Transcript of Reporters Roundtable Discussion With Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey

WASHINGTON , Dec. 3 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is a transcript of a reporters roundtable discussion with Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey : 10:35 A.M. EST ATTORNEY GENERAL MUKASEY: Good morning...


QUESTION: Is there any indication at this point that the people involved in the attack in Mumbai had any contact with people in the U.S. in furtherance of this act?

ATTORNEY GENERAL MUKASEY: I can't comment on that either.

QUESTION: But is that something you're looking into?

ATTORNEY GENERAL MUKASEY: The FBI is looking into whatever evidence it can get.

QUESTION: Was there any indication before this happened, did you have any intelligence or any chatter? Was anything heard that would tip us off that this was coming?

ATTORNEY GENERAL MUKASEY: I can't comment on that.

QUESTION: Beyond the generalized need for vigilance -- and I realize it's quite early yet, but are there any other lessons to be learned from this? For example, about the need for private facilities like hotels to maintain greater security? Or is that just an impossible?

ATTORNEY GENERAL MUKASEY: It's impossible to fully protect every target. Total security is an impossibility. You try to anticipate and to get the best, essentially the best in the way of intelligence that you can get so that you can anticipate where the events might occur and provide security in those places. But you can't provide universal security.

QUESTION: One of the things that's been sort of dramatic about this is that it appears that some Indian security forces, police forces, didn't really do anything. They were -- they felt afraid or didn't have enough training. Are you confident that that would not be the reaction here?

ATTORNEY GENERAL MUKASEY: I'm confident that the people who respond to events like this in the United States are well trained, well disciplined and well able to respond fully. As far as the performance of the Indian authorities, I'm not in a position to comment on that.

QUESTION: General, the President and the President-elect have both mentioned this notion of transitions being periods of vulnerability. Your thoughts on that and the need to be vigilant during this upcoming few months?

ATTORNEY GENERAL MUKASEY: My thoughts on that are that, and I think experience bears this out, that terrorist groups strike when they're ready to strike. We are doing everything we can to provide for a smooth transition. We are keeping in place the continuation of operations plan of the Justice Department such that every essential position is filled so that we don't fall into a situation where there's a gap.

But that said, I think that terrorist groups strike when they believe the moment is right, not when -- not according to the calendar, the political calendar or any other calendar that we follow.

QUESTION: And I guess a very quick follow-up, your assessment of the nature of the threat right now as we speak?

ATTORNEY GENERAL MUKASEY: The nature of --

QUESTION: Of terrorism.

ATTORNEY GENERAL MUKASEY: -- the threat? The nature of the threat is what it's been, which is that there are a lot of people out there who, if they had a refrigerator to post the list on, would put at the top of their list: strike American interests and the interests of those allied with the United States wherever they can.

QUESTION: Is there any indication that the group that's suspect of the attacks, the LeT, is planning attacks of Indian allies or outside of India ?

ATTORNEY GENERAL MUKASEY: I can't comment on that.

QUESTION: Mr. Attorney General, we've been reading some of your correspondence with the chief of police in New York .

ATTORNEY GENERAL MUKASEY: You have?

QUESTION: Would you --

ATTORNEY GENERAL MUKASEY: A former Secretary of State once said gentlemen don't read one another's correspondence.

QUESTION: -- good enough. Could you give us an update on where that situation stands and whether or not there's any cause for concern? Is there anything could be missed or anything like that?

ATTORNEY GENERAL MUKASEY: As far as I know, that situation is at rest.

QUESTION: At rest?

ATTORNEY GENERAL MUKASEY: Yes.

QUESTION: What does that mean?