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Remarks With Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom, David Miliband

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
Remarks following a Question-and-Answer Session at Google Headquarters
Mountain View, California
May 22, 2008

SECRETARY RICE: I’d very much like to welcome David Miliband to this wonderful slice of the world, to Northern California, and to the Silicon Valley. We’ve had, so far, a really excellent day. We’ve been looking at places where they’re looking at ways to make energy efficiency possible. We have been here at Google, which is an extraordinary place, and both the people that we met when we were at Bloom Energy and the people that we’ve met here, I think get right to the core of why this is such an extraordinary place. It attracts the best and – best minds and the most innovative minds from all over the world, not just from all over the country. And they work here together in harmony and in beautiful circumstances and surroundings and it’s been a real joy to be here. So, David, welcome and I look forward to the rest of our program.

FOREIGN SECRETARY MILIBAND: Yeah, I’m really pleased to have the chance to say publicly, my immense gratitude to Condi Rice for sparing me the British spring and bringing me to the sunshine of Southern California for a very –

SECRETARY RICE: Northern, Northern, Northern.

FOREIGN SECRETARY MILIBAND: Northern California. I’m in Northern California, sorry. It’s Northern California for a couple of days of very hard work. We’re working extremely hard. It’s great to be here and to be able to see how the people make this part of the world so special. And we’ve had a very good session with the staff at Google, asked very, very penetrating and good questions, and it’s great to be here and great to get a chance to share some time and to understand that the motivation and the drive that does make this, as I said in here, the least cynical nation in the world.


MR. MCCORMACK: We’ll take a couple questions, (inaudible). Right behind here, Sue. Thank you.

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, you were asked by a Googler, I believe they’re called – you were asked about Guantanamo Bay. When does the United States plan to close Guantanamo Bay? Defense Secretary Gates said the other day that there were some legal and other problems preventing this from happening. I mean, what is the delay? Wouldn’t this help in improving your image abroad and improving the U.S. human rights record?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, the first thing – well, certainly, I think in terms of human rights, we’ve done everything that we can to make Guantanamo a place that human rights are respected. It’s visited fairly frequently. So that, to me, is not really the issue. But the issue of Guantanamo and when it might close, the President has said he would very much like to do that. It’s a complicated matter because we have to have some way and some place to transfer people who, if let out on an unsuspecting population, might indeed commit crimes again. And we simply can’t afford that.

And so our first obligation has to be to protect the American people and, indeed, people beyond our shores from terrorists who would kill again, many of them, if they were let out without proper supervision. We were able to get British citizens back because Britain was able to take certain responsibilities about how their post release would be handled. But we’d like nothing better than to close Guantanamo. We look all the time at whether it’s possible. And when and if it’s possible, we’d like to do it.

I should mention that we’ve transferred a lot of people back to their homes and released a fair number as well.

QUESTION: And Foreign Secretary, (inaudible) Guantanamo (inaudible)? What do you (inaudible)?

FOREIGN SECRETARY MILIBAND: Well, the -- I think the position of both the British and the American governments is to close Guantanamo. We’ve made our contribution by bringing back all of the British citizens that were there, and that’s an important thing to do. And the American Government has taken that forward with other countries as well.

MR. MCCORMACK: (Inaudible), right here.

QUESTION: David (inaudible) with ABC (inaudible).

SECRETARY RICE: Yeah, hi, David. How are you?

QUESTION: Good to see you.


QUESTION: Madame Secretary, what about the situation with – in Iran right now? Are you going to be working collaboratively to try to get more surveillance and more intelligence information as to what they’re doing there?

SECRETARY RICE: Yes, thank you for the question, David. As a matter of fact, Secretary Miliband and I are a part of what we call the P-5+1, or the – Great Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China, and the United States – that forms, really, the kind of lead international coalition on trying to get Iran to stop enriching and reprocessing so that it can’t develop a nuclear weapon. These are technologies that could lead to the development of a nuclear weapon. We’ve passed three successful Security Council resolutions. The collateral effects of those Security Council resolutions include that Iran’s having more and more difficulty accessing the financial – the international financial system. Investment in Iran’s oil and gas infrastructure has gone down. Iran is paying a cost.

But of course, one of the lead elements of how we keep track on what is going on in Iran is the International Atomic Energy Agency. And one of the strongest parts of our policy has been to require Iran to be fully transparent with the IAEA, which should have the right to the full range of inspections in Iran. Because when Iran – if Iran has peaceful intent, as they say, then they should have no problem with the International Atomic Energy Agency having complete and absolute and total access. And the word that is coming out is that that is not being provided to the IAEA. So that’s really our best tool in many ways, David, for an international set of eyes on what the Iranians are doing.

FOREIGN SECRETARY MILIBAND: I think it’s important to say that the leading countries of the world are working very closely together on this. It’s a good example of Europe, the United States, but also China and Russia forging a common alliance and making very clear to the world that this is a choice for Iran. That Iran can see the outstretched hand from the wider world ready to cooperate economically and technologically and scientifically, but only if Iran plays and respects its responsibilities in the international community. And while the Iranians would like to present this as a denial of their rights, it’s no such thing. It’s an assertion that with rights come with responsibilities and that’s important for all countries.

MR. MCCORMACK: Matt, then you.

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, in response to another question that you got inside, you seemed to suggest that in the early days – in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 and the anthrax attacks that the President’s national security team did, in fact, sign off on interrogation techniques that would – could be – on certain interrogation techniques that you later decided should be less harsh after you had discussed it and looked at – while remaining committed to – obviously, to U.S. obligations or international law, as you said, but that those techniques then became less harsh as time went on. You talked about how the early – the answers to questions you got from interrogations of the early detainees were quite productive. Is that – am I correct in that?

SECRETARY RICE: Matt, first of all, I think you know that I’m not going to talk about internal deliberations at the time, only to say that a lot has happened and a lot has evolved in these years. I think Mike Hayden has spoken to this question of the evolution of their program. And I want to repeat that we do have a law now that – the Detainee Treatment Act, which, in fact, gives greater definition to the way that we should think about issues of interrogation. And as the United States did before, it’s going to continue to live up to its laws domestically, as well to its international obligations. And I think that Americans expect the President to do whatever he can within the law to protect Americans, and that’s a key obligation of the presidency.

MR. MCCORMACK: One final question.

QUESTION: Kara Tsuboi, CNETnews.com technology reporter. I want to know about your visit to Google.


QUESTION: And as a Republican, were you surprised to get an invitation to a well-known liberal camp?

SECRETARY RICE: (Laughter.) Sergey Brin –

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

SECRETARY RICE: Sergery Brin was one of my students, you know. I’m from this area. I’m a Stanford faculty member on leave. So I think Google is not about politics. Google is about innovation and technology and about creativity of people and about what freedom permits in this great environment. And I feel very much a part of the Silicon Valley. I’ve been here – I joined the Stanford faculty in 1981, so I have been –

FOREIGN SECRETARY MILIBAND: Before you were born. (Laughter.)

SECRETARY RICE: Yeah, I didn’t want to say that, David, but – (Laughter.) So, for a lot of years this has been my natural habitat, and it’s really, truly, a remarkable place. And so it’s been great to be here at Google. It was great earlier to be at Bloom Energy. And I look forward to the day when I can be here on a more regular basis.

MR. MCCORMACK: Madame Secretary, The Stanford Daily.

SECRETARY RICE: Oh, Stanford Daily, okay, all right.

QUESTION: Theo Milonopoulos, Stanford Daily. What do you hope to do when you – you’ve said that you’re going to come back to campus, and what do you hope to do there? And also, considerable controversy erupted on campus when former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was appointed a distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution because several students and faculty objected to many of the decisions he made while serving in the Administration. How do you expect you’ll be received and how would you respond to critics that say that they may not necessarily want you back?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, first of all, I – we’ll see if people want me back. I think so. And I want to repeat, I’ve been at Stanford since 1981. I had a life before being National Security Advisor and being Secretary of State and I expect to have a life after.

But universities ought to be places in which all points of view are both represented and welcomed, because if universities are not open to views, no matter how controversial, I don’t know where the practices of the freedom of ideas will be carried out. I look forward to having an opportunity in the classroom again to discuss the dilemmas that we’ve faced, particularly since September 11th. I look forward again to doing what I used to do, which was to have decision simulations in which students get to play the roles of Secretary of State, President, National Security Advisor, and maybe get a little taste of how it’s actually not so easy to make those decisions because you’re facing a lot of dilemmas. And I look forward to doing some writing and some effort to – an opportunity to step back and reflect on what we’ve gone through.

This has been a fundamentally different period in American history and a period of great consequence. And it’s not something that you can reflect on from within it. You really have to get out of it and do so. But I was Provost at Stanford, and if there’s one thing that I defended and defended unconditionally, it was the right of the faculty to hold whatever view they had and to express it freely.

Thank you.


Released on May 23, 2008

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