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MR. SENOR: Good afternoon.

As many of you know, we were not scheduled to have one of our regular briefings today, but Ambassador Bremer issued a statement this morning on the CPA's and the coalition's new border control policy and we were asked to brief on it. The statement has been issued; we've been asked to answer questions on it, provide any further details. So we will resume the regular briefings within the next 48 hours.

So some of the other questions that I know you all are -- all have pertaining to stories, with regard to the incident in Al Hillah, the civilian deaths last week, I can just tell you up front, we have no new details. The investigation is still ongoing, so we will not be taking any substantive questions on that issue or any others.

We're going to focus today on the border control, answer any questions you have, and then get you out of here as quickly as possible so you can get back to what you are doing. Again, we apologize for the short notice.

Ambassador Bremer today issued the following statement on our new border security initiative:

Foreign terrorists are present in Iraq. The numbers are not known with precision but recent attacks and their continuing presence underscores the importance of improving security at Iraq's borders. That is why we are accelerating border security efforts.

The program we are announcing today is the first stage in a multistage effort to address security problems exacerbated by Iraq's porous borders, but it will also assure that when we turn over sovereignty to an Iraqi government on June 30th that government will have equipment, staff, training and materials necessary to operate each of its 20 major border crossing points.

We will monitor, limit and control the number of people crossing into Iraq from other nations. We will do this with a combination of increased personnel, new technology and tighter procedures. Right now there are about 8,000 law enforcement personnel devoted to border security. We will double that number and then determine if more are needed. We have tested and will begin deploying a system called PISCES, a system to positively ID everyone entering or leaving Iraq.

Beginning with the Iranian border, we will limit the number of ports of entry across Iraq's borders. The Iran-Iraq border will be reduced to three ports of entry. All visitors arriving to Iraq by land will need to present a passport, fill out an entry form, be issued a temporary entry card and be entered into an immigration monitoring system.

Data from entry cards will be loaded into the PISCES system, which will also provide border enforcement officials a means to conduct checks for wanted subjects and provide a photograph of each visitor.

We expect this process will increase security without unduly burdening legitimate travelers or commerce.

We are aware of and have taken into account the importance of religious pilgrims visiting Iraq's holy sites. Special procedures will be put into place to accommodate increased flows during religious holidays.

We recognize the challenges inherent in trying to secure Iraq's porous borders, but we must continue to do more. We owe this to the Iraqi people. And having consulted with the Iraqi minister of interior and other Iraqi officials, we will begin implementation of this program.

With that, we are happy to take your questions. Jim?

Q I'm just wondering which agencies will have access to this PISCES system. Will any U.S. agencies, especially intelligence agencies or law enforcement agencies, have access to this? Will it be networked back to the States, so that folks in Washington can keep tabs on folks coming in and out of Iraq, A?

And then B, will you be collecting biometrics at all, photos, fingerprints, iris scans, anything like that?

MR. SENOR: The PISCES system has been used for a number of purposes in Afghanistan and Pakistan. It has -- it is a multi-use technology system. No final determination has been made at this point about the expansiveness of the program and the degree to which it will be used to address some of the issues you've raised. That was something we will look into and consider as we begin implementation.

Alistair (sp)?

Q Alistair Wangton (sp), Fox News. During Saddam's days, the border with Iran had only a couple of border crossing points open. When did so many open up? And what was the thinking in allowing such freedom of movement --

MR. SENOR: There are 19 ports of entry right now along the Iranian border. We are reducing that number to three.

Some of those ports have been in dilapidated condition for some time and have effectively been non-functional. But despite the fact that they have been non-functional, some individuals have been able to sneak through when they were closed. And while we have opened others, even though they have been dysfunctional and have been, as I said, in a dilapidated state, they have been accessed by individuals attempting to cross the border.

Right now, we will be investing substantial funds in improving -- refurbishing the three sites that we will be limiting all access to. If you look here -- (steps away from microphone) -- (off mike) -- Muntheriyah (ph) is in the best shape. That one will only require approximately half a million dollars to refurbish. The two others that we will be working on will require $2 million each to repair. So that total cost will be $4.5 million. It's Muntheriyah (ph) that only requires half a million, and Zurbatiyah and al-Shalamija (ph), if you go north to south, require $2 million each. We will get those -- like I said, like some of the other 19 or some of the other 16, two of the three that we will be limiting access to are still in rough condition. Temporary, short-term measures; we'll be bringing in trailers and other facilities to serve as a stop-gap while we are expending the funds to get them up and running.

Yes, Mark?

Q Thanks, Dan. Mark Stone, ABC. The issue of border control has been an issue for quite some time now. Why has it taken two huge bombings and the deaths of scores of Iraqis for you to sort out the borders? As one Governing Council member told me today, it's too little and it's too late.

MR. SENOR: Well, we have said all along that Iraq's borders are difficult to secure. They are very porous borders. It's a topographical fact of life that these borders are longer than the U.S.-Mexican border, for example -- totality of Iraq's borders. And you know the difficulties and the extremes with which we go to protect the U.S.-Mexican border. That's the first thing.

Secondly, we would hope that some of the governments of countries that border Iraq take more aggressive steps to stem the flow of individuals, specifically foreign fighters who are using their borders to access this country. That is a problem that we have seen to be on an increasing scale recently, not decreasing. And so we would also encourage governments bordering Iraq to do more to stem the flow of individuals crossing illegally.

Finally, Mark, shortly after the liberation, and even as recently as the past couple of weeks, there have been a number of Islamic religious holidays that have involved religious pilgrimages. It's the first time in 35 years, really, that Iraqis and Muslims in this country, and their co-religionists from other countries, could freely move across these borders to participate in religious pilgrimages. This is something we wanted to encourage, not discourage, and it continues to be something we want to encourage, not discourage. And so we thought it inappropriate to try to shut down the borders immediately, just when there was this burst of activity among a newly liberated Islamic population here. And even if we had wanted to shut it down completely, I would argue that we couldn't do it anyway, because of the reasons I said earlier: these are very porous borders.

And finally, in December Ambassador Bremer signed the CPA Public Order Number 16, which imposed a border policy, albeit difficult to enforce. It required entry permits to be filled out, to be, you know, applied for and filled out and granted. And in order to execute the program there was a dependence on not only border control stations along the border, but border control stations in other countries, relying on Iraqi embassies.

When we have spoken to Iraqis who have returned to their respective embassies, particularly officials who have returned to the Iraqi Embassy in the United States, for example, these embassies are in terrible condition; they are completely dilapidated; they are, effectively, just totally abandoned; in some cases people have not been operating there in years. People who did operate there in many cases were former Mukhabarat agents. It would have been very hard to -- with regard to Public Order 16, which was our first effort to improve border control, it would have been very difficult to rely on some of these border stations to implement the entry permit program.

GEN. KIMMITT: And I would also take issue with your comment at the beginning, that nothing had been done. I've stood at this podium, we've stood at this podium for many months talking about the number of personnel that are stopped on a daily basis -- at Tanif, Arar, Trebil -- turned back, sent back to Syria, sent back to Jordan, sent back to Iran. I don't think this is a matter that we are coming out here saying we have done nothing and now we are going to do something. It is clearly a case that we have been saying for months and months that we have been doing something and we're now going to do something more.

MR. SENOR: And actually, to General Kimmitt's point: We have over 8,000 security personnel along the borders already; we're going to be doubling that and doing much more. And certainly the immigration processing staff is going to increase. Right now there are just under a hundred who process cross-border entry and that number will be now concentrated at three stations rather than the larger number -- at least along the Iranian border. And we're going to increase that number by next -- towards the middle of next year, to a thousand of immigration processing staff.

Yes, sir?

Q (In Arabic.)

MR. SENOR: We -- our experience thus far has been that the cross-border controls have been tighter along some of Iraq's other borders -- the Jordanian border, the Turkish border, Saudi border, the Kuwaiti border. We have recognized a lot of problems along the Iranian border. We have recognized serious problems along the Syrian border. This policy will apply to all of Iraq's borders, but it is a multiphased implementation program and plan, and the first phase will be the Iranian border. The second will be the Syrian. We have less concern at this point about traffic along those other borders.

(To General Kimmitt.) Do you have anything? All right.

Yes, Tom. Go ahead.

Q Just to follow up on that question, really. Does this reflect intelligence or beliefs that the greatest threat in terms of foreign fighters coming over is over that Iranian border, and is that why this one was given top priority? Or did that play into the decision to give this top priority?

MR. SENOR: I would just say -- I would just refer to Ambassador Bremer's repeated statements -- not only Ambassador Bremer; several senior members of the administration -- but in particular Ambassador Bremer's repeated statements over the past few months that the Iranians must do more to discourage the traffic of undesirables -- in some cases foreign fighters, in other cases undesirables -- from illegally crossing the border.

We have consulted with the Iranians on this policy. There is a delegation of Iraqis right now who are in Tehran that departed earlier today. It includes members of Iraq's Governing Council who are involved in the discussion. So this is something we believe that the Iraqi leadership -- the Iraqi Governing Council wants. It's something that the Iraqi Ministry of Interior supports. We believe it's something the Iranians want, but we would encourage them to play a more aggressive role in doing their part from their end to make it more difficult for people to illegally cross the border.


Q (In Arabic.)

MR. SENOR: Well, in one case the handover of sovereignty does not stop the process of enhancing the border control and the border monitoring program that we're putting into place. We will continue to have a responsibility to man, train and equip the border police, and also continue to work side by side with them to bring them up to a level of competence that would allow them at some time in the future to carry on that mission independently. The handover of sovereignty and the standing up, equipping, increasing the size and the training of the border police are disconnected in time.


Q A few days ago, General Swannack was here briefing in this very room and was raising a concern about the level of equipment the border patrol has in his area of operations, which is Al Anbar province, which borders Syria, which is obviously a concern to you guys in terms of infiltration. He said that they only have about three to five buses and a couple of small trucks for their border patrol, for that entire 800- or so kilometer border.

You guys have talked about having a staff of 8,000. You're going to double it. When are you going to get the equipment these people need to patrol the borders and to sort of do their job, so they can be out, you know, driving up and down there to find people? Thanks.

MR. SENOR: Rajiv, in the supplemental that was passed, that Congress appropriated last year, there was $300 million dedicated to the Department of Border Enforcement, under the Ministry of Interior, a large percentage of which is dedicated to equipment. We are deploying those funds -- we are in the process of deploying those funds to increase the requisite equipment-to-border-guard-personnel ratio.

Just as an example, in one area right now, are we in the process of -- we -- the Ministry of Interior has acquired 300 new four-by- fours -- four-by-four vehicles, land vehicles, for border security. And those are going to be sent out to accommodate personnel on the front lines.

But we have the funds dedicated. We're in the process of expending them. It's all in motion right now. And it's certainly a high priority.

GEN. KIMMITT: And of that 300 (million dollars), 150 (million dollars) is going -- directly going to the process of equipping and the products for the equipping, as well as 107 (million dollars) for construction. The final 43 million (dollars) of that will be going to the training of the border police.


Q Shobi (sp) for NHK. I understand that senior officials in the Bush administration have been quite busy naming and shaming the neighboring countries before, like Syria. And can I understand that this new measure is like based on goodwill, saying that, well, if we have time to blame others, why not we improve our side first?

MR. SENOR: I'm sorry. What's the second part of your statement? If --

Q Is this new measure based on the idea that you guys realize that it's better to improve the Iraqi side before blaming the other side?

MR. SENOR: I think both are necessary. It is important to send a very clear signal to governments of countries that border Iraq that enough is enough, that they need to do more to stem the flow of foreign fighters coming across their border into Iraq's. That is one part of it.

Another part of it is to improve security along the Iraqi border, improve the quality of the Iraqi border guard service.

The second element is a challenge for reasons I've said before, because the borders are porous, because they are so lengthy. But as I said, it -- quoting Ambassador Bremer's statement, it doesn't mean we can't do more. It doesn't mean should try to do more. And certainly doing the things that we're doing -- decreasing the number of ports of entry from 19 to three, decreasing the number of individuals that will be allowed to cross, increasing the number of immigration officer staff, installing this high-tech PISCES system, increasing the number of border patrols, doubling the border police force, decreasing the length of stay that individuals are allowed when crossing, and requiring passports for entry into the country -- the combination of all those tools and elements will help improve the situation. And that, we believe, combined with some of the other things we are doing, including encouraging foreign governments bordered with Iraq to do more to stem the flow themselves, can make a difference.

Deborah (sp).

Q When do you plan to actually start this? But also, as you are doubling the Iraqi personnel on the borders, are you planning to reduce the coalition security forces there? And finally, sir, this is part of a multi-stage effort to combat security problems. What is the next thing once you've got the security of the border sorted out? Thank you.

MR. SENOR: We are announcing the first stage right now. We will give you the details on the next stage when we are ready to announce it.

The reduction of the number of points of entry from 19 to three will take effect one week from today, so within one week those 16 ports of entry will be shut down. Doubling the border patrol personnel, increasing the number of immigration officers on duty, doubling the border patrol from over 8,000 to 16,000, increasing the number of immigration officers on duty from 86 to 1,000, both those will take effect -- initiatives will take effect sometime in the middle of next year. So over the next few months we will be working on those.

GEN. KIMMITT: With regard to the coalition forces, we do not see the doubling of the border police as an opportunity to save force structure on the part of the coalition. I'm not aware of any options where we're looking at this as an opportunity to pull coalition soldiers away from this mission. It would be additive to, not an opportunity to replace them.

MR. SENOR: And -- sorry, Deborah (sp) -- on the visas, visas will begin in several months. We will begin the entry permits immediately over the next few weeks, but visas, certainly tourist visas will begin in the next few months. The requirements about length of stay and the related administrative items will take effect immediately for new entrants coming into the country.


Q Thanks. Two things. Can you just clarify? Did you say the number of border guards and so forth will take place sometime next -- in the middle of next year, then a year from now?

MR. SENOR: Yes -- no, it's a gradual process. So we expect to have it completed by the middle of next year.

Q Okay.

MR. SENOR: Doubling the number of border guards and increasing the number of immigration processing staff by almost tenfold.

Q Okay. And on the visas and permits of entry, what sort of things are people going to have to present? Does this mean an Iranian, for example, will have to go to an embassy in Iran, or will he be able to turn up at the border? Will you have to pay and that sort of thing?

MR. SENOR: The way it'll work is, you will have to require a -- you will have to present a valid passport. And there will be exceptions made on a case-by-case basis for religious pilgrimages, where we can get advance verification of manifests, for instance, of buses that are coming over, of people participating, situations where we have in a concentrated period of time a large number of individuals coming. We will still subject them to the PISCES tracking system so we can monitor who's coming in, but we will make exceptions for expedited processing on a case-by-case basis.

And what was the other question?

Q (Off mike) -- people have to pay? Will people have to go to an embassy in advance and apply for a visa and sort of --

MR. SENOR: Yes. Yes.

Q So will there be a system of rejection for some of them?

MR. SENOR: The entry form can be filled out at the border, at the border station. And the card will be issued -- the entry cards or the entry permit, before visas are available, will be issued at the border. And the fees are being determined. There possibly will be some sort of levy. We will -- and that could be processed either at the border or at an embassy. That's going to be determined in the days and weeks ahead.

Yes, sir?

Q (Through interpreter.) (Off mike) -- how will you deal with these illegal crossing points?

GEN. KIMMITT: We will continue to deal with the illegal crossing points the way that we have been up to this point. We will use a combination of military and border police forces to either be assigned to that area, spot checking that as necessary, patrolling as necessary, using technical aspects to keep an eye on those areas, also using other -- unattended ground sensors, for instance. But we expect that there will still be a capability, along with this program, for coalition forces and Iraqi security forces to maintain some level of visibility on those illegal crossing points.

MR. SENOR: Yes. Go ahead. Yeah.

Q Hi. Jill Carroll with ENSA (ph). I thought I heard you guys say earlier that part of the PISCES system would be to monitor people that are within the country after they cross. Did I misunderstand that, or what would that entail if it did?

MR. SENOR: Well, the way it works is when you enter the country, you will have to apply for a permanent entry card, which will be issued, and the information from that card will be entered into the PISCES system. And that way an alert goes off, so to speak -- the individual's monitoring traffic, based on using that system -- we'll know if someone hasn't crossed back through the border.

So there will be a limit on how long individuals can stay. That limit is being determined right now. It will be a much more narrow time period than the 90 days currently allowed in CPA Order Number 16. It will be a much shorter period and we will know when people enter, and then if they're violating that we will know who we need to look for for possible deportation.

Right now with the PISCES system, it's a very sophisticated, high-tech instrument, and we have 36 individuals -- Iraqis trained for use right now that we can begin to deploy. We are also going to be deploying two trainers who are more senior within the border guard who can increase the number of individuals that will be staffing that system.

John (sp).

Q Sorry, this is a multi-part question.

MR. SENOR: Sorry?

Q Multi-part, I'm sorry.

MR. SENOR: Multi-part.

Q Can you tell us -- give us your estimate of the number of Iranians who did come in here for the Ashura? Can you tell us what intelligence you can divulge about the involvement of Iranians, if any, in the Ashura attacks?

And finally, General Kimmitt would certainly and the U.S. forces would certainly understand, given the entry of the special forces into Iraq in the weeks and I believe months before the war, how you can cross large sections of this border undetected because they're desert, not because they're mountains. Is it realistic to think -- you know, you go down south of Amman in Jordan to the Bedouin areas there and they will tell you that for -- you know, for the time of Saddam that if you couldn't get a visa, which many of us couldn't, we'll get you to Baghdad in 24 hours if you give us $1,000, no problem. How realistic is it to think that you can do a better job than Saddam Hussein, who goodness knows had his means of control?

MR. SENOR: I can answer the first question. We don't have an exact number at his point with regard to the number of individuals that came in for Ashura. We do -- and we intend to background on this shortly -- we do have data that we feel confident in with regard to the hajj and travel that went to, fro and through Iraq during the hajj. We are still trying to compile information for Ashura. It is difficult, John, to compile, as you can imagine, under the loose system that has existed up to this point. We -- certainly with the implementation of the PISCES program, we hope to be able to better monitor, better track, better account for --

Q Are we talking about tens of thousands?

MR. SENOR: I don't want to -- I really don't want to get drawn into numbers here. We are compiling that information, and when we are confident in the information we have, we will make it available to you.

GEN. KIMMITT: On the second question about intelligence pinning towards Iranian influence and Iranian participation in the Ashura bombings, one would hope that we are not trying to connect that the first effort on border control increase on the Iranian border is somehow either responsive to or linking the Iranians to bombings in Ashura. That is where we are putting our first priority because that's where we feel we need to put the first priority. But we have no evidence at this point, no intelligence that I'm aware of, that links the bombings in Karbala and Baghdad to any Iranians that we currently have under custody -- or in custody.

And on your third question about a reasonable expectation of what can be accomplished in terms of border control, border sealing, I think a better term to use would be "border monitoring." We have the capacity and the capability to monitor the borders. As you said, at 3,600 kilometers, it would be impossible to control and seal the borders of Iraq. That's why we see border control, border monitoring, as only one of the aspects of how we are going to prevent foreigners from coming in this country, operating with impunity inside this country, and presenting a risk to the people of Iraq. We have said time after time that this is one of the aspects, but it has to be to prevent terrorism coming from outside the borders from Iraq, this cannot be stopped simply at the borders; it must be fought and it must be controlled throughout the width and breadth of the country of Iraq.

The borders are the first line of defense. The second line of defense is within your own towns, within your own cities as you rely on your Iraqi security forces to hunt down these people that are trying to kill your fellow citizens. The third line of defense is every citizen inside this country who is responsible for taking their knowledge of people that don't belong in their neighborhood, who come in and out at night, and in the back of their trucks they're loading and unloading items that you don't really understand what they're doing; taking that intelligence, taking that information, passing it on to the Iraqi security forces, to the forces of public security, to the coalition forces so we can use that information to go after those persons and preempt and prevent the kind of terrorist attacks which this whole program is trying to accomplish.


Q (In Arabic.)

GEN. KIMMITT: And we don't disagree with you. In fact, I wrote a note that we should be taking more questions from the Iraqi press.

Q (In English.) For the Iraqi end, because -- (laughs) -- you always give everything to the Europeans.

(Continuing in Arabic.)

MR. SENOR: We are hoping that the Iranians, as I said earlier, will do more to stem the flow of illegal border traffic across their border with Iraq. And we have sent that signal to them on multiple occasions. We have sent that signal o the Syrians on multiple occasions. There is a delegation of Iraqi officials that are in Tehran today that will be addressing, among other things, among other issues, they will be addressing border issues with the Iranian government. So we hope for more cooperation from the Iranians.

Yes, ma'am?

Q (In Arabic.)

GEN. KIMMITT: Certainly we have no way of knowing an exact percentage, but sadly, we must acknowledge that the number of detainees that we have in the detention facilities at this time are roughly around 10,000. And of that 10,000, less than 150 are persons that hold foreign passports. So as a rough percentage, for every 100 Iraqis who we detain as an imperative threat to the security of Iraq, we will detain about one to two foreigners.

While it is true that those numbers alone do not measure the capabilities and the destructiveness, and it could well be that a well-trained foreign terrorist who comes into this country is a force that exceeds a hundred, perhaps, Iraqis, for the amount of destruction he or she can cause, simply the facts are that at this point far more Iraqis -- Iraqi citizens are being held as security threats to this country than foreigners, by a very, very large measure.

MR. SENOR: Go ahead.

Q (In Arabic) --

MR. SENOR: You're learning from your American colleagues.

Q (Through interpreter.) (Off mike) -- that would be played by the coalition forces even after handing over sovereignty to the Iraqis.

MR. SENOR: There are 27 border points -- ports of entry across all of Iraq's borders right now. The Iranian border consumes 19 of those. And within one week of today, that number will be reduced to three, the three that I indicated earlier.

To your question about religious visits, pilgrimages, we recognize that special circumstances will dictate expedited procedures on a case-by-case to accommodate the large influx of individuals participating in religious pilgrimages. And we will address those on a case-by-base cases (sic). But it doesn't that because Iraqis on the receiving end of religious pilgrimages, that we cannot work with the Iraqis to develop a broader, more comprehensive, more aggressive border security policy that applies throughout the year, including during times of religious holy days. And that's what we're doing.

Do you want to answer the --

GEN. KIMMITT: And the Iraqi border police, as one of the Iraqi security forces -- to your question about what will be the role of the coalition forces post-June 30th, we will continue to work along with the Iraqi security forces in a partnership to enhance capability, to equip, to help recruit and to train those forces. The border police are included in that overall program. So we do not anticipate stopping our efforts on June 30th, but will continue to work side by side to see this program through fruition.

MR. SENOR: Carol, go ahead.

Q I have two quick questions. One is how many were on the border force before, and is this new reconstituted force largely the previous border patrol? And the other thing is it sounds like you're consolidating on the Iranian side to do a better job of profiling, so has intelligence indicated that some of these attacks by foreign fighters have been carried out by people who came through legitimate border posts as opposed to the mountainous region that John (sp) was talking about?

MR. SENOR: On your first question, I don't have a number of the size of the border patrol pre-April 9th. But the way the program right now is being implemented is there is a eight-week training program for new hires, individuals that have never served in a police capacity. They effectively go through the new hire police training program that we have in place for the Iraqi police service, and then there is an additional training program after that that is unique to border patrol. We also have an expedited program for individuals that served in some sort of border policing function under the former regime that just need a shorter program not so much for the basic border patrol skills, but addressing issues that involve border patrol in a modern, democratic Iraq.

Do you want to answer the role of the coalition?

GEN. KIMMITT: The coalition will continue to work alongside the border police. We have no substantial evidence that specifically points to the border crossing -- the authorized border crossing points as being the source of our largest problems. However, it certainly is the case that the amount of equipment, the type of equipment that we've seen come across and used in some of these attacks would have to either come from inside the country or transported from abroad. It would be very difficult in many of these illegal crossing points, since they're in some cases just small trails, breaks in the woods, so on and so forth, for them to get through. So if you are a foreign fighter who wanted to bring equipment into this country, if you know you had a large amount of equipment that you wanted to bring into this country and you knew that the border crossing sites, the points of entry, were not well monitored, that would be the best place to go through. So that's why we're looking at that -- those authorized border crossing sites as the first place to tighten up. And frankly, all we're talking about today is what we are going to be doing on those border police points and not talking about other military operations and other military actions that the coalition may take in those non-guarded points along the borders.


Q (In Arabic.)

MR. SENOR: Immediate deportation. When we determine that someone is in the country illegally, we will seek, and the Iraqi Ministry of Interior will seek, to apprehend them immediately and deport them.


Q First of all, did the decision to shrink the number of border crossings -- was that reliant on any complicity in any way from Tehran? Secondly, is Iran going to be held in any structured way of -- in the number of people that they may put into their own borders, in any way that they will be held accountable for reenforcing those borders?

MR. SENOR: On your first question, the reason the three ports of entry that were chosen were chosen was because they are the largest and the most frequently used by Iranians. We made the decision that in order to get a better control of the border we just needed to reduce the volume of locations, the number of locations that people could cross through and concentrate the staff, concentrate the expertise, concentrate the knowledge in just a select few areas And we picked the ones that were the easiest to get up and running, the easiest to improve upon, and where the most traffic already occurred.

What was the second question? Sorry.

Q Will the Iranians be held to any accountability? Are you looking for hard figures in numbers of their reinforcing their own border?

MR. SENOR: No decision has been made at this point in terms of what we are specifically asking of the Iranians from a tangible standpoint, anything short of our broader message, which is that they have to play their part here and they have to do a much better job, they have to be much more aggressive at stemming the flow of cross- border traffic. We will be limiting the overall number of individuals that can come into Iraq, and certainly that will affect Iranians. And once we begin to make determinations about those numbers, we will, obviously, communicate them.

Q Could I just follow that up? Are you concerned in any way that these new strict measures might precipitate sort of a "hurry up" offense for the people that have been coming into this country?


MR. SENOR: Yes, sir?

Q (In Arabic.)

MR. SENOR: The policy is quite clear. There will be no effort to discriminate against individuals that want to come into this country legally and who are willing to abide by the specified requirements in terms of length of stay, and certainly individuals that do not have ill intentions for Iraq. So we have no reason to believe that commerce here in Iraq will be affected negatively by the implementation of this policy. In fact, one could argue that commerce and general economic life will be improved to the extent to which this policy helps deter and helps collapse efforts by foreign fighters to come into this country, who have been coming into this country and, we have from time to time reason to believe, played a role in wreaking havoc in this country, which certainly doesn't make it a friendly economic environment for Iraqis or foreigners. And so hopefully, it will play a small part in helping to turn that tide.

A couple more. Yes, sir?

Q (In Arabic.)

MR. SENOR: There's $300 million in the appropriations package that the U.S. Congress has passed last year and the president signed -- the president of the United States signed into law for Department of Border Enforcement, approximately 35 million (dollars) of which is for training. That is U.S. taxpayer funding deployed for the training of Iraqi border police.

The British will be playing a role in their sphere, where they are -- where they have an area of responsibility. They will be involved with some of the training.

The Ukrainians will also be playing a role in one section.

(To the general.) I don't know if you have anything to add.

GEN. KIMMITT: Yeah. You asked if this was going to be us or the Ministry of the Interior. When we refer to "us," we actually include the Ministry of the Interior. I mean, obviously Mr. Badran and General Ibrahim are actively involved in this program. We are -- this is not a coalition effort. This is a coalition and Iraqi effort. The money is being provided primarily from external sources, but with the manpower and the efforts primarily provided from the inside. This is not meant to be done in isolation but, quite frankly, is meant to be a partnership between the Ministry of the Interior and the coalition.

MR. SENOR: And I would add that just today Ambassador Bremer was in Wasat and Kut and received a briefing from Ukrainian -- from our coalition -- from coalition officials from Ukraine who are involved with border security issues along the Iranian border.

Last question. I know you are waiting patiently back there.

Q Considering or talking about border crossings, can you just tell us if there is a White House official going to be making a border crossing into Iraq any time soon to talk to the Governing Council?

MR. SENOR: That is a very clever segue, I must say. (Soft laughter.) Do you have a follow-up to that?

Q Actually, this is related to this: Do you expect that this program will any way decrease attacks by foreign fighters inside Iraq in the foreseeable future?


MR. SENOR: Was that related to that question? Okay.

GEN. KIMMITT: But I don't want to trivialize the question, because it is an important question. And it is just one of many programs that we have trying to reduce not only the foreign fighter presence inside this country, but it's one of those elements of an overall strategy to defeat all terrorist threats inside this country.

When one looks at the marginal improvements, the significant improvements that we are making as a part of this program, you can't take it in isolation, but you must understand it in the entire context of this is just one aspect of the Iraqi security forces that continue to grow on a day-by-day basis.

Of the coalition forces, approximately 130,000 coalition forces; Iraqi security forces, 200,000 and growing -- every one of those forces dedicated to trying to bring stability and security to this country.

If you take a microscope and simply think that this all going to be solved by an increase in the number of border police, I think you'll be horribly disappointed. It is entirely an overall approach to the security of this country, which includes the Iraqi security forces, the coalition forces, the Iraqi border police, the Iraqi police service, the Iraqi armed forces, the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps, all of those growing every day, becoming competent every day, the intelligence increasing every day. And we are hoping that those efforts of the 350,000-plus are going to lead to fewer and fewer attacks.

MR. SENOR: And to your other question, your subtle segue, yes, I think there was some confusion in some of the reporting. The visitor who arrived today is Ambassador Robert Blackwill, who is a member of the NSC staff, who comes here on a very regular basis, who's here probably every four to six weeks. Part of his portfolio is Iraq and so he comes here regularly to help support Ambassador Bremer and the team. Today's visit is just one of those frequent trips. He was here a few weeks ago, he'll probably be here in another few weeks. So for operation security reasons related to his travel, the White House -- any agency within the administration -- never publicizes travel of senior level officials. I know it adds to the intrigue when they won't announce it and someone leaks to a newspaper that someone is coming, but this is part of his regular travel. He was here a few weeks ago, he'll be back in a few weeks, so it is not an illegal border crossing.


Q Is he meeting with officials?

MR. SENOR: Sorry?

Q Is he meeting with GC officials?

MR. SENOR: I don't know what his schedule is yet, but he comes from time to time and consults with the coalition, meets with Ambassador Bremer, meets with Iraqi officials. He's here every few weeks.

Thanks, everybody.



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