Daily Press Briefing - October 1, 2013

Index for Today's Briefing:

    • Secretary Kerry's Travel
    • Government Shutdown / Passport, Consular Services / USAID / Maintaining Services Overseas
    • Impacted State Department Offices / U.S. Citizen Services / Funding
    • Evaluating Elements of Travel as Needed
    • Prime Minister Netanyahu's Remarks at UN
    • Iran's Nuclear Program / Diplomacy / Options on the Table / Iranian President Rouhani
  • IRAN
    • President Rouhani / Political Directors Meeting
    • Iran's Potential Development of a Nuclear Weapon / Diplomatic Opening for a Different Path
    • Geneva II / Foreign Minister Lavrov / Issue of a Delegation
    • Syrian General Idris / President Assad / Syrian Opposition / Eliminating Chemical Weapons
  • IRAN
    • Development of Nuclear Weapons Issue
    • Delivery of Diplomatic Note to U.S. Embassy in Caracas
    • U.S. - Venezuelan Relations / Accusations Against U.S. Diplomats
    • Flow of Arms
    • Freedom of Speech / Treatment of Journalists
    • Golden Dawn Party / U.S. Welcomes Government's Strong Position
  • MALI
    • U.S. Assistance to Mali
    • Condemnation of Government Crackdown on Protesters
    • Broader Financing Programs
    • Review of Funds Ongoing
    • Case of Jailed Bahraini Activists
Jen Psaki
Daily Press Briefing
Washington, DC
October 1, 2013


1:23 p.m. EDT

MS. PSAKI: Hi, everyone. Thank you for your patience. We were obviously waiting for the President’s speech, so here we are. I have two items at the top for all of you.

As we announced previously, Secretary Kerry departs today for Japan and Indonesia. In Tokyo, he will join Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel for the U.S.-Japan Security Consultative Committee meeting. The last SCC was held in June 2011 in Washington, DC. The meeting represents the next step in strengthening further the U.S.-Japan alliance, providing an opportunity to build on our already broad and comprehensive bilateral relationship.

On October 4th, Secretary Kerry will continue on to Bali, Indonesia to lead the Department of State delegation to the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Ministerial meeting and to join President Obama for his APEC-related meetings. APEC is the premier forum for facilitating economic growth, cooperation, trade, and investment in the Asia-Pacific region. Promoting trade and investment in the Asia Pacific remains a key component of the U.S. rebalance policy, and the Secretary will participate in a broad range of multilateral and bilateral meetings with officials from APEC member countries.

The second piece I just wanted to touch on is, of course, the shutdown. Secretary Kennedy – Under Secretary Kennedy sent an email to Department of State employees yesterday afternoon. In that email, he reiterated, and I quote, that “Department offices, bureaus, and State elements at our posts overseas will continue to function for a limited period of time.” This is with the exception of a small number of offices impacted initially. And USAID Administrator Raj Shah sent a similar message to agency staff.

There were a couple of additional details in that email as well. We, of course, are not completely conducting business as usual. The Department of State and USAID will not hire any new personnel and is severely constraining spending. This includes avoiding new obligations, sharply curtailing travel and conferences, and avoiding making all but the most essential purposes – purchases.

With that, let’s get to your questions.

QUESTION: Well, logistically, what are the small – and if you’ve done this in previous briefings, like yesterday or last week, well most – a lot of us were at UNGA then.

MS. PSAKI: We did it a little bit yesterday, but I can --

QUESTION: What are the ones that are affected now?

MS. PSAKI: We’ll get you a specific list. But basically, the way that it’s categorized, the impacted offices are those that operate with one-year funds that do not have available carryover funds to sustain operations. So they don’t have funds from the previous fiscal year and they are on one-year funding mechanisms.

QUESTION: Right. But --

MS. PSAKI: But we’ll get you a specific list of that. It’s a very minimal number.

QUESTION: But are they ones that affect the average citizen?

MS. PSAKI: Consular offices and things on those lines?

QUESTION: No, I know those aren’t affected. But are they – I mean, I can’t think of what they are, but – what they might be. But would someone who does not work in this building even know or have reason to know that these offices are not operating as normal?

MS. PSAKI: Well, it depends on the individual, so I certainly wouldn’t want to characterize it that way. However, most people who are impacted – most American citizens who are impacted by Department of State programs are Americans living overseas or Americans trying to acquire a passport. Those services, of course, would not be impacted. Obviously, we’re taking this day by day, and we’ll continue to monitor funds and monitor funding closely and continuously. So in any department, if residual funds become insufficient to maintain operations, the Department and USAID will continue activities involving the protection of national security and health and life safety, particularly of U.S. citizens abroad, but obviously, we would have to make decisions as time continues.

QUESTION: Okay. Well, recognizing that passports and visas are all self-supporting, basically, if you’re an American overseas and you go to an embassy starting today --

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- is there anything that they can – if you don’t need that but you need some other type of help, is there any kind of service that they won’t be able to get?

MS. PSAKI: Our embassies and consulates overseas will continue to provide U.S. citizen services, so that’s not changing. And our embassies will also remain at near max capacity over the course of time. That’s obviously a huge priority for us.

QUESTION: If I’m an American and I get arrested in – I don’t know, wherever – Country X --

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- is – will a consular officer still be able to come visit me in jail?


QUESTION: Yes? Okay.

MS. PSAKI: Yes. Consular officer duties are obviously a key priority for serving American citizens living overseas, and also many of their activities are fee-funded. Well, visa and passport issuances, a little different than --

QUESTION: Yeah. But non-fee-funded services?

MS. PSAKI: Non-fee-funded consular offices and those activities --

QUESTION: -- are still open?

MS. PSAKI: -- are still open. Yes, yes.

QUESTION: And just so we’re clear, since visas are fee-funded, you’re continuing to issue visas as normal, et cetera?

MS. PSAKI: Absolutely, absolutely.


MS. PSAKI: And since consular operations are fee-funded, there’s a significantly less chance of a furlough occurring for those departments.

QUESTION: Right. And then one other one on this. You talked – yesterday, you talked about – today you said a limited period of time.

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Yesterday you said you couldn’t say how many days it would be that the State Department could continue to function using such additional monies as it has available. Are we to conclude from that that it is a matter of days and not weeks that you think you can do this?

MS. PSAKI: I’m not going to further break down – I mean, if you look at just the budgetary component of it, there are one-year programs – programs that are funded by a one-year program. Obviously, those are the ones that are impacted first. When there are residual funds, they can continue to operate. Programs that have a longer-term funding, they have more bandwidth, of course. But we’re monitoring, of course, our spending. That’s why we’ve taken the steps we’ve taken. So --

QUESTION: Did you mean to leave the inference that it is a matter of days? Or could it be hundreds of days, in which case it would be months?

MS. PSAKI: Well --

QUESTION: Or dozens of days, in which case it would be weeks.

MS. PSAKI: -- I think I – we are able – as Pat Kennedy, Under Secretary Pat Kennedy’s email made clear, this is for a limited period of time that we can operate at this capacity. But I’m not going to categorize it further, because obviously there are program-by-program spending, and it really depends on each program.

QUESTION: Are programs like the Fulbright affected, the Fulbright Scholarship?

MS. PSAKI: Well, right now only the programs that are in this one-year funding --


MS. PSAKI: -- mechanism are impacted. We’ll – certainly, we’re happy to get you a list of those.


MS. PSAKI: But I don't believe at this point Fulbright is impacted.

QUESTION: Yeah. Is this for, let’s say, doing research or going to --

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- in their higher studies, whatever it is, in the country – how are they affected?

MS. PSAKI: Well, over time, given that this is not sustainable for a long period of time --


MS. PSAKI: -- there certainly could be impacts on a range of programs. But that’s a hypothetical at this point. We’re obviously taking it day by day.

QUESTION: Yesterday – excuse me. Yesterday I asked if there were going to be any furloughs. Do you have an answer to that as well?

MS. PSAKI: Only – I’m not going to get into specific numbers, but a minimal amount that would be – would impact the programs that operate with one-year funds.

QUESTION: And why not get into the numbers on that? Why is that indeed a secret?

MS. PSAKI: I just – I’m not planning to get into the numbers. I don't know that I need to provide an explanation.

QUESTION: No, no, I understand that. But it’s just curious why – I mean, it’s not like this is national security information.

MS. PSAKI: Sure.

QUESTION: It’s not like it’s classified. Why not say, well, it’s 200 people?

MS. PSAKI: If there is a number – if there are specific numbers – I said a minimal number – that are impacted by the one-year funded programs, which we’re happy to provide you a list of, and if we want to get specific about how many individuals, I’m sure we’ll do that.

QUESTION: And just to check the number of employees, is it 70,000? Is that the figure that’s used that Pat works with?

MS. PSAKI: Worldwide?


MS. PSAKI: I’d have to double-check on that. I mean, you certainly may have a good sense of that, but I’ll get you the exact number.

QUESTION: Is it secret?


QUESTION: Is the Secretary --

MS. PSAKI: It is certainly not.

QUESTION: Were there any employees that, let’s say, came today and had to leave after four hours, like was suggested by some?

MS. PSAKI: Well, again, I referred to just a minimal number impacted by one-year funded programs. But the vast majority of employees reported to work today, are here today. Given that we are part of – we are a national security agency and we represent American interests around the world, that’s where our staffing levels are at this point.

QUESTION: So it’s safe to assume that some people did come to work, spent two or three hours, and then were asked to go home?

MS. PSAKI: I did not imply that. I think there’s a small, minimal number that are impacted by the one-year programs. That’s – beyond that, I don’t have specific numbers.

Go ahead. Sorry for the delay.

QUESTION: I’m just concerned, when you said they’ll be – continue to function for a time, I know you wouldn’t give weeks or days. But if I’m overseas and I need to see somebody at the embassy, I better get myself there right away?

MS. PSAKI: Well, I think I also said that since consular operations are fee-funded, there is significantly less chance of a furlough occurring. So obviously, it’s a priority. We are – visa and passport operations will continue. They’re fee-funded, so they’ll remain open. So we can certainly reassure Americans living overseas and people who are seeking visas overseas that they can go to the office tomorrow and certainly receive services.

QUESTION: But the problem --

QUESTION: What does “for a time” mean? I mean, “for a time” could be anything, correct?

MS. PSAKI: Well, I think I separated --

QUESTION: I mean, you said --

MS. PSAKI: Let me just finish. I separated out that as – the consular services as – I think as I said, since consular operations are fee-funded, there is significantly less chance at any point those individuals will be furloughed. And passport and consular services are fee-funded, which means they pay for themselves. So obviously, those operations will continue. Now, we can’t predict how long this will continue, so I’m just conveying that we’re taking it day by day.

QUESTION: Jen, the problem is that non-passport and visa services overseas are not fee-funded, and – or unless you guys are breaking the law which made passport and visa services fee-funded and you’re using the money from that to fund other parts of American citizen services. Are you?

MS. PSAKI: That was not what I was conveying, Matt.

QUESTION: Okay. So --

MS. PSAKI: I think I made clear --

QUESTION: So can we go back to the example of someone sitting in a jail someplace?

MS. PSAKI: Yeah.

QUESTION: The consular officer who goes to visit that person in jail, that’s – there’s no fee fund there.

MS. PSAKI: I also think I said in response to your previous question that those services are ongoing.

QUESTION: I understand that.

MS. PSAKI: Yeah.

QUESTION: But they wouldn’t – because they are not fee-funded, unless I’ve misunderstood the law --

MS. PSAKI: They will still be – I am here today. We’re all here today. There are many people who work for the Department of State that are not in fee-funded operations.

QUESTION: And if I’m sitting in jail in Botswana or something, I’ll be very happy to see your smiling face come and --

MS. PSAKI: Perfect. I will come visit you in Botswana. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: What I want to know – what I’m trying to find out --

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- is whether or not those services, those non-fee-funded American citizen services that are available at – that were available in full yesterday --

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm, yes.

QUESTION: -- are still available and are not threatened after your reserve fund winds down.

MS. PSAKI: Well, they’re not threatened now. We don’t know how long this will continue. So obviously, our goal and our plan is to maintain our overseas operations. As you know, even when we reduce staffing levels for a range of reasons, we still have consular services. So I think it’s safe to assume that that will remain a top priority. I just don’t want to get too far ahead of where we are today. But certainly, if someone goes tomorrow, if someone goes Thursday, if someone goes Friday, and ongoing for some time, they will receive the same services.

QUESTION: But – okay. The problem is “for some time.” I mean, you just don’t know how long that might be.

MS. PSAKI: Well, Matt, I just don’t want to get ahead – too ahead of where we are now. I think I’ve conveyed pretty clearly that many services continue. There are only a handful of programs that are impacted immediately. Obviously, if this were to continue for months, then I can’t predict beyond that.

QUESTION: The problem is, Jen, is that this is no longer a – government shutdown is no longer a hypothetical question and you can’t get away from answering questions about it by saying that it is a hypothetical question.

MS. PSAKI: I’m --

QUESTION: So if you’re an American overseas --

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- and you have an option of going – trying to get an appointment for something that is not fee-funded Wednesday, or you would wait and do it in a month from now, should – what should they do?

MS. PSAKI: Well, if that is visa and passport issuance --

QUESTION: Yeah, but not --

MS. PSAKI: -- those services --

QUESTION: -- not fee-funded.

MS. PSAKI: -- will continue. For – and one of our highest priorities, as I’ve said is, of course, maintaining services overseas. So that will remain, as we’re making decisions, a top priority, and we’ll continue to discuss this day by day. I can tell you tomorrow, I can tell you the next day --


MS. PSAKI: -- that, certainly, all of these services would continue.

QUESTION: Can I ask on the – you said that you were looking at curtailing travel and conferences as well.

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: I mean, you said that the Secretary’s leaving this afternoon, so I’m assuming that his travel – initial travel – is not going to be affected.

MS. PSAKI: That’s correct.

QUESTION: But I – is it – could you tell me if any of the upcoming meetings at a lower-secretary level have been affected and what – who might not be turning up for what conference?

MS. PSAKI: Well, we’re making decisions case by case. I don’t have anything specific to announce for you at this point, but obviously, we’re evaluating each element of travel as it’s being considered.

QUESTION: Well, and she’s getting at the Geneva meeting.


QUESTION: I mean, Wendy Sherman and the gang are still going to Geneva.

MS. PSAKI: No, there’s no plans for that to be impacted at this stage.

QUESTION: That would not be affected, nor would – if this Geneva 2 Syria conference ever gets its act together, that’s the kind of thing that would not be affected. It’s lower level --

MS. PSAKI: We’re looking at all of this through the scope of what is a national security priority, what is a diplomatic priority, and how we continue to represent U.S. interests around the world and protect American citizens around the world, so decisions will be made through that prism.

QUESTION: Can we move to Iran after you’re done with the shutdown?

MS. PSAKI: Do you have anymore --

QUESTION: I just have one question --

QUESTION: No, there’s --

MS. PSAKI: Okay.

QUESTION: -- on the sequester. In terms of the Secretary’s travel or travel of officials –

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- from the State Department, is there – is it curtailed or does it have to follow a certain criteria, or it’s not involved in this thing at all?

MS. PSAKI: The Secretary’s travel is not impacted.

QUESTION: The Secretary’s travel, the Deputy Secretary of State, and others as well?

MS. PSAKI: I think Jo just asked this question. So – and I think I just answered it. But in a short version --


MS. PSAKI: -- obviously, we are representing American interests overseas.


MS. PSAKI: There are key roles that the Secretary, the Deputy Secretary, and certainly other high-level officials play around the Department of State, and they will continue to play those roles and travel and represent our interests overseas. But as you know, there are thousands of employees, and certainly given the circumstances, we’re going to evaluate travel as needed.

QUESTION: You could have just said I refer the gentleman to the answer I gave some moments ago.

MS. PSAKI: I know, but I have a special place in my heart for Said, so I decided to answer his question again.

Go ahead, Jill.

QUESTION: Netanyahu?


QUESTION: I presume you watched, or at least you have an idea of what he said today at the UN. Essentially, there were two things: One is, absolutely no trust of what Iran is up to, and that they would act alone – Israel would act alone to stop Iran from getting a nuclear bomb.

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Do you have any response to that? It was quite harsh, compared to even to what he said about this yesterday.

MS. PSAKI: Well, as you know, he just met with the President and with the Secretary yesterday, and we are in lockstep agreement that we are not going to allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon. Nothing has changed about that. In the President’s comments post their meeting yesterday, he made clear we are going into any path forward – any diplomatic path forward with eyes open, that we expect Iran to follow their words with actions, and that’s where we stand now. So that has not changed.

QUESTION: Right. But he did say that Israel would act alone if necessary, so what’s your opinion of that?

MS. PSAKI: Well, they have also said that before.


MS. PSAKI: So that is not a new statement on their part. And we’ve been clear we’re also keeping options on the table and we’re not going to allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon. But of course, diplomacy is the preferred path, and that’s why we’re pursuing the path we are, which as you know, was a part of the discussion just yesterday, when the Prime Minister was here meeting with the President and when he was meeting with the Secretary.

QUESTION: I think another way to get to this question is: Do you still believe that Israel, or Prime Minister Netanyahu himself, believes that diplomacy is the preferred path? Because --

MS. PSAKI: Do we still believe it is?



QUESTION: No, no. Do you still believe that he believes that it is the preferred path?

MS. PSAKI: I’m not going to speak for him --

QUESTION: Well, I’m not --

MS. PSAKI: -- or make a judgment on what he believes or doesn’t believe.


MS. PSAKI: I would point you to his remarks and to the Government of Israel.

QUESTION: But when you say that you’re in a lockstep with the Israelis, does that include --

MS. PSAKI: About preventing Iran --


MS. PSAKI: -- from acquiring a nuclear weapon.

QUESTION: But does that include the preferred path being diplomacy?

MS. PSAKI: Well, I’m not going to speak for what their beliefs are.


MS. PSAKI: And you heard Prime Minister speak just yesterday about this.

QUESTION: Right. But – so you can’t say that you know for sure that the Israelis prefer – or that Prime Minister Netanyahu’s preferred path on this is diplomatic?

MS. PSAKI: I think no one wants to see Iran acquire a nuclear weapon, and obviously, he was speaking to what steps the Israelis are willing to take, which they have spoken to before.

QUESTION: Right. But Jen, one more on – exactly to define this.

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: You said that you’re in lockstep.

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: However, he is really harsher when it comes to that. Essentially, he’s saying there should be no trust. You can’t trust Iran at all. And I know your favorite phrase is eyes open, but still, the United States is willing to walk into this with eyes open, at least --

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- take a step in that direction. It would appear that Mr. Netanyahu doesn’t believe that at all. So there is a difference in the way that you’re approaching this.

MS. PSAKI: Well, I can only speak for what our view is and what our position is. And when I said lockstep, what I’m referring to is the – we agree that we cannot allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon. There’s agreement on that. The President made clear just yesterday that we would keep options on the table. But certainly, we have an obligation and an opportunity to see if there is a path forward, and that’s what we’re pursuing now.

QUESTION: Do you share Prime Minister Netanyahu’s view that Iranian President Rouhani is a wolf in sheep’s clothing?

MS. PSAKI: I’m not going to speak to every comment that every foreign leader makes. I think I can speak to what our view is, which is that President Rouhani – there’s a new opportunity given his election. We will see if they backup their words with actions, and time will tell.


MS. PSAKI: But we have a couple of weeks until the next political director’s meeting.

QUESTION: So you think it’s conceivable that President Rouhani is trustworthy?

MS. PSAKI: Well, we will see what they – if they come to the meeting in a few weeks with a credible proposal and if we can pursue a path forward.

QUESTION: Well, he compared Prime Minister – and I’m not asking you – I’m asking what your views are.

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: He suggested that the Iranians are like the North Koreans, which as you know, have reached a series of agreements with the United States that the United States subsequently concluded they had violated, right?

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: So what he is clearly saying is he doesn’t think you can trust Rouhani. Do you think it is possible you can trust Rouhani?

MS. PSAKI: If we did not think a path forward was possible, we wouldn’t be pursuing a path forward. So – and obviously, he is one of the proponents of that.

QUESTION: So did he repeat this idea that Israel would be prepared to go it alone in the meetings yesterday with Secretary Kerry? And if so, what was Secretary Kerry’s advice on that?

MS. PSAKI: I don’t have any more specifics than what we’ve already read out from the meetings yesterday, but they’ve said it frequently publicly, so I don’t think it would be a surprise if they did.

QUESTION: So what has – I don’t remember, sorry – what has been your advice in the past when they’ve said they are prepared to go it alone?

MS. PSAKI: Well, Secretary Kerry has conveyed what he’s conveyed publicly, which is: We don’t know if this will work, no plan is better than a bad plan, but we are going to see what is possible here. There are steps the Iranians need to take.

QUESTION: But is the United States position in agreement with Israel that they have the right to go it alone if they want to?

MS. PSAKI: Well, that has been our position for some time.

QUESTION: What is it? No plan is better than a bad plan?


QUESTION: I don’t get it.

MS. PSAKI: No agreement with the Iranians is better than a bad agreement.

QUESTION: Oh, no agreement with – really? No agreement with the Iranians is better than a bad agreement. Okay, all right.

QUESTION: Jennifer, the Prime Minister went a step further today.

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: He said that Rouhani was – when Rouhani was in power, Americans were killed, Jews were killed, and so on. That’s quite an accusation. Do you concur with that?

MS. PSAKI: We’ve seen his comments. I’m not sure I have much more to add on his comments.

QUESTION: (Off-mike.)

MS. PSAKI: Go ahead, Josh.

QUESTION: Do you believe that Iran currently has a nuclear weapons program?

MS. PSAKI: Well, we believe they are building toward that. We certainly have seen – I know the Secretary has talked about development at Fordo and other facilities, and certainly that’s our concern and we’re concerned about where it’s headed. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be talking about this now.

QUESTION: So you believe they have the intent to build – to develop a nuclear weapon?

MS. PSAKI: If we didn’t believe there was the potential intent, I don’t think we would be --

QUESTION: Not potential intent, the actual intent.

MS. PSAKI: Well, there’s been – if there wasn’t concern about it, Josh, we wouldn’t be talking about it now.

QUESTION: So you’re not 100 percent sure that --

MS. PSAKI: I’m not going to play this word game with you. I think if we didn’t --

QUESTION: It’s not a word game.

MS. PSAKI: -- think that Iran had plans to, had potential intention to, we wouldn’t be having this conversation now.

QUESTION: Because previous Cabinet-level officials, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, said many times they believe that Iran intends and is pursuing a nuclear weapon. So now you’re saying there is a potential for --

MS. PSAKI: I’m not changing our position. If we didn’t think that was the plan, we wouldn’t be having this conversation with the international community now about how to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.

QUESTION: Okay. I just want to be clear. So you believe that they intend to build a nuclear weapon, not that there’s potential or there’s concern about it, which is --

MS. PSAKI: That has been the long history there. If we didn’t think there was an opening for a different path, we wouldn’t be pursuing it now.

QUESTION: So based on that belief, then, the statements by the Iranian President and Foreign Minister this week were not truthful, right? They said they have no intent.

MS. PSAKI: Josh, what we said last week, and I’m happy to repeat, is that we saw a different kind of presentation, a different kind of proposal last week. We see an opening, but they need to back up their words with actions. So we will see what proposal they come with in the next two weeks. This is perhaps the best diplomatic opening we’ve had in some time, and that’s why we’re pursuing it, and we’ll see where it lands.

QUESTION: On the proposal, can I just ask: Cathy Ashton said in the – at the UN after the meeting that they’d – that everyone, the P5+1 had asked for --

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- some advance notice before Geneva of what the Iranian proposal --

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- is so that everyone could discuss it before you actually get to the table in Geneva. Have you any idea how that might come, or if indeed Foreign Minister Zarif agreed to that?

MS. PSAKI: I don’t know. I’m happy to check if there’s more, but it may be something that you may need to get from Ashton’s office, but I’ll check on that for you.

QUESTION: Could you clarify the thing about Fordo just --

MS. PSAKI: Yeah.

QUESTION: -- for the record so people don’t --

MS. PSAKI: Sure, absolutely.

QUESTION: -- get that confused? So Fordo is under IAEA inspections, correct?

MS. PSAKI: It is, but Iran remains in noncompliance with its obligation to suspend all enrichment activity there on an immediate basis. So obviously, there are steps more that can be taken.

QUESTION: Right. So what did the Secretary mean when he talked about opening it up? He meant stopping enrichment-related activities?

MS. PSAKI: That’s the step that they could take, yes.

QUESTION: And I got some Syria stuff unless we have more on --

MS. PSAKI: Okay. Anyone else have Iran?

QUESTION: Can I just follow up? It’s sort of Iran-related.

MS. PSAKI: Okay.

QUESTION: The Administration’s policy as stated by the President is that Iran has the right to a civil nuclear program, assuming this rapprochement goes well.

MS. PSAKI: Uh-huh.

QUESTION: Is that policy – can that policy also be understood to apply to other rogue states like North Korea, for instance?

MS. PSAKI: I know it’s applicable to Iran, and that’s obviously what --

QUESTION: So it’s only Iran that he was talking about? So if there were --

MS. PSAKI: No, I don’t want to qualify beyond that. Obviously, we’ve talked about that for some time, that they could develop a peaceful program that’s applicable to some other places as well.

QUESTION: On the issue of the trust of the – in the – in the statements made by the Iranian leaders and so on --

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- the fact that he said that the grand – the Supreme Leader gave him a fatwa, the fact that he said that we have no intention whatsoever in doing – in making a nuclear bomb, does that mitigate in any way your fear and sort of elevate the trust, the level of trust?

MS. PSAKI: Well, we want to see them back up their action – their words with action, Said, so we’ll see where it goes moving forward.

Syria? Did you want to go to Syria, Arshad?

QUESTION: Yeah, just – I don't know if you saw the comments by Russian Foreign Minister --

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- Lavrov suggesting that Geneva 2 may not happen in November, and seeming to blame the United States for that.

MS. PSAKI: Well, I would point all of you and the Russian Foreign Minister to the comments by President Jarba just last week where he reaffirmed his willingness to engage in a future Geneva conference. They obviously speak for their intentions. We’re continuing to work with them and are in close touch with them, but those are comments he made just last week about their intentions.

QUESTION: Why do you think Foreign Minister Lavrov is saying we had hoped our Western partners who undertook to bring the opposition to the conference could do it quite quickly, but they were unable to do it quickly, and I don't know whether they’ll be able to do it by mid-November? Is he --

MS. PSAKI: Well, I can’t ascribe reasons for that other than to convey that what’s accurate is that the opposition has said they’re open to attending. So we don’t have a date yet, that is true, but I’d point you just to the opposition’s own comments on it.


QUESTION: Are there any --

QUESTION: On – just on that, were you aware, at any point, did the Russians – had the Russians convinced the Assad – the regime to assemble a delegation? Were you – was there – did there ever come a point in time where there was a government delegation identified and ready to go to Geneva? Did the Russians --

MS. PSAKI: I don’t --

QUESTION: -- (inaudible) from their end?

MS. PSAKI: I’m not aware of specific names. I know that there have been many different reports and different comments that have been made, but --

QUESTION: No, no, no. I am asking --

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- because Lavrov’s comments were pretty clear that it’s the U.S. and its allies who are unable to get the bickering opposition to get together and to create a delegation --

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- that can represent them all at the – so I’m just wanting to know if you are aware if the Russians ever succeeded in doing their part to this, and that is assembling a government delegation to go to --

MS. PSAKI: Well, that’s obviously what we’re all working towards. I have not seen them publicly announce a list. I’m not aware of them providing a final list either.

QUESTION: Are you aware of --

QUESTION: Thank you. The --

MS. PSAKI: Go ahead, Josh.

QUESTION: There were reports that the State Department intervened to prevent General Salim Idris, the head of the Supreme Military Command, from visiting Washington. Were those reports accurate?

MS. PSAKI: I haven’t seen those reports. I’m not sure.

QUESTION: It was in Foreign Policy magazine.

MS. PSAKI: Never heard of it. (Laughter.) Just kidding.

QUESTION: I don’t work there anymore. I don’t care. (Laughter.)


QUESTION: It doesn’t bother me.

MS. PSAKI: I am not aware of their plan. I know there were rumors for some time about possible visits. I’m not aware of --

QUESTION: Would you welcome hosting General Idris here at the State Department for meetings?

MS. PSAKI: I don’t think --

QUESTION: He has made clear his intention that he wants to visit and --

MS. PSAKI: I don’t think he’s announced plans to visit, so I’m not going to get into a hypothetical. Obviously, there’s a lot of work to be done on the ground, and I’m not aware of a planned visit at this stage.

QUESTION: Can you take the question as to whether or not the report is true that the State Department intervened to prevent him from coming?

MS. PSAKI: I’m happy to look in and see if there’s more to prepare for you.

QUESTION: (Off-mike.)

MS. PSAKI: Yes, more to provide to you.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) support for the Syrian people.

QUESTION: Are you aware of the statement made today by Umran al-Zabi-- the Syrian Foreign Minister, that – basically suggesting that Bashar al-Assad is entitled to run for a third term?

MS. PSAKI: Is entitled to run for a third term?

QUESTION: He’s entitled to run for a third term in June 2014. And do you have any comment on that?

MS. PSAKI: I have not seen the statement, but I can say that we see no place for Assad in a future Syria. We would like to see him go as soon as possible. That has not changed. So that would be our position.

QUESTION: Is that likely to be a condition that is part of any kind of Geneva peace conference? Would that be placed as a precondition?

MS. PSAKI: Well, you’re familiar with what the ground rules are, I suppose I can call them, for a conference, which is mutual consent and both sides have to agree who would be a part of a transitional government. And it’s clear the opposition certainly wouldn’t support Assad being a part of that, and our position hasn’t changed that we’d like to see him go.

QUESTION: And going back to Jarba’s statement that you just cited --

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- do you believe that the opposition today can actually coherently represent the whole opposition in Syria in a peace conference?

MS. PSAKI: We do.


QUESTION: Jen, on --

MS. PSAKI: Oh, on Syria still?

QUESTION: Yeah, on that point.

MS. PSAKI: Okay.

QUESTION: On that point, do you believe that the opposition and the Syrian National Coalition, which you’ve recognized as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people --

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- should have a say in the agreement over the securing and destruction of the – Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile?

MS. PSAKI: Should they have a role in what way?

QUESTION: Well, the control huge swaths of territory and they are the legitimate representative of the Syrian people. Should they be included in these discussions?

MS. PSAKI: Well, as you know, where we are is there’s already a process underway to --

QUESTION: Without them.

MS. PSAKI: Well, I think everybody supports the goal of eliminating chemical weapons from Syria, and so that process is underway. We’ve been in close consultation with the opposition, so I don’t think it would be accurate to say they haven’t been engaged in it or a part of it.

QUESTION: They’re opposed to it.

MS. PSAKI: But of course, it goes through the UN Security Council, which they’re not a member of, as you know. But we’ve been consulting with them closely along the way.

QUESTION: Jen, are you still convinced that President Assad’s days are numbered?


QUESTION: It’s just a really, really, really big number. (Laughter.)

MS. PSAKI: Our position has not changed.

QUESTION: You can’t tell us how many days?

MS. PSAKI: I cannot.

QUESTION: I need to go back to Iran --

MS. PSAKI: Okay.

QUESTION: -- for just one second. And it basically picks up on Josh’s question, and that is – and I know you don’t have an answer for it, so I would appeal to you to maybe take the question.

MS. PSAKI: Okay.

QUESTION: If you believe that there is a chance that the Iranians – the new leadership might be serious about this --

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- does it concern you at all that their opening gambit, their opening position, is that they have never been trying to develop a nuclear weapon and that you and your pals in Europe and in Israel are just completely wrong and have been completely wrong for the last 15 years? Is that problematic?

MS. PSAKI: Well, Matt, we know, for example, Fordo that we just talked about, that was a covert --


MS. PSAKI: -- under-the-ground facility --

QUESTION: But what I’m asking you --

MS. PSAKI: -- for several – okay.

QUESTION: What I’m asking you to ask around the building about is if it is – if you think that it is a problem and if you think that it hurts the trustworthiness of your Iranian – new Iranian interlocutors the fact that they are basically – that they’re basically saying that the premise of your entire Iran policy for – through successive administrations has been completely incorrect and wrong. And I don’t think that you – that the Administration is in a position to say that it doesn’t believe that Iran isn’t trying to develop nuclear weapons. I mean, maybe it is, but I highly doubt it. But if that is the case, if your position remains the same, then they’re lying, at least according to you. And that would – I don’t know – to some people suggest that they might be less than trustworthy in going forward.

MS. PSAKI: Well, Matt, a great deal of the conversations and negotiations happen behind the scenes, as you know, and there have been several rounds in Almaty, technical talks. We’re waiting for a credible response to our proposal, which obviously addresses exactly the development of nuclear weapons. And so we’ll see what happens in a few weeks.

QUESTION: All right. Can I – unless there’s more on Iran, can I take us on a Google Earth spin around the globe?

MS. PSAKI: Sure. Are there any more on Iran or Syria? Okay.

QUESTION: On Iran, was there any other contacts with the Iranians after the phone call between the President and Rouhani?

MS. PSAKI: Not that I’m aware of. But as you know, we’ve been in touch, of course, for some time. We’ve had communications with them, of course, around technical talks and other talks. So not that I’m aware of, but – I don’t know.

QUESTION: Jen, do you have an update on the fighting between opposition forces and extremists that’s been reported in border areas of Syria?

MS. PSAKI: I don’t have a specific update, but we can get you guys a ground game update, if that’s helpful, on what’s happening on the ground. Absolutely.

QUESTION: I wasn’t here yesterday, so I don’t know if this came up in the briefing.

MS. PSAKI: Okay.

QUESTION: I don’t even know if it had happened when the briefing had occurred yet, but Venezuela --

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm. It had not happened.

QUESTION: It had not happened. So you have not yet had anything to say about it?

MS. PSAKI: We said something to some who asked last evening, but --

QUESTION: I know the Embassy --

MS. PSAKI: -- I will give you an – all an update of where things stand at this point.

QUESTION: Yeah. And then just on – as well as an update on where things stand, what – this would seem to signal the death knell for the rapprochement that the Secretary got started in.

MS. PSAKI: This is the second “rapprochement” use this briefing. It’s impressive.

QUESTION: But the first “death knell.”

MS. PSAKI: Yeah. (Laughter.) That’s true.

QUESTION: The first death knell.

MS. PSAKI: In my tally up here.

QUESTION: Anyway, is that dead now because of this latest move by them? And are you planning to reciprocate?

MS. PSAKI: Well, let me give you a brief update which we actually didn’t have last evening. So the Venezuelan Government delivered a diplomatic note to our Embassy in Caracas last night informing us that they had declared the Chargé, the political officer, and the consular officer persona non grata. They were given 48 hours to leave the country. We completely reject the Venezuelan Government’s allegations of U.S. Government involvement in any type of conspiracy to destabilize the Venezuelan Government. We reject the specific claims against three members of our Embassy. In accordance with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and on Consular Relations, the United States may take reciprocal action. We’re still considering what actions we might take.

QUESTION: When you say --

QUESTION: Have they left? Do you know?

MS. PSAKI: I’m not aware of their exact status. This obviously just happened overnight last night.

QUESTION: The Venezuelan (Inaudible) – does it have an ambassador or a chargé here?

MS. PSAKI: A chargé.

QUESTION: When you say the specific claims against the three, is that – those are the espionage claims?

MS. PSAKI: There were a range of claims issued. Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Including espionage? I just want to make sure that you deny that.

MS. PSAKI: We – of course, yes. We reject all claims --

QUESTION: And as to the broader --

MS. PSAKI: Question?

QUESTION: -- rapprochement issue?

MS. PSAKI: Well, Matt, obviously we’ve had a relationship with Venezuela that we’ve been working on for some time. We’re not going to give up on those efforts, but --


MS. PSAKI: -- clearly --

QUESTION: If I was in a relationship with some entity that had been – be going this badly for that time, I would think it might be time to call it quits.

QUESTION: Matt, let’s keep your relationships – (laughter) --

QUESTION: States have lower standards than individuals do. So in other words, it’s not over, you’re still willing to work with them, the --

MS. PSAKI: This happened last night.


MS. PSAKI: Obviously, we’re taking – we’re considering actions we’re going to take in response. I don’t think that’s a --


MS. PSAKI: -- positive step, but of course, we look at the longer-term horizon there.

QUESTION: Do you know when the last round or last contact there was --

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- in the previous rapprochement? I believe there was at least one meeting between Roberta Jacobson and the Foreign Minister.

MS. PSAKI: The last contact at that level?


MS. PSAKI: I don’t --

QUESTION: In the context of what was discussed between the Secretary and the Foreign Minister in Guatemala.

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm. I’m happy to check on that for you, and we’ll get a note around to all of you.

Go ahead, Jill.

QUESTION: Jen, can we get a little more specific about the charges? Because one of the things that they specifically said was that these diplomats allegedly were involved in some type of energy power outage creating that.

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Can you just specifically address that?

MS. PSAKI: So this was related to, I believe, their travel to Bolivar state. That was part of the discussion, I think, that you’re referring to, or part of the accusations. They were there conducting normal diplomatic engagement, as we’ve said in the past, and should come as no surprise. We, of course, maintain regular contacts across the Venezuelan political spectrum, and we maintain a broad perspective on Venezuela and travel frequently, of course. That’s what diplomats do. So there was nothing out of the ordinary about that, and that was part of their accusations.

QUESTION: So in other words, the power went out when they arrived? Is that what happened?

MS. PSAKI: Well, it – that may have been what happened, but the accusation that there was anything out of the normal about their travel is just inaccurate.

Go ahead.

QUESTION: Can you give us an update on the status of Peter Wilcox, the Greenpeace fellow who was arrested – or he’s in jail in Russia, but I don’t think charges have been filed? Is there any status update on what that (inaudible)?

MS. PSAKI: Let me – I don’t think I have anything with me, but we’re happy to check on that for you if that’s helpful --

QUESTION: Okay, great. Thank you.

MS. PSAKI: -- following the briefing.

Okay, let’s do a couple more.

QUESTION: Yeah, I wanted to ask you about Iraq.

MS. PSAKI: Iraq? Okay.

QUESTION: I know you mentioned – you sort of condemned the spike in violence, but also the Maliki government appealed to all those governments that aid the rebels in Syria with arms to stop doing that, because these arms are the ones that are finding their way to Iraq, and these bombs that are finding their way to Iraq and the car bombs and so on.

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Do you feel sympathy with your ally, the Maliki government, and the people that you work with there? And are you doing anything to sort of stem the flow of arms that find their way to Iraq?

MS. PSAKI: I’d have to look more closely at his comments and their specific meaning or intention. If you are asking me about the overflow, of course, you know what our concern is about that. But beyond that, I’d just have to look a little more closely at his comment.

QUESTION: Okay, but the – or do we – any kind of intelligence or report that you may have suggest that a lot of arms find their way from Syria to Iraq?

MS. PSAKI: I don’t have anything on that for you, Said.

Go ahead.

QUESTION: Can I switch topics to Morocco? I wonder if you have any reactions to the arrest and detention of Ali Anouzla. He’s the editor of Lakome news outlet. He was arrested last week after writing an article that talks about al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb. There’s no official charges against him --

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- but lead prosecutor said that he was, quote, “making a clear invitation to direct incitement and taking part in acts of terrorism in the Moroccan Kingdom,” that while international organizations such as Amnesty are calling for his immediate and conditionless release. Have you – do you have a reaction to the incident, please?

MS. PSAKI: I don’t. I’m not familiar with that specific case. I’m happy to check on it. Of course, you know that we are always concerned about treatment of journalists and freedom of speech around the world, and that’s something we speak about frequently. But why don’t I talk to our team who works on Morocco and see if there’s more we can share with you.


MS. PSAKI: Okay.

QUESTION: Jen, how long was – just so that it’s on the record, how long was the Secretary’s meeting with the Sudanese Foreign Minister yesterday?

MS. PSAKI: I believe it was about 40 minutes.

QUESTION: Thank you.

QUESTION: I have a question on Greece.

MS. PSAKI: Okay.

QUESTION: As you maybe know, the Greek Government put in jail some leading members of the Nazi organization, Golden Dawn. And according to the public prosecutor, these people, and I quote, “are dangerous for the security of the country and also for the democracy.”

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Do you have any comment on their arrest? And also, if you can tell us, what is the view of the State Department of this Nazi organization?

MS. PSAKI: Well, we are deeply concerned by and condemn statements and actions ascribed to the Golden Dawn party that reflect or seek to incite xenophobia, hostility toward minorities, and anti-Semitism. We welcome the strong position taken by the Greek Government against extremist violence. For more details, of course, we would refer you to the Greek authorities.

QUESTION: Thank you.

QUESTION: But you – nothing on the actual detention of the leader?

MS. PSAKI: Well, we welcome the strong position taken by the Greek Government.

QUESTION: So you do not believe in free speech then.

MS. PSAKI: Well, we were citing these specific actions and steps that have been taken in the long history of this group.

Go ahead.

QUESTION: Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb is taken – claiming responsibility --

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- for some terrorist attacks in Mali.

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: As you explained after the elections in Mali, the United States has restored assistance, but not military assistance.

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: So how is it that you see Malian authorities reestablishing security and confronting al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb if you are not restoring military assistance?

MS. PSAKI: Scott, I’ll have to check on this for you. I know, obviously, we’ve had a lot of recent announcements regarding assistance to Mali, but on the military component, I’d just have to see what the latest update is.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MS. PSAKI: Thanks. Oh, go ahead.

QUESTION: One more?

MS. PSAKI: Uh-huh. Or both of you can go. Go ahead, Jo.

QUESTION: Thank you. I wanted to ask about Sudan.

MS. PSAKI: Okay.

QUESTION: President Bashir came out today and talked about the fuel price hikes, which have unleashed these protests --

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- at which we’ve seen a number of deaths and what was described --

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- by yourself as a brutal crackdown. I wondered – he said that -- he explained by saying that it was because otherwise he feared the Sudanese economy could collapse. Is that the U.S. reading of the situation? Is the economy so fragile in Sudan that this action was, in fact, justified, to raise these fuel prices?

MS. PSAKI: Well, we spoke to this a little bit yesterday, and our position hasn’t changed regarding our condemning of the brutal crackdown on protesters, condemning the violence by government forces and protesters, and we are also further alarmed by the reports that the Sudanese Government has arrested or detained civil society activists, shutdown independent media, and restricted access to the internet and cellphone networks. So our position remains that we urge the government to allow its citizens full and unhindered access to the internet and respect press freedoms and to bring an end to the violence.

In terms of his comments and his justification, I’d have to check with our team on that. But I don’t believe our concern about what’s been happening there has changed.

QUESTION: Jen, do you have any greater clarity on why the Secretary didn’t raise that set of issues in yesterday’s meeting?

MS. PSAKI: Not beyond what I told you yesterday.

QUESTION: Okay, and then --

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Have you seen Foreign Military Financing cut off by the shutdown?

MS. PSAKI: I do have a little bit on that, too, I can tell you about. One moment.

So I mentioned, of course, the status of our programs, but there are some broader financing programs – to your point, Josh – that could be impacted. Because in the absence of a CR, we have no FY 2014 Foreign Military Financing, IMET programs, and peacekeeping operations funds to obligate. So, hence the challenge.

So the processing – as well as the processing of foreign military sales, which will continue, but the pace may be slowed over time because of furloughs in the military service.

So those are of course some of the impacts broadly on where we stand with our budgetary challenges in Congress.

QUESTION: But the Egypt FMF, that was still 2013 money?

MS. PSAKI: That is exactly right, but we don’t have a 2014 CR at this point.

QUESTION: And could the Egypt money that’s on hold – just one second --


QUESTION: The Egypt money that’s on hold, that’s still under review, that could still be released even during the shutdown?

MS. PSAKI: Well --

QUESTION: The review’s ongoing, right?

MS. PSAKI: The review is ongoing.

QUESTION: But right now it’s not going?

MS. PSAKI: Of course, the end of the fiscal year was yesterday, so we did recently obligate the remaining FY 2013, which would expire on September 30th unless obligated. However, it is still – we still – the President still has flexibility here. We still have the ability to control kind of how this is used. So --

QUESTION: Can you explain that? So you gave them the 585 million?


MS. PSAKI: It doesn’t go to the Egyptian Government. It was obligated because yesterday was the end of the fiscal year. But this --

QUESTION: And when was it --

QUESTION: It was more than a week ago. It was more than a week ago.

QUESTION: I got this, guys. I got this. So --

MS. PSAKI: Let me just finish – let me just finish, Josh.


MS. PSAKI: The type of obligation does not result in funds being put under contract. So this is funds that – it doesn’t mean – we still maintain control over how FMF and other assistance will be spent. It’s just that we had to obligate the money because of the end of the fiscal year yesterday.

QUESTION: So you’re obligating it to whom?

MS. PSAKI: Well, it goes to – let’s see, I believe I actually have something on this.

QUESTION: Can I pop one question in?

MS. PSAKI: Sure, go ahead.

QUESTION: My understanding --

QUESTION: Can I hear the answer to my question before yours?

QUESTION: Yeah, absolutely. It’s a related thing, so if you don’t mind I’m going to say it, unless you --


MS. PSAKI: We’ll continue. We’ll continue here.

Go ahead, Arshad. We’re not finishing, Josh. Go ahead.

QUESTION: So the way that it was explained to me was the need to obligate it had no effect on what you might ultimately do with the money, because those decisions had not yet been made. And that, in fact, you needed to obligate the money in part so that if you wanted to terminate assistance you would have money available to pay for the termination costs.

MS. PSAKI: For the wind-up. That’s exactly right.


MS. PSAKI: But no decision has been made about that. It still is under review. It typically goes to a federal account, but it’s not there yet. And it – either way, we still would approve purchases.

QUESTION: The federal account being the Egyptian Government’s bank account in New York.

MS. PSAKI: Well, it’s an account that we control and we approve purchases for.


QUESTION: So it doesn’t go on to the New York Federal Reserve?

MS. PSAKI: My understanding is it’s not there yet.


QUESTION: But it’s going to get there.

MS. PSAKI: Well, that would be the next step, but it’s not there yet.

QUESTION: And how much was it?

MS. PSAKI: It was 584.

QUESTION: Five-eighty-four.

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: And that’s the remaining amount from the federal – from FY 2013?

MS. PSAKI: Right. And as we’ve talked about before in the last couple of months, broadly speaking, if a decision were to be made about funding that would impact it, there would be wind-up spending that would need to be used because of programs or obligations being part of the way through. So --

QUESTION: So the remainder of what must have been around 500 million or $600 million was spent or --

MS. PSAKI: Well, that was money – you mean the – of the --

QUESTION: Because the total sum is about 1.1 billion.

MS. PSAKI: It’s a little higher than that, but that was previously obligated before. This was the chunk that was left over. In terms of how much of that has been actually spent, I’d have to check on that. Some of that is –

QUESTION: If you could.

MS. PSAKI: -- harder to track. But sure.


MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Will the U.S. aids to the Syrian refugees and the Syrian opposition be affected by the shutdown?

MS. PSAKI: Not that I’m aware of, but I’ll check and see if those specific programs would be.

QUESTION: Thank you.

QUESTION: I have one on Bahrain.

MS. PSAKI: Okay.

QUESTION: So the Bahraini Government has said that some of these 50 activists who have been jailed on Sunday for security offenses were also convicted of spying for Iran and had planned vandalism and rioting with the backing of the Iranian Government. Lawyers for the – well, some rights activists, however, say that some of these people were, in fact, human rights campaigners.

MS. PSAKI: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Do you have any view on whether the Bahraini Government is correct in alleging that these people were spying for Iran and planning violence? Or, to the contrary, do you actually think some of these people were rights activists who were not doing those things?

MS. PSAKI: We just aren’t going to and don’t have more details on the case, so I would refer you to them.

QUESTION: Are you going to look into it? I mean, is DRL going to look into this?

MS. PSAKI: I’m happy to. I know there have been some other allegations about the specific case in terms of respecting the detainees’ rights to due process and to a – transparent judicial proceedings. And there have been reports by some defendants that they were mistreated while in detention, and certainly, we have concerns about that. But in terms of the specific allegations, I don’t have any more on that. If there’s more, I’m sure --

QUESTION: Can you take it?

MS. PSAKI: I’ll see if there’s --

QUESTION: You’ll ask?

MS. PSAKI: -- more to share.

QUESTION: Yeah. Thanks.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MS. PSAKI: Thanks, everyone.

(The briefing was concluded at 2:12 p.m.)

DPB # 160