption, and violence.
We are also conscious of the fact that we have our representatives, along with others around the world, in Cancun this week focused on regional and global issues, climate change being significant among them. So we believe we have tried to reenergize our relationship with countries in this hemisphere. We’ll continue to do so. We believe there are ample opportunities for us to cooperate across the hemisphere. We are not minimizing the fact that in certain cases, certainly in the context of Venezuela, we do have differences and we will not hesitate to voice those differences.
But we believe that the proof is not in what might be in a secret cable; the proof is in what the United States will continue to do in plain sight, day in and day out.
MODERATOR: We’re going to stay up front. Right here.
QUESTION: Ilhan Tanir, Vatan/Hurriyet daily news from Turkey. Today, Turkish prime minister said this, and in his quote: “We have talked with the U.S. Administration about this. They have apologized. But we don’t find that sufficient and he may take legal actions against diplomats.”
My first question is: Will you be – is this, in your consideration, that you are going to take any kind of legal actions on some of the cables that accuses high administration officials, like in Turkey? And the second question is: Again, in Turkey case, there are three consecutive U.S. ambassadors’ cables we are talking about. And I know we cannot talk about substance, but what – Turkish administration reacts that this looks like a pattern.
So my question is – I know that you are taking some technical changes to your reporting and sharing, but my question is: There is also any kind of style or manner of reporting or cabling you’ll be changing? Is this also in the consideration? Thank you.
MR. CROWLEY: Well, what do diplomats do? And there are roles that diplomats play, our diplomats and diplomats of any country represented here. Our diplomats are posted around the world, so are the diplomats of many, many countries. They engage with other governments, they engage with private citizens, and they report back to capitals. And those reports are – we believe they’re most effective when they’re candid, when they’re frank, when they’re direct, when they help provide insight into the activities within a country and they inform our policies and our actions.
That’s what diplomats do. Our diplomats do that and diplomats of every other country in the world do the same thing. We’re not going to change and we don’t think that this will change the way that we approach our diplomacy and I doubt that this will change how other countries engage in their diplomacy.
In the context of Turkey, again, we’re talking about two NATO allies and two friends and partners. We have engaged Turkey significantly in pursuit of our bilateral relationship and in pursuit of our common interests in the region and around the world. That is unaffected by what has been revealed here. Just in Lisbon, we engaged with Turkey constructively in advancing a concept through which NATO will embrace and adopt and build a missile defense system that can protect the entire alliance from one end to the other, including Turkey. We have valued Turkey’s role as a stabilizing force in the region, as an important intermediary in trying to resolve and promote peace in the region across all of the various tracks of Middle East peace. And we will continue to value that role by Turkey.
Turkey has played a very constructive role in encouraging recently the formation of a new government in Iraq, and Turkey will have an important role to play in helping to integrate Iraq and this new government into the region as a whole. Turkey has a tremendous interest in what happens with respect to the relationship between Iran and the international community. It was Turkey recently, and Foreign Minister Davutoglu made clear to Secretary Clinton in their meeting on Monday, that Turkey has been encouraging Iran to accept the invitation of the P-5+1, and that meeting has been just announced and will take place next week in Geneva.
So again, there – people believe that there are mysteries here. There are no mysteries here. The cooperation between Turkey and the United States and the cooperation among key states in Europe and in the Middle East is there for everyone to see. And it will be this kind of cooperation, mutual interest, mutual respect that will guide our relationship with Turkey, and most importantly, our common efforts to pursue areas of significant interest that we share with the Turkish people and other in the region.
MODERATOR: We’re going to go ahead and take a question from New York. New York, you can go ahead with your question.
QUESTION: Hello, it’s Zdenek Fucik from Czech news agency. Could you please specify the way or the manner in which you notified the foreign partners about the WikiLeaks before these cables were published? Did you make the content concerning them available to them? In other words, does the Czech Government, for example, right now know what is in these cables concerning them, or does it have to wait till they be released on the WikiLeaks sites, just like everybody else?
MR. CROWLEY: Good question. In anticipation of this release, obviously this has been something that we have been investigating for several months, and we did understand, having done significant forensic analysis, roughly speaking, the potential breadth of documents that have been compromised through this – what we believe is a criminal act. In anticipation of this release, our embassies and then senior leaders here within the Department of State have reached out to capitals, including the Czech Republic, and both to warn governments about what we anticipated might be among documents released. We’ve had conversations and described in general terms what is in these documents.
I’m not aware that we have shared any of these documents. They are classified and they – we obviously want to protect them. But we are doing whatever we can to help nations understand both the general content, but most importantly, to reassure that notwithstanding this unfortunate disclosure, which we are investigating, we will prosecute those responsible and we will take steps to try to protect this information and make sure that this does not happen again.
And then our message to governments is that we will continue to engage. We will – to the extent that the trust between our respective countries has been challenged, we will do everything necessary to rebuild that trust. We believe that we can continue to interact with governments in confidence, and we hope that we will never confront this again.
MODERATOR: We’re going to take a few from the back, right there.
QUESTION: Hi, there. Canadian – Caroline Laurin from Canadian Broadcasting. According to some of these WikiLeaks cables, there was an apparent – or great concern at the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa regarding an apparent anti-Americanism as seen in Canadian media, particularly on Canadian television. And I know you said you couldn’t comment on specific cables. I was just wondering if there was any concern in Washington regarding American – anti-Americanism in Canada and whether you feel that perhaps these cables may somehow exacerbate that.
MR. CROWLEY: Canada and the United States are friends. We are neighbors. I doubt there is a country that understands us as well as Canada does. The commerce between our two countries is very significant. So I think – I don’t think that the fundamentals changed through whatever might be in these cables.
We do have public diplomacy programs with virtually all countries with which we have diplomatic relations. Canada is no different. And we will continue with our existing programs and our existing efforts to strengthen what is already a very, very close and rich relationship between our two countries.
MODERATOR: Let’s go right here up front in the green. Right there.
QUESTION: Thank you. Christine Lamb from the Sunday Times in London.
MR. CROWLEY: Nice to see you.
QUESTION: Hi. It’s kind of a follow-up from the question from New York. I wanted to know how many countries you had apologized to – (laughter) – and how are you going to convince people a country – or how you can explain to people a country so advanced as the United States could allow something like this to happen.
MR. CROWLEY: It’s a very good question. I mean, we have – I would say our efforts have been significant and our efforts have not stopped. We continue to have conversations with every country with which we have diplomatic relations, and we are doing outreach to every country with which we have diplomatic relations. And that starts at the post, but also can involve outreach, including calls from the Secretary, the deputy secretary, and various under and assistant secretaries. We value our relationships with other countries. We understand that these disclosures have challenged the trust that is fundamental to our respective relationships. We are committed to rebuild that trust where any country might feel that it has been violated.
How do things happen? Well, I can say that the disclosure of these documents, which is a crime under our laws, did not occur within the Department of State. It did occur within our government. We regret it, and we have already taken steps and will continue to review the security of our vital information to do everything that we can to prevent this from happening again.
There have been two dynamics, if you will. There always has been a security system based on the concept of need-to-know. In our country, after 9/11, there was the perception that we did not properly connect dots. And so there has been in recent years a merging of information, connections among agency – across agencies so that information generated within one agency is available to another. And that is actually – it was an appropriate course of action and it has real benefits in terms the conduct of the foreign policy of the United States since many, many agencies in the United States Government are fully engaged in working to solve crucial challenges around the world.
Afghanistan is a great example – you’ve been there – and where we have diplomats on the ground, we have soldiers on the ground, we have agricultural specialists on the ground, we have legal experts on the ground. So in order to conduct this kind of policy, you have to have a system that enables broad sharing of information. But in light of what has happened, we have tightened our procedures. We have narrowed for the time being access to the information generated by the Department of State. We are reviewing our procedures. We will continue to share information, but we will learn from what has happened.
MODERATOR: We can go to you, sir, right there.
QUESTION: Thank you. May name is Ben Bangoura with Storyline Africa. What’s your current reading on what’s going on today in Ivory Coast with the incumbent refusing to allow the release of the presidential result? And do you feel like most observers now that he has lost the vote?
MR. CROWLEY: Well, we identify with the people of Cote d'Ivoire. We recognize that the election was done, by every account, by international observers, the results – the election itself was democratic. And we want to see the results emerge. We believe that the votes have been consolidated and tabulated and that a delay undermines the trust and confidence that is essential for the people of Cote D'Ivoire to have confidence in the government that emerges. So we very strongly encourage the government to announce the results and respect the will of the people of Cote D'Ivoire.
MODERATOR: We’ll go over to the gentleman right here.
QUESTION: Thank you. David Nikuradze, Georgian Broadcasting Company Rustavi 2, Washington Bureau. I have two questions. First, what legal actions are you going to take against WikiLeaks? And second, I was wondering if you could give us an update about OSCE summit. I heard there were some statements on Georgia. Thanks, sir.
MR. CROWLEY: Well, on your latter point, I am here and not there, so I do know that the Secretary had a bilateral with President Saakashvili today. And I believe that she has had some comments that I’m sure we are putting out in the transcripts, so I’ll defer on that.
Clearly, her meeting with the Georgian leader underscores our ongoing commitment to Georgia’s territorial integrity, and I’m sure that was a major topic of discussion today.
What are we going to do on WikiLeaks? Well, we have an investigation that is ongoing both within the United States Government but also understanding the implications of what has occurred. Under our laws, the transfer of classified information to those who are not authorized to receive it is a crime. And the fact that we still have our classified information in possession of WikiLeaks is a continuation of that crime.
We are going to investigate this fully, and I won’t prejudge the results of that investigation.
QUESTION: A follow-up?
MODERATOR: One quick follow-up, right there.
QUESTION: Yeah. Thank you. Andrei Sitov from TASS. As a journalist, I need to ask this. The responsibilities with the people who released the documents without authorization, it’s not only the journalist who published the documents, right? I’m asking you if you can tell us that the American officials who keep talking to journalists, legitimate journalists –
MR. CROWLEY: (Laughter.)
QUESTION: -- legitimate journalists, journalistic requests – no, it’s a serious question.
MR. CROWLEY: No, it is a serious question and --
QUESTION: P.J., and --
MR. CROWLEY: Andrei, let me – it’s a very, very important point. Nothing that’s happened here changes our view regarding the vital importance of freedom of the press, even when we believe that the press may or may not be taking actions that we agree with. That doesn't change the fact that a vibrant press is vital to democracy and to the building of a civil society in any country in any part of the world.
What’s crucial here is that Mr. Assange is not a journalist. He is an anarchist and he is not worthy of the protections of a journalist. But we understand that the reporting of this is something that is what journalists do, and it won’t change our willingness to engage, just as we are here today.
QUESTION: That was the last part of my question. Do you believe that actually capturing Mr. Assange and prosecuting him will send the right kind of signal, especially given that around the world people will be watching and saying, okay, then we will also clamp down on everything?
MR. CROWLEY: Well, I don’t want to misconstrue that the release of 250,000 classified cables is something that does damage to our national security and our interest, and we believe puts at risk the interests of others around the world. I have had conversations with a number of media outlets who have been reporting on these documents this week, and I do respect that those outlets I have been personally in contact with have taken care where we have been able to identify for them areas where individuals in particular who are cited in various documents are potentially at risk with these disclosures. And we appreciate the seriousness with which real journalists and real outlets have understood that the disclosure of these materials can, in fact, put real people and real interests at risk. And I respect these conversations that we’ve had on a case-by-case basis.
But Mr. Assange is in a different category entirely. He has disclosed this material without regard to the risk that it does generate to real people in difficult circumstances around the world. We have taken steps in recent days to have direct conversations with people with whom we have had conversations in confidence and where we believe that the disclosure of their names or their descriptions puts them at risk. As we’ve said, we are prepared, if necessary, to take steps to help protect these people who we believe are at serious risk, including risk of loss of their freedom or loss of their lives.
WikiLeaks has taken no such – has expressed no such concern for the welfare of these people, and I think that says a great deal about Mr. Assange.
MODERATOR: We’re going to take another question from New York. New York, go ahead with your question.
QUESTION: Okay, my name is Renzo Cianfanelli from the Italian media group Corriere della Sera and Il Secolo. Under Secretary, as you probably know, the Italian Foreign Minister Mr. Frattini characterized what happened as the 9/11 of diplomacy. Even people such as myself who do not agree with this characterization still think that there has been a systemic failure, let’s call it, once again, after 9/11, of the established procedures which must safeguard confidential and classified communication. So the question is what are you going to do about it? Is the system still valid, the emailing dispatches all over the world which can be intercepted?
MR. CROWLEY: That’s a very good question. We do not underestimate the seriousness of this disclosure. It is a huge volume of classified documents and it does, in fact, represent an unfortunate violation of the trust which is inherent in the relationship that we have with many, many countries and many individuals around the world. People should understand that this was not an act of a government, this was a criminal act by at least one individual who violated the trust and confidence that the American people place in those of us who serve the national interest.
We are aggressively investigating this crime and we will punish those who are responsible. And the disclosure of this is in violation of our laws and our values. And we are making that clear in our conversations with leaders around the world, including the conversations that Secretary Clinton has had with her counterparts in Kazakhstan this week. There have been a lot of hyperbole in terms of what this represents. And we do understand that this has impact. It puts real lives and real interests at risk.
By the same token, when you look at the breadth of what has been released – and I’m not going to talk about any particular cable – but what do you see? You see the United States engaged across the world, unique among countries in terms of the breadth of our engagement. You actually see diplomats who are day in and day out having serious conversations, frank conversations, with other governments and people in various countries, and you see diplomats who are actively working to carry out the foreign policy of the United States and work constructively with other countries and other leaders to try to solve local, regional, and global challenges. We are very proud of our diplomacy. We are very proud of our country. We are very proud of the work that we do working constructively and cooperatively with other countries.
And certainly the Secretary’s presence at the OSCE Summit in Kazakhstan is a perfect representation of what we are doing and will continue to do. So this doesn’t change our policy. This doesn’t change our willingness to engage. This doesn’t change our interest in solving the world’s problems. So from this point, what will we do? The Secretary will be in the region for the rest of this week. She will be at Manama later this week, working constructively with regional leaders to try to bring peace and stability to the Middle East.
We will have Under Secretary Bill Burns in Geneva next week working with the P-5+1 to demonstrate our willingness to sit down with even a country like Iran, with which we have very, very difficult relations to try to find a way to answer the questions that we the United States have, but also the questions that the international community has about the nature of Iran’s nuclear program. We will be willing to engage with Iran on the nuclear issue and any other issue with which Iran has questions of us. We will do this in pursuit of peace, stability, and prosperity for our people and the people of the rest of the world. That is what we do as a country, and that is what we’re going to continue to do as a country going forward. It doesn’t change anything. This revelation doesn’t change those fundamentals.
MODERATOR: Right here.
QUESTION: Hi. Andrea Murta from Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper, Brazil. In the case of Brazil, our foreign minister just told us yesterday that there’s a perception of anti-Americanism in Brazilian foreign policy forever, and that it’s common that your embassy, amongst others, tried to pass around the foreign ministry in your dealings with Brazilian Government because of that, and I would like you to comment on that. And also, have you actually taken action to move or protect specific sources of information in different countries that might be exposed by the leak?
MR. CROWLEY: Let me take the last part first. We have reached out to people with which we’ve had confidential conversations where we think they are at risk, and we have offered our assistance if we believe – if they believe that they’re in need of it. I’m not aware of any particular cases at this point, but that has been something that we have recognized, that these revelations do put real people in jeopardy.
We believe we have constructive relations with Brazil. In Brazil and in other countries around the world, we engage governments every single day. It’s what diplomats do. We also engage members of civil society. We engage economic leaders. This is what diplomats do. This is what diplomats of other countries do here in the United States. I sat recently with a diplomat from a European country, and he was telling me about parts of the United States that he’s been to that I have not been to. So we will continue to do this. It’s not to evade or go around a government. It is to demonstrate that we engage countries in different ways.
The Secretary has talked a great deal about the fact that we will continue to have daily conversations, government to government, but in the dynamics of the 21st century and the technology that we have available to us through social media, we also have conversations every day people to people, and the technology allows us to do this, whether it’s a cell phone, a television camera, or some other means. So I mean I have a conversation with Mr. Chavez on Twitter on a regular basis, not daily. So this is what our diplomats do, and this is what we are going to continue to do.
MODERATOR: We’re going to come right up here.
QUESTION: Thank you. Georgian TV Imedi, Sophie Zyrabiani. A question about – not about WikiLeaks – a question about OSCE. Today, the head of delegation and also Secretary Clinton mentioned that they support territorial integrity of Georgia, and OSCE mission must – should be restored in South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Do you think that U.S. Administration is waiting some real steps and some results toward this, this mission to be restoring (inaudible)?
MR. CROWLEY: Well, I mean, without getting into any particular cable, it is striking that in many instances, what, broadly speaking, these developments reveal is that what we say in public is what we say in private.
We have made very strong, consistent statements in the aftermath of the conflict in 2008. We are absolutely committed to Georgia’s territorial integrity. We continue to work cooperatively, and the OSCE has an important role to play here. It’s one of the reasons the Secretary made the commitment to represent the President in Kazakhstan, because what’s happening in Georgia has broader implications for the region as a whole.
We continue to have honest and frank discussions with Russia on the implications of the crisis in Georgia and the need for the two countries to find a path forward. And these are conversations that we will continue to have. They are respectful conversations. There are disagreements among us. But we will continue to work through this and we’ll continue to find ways to work constructively across the region through institutions such as the OSCE to help find a long-term solution.
MODERATOR: We’re going to take another question from New York. New York, you can go ahead with your question.
QUESTION: Yes, Federico Rampini, la Repubblica, Italian daily newspaper. The hyperbole you were commenting on by the Italian foreign minister, Mr. Frattini, comparing this to 9/11, the WikiLeaks to 9/11 is probably due to the fact that Italy is in a different category. The leaks from the U.S. Embassy in Rome do not only characterize the Italian prime minister as a person. There are doubts about his shady relations with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. So there is a strategic issue that has been raised; it’s not just a question of characterization of a person. And this has not been addressed today by Secretary Clinton in Kazakhstan.
MR. CROWLEY: Well, to tell you the truth, the Secretary did have a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Berlusconi today, and in that meeting, I think it characterizes our relationship with Italy and our relationship with the prime minister and his government. We are allies, we are friends, we have common interests, and we are going to continue to pursue those common interests.
So I think the fact that even days after cables have been released, we sit down face to face with Italy’s prime minister, demonstrates exactly what we have done all along and will continue to do in our relationship with Italy and our relationship with other countries.
MODERATOR: We can go with this – right there.
QUESTION: Thank you. Muna Shikaki with Al Arabiya TV. On Guantanamo, how would you describe your efforts to resettle some of the Guantanamo detainees? A lot of the cables discussed this. And how much of an obstacle has the fact that the Congress has prevented the United States from hosting any of the former – or any of the detainees who are there now? How much has that impacted your ability to convince other countries to take them since you’re not taking them?
MR. CROWLEY: Our efforts are determined. The Obama Administration came into office, the President made a commitment to close Guantanamo. That remains our policy and our objective. It is taking longer than we anticipated. It is a very complicated issue from a legal standpoint. But we have had a determined effort, working constructively with a number of countries, and we very much appreciate that many, many countries have stepped up to help us unwind what – the activities and operations at Guantanamo. Working constructively with other countries, we have been able to either return detainees to their country of origin or resettle detainees in third countries where, for one reason or another, they could not go back to their countries of origin.
We value that cooperation. That cooperation is ongoing. There are still detainees at Guantanamo that are eligible to be resettled. And there are other detainees for which we have to find a different solution. Some of them will come into prosecution, just as we held a successful prosecution recently in New York. Other detainees will face military tribunals. And we will continue to work through this and do everything we can to close Guantanamo.
QUESTION: Just a follow-up. How --
MODERATOR: Hold on, wait for the mike.
QUESTION: Sorry. Are you as far along as you expected initially with this? It seems like it’s not going as fast as --
MR. CROWLEY: That’s an easy answer: No. (Laughter.) There’s still an enormous amount of work to do. We are still developing a legal framework to dispose of some of these cases. And you’re right that we still have to work with Congress because Congress will have a voice in how this unfolds. But we are still determined to close Guantanamo, resolve these cases through the rule of law, and that is our commitment.
MODERATOR: Okay. We’ll go right here.
QUESTION: Thank you. Aylin Yazan, CNN Turk. When Turkish Foreign Minister Mr. Davutoglu was here, right after his meeting with Clinton, he said that he referred to WikiLeaks as dual language, and he referred United States. What would you say about this description, dual language?
MR. CROWLEY: I don’t understand the question.
QUESTION: He referred WikiLeaks and the things as a dual language.
QUESTION: Double speak.
QUESTION: Yeah, double speak. So – thank you.
MR. CROWLEY: I will let the foreign minister comments speak for themselves. Our relationships with countries are guided by mutual interests. That hasn’t changed. We – our diplomats provide candid accounts of conversations, their analysis of what’s happening in particular countries. That’s not going to change. But as Secretary Clinton emphasized earlier this week, the policy of the United States is decided here. They’re not decided based on any one conversation or any one report from an ambassador to the Secretary of State. We take into account all of the various perspectives, and that – and the foreign policy of the United States is clear. It is something that is manifest in our day-to-day interactions with countries by what we do, not just by what we say. We have a strong relationship with Turkey. We are allies within NATO. We are friends. We are working closely together on a wide range of issues. That’s not going to change, and that was the commitment that the Secretary and the foreign minister agreed to in their meeting earlier this work.
MODERATOR: Right in the middle.
QUESTION: The previous dumps by WikiLeaks, Iraq and Afghanistan blew over in a couple of days. This is going on and getting bigger by the day. Julian Assange has called upon the Secretary to resign. You’ve called him an anarchist. What is different about this document dump than the previous ones?
MR. CROWLEY: Well, 250,000 documents is a big difference. I think there’s a compelling contrast here. Mr. Assange can say what he wants from wherever he is, speaking from an undisclosed location through a Skype, as I believe it. There is a metaphor there in that he is calling for the Secretary to step down at a time where he is trying to evade an active warrant by Interpol.
The Secretary of State, by contrast, is in Kazakhstan, engaged directly with global leaders working to solve the world’s challenges. And there is a sharp contrast in the current activity of the two individuals, and I think that speaks volumes in terms of the works of the Secretary of State, over the course of her first two years into her tenure, the manner in which she aggressively has taken on some of the most intractable challenges in the world, how she is traveling around the world to update the global security architecture for the 21st century. She is having conversations with governments and civil society that have never occurred before. She is trying to lift up the role of women in the world as being an essential ingredient to help lift countries and communities and individuals to have a different kind of life today – tomorrow than they do today. And what Mr. Assange is doing is attacking the fabric of international cooperation and collaboration that is vitally important to resolving global challenges.
MODERATOR: We’ll take our final question. Right in the back, in the pink.
QUESTION: In the pink dress?
MODERATOR: Yes. (Laughter.) You win. (Laughter.)
QUESTION: Thank you. I am Silvia Pisani with La Nacion in Argentina. Two questions, very specific. First of all, can you tell us what is the criteria, if there is any, for the decision of the Secretary of State picking up the telephone and making a telephone call? I ask you this because in Argentina, where the disclosure has been particularly very disturbing, they’re still awaiting a phone call from the Secretary of State. Do you know anything about that, if she’s going to call or so?
And the second, I heard what you said recently and a follow-up in this question. I understand the difference between the work of Mr. Assange and the Secretary of State, but did the Department of State in some way evaluate if something change in the figure of the – in the image of the Secretary of State? I mean, this has an impact in her work, or no? How do you see that? Thank you.
MR. CROWLEY: Let me take the second question – well, I’ll take the first question first. Our outreach is not done. We understand that this is going to go on for some time. We understand that the impacts are going to be felt over time. We have, we believe, taken aggressive actions as friends to reach out to governments at various levels. We only have – we have 190 countries, give or take, with which we have diplomatic relations. We only have one Secretary of State. She has made some calls to world leaders. She is going to make more calls to world leaders. But we have reached out to every government in some fashion to express our regret for what has happened, to explain to the best that we can what has happened, and to demonstrate our commitment to our ongoing relationship. We will continue to do that. And the Secretary will be integrally involved in that process as we go forward.
I think the world should judge us by, yes, what we say, but most importantly by what we do. The Secretary, over the first two years of her tenure, has made an unprecedented number of visits to a broad sweep of countries, from Asia to Africa, to Europe, to the Middle East, and to Latin America. I think people can see what the President is doing. The people can see what the Secretary of State is doing. People can see through the policies that are not a mystery. They are very transparent.
We have diplomats who are committed to working side-by-side with global leaders to try to find a way to advance climate change in Cancun. We’ll have experienced diplomats sit down for a very difficult conversation next week, because the world as a whole has concerns about what’s happening in Iran. We continue our outreach within the Middle East to try to find a way to advance the peace process in the context of the Israelis and the Palestinians, but also in the context of Syria, Lebanon, and other countries in the region. We will continue our commitment. This is World AIDS Day, and we will continue our commitment to help individuals fight the scourge of that disease. We will continue our commitment in a program we call Feed the Future to try to find ways to lift countries out of poverty, to where countries might be able to develop a stronger agricultural economy that can advance individual lives, communities, and nations.
People should judge us by what we do, and I think what people can see – and in the travels of the Secretary of State, you can see day in and day out our willingness to reach out, to engage, to work constructively, through alliances, partnerships, friendships, to try to solve challenges that are important to our people and important to the people of the world. That is what we will continue to do, and people should not get distracted by these documents. It is that commitment that we have working across every region of the world to try to solve regional and national and international challenges – this is what people should judge the United States of America by.
Thank you very much.
# # #