April 04, 2011
TAPPER: The White House has repeatedly said that President Saleh is a key ally, when it comes to combating terrorism, especially in the fight against al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula. If the administration is now supporting a transition process in Yemen, how confident is the White House, how concerned is the White House that whatever comes next will not be as helpful to the United States in fighting terrorism?
CARNEY: Jake, the -- our position with regards to working with the government of Yemen on counterterrorism efforts is that it is not and has not been focused on one person, nor should it be. We are obviously concerned that in this period of political unrest that al- Qaida and other groups will attempt to take advantage of that power vacuum, and that's one of the reasons why we urge political dialogue to take place and a timetable for this transition that President Saleh has talked about to be begun. And -- but we believe that we can and will work with the government of Yemen on these very important matters. And like I said, they're not focused on one individual.
TAPPER: What the Secretary of Defense told me a week ago yesterday was that the concept of a post-Saleh Yemen is of great concern to the United States.
CARNEY: It -- Yemen is of great concern to the United States. AQIP (sic) is of great concern to the United States, which is why we put so much work in our counterterrorism efforts with the government of Yemen and with those who can be partners with us around the region and the world in combating the terrorist activities of AQIP.
TAPPER: And lastly, on the president's promise to shut down Gitmo and to try as many terrorists as can be tried -- accused terrorists that can be tried in a civilian court, has there been any conclusion as to why that promise was not been able to be carried out? Is it -- did he over-promise? Did he not take into consideration? Did he not consult enough with Congress? Why is this -- as the president announces his reelection kickoff, why is it a promise that he has not been able to fulfill?
CARNEY: Jake, you know the history very well about this process and congressional reaction to some of the goals that were set out. What I will ask you to do is listen to what the attorney general has to say about this particular decision, 2:00 p.m. today, and then just tell you that the president remains focused on everything he can do every day to get the economy growing, jobs created, the priorities that the American set for him and that he takes very seriously.
TAPPER: I don't need to tell you, because you covered it in 2008, he -- this was a big issue that he brought up on the campaign trail. And it's obviously a failure.
CARNEY: Well, I would say that, again, the -- what has transpired over the last several years with regards to these issues is well-known to everyone. Congressional opposition to some of these decisions has created obstacles that made it very hard -- that became very hard to overcome, and the president's very focused on the need for justice for the -- to be brought with regards to those who are accused of participating in and planning those attacks.