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Clinton Promises Justice for Crew of U.S.S. ColeAired October 12, 2000 - 3:43 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: President Clinton stepped out to talk with reporters a couple of hours ago about the attack on the U.S.S. Cole and the heightened violence in the Middle East on this day.
Let's get the latest from the White House and CNN's John King -- John.
JOHN KING, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Natalie, the president inside, now, in the Oval Office with his Middle East and national security teams dealing with, what one aide calls, a double blow of despair, if you will, from the Middle East region today.
The president was in Chappaqua, New York when all this began to unfold early this morning. Rousted from bed to be informed about the attack, the apparent terrorist attack on the U.S.S. Cole.
As you mentioned, after meeting with his national security team here at the White House, the president did come out into the rose garden to address reporters and the American people, he said he was still waiting for information about this apparent attack; voiced his concern and sympathy, his prayers for the families. Not only of those killed, but those injured and missing and the other crew members aboard the ship. And the president promised, he said FBI teams already underway, state department teams underway -- the president promising a very aggressive and thorough investigation.
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WILLIAM JEFFERSON CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If, as it now it appears, this was an act of terrorism, it was a despicable and cowardly act. We will find out who was responsible and hold them accountable. If there intention was to deter us from our mission of promoting peace and security in the Middle East, they will fail utterly.
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KING: The president also condemning the renewed violence in the Middle East. Condemning the murder of those two Israeli soldiers, urging the Palestinians -- while saying he understood their frustration with the violence in recent days, urging them to step back from any provocative actions. Urging both the Israeli and Palestinian leaders to declare an immediate cease-fire, to publicly condemn any further violence. Mr. Clinton then retreating into the Oval Office. No questions, he said, he needed to get back to work; we understand.
Since retreating back into the of Oval Office he has spoken to the Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak about the very delicate situation, very volatile situation in the Middle East. Prime Minister Ehud Barak of Israel also on the president's call list this afternoon.
We're also led to believe that soon the White House will announce that the president is clearing his schedule. Some fund-raisers scheduled for this afternoon and this evening. A political trip due to begin tomorrow. We're told, at least for the next day or so, the president will remain here at the White House monitoring both of these very troubling developments -- the attack on the U.S.S. Cole and the renewed violence in the Middle East -- Natalie.
ALLEN: All right; John King with the latest from the White House. Many angles to the story today.
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