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Headsnipe01 @Headsnipe011
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***Just some snippets***

Media Availability With Secretary Mattis While En Route to Ottawa, Dec. 5, 2018

@drawandstrike @catesduane @rising_serpent @almostjingo @tracybeanz @TheChiIIum @hfinch63 @Quodverum_ @headsnipe01…
***On Khashoggi***

Q: So yesterday the CIA director briefed some senators on the Khashoggi investigation. And Senator Lindsey Graham was very critical and he said ...

SEC. MATTIS: Very what?
Q: Critical of the Saudis and of you, sir. And he said “there is no smoking gun in Khashoggi killing. There is a smoking saw,” and he was referring to what you said recently, there is no smoking gun. So what is your answer to Senator Graham?
SEC. MATTIS: The senator, he has a right to his own opinion. Go ahead, question.

Q: Do -- do you think that -- that what has been learned about Khashoggi's death is grounds for any U.S. action regarding the Saudi Crown Prince?

SEC. MATTIS: Any U.S. action about Saudi ...
Q: Any reprisals well towards -- yes.

SEC. MATTIS: Yes. First of all, as you know, we've already sanctioned -- a number have been identified within probably days -- a couple days, we were well underway of reviewing among a number of international nations,
all possible tapes, social media we're going back through.

We believe in accountability for whoever was directly involved in the Khashoggi murder or who directed the Khashoggi murder. That is from beginning -- my first statements publicly, I have not waivered at all.
We also, as you see, are working with Saudi, for example, in order to get the Yemen war moved into negotiations.
And that -- in that issue we were working heavily in support of the special envoy's specific request. We do not see anything inconsistent with expecting full accountability for whoever was involved or directed the murder with trying to end the war in Yemen.
You know those are separate and distinct issues even if one of the parties is integral to both. Does that address your question?
Q: Well, I'm wondering if -- we have senators saying that they have concluded that the crown prince did have a hand in this that all evidence points to that. Have -- have you decided that that's still an open question or have you reached any conclusion yourself?
SEC. MATTIS: What I've been asked is -- if I say something, I need the evidence. So there's -- whether you call it smoking gun, smoking saw; if can point to something that says somebody is implicated,
I've already said where I stand on that, and even my adversaries have learned to count on my word.

But in my role in the executive branch, I need to have a specific. There is sincere -- there are sincere, studious people who are drawing different conclusions.
We are doing everything we can to go down every rabbit hole to find what's there and that's my responsibility because a significant amount of the U.S. intelligence apparatus, including a rather critical part of it, is under my cognizance.
And they have their orders. They are very good men and women and they have found a lot of things out over the past years.
So just bear with us. When we speak, it'll be with the authority and I won't -- I will not speculate or draw premature conclusions but we are leaving no stone unturned.

Q: Are you saying that you have not seen that evidence -- you have not seen that evidence yet to persuade you?
SEC. MATTIS: We are continuing to review. I am quite satisfied we will find more evidence of what happened. I just don't know yet what it's going to be or who's going to be implicated, but we will follow it as far as we can.
***On troops at Southern border***

Q: Sure -- talking about extending the deployment to down there until the end of January or through the end of January. Do you have any concerns about how this is going to affect troop readiness?
SEC. MATTIS: OK. I should of -- thanks for bringing it up. I signed yesterday the -- the statement that we will extend forces. Now, understand how this works. DHS commissioner border patrol acting for them in most cases but not without DHS in the room.
He says I need this here and this there and that sort of thing. So we get missions in and I accept certain missions because they're appropriate for us. The -- in Texas, basically the engineering tasks are complete.
In Arizona, they're pretty much complete. I'll probably leave a few engineers in each place who would actually move -- if we ever had to close the ports of entry; the commissioner of border patrol says close this as you saw it done once for six hours in California.
But a number of these troops will be coming off. In other words, the continuation, first of all, is not of everybody. The missions that are done, they're coming home.
So that will leave a modicum of engineers out there. You don't need many to move the last Jersey barriers or barbed wire barricades into position.
There are some MPs who are still there. Those MPs, generally in Texas, Arizona, those places, are there as oversight of the U.S. army engineers or of the -- where the helicopters are stationed just -- they're basically guards, that sort of thing.
Side arms they don't -- they only carry rifles. Now, in California we probably will not reduce as much as we will in the other places. Remember there are still 2,100 National Guard under -- under governors’ control, those I'm not referring to.
They probably will stay. I did not see a lessening of readiness with that group because, in fact, they're doing -- they're very close to many of the things they would do in the regular jobs, what the Guard does all the time.
On the federal troops, you will see a reduction in the number of federal troops, the reason I just mentioned. And their MPs preparing for missions that I would call non-traditional in location but they're not non-traditional sec. jobs in -- if they were to deploy somewhere else.
For example, flight line MPs from the Marine Corps are doing basically the same sort of thing where they're securing an area. In this case they're behind border patrol and various other federal law enforcement.
Remember we do not have law enforcement, OK, we cannot arrest anybody. So I don't see this as having an appreciable impact on military readiness. One is, simply because we're dropping down in number so obviously you have less quantitative impact.
And for those who are there, we will be rotating those for. They're not -- we don't leave the same unit on the border all the time. So, as they rotate off the border, they go back to regular duty, another unit's down there.
So no, I don't. I want -- I should have given you that broader brief there earlier.

Yes, go ahead.

Q: So, I mean, you're kind of withdrawing troops, I mean really kind of go withdrawing troops. I mean we're really kind of going from 5,800 to 4,000, 3,500 federal?
SEC. MATTIS: Yes. What I'll do -- yes, I -- I can't give it to you right now because I when I signed it yesterday, I said now, look at the missions that still remain and give me what's the troop to task.
It's a fancy way of saying we have certain things we have to do and certain locations for certain amounts of time, how many troops each one are there.
We'll tell you that as soon as we have it though. And, Dana, if you could make sure that we proactively run that out. OK. I -- I would expect to have it very shortly.
The thing is, this number has been going up and down as I think you're aware. I mean sometimes it varies only by 212 people in 24 hours. But that shows -- for example, some engineers were no longer needed.
They were pulled back, but we needed more people to string the wire and it's better to use just regular old combat engineers or people like that for the wire.
And the people who are down there trying to plan for where you would put Jersey barriers and that sort of thing. So this is a normal give and take but we'll get you a number very -- as soon as we make the decision and again,
then we'll have to update you almost daily because that number does wander. Generally speaking, it's coming down as the border patrol gets everything done. That's a reduction in missions, so.
***On the INF Treaty***

Q: One -- one other thing I wanted to ask about it. The INF Treaty that … that yesterday it was -- it was announced that...

SEC. MATTIS: (off mic)
Q: ... INF Treaty, that the U.S. would wait for 60 days for Russia to come into compliance. After that ...we will begin the process to pull out.
SEC. MATTIS: Yes. On the INF Treaty, we have seen in repeated diplomatic efforts by the Obama admin. and this administration stretching back to at least 2014, repeated efforts to bring Russia back into compliance to point to what they had done. To date, they've been unavailing.
When we came into office we doubled the diplomatic engagements in 2017, over what I thought was a very good effort by the previous administration to try to bring Russia back in compliance.
We have been briefing the NATO allies on this in many bilateral and then the entire North Atlantic Council format repeatedly over the last year and a half.
You'll notice that we had out of the summit declaration last June or July the entire NATO Council meeting at -- at heads of state level registered their concern.
For two years in a row, the U.S. Congress has said it is the sense of the Congress in law that the Russians are in material breach of the treaty.
So when you look at why did all the allies support Secretary Pompeo yesterday in Brussels, that is the end result of transparency, of compelling evidence that Russia has violated,
and it shows the independent views of different nations, of our House and our Senate all speaking with one voice, material breach.

[Aside] Oh, you're getting blinded, young man.
Q: And -- and without the restrictions of the INF, will the U.S. be able to deploy land-based missiles in the South China Sea, for example?
SEC. MATTIS: Yes, I -- I -- I would never -- I thank you, TM -- I would never speak to anticipated military operations. Right now, our -- our best outcome would be that Russia returns to compliance immediately. And this is not like springing a trap on them.
Again, for years now two administrations, various allies have talked to them about getting back into compliance. So this is not an unrealistic expectation.
Of course, Russia at times is proving to be a difficult partner in any positive effort. But -- but that was the reason for Secretary Pompeo's discussion yesterday and declaration of material breach.
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