- As we know,
- There are known knowns.
- There are things we know we know.
- We also know
- There are known unknowns.
- That is to say
- We know there are some things
- We do not know.
- But there are also unknown unknowns,
- The ones we don't know we don't know.
12 February 2002, Department of Defense news briefing. Read the transcript
. See the video
Q: Could I follow up, Mr. Secretary, on what you just said, please? In
regard to Iraq weapons of mass destruction and terrorists, is there
any evidence to indicate that Iraq has attempted to or is willing to
supply terrorists with weapons of mass destruction? Because there are
reports that there is no evidence of a direct link between Baghdad and
some of these terrorist organizations.
Rumsfeld: Reports that say that something hasn't happened are always
interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there
are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns;
that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there
are also unknown unknowns -- the ones we don't know we don't know. And
if one looks throughout the history of our country and other free
countries, it is the latter category that tend to be the difficult
And so people who have the omniscience that they can say with high
certainty that something has not happened or is not being tried, have
capabilities that are -- what was the word you used, Pam, earlier?
Q: Free associate? (laughs)
Rumsfeld: Yeah. They can -- (chuckles) -- they can do things I can't
Q: Excuse me. But is this an unknown unknown?
Rumsfeld: I'm not --
Q: Because you said several unknowns, and I'm just wondering if this
is an unknown unknown.
Rumsfeld: I'm not going to say which it is.
Q: Mr. Secretary, if you believe something --
Rumsfeld: Right here. Right here. Right here.
Q: Mr. Secretary, point of clarification --
Rumsfeld: No, this is a promise.
Q: -- I think under Wright's rules, that a point of clarification --
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