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TIME: 9:03 A.M. EST


GEN. KIMMITT: (In progress) -- the area of operations remains relatively stable. Over the past week, there's been an average of 17 engagements daily against coalition military, just under four attacks daily against Iraqi security forces and just over one attack daily against Iraqi civilians. The coalition remains offensively oriented in order to proactively attack, kill or capture anti-coalition elements and enemies of the Iraqi people, in order to obtain intelligence for future operations and to ensure the people of Iraq of our determination to establish a safe and secure environment. To that end, over the past 24 hours the coalition has conducted 1,462 patrols, 23 offensive operations, 11 raids and captured 68 anti-coalition suspects.

In the northern zone of operations, coalition and Iraqi security forces conducted -- (audio break) -- two offensive operations and detained five anti-coalition suspects. Yesterday Iraqi Civil Defense Corps personnel in the north were targeted in three attacks, wounding four soldiers. In the first incident, two ICDC soldiers escorting a fuel convoy were attacked in Mosul. In the second incident, two ICDC soldiers were shot in the legs in a drive-by shooting in Mosul. In the third incident, two ICDC soldiers were wounded when their checkpoint was attacked with multiple rocket- propelled grenades south of Haman al Allil (ph). Both soldiers were treated in a local hospital and coalition forces detained three individuals suspected of conducting the attack. Early yesterday morning, coalition forces conducted a cordon and search in central Mosul for Karim Abeed (ph), an active member of a local Fedayeen cell. He was captured without incident.

In the north central zone of operations, coalition and Iraqi security forces conducted 340 patrols, eight raids and captured 31 anti-coalition suspects. Two days ago, coalition forces conducted a raid near Baqubah. The targets are believed to be members of an Ansar al-Islam terrorist cell. Forces captured seven individuals to include four targets and the targets were captured without incident.

In Baghdad, coalition and Iraqi security forces conducted 565 patrols, 38 escort missions and captured 22 anti-coalition suspects. Yesterday, coalition forces conducted a raid to capture individuals suspected of activities in the armed Ba'athist Socialist Party. The unit captured eight personnel, including one target, Halil Hussein Yusef al-Agedi (ph). Two days ago, forces conducted a cordon and search in Baghdad to capture Hatim Dekal (ph) and members of his cell. The unit captured five of the nine enemy targets, including the cell leader along with 10 other individuals.

In the western zone of operations, coalition and Iraqi security forces conducted 273 patrols, including 15 independent Iraqi Civil Defense Corps patrols, and captured seven anti-coalition suspects. Additionally, 1,349 persons and 40 buses crossed back into Iraq at the Arar crossing, returning from the hajj. To date, 25,023 people have returned from Saudi Arabia through the western zone of operations in conjunction with hajj operations.

Last night, coalition forces conducted a cordon-and-search near Saddah in the al Qaim region to kill or capture Hassimi Syet (ph) and Abu Abdullah (sp). Both men are believed to be responsible for the killing of an Iraqi border policeman on 13 February, and four enemy personnel, including the two primary targets, were captured without incident.

In the central-south zone of operations, coalition and Iraqi security forces conducted 87 patrols, established 29 checkpoints and escorted 36 convoys. Yesterday, an Iraqi Civil Defense Corps patrol east of As Sawara stopped three Iraqi civilians in a car. A search of the vehicle revealed about five bombs, and the individuals were detained and taken to a local police station for interrogation.

In the southeastern zone of operations, approximately 500 hajj pilgrims returned yesterday. We are awaiting confirmation that the last of the pilgrims have now crossed the border, and we expect that the Red Crescent camp established near Safwan will be closed today.

And we'll be happy to take your questions.

Yes, sir?

Q Quil Lawrence from the BBC. I have two questions, first about Iraqi airwaves. There's been a report that a deal has been made to restructure Iraqi airwaves, possibly with 75 percent of it going to the Hawam (ph) family, and I was wondering if the CPA had anything to say about that report or if that was a deal that CPA people were involved in. And --

MR. SENOR: We have not been involved with that. I would take that issue up with the Ministry of Transportation.

Q And could that be done without a CPA senior advisor?

MR. SENOR: We would be involved in it just because of our international obligations under the occupation to work out all issues related to transportation on a macro level, but again I just don't know the details. I would start with the Ministry of Transportation and see where they direct you. It could be something that they're initiating and that we would get involved at a later stage.

Q Okay. The second question, if you don't mind, is --

MR. SENOR: Yeah.

Q -- that there have been around 80 deputy ministers appointed, sometimes over the objection -- well, certainly over the objection of CPA senior advisors and sometimes over the objection of the ministers themselves. Are the CPA senior advisors going to recommend any action about these deputy ministers?

MR. SENOR: There have been no deputy ministers appointed. There have been I think over 80 -- I think that number is correct -- nominated, but there is a process between the Governing Council and the CPA to finalize -- to confirm the nominations, and that process is very fluid right now. So there have been no appointments. There have been nominations, and there have been no rejections or confirmations at this stage. The process is ongoing. There's consultations between the CPA and the Governing Council on it.

Q Any idea when that would be --

MR. SENOR: We don't have a deadline set yet. The process is really just getting started. We are reviewing CVs. We are in discussions with the Governing Council about the various positions. We're in discussions with the ministers about how they want to structure the roles of the deputy ministers in the respective ministries.

Yes, sir?

Q Gregor Mayer from the German Press Agency, DPA. Mr. Senor, what is the current position of the CPA on the question of having reference to Islam as religion in the basic law or transitional law? And did Ambassador Bremer have some remarks on that today in Karbala?

And the second question, to General Kimmitt: There was reports that Saddoun Hammadi, a former president of the Iraqi parliament under Saddam Hussein, was released after nine months. Can you confirm that? What was the reasons to have him held for nine months, and why was he released, if he was held for nine months?

MR. SENOR: In the November 15th political agreement reached between the coalition and the Governing Council, one of the elements of that agreement was the finalization of the basic law, the interim administrative law passed by the Governing Council, by February 28th. And we agreed that certain principles would be enshrined in that interim administrative constitution, including equal rights, separation of powers, federalism, civilian control of the military, and a recognition of the Islamic identity of the majority of Iraqis, while at the same time respecting the freedom of worship for all Iraqis. And those are the principles agreed upon. The Governing Council has certainly not taken any issue with regard to those principles. And we expect all those principles to be enshrined in the interim administratiave law when it comes to fruition at the end of this month.

GEN. KIMMITT: As regards the release of a person named (Saddoun Hammadi ?), I heard those same reports as I was coming in. I can't confirm that. It may have been that somebody with that same name was released as part of the detainee release program. But I just can't confirm it. We'll take that question and get back to you.


Q Hi. Jill Carroll with ANSA. Going back to what happened in Fallujah, the attack there, it seems the police and the ICDC were outgunned and outmaneuvered. Does it raise any questions with you about their training as well as their weapons they're equipped with? And secondly, why were there no U.S. soldiers intervening in this? Did they not know about it, or was it just they didn't want to be involved?

GEN. KIMMITT: Well, first of all, it is tragic what happened at the Iraqi police station, and we certainly feel for all the families who have lost loved ones in that attack.

With regards to the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps soldiers that were involved in that, in fact they were quite (competent/confident ?). And they were pinned down initially during the attack but came back very, very quickly and killed quite a few of the enemy, and wounded as well. I would tell you that when they came during that operation back to FOB -- (inaudible) -- which is about five minutes away from that location, asking for additional ammunition, the coalition forces at that point said, "Do you need some assistance?"

The young battalion commander, Lieutenant Colonel Suliman (ph) said: "No, we've got it. Don't worry; we are not concerned at this point."

Yes, it is tragic what happened with the initial attack, but \frankly, the response of the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps unit inside Fallujah, which had been attacked the day before as part of the visit of General Abizaid, we're very pleased with the way they responded. They were very pleased with the way they responded; they were very, very comfortable with the operation at hand. The coalition forces were in contact with the ICDC; no assistant was asked for, no assistant was rendered.

Q As far as the Iraqi police, though, as well?

GEN. KIMMITT: We understand that. As part of the investigation we're going to take a look at everything that happened. We understand that there may have been some inside connections with the people that did attack. We understand that there may have been some communications lines that had been cut intentionally to ensure that the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps personnel were not able to reinforce the Iraqi police. We have taken some people in the city of Fallujah into custody for interrogation as part of this investigation. But it will be some time before we know the outcome of that investigation.

MR. SENOR: Yes, Tom?

Q Tom Lasseter, Knight Ridder. I'd like to touch on the incident in Fallujah as well. I was wondering if you could comment at all on the nationalities of those killed or captured during the fighting. As always with incidents like this, there's a lot of talk on the ground -- you know, Lebanese, Iranian. Talk sort of gets started and then it's hard to tell exactly what's going on.

And also, you've spoken several times about going from sort of a police foot patrol model to something more akin to a fire station model, where they respond to emergencies, as you said, when asked. I was wondering if you could talk a little bit more about this incident in that context.

GEN. KIMMITT: Sure. Well, first of all, there were initial reports that some of the people either wounded or killed were of foreign nationality. I think that probably was some of the initial reports that came in. I can tell you that the reports that we've gotten from the 82nd indicates that they were all Iraqi citizens. That may turn out not to be the case after the investigation, but right now the sensing of the commander on the ground was that these were all Iraqi citizens.

On the issue of local control -- because I think what happens is there's often a mistake, a misunderstanding. We are not going to move to the notion of local control moving away from an area that is insecure. There is no timeline for local control. The fact remains places like Fallujah are not ready for local control. Local control, where you are moving back to the outskirts of the city and letting the Iraqi security services take responsibility, is a conditions-based program. When the conditions in the city are right -- in other words, the level of insecurity is down to a certain level -- and the Iraqi security forces are ready, then the coalition forces will make that determination. That determination is not made by a clock nor is it made by a calendar, but it's made by conditions. Linking local control to the events that happened in Fallujah is a specious linkage because at this point there was no determination that we would move to local control in the Fallujah area.

We're considering those areas that are much calmer, the areas we typically don't talk about or have to report about. This is about 90 percent of the country, and about 90 percent of the country or more, that majority, that they just don't see any incidents nor do they see any kind of terrorist acts or shots fired, and those are the areas that, then, is the first to look at for implementing the program of local control. I would suggest that the areas like Fallujah, Ar Ramadi, Baqubah, Samarra are probably not the ones that we're going to be working the local control program first.

Q Is the --

GEN. KIMMITT: Yes, sir? Sorry, go ahead.

Q Would it be possible to -- I don't know if you could quantify local control, but, I mean, certainly, you know, it's anecdotally obvious that U.S. patrols, as compared to the summer for instance, have dropped significantly, during daylight hours anyway. You know --


Q I'm sorry, in Fallujah. And I was wondering just if you could sort of talk about what you mean by local control.

GEN. KIMMITT: Well, what I mean by local control -- probably a better example of that is certain sections of Baghdad where, as you know, Tom, over the last couple of months -- four months ago, we were getting nightly rocket attacks, nightly mortar attacks, nightly RPG attacks. Those areas, we're not seeing that. We're not hearing in the center of Baghdad large numbers of rocket attacks on a nightly basis.

Those areas that, after a certain period of time, it looks like things are pretty calm; there's a good relationship between the citizens and their local government, between the local citizens and the police, local citizens and the ICDC; and the military presence is almost seen as redundant or in fact some ways counterproductive because they're ready to take responsibility themselves, those are the areas that we're going to be looking at for local control first. But somehow to suggest that Fallujah is a candidate for that, I think the events of the last couple of weeks has demonstrated that that's probably not where General Swannack is looking for the first test case for local control.

Lisa, go ahead? Did you have anything?

Q Me?

GEN. KIMMITT: Yeah, yeah.

Q Yeah. Also, a follow-up on Fallujah. Why, then was the decision to intervene left to the discretion of the Iraqi ICDC commander? I mean, surely the soldiers, the American soldiers must have heard what was going on, and it would have been incumbent on them to at least go and have a look for themselves to see how serious the situation was.

And also I wanted to ask about a report that there were four Iranians captured in Fallujah and put in jail, and it was something that the city council was told by the police chief last week. Was there no attempt by American or coalition forces there to get to the bottom of who they were, why they were there and why they were in a cell?

MR. SENOR: Actually, I think the report that we had was that the four people that they were attempting to break out -- I'm not sure that they are Iranian. These were people that were being held in the local jail because they had fired on an ICDC bus the week before. There's still much that we don't know about that incident.

But as regards to why didn't the coalition forces go check, as a matter of fact we had an MP unit that was moving through the town that actually was stopped and took RPG fire, and they were pinned down. But it's also important to understand that the entire operation conducted against the IPS took on the order of 15 minutes. This was a very, very well-trained unit that came in. They came in, did their business, and got out very quickly. The ICDC was pinned down for a certain period of time, but by the time they were able to reestablish control in their own area and go over and reinforce the IPS, the attackers were gone.

Q You have no idea -- you don't know about these alleged four Iranians who were in jail and the city council had been told about them?

MR. SENOR: No. I'd ask the 82nd that question. They would probably be able to give you a much better answer.


Q (In Arabic.)

MR. SENOR: Yeah. First of all, there were no special detainees that I'm aware of that were kept in Fallujah. These were common criminals. That's why they were being kept in the local jail, some of them for felony crimes such as attacking ICD buses, so on and so forth, but no special detainees that come to mind.

Second, the Iraqi police service is armed. They have shotguns, they have sidearms, much as what typical police services have. They have vehicles. They have some levels of radio. They do have some sidearms for self-protection. The heavier types of weapons and equipment we typically would find with the ICDC, the local Iraqi Civil Defense Corps persons that are stationed just down the street from them.


Q (In Arabic.)

GEN. KIMMITT: The movement of the forces outside of Baghdad is a decision that was made by General Dempsey for the purpose, as we've talked about, on local control. But local control is not just an issue of basing. By virtue of the fact of these forces being outside the city of Baghdad, they still have the capability to conduct patrols inside. But eventually, as we were going to have a much less visible presence in Baghdad when the conditions permit, this was seen as an opportunity, as General Dempsey and General Chiarelli are changing out their forces, to move to a -- locations outside the city, with an eventual desire to turning over the security of the city to the Iraqi security forces. There's no suggestion that the movement to these new bases will necessarily cause the forces of the 1st Armored Division or the 1st Cavalry Division to have an immediate lesser presence, but that certainly postures them in the future to lower that presence when the conditions permit.


Q Kristin Rossi (sp), CBS Radio. Could you talk a little bit about the mayor of Fallujah and just kind of clarify? Did he resign? Was he arrested? And is he in U.S. custody?

GEN. KIMMITT: I think as we're conducting the entire investigation, we're going to be bringing in quite a few people in Fallujah to see what information they may have in connection with the attack on the Iraqi police service station.

Q Just as a follow-up, is the mayor currently in U.S. custody, as is being reported, or coalition custody?

GEN. KIMMITT: I know that he was brought in -- asked to come in for questioning. Whether he is still being held by U.S. forces at this point, I can't answer that.

Q So he came in for questioning only?

GEN. KIMMITT: That's my understanding.

Q Thank you.

GEN. KIMMITT: And if those questions lead to his innocence then I suspect he will be released. If those questions lead the coalition forces to suspect that he may somehow have been involved in the loss of life of 25 Iraqi police service members inside the town of Fallujah, I would suspect we're going to be holding him for quite some time.


Q Yeah, I was wondering about this school blast -- this explosion at the school today.

GEN. KIMMITT: Yeah, I just -- that's what I was handed a couple moments ago. We understand that an improvised explosive device exploded at a school in central Baghdad in the Kadhimiya district today at approximately 14:00 hours. Initial reports indicate two civilians were killed and three were wounded. We don't know the victims as of yet. We also understand that when we sent an explosive ordnance team to assist that a second IED was found undetonated nearby. And I see from this further report that a coalition explosive ordnance team successfully defused and removed the second device. That's all the information we have right now.

Q Do you have something about this morning -- outside of Fallujah in Amiriyah there was some sort of shoot-out at a house that left -- there was a 70-year-old farmer who they had wanted to come in for questioning, I think the 82nd Airborne. And anyway, he died in an exchange of fire.

GEN. KIMMITT: No knowledge.

Q Do you have any more information about this American who was killed yesterday by Mahmudiya?

GEN. KIMMITT: I have a -- there were a couple of attacks. I know we had one down by Iskandariyah, but we also had a small convoy -- a number of Americans that were wounded yesterday near Mahmudiya.

Q (Off mike.)

MR. SENOR: Please use your microphone.

Q The report from the 82nd Airborne was that an American -- a religious group, they were coming back --


Q Yeah. And --

GEN. KIMMITT: I do know that there was a group affiliated with a church organization that was moving -- they were ambushed near Mahmudiya on the 14th. One American citizen was killed, two were wounded. We understand that the wounded were taken to the 31st Combat Support Hospital here in Baghdad where they were treated and released. And I note that if you need any further information on this incident, or on the persons involved, we'd refer you to the State Department Public Affairs office.

MR. SENOR: Anthony?

Q Anthony Shadid, Washington Post. General, you mentioned earlier that there was -- an investigation would look at the possibility of inside cooperation in Fallujah. Given the questioning of the mayor and other officials, could you talk maybe a little bit more about what kind of cooperation you guys are looking for, what might have taken place? And is it going further than the police station by questioning the mayor?

GEN. KIMMITT: Yeah, I think we're going to let the investigation take it where it leads. But there was some question about whether some communications lines had been cut between the Iraqi police service, whether some people have been contacted ahead of time -- for example, somebody being called up and say, "Hey, go to Al Amiriyah because there's something happening out there and they're away from the police station," to lessen the number of police that were at the location when the attack actually occurred.

The 82nd Airborne and the Iraqi police service have the lead for the investigation. And I think they're probably better sources of the information at this point.


Q (Name off mike) -- from CBS News. Can you comment on a report that in Mosul the ICDC stopped a car which apparently contained barrels of mercury and what they believe was uranium?

GEN. KIMMITT: No. First I've heard of it. I can't make any comment on that at all. First report.


Q (In Arabic.)

MR. SENOR: The Governing Council has passed a very clear de- Ba'athification policy. Ambassador Bremer first issued the de- Ba'athification policy on May 16th, and then in August, he delegated all responsibility and authority for de-Ba'athification to the Governing Council, and then subsequently, the Governor Council recently, in the last couple of months, issued their own policy.

Basically, it precludes the top four levels of the Ba'ath party, anyone from the Firqa level and above, from serving in a public position, and any individual who had served in the top three levels, top three layers of a ministry. There are processes for appeal. There are processes to opt out of the appeal and instead accept a monthly payment commensurate with the individual's -- what the individual's monthly salary would have been at the ministry. And there were a couple of other exceptions built into the policy. But otherwise, the policy is quite clear, and it's especially strict vis- a-vis the security services, because we and the Governing Council feel strongly that it would be a very dangerous path to go down to start empowering senior members of the Ba'ath party who were very functionally involved in the repression of the Iraqi people. It would be very dangerous to begin empowering them in positions of security service in the new Iraq.


Q (In Arabic.)

MR. SENOR: As far as Zarqawi's tactics or what may cause his change of tactics, he was quite explicit in the letter that we have strong reason to believe was drafted by Mr. Zarqawi. He says that his tactics are being driven in part by the increasing strength and increasing numbers of the Iraqi security services. I mean, he says in the letter, which I actually have here, the 17-page letter, he says, "With the spread of the army and police, our future is becoming frightening." He also says that "our enemy is growing stronger day after day, and its intelligence information increases. By God, this is suffocation." So clearly the bolstering of the Iraqi security services was affecting his tactics.

Then also, he's in a race against time when he focuses on the June 30th handover of sovereignty, which is well under way. He says, "If, God forbid, the government" -- meaning the new Iraqi government -- "is successful and takes control of the country, we just have to pack up and go somewhere else again." So what's affecting his tactics are the strengthening of the Iraqi security services and the accelerated path to handover of Iraqi sovereignty because he says if there is Iraqi sovereignty -- if there is an Iraqi government, the al Qaeda-type forces that want to wreak havoc in this country will lose their pretext to operate.

What we need to do is we need to get that information out to as many Iraqi people as possible. This is certainly the Governing Council's view; it's our view. So they are aware of Zarqawi's strategy because in light of what he points to as the sort of bulwark against his success -- Iraqi security and Iraqi democracy -- he's proposing a new strategy, which is provoke sectarian warfare in this country. And so we want to alert the Iraqi people to be aware of it; to, A, provide more information and be on the lookout to prevent such acts; and, B, in the event such acts take place, which are designed for provocation, to not be lured into his trap and not be lured into such provocation.

And we have been quite emphatic from this podium about our concern about this issue and our desire to get the information out, and certainly our desire to capture or kill Mr. Zarqawi. We have certainly put out a sizeable reward to that effect.


Q (In Arabic.)

MR. SENOR: We have reason to believe that the letter was headed to senior al Qaeda leadership outside of Iraq. This was based on information we gathered from the individual in possession of the letter and secondhand information.

General, do you have -- is that --


MR. SENOR: Okay.

Yes, sir?

Q Christoph Reuter, Stern Magazine. Two questions.

First of all, it may sound basic, but who do you suppose, for the time being, was behind the Fallujah attack, which group? Plus, do you have any indications that this attack was made to liberate the prisoners inside this compound?

Second question. Referring to the five suspected Ansar al-Islam members captured in Baqubah, which you showed a few moments ago, what indications do you have that these people are really affiliated to Ansar al-Islam? Plus, were there any materials found which would give some indications that they were preparing other suicide operations?

GEN. KIMMITT: With regards to who conducted the attack at Fallujah, it would appear to us that the size of the attack and the tactics that were used, that these were an organization, possibly paramilitary, possibly former regime elements in the former Iraqi army. At the same time, some of the people that we captured, some of the people that were killed, gave indications that they may have belonged to some -- had some affiliation with terrorist groups.

So I'm not sure in the case of the Fallujah incident we're really going to be able to pin this down. But as we said before, first indications, in many of the suicide attacks, spectacular and symbolic, lead us to sort of point in the direction of foreign terrorists. Here you had a case with a large number of paramilitary forces that looked like they had prior military training and used some level of skill in military tactics. That would cause us to lean first towards former regime elements, former military. But then there were some other -- (brief audio break). So, a little bit ambiguous on this one, but the first leanings are towards former regime elements.

As to who they were capturing, it is our belief that there were up to four prisoners being kept in the Fallujah jail that had been picked up recently in connection with an attack on an ICDC, Iraqi Civil Defense Corps bus the week before. Our first reports indicate that those were the target prisoners that they were trying to release.

On the question of the coalition forces picking up the potential Ansar al-Islam -- and we did say "suspected" Ansar al-Islam -- it was the intelligence ahead of time that caused us to look to this group as having an Ansar al-Islam connection. I don't know what has been found subsequent to that. Obviously, the prisoners that were captured are being detained and being interrogated at this time, and they may give us more information. Having talked to the organization just before I came in here, they said, as you might suspect, these guys didn't show up with five cards that said, "Current members, Ansar al-Islam." So it's going to take some before that suspicion of being Ansar al-Islam is confirmed as Ansar al-Islam.


Q Coming back to the issue that you mentioned of the inside connections, that my colleague already asked, what does that tell you, how worried are you that the new Iraqi security forces, whether it's the CDC or the police, may be infiltrated by either former regime supporters or terrorist groups? Or what is the risk of that, how real it is?

GEN. KIMMITT: Well, I think there's always a risk, any time you have any organization stood up such as the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps or the Iraqi Security Forces. We do have a very careful vetting process. That process is very good, but it's not fail-safe nor is it foolproof. So there's always a concern, and we take the appropriate risk measures to ensure that incidents like this are minimized.

MR. SENOR: Yes? You asked already, let me just ask someone who hasn't -- all right, go ahead. Oh, you didn't ask? All right. The gentleman next to you; I'm sorry.

Q Johnny Donnan (ph), BBC News. Paul Bremer said yesterday that he had literally dozens of plans in front of him for whatever might take sovereignty on June 30th. Is it fair to say that the caucus plan is looking now a little unwell, if not dead in the water?

MR. SENOR: What Ambassador Bremer said is there are dozens of plans floating out there, some in a very formal sense in terms of a proposal, some in terms of people bouncing around ideas informally.

As for the caucus plan, we are moving forward on the implementation of the caucus plan as it is outlined in the November 15th agreement. However, we have said from the beginning that we would be open to clarifications, we'd be open to elaborations, we'd be open to modifications to the plan, and certainly we would welcome the advice that the U.N. has, that Mr. Brahimi has, that the U.N. secretary-general has, in the weeks ahead.

So the plan, in terms of its implementation, hasn't changed. We're moving forward with it. And we, like I said, all along have been open to suggestions and modifications, and we'll just let that play out.

Q Julia Buckley, NPR News. I just want to get clarified how many people were captured in Fallujah on Saturday -- Sunday? Two people, as I understand it, were in the hospital They're no longer there. So I wanted to know if some more were brought in to custody. And are there any suggestions that this group was the one that perpetrated Friday's attack on the general?

GEN. KIMMITT: I can tell you that there is no connection that we are aware of between this organization and the small group that fired the RPGs at General Abizaid the day before. The last report that I have is we have -- I'll have to go through the reports, but it was certainly less than 10 people that we have captured. And I'll find out for you how many we still have in detention.

MR. SENOR: We have time for one more question. Yes, sir?

Q (In Arabic.)

MR. SENOR: Let me clarify or get a better understanding of the question. Are you asking if there are members of a former Ba'ath cell that are --

Q -- inside the new Iraqi army.

MR. SENOR: Okay. We apply the strictest standards of the de- Ba'athification policy to every area of public service, of government service in Iraq, especially the security services. This is not to say that, from time to time, individuals do not slip through the cracks and make it in. That will happen from time to time, and when we have that information we seek to address it and rectify it immediately.

There are some individuals who have made appeals, whose appeals have been accepted for reasons ranging from they were forced into the Ba'ath Party, they joined the Ba'ath Party at a senior level under major threat or duress. There are Iraqi POWs who, during the Iraq- Iran War, were over in Iran for some time and, as a statement of honor, the symbol of honor, that the former regime automatically awarded them the level of Firqa, which is within the top four levels of the Ba'ath Party, even while they were still POWs. So when they came back, they were at the Firqa level not by choice, and would have been subject to de-Ba'athification. So there are exceptions made in that regard.

But otherwise, just in terms of senior Ba'ath Party members who apply for positions in our security services or anywhere else in government, unless they go through some appeals process, we will not allow them -- assuming we have the information about their Ba'ath Party status, we will not allow them to serve.

Q Are you consulting with the Iraqi Governing Council on this matter?

MR. SENOR: Not only are we consulting with them, but Ambassador Bremer has delegated all authority for de-Ba'athification. The de- Ba'athification policy now is strictly in the domain of the Iraqi Governing Council. The Iraqi Governing Council has a de- Ba'athification committee. It spent several months drafting the policy. It is now their policy. It is administered by the Governing Council. It is drafted by the Governing Council. They have the front-row driver's seat in that regard. We're just in the back seat on this issue.

Thank you, everybody.



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