In an interview published today in "USA Today," Rice said terrorist suspects must be detained before they commit their crimes, or thousands of people could die.
Referring to the war on terrorism, she said, "we have never fought a war like this before."
Rice neither confirmed nor denied the existence of secret CIA prisons abroad. "The Washington Post" reported earlier this month that the CIA has transported terrorist suspects from Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere to secret prisons in Eastern Europe and Asia.
She also acknowledged that the United States has made mistakes in Iraq, but rejected the idea that ousting Saddam Hussein had made the Middle East less stable.