Coalition Provides Broad Security for Iraqi Officials
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, May 17, 2004 The coalition provides the tools for the best security possible for members of the Iraqi Governing Council and is in the process of standing up a protective service for the Iraqi government modeled loosely on the U.S. Secret Service, coalition officials said today.
Dan Senor, senior Coalition Provisional Authority spokesman in Iraq, told reporters in Baghdad today the coalition provides financial assistance, body armor, weapons, vehicles and training for the governing council members' personal protective details.
However, not all protective details including that of Ezzidin Salim, president of the Iraqi Governing Council who was assassinated today have participated in the training, Senor said.
Salim's security detail consisted mostly of cousins, nephews and other family members, "which is his choice," Senor said. "Unfortunately, our records show that none of his personal security detail members ever participated in any of our training programs again, his choice."
The coalition offers a six-week training program as well as a refresher course for security personnel. So far, about 200 security officials for the Iraqi Governing Council have attended the initial training, and about 40 have gone through the refresher training, Senor said.
"We make the resources available, we make the training available, but it is up to the individual general council members and the security details if they want to participate," he said.
"Clearly, their security is a very high priority for us, and that's why we provide the funding, that's why we provide the body armor, that's why we provide the weapons, and that's why we provide this training," Senor said.
Senor called the security considerations the coalition gives to the Iraqi Governing Council members "second to none" and said the coalition is constantly evaluating their security and looking at ways to improve it.
Senor said it is still too soon to know if Salim or the Iraqi presidency was specifically targeted in the attack. But he said there's a broad consensus among leaders in Iraq that "there will be a real security terrorist threat" following the transfer of sovereignty June 30.
"And those leaders who have taken a serious look at the issue have made it clear to us that it is their hope that American security forces continue to play a role here after June 30 in support of the Iraqi security forces that are being trained and equipped," he said.