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DOD News Briefing with Brig. Gen. Clark via Teleconference from Hurlburt Field, Fla.

Presenters: Brig. Gen. Stephen A. Clark, director of plans, programs, requirements, and assessments, Air Force Special Operations Command
December 22, 2011

            (Note:  General Clark appears via teleconference.)

            GEORGE LITTLE:  Good morning.  Today we are joined via telephone by Brigadier Stephen A. Clark, United States Air Force.  General Clark was appointed by General Mattis late last month to serve as the U.S. investigating officer into the 25-26 November engagement between U.S. and Pakistani military forces.  

            General Clark is the director of plans, programs, requirements and assessments for Air Force Special Operations Command.  He's a command pilot, with more than 3,500 flight hours in eight different fixed-wing aircraft.  He joins us this morning from Hurlburt Field, Florida.  

            Before I turn it over to General Clark, I want to convey in person what we've already said in writing.  The investigation into the 25-26 November engagement between U.S. and Pakistani military forces across the border has been completed.  The findings and conclusions were forwarded to the department through the chain of command.  The results have also been shared with the Pakistani and Afghan governments, as well as key NATO leadership.  

            The investigating officer found that U.S. forces, given what information they had available to them at the time, acted in self- defense and with appropriate force after being fired upon.  He also found that there was no intentional effort to target persons or places known to be part of the Pakistani military or to deliberately provide inaccurate location information to Pakistani officials.

            Nevertheless, inadequate coordination by U.S. and Pakistani military officers operating through the border coordination center, including our reliance on incorrect mapping information shared with the Pakistani liaison officer, resulted in a misunderstanding about the true location of Pakistani military units.

            This, coupled with other gaps in information about the activities and placement of units from both sides contributed to the tragic results.

            For the loss of life and for the lack of proper coordination between U.S. and Pakistani forces that contributed to those losses, we express our deepest regret.  We further express sincere condolences to the Pakistani people, to the Pakistani government and, most importantly, to the families of the Pakistani soldiers who were killed or wounded.

            Our focus now is to learn from these mistakes and take whatever corrective measures are required to ensure an incident like this is not repeated.  The chain of command will consider any issues of accountability.

            More critically, we must work to improve the level of trust between our two countries.  We cannot operate effectively on the border or in other parts of our relationship without addressing the fundamental trust still lacking between us.  We earnestly hope the Pakistani military will join us in bridging that gap.

            With that, I'd like to turn it over to General Clark for his opening comments, and then we'll come back here to the Pentagon and start taking your questions.

            General Clark, can you hear me this morning?

            BRIGADIER GENERAL STEPHEN CLARK:  I certainly can.  Thank you.

            MR. LITTLE:  Thank you.  Go ahead and begin, please.  Over to you.

            GEN. CLARK:  OK.  Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.  Again, I'm Brigadier General Clark out of Air Force Special Operations Command. I was appointed the investigating officer for this incident.

            What I'd like to do is quickly run you through how we put together the investigative team and the process that we followed and then kind of walk you through a narrative of the chain of events that led to it.  Keep in mind, please, that it is a fairly complicated situation to piece all the different moving parts together and to understand, in a human endeavor, how people communicated and what they heard, which is kind of key to this. 

            But the investigative team came together in Kabul.  We were able to put together a team from CENTCOM but then also from ISAF.  Joint Force Command Brunssum sent over a team of approximately five people.  I worked with Brigadier General Mike Jorgensen as -- our teams working together to do the investigation.  They had specific requirements that they had to answer back through their chain of command, and then I had very specific requirements to answer back through -- back to General Mattis.  

            With the investigation itself, we staged out of Bagram principally, but while we were in Kabul, we had the opportunity to interview the commander of ISAF and the commander of the IJC, which is International [sic -- ISAF] Joint Command, so General Allen as commander, ISAF, and then Lieutenant General Scaparrotti as commander of IJC.  

            We then went to Bagram, where we spent most of our time, because that's where most of the forces and the headquarters were.  We talked to the Regional Command East commander and his senior staff.  We talked to all the SOF (Special Operations Forces) commanders, all staff elements related to both of those commands.  We talked to every tactical element on the U.S. and ISAF that were involved, plus their technical headquarters, and we went out to the Nawa Border Coordination Center to talk to them specifically and take a look at their setup.  In total, we conducted approximately 60 interviews. 

            I think, at the end of the day, when the report's released, you'll find that it is a fairly comprehensive report, fairly detailed and draws some connections there that may not have been obvious in the immediate aftermath of the incident.  It took us quite a while to really piece the nuance of that together.  

            So with that understanding, the chain of events that occurred -- I'll run through those briefly, so that we can get to your questions -- was:  The initial concept of operation was briefed for approval up to the commander of IJC.  Because of its proximity to the border, it raised to a particular level that required his approval.  With the initial look at the concept of operations, he requested that the helicopter landing zone be moved further away from the border, and it was moved from within 1 kilometer out to 2.3 kilometers from the border.

            He also asked that any known border posts be identified.  Those were worked through the Border Coordination Center and up through the Regional Command East headquarters.  And there were two that were identified.  One was 4 kilometers to the northeast of the village, and the other one was 2 kilometers to the south-southwest.  That is a critical point in part of this, in that the two locations that are in question here were not identified on any chart, to include the official chart in the Nawa Border Coordination Center that is intended to be the compilation of all known border posts.

            After those inquiries were satisfied, the concept of operation was approved and the tactical elements went into their planning for beginning of the operation.  On the night of the 25th, the ground force in-filled.  The CH-47 helicopters -- two helicopters, two lifts, so a total of four, if you will, using the four aircraft, to put the entire force of approximately 120 personnel on the ground.

            The first (truck ?) closed at 9:40 local p.m., with the last lift landing at 10:06 p.m.

            From that point on they consolidated and began their move to the Nawa village, which took approximately about 30 to 45 minutes to get close to the village.  This is in a very steep and rugged terrain.  If I use the term "goat trails," you could get an image of what I'm talking about.  It's narrow, one-person pathways up through very steep and climbing terrain as you approach from the west towards the village in the east.  So going from west towards the -- what is the Pakistani border, you're going up into a valley opening, and then it opens up to the ridgeline.

            So they're climbing uphill in that.  It is a no-moon-illumination night.  The U.S. forces do have their night-vision goggles on, but it's very hard for them to see.  So they're slowly making their way up, and then they split up into two elements, as they had previously planned, so that they can go enter the village from two different locations.

            At about 11:09 p.m., so an hour after they've been on the ground, is when they received the first fires.  And it is -- from the ground tactical leader's perspective, it was very direct and heavy machine- gun fire right over their heads.  He talks about hearing the rounds crack over the top of his head.  So he is now under attack, from his perspective.  From the airborne assets, they identify that the machine-gun fire is coming from the ridgeline.  At the same time the ground force begins to take pretty accurate mortar fire.  It lands within 50 meters of the helicopter landing zone and 150 meters from the tail element, which now effectively splits the force completely into two elements.

            The ground force commander requests two things.  He calls back to his higher headquarters for confirmation that there is no Pakistani military in the area because he understands the fire is coming from the ridgeline that he identifies as the border.

            And while he's waiting for that, he directs a show of force which is -- now he has aircraft already in the area, which was pre-planned, so he has overtop of him an MC-12 twin-engine ISR platform; he has an AC- 130 gunship nearby; he has two F-15 Strike Eagles and he has two AH-64 Apache helicopters.  All these were put in place prior because they did anticipate going into a hostile environment in the village, which was part of the reason they were going there.

            Based upon the visual sensors above him, they identified the machine-gun nest on the ridgeline.  The show of force constituted one F-15 coming by at approximately 560 knots in the vicinity and dispensing flares, so he's in after-burners and dispensing flares. The AC-130 gunship also dispenses flares, which effectively illuminates the entire valley.  And you have the splitting noise of the F-15 streaking across.

            Now, if you imagine being out in the Rockies -- deep in the Rockies where it's very quiet, very cold:  sound travels significantly.  And on this -- (inaudible) -- night, when flares come out, it becomes daytime momentarily.  This is key for the ground technical leaders' mindset, in that there should be no doubt in anybody's mind that it's now coalition forces in the area; which is the intent of the show of force.

            This show of force does not cause the machine gun fire, nor the mortars, to cease firing upon his position; but at that time, he does receive word back from his higher headquarters that there is no Pakistani military in the area.  This is actually the first point where we have found a series of miscommunications to have occurred for the tactical event, in that the higher headquarters, as they requested from the battlespace owner, which is the Regional Command East, confirmation, what they were told back on the phone is:  We are -- we are checking with the BCC (Border Coordination Center), but we are tracking no Pak mil in the area.

            That was heard at the lower headquarters as, no Pak mil in the area, which was then radioed down to the ground force commander and then also entered into a chatroom -- electronic chatroom, if you will, which then began circular reporting back to the regional command, who then assumed that the lower echelon had in fact validated and confirmed there was no PAK mil in the area.  So in the deconfliction, that's our first point of failure that might have helped prevent or at least stop this engagement potentially.

            The ground force commander then directs fires by the AC-130 onto the positions that they have clearly identified as the source of the fires.  That engagement lasts approximately six minutes.  Then later as the -- they're still receiving some fire at 23 -- I'm sorry, 11:44 local, a second engagement occurs between the AC-130 -- and also the AH-64s come in because now they have what they consider hasty battle positions, which would be rudimentary bunkers that the fire is coming from, and they need to engage those because the fire is continuing. That occurs until approximately midnight local.

            At -- during that time frame, in the background is a series of telephone calls from Pakistani LNOs (liaison officers) to their RC -- regional command element liaisons to say that their forces are under fire.

            There is confusion caused by this because there is a lack of precision as to where this is occurring.  When asked, the general answer back was, well, you know where it is because you're shooting at them, rather than giving a position.  So again, understanding that there was no -- understanding that there were border positions in the area, people trying to do the right thing and nail down specifics so they can take action caused quite a bit of confusion.

            This is also about the time when RC-East then calls down to the battlespace owner and to the Nawa Border Coordination Center and transmits that Pashto -- the Pakistani LNO -- the general location. They were provided the exact location via lat/longs to the ISAF personnel in the border coordination center but requested only to give a general location.  This goes back to the opening part of an overarching lack of trust between the two sides as far as giving out specifics, but it's also a very specific failure that occurred now that we have a firefight on our hands.

            The individual who received that information put it into his computer.  Unfortunately, he had his overlays configured incorrectly. When he attempted to verbally talk on his Pakistani LNO to the area, he described it as at the intersection of the regional border and the international border, so the district border and the international border.  His Pakistani LNO turned around to look at the chart, pointed to where the border intersected and then started his coordination with his higher headquarters to effect that came back then that there's no Pakistani military in that area.  That area that he was pointing to that had been verbally transmitted him was 14 kilometers away from the actual firefight.

            So that's our second point of failure in clarification of where things were going and what has happening.

            Later on, a third engagement occurs at midnight-40, if you will, till 0100, and this from what we considered engagement area number two, others have referred to as the third engagement.  So visually we have two engagement areas on the ridgeline.  The first one is the first two I've talked about -- two separate engagements, but in the same area.  The third -- the last engagement was in a second area further to the -- a little bit further to the north.  And that is where the site of the third heavy machine gun was actually at.

            About that time there was confirmation and clarification across the net that in fact there were Pakistani military in the area and that they were border posts.  That word was then relayed down to the ground tactical leader, who immediate ceased engagement, and no rounds were fired after that time.

            I think it's important to understand that this is not the first time that a border incident has occurred.  There's subsequently been from previous incidents a system in place, set up to deconflict border issues.  Because of the evolving lack of trust, one not -- from what is believed and indicated to us, a perception from ISAF that the Pakistanis are unwilling to give or reticent to give full disclosure on all their border locations, for one and two, they are under the impression that when they have shared specifics, that some of their operations have been compromised.  That was out of the scope of this investigation, so I -- we neither examined that deeply nor can validate that, but it is a perception that is out there and it is real for the people involved.

            This then evolved into what was considered a concept of operation that is releasable to the Pakistanis, which just gives generalities. That is normally supposed to be transmitted to them, and it gives a general location.  In this case, that, too, was failed -- or failed to be transmitted to them in advance.  And that is another one of the failures in the policies and procedures that are framed but, in our opinion, not specific enough, not directive enough, and lacked a -- my term -- closed-loop validation that in fact a coordination had occurred.

            After the engagements were done, the ground force was secured for the night.  They continued their operation in the day to clear the village, and uncovered a substantial cache of weapons, IED material, heavy machine-gun rounds, RPG warheads and quite a few other things. I'll leave the details for the final report when it gets released.

            So that's generally what occurred.  And I'll open to your questions.

            MR. LITTLE:  Well, thank you.

            And we'll start with Phil Stewart of Reuters.

            Q:  Hi.  Just had a quick question about the show of force.  When that happened, did the machine gun -- you say the machine gun fire continued.  Was machine gun fire directed only at the ground forces or -- and were -- was the show of force in between the Pakistani military outpost and the ground forces?  I mean, were they basically crossing through the show of force to get to the ground forces?

            And the other thing is, on the -- on the confusion over -- the initial confusion, where the Pakistani military said there were forces in the area and that you're shooting at them, what -- how far up did that communication go within the -- within that -- within the U.S. military there?

            GEN. CLARK:  OK, to your first question, the show of force generally -- we're talking very high terrain.  The ridgeline in question is approximately 3,000 meters above the village, looking down on it.

            And the village resides about a kilometer, a kilometer and a half, inside of Afghanistan.  No U.S. forces -- ground forces left the vicinity of the village, so came no closer to the border than a kilometer, a kilometer and a half.  

            The aircraft themselves could not get down that low into the valley, so they came across at about 1,500 feet above the ridgeline. But you're correct; they would have geographically been between the ridgeline and the village itself, running parallel to the border and dispensed the flares at the time.  The AC-130 gunship orbits overhead, so it is kind of sitting up on top of all of this and dispense flares as well.  

            The other part of your question was as far as the machine gun fire.  As far as we were able to determine or the crews determined, the machine gun fire never was elevated.  It persisted from the high terrain down into the valley onto the forces on the ground.  

            The -- your follow-up question as far as the information from the Pakistan military side, over -- throughout the course of the evening -- it started at the lower echelons and over a period of about 40 to 50 minutes elevated up to the highest levels direct into ODRP (Office of Defense Representative, Pakistan) and then also the 11th Corps -- or what we call IS-PAK (ph), which is the ISAF LNO to the 11th Corps and then over into the IJC headquarters to Major General Laster direct.  

            But all up and down the echelons, there are Pakistani military LNOs attached to the border coordination center and also to the Regional Command East and then also in IJC.  

            So all of those nets started going active as this progressed.

            Q:  General, hi.  It's David Cloud with the L.A. Times.  Just two things which I kind of lost track of in your -- in your -- in your comments.  At one point, you said there was an -- that there was -- it was known by lat/longs where the locations of the Pakistani fire was coming from, but was only -- but the information that was given, I think you said, to the Pakistanis was only -- was only given in a general way.  Did I understand you correctly?  In other words, could -- were you saying U.S. forces knew specifically the location, but for some reason didn't give the lat/longs, and instead only gave a general location?  Or did I misunderstand you?

            And then, a second question.  At the end, you said -- again, I had a little trouble following:  Pakistan has been reluctant to give full disclosure of its border posts -- and I thought you said -- and felt that when they had, some of their operations have been compromised.  Or did I misunderstand you, and were you saying that when the U.S. has given that -- information to the Pakistanis, U.S. operations have been compromised?

            GEN. CLARK:  OK, I'll take those in reverse order, if you don't mind.  It was U.S. -- or ISAF operations were believed to be compromised due to that.  And again, that was not the scope of the investigation, so that was told to us as part of the atmospherics within the ISAF headquarters on down.  We did not dig into that; we did not validate it.  That was just indicated to us.  In fact, there was an operation on 5 October in the same region where, when they went to in-fill the helicopters, they were hit with RPG fire, so that lends to their mindset as well -- so, ISAF operations being compromised by sharing that information.

            Now to the coordinates themselves, the -- every headquarter on the ISAF side going up, to include the ground force commander and all of the airborne assets, had accurate coordinates.  You can pull those off of the systems on the aircraft, but even in the preplanned mission, you can give the coordinates, you have the coordinates of the village itself.  They didn't have coordinates on the border posts to begin with, because they didn't know they were there.  So that was not part of their plan.  Part of their planning was there were none in this area, and the border was not considered a factor to the operation, because everything was intended to remain within a kilometer, kilometer and a half inside of Afghanistan.  So they never anticipated taking fire from the ridgeline, nor anticipated the idea that it might be Pakistan military there.  So their entire mind frame was that this was a hostile force, an insurgent force, occupying the high ground, shooting down at them.

            Does that answer your question?  I don't recall if there was another part to that.

            Q:  Sir, what I'm driving at is, I -- you described the confusion over the location being nine kilometers away, when the -- when there was actual communication between the Pakistan LNO and ISAF.  How did that -- I mean, what -- was there any other communication of the location of the Pakistanis, or was that the sole communication of the location where the fire was coming from?

            GEN. CLARK:  Unfortunately, the sole communication that reached the Pakistani LNO in the border coordination center that he was given was a verbal description of the area.  So you have the ISAF person manning a station inside the coordination center, and it just -- think of a room that has several people in it, and everybody has their computer screen, but nobody can see the other person's computer screen.

            So one person on the ISAF side receives the exact coordinates.  He inputs it into his machine, which then brings up the -- a map, a digital map of the area.  He has his machine configured incorrectly so that the overlay lines on it that look to be regional border delineations in fact was what I would -- what I believe was actually a roadway that was brought out in higher detail.  But he thought it was the regional border.

            He had been told not to pass the coordinates, but to only give a general location.  So on the ISAF side, everybody had the exact coordinates, but it was passed to the Pakistani LNO as a general location, which normally might have worked had his machine been configured correctly.  It would have been a little bit less precise, but the intent probably would have been achieved.

            But as they translate then -- and now he's talking him on, not physically walking over and pointing to a map.  He tries to talk him on and says it is between where this regional border intersects the international border.  And of course when the Pakistani LNO turns around and looks at his map where that regional border intersects the Pakistani border, he looks at that, looks at his computer, picks up the phone, calls his higher headquarters and tells them this is the location.  And they coordinate and say no, there's -- we don't have anybody there.  That location that he's pointing to is 14 kilometers to the north.

            Q:  Why not give the Pakistanis the exact coordinates at this point?  What was the hesitancy to do that?  And were they passing along -- just to make sure I understand -- the coordinates -- trying to pass along the location of U.S. forces at that moment or where they thought they were taking fire from the enemy forces?

            GEN. CLARK:  The intent was not that specific.  It was a location.  When you give the lat/longs, you can pinpoint a valley in an area, and then everybody would take a look at what they have in that immediate area and deconflict that.  So they would not have been -- there would be no requirement or -- I've never seen it done to pass in exact coordinates of:  Hey, we're taking fire exactly from here. You just pass the coordinates with a:  Hey, we're in this area, taking fire; do you have somebody here?  And then you would take a look at that.  So that was their intent.

            As to why only the general area was told to be passed, that was at the lower echelons that that inject came in.  As far as why they did it, I can only point back to the over-arching lack of trust in giving precise information.  But that is one of the findings that is going back to the chain of command to take a look at and -- as far as their policies and procedures.

            MR. LITTLE:  Eric.

            Q:  General, this is Eric Schmitt, with The New York Times.  Can you describe a little bit more in detail this -- what you call the third engagement, the one that starts at 12:40 local time and goes to about 0100?  Why was it -- you know, this is 40 minutes lapse after the first engagement.  How far away is this second -- this second site?  And is this what the Pakistanis call a boulder outpost?  And what kind of fire -- you said heavy machine gun fire.  Is that machine gun fire directed against the aircraft or against the ground party?

            And at this point -- I mean, it's 40 minutes have lapsed.  Isn't there enough understanding at higher headquarters level within ISAF, to understand that there's something wrong going on here and why should they be engaging these forces?

            GEN. CLARK:  OK.  As I mentioned before, the machine gun fire never was elevated towards the aircraft.

            It was always down onto the ground forces.  And it was with such precision that the ground force commander directed his people to turn off their IR strobes that they have, that you can see through your night vision devices, because he felt the fire was so accurate that somebody was seeing their location through their night vision goggles. So he had everybody turn those off.

            The third engagement, as we kind of categorize it, was in what was perceived to be hostile intent.  You have people moving on the ridgeline to prepared locations in what the air and the ground force perceive to be they're moving to other locations to continue firing down.  So in their mind right now, this is still insurgent forces.  It is -- it is not Pak mil that is continuing to fire; this is -- these are insurgent forces that are moving along the ridgeline.  

            Also, keep in mind -- and I probably didn't make this clear earlier -- from the air-crew perspective, as they're looking at this through their sensors, what they are seeing, as far as positions go, is not what they said that they were not used to seeing for built-up border posts.  And this goes back also to the idea that these probably were established somewhere in the last three months; they were still rudimentary and being formed.  The term "volcano," and I think you used the term "boulder" -- I've -- I heard "volcano" before; it's the first time I've heard the term "boulder" -- those were new terms even to the -- our -- the ISAF LNOs sitting in Pakistan.  They had never heard those terms before.  

            Now, the confusion still at the higher headquarters -- you have to -- when you're doing overarching command and control, ISAF or IJC is looking at the entire country; the Regional Command East is looking at their entire region.  And I think the folks -- and I think I can kind of show you how that's laid out.  And then you have lower headquarters, that take care of smaller areas.

            So you have multiple echelons of command paying various levels of attention to this and being notified at different times that something has gone wrong as people are clarifying what's happening.

            That's part of, I think, the problem.  When something does go bad, you have to have some very tight procedures as far as how to de- escalate that, and that's one of the recommendations that we relook how much we follow the chain of command versus going point to point direct down to the lowest echelon to get it de-escalated, if you will. But there's still a fair amount of confusion churning.  So that communication is occurring does not mean that there's clarity and understanding of what is going on.

            Q:  But not having any input from the Pakistani side, yet there was a briefing for reporters here in Washington at the Pakistani embassy about roughly a week to 10 days ago.  Did you all -- did you all incorporate the comments that were made at that briefing and -- which was distributed through U.S. media India reporting?

            GEN. CLARK:  No, we did not.  Unfortunately, we did not have Pakistani participation in this investigation.  We did have ISAF NATO participation.  We had U.S., via CENTCOM, participation.  We had Afghan senior leadership participation.  I had an Afghan major general with us as part of the team.  He is the deputy commander of the Border Police, with great familiarity with the area and other things going on there.  We did not benefit from Pakistani participation.

            In what I term a human endeavor, nuance matters.  And what somebody says is important, but it's more important what somebody hears.  And that's the context that we are missing from that half of this.  If we're trying to find out what occurred in total, that's a significant element there that is missing because there's always two sides to a particular event, and perspectives, and that's a very important portion that is missing out of this.

            And as we worked very, very hard to clarify what is a very complicated, convoluted situation, we spent a lot of time on looking at what was said and how it was received and how that translated out into understanding or a lack of understanding or confusion in the breakdown.  

            So it -- I very much regret that we did not have Pakistani participation.  What a country decides to put out in the press is not something that I would put in a formal report. It is information that would be noted.  But as far the findings go, I have to go on what we find as what we believe is factual and that we can trace back to.

            Q:  They gave a two-hour briefing of the media.  Why wouldn't you at least take those questions aboard and redirect those questions to Pakistan, saying we understand you're not going to engage us directly, but please, here's a very detailed timeline they've given you; why not incorporate that, notes and all?  Did you incorporate any of that into your report, noting it was only in media reports?

            GEN. CLARK:  The direction I was given, I had very specific things to take a look at and things that we could take into account, things that we felt were appropriate to take into account.  

            One of the things we that we chose to do was to concentrate on the facts that we could identify and not spend time going through all the various media reports, because, again, I don't know -- I can't validate a one-sided story, and I can't connect the dots to the other. I can't do that given play, if you will, to validate what somebody says versus what I understand they said and that nuance.  

            So we've spent a significant amount of time poring over the information that we had access to, and I think that once that you see the report, you'll understand just how in-depth and complete it is.

            MR. LITTLE:  Eric, from the very outset we invited Pakistani participation in this investigation, and that didn't --

            Q:  You had a two-hour -- two-hour battle --

            MR. LITTLE:  Hold on.  There was no -- there was no official Pakistani --

            Q:  But he wants -- he's talking about one-sided stories.  That's what he's getting from the American side.  Why not take it from the Pakistani side -- (inaudible) -- limited -- (inaudible) -- 

            (Cross talk.)

            MR. LITTLE:  (Inaudible) -- there was no official acceptance to join the -- to join the investigation.

            We have time for, maybe, two or three more questions.

            Jennifer.

            Q:  Thank you.  General, it's Jennifer Griffin from Fox News.  Are you recommending that any punishments be meted out as a result of your investigation?  Are you recommending that anybody be sanctioned for their actions?

            GEN. CLARK:  The report was to go into the facts and the circumstances surrounding the events and things that we felt were important there.  Any type of action that may come as a result of that will be handled within the chain of command by the commanders there. So I will leave that to them.

            MR. LITTLE:  Luis did you have a question.

            Q:  Yeah, sir, it's Luis Martinez ABC News.  You keep mentioning this village.  You keep mentioning the mission.  Did the mission continue to be carried out after this friendly fire incident, or what happened to the forces right after it?  Did they -- was there any contact made with the Pakistanis?

            And I'd also like to reaffirm Eric's point about contacts from the Pakistani government.  The Pakistani Joint Chiefs of Staff -- their equivalent -- had a major briefing in Pakistan several days after this incident occurred and laid out their timeline and even mentioned the specifics of the names of "Boulder" and "Volcano," which I find surprising that you'd -- have never even heard of that name before until today, which I kind of think might lead to some skepticism on the part of Pakistanis that this is not a fully complete report.

            GEN. CLARK:  OK, I think as far as taking what was briefed by the Pakistanis -- I think I've addressed that, and I think I've told you that I did recognize "Volcano."  The term "Boulder" I had not seen. But I did not pay attention to what was going on in the media because there's a lack of precision in that as far as I'm concerned.

            Now, what the Pakistani military wanted put out -- we would have been very, very happy to have had their direct participation so we could have confirmed -- (inaudible) -- on both sides and given them insight into what we were seeing from our side and this perspective.

            As far as what occurred after 0100, once it was identified that there were Pakistani military in the area, the fire -- the ground tactical leader ceased firing -- the fire support from the air, and they were able to disengage.  Realize that this is, you know, an hour and a half, two hours into this, so we're at the trailing end.  They continued on into the daytime.  It was almost 24 hours before they extracted.  In fact, their extraction site when they were taken out was moved four kilometers away from the border.  So they had to ruck it much further to get back out.

            But they did continue to sweep the village.  They engaged the village elders.  And at 1:46 a.m. as this was winding down, if you will, one of the AH-64s was engaged by what they believe was an RPG down lower in the valley.  And that kind of concluded the hostile portion of this, and they  continued on with their mission and, from the ground tactical leader's mindset, as far as that goes, was able to be successful in what it was he was tasked to do from that point on.

            MR. LITTLE:  (Inaudible.)

            Q:  Thank you.  General, this is Lalit Jha, from Press Trust of India.  How do you respond to Pakistanis' allegations that the -- your investigation is not credible enough, or not transparent?

            GEN. CLARK:  Well, I think as we are beginning to explain what we found in the investigation, I think that brings the transparency. There -- there's nothing that is being withheld.  And the transparency certainly -- it would have been facilitated greatly had Pakistan decided to participate in that.  As I mentioned before, it would -- we would have benefited tremendously from having that perspective with us around the table and, as we're asking questions across the various echelons of command, to get the rest of the story.

            I can't say why they chose not to.  I just know that the fact that they did not participate in that portion of what we would have found out is, obviously, going to be missing from this report.

            Q:  General, John Harper, with the Asahi Shimbun.  Have you received any response from the Pakistanis since you gave them the report?  And did they dispute any of the findings?

            GEN. CLARK:  I think that's for Mr. Little.

            MR. LITTLE:  The -- General Dempsey has been in contact with General Kayani.  They had a very professional and cordial conversation.  It's my understanding that General Mattis has also reached out to General Kayani, and that the Pakistanis will be briefed on the findings of the report.

            Thank you very much.

            Q:  When were they -- when did Mattis and Dempsey speak to Kayani?

            MR. LITTLE:  Within the last 14  hours.

            Q:  Did they reach out to Kayani -- and so they -- so the Pakistanis have not been briefed on this at all, then?  Is that what you're saying?

            MR. LITTLE:  We had an accelerated timeline in -- on our -- and we have consulted with the Pakistanis, with the Afghans and with the -- with NATO leadership.  And frankly, we were -- our timeline was accelerated because of leaks.

            Q:  What's the difference between being -- between consulting with them and briefing them -- (inaudible)?

            MR. LITTLE:  We are -- we are going to share our findings with the government of Pakistan's and will do -- will do so very soon.

            Thank you very much.

            Q:  Could you just --

            Q:  Can you confirm that the village was in Pakistan or in Afghanistan?

            MR. LITTLE:  The village was in Afghanistan.

            OK, thank you.