Transcript: Bush News Conference Q & A

John (sp), I'm sure historians will look back and say, gosh, he could have done it better this way or that way. You know, I just — I'm sure something will pop into my head here in the midst of this press conference, all the pressure of trying to come up with an answer. But it hasn't yet.

I would have gone into Afghanistan the way we went into Afghanistan. Even though I know what I know today about the stockpiles of weapons, I still would have called upon the world to deal with Saddam Hussein. See, I happen to believe that we'll find out the truth on the weapons. That's why we set up the independent commission.

I look forward to hearing the truth as to exactly where they are. They could still be there. They could be hidden like the 50 tons of mustard gas in a turkey farm.

One of the things that Charlie Duelfer talked about was that he was surprised at the level of intimidation he found amongst people who should know about weapons, and their fear of talking about them because they don't want to be killed. You know, there's this kind of — there's this — there's a terror still in the soul of some of the people in Iraq; they're worried about getting killed, and therefore, they're not going to talk.

And — but it will all settle out, John. We'll find out the truth about the weapons at some point in time. However, the fact that he had the capacity to make them bothers me today just like it would have bothered me then. He's a dangerous man. He's a man who actually not only had weapons of mass destruction — the reason I can say that with certainty is because he used them. And I have no doubt in my mind that he would like to have inflicted harm or paid people to inflict harm or trained people to inflict harm on America because he hated us.

You know, I hope I — I don't want to sound like I've made no mistakes; I'm confident I have. I just haven't — (chuckles) — you just put me under the spot here, and maybe I'm not quick — as quick on my feet as I should be in coming up with one.

Yeah, Ann (sp)?

QUESTION: Looking forward about keeping the United States safe, a group representing about — several thousand FBI agents today wrote to your administration begging you not to split up the law enforcement and the counterterrorism —

BUSH: Yeah.

QUESTION: — because they say it ties their hands, it gives them blinders, that they're partners. Yet you mentioned yesterday that you think perhaps the time has come for some real intelligence reforms.

That can't happen without real leadership from the White House. Will you, and how will you?

BUSH: Well, you're talking about one aspect of possible reform. I think you're referring to what they call the MI5. And I heard — I heard a summary of that from Director Mueller, who feels strongly that we — and he'll testify to that effect, I guess, tomorrow. I shouldn't be prejudging his testimony, but what — my point was that I'm open for suggestions. I look forward to seeing what the 9/11 commission comes up with. I look forward to seeing what the Silverman-Robb commission comes up with. I'm confident Congress will have some suggestions. What I'm saying is let the discussions begin, and I won't prejudge the conclusion.

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