State Department Noon Briefing, October 26

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 26, 2000  1:30 P.M.

Q: And one more question. Can you say whether, at the time of the
explosion of the Cole in the harbor in Aden, whether the US Embassy in
Sanaa was on a heightened state of alert?

MR. REEKER: I think, as we have talked about previously, we had no
specific information in advance of the attack on the Cole. At all of
our embassies, particularly our embassies in the region, security
personnel continually review and adjust the security posture.

But I think as we have discussed before, certainly since the tragic
bombings of the embassies in East Africa in August of 1998, we have
been significantly ramped up in terms of our security posture around
the world, and certainly in those areas where we are aware of threats.
But again, there was no specific information in advance of the attack
on the Cole, and our security personnel at all of our embassies,
including our Embassy in Sanaa, continuously review and adjust the
security posture accordingly.


Q: Back on Yemen for a minute. The report of a threat against the
hotel where some of the FBI investigators have been staying - is it
still the case that the Government feels that the Yemeni authorities
are cooperating as fully as they can in this investigation?

MR. REEKER: I think the investigation - and you may be able to get
some more details from my colleagues at the Pentagon, who will be
briefing shortly - the investigation into the USS Cole explosion is
continuing, and as you know, while it's under way, we are all not
commenting on any particular reports or speculating on responsibility
or details.

We have had cooperation from the Yemenis. We have talked about that.
We have had very good cooperation from Yemen. President Salih pledged
to President Clinton and to Secretary Albright - I think we discussed
that in the past weeks - and to other US officials that Yemen would
offer all needed cooperation, and they have done that. So we expect
the government to continue to abide by President Salih's pledge
because, as we have said, Yemeni cooperation is critical to seeing
this investigation through to its successful conclusion there.

(The briefing was concluded at 2:10 P.M.)