Home Page


U.S. Department of Defense News Briefing
Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt, Deputy Director for Coalition Operations and
Dan Senor, Senior Adviser, Coalition Provisional Authority
March 25, 2004

MR. SENOR: (In progress.) Couple of administrative items.

Today at 4:00 p.m. there will be a backgrounder in the International Press Center given by senior coalition officials on the new Ministry of Defense.

I have received a couple questions from you all about the status of the border enhancement implementation. I'll just provide you an update. Per the press announcement on that issue, all the points of entry along the Iraq-Iran border have been closed, with the exception of Montharia (ph), Zubachia (ph) and al-Zamanchia, which were the three that we had indicated would remain open. These three, as I said, will be the only ones to remain open for the time being.

Immigration officials are being trained and deployed to those three points of entry. The PISCES system, Personal Identification Secure Comparison Evaluation System -- the PISCES computerized immigration monitoring system has recently been installed at Montharia (ph). Forty-two boxes of equipment are en route from Baghdad to the border post to support border police. Department of Border Enhancement is reviewing plans for the repairs for the three remaining border entry points along the Iran-Iraq border.

We had estimated that the cost would be approximately $4.5 million to repair those three points, and Department of Border Enhancement has -- Enforcement -- has ordered temporary facilities in which immigration officers and border police officers working at the border entry points can more effectively do their jobs. They'll be arriving in the next coming days. So, there will be a number of supervisory personnel arriving, taking a closer look at what needs to be done during this transition phase. But the immediate issues -- closing the points, concentrating staff in the remaining points that are open, and implementing the PISCES system -- are on track.

Finally, recently some of you may have seen a press release on this recently. Ambassador Bremer had a meeting with the Baghdad City Council and they indicated that they needed beautification projects, if you will, for the city of Baghdad -- creation and rehabilitation of city parks, rest areas, public squares, playgrounds, recreation areas, installation and repair of lighting to illuminate outdoor public places. Ambassador Bremer at the meeting with the Baghdad City Council agreed to disperse $10 million within the next three months for city beautification projects. The funding will be distributed equally to each of Baghdad's nine belladiahs (ph), which equals just over $1.1 million for each district.

General Kimmitt.

GEN. KIMMITT: Good morning.

The area of operations remains relatively stable. Over the past week there have been an average of 22 engagements daily against coalition military, four attacks daily against Iraqi security forces, and just under four attacks daily against Iraqi civilians.

In the past 24 hours, the coalition conducted 1,412 patrols, 32 offensive operations, 17 raids and captured 17 anti-coalition suspects.

In the northern zone of operations, coalition and Iraqi security forces conducted 135 patrols, four offensive operations, and detained three anti-coalition suspects. Two days ago, a patrol was attacked by
small-arms fire near Hamam al-Ali (ph). One soldier was wounded with
non-life-threatening injuries. He was evacuated to the 67th Support Hospital and is stable condition. Our snipers engaged the attackers and are believed to have killed one of the attackers.

On Tuesday, drive-by shooters conducted two attacks on Iraqi police in Mosul. A patrol was attacked by drive-by shooters in a taxi, with rocket-propelled grenades and small-arms fire. The Iraqi police pursued but were unable to apprehend the assailants.

Drive-by shooters also attacked an Iraqi traffic-control point near Hamam al-Ali (ph). The Iraqi police returned fire and killed two of the assailants.

In the north central zone of operations, coalition and Iraqi security forces conducted 274 patrols, seven raids and captured 20 anti-coalition suspects.

Yesterday a patrol was engaged north of Taji, resulting in one coalition soldier killed and one wounded. The unit returned fire and killed three enemy personnel.

Yesterday coalition forces conducted a raid near two objectives to kill or capture anti-coalition forces involved in recent indirect fire attacks on coalition force facilities. Five personnel were detained at the first objective and three personnel were captured at the second objective.

Yesterday coalition forces and Iraqi police executed a joint cordon-and-knock in Mukhadiya (ph). Two targets and weapons were confiscated, and one suspect was wounded. And the target was evacuated to coalition medical facilities.

Yesterday a coalition force conducted a raid east of Balad. One target, Mullah Khalil (ph), was detained, along with eight other personnel.

In Baghdad, coalition and Iraqi security forces conducted 596 patrols, 32 escort missions, and captured one anti-coalition suspect.

Yesterday one 127-millimeter Astro rocket hit the Sheraton Hotel on the northeast face of the eighth floor. There were no injuries, but there was some damage to the roof and some broken windows. At the same time, another Astro rocket impacted near the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Yesterday coalition forces conducted a cordon-and-search in support of the ongoing Operation Iron Promise to capture a former Arab Ba'ath Socialist Party member, Ahmed Salah Abdul Amir Khadir (ph). The unit captured the target and confiscated assorted documents.

Yesterday coalition forces conducted a raid to capture Omar Al- Oyedi (ph). He is suspected of being a member of the al-Qud Army (ph). The unit captured the target and transported him to a coalition forward operating base for detention and interrogation.

On Day Seven of operation Iron Promise, Task Force 1st Armored Division continued to target known enemy locations and aggressively carry out cordon-and-search operations, looking for former regime elements and other extremists in the Baghdad region. After one week of intensified operations, 129 personnel have been detained, with two personnel killed in action.

Ten rockets, 101 artillery and mortar rounds, 32 rocket-propelled launchers, with 51 rounds of ammunition, and 161 rifles have been confiscated.

In the western zone of operations, in a transfer-of-authority ceremony with paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne Division, United States Marines of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force returned and formally accepted their mission in the Al Anbar Province yesterday.

There was a small-arms attack on the Facilities Protection Service yesterday in Fallujah. The attack was described as a drive-by shooting by two assailants in a white Toyota. The attack resulted in one Facilities Protection Service guard killed and one child killed, as well. There were no injuries to coalition forces.

In the central-south zone of operations, coalition and Iraqi security forces conducted 114 patrols, established 60 checkpoints and escorted 43 convoys.

Yesterday the Al Hillah police chief reported that the chief of police of Jerf-ah-sokker (ph), 13 kilometers northwest of (Al-Musayyib ?), was shot and killed while driving his own car. The Iraqi police are in charge and are investigating the incident.

Civil-military cooperation activities in Multinational Division Central South has distributed 73,000 dollars U.S. in DFI funds for projects ranging from police checkpoints to school renovations in Al Mushru (ph).

In the southeastern zone of operations, a hasty operation to capture the leader of the Garmasha (ph) tribe was conducted in Basra. The target was successfully captured and his home searched, resulting in the discovery of 50 million dinar and two rifles. The target has been detained for further questioning.

The Ministry of Health in Multinational Division Southeast -- along with Multinational Division Southeast has initiated a campaign to immunize 400,000 school children against measles, mumps and rubella in the Basra region.

MR. SENOR: And with that, we'll be happy to take your questions. Yes, sir?

QUESTION: (Through interpreter.) Fayez Ahmed (ph) from (Al Mujtama ?). You talked about detaining Mullah Khalil (ph) with other elements. What does Mullah Khalil (ph) represent? To which group does he belong? Is he only a suspect? Do you have any evidence?

GEN. KIMMITT: He is a member of the Garmasha (ph) tribe. And we suspect him of being involved in anti-coalition activities. We will detain him for a period of time for interrogation. Should he present himself as an imperative threat to the security of the coalition or to the Iraqi people, we will continue his detention. If not, we will release him.


Q: To both of you. The police seem to be taking heavy casualties in the last couple of weeks, obviously. And I was wondering if, in your discussions with them, if you could relate how you believe they are holding up and whether or not these losses, especially to a number of police officials, chiefs and what have you, are undermining your attempts to stabilize some of these areas.

GEN. KIMMITT: That's a good question. We remain concerned at what is clearly a program of intimidation and targeting of not only the Iraqi police service, but all Iraqi government officials. It is true that a significant number of Iraqi police have been killed over the past year, somewhere on the order of about 350.

What I would say is that it's a credit and it's a tribute to the Iraqi police service that despite the amount of attacks that they endure on almost a daily basis that they still have a tremendously high morale. Sadly but proudly, they recognize that the death of their colleagues has occurred because they are working towards a new Iraq, one that is free, sovereign and democratic. They are attempting to impose the rule of law into this society. And we have not seen a significant downturn in either the recruitment or the retention rates of the Iraqi police service; again, a tribute to not only their bravery, but their patriotism and their mission focus. And we should all be very, very grateful for their service to this country, particularly under the trying circumstances of which they operate every day.


Q: Cara Gerhard, National Public Radio. I just have two tiny questions, one about the shootings against the Time magazine translator and the Bechtel translator yesterday. Any details on that? And then latest developments in the investigation into the death of the Arabiyah reporters.

GEN. KIMMITT: The death of the --

Q: Al-Arabiyah reporters.

GEN. KIMMITT: I don't have specific information on the two translators.

On the issue of the investigation surrounding the allegations of shooting the Al-Arabiyah journalists, I know that the investigation -- the investigation phase has been complete. They are moving forward. They have submitted the investigation to the legal authorities, the legal personnel for a legal review. I would expect that we will have an answer in the next couple of days. I don't have particularly any details of where the investigation stands or what it has concluded. I think that we're going to find that this is relatively inconclusive on if, in fact, the military personnel were involved in this. But I'm going to wait until the investigation is complete, has been reviewed, has been approved before we talk about the findings of the investigation.

Q: You'll have results probably by the end of the week?

GEN. KIMMITT: I would expect so.

Q: Thank you.

MR. SENOR: Deborah (ph).

Q: Hi. I've got three questions.

MR. SENOR: Three questions.

Q: The first one is the coalition soldier who was killed -- wounded near
-- north of Taji. Is that a U.S. soldier?

GEN. KIMMITT: Yeah, that was a United States Army soldier.

Q: And my second question is, with the -- it's for Dan -- with the United Nations team coming here imminently, (I can trust -- I heard ?) you're going to start work. What sort of expectations do you have about what's going to be discussed? Do you have like a goal or some sort of target about anything?

MR. SENOR: Well, obviously we're going to wait till the team arrives before we start establishing specific timelines. The initial -- or at least publicizing them. The two primary goals of the U.N. teams are, one, to help -- consult with us and consult with Iraqis about what shape and form the interim government that takes over on June 30th should take; and the other primary goal for the U.N. teams are to look at -- is to look at what preparations are necessary for direct elections by the end of January next year. And these are the sorts of -- putting in place the infrastructure, the electoral commissions, the laws, the voter counts, voter rolls, political party laws, all the sorts of things that we believed are necessary and based on consultations with independent organizations that I believe are necessary for direct elections, the U.N. team will be working on that as well.

In terms of exact timing, we'll have a better -- we'll be more comfortable talking about that once they're here and obviously we have meetings with them and whatnot. We're not commenting on their exact arrival date, so you can determine that through independent sources or through them.

Q: I had one more question, sorry.


Q: This one's for General Kimmitt again. I just heard a report that apparently -- on my phone -- apparently they've seen a U.S. attack on Guizan at 1:30 this morning, four Iraqis dead. Do you have any information on that, please?

GEN. KIMMITT: I'm sorry. Where was the location?

Q: Guizan. (Chuckles.)

MR. SENOR: As soon as we have that information we'll get it out to the press.

Q: Okay, thanks.

MR. SENOR: Yes, sir.

Q: (Through interpreter.) Amir (ph) from the Spanish news agency. My question is, is there any press information regarding sending delegations to Egypt? And he requested from the Egyptian government to send some of their forces to Iraq instead of the Spanish forces in case that the Spanish forces decided to withdraw by the end of the 13th of June. How far this information is true?

MR. SENOR: I do not know anything about it, but any issues related to Spanish forces withdrawing, not withdrawing, and what would be a substitute in the event that they did withdraw, all those sorts of issues should be addressed to Washington, to the U.S. Department of State or the U.S. Department of Defense.


Q: Owen Faye (ph), Fox News. General, two questions about the situation in Irbil. Are you getting cooperation with the peshmerga on moving all of their people into the ICDC and the border police, and the implications if they don't account for all of the troops that are moving? And also I understand that there's been some complaints about equipment requests from the Irbil ICDC, and I'm just wondering about the scheduling for all of their requests for flak jackets and so on.

GEN. KIMMITT: Well, on the second question about complaints from the ICDC in the Irbil area, that would not be -- I don't know about them personally. It would not be unusual. I think every one of the ICDC units that we're training has a concern about the timelines for the equipment distribution. We've talked about it many, many times in here. We are convinced that we are moving quickly on this. I think we're also convinced that we would all like to be moving quicker on this, because the sooner we can get that equipment into the hands of the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps, the Iraqi police service, the Iraqi armed forces, the sooner we can have a fully trained, fully equipped, fully experienced organization ready to take over the security requirements of this country.

MR. SENOR: On the first question, it is the U.S. -- it is coalition policy that there is no room for independent militias outside of the control of the national government in Iraq. And it is also -- that position is also consistent with the transitional administrative law, the interim constitution.

And so what we are doing now is working with the respective militias and political parties that have some sort of security apparatus in winding down those organizations. We want to do it -- in some cases, some of these militias have worked side by side with U.S. forces over the years in dealing with Saddam Hussein.

So these are security organizations that we want to wind down in a very dignified way, whether it's integrating them to one of the other -- into one of the other security organizations -- like you said, the ICDC or the Iraqi police -- in which they have valuable skill sets and experience that can play an important role in those, make important contributions to the new Iraqi security organizations; or it's winding them into retirement, finding them other employment opportunities. This is all -- these are all things we are working now over the next couple of months.

But the important point is, there is general agreement with the heads of the -- with the leadership of the peshmerga and the Kurdish leadership on
the importance of winding down that security organization. There is
agreement on the importance of individuals who serve in every -- any Iraqi security organization do so as individual Iraqis serving to protect the unified Iraq, not as representatives of some political organization or sectarian militia. And now we're just working on the implementation.


Q: Colin McMahon from The Chicago Tribune. General, could you comment on the report yesterday about suicides among service personnel in Iraq and Kuwait, and specifically about whether or not there's a move to move on the recommendation and send more mental health experts to the region?

And the second one is, is there anything new on the investigation into the deaths of Fern Holland and the others?

GEN. KIMMITT: Yeah, I'm not aware that we have made any significant breakthroughs in the investigation on the killings of the CPA employees, vicinity Al Hillah.

On the first question, about suicides, we have had over the past few months concerns about the suicide rate inside of the theater. The number runs a little bit above the Army average, significantly below the same age group in normal American society.

As commanders, suicide is one of those factors inside of the unit that we work very, very hard to mitigate and eliminate. We have generally about four different organizations that are -- that work with the soldiers in trying to impose and affect a suicide prevention program with inside of the unit. Obviously the commanders -- the chain of command knows that their responsibility to the soldiers, understanding what their soldiers are thinking, understanding the soldiers' needs, understanding their soldiers' requirements, is a fundamental requirement of any leader and any commander inside any organization.

We typically see many soldiers who are crying out for help who demonstrate suicidal ideations and we do what we can, and it is a command and a leadership responsibility to be constantly aware of those types of problems within the unit. We also have the Chaplain Corps, who does a marvelous job working with persons inside the unit, persons inside the battalion, so that they understand that soldiers have a non-chain-of-command person that they can sit down with for individual counseling if they're having problems, so on and so forth.

They also have each other. Their colleagues are one of the greatest methods and their buddies are the greatest methods of ensuring that people don't take external influences, internalize them and start seeking suicide as a solution to those challenges. I've seen as a commander many times where individual soldiers will come up to their senior non-commissioned officers and say: "Hey, sergeant, Soldier X, he just isn't the same. He's drinking a little more than necessary, he's got real quiet. He's become very, very quiet, sort of remorse. I know he's having some family problems." That initial detection has very many times allowed us to get those soldiers to the right professionals so they can seek an outlet for their concerns and we can get them back to where they need to be.

We also have the medical professionals here in theater. Unlike previous combat tours, we've actually brought forward the combat stress hospitals
-- the combat stress units. I believe we have four here in theater, if not more, but I believe the number is four. And that's trained medical professionals who are specialists in the area of combat stress, so that if we don't feel, and our chaplains and our own medical professionals don't feel, that we can handle the problem at unit level we can get the soldiers over to those organizations so they can decompress, talk to trained medical professionals, get those soldiers back to their units as quickly as possible. We're making progress. We're never going to say we have accomplished our mission until that number is zero. We know that the numbers, the trends, while a bit -- while below national averages, are above where we want it to be. And until we get that number to zero, we're going to keep working on it.


Q: Sewell Chan with The Washington Post. General Kimmitt, I wanted to ask if there's an update on the administrative review that was ordered by Generals Sanchez and Metz into conditions at Abu Gharib. And if you could also let us know about the schedule for releasing detainees in the future from that facility, and also about how the most recent release went. Thank you.

GEN. KIMMITT: From the back forward. The recent -- we thought the release both on Sunday and on Tuesday went as -- pretty well. Obviously those persons that were no longer considered a security threat, imperative threat to the coalition, were quickly processed out, got on buses, got them home. We didn't have any violence surrounding it. We didn't have any massive demonstrations. We got those people back to their families, getting them back into society as quickly as we could. And we want to continue this program. I know we're looking at trying to do it on a routine basis on certain days of the week so that we can forecast, particularly for the families, when those detainees will be released. And I'm not certain that we put that into effect yet, but I know that's under
-- in planning.

To your first question, the administrative investigation at Abu Gharib, concerning Abu Gharib, is being handled by Combined Forces Land Component Command. That's General McKiernan and his command, currently in Kuwait. I understand that there still will be a couple of more days before the legal review is completed on that investigation. But I would refer you down to Doha, Kuwait, for pending announcements with regards to that investigation. We had the criminal -- we announced the criminal investigation, those criminal charges, specifically against those soldiers that we were taking criminal action against. So those are two separate investigations from two separate locations.

You had a third question.

Q: (Off mike.)


MR. SENOR: Go ahead.

Q: Luke Baker from Reuters. Dan, have you ascertained yet whether the letter from Sistani is in fact from Sistani, and, if so, what does it mean? And what does it do to the process of handing over sovereignty on June 30th? Does it mess with timetable potentially?

MR. SENOR: As of now, we know a letter has been sent. We are not certain if the letter is from Aytollah Sistani or one of his representatives.

But the important point is that we are moving forward with this process, the process outlined in the transitional administrative law. We are moving forward in our consultations with the United Nations. The United Nation is moving forward; they are deploying their teams. Other leaders of the Governing Council have spoken out on this as well about the importance of moving forward. So this process is on track.


Q: (Name and affiliation inaudible.) (Through interpreter.) I have two questions. The presidential elections in the United States, what will happen if President Bush losses the election, what will happen to the American forces in Iraq? Is there an agreement that the candidate for the presidency -- will the security remain as it is? What will happen to the American forces in Iraq, in Afghanistan?

The second question, how do you evaluate the request by the U.S. government to ask the United Nations to come back to Iraq? The United States has ignored the United Nations. Does the United States want to lay the responsibility on the United Nations?

MR. SENOR: On your first question, we tend not to speculate on hypotheticals -- what if this happens, what if that happens. We'll see what happens and then we'll address it. Speaking for Ambassador Bremer, we are on the ground here focused on the reconstruction of Iraq. We've got our hands full. We don't spend a lot of time monitoring elections in other countries. There's going to be several direct elections in this country over the next 15 or 18 months, and those are the ones that we are focused on implementing.

To your second question, we have said all along that there was a vital role for the United Nations in the reconstruction of Iraq. In fact, at the end of major combat operations, shortly before the end of major combat operations for Operation Iraqi Freedom, President Bush was quite clear on that; encouraged the U.N. to play a prominent role here, and they did. Up until shortly after the August 19th terrorist attack against the U.N. compound, the U.N. made important contributions, working alongside the coalition, in the reconstruction of Iraq.

They chose to depart; the U.N. chose to withdraw after the August 19th attack. They were playing a prominent role, they were engaging in vital work, and they chose to depart. And we regretted that. Ambassador Bremer told the secretary-general, Kofi Annan, on several occasions, both publicly and privately, that he regretted the U.N.'s withdrawal and would hope that they would return.

And once they began to respond to some of the requests from the Governing Council about weighing in and using their expertise to weigh in on whether or not direct elections were possible by June 30th, and if they were not possible by June 30th what sorts of steps needed to be taken to get direct elections infrastructure in motion so it could be implemented within a reasonable time frame, once the U.N. began to be responsive to those issues we saw a reengagement by them. And we've been very encouraging of it. We think, as I said, they have certain areas of expertise that are uniquely suited to the work we are doing here, and we could definitely all benefit from their expertise and their contributions.


Q: (Through interpreter.) Ambassador Paul Bremer talked about the establishment of a new Iraqi Ministry of Defense. How will the new minister be appointed? Will it be done in coordination with the Pentagon, or will he be elected by the Governing Council?

Second question. Will the coalition forces hold a military agreement with the new ministry?

MR. SENOR: The minister of defense, who will be named shortly -- within the next couple of weeks -- will be chosen by Ambassador Bremer and the Governing Council's Security Committee in consultation with the Governing Council.

And the second question about a security agreement, that --

(To General Kimmitt.) Do you want to --

GEN. KIMMITT: There will come a time in the future when the parties will sit down and we'll work out what we traditionally call a status of forces agreement that we have with any sovereign nation that coalition and U.S. military forces operate in. We don't envision that coming in the near future since currently the U.N. Security Council resolutions is providing sufficient basis for us to continue our operations. But it can be envisioned in the future that we will sit down side by side with the Ministry of Defense for the purpose of working out this agreement.

MR. SENOR: Carol.

Q: I have one for each of you. General -- I mean, I didn't --

MR. SENOR: Which means only two.

Q: Hmm?

MR. SENOR: Which means only two questions, which is progress. Go ahead.

Q: (Chuckles.) I'm sure more will come. Carol Rosenberg with the Miami Herald.

General, I just learned about this Bechtel shooting and the Time magazine shooting. Have you discerned a campaign specifically aimed at translators, and what do you think is behind it?

And then, Dan, the parks -- beautification project that you announced --

MR. SENOR: Mm-hmm. (In acknowledgement.)

Q: -- is there evidence that the coalition bombed those parks, or is it part of some other strategy?

MR. SENOR: No. The focus of the project is just areas that have been completely underinvested in, dilapidated as a result of skewed priorities by the former regime over the past several decades, and it is -- the physical reconstruction of the country is obviously a priority. So is the psychological reconstruction of a country that has lived under totalitarianism, a brutal totalitarian regime for 35 years. And sometimes there's an intersection between the two, where the physical actually has an impact on the psychological. And there's just something -- the Baghdad City Council or members of the advisory boards communicated to us this sense of Iraqis need to see just a physical improvement in the quality and the aesthetics of the day-to- day environs that -- the day-to-day places that they visit, and it will have a psychological impact and sort of a peace of mind and give people a sense of optimism and hope that things are improving.

It's about day-to-day improvement of lives. These are not sites that were bombed -- I mean, I'm not ruling it out. I'm not saying there isn't any single site that wasn't affected -- there's any site that was not affected by the war. But primarily these are just sites that were left in shambles over the years, and we just want to improve them.

Q: Can I just follow? Is this first sort of allocation of this nature?

MR. SENOR: No. We have done similar projects, pulling funding from different sources and channeled through different organizations over the past year. So this has been done in multiple ways. If you look at the -- there's been over 17,000 small reconstruction progress -- projects that have been carried out throughout the country over the last eight to nine months. It averages out to about a hundred projects a day.

And these are the sorts of projects that our Civil Affairs personnel do on the ground, our field staff, some of the U.S. military, coalition military
-- you know, rehabilitating a school, getting a generator put in a hospital, painting and opening up an orphanage, getting a phone -- you know, Internet cafe open. I mean, there's all of these sorts of smaller projects that go on throughout the country every single day and, again, channeled through multiple organizations in multiple ways.

This was just -- he heard a direct complaint from the Baghdad City Council. He wanted to be very responsive and told them during that meeting he would put $10 million to work immediately over the next several months for projects that the advisory council's identified.

GEN. KIMMITT: To answer your question about the translators, I think if one takes a look around and says, "What are those elements that one needs to restore a civil society inside of Iraq, government, security, other types of organizations, moving towards a free, sovereign, democratic Iraq," it is clear that there is a campaign of terrorism, of intimidation on the parts of those that want to either return this country to a totalitarian dictatorship of 18 months ago or some sort of apocalyptic extremist society of 10 centuries ago.

One of the ways that they are attempting to intimidate and terrorize the nation is by going after symbolic targets. They're going after the Iraqi
police, as was asked and mentioned earlier. They're going against the
Iraqi Civil Defense forces. They're going against people who they can paint as collaborators with the occupation, of which translators would be considered one of those.

They're also going against innocent civilians, such as laundry workers, as we saw near Fallujah, as we saw down in Basra, whose only crime was that somehow they're trying to work and earn a decent living and wages for their family.

And we would expect that as the country gets closer and closer to independence and sovereignty, that these types of attacks against soft targets will continue. And it just demonstrates in our mind that these extremists, these people who suggest we should be returning this country to totalitarian rule, where the suspension of civil rights and individual liberties is the way to keep this safe -- those that suggest those alternatives to a free democratic and sovereign society, which is what this country is moving for, becomes very, very obvious.

MR. SENOR: Go ahead.

Q: Salama Abdahessen (ph), Iraqi Jadid (ph) Broadcasting. Yesterday Mr. Bremer, he announced forming the new formation of the employees of the Ministry of Information. So the second question is to where has it been, the investigation regarding the two bombings in Karbala and Kadhimiya?

MR. SENOR: On the first question, with regard to how we are compensating and addressing the former employees of the former Ministry of Information. Those details will be made public, probably within the next 24, 48 hours. We have a plan to work this out. We've heard from a number of employees from the Ministry of Information. I think what you're referring to, though, is he talked about a media monitoring regulatory body. This is a body that would monitor Iraq's -- or regulate the appropriation, if you will, the distribution for use of Iraq's airwaves, which is something which is a regulatory body that exists in every Western democracy; in the United States we have what's called the Federal Communications Commission. And it's to encourage television and radio organizations to come to Iraq or those already here to broadcast and just be done in an organized fashion. And that's what he was referring to.

GEN. KIMMITT: And I'm afraid we don't have any significant breakthroughs to announce on the Kadhimiya, Baghdad, or Karbala bombings that we saw during Ashura.

MR. SENOR: Last question. Go ahead. Yeah?

Q: Eddie Sanders, L.A. Times. On the drive-by shootings that keep going on, is there anything that you were doing or you are recommending that Iraqi police can do to protect not only themselves but others from these kinds of shootings? And do you have any sense of who's behind them? I mean, do you necessarily think these are the same people that are behind the suicide bombings? Is there any coordination? Or do you think they might be just being executed on the local level?

GEN. KIMMITT: Well, it's our suggestion, it's our analysis up to this point that these have been local-type operations, not something that is being orchestrated on a grand scale. I think we think about drive-by shootings and the best way to protect against those the same way you protect against drive-by shootings in any country, which is think about where you are, maintain good situational awareness, try to provide adequate force protection in those areas most vulnerable to these types of drive-by shootings. Just common sense in many cases can forestall many of these attacks.

But I think we all recognize that a determined group of people with weapons -- that if they choose to go out and try to conduct a drive-by shooting without a lot of previous announcements, without a lot of intelligence suggesting otherwise, that is not something that we can prevent 100 percent of the time.

MR. SENOR: Thank you, everybody.

Just one other -- you'll be getting a number of advisories from Jared and Susan. We are going to try and organize a number of backgrounders over the next few days on the different policy initiatives that Ambassador Bremer announced yesterday. So almost every day, beginning -- there will be one today, as I said, on Ministry of Defense, and then Saturday through Tuesday there will be one almost every day that will go through each component within the speech, and we'll bring the policy experts to come in and walk you through them and answer any questions. Stay tuned.


(end transcript)


A simpler version of this page for printingPrinter-friendly Version

Home | Official Documents | Budget and Finance | Transcripts | Press Releases
Requests for Proposals/Solicitations | Business Center | Webmaster
Privacy and Security Notice

Volunteers For Prosperity First Gov USA Freedom Corps White House Foreign Aid in the National Interest