“I felt totally unprotected out there,” Secretary Rumsfeld said. “You cannot send a Secretary of Defense out on a mission like that without full body armor.”
Secretary Rumsfeld said he had spent hours scavenging around Kuwait City looking for body armor before his meeting with troops, and warned that he would “think twice” before engaging in another question-and-answer session without adequate protection.
The Secretary of Defense added that if the White House did not provide him with full body armor immediately, the next time he spoke to troops he would do it from inside a Bradley fighting vehicle.
At the White House, President George W. Bush said that a full body armor suit had in fact been ordered for Secretary Rumsfeld, but that it no longer fit because Mr. Rumsfeld ate too much at Thanksgiving.
Mr. Bush added that until a new body armor suit was ready, Mr. Rumsfeld would have to make do with a Brooks Brothers suit for future encounters with troops.
“You go to war with the Secretary of Defense you have,” he said.
Elsewhere, congressional leaders expressed hope that the just-passed intelligence reform bill would provide accurate, up-to-date intelligence reports for the president not to read.