DoD News Briefing - Victoria Clarke, ASD PA
(Also participating are David Chu, under secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness; Meg Falk, director of the Office of Family Policy; Maj. Gen. Jim Jackson, commander of the Military District of Washington; and Ed Plaugher, fire chief of Arlington County.)
Clarke: Thanks very much, you all.
I've just got a brief statement and then a few people who have got some important information we want to get out today.
I'd just like to say a couple of things. First and foremost, the Department of Defense is open for business. We're here, we're operating, and we're functioning very well.
Our priorities this morning, today, are to care for the injured and the dead and their families; to work closely with the president and the national security team, to ensure the safety of the American people and our men and women in uniform around the world; and to determine who was responsible and what the course of action will be.
A couple of things I want to say up front. We do not have solid casualty numbers. I know this important. It's important to us. When we have numbers that we feel more confident about, we will get those numbers out, and at the right time.
The other thing I want to make very clear is, we are not going to be talking about military operations from this podium or elsewhere. We are not going to be talking about intelligence matters from this podium or elsewhere. It is not helpful.
And our primary focus this morning is to provide information about assistance to the families, about the search and rescue operations, and about the damage assessment on the building.
I'm joined today by our under secretary for Personnel/Readiness, David Chu; the Military District of Washington commander, Major General Jim Jackson; and the Arlington County fire chief, Ed Plaugher. And I'd like to have each of them come up, make some brief comments, and hold your questions till the end.
Chu: Torie, thank you very much.
As you all know, the Department of Defense family has taken a terrible and tragic loss with the last 24 hours, and our deep sympathy goes out to the families of those most directly affected by these tragic events.
On the positive side, I am truly impressed by the spirit of the people in this department and the way they have rallied round, both yesterday and this morning, coming back into this building.
I do have, for those who have offices in the area bound by Corridors 2 through 6, which, as you know, are not useable at this juncture, we simply ask they call their supervisors for instructions on where they're supposed to go, if they've not already received those instructions.
I also want to give the department's thanks both to our own people and to the nation at large for the extraordinary, truly extraordinary response in donating blood. It's just terrific, and it shows how Americans will pull together in a crisis.
We are establishing -- it is now open -- at the Sheraton Crystal City, 1800 Jefferson Davis Highway, which, as you know, is on the Crystal City Metro stop -- a Pentagon Family Assistance Center. This is will fold into one place all the family assistance efforts of the department for all personnel, military of all branches, and civil. I'll have Meg Falk, who is our director of our Office of Family Policy, in just a moment say a word or two about the kind of capabilities that they have down there.
We will have a telephone number there shortly. Verizon is working very hard on installing that. It's not yet in, so unfortunately, I can't give you that number at this time. It will be a number, I should emphasize, just for the families. This is a center designed to help those families who are missing a family member, a family member is deceased or a family member is injured. We are committed to providing all the resources of the department to giving them the assistance that they should have.
I will emphasize we don't have answers to all your questions this morning. We are still working on some of these issues.
I would also emphasize to the families that the Sheraton Crystal City location is the place to go, not to the Pentagon, which is not the place we have this set up. It's set up in a commercial establishment, making it easier for them to get access and to make it as feasible as possible for us to provide them the services they need and deserve.
And with that, let me get Meg to say just a word or two about the kind of capabilities down there.
Falk: Yes. The Family Assistance Center set up at the Sheraton Crystal City is staffed with the best resources we could get. We have chaplains, social workers, personnel from all the services there to help and assist our families any way we can. We also have expertise, unfortunate expertise of people who served in the family assistance centers in the aftermath of Khobar and the Cole. They drove through the night to get up here so as to provide the very best possible support for our families.
And I, too, want to thank all those who worked all day yesterday and through the night in order to set up the center and to make all of the resources and all the care and all the love that we can give to our families who have lost their loved ones, to make all that happen.
So we encourage the families to go there. We will try to do everything we can to assist them. We can't answer all their questions at this point, but we will do our best for their questions to give them answers in as expedient time as possible.
Q: Excuse me. Can I just ask --
Clarke: We're going to ask -- (inaudible) -- important. We'd like each person to make their comments because their work is related.
Q: Could we have them spell their names?
Falk: "F" as in Frank - A-L-K. First name is Meg, M-E-G.
Clarke: Major General Jim Jackson, you can come up and talk, and then we'll have Ed Plaugher.
Jackson: My command's mission is to make sure that the military support that is needed for the operation is provided timely and effectively. And it's all based upon the incident commander's desires, and right now he is represented by the fire department personnel that you'll meet here shortly.
In that regard, what we are doing primarily right now is we're assisting in securing portions of the building inside to prevent personnel from going into damaged portions of the building. We're providing light labor support outside as required. I have an engineer company on the ground that is trained in urban search and rescue that is assisting the other teams, working in conjunction with them. And we're also functioning as the DOD liaison element with all the police, fire and other federal agencies in a combined operations center.
I'll answer questions in a little bit. Thank you.
Clarke: Then the Arlington County fire chief, Ed Plaugher, which is P-L-A-U-G-H-E-R.
Plaugher: Good morning.
As you can see for yourselves, we are still engaged in a very stubborn fire fight with parts of the building. We have recently requested some additional specialized apparatus that will gain entry into the center courtyard of the Pentagon, and we're bringing additional specialized individuals very highly trained in this type of fire fighting.
We do have on the scene the FEMA [Federal Emergency Management Agency] team, and they've been here for some time now.
As a matter of fact, when they're all here, there will actually be four of the what are called USAR-FEMA [Urban Search and Rescue-Federal Emergency Management Agency] teams. They are starting operations at this point in the crash site, while fire fighting operations are going on in the other parts of the Pentagon.
We have no estimate at this time of how long it's going to take to get the fire out or how much additional resources we're going to need. However, as we get information we will be sharing it with you through the joint information center, which is part of the FBI's joint command post.
Q: Can you tell us about the persistence of the fire --
Q: Why it is so difficult in that apparently attic area that continues to burn? What is it about that?
Plaugher: They type of the construction of the Pentagon is very, very, I would call, stout World War II type of construction. A lot of concrete, a lot of very thick masonry. On top of that is a wooden roof structure. On top of the wooden roof structure is slate, and so it's just a very very difficult system to get through to extinguish, and it takes a lot of cutting with special tools and equipment, and then a lot of hand work by the firefighters to get up in there. And we're trying to get ahead of the fire right now.
Q: Are you going to knock down the sections that are leaning in the damaged part? Is that part of the game plan, or is that still a pending decision?
Plaugher: What typically USAR does is they make sure that they make it as safe as they possibly can for their people, so any debris that is loose or hanging comes down first. And so that you'll see that operation where there is some sort of demolition going on, and that is to make sure that any of the loose stuff doesn't fall on the rescue workers.
Q: Question, but with a very brief prelude. Yesterday, earlier, of course, most of the smoke and the fire seemed to be fuel from the plane, and then late yesterday afternoon, that had dissipated or been put out, and there was light smoke, and actually very little late in the afternoon. Now there's a lot more. So, there are two questions, or a two-part question: One, what is burning? And two, what's caused the fire, apparently, to start up again?
Plaugher: Okay. We were never able to fully extinguish the fire in the roof structure. We were able to get it mostly knocked down, and again because we're having extreme difficulty making access under the slate roof, it's to be expected to take awhile to get there. We have had the fuel from the jet catch fire again, and we're now in there with some additional hand-lines and some foam-lines, with aircraft fire-fighters inside of the insides of the Pentagon trying to suppress it, this time with fire-fighting foam.
Q: You said aircraft firefighters?
Plaugher: Yes, from the airport.
Q: From the airport?
Plaugher: From Reagan National Airport.
Q: Have you removed the bodies?
Q: Could you tell me how many bodies have been removed?
Plaugher: We have no information on any type of casualty or body counts at this time.
Q: By that you mean you haven't removed any bodies yet?
Plaugher: I will not say that, okay? But that whole process is being set up and is going to take some time. So again, that's not part of this briefing.
Q: Will you have to get onto the roof in order to put out that fire?
Plaugher: Yes. We're up on the roof, we're up there now. We have our fire-fighting forces up there with great support from all the area fire departments -- Washington and --
Q: Are you removing sections of the roof to get at the fire?
Plaugher: Yeah. We're doing what's called a "trench cut" which is a slice of the roof, which then lets the fire gases out of that part of the roof. We then bring water streams into the back part of the fire cut, and so that the fire actually sucks the water up to it and helps to extinguish the fire up there. Please excuse me, I've been up all night, so. But that's basically the technique that's used.
We have a couple of hundred firefighters on the fire ground right now from all of the area fire departments.
Q: Can you give us any sense of the area that was destroyed, how wide it is? How many feet? And did it break through to all five rings of the Pentagon?
Plaugher: It did not break through to all five rings, and I do not know the measurements.
Q: Is there anything left of the aircraft at all?
Plaugher: First all, the question about the aircraft, there are some small pieces of aircraft visible from the interior during this fire-fighting operation I'm talking about, but not large sections. In other words, there's no fuselage sections and that sort of thing.
The other question?
Q: Do you have any injuries among firefighters, any at all?
Plaugher: We've had some small. When I say small, I'm talking about not major types of injuries. But we've had -- to my knowledge, we had four fighters transport to area hospitals for some minor injuries, and that probably has changed since I've even been here.
Q: They were not hurt in the collapse?
Plaugher: I'm sorry?
Q: They were not hurt -- no one was hurt in the collapse?
Plaugher: Not to my knowledge, right.
Q: Is that the only ring that has collapsed?
Plaugher: That is the only ring that has collapsed.
Q: Which ring, the E ring?
Plaugher: The very exposed ring.
Q: Chief, there are small pieces of the plane virtually all over, out over the highway, tiny pieces. Would you say the plane exploded, virtually exploded on impact due to the fuel or --
Plaugher: You know, I'd rather not comment on that.
We have a lot of eyewitnesses that can give you better information about what actually happened with the aircraft as it approached. So we don't know. I don't know.
Q: Have you -- have search and rescue teams made a priority of finding the black box of the aircraft? Have you gotten to that stage of trying to locate that at this point?
Plaugher: We obviously will, at the appropriate time. But at this particular time, we're all in the preliminary stages of setting up the further operations.
Q: Can you describe how many firemen have been involved in this, how many units, or any way that you can, to give us a quantitative estimate?
Plaugher: Actually, believe it or not, we do not know. We had just this tremendous outpouring of help from the entire community, and we had firefighters and fire units from places that I didn't even know existed, here to help with the situation. So -- excuse me --
Q: Several states?
Plaugher: Oh, yeah. Several states.
Q: Did they come from -- how far?
Plaugher: All over Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania.
Q: How many search and rescue people do you have standing by?
Plaugher: Okay. We have four USAR teams. Each one of these USAR teams has a complement -- and the last I was briefed, there were about 60-some people in each team, so there's four times 60-some of the USAR teams here.
Q: Four search and rescue --
Q: Where are they from?
Plaugher: Four search -- the search and rescue teams are from Fairfax County, Montgomery County; from the Virginia Beach Fire Department; and from a fire department in Tennessee. And I'm sorry I don't know which fire department in Tennessee, but it's called the Tennessee Task Force, so it might be made up of several fire departments out of Tennessee.
Q: Are more coming in, sir?
Plaugher: Not at this time. As you might imagine, the USAR teams are fully engaged in the situation in New York City and other places. And so we're going to try -- what I've been told is they're going to try to hold it with the four urban search and rescue teams --
Q: Have you had trouble getting search and rescue teams --
Plaugher: No, we have not. FEMA has been fabulous.
Q: Will you be able to assure people that are working in the building that it's safe for them now to be there, with the smoke that's pouring out of the building?
Plaugher: We will be constantly evaluating the conditions within the -- inside the Pentagon and working with the Pentagon staff to make sure that it is safe.
Q: What's the special apparatus --
Q: Could you describe the extent of the damage now? Could you describe --
Plaugher: The apparatus question was -- we need some very low-profile apparatus to make it into the center courtyard of the Pentagon, so we can gain access to some of the roof structures. And because of some very old fire stations in some communities, they actually do design fire apparatus, with very, very low profiles, that has the reach capability that we need.
Q: Could you describe the extent of the damage caused by the fire now? I mean, Corridors 2 through 6 are closed. Is there fire damage now throughout that -- through all the rings?
Plaugher: Not through all the rings, but to the two rings on each side of the crash site that -- we have some covered walkways and we have fire going down those covered walkways, that has gone out to those covered walkways and now going down those corridors.
Q: What about the flooding?
Plaugher: Obviously, we're using large amounts of water, and so we are deeply concerned about how much water damage that we're doing, particularly to the basement of the Pentagon and other areas. And so we're having that evaluated --
Q: How hot is the fire right now, and how hot was it at its worst? Do you have any figures on that?
Plaugher: It's a stubborn fire. And it's not hot, and we're not, you know, engaged in a fully, you know, roaring fire situation; it's just stubborn, very difficult to get to and very difficult to extinguish.
The jet fuel fire that I was talking about earlier -- it's one of those things when you're dealing with a flammable liquid, it's very -- you got to put a blanket of foam over the top of it to stop it from flaring up.
Q: Where is the jet fuel? Just --
Plaugher: We have what we believe is a puddle right there that the -- what we believe is to be the nose of the aircraft. So --
Q: Where is that? What ring is that, or corridor --
Q: Can you describe the reconnaissance efforts you used initially to determine survivors?
Plaugher: Okay. We immediately sent crews into the Pentagon upon arrival, to try to make sure we had a handle on exactly what parts of the building that we were in. And at that particular time, we were able to do a lot of search and we were able to do a lot of confirmation of the various parts of the building.
As you might imagine, with the volume of fire that we had, it got continually worse inside of there, so we had to back out. But early on, we were able to make quite a good -- what we call a preliminary search of this --
Clarke: Chief, let me make one point here.
Clarke: Folks, I had promised the chief he could get back to the job at hand, so make -- probably the last question for him -- (off mike).
Q: You made a statement last night, a raw estimate of potential casualties of between 100 up to 800 -- really raw and preliminary, I understand --
Q: Can you give a sense of how you arrived at that figure? And have you backed off of that today or expanded it, given that -- and it's still raw --
Plaugher: What I said last night was, this was a ballpark figure. You know, in other words, this is what we're looking at as far as for the size of it.
Again, we really do not have any casualty counts at this time. And you know, if you want to say that, you know, is that still accurate, I would say that we don't know anything other than it might still be accurate. I mean, wow, 100 to 800? That's huge, but that's the best we can do.
Q: When you say the fire is stubborn, does that mean there are spots of fire in different portions, or --
Plaugher: Up in the roof section. It's hard to get to.
Q: I see. Can you tell me where the fire is now?
Plaugher: As well as in the area right where the crash site was.
Q: (Off mike.)
Q: So those two areas of fire --
Plaugher: That's correct.
Q: -- are still burning.
Q: And sir, have you cut through the roof to prevent it from spreading to the unaffected part of the Pentagon?
Plaugher: We are doing that now.
(Chief Plaugher departs.)
Q: Torie, you don't want to talk about casualties, but you obviously are pulling together a list of missing and must have at this point some ballpark estimate of how many people you believe are missing. It doesn't mean they're dead --
Clarke: Each of the components is doing a roster check. Each of the components is doing that.
We have preliminary numbers. We do not want to put out the preliminary numbers until we're more confident of them. As we get the information, we'll put it out.
And let me make a point of something, which I talked about with the secretary this morning. We understand how much you need and want information, and we understand what you're trying to do. We are -- as we get information that we feel confident about, we will put it out. But we are going to be very careful about what we talk about and what we don't talk about.
So, as much as I know the desire for information about operations, military operations, for instance, we're just not going to do it because it's not helpful. What we're trying to plan now, for instance, is some briefings from the services in terms of the civil support that is being provided by the military. But I hope you'll understand. And any questions, more on the family assistance, again, this is a very, very important priority this morning, that we get out the information what we're doing for the families.
Q: Can you just tell me where they drove up from? You said the ones who were involved with the Cole and the --
Q: Torie? Torie, just one more question.
Clarke: Okay, let Meg answer Andrea's question and then I'll do it.
Falk: Yes, the people who set up the Family Assistance Center in the aftermath of the Cole drove up from Norfolk, the whole Hampton Roads area, really, last night. And they're very experienced in this kind of thing, and that's why we called them in to support us in this effort.
Q: Torie, just one question. Realizing again, to press this casualties point, realizing you don't know how many people were there at the time --
Q: -- could you give us a round figure on now many workers would normally be in that area of the building, realizing that construction was going on. Is it the high hundreds?
Clarke: No, I really can't do that, Charlie. No, I really -- I really can't give you that number. I have -- I have --
Q: Is 800 an inaccurate figure?
Clarke: I just -- I have no confidence in the 800 number, I have no confidence in any numbers right now. As we get the information, as I said, the components are doing the roster checks, as we get the information, we'll make it available.
Q: Can you give us a sense of what the secretary is doing today, and what the Department of Defense is doing to respond to the attacks to the symbol of American military. I mean --
Q: Torie, when did he leave here last night?
Clarke: He went -- the secretary last night was over at the White House for the president's speech and a meeting after that with the president. Went home late last night, I don't know the exact time, but I know it was well after 10:00; came back this morning sometime between 5:30, 5:45, walked around to the site again and talked to some of the firefighters and others.
And the day, obviously, is going to be spent working closely with the president and the vice president and other members of the national security team, working on, as I said before, taking all the appropriate measures to ensure that the American people are safe, to ensure that our men and women in uniform are safe, and putting every effort towards the appropriate actions on those who are responsible.
Q: And what's being done at military bases across the country?
And -- I'm sorry, I'll give you some -- there are meetings at the White House today. There will be congressional briefings.
Q: With air traffic, commercial air traffic still stopped in the United States, why is NORAD and the military continuing to fly combat air patrol over New York and Washington?
Clarke: Barbara, I'm not going to get into any details about what we're doing and what we're not doing. We're taking the appropriate precautionary measures, we're taking the appropriate steps, but we're just not going to go into details about what they're doing and what they're not doing.
Q: Can you confirm that bodies were taken out overnight from the site?
Clarke: No, I cannot.
Q: You can't confirm that there were --
Clarke: No, I cannot.
Q: Can you say whether bodies have been identified and next of kin notified?
Clarke: The process is beginning. That's all I can tell you at this time. But again, they're taking things very, very carefully.
Q: The process of identification or notification?
Clarke: The process of locating and identification has begun.
Q: Torie, have they gone through the blueprints or talked to people doing the renovations? Do you have a list of exactly which offices were even affected?
Clarke: Yes. And the MDW folks -- if you want to come up, General Jackson, and talk about that -- can talk a little bit about that.
Jackson: All I can do is offer to you that in several of the meetings I've been in, the contractors who were involved with the renovations of the building have been involved. They are providing support in the way of blueprints and construction reports that they've got, to include equipment that they have and shoring material out on the outside. And so they've been -- they're tied in directly to all the liaison work with all the agencies.
Q: Can you tell us which offices are now out of commission?
Jackson: No, I can't tell you. I can't tell you that right now specifically. I mean, I just don't know them.
Q: What percentage of the offices were unoccupied as a result of the renovations?
Jackson: I don't know that. Again, the number situation is difficult because any given moment there were people moving around the building, the rooms, moving from one to the other, moving the equipment back and forth. It's hard to pinpoint the numbers.
Q: What extra security measures have you taken here in the building in lieu of the --
Jackson: The only thing we've done is I've offered up some of the soldiers that work for me to seal off the internal parts of the building to -- again, to keep people out of that, to allow the firefighters to do their work in a safe manner. And that's to include both the fire hazard and smoke hazard that is continuing as the fire continues. It's just soldiers there advising people not to go down certain corridors. That's all it is.
Q: D.C. Guard and Virginia Guard. Can you give us some estimate of sort of who's being called?
Jackson: Sir, I don't really have that information.
My focus has been totally on my business. I really don't know what -- (off mike).
Q: General, of the about $10 billion renovation of the Pentagon that's scheduled, how much has been completed and how much was involved in this --
Jackson: Sir, as I don't work -
Q: -- percentage aside.
Jackson: I don't work in the Pentagon. I really don't know that answer. I'll have to defer that to somebody else.
Q: Is it true -- (off mike) -- Old Guard? Is that who you've got doing this; the guys who do the ceremonial --
Jackson: Yes. The Old Guard is an active duty infantry organization with a multiple mission requirement, and one of them is to be able to do contingency work like this. And they do spend a significant amount of their time practicing these skills.
Q: I notice that funerals were proceeding at Arlington Cemetery this morning, at least some. I heard 21-gun salutes while I was -- (off mike).
Jackson: We have reduced some of our support to the funerals, but some are, in fact, going on based on capabilities and families' desires.
Q: Sir, so some of the people that would normally be involved in funerals are now guarding some of the entryways here in the building?
Jackson: That's correct.
Q: Can you tell us a little bit more in detail about this engineering company that you said was on the ground here, and sort of what their capabilities are and, you know, what their technical --
Jackson: What it is is it's a military version of the urban search and rescue organizations. They work closely with those teams that you heard mentioned before, they train with them, we do joint exercises with them periodically. The skills are identical; the equipments are very similar.
Q: Can you go into any details?
Jackson: It's a fairly long list of stuff. Much of it is commercial grade bought off the shelf, some of it is purchased specifically for their purposes. It's the SCBA bottles; the heavy masks that you see them carrying; a lot of protective gear to be able to cut through concrete, wood, metal and so forth.
Q: (Off mike.)
Jackson: They are an urban search and rescue organization, much similar to what we have on the ground with the other counties.
Q: Are they a part of NDW too or did they come in from some other --
Jackson: No, they're part of my organization.
Q: And where are they based?
Jackson: Out of Fort Belvoir.
Q: General, does the military district remain Threat Con Delta?
Jackson: Yes, sir, they do.
Q: In the whole arena?
Jackson: Yes, sir, they are.
Q: Torie, is it proper to say that roughly half the Pentagon cannot be occupied today?
Clarke: You know, I saw that number, I don't know where someone got it. It is incorrect to say anything because we don't have the exact assessment yet. There are certain portions of the building, obviously, that cannot be used. We don't have exact numbers of who's coming in and who's not.
But I can tell you, the overwhelming majority of people who can be here today are here. I don't know who was here at 5:15, 5:30 this morning, but the parking lots were filled and people were doing everything to get here and get to work.
Q: Torie --
Clarke: And other -- no, let me finish. Other offices were making accommodations to provide office space for those who don't have it. So we don't have exact numbers, John, but --
Q: So you can double-team in various offices --
Q: -- bring people in, even though maybe physically half the Pentagon is out of commission.
Q: Torie, does the military remain on ThreatCon Delta around the world?
Clarke: You know, Charlie, I'm not going to talk about the force protection conditions and threat conditions from here for right now. I know we talked about it yesterday; it is an exception. And we'd rather not get into every single day analyzing what that is. Again, it's just not helpful. It's just not helpful, and it's not constructive.
Q: Can you give us an idea about what the Navy has stationed outside New York on the East Coast?
Clarke: No, again, we're not going talk about military operations. What we're working on now is some briefings for you all about what they are providing in terms of civil support. But we are not going to be talking about the military operation.
Q: Are the military operations being directed from this -
Q: Torie, can we just ask --
Clarke: Wait, let me take it back here.
Q: Are the military operations being directed here, or is Joint Forces Command handling that? They're usually the ones that are thought of as responsible for homeland defense.
Clarke: I think it is -- it is accurate to say that this has been an incredibly cohesive activity for the last -- however long we've been -- been at this now -- over 24 hours. And it is very accurate to say the president of the United States is in charge of what is happening. He is fully engaged. He is fully aware of what is going on. And that is where the action is being directed.
Q: Have the carriers that have put to sea --
Q: -- is it a safety factor for them, or to give the American people a sense that they're being protected? The ships that have put to sea.
Clarke: I'm not going to talk about what they're doing and why they're doing it. Just not going to do it.
Q: Could you get for us a list of the -- of the departments or agencies that are now not able to work because corridors two through six are closed?
Clarke: We'll see what we can do -- see what we can do.
One point I did want to make about the Guard -- our estimates -- and again, I apologize that we don't have hard and fast numbers on all of these things. There are a lot of things going on out there. But we believe there are about 2,800 Guard who are working in a variety of places around the country. We will try to get more information about that. In addition to those who have been called up, there are, I'm sure, hundreds by now who have volunteered on their own.
Q: When do you expect to be able to give us some numbers?
Q: How many -- how many have been actually called up as a -- as a part of this?
Clarke: Approximately 2,800.
Q: Around the country or just --
Clarke: Around the country.
Q: Actually involuntarily called up -- the presidential call- up of 1995 --
Clarke: No, by the governors.
Q: By the governors?
Q: Governor Glendening said yesterday that some of his MPs have been federalized.
Clarke: That is not my understanding. I know we have some of the Maryland Guard here. That is not my understanding, Jim, but we'll check that for you.
Q: When do you expect to be able to give us some kind of an estimate --
Clarke: Wait, Charlie, let me go -- let me go back there for a second.
Q: Have you started making any sort of medium-term plans over the next week or two for where you're going to relocate people from those offices, whether in the Pentagon or in extension offices in Northern Virginia?
Clarke: Again, the priority today is to take care of the injured or take care of the dead, to take care of their families, to make all the appropriate provisions for them. As I said, a lot of people are here. They are working. The Pentagon is up and functioning, I'm sure as the hours go on, will make those provisions. But as I say, it's already happening. People are already moving into other folks' offices and doubling up on desks in other places.
Q: The chief said that there were firefighters that came from all around, places you didn't even know. Have you guys reached a limit of the volunteer help that you need, or could you use more firefighters from around the area?
Clarke: I'd direct that to the chief. They're in charge of that. We'd direct that to them.
Q: Do you have any estimate of the number of people who reported to work here today?
Clarke: No, but we can try to get it. I don't know how we do that, but we can try to get that number.
Q: Thousands? Hundreds?
Clarke: Oh, definitely in the thousands.
Q: Torie, do you have major reports of power outages here or loss of command and control capability? Can you give us anything?
Clarke: No. I mean, there are certain sections, obviously, that are not up and operating, but most of the places where we can go are up and operating, the power is on, the lights are on, computers are working.
Q: At the command center --
Q: How about yesterday when --
Clarke: Suzanne in the front.
Q: Haven't the various senior staffs of the military, however -- they relocated yesterday, the Army to the -- (inaudible word) -- Air Force elsewhere. Can you give us some sense of where the senior leadership is?
Clarke: Well, the senior leadership I can tell you about is the president and the vice president and the secretary of State and the secretary of Defense and the chairman and the vice --
Q: How about the military services?
Clarke: The military services, I know Secretary White is here, Secretary England was in Texas, Secretary Roche, we can check on his location.
Q: How about the Joint Chiefs?
Clarke: Joint Chiefs, the chairman and the vice are in the building right now.
Q: I understand General Shinseki was out of the country. Were there any other service chiefs that needed --
Clarke: Not to my knowledge. No.
I'm sorry, in the back?
Q: We heard that you stayed here yesterday and Secretary Rumsfeld was in, and you were with him, in the command center.
Q: How many people were not evacuated from the Pentagon?
Clarke: I don't have that number.
We can try to get that for you, but I don't know how many people --
Q: A small core of essential people stayed?
Clarke: Boy! Everybody's essential. In the NMCC, in the National Military Command Center, throughout the day it ranged from, you know, five or six dozen to probably 150, 200 at any given time.
Q: You don't have an idea of when you're going to be speaking to us again today: for example, who else might be coming down to talk to us for any reason? Do you --
Clarke: Right now we're really taking it hour by hour. As I said, we're trying to work with the services, work with the military to see what they could do in terms of briefing you on the civil support, because that is very important. We're taking it hour by hour. We'll do the same with the secretary as well.
Q: Do you have any idea when you'll be able to give us some kind of figure on how many people were in that part of the building, all that should have been or were scheduled to be? Do you have --
Clarke: I don't want to give you a deadline that I don't know if we can meet, Charlie. But we'll work on it.
Q: Could you give us your personal impressions of yesterday? You're new here, and this is obviously an unprecedented act. I mean, you were down in the NMCC while it was operating, probably for the first time. What did you see, hear, smell, what did you feel like what was the mood down there?
Clarke: The people were just absolutely amazing. I mean, the response was incredible. People got to the business at hand, got to work and took all the appropriate actions quickly, efficiently. It was truly remarkable. I told the story yesterday about Captain Liebner. That is just one example of the kind of efforts people have been putting forward. Admiral Quigley and I were talking this morning. I think this morning is when it begun to sink in to people just what happened and how huge the impact has been, and the loss of life, which is just incredible. Yesterday everyone was so consumed with dealing with the situation at hand and taking all the appropriate steps you didn't have too much time to actually think about what had happened. And certainly today it has begun to sunk -- sink it.
Q: Torie, one housekeeping thing.
Q: Around that side of the building where the fire is and where the fire fighting's going on, I would appreciate it if you could intercede on behalf of the FBI to make sure reporters are allowed into a certain area there and allowed access in there so -- and not being threatened or, in fact, handcuffed and dragged away, that reporters do have an area close to the action where they won't necessarily interfere with things. But I -- would you --
Clarke: Absolutely. You know, as I tried to say at the beginning of this, we understand and appreciate what you're trying to do. Understand and appreciate just how difficult this all is.
You know, Pam, as you said, this has never happened before. People are dealing with it remarkably, and we are going to make every effort we can to provide that kind of support, that kind of news and information to you, as we can. So we will work on that.
Q: The only reason I say that is the FBI was just -- granted they have a job to do, but they were a bit overzealous yesterday I think, and -- and just --
Clarke: Let me push back on you a little bit. The FBI is doing a phenomenal job. And they have an extraordinary task on their hands, both here and elsewhere. And we, I think, surprised them a little bit, saying hey, here we come, and we didn't give them much advance notice. But going forward -- and, you know, as you get into day two of this, we can start to put a lot more of those processes in place. So, heard and understood.
Q: Is there a -- as we have heard in the New York disaster, there are cases now of where people are being actually found in the rubble. You know of none -- no such instances overnight where people have been found alive, is that correct?
Clarke: Know of no such instances. And we checked with the fire chief this morning.
Okay. Thank you very much.
Q: Thank you.
"THIS TRANSCRIPT WAS PREPARED BY THE FEDERAL NEWS SERVICE INC., WASHINGTON, D.C. FEDERAL NEWS SERVICE IS A PRIVATE COMPANY. FOR OTHER DEFENSE RELATED TRANSCRIPTS NOT AVAILABLE THROUGH THIS SITE, CONTACT FEDERAL NEWS SERVICE AT (202) 347-1400."