United States Department of Defense United States Department of Defense

News Transcript

Press Operations Bookmark and Share

Transcript


CPA Senior Advisor, Daniel Senor and Deputy Director of Coalition Operations Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt

Presenter: Coalition Provisional Authority Briefing
February 12, 2004 9:00 AM EDT
Coalition Provisional Authority Briefing

            GEN. KIMMITT:  Good afternoon.  Today the Coalition Provisional Authority and Combined Join Task Force 7 announce that the award for information leading to the apprehension of Abu Musaab al-Zarqawi, a suspected leader of terrorists in Iraq, will increase to $10 million.  Abu al- Zarqawi and his organization are closely linked to the al Qaeda terror network.  Zarqawi, born in Jordan, is the most capable terrorist in Iraq today and his networks and contacts extend to Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East.  Jordan convicted Zarqawi in absentia for his role in the October, 2002 assassination of USAID representative Lawrence Foley in Amman, Jordan and the December 1999 millennium plot to attack Western tourists.  Zarqawi is the prime suspect in several terrorist attacks in Iraq to include the August 2003 bombings at the Ali Imam Mosque in An Najaf, which took the life of Ayatollah Baqir al-Hakim, and he's also implicated in the U.N. headquarters bombing in Baghdad.

 

            The full resources of the coalition are focused on those who conduct or support attacks on the people of Iraq.  Zarqawi will be brought to justice or justice will be brought to him.  There is no safe place to hide.  Terrorists would do well to turn themselves in as we will continue to hunt them relentlessly until they're killed or captured.

 

            MR. SENOR:  Over the days ahead the coalition will be launching a public information campaign on Mr. Zarqawi that will be as elaborate and as widespread as the public information campaigns launched with regard to Saddam Hussein and his sons Uday and Qusay Hussein.  Outside we have available to you a number of the products that will be distributed throughout the country.  We will be alerting Iraqis to the wild card, Mr. Zarqawi.  We will also be ensuring that every Iraqi is intimately familiar with this blueprint for terror in Iraq document, Mr. Zarqawi's memorandum, his action plan to tear this country apart.

 

            We will be highlighting certain messages that come directly out of his plan that are his words -- Mr. Zarqawi speaking in his own words for his plans for various Iraqis.  Some of the messages that come directly out of his document that we will be highlighting to the Iraqi people include:  Quote-Unquote, "We were involved in all the martyrdom operations in terms of overseeing, preparing and planning that took place in this country.  I have completed 25 of these operations, some of them against the Shi'a and their leaders, the Americans and their military, the police, the military and the coalition forces."

 

            Another quote:  "The Shi'a, in our opinion -- these are the key to change.  Targeting and striking the religious, political and military symbols will make them show their rage against the Sunnis and bear their inner-vengeance.  If we succeed in dragging them into a sectarian war, this will awaken the sleepy Sunnis who are fearful of destruction and death at the hands of these Sabeans (ph) or the Shi'a."

 

            Another quote that we will be communicating directly from Mr. Zarqawi:  "So the solution, and God only knows, is that we need to bring the Shi'a into the battle, because it is the only way to prolong the duration of the fight between the infidels and us."

 

            Another quote we will be communicating:  "The Shi'a menace is looming and this is a fact that we should not fear, because they are the most cowardly people God has created.  Killing their leaders will weaken them, and with the death of the head, the whole group dies."

 

            And finally one more quote from Mr. Zarqawi:  "As far as the Shi'a, we will undertake suicide operations and use car bombs to harm them."

 

            These are Mr. Zarqawi's words communicating his plans for Iraq, communicating his efforts to tear this country apart and turn it into an ethnic bloodbath.  And we will be communicating through a very elaborate and comprehensive public information campaign Mr. Zarqawi's words for his plans for the Iraqi people.

 

            With that, we will be happy to take your questions.  Yes?

 

            Q  Hi.  Jill Carroll with ANSA (sp).  It seems before the -- well, a few months ago President Bush was saying there's no firm evidence of a link between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein here in the country.  And now we're seeing this letter here and Abu Musaab Zarqawi is trying to recruit people and have terrorist sort of operations here.  Is it possible -- I mean, it seems the war has fostered al Qaeda's presence here.  What is your thought on that?

 

            MR. SENOR:  Is the question has the war fostered al Qaeda's presence here?

 

            Q  It seems after the war there is obviously a presence here of al Qaeda, whereas as before, even the president was saying there wasn't a clear link between Saddam Hussein or Iraq and al Qaeda.

 

            MR. SENOR:  I won't comment on the prewar issues; we're focused on the postwar.  And what we have said all along is that Iraq has become the central front in the war on terrorism.  Yes, we have seen an influx of foreign fighters that have come into the country since the war because, we believe, the terrorists have declared Iraq the central front in their war.  However, Mr. Zarqawi's presence in Iraq and connections to Iraq, we believe, predated the liberation of Iraq.

 

            Yes, sir?

 

            Q  (Through interpreter.)  A writer from the BBC, the Arabic. A question for General Kimmitt.  There is news from the newspapers saying that an attack happened against -- (inaudible) -- of Mr. Abizaid.  And there are a number of newspapers or reporters confirming, I think, the attack that happened a few hours ago.  Some of them, they said that a bomb in a truck that were loaded with 600 pounds of explosives, they drove inside the airport and it exploded. Can you give us some information on it, please?

            GEN. KIMMITT:  If you are talking about an attack that we had here in Baghdad this afternoon?  Is that the one you're referring to?

 

            Q  (Through interpreter.)  It happened about two hours ago.

 

            GEN. KIMMITT:  Yeah.  I can tell you that eight mortar rounds impacted the vicinity of a forward operating base of the coalition forces here in Baghdad today.  The first round was smoke.  Seven others were high explosive.  There were three vehicles with shrapnel damage, and some other equipment was punctured.  We did have a number of -- three persons -- were wounded, and it looks as if one is already returned to duty and the other two are being treated.  Oh, I take that back.  In fact, those two are already returned to duty as well.  So it was a minor mortar attack; eight total rounds; three persons were wounded.  All three of those coalition soldiers have already returned to duty.

 

            MR. SENOR:  Yes, Brian?

 

            Q  (Through interpreter.)  Something to do with for the Fallujah, please.

 

            MR. SENOR:  Brian?

 

            Q  I really just wanted to follow up on the question he was asking about Fallujah.  We were hearing reports on our way over here that General Abizaid was involved in some sort of a firefight.  If you could elaborate on that.

 

            GEN. KIMMITT:  Sure.  Today at 1330 in Fallujah, General Abizaid and General Swannack were visiting the local Iraqi Civil Defense Corps battalion headquarters compound when three rocket-propelled grenades were fired at their convoy from rooftops in the vicinity.  No soldiers or civilians were injured, and both coalition and Iraqi Civil Defense soldiers returned fire and pursued the attackers.  A local mosque was thought to be harboring the attackers, and Iraqi Civil Defense Corps soldiers conducted a search of the mosque without result.

 

            I talked to General Swannack before I came in, and he attributes the attack to a small number of personnel and unrepresentative of what he believes to be 95 percent of the people in Fallujah who are fully supportive of the coalition.

 

            MR. SENOR:  Yes, sir?

 

            Q  George Zuchs (ph), Fox News.  The recent bombings -- what effect are they having on the morale of enlisted Iraqis, and more specifically on potential recruits?

 

            MR. SENOR:  The bombings that you're referring to occurred in the last 36 to 48 hours, so we believe it's too early to draw any real conclusions about the effects on morale and on recruiting.  But what we can tell you is what our experience has been in the past.  This is not the first time that Iraqi security services have been targeted by terror; there have been multiple occasions.  Some 300 Iraqi police officers have been killed in the line of duty or being targeted.  A number of Iraqi police chiefs have been targeted.  And yet, after each of them -- police stations have been targeted too.  And after each one of these incidents, we have not seen a change in the recruiting trend line, in the pattern; it's been a constant upward slope.

 

            We find that despite attacks, Iraqis seem to be fully engaged and interested in playing a part in the security of their own country.  And so, when we talk to Iraqis and they talk about a sense of national pride, and they talk about a sense of patriotism, about being involved in the security of their own country, we believe that these sorts of attacks tend to strengthen that sense of unity, that sense of patriotism, that sense of call to public service.  And that continues.

 

            I will add, again, I refer you to this document, because Mr. Zarqawi is a very good resource on issues relating to the morale and effectiveness of Iraqi security forces.  And the exact quotes he uses is, and I quote Mr. Zarqawi, "With the spread of the army and police, our future is becoming frightening."  He also later on says, when he refers to the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps -- he doesn't refer to them by name -- he says, "In what they call the Sunni Triangle, the army and police are spreading out in these regions, putting in charge Sunnis from the same region.  Therefore, the problem is you end up having an army and police connected by lineage, blood and appearance to the people of the region.  If we fight them, that will be difficult because there will be a schism between us and the people of the region."  He also says -- later on he says, "Our enemy is growing stronger day after day, and its intelligence information services.  By God, this is suffocation."

 

            So the Iraqi security services clearly are a threat to Mr. Zarqawi and these al Qaeda-type terrorists in this country.  And despite these attacks that we've seen, many of which have the fingerprints of al Qaeda and its affiliates on them, the effectiveness of the Iraqi services continue, and we believe the trend will continue whereby Iraqis continue to step up to play a major role in the security of their own country.

 

            Ed?

 

            Q  Dan, Reuters is reporting that, after a two-hour meeting with Ayatollah Sistani, Lakhdar Brahimi said that he and the U.N. agree 100 percent with Sistani's call for elections, and that they feel that elections are necessary.  What's the CPA's reaction to this?

 

            MR. SENOR:  I haven't seen the report, so we will wait for the report from the U.N. team before we have an official reaction to any recommendation.  We haven't received any recommendation from the U.N. at this point.  Obviously, when we do have recommendations and observations from them, we will be prepared to react to them.

 

            Christine?  Welcome back.

 

            Q  This is for General Kimmitt.  I just want to go back to your statement about the August bombing in Najaf and the U.N. headquarters in Baghdad and Mr. Zarqawi's role.  Can you give us more specifics why you're saying he is?  And also, I'm a little confused about why do you think he is here now, and has that been spelled out?

 

            GEN. KIMMITT:  We have intelligence and we have evidence which links Zarqawi to those specific attacks, and in his letter himself he admits that he participated in 25 major operations here within the country.  We believe that the letter is further confirmation of some of the evidence that has been gathered in both of those, and we intend to continue to pursue those leads to where they take us.

 

            MR. SENOR:  Yeah, again, in his letter, just to what General Kimmitt was referring to, he says, "We were involved in all the martyrdom operations, in terms of overseeing, preparing and planning that took place in this country.  I have completed 25 of these operations, some of them against the Shi'a and their leaders."

 

            Q  If I can just follow up on that, I guess I'm asking:  If he is saying that, are there methods and procedures and, you know, something that has -- you physically see in the investigations of these bombings that show a tie to all the bombings beyond him, perhaps, boasting in that letter, in order to recruit people?

 

            GEN. KIMMITT:  In terms of when we start to think that these types of attacks are not from local Iraqis and former regime elements is, as I've said before, the three S's:  suicide, spectacular and symbolic.

 

            Clearly, when you're attacking a police station in Iskandariyah with a car bomb delivered by a suicide bomber, you're attacking with a suicide bomber something that we don't typically associate with the vast majority of attacks being conducted by former regime elements.

 

            Spectacular:  clearly, large explosion, going after -- for the maximum amount of casualties you can inflict on civilians.

 

            And symbolic, trying to go against one of the fledgling institutions -- security institutions of this country, for the sole purpose of trying to drive a wedge between the people of Iraq and their fledgling institutions.

 

            MR. SENOR:  Yes, sir?

 

            Q  Shobitbru (ph) from NHK.  Related to my colleague, apart from fact that he alleged that he did 25 attacks here, is there any intelligence else that makes you believe that he was involved in that terrible U.N. bombing and the Najaf affair?

 

            And one for you, Mr. Senor:  So far, what kind of communications did -- the CPA had with Mr. Brahimi's team in the U.N.?  And could you give us what kind of conversations you had with that team?

 

            GEN. KIMMITT:  To answer the first question, we have had Mr. Zarqawi as one of the lead suspects in the Najaf bombing and the U.N. bombing for months now, long before we had this letter that was boasting of those 25 attacks.

 

            MR. SENOR:  As for our interaction or discussions with the U.N. team, we have made it clear from the beginning, since the U.N. team’s arrival, that we would make available technical assistance, logistical support and security, to the extent that they need it.  And we have provided all three.

 

            Otherwise, the U.N. has conducted its own research and fact- finding independently of us in this country and operated independently, without any coordination with us.

 

            Yes, sir?

 

            Q  (Through interpreter.)  Saddiq Rahim (ph) -- (affiliation inaudible).  There's a question.  This operation -- there's people believe that finding of the letters and the confirming the presence of Zarqawi -- that helps delay the elections and delay the sovereignty and delay the team transitions of -- it helps with the U.N. team, and there's possibility that the coalition -- they're presenting the documents now for a purpose.  What do you guys think about it?

 

            MR. SENOR:  You mean that we're presenting the document as a means to delay the election?

 

            INTERPRETER:  Yes.

 

            MR. SENOR:  To delay handover of sovereignty?

 

            GEN. KIMMITT:  Yes.

 

            INTERPRETER:  He doesn't have that one, yes.

 

            MR. SENOR:  We --

 

            GEN. KIMMITT:  The opposite.

 

            MR. SENOR:  Yeah, it is exactly as General Kimmitt just said, it is just the opposite.  We are focused on handover of sovereignty on June 30th, as explicitly outlined in the November 15th agreement between the coalition and the Governing Council.

 

            And Mr. Zarqawi references that handover date himself when he says, "How can we kill their cousins and sons" -- referring to the Iraqis -- "How can we kill their cousins and sons and under what pretext after the Americans start withdrawing?  The Americans will continue to control from their bases, but the sons of this land will be the authority.  This is a democracy.  We will have no pretext."  Mr. Zarqawi also says later on, "If, God forbid, the government is successful and takes control of the country, we just have to pack up and go somewhere else again where we can raise the flag again, or die if God chooses us."

 

            So we recognize that we are focused like a laser beam on handover of authority this summer, and Mr. Zarqawi is clearly focused on it as a laser beam -- focused like a laser beam on our handover date.  We are not moving around that date; Mr. Zarqawi understands that.  And it is especially important that in light of the fact -- as is evidenced by this memorandum, in light of the fact that Mr. Zarqawi recognizes that one of the greatest bulwarks against his efforts to spread terror in Iraq will be Iraqi control of the government, it is especially important that we stick to our plan and move forward this implementation.

 

            Yes, sir?

 

            Q  (Name inaudible) -- Romanian Radio.  How much is the -- how many people does al Qaeda have here?  I mean, do you have any idea about the size of the organization?  And what are you doing against them?  Let's say there are 25 suicidal attacks.  How many people did you catch, if you caught any, before they managed to do a suicidal attack?

 

            GEN. KIMMITT:  On the issue -- first of all, we have deterred a significant number of terrorist attacks by the amount of equipment that we've picked up, by the types of equipment we've picked up, by the variety of equipment.  When we start finding mechanisms for detonation, remote control devices, large caches of explosives, every one of those have the potential use of conducting or being used for a car bomb, for an IED, for any kind of attack on Iraqi citizens or on coalition forces.

 

            We have said from this podium for a number of months we have a number of people that we suspect have either received training or use tactics and techniques characteristic of al Qaeda.  It was not until recently, when we captured a known al Qaeda operative in mid-January, that we actually believed that there was irrefutable evidence of the presence of al Qaeda inside this country.

 

            As to the numbers, as to future attacks, you can be assured that that's what we're trying to determine.  Our intelligence analysts are working overtime on that very matter.  And we will continue to attack -- to kill or capture those before they attack citizens of Iraq or coalition forces.

 

            MR. SENOR:  Jim?

 

            Q  Yeah, hi.  Jim Crane with the AP.  On the attack in Fallujah today on General Abizaid's party.  It looks, at first glance anyway, that the insurgents had some sort of foreknowledge that Generals Abizaid and Swannack would be at this compound.  We're wondering if you have any clues as to how or where the information might have leaked out about this visit, and if you are investigating whether there was a leak and perhaps querying ICDC members at that compound or other Iraqi employees of the U.S. military in the area.  Thanks.

 

            GEN. KIMMITT:  Well, first of all, I would challenge your assertion that there was foreknowledge that General Abizaid and General Swannack would be there.  I would like to say this is the first time we've stood at this podium and reported attacks in Fallujah.  It is not.  Whether we can directly link this attack to any foreknowledge that General Abizaid and General Swannack were going to be there I think is a bit of a leap that we're not prepared to make at this time.

 

            MR. SENOR:  Neil?

 

            Q  Hi.  Neil King, Wall Street Journal.  I was just wondering, Dan, if you could elaborate a bit on where this letter was found and how you've gone about establishing its authenticity?

 

            GEN. KIMMITT:  Sure.  I mean, we have said numerous times that this letter was provided to us as part of the capture of a known al Qaeda courier that happened in mid-January.  We have had independent intelligence confirmation of this letter that would give us reason to believe that this is a credible letter and a credible report.

 

            MR. SENOR:  Yes, sir?

 

            Q  Josh Hammer from Newsweek --

 

            MR. SENOR:  Can you use your -- you've got to turn it on.  There you go.

 

            Q  Sorry.  Josh Hammer from Newsweek.  Are you certain or can you state one way or the other whether the suicide attacks are being carried out by foreigners?  And can you also talk a little bit about the efforts -- how successful your efforts have been at stopping infiltrations of foreign jihadis coming across the Syrian border or whatever, wherever else?

 

            GEN. KIMMITT:  First of all, I would not ever stand up here and say we're certain of anything.  The enemy has as much reason to keep his information away from us as he does -- as we do from him.  So "certainty" is not a word we're ever going to use.

 

            With regards to how effective we've been on keeping the jihadists out, one jihadist inside this country is too many.  We would prefer to keep them all out.  That's probably unreasonable.  We're going to continue to use every method possible along the borders, inside the cities, using technical means and human means, to try to discover when they come in and prevent them from carrying out attacks.  I think it's unreasonable to expect that we will damp this down to a number close to zero, but we're going to continue working on that.

 

            MR. SENOR:  Yes, sir?

 

            Q  Ami Mahd (ph) from Al-Jazeera.  Sir, Mr. Dan Senor, aren't you afraid that by reading those quotations of Musaab al- Zarqawi it might cause, in a certain way, degeneration between Sunni and Shi'a in Iraq?

 

            MR. SENOR:  That it might what?  I'm sorry?

 

            Q  It might cause degeneration in the relationship between the two communities, the Sunni and the Shi'a.

 

            MR. SENOR:  Most Iraqis we speak to talk about a unified Iraq, that they're not interested in an Iraq divided up by ethnic enclaves or by ethnic civil war.  Most Iraqis want a country that is sovereign, independent, democratic, united.

 

            And it is important for Iraqis to be aware that when there is an attack against their community that could be characterized as an ethnic warfare-motivated attack, that it is actually not an ethnic group that's attacking them, but actually one individual and his terror network that are trying to tear this country apart and pit one ethnic group against another.  It is important for Iraqis to have a crystal-clear understanding of this game plan, so that when they are attacked, they are aware that it is not their fellow Iraqis attacking them; it is a foreign terrorist with ties to al Qaeda that is trying to turn this country upside down and promote bloodshed and tragedy.

 

            Yes, ma'am?

 

            Q  Deborah Amos with National Public Radio.  Dan Senor, can you tell me what the plans or preparations are for the election selection caucuses to choose a parliament before the July 1st hand- over?

 

            MR. SENOR:  What are the plans right now that we are working -- right now there are refreshments -- what we call refreshments going on in a number of the provincial and city and town councils, to improve them, make them more representative.  And those councils will have a hand in selecting members of the organizing committees for each caucus.  Each caucus will have 15 members -- a 15-member organizing committee that will effectively recruit or solicit delegates to the caucus.  And the caucuses -- the organizing committees, five members will be chosen by the Governing Council, five members will be chosen by the provincial councils, and five members will be chosen by the five largest cities or towns, the five largest city or town councils in a particular province.

 

            And so right now we are in the process of, on a province-by- province basis, refreshing the provinces and working with the governing councils and the local communities to refresh the city and town councils in preparation for the organizing committees' selection of delegates for the caucuses.  That's going on right now.

 

            Q  Can I just follow that up?

 

            MR. SENOR:  Sure.

 

            Q  (Off mike) --

 

            MR. SENOR:  I can't hear.  You have to use the microphone.

 

            Q  Oh, I'm sorry.  I thought I had.  Just to follow up, is there any sense of a date when those selections and those members of parliaments will be selected?

 

            MR. SENOR:  Well, the date by which the transitional national assembly -- the parliament, to use your words -- the date by which that body must be selected is June 1.  And so it is between February 28th, which is the deadline for the passage of the basic law, the interim administrative law, is between February 28th and June 1 that all that work must be completed.  June 1 is when the members of the transitional national assembly will be sent to go to perform to work in the national body.  And then it's between June 1 and July 1 that that transitional national assembly will elect a government, an executive branch, if you will.

 

            Yes, ma'am?

 

            Q  (Through interpreter.)  A question from the German -- (inaudible).  A question for General Kimmitt.  That Mr. Zarqawi, with the group, are they performing these attacks by themselves or by help by some of the Iraqis?  Can you name some of the organizations who are helping Mr. Zarqawi?

 

            GEN. KIMMITT:  I think the question you asked was, is Mr. Zarqawi and his foreign associates responsible for these attacks, or have they enlisted Iraqis to assist them?  Is that your question?

 

            Unfortunately, I think it's sad to recognize that in fact the terrorist networks have to find sanctuary, they have to find support and they have to find equipment in their place of operation.  That happens to be the country of Iraq in this case.  We would suspect that they are being greatly supported by a small number of Iraqis who, for whatever motivations, whether it's a desire to see a return to the pre-Saddam times or for whatever reason, are providing support for them.  It's sad, but I think we must all acknowledge that we do have Iraqis that are facilitating these foreign fighters to carry out these deeds against their fellow citizens.

 

            MR. SENOR:  Yes?

 

            Q  Catherine Phillip from the Times of London.  General Sanchez stood up here two weeks ago and told us that you have been able to identify the nationality of a single suicide bomber who has succeeded in his mission.  Also, Time magazine printed a report having viewed a video CD of suicide bombers preparing to launch attacks, some of whom appear to be Iraqis.  I wonder how you can be so certain all these attacks are being carried out by foreign fighters.

 

            GEN. KIMMITT:  We can't be 100 percent certain.  However, as we take a number of detainees, as we've captured a number of foreigners involved collaterally in some of these operations, there has been no suggestion that the vast majority or even a majority or even a minority of the attacks were carried out by citizens of this country. It is more characteristic that the types of people that would be responsible for carrying out these attacks are those that come from a particularly extremist bent.  We have not seen, in general, any of those types of extremist bents inside this country.  And so it continues to be our assertion that the vast majority of these persons that carry out the suicide attacks are in fact religious or terrorist extremists that come from outside the country enlisted for the sole purpose of carrying out these attacks.

 

            MR. SENOR:  And again, we just ask you to read the Zarqawi letter, which -- take him at his word.  "We were involved in all of the martyrdom operations that took place in this country.  I have completed 25 of these operations."  We believe this document is credible and he speaks for himself on this front.

 

            Yes, sir?  You, yeah.  The gentleman right behind you.

 

            Q  (In Arabic.)

 

            GEN. KIMMITT:  On the first question about the explosives that are often used, these types of explosives that are used in attacks are very common throughout the country, throughout the region, throughout the world.  I don't think you can specifically point to one country, to one region on the types of materials that are being used.  PE4, TNT, artillery rounds are fairly generic, can be found in most any country.  So I don't think you can try to link the explosives used with the country that the persons might have come from.

 

            On the second issue, we had, as you might imagine, first of all, go through the process of translating any documents when we capture any prisoner.  We have to go through a long process of translation, interpretation, verification.  So I think it's just -- it was a matter of time that caused us to make the -- that caused the intelligence services to delay for a period before they could, one, properly translate it; two, verify it; and three, put some credibility behind the document.

 

            MR. SENOR:  Yes, sir?

 

            Q  Charles Duhigg from The Los Angeles Times.  Returning really quickly to the Fallujah attacks; so is it your belief that these were just random attacks that happened to hit the two generals?

 

            GEN. KIMMITT:  No, I'm not suggesting that at all.  But neither am I suggesting that these were planned in advance.  If I was a small squad with three or four RPGs, I think the last group that I'd be going after is somebody with the military experience of both General Abizaid and General Swannack.  Those guys have a long, long military career, fairly robust combat records; surround themselves with people that are extraordinarily capable.  And that would not be a fight that I would be expecting to win if I went one on one with them.

 

            Q  Is there an investigation, then, to see if there was in fact someone who gave prior notice that these two high-profile individuals would be in this area --

 

            GEN. KIMMITT:  Sure.  Any time we have an attack --

 

            Q  -- from within the military establishment or someone who works with -- closely with the military?

 

            GEN. KIMMITT:  Any time we have an attack on coalition forces, any time we have an attack on Iraqi civilians we're going to take a hard look at what happened.  We're going to see if there was any kind of intelligence breach.  We're going to see if there was any kind of pattern that we were displaying that might have provoked an attack in terms of our profile, how many vehicles, so on and so forth.  So we're certainly going to do an after-action review of this incident.

 

            MR. SENOR:  Yes, sir?

 

            Q  (Through interpreter.)  General Kimmitt, I would to explain further on the element that you have captured that belongs to the Black Victory and their location.  That's the first question.

 

            Second question, to continue the Fallujah attack and the -- (inaudible) -- is there a weakness or failure of security policy that the coalition forces or the Iraqi police are committing or following?

 

            GEN. KIMMITT:  On the first question, asking about the group Black Victory, I'm not familiar with that organization.  Let me take that question and we'll try to do some research to see if we can answer your question.

 

            On the second, does the presence of a terrorist attack, such as we've seen in Iskandariyah, such as we saw here in Baghdad -- let me just tell you that every time we have one of those attacks, we do a very, very conscious and deliberate review of the force protection measures that were in place.  We want to ensure that if there is something that has been discovered as we look through the whole event, something as we review the circumstances surrounding that, if the enemy has found a particular weakness that could be exploited again in the future, you can be certain that the commanders are going to take a hard look at that and make sure they put into effect force protection procedures to prevent that or mitigate the risk of that happening again.

 

            But we have said many, many times we're fighting a clever enemy, and this is something that is faced in every country in the world by the terrorists.  They're going to work very, very hard to try to find patterns and weaknesses.  They're going to try to exploit them.  We're going to catch them most times.  We're going to catch them the vast majority of times.  However, to suggest that we're going to catch the terrorists every time I think is a standard that nobody will be able to keep and maintain.

 

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

 

            Q  Inigo Gilmore from the London Telegraph.  There were reports yesterday on the BBC that Zarqawi might be held in a prison in Iran.  Are you ruling that out, first of all?  And secondly, if he is so in Iraq, which forces will be involved in whatever kind of manhunt that will be undertaken?  Will it be special forces or other groups that were involved in the hunt for Saddam?

 

            GEN. KIMMITT:  Well, first of all, we have no reports suggesting that he's in Iran.  If he's being held in a jail in Iran that's probably a good place for him to be held, and I suspect there will be some diplomatic contacts made between countries and Iran to provide for extradition and to bring him to justice.

 

            MR. SENOR:  This is -- that was our last question.  Just a couple of quick administrative items.

 

            Q  Sorry, the second part of the question wasn't answered.  If you are hunting for him in Iraq, who will be involved in that hunt? Which forces would be involved in that hunt?

 

            GEN. KIMMITT:  Yeah, let me tell you what forces are going to be involved in the hunt for Zarqawi.  Every coalition force is on the hunt for Zarqawi.  Every Iraqi civil defense soldier is on the hunt for Zarqawi.  Every Iraqi policeman is on the hunt for Zarqawi.  Every border policeman is on the hunt for Zarqawi.  Every soldier that belongs to the Iraqi armed forces is in the hunt for Zarqawi.  Every citizen in the country of Iraq should be in the hunt for Zarqawi and provide intelligence to the coalition forces and the security services so that we can ensure that this terrorist is hunted down and brought to justice.  So that's about 25 million forces that we have inside this country hunting for Zarqawi.

 

            MR. SENOR:  And they're already proving their effectiveness.  Again, if you refer to the Zarqawi letter, he says, "With the spread of the army and police, our future is becoming frightening."

 

            He says later on, "Our enemy is growing stronger day after day, and its intelligence information increases.  By God, this is suffocation."  That intelligence information is coming from the Iraqi people.  We have seen a clear improvement in the quality of intelligence we are getting from the Iraqi people, and that's the suffocation that Mr. Zarqawi's talking about.

 

            Just a couple of quick administrative items before we go.  One, we have waiting for you when you depart CDs with the English translation of the Zarqawi document, the original Arabic Zarqawi document, as well as a number of the products that will be distributed nationwide in the days ahead in the hunt for Mr. Zarqawi.  That's all contained on a CD.  We have multiple copies for all of you.

 

            We also have copies of the card, the -- what we call the wild card, the Zarqawi wild card, which includes the $10 million "wanted" information, the bounty.

 

            Tomorrow there will be a press conference in this room at 3 p.m.  It will be held by a senior CPA official.  We'll be announcing that tomorrow, in terms of who that will be.  But it will be an important press conference.  That's tomorrow at 3 p.m.

 

            One other administrative item.  The Iraqi Medical Society Conference will be holding its February conference on Saturday.  Exact details of time and location will be issued tomorrow.  This is a conference that is designed to help establish medical specialty societies.  This initiative will bring the level of hospital care in Iraq to international standards.

 

            The society has been traveling around the country to inform specialists about the benefits of forming medical specialist societies.  They've acquired 100 free memberships from the American Medical Association for distribution at the conference.  They've organized a shipment of 15,000 medical journals from AMA for distribution.  They've extended invitations to 700 Iraqi physicians and medical specialists, and 30 expatriate guest speakers.  And they've received $110,000 through in-kind contributions to prepare for the conference.

 

            Again, it's being held tomorrow.  They've received $250,000 grant through USAID.

 

            And finally, as of tomorrow, you'll be able to access the Zarqawi documents, both the English translation and the original Arabic document, as well as some related information, on the CPA website, www.cpa-iraq.org/transcripts/20040212_zarqawi_full.html.

 

            Thanks, everybody.

 

            GEN. KIMMITT:  Thank you.

 

(C) COPYRIGHT 2004, FEDERAL NEWS SERVICE, INC., 1919 M ST. NW; SUITE 220; WASHINGTON, DC - 20036, USA.  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.  ANY REPRODUCTION, REDISTRIBUTION OR RETRANSMISSION IS EXPRESSLY PROHIBITED.  UNAUTHORIZED REPRODUCTION, REDISTRIBUTION OR RETRANSMISSION CONSTITUTES A MISAPPROPRIATION UNDER APPLICABLE UNFAIR COMPETITION LAW, AND FEDERAL NEWS SERVICE, INC. RESERVES THE RIGHT TO PURSUE ALL REMEDIES AVAILABLE TO IT IN RESPECT TO SUCH MISAPPROPRIATION.  FEDERAL NEWS SERVICE, INC. IS A PRIVATE FIRM AND IS NOT AFFILIATED WITH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.  NO COPYRIGHT IS CLAIMED AS TO ANY PART OF THE ORIGINAL WORK PREPARED BY A UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE AS PART OF THAT PERSON'S OFFICIAL DUTIES.  FOR INFORMATION ON SUBSCRIBING TO FNS, PLEASE CALL JACK GRAEME AT 202-347-1400.