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: But it really goes to whether you're satisfied with the techniques that are now in place.

ATTORNEY GENERAL MUKASEY: The techniques that are now in place are, the President has said that the revision of, the 2008 revision of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act has put in place all of the surveillance techniques that we need to keep us safe. And that's good enough for me.

QUESTION: Just to get back to the transition for a second. You said, the fact that the transition people are not yet members of government makes a difference. We've been told that there was extensive security clearances before the election. So, are you saying even people with Top Secret security clearances who are on the transition team may not have access to some things because they are not yet part of the government?

ATTORNEY GENERAL MUKASEY: That's a possibility. It's an abstract possibility and I don't want to get into --

QUESTION: I guess what I'm wondering is, are there documents that the President-elect's people will not see until January 20th ?

ATTORNEY GENERAL MUKASEY: There may very well be.

QUESTION: Has your term here, while it's not up, can you give us a sense of what the highlights and the lowlights have been in this past year?

ATTORNEY GENERAL MUKASEY: Other than this one. This of course is one of the highlights.

QUESTION: Yeah, sure.

ATTORNEY GENERAL MUKASEY: As I think I told you previously, I don't do a sort of on-going highlights film, or lowlights film. When I got here, I said that my top priorities were going to be national security and then, in no particular order, civil rights enforcement, violent crime enforcement, including drugs, guns and gangs, public corruption and the Southwest Border. And I think we've made some progress, and I've tried to push in each of those areas.

One of the highlights, if you want to call it a highlight, certainly has been the satisfaction of working with the intelligence community and with Congress on getting the revision of, 2008 revision of the FISA bill passed. And also, on putting in place consolidated FBI guidelines that allow the Bureau to function as a fully functioning member of the intelligence community and to do its work in a more orderly way.

QUESTION: And those took effect two days ago, Monday.

ATTORNEY GENERAL MUKASEY: Right.

QUESTION: Okay. And no chance that they'd be subject to rollback by the new administration under regulatory procedures?

ATTORNEY GENERAL MUKASEY: That's really up to the new administration. They went into effect.

QUESTION: Let me ask you a little bit about the subject you wrote about in The Wall Street Journal on the day that you upstaged yourself. The -- because we're going to face, obviously, both presidential candidates said they wanted to close Guantanamo. Eric Holder's talked about it. The incoming President has talked about it, so what's the right way to do this and what does Congress need to do? How does Congress need to contribute?

ATTORNEY GENERAL MUKASEY: I think what I've urged is that Congress pass legislation to help us deal with habeas corpus procedures in a way that allows the use of classified information in a fair way and yet in a way that protects the classification of that information.

The President, himself, has said he wants to close Guantanamo, but he wants to do it in a responsible way that doesn't result in the compromise of the security of this country. But Congress can contribute, certainly, by passing legislation that allows at least for uniform standards in habeas cases so that we don't get a widespread of cases with resulting appeals with yet more delay of the sort that was condemned by the Supreme Court.

QUESTION: If closing Guantanamo requires the release of more people who are there, do you think the United States , or the administration, should remain opposed to the release of any of them into the U.S.? Or should that be on a case by case basis?