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U.S. Department of State

Great Seal Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright
Interview on CBS-TV Nightly News with Dan Rather
Washington, DC, August 21, 1998
As released by the Office of the Spokesman
U.S. Department of State

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MR. RATHER: Madam Secretary, do you have any late information about the damage done on these targets?

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Well, we do know as far as the pharmaceutical firm in Sudan is concerned, that is now non-operational, as far as we’ve been told. That was a very significant hit.

As far as what’s happened in Afghanistan, you more than anybody I think, Dan, knows how difficult it is to get a really accurate assessment of what is going on in that part. But from early intelligence reports, there has been significant damage to the camps, and the kind we believe that disrupts their ability to have continuous operation. So we are still waiting for more assessments, but I think that we can say it was a good hit and one that did what we wanted, which was to significantly disrupt the ability of Osama bin Ladin to operate out of there.

Just to comment on something I heard and Secretary Cohen did, it was not a goal of this particular mission to hit people. We knew that they were gathering there, and it was an important time to have this attack; but basically we were going to make sure they were not going to be able to operate out of these particular places.

MR. RATHER: Madam Secretary, these strikes were partly for retaliation and partly as a preemptive kind of message, as I understand it. But what are the chances this will backfire, because now we have threats from this shadowy terrorist world, "Look out, we’re coming after you again"?

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Dan, we didn’t have any choice. I have just come back from Africa, and I think that as good as television pictures are, they are not being in place as I was both in Nairobi and in Dar es Salaam. There were hundreds of people killed. The buildings are just carcasses, and it’s a terrible, terrible sight. And not only Americans, but innocent Kenyans and Tanzanians -- many, by the way, who are Muslims -- were murdered.

I think that if we had not taken this action, we would not have been exercising our right of self defense, and we would be more in danger, I think, of other actions coming down the road. So we had no choice. We know that this is, as I said, a long-term-issue battle for us.

MR. RATHER: Madam Secretary, thank you very much.

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Thank you.

[End of Document]

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