Briefing by Fran Townsend, Assistant to President Bush for counterterrorism and Homeland Security Via Conference Call

WASHINGTON, Oct. 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is a transcript of a press briefing via conference call by Fran Townsend , Assistant to the President for Counterterrorism and Homeland Security: 10:36 A.M. EDT MR. STANZEL...


Q And how does this document lay out a strategy or a plan to do that?

MS. TOWNSEND: What it talks about is the priority of this issue. It talks about the need for us to bring together -- there are - as we've seen publicly, there are a number of efforts throughout the federal government. And what we talk about in the document is pulling together -- having a more integrated and synchronized effort, and to engage on this particular issue. But that's why I say to you, I think there's been a lot of good work in this area. And some of this will be at the community level like the New York City Police Department.

Q Okay, thank you.

MS. TOWNSEND: Sure.

Q Ms. Townsend , thank you very much. You mentioned earlier about the assistance of the Pakistani government in terrorist interdiction. And I'm just wondering, have they reached out to you, to the United States , for specific military assistance vis-Ă -vis joint ops?

MS. TOWNSEND: For obvious reasons, I'm not going to -- I can't detail for you the specific discussions between the Pakistani government and the U.S. government. We share intelligence with them. We share -- we offer them both military intelligence and law enforcement assistance. And what that looks like is a source of constant discussion and adjustment, depending on the threat, and what they're confronting. But I can't detail for you what the specific cooperation and the discussions are.

Q And a follow-up. In your document, you mentioned a "culture of preparedness." But as I continued reading through it, it talked a lot about self-reliance; a lot about making sure that the private sector and individuals are prepared not only for mutual assistance but also to essentially get it done themselves. Is it your feeling that you are where you want to be in fostering this culture of preparedness? And should people read into this: Look, don't count on us, you're going to have to fend for yourself?

MS. TOWNSEND: Okay. Starting with the "Am I satisfied?" As your colleagues will tell you who have asked me a question that way before, I am never satisfied; I hope we never are; that there's always more that we can do. And so make no mistake, we have more we can do. And Martha Raddatz asked a question about what do I do; I'm here in Washington, D.C. It says to me, for someone who is as engaged as that on this issue to not know, it suggests we've got a lot of work we still need to do on this issue, in terms of building -- truly building that culture of preparedness.

This is not a -- however, this is not us saying, we're not preparing, we're not going to be there for you. But the reality is for the federal government, even working with our state and local partners, it will take us some amount of time. I often use the analogy, if my house was on fire, would I stay inside it and wait for somebody to come and put it out? No, I would begin to get my family together, get them out, and get them to safety while I knew people were coming to help.

It's the same sort of approach. What we're saying to you is, there are things you can do, steps you can take to minimize the damage and suffering to your own family and your own community, and we want to work with you so you can understand what those steps are that you can take while your local and state and federal responders get there to help.

Q Thank you.

Q Hi, Fran, how are you?

MS. TOWNSEND: Hi, Josh.

Q You had mentioned in this report that you're trying to do more to anticipate other countries not cooperating as much in the war on terrorism. I'm trying to remember the exact wording. Can you go into any detail about what countries are cooperating and what countries are not, if you can do that at all? And why that concern seems to be a repeated phrase. I'm wondering if you can go into any more elaboration on that.