8 November 2012

Libya: U.S. State Department Daily Press Briefing: Libya


Excerpt from the United States Department of State daily press briefing:

MS. NULAND: All right. It's Thursday, right? So we would say happy Thursday. I have nothing at the top. Let's go to what's on your minds.

QUESTION: Can we start with a little housekeeping on Libya?

MS. NULAND: Please.

QUESTION: Not that I expect any significant answer or substantive answer, but the impatience seems to be growing on the Hill. Yesterday, Congresswoman Lehtinen - Ros-Lehtinen sent yet another letter to the Secretary complaining about the delay in getting documents. Do you guys have any response to these complaints?

MS. NULAND: Well, we are responding to all of these letters as we get them.

QUESTION: Well, she says that she hasn't gotten any response.

MS. NULAND: She hasn't gotten any response to any of her letters?

QUESTION: That's what she said.

MS. NULAND: I did not see the letter that most recently came in, but my understanding is that as these letters have been coming in, we've been responding to them. We have also been making appropriate documents available to members and their staff. There will be a number of closed-door sessions on the Hill next week at the Hill's request. So as you know, we are very committed to working with the Congress throughout this process. We are obviously - as we learn the lessons that we need to learn from this incident, we're going to need to continue to work with the Congress on remedies, et cetera. So that relationship is obviously crucial for us.

QUESTION: Who from the Department is going to be at these hearings next week?

MS. NULAND: Again, I think that's currently being worked out. I'll let you know if we have something to announce, but all of these are, my understanding, classified sessions at the Hill's request.

QUESTION: And you're aware of more than one?

MS. NULAND: There are a number of them that the Administration is participating in. I'll take a look for you and see what we can share tomorrow.

QUESTION: The documents that you're making available, has there been any limitations placed on the time that they're able to look at these documents? There's reports that they're only available for a couple of days this week, which means many members wouldn't be able to see them because they're not in town.

MS. NULAND: My understanding is that we're working with staffs to ensure that the appropriate people can get to them on the schedule that is convenient for them, so if there are issues we are working them through. But members have been coming and going because of the election, et cetera.

Other thoughts? Done? No. All right, Samir.


QUESTION: Following on Libya, and I apologize if you covered any of this earlier, can you give an update on the ARB, where they are in terms of number of meetings, if that's appropriate, or kind of where they are in their - sort of the trajectory of their investigation and whether there's any clarity now on how long that investigation is expected to take?

MS. NULAND: Anne, I don't have anything that puts you inside the room. I'm sorry, that's not the way they want to operate. But I think you know when the Secretary formed them up, she encouraged them to try to report within 60 or 65 days, which is about average for ARBs. We remain confident that that'll be an appropriate timetable, but obviously they are in the driver's seat. But that would put you into sort of early-mid December, so we just have to see where we are.

QUESTION: Is that likely to be a report with covers on both sides and handed to her, or will it take a form beyond that?

MS. NULAND: I think we don't know yet, but traditionally there is a report. Usually they are largely classified. There is sometimes an unclassified portion, but I think we don't know yet and we won't know until we get closer to the time.

QUESTION: Do you have any sense at this point of whether the members of that commission will be made publicly available?

MS. NULAND: I don't have anything for you on that at this stage. I think we need to let them finish their work, and then they can decide on their press posture.

QUESTION: Is that the Secretary's preference, that they go out and talk about their own investigation?

MS. NULAND: Again, we are not - we are in the middle of the process, so I'm not in a position to predict for you what their press posture will be, what her press posture will be.

QUESTION: Just to take Anne's first question to the extremely literal sense, why don't you tell us about where the ARB actually is?

MS. NULAND: Where it physically is? They have had meetings inside this building, if that's what you're asking, but they've also been --

QUESTION: No, I'm talking about the Federal Register notice from the other day that said they'd moved.

MS. NULAND: Did they?

QUESTION: Yes. They have a new phone number. They have a new --

MS. NULAND: You're ahead of me. I haven't been reading my Federal Register.

QUESTION: -- fax number. You didn't happen to notice that there was a little bit of movement down on the first floor?

MS. NULAND: Oh, you mean they moved out of the transition space?


MS. NULAND: Oh, there you go. Well, that would be normal for this time of season, right?

QUESTION: Yes, it would. But, I mean, did that disrupt anything?

MS. NULAND: Did their move disrupt anything? I will check on that, but I doubt it. I think what Matt's referring to is that they were initially sitting in the swing space that we always use during transitions in this building, so they may have been moved somewhere else, as we ourselves were moved somewhere else just recently. Moves in this building are not uncommon, so --

QUESTION: I know. I'm just wondering why you think that that should be secret, considering it was announced.

MS. NULAND: I don't think anybody thought it was secret. I personally was not tracking that they had physically moved. It makes sense that they would, Matt.


MS. NULAND: But nobody's trying to hide their physical whereabouts.

(The briefing was concluded at 1:13 p.m.)

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