U.S. Department of State
Daily Press Briefing
Monday, August 21, 2000
Briefer: Richard Boucher, Spokesman
QUESTION: Several months ago, the New York Times had an editorial praising Secretary Albright for the State Department's forthrightness on the activities in Chile in 1973 and they added - Jamie Rubin was very surprised at this - at the positiveness of the praise for the Secretary. He said the editorials don't generally do this. But they said they hope that Secretary Albright would exert her influence to get the CIA to be more forthcoming and there has been some concern expressed at the documents that are being withheld.
Do you know whether Secretary Albright is having any success in getting more disclosure about the events in Chile?
MR. BOUCHER: The documents in question are voluminous and we are still on track to meeting our September 14 deadline timetable for releasing the documents. The Secretary has been dealing with this. She talked about it quite a bit during her trip last week to Latin America. She also spoke with Director for Central Intelligence, George Tenet, this morning. They're working together on this project to try to get the maximum possible release of documents consistent with the need to protect sources and methods.
So that is where we stand. We're working on it. We will meet the deadline and we will release as many documents as we can.
QUESTION: On this subject, do you have a time frame for this final vetting or edit process between the CIA and the State Department regarding these classified documents? Tenet said it was going on I guess last week when he wrote a letter to Congress. Is that process done?
MR. BOUCHER: No, I don't have an exact time frame on that. There is an interagency process that is coordinated by the National Security Council. We are working within that framework to try to secure, as I said, the maximum possible number of documents for release.
QUESTION: Is it going on right now?
MR. BOUCHER: I would have to check on exactly the schedule of meetings and things like that. But the time table is to have everything ready and be able to release it in mid-September.
QUESTION: Richard, the phone call this morning, can you elaborate a little bit on that? Was she asking him, saying, listen, you know, it's really important, could you re-look at the stuff you are planning on withholding?
MR. BOUCHER: I would not describe it that way. It's something they have talked about in the past. They have kept in touch on the issue. She just came back from her trip to Latin America, where the issue was raised, and where she discussed it. So it was getting back in touch and continuing to work together on this process.
QUESTION: Is it fair to say that she raised with him the concerns about this that she heard from the officials that she met with in Santiago?
MR. BOUCHER: I don't think I can characterize it any more than I have.
QUESTION: Can you say how long it was?
MR. BOUCHER: No.
QUESTION: The figure of 11,000 documents has been floated around for release in September. Are those State Department documents or are they from all agencies? And, if so, what proportion of those are, in fact, CIA documents?
MR. BOUCHER: That will depend on many of the final decisions on which documents.
QUESTION: But you already have a rough number, so you obviously have an idea.
MR. BOUCHER: Estimated number. But what proportion is what, we'll have to see when the decisions on release are made.
QUESTION: So you mean, if the CIA withholds them, you will offer some other State Department ones in exchange or what? (Laughter.) You've given a number, so you obviously have an idea what quantity would be available?
MR. BOUCHER: We have an idea. We have an estimate of the total number of documents. To start breaking it down into percentages will depend on a lot of decisions that are yet to be made.