Remarks and an Exchange With Reporters Prior to a Cabinet Meeting
The President. First, I want to say that this morning I received a report from the National Security Adviser about the action in Iraq over the weekend, confirming that we did in fact cripple the Iraqi intelligence capacity, which was the intent of the action. Our allies have been quite positive in their response. And I want to say a special word of compliment to Ambassador Albright for the work she did at the United Nations yesterday. I thought it was an excellent job.
I think it's very important today at this Cabinet meeting that we move on to other matters, that we go back to the domestic agenda. We have to prepare for the conference on the budget and the economic plan. We need to think about and talk a little about the upcoming G7 summit in Tokyo and what that means for our economic prospects here at home. And there are a number of other issues that I want to discuss today, including our efforts to seek rapid passage of the national service act.
So I'm anxious to go forward. I do want to acknowledge, the first time as a confirmed member of this Cabinet, Lee Brown. He was here last time, but he's been confirmed since he was here before. Tom Glynn, the Deputy Secretary of Labor, is here, for those of you who don't know him, because Mr. Reich is moving his family to Washington today. I suppose that means he's going to stay on for a while. [Laughter]
Strike on Iraqi Intelligence Headquarters
Q. Mr. President, what kind of message were you sending, first of all, to other terrorist nations, given what we now know about the possibility of Iran and potentially Saddam? And what message do you think this sends also to other countries and to the military here about your resolve in your capacity as Commander in Chief?.
The President. Well, the action I took I thought was clearly warranted by the facts. And I think other terrorists around the world need to know that the United States will do what we can to combat terrorism, as I said in my statement on Saturday evening. It is plainly what we ought to be doing.
Q. [Inaudible]—the events last week in New York and the attack over the weekend in Baghdad, should the American people be concerned about terrorism on American shores in the next few weeks?
The President. I think the American people should be reassured, in the New York instance, that the Federal authorities and the New York Police Department did a good job. I think the American people know enough about terrorism to know that it is always a potential problem, but we are going to be very aggressive in dealing with it, and we're going to do everything we possibly can to deal with it.
Q. Mr. President, how does the decision to have gone ahead and bombed Baghdad on Saturday, how will this impact your Presidency both in terms of how you're seen domestically and by foreign leaders?
The President. I have no idea. I did my job. It was my job, and I did it the best I could.
Q. Don't you think it will have some political effects—
Q. Any political considerations, Mr. President, at all?
The President. I have no idea. It's my job. I did exactly what I said I'd do in the campaign when confronted by circumstances like this. The evidence was clear. And we took the appropriate action. And it was the right thing to do for the United States, and I feel quite comfortable with it.
NOTE: The President spoke at 10:16 a.m. in the Cabinet Room at the White House.
William J. Clinton, Remarks and an Exchange With Reporters Prior to a Cabinet Meeting Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/220724