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0711DOD NEWS BRIEFING

Presenters: Kenneth Bacon, ASD(PA)
July 11, 1996 2:30 PM EDT

July 11, 1996 - 2:30 p.m.

thank you for your patience, as always.

I'd like to start with a couple of remarks about the issue at hand, which is today's Washington Post article. That article incorrectly states that a June 17th intelligence report warned of security flaws at Khobar Towers housing complex in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.

In fact, the two-and-a-half page report, which was entitled “Saudi Arabia Increased Security" describes measures that had recently been taken to improve protection of the residential compound. It was not a security alert. It was a summary of protective steps that Saudi officials had taken in response to security observations made by U.S. and Saudi officials in recent months.

The first sentence of the report reads:

"The authorities in the eastern province city of al-Khobar are tightening security to deal with the rising number of suspicious incidents affecting U.S. and other coalition personnel in their residential area. The suspicious activities included suspected surveillance and possible attempts to penetrate the security fence."

Referring to Khobar Towers, the report concludes:

"Taken individually, the surveillance activities may be explained as curiosity-seeking or harassment. Organized terrorist groups have not been reported targeting U.S. and other coalition personnel. However, in light of the growing anti-U.S. sentiment and the increased frequency of these incidents, a pattern appears to be developing that warrants improved security efforts."

It was those security efforts that were detailed in the report. The bulk of the report discusses the details of Saudi efforts to beef up security at the complex, including increased patrols, intensified checkpoints, plans to seal off the area in case of an incident, and the security responsibilities of the different Saudi authorities.

Steps to improve security at Khobar Towers had been well underway for months. As General Peay testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, since November 1995 local commanders at Dhahran had made more than 130 security improvements at Khobar Towers. Some of these steps were taken since April, specifically in response to the incidents discussed in the report. These security improvements include the placement of additional barriers at entrances and along the fence line of the Khobar complex.

The security situation or the threat of terrorism had been a constant preoccupation of people in CENTCOM and people in this building since the bombing in Riyadh in November 1995. And as a result, there had -- the threat level was considered high, and a number of actions had been taken.

Before I take your questions, I'd just like to point out that the concern here, the enemy here is terrorism. What we have been trying to do in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere is to improve the defenses of our troops and other Americans against terrorists. We've done this both through more active intelligence gathering, and we've done this through more active defenses, primarily passive defenses. This has been an ongoing struggle. It will continue. And what we should do is concentrate our efforts on how to deal with what has been described by the secretary as a "scourge," and we intend to keep doing that.

And with that, I'll take your questions.

Bob?

Q: Ken, by quoting from that report, you've essentially declassified part of that classified report. Why not declassify the rest of it?

A: Well, we've talked about doing that, and we decided that what I just read to you gives you basically the guts of the report. As with most intelligence, the most sensitive part comes from the way the intelligence is gathered, rather than the conclusions themselves. And we decided it was better off to stick with the method we've selected here.

Tammy?

Q: Isn't it possible simply to redact -- (inaudible) -- information and let us determine what we think the guts of the report are?

A: This is the decision that's been made. It would be much easier for me to release this report, but I think this gives you a very good summary of the report.

Yes?

Q: Ken, could you tell us who-all in the Pentagon got the report? And then can you tell what follow-up action, if any, any of those people took to follow up on the recommendations and -- (inaudible)?

A: Sure.

The first thing I want to point out is that this report was a compilation. It was a summary of information that had been gathered primarily at Khobar Towers. What it does is focus on a number of incidents which, taken alone, might not attract any attention whatsoever -- for instance, a car bashing into a barrier, a truck spinning its wheels nearby, people driving around the complex.

They had noticed a number of these incidents over a period of time. These had been noticed in Khobar Towers in Dhahran, and they had taken appropriate action. As I said, one of the actions they had taken was to add additional Jersey barriers. So this report was a compilation of actions -- was reporting on actions that had been taken, one, to strengthen security; and two, in response to incidents.

The Military Intelligence Digest is very widely distributed throughout the government. It has a distribution list 14 pages long, I've been told. It goes to people in many departments in government, it goes out to the commands, and it goes to the Intelligence Committees on the Hill. Typically, a report like this is circulated through many offices in the Pentagon and it would be available for many people to read.

Q: And the second part; can you tell us anything that anybody did in response to this report to follow-up, to ensure that these precautions --

A: Well, I said this report was reporting on actions that had already been taken. It was reporting on security improvements that the Saudis had made at Khobar Towers, and it explained why they had made these actions. It did not suggest that new actions be taken. It justified the actions that had been taken, and it called attention to the continuing security situation at Khobar Towers.

Q: If this is such a comprehensive survey, why didn't the secretary remember it when he testified Monday?

A: The secretary pointed out that there had been a huge amount of intelligence. The secretary had been following the security situation in Saudi Arabia very closely since November 13, 1995, when the (OPM/SANG?) bomb went off in Riyadh. He visited Riyadh in January. He had extensive discussions with General Peay at the headquarters of the Central Command last spring. He had been briefed many times on what was happening in Saudi Arabia and had been following it.

This was one report, as I said, that was a compilation of many previous reports. So these previous reports had been brought to his attention and the attention of other officials.

Q Did he know about this report?

A: He does not recall having read this report. But the point is that he had been following the security situation in Saudi Arabia and he had issued a number of -- he and the chairman had issued a number of directives to CENTCOM and to other commanders around the world urging them to review their security procedures and to make appropriate changes. This was done after the -- it was done after the November 13th bombing. There was also a directive sent out by the chairman in April after the suspects for the November 13th bombing were picked up. And there were other warnings issued at -- at other times throughout when we thought that there was a threat that made such a warning appropriate.

Q: Ken?

A: Yes.

Q: Is there a follow-up report to this that outlined things that needed to be done or these things were all after the fact. Was there any addendum or anything close on the heels of this that should have been seen by the secretary and the Joint Chiefs chairman which said "Look, we need to move the perimeter back to 400 feet, we need to do x, y, and z"?

A: That -- that recommendation was never made in any form to the secretary that I know of or that he recalls.

Q: Okay, a follow-up to that, then. And we -- it's revisiting an issue we talked about a couple of weeks ago. But if that's true, then isn't -- you talk about culpability. Isn't at least for lack of communication the brigadier general in charge of the airway culpable for not sending that information up the chain? Apparently, he notified nobody out of theater, you told me.

A: Well, two points on that. I'm not going -- three points. I'm not going to address culpability. It's way premature.

Secondly, General Downing will be looking at the whole question of what happened or what didn't happen at -- surrounding the Khobar Towers.

But remember, the primary point of what -- a primary point of what General Downing is doing is not only to review what happened at Khobar Towers, but to look at the future and this -- and make recommendations for what we can do to reduce what I called earlier the principal threat of terrorism. That's what we have to pull together to do. That's what we're doing in the department. We've been doing that for a long time.

Now, there's a justifiable temptation and a very understandable temptation to want to take a snapshot of -- of a security program on any given day to tie it to one report, to one action that was taken or that was not taken. Security is an organic process, and this had been-- we had been working very hard to make all our troops in Saudi Arabia more secure since the November 13th bombing in Riyadh.

I mentioned that there had been 130 specific actions taken around the Khobar Towers since November. General Estes has put together a very good briefing on this, and I hope that he'll come down here maybe tomorrow to run through some of these actions. But General Peay mentioned a number of these actions when he testified on Tuesday. He said they included upgrading fences, adding additional concrete barriers along access roads, establishing a single, well-defended exit/entry point, clearing fields of view along perimeters, denying vehicles access to garages, blocking service roads between buildings, establishing no parking areas near buildings within the compound, increasing U.S. patrols and guards, increasing -- requesting and receiving additional Saudi guards and patrols, inspecting all mail parcels and deliveries, including food, and augmenting the staff of physical security experts.

So there were a series of actions, many of which you might consider very small actions such as cutting away brush from a fence to allow increased visibility of what was happening outside the fence line. But there were a number of actions made, and this was not a process that ended on a certain day. There was never a time when the commander or anybody else said "Hah! We're through. The place is secure." That's not how security operates. And it didn't operate this -- it didn't operate that way here. It was a continuing process, and it has continued right up to the day of the bombing, and it has continued since the bombing.

Q: Are you saying in -- in eight days before the bombing when this report was written that nowhere in the part of this report we can't read it says "We need to take a lot of additional steps"? It didn't -- it said "We're finished"? I mean, if --

A: It did not say "We're finished." Intelligence reports typically don't make recommendations. They list findings or facts. They list information. They say, "This is what we have found out," and they allow the -- they leave it to the analyst or the policy maker to draw conclusions from the reports. That's the typical intelligence report.

This is a report that basically lists improvements in security procedures that had been made by Saudi officials and explains why they made these improvements.

Q: And then, it doesn't take it the next step, which is, "We are still, according to" -- you know -- "the intelligence analysts who looked at all this data -- we are still very concerned about what's happening here. We need to go further?"

A: It makes no recommendations. It raises -- it is basically backward-looking. It said, "Here are a bunch of events that have occurred around Khobar Towers since April." That's what it focuses on.

And it lists things like people driving around and looking. It lists things such as somebody appearing to take a photograph of the area. As I said, it listed the car hitting a barrier -- a vehicle hitting a barrier on May 20th.

Q: These are all chilling details that the secretary already knew, is that what you're telling us?

A: Well, the secretary knew that this -- knew, in general, that the security situation in Saudi Arabia was -- had deteriorated dramatically after the November 13th bombing.

He knew, as the whole military command structure knew, that after the suspects for that bombing were captured, it was a period of increased tension; and perhaps increased vulnerability of Americans, because there could be a response to the capture of these four people who were ultimately convicted and beheaded. We knew that around the time of the beheading, there could be increased anti-American feeling.

So, for all these reasons, we were under a continual reevaluation of the security steps we were taking. So, as I say, it was an organic process. Nobody was declared to -- nobody was prepared to declare it over.

This was a report -- it was basically historical in nature - -that said:

"I want to bring you up to date on a number of things that have happened in Khobar, a number of security improvements made by the Saudis. And I want to explain to you on what basis they were made."

That's what the report does. And -- [just that] -- the summary of that is both in the first sentence -- and what I read you was the last paragraph.

Q: There is that one ambiguous sentence, though, that says there's a pattern that warrants improved security efforts. It could be read to talk about future efforts.

A: And we were making --

Q: Now, you're interpreting it to say it justified what was already going on. Has anybody gone back to the authors of the memo to see which meaning they intended?

A: Not that I'm aware of. I read it in the context of explaining why improved security measures have been taken. You can obviously read it the other way. And we are --

Q: Rather than arguing it, shouldn't somebody go to the people who wrote it --

A: Well, the point -- no, because it's irrelevant. What's relevant here is the fact that there was a continuing effort, which goes on today and will go on tomorrow and next year, to try to improve the protection of our forces. And we -- there is nothing in this report that says -- that suggests that we had done enough. There has been nothing in any report I've read about Khobar Towers or anything else that suggests that you have done enough to protect the forces and you can stop. That's not how force protection works. It's a continuing challenge and it's one that all commanders are aware must be re-fought day in and day out. You're always looking for ways to improve, because the one thing we know is that terrorists will always attempt to strike at our weakest point, so you try to figure out where your weakest point is and make it stronger.

Yes, Jim?

Q: Was there any mention in the report of the discussions to expand the fence line out?

A: There was no suggestion of expanding the perimeter defense in this report.

Q: If this was a historical look back at what was in process, didn't someone look at this report and say, "We're not looking at extending the perimeter" and present that to someone?

A: Well, what we did know was that the authorities in Dhahran were working continually to improve their security. And we know because just since April, when the events mentioned in this report began, they had erected the additional Jersey barriers at entrances, these cement things; they'd increased Saudi patrols outside the fence 24-hours a day; they'd created procedures with local police for base security to check vehicle license plate numbers of suspicious vehicles and to identify and question suspicious people outside the perimeter -- this was something that was worked out with the Saudi authorities. They had installed a sand-filled dump truck, which was outside the entrance so that it could quickly drive in and interrupt anybody trying to penetrate the barriers and get into the compound. And they had also -- the Al-Khobar police had independently begun a program for police undercover patrols and surveillance outside the perimeter.

Now these were things that had been taken just since April.

Q: Ken -- (inaudible) -- [inferior ?] to extending that perimeter out, though.

A: The --

Q: I mean, here in Washington the Secret Service says President Clinton has to close off Pennsylvania Avenue, keep 300 or 400 feet, but our own troops --

A: And I believe the Senate has voted to repeal that. Is that right? Or didn't they have a vote where many senators voted to reopen Pennsylvania Avenue? Am I wrong on that?

Q: [I think you're ?] right, and you're not wrong.

A: When was that vote?

Q: A few weeks ago.

A: What was the vote?

Q: Fifty-nine to thirty-nine in favor of reopening.

A: In favor of scaling back the security perimeter, making it smaller in front of the White House, by reopening Pennsylvania Avenue? Thank you. (Laughter.) I just had forgotten the facts, and I'm glad you were able to remind me of that.

Q: You rest your case on that.

Q: Ken, can I --

Q: [One last ?] --

A: Yes, go ahead.

Q: [Did they announce hearings ?] --

Q: Was there any reference in the report to any possible foot-dragging or reluctance on the part of the Saudis to carry out any security action that we requested?

A: Absolutely not. This is -- I -- you obviously have a hard time appreciating what I'm saying, but it is a -- it's a historical report. It says this is what's happened and why.

Q: (Off mike) --

A: Just a sec.

Steve?

Q: Can you explain this truck trying to ram the fence? I mean, it seems at first there was a collective amnesia about this incident, and I don't understand why that wouldn't be a sure sign that, gee whiz, maybe they would try a truck bomb and not just a car bomb.

A: Well, all this report says is that a "vehicle" -- but- -

Q: [Do you know] more about it?

A: I do not know more about it. But the point of the report is that yes, there were suspicious activities; yes, they were noticed; and yes, they were responded to.

The question that you can ask and can always ask after a tragedy is: Did you do enough? And that's the question everybody's asking. We're asking that ourselves. Nobody has a stronger commitment to force protection than the leaders of the U.S. military, both civilian and uniformed. And nobody is working harder to try to improve that.

Unfortunately, we will never be perfect. We will never eliminate the terrorist threat, no matter how hard we try. But we're trying as hard as we can.

Q: Is the report that a truck tried to ram the perimeter incorrect?

A: I will check on that. I'm not trying to be evasive. I just don't know whether it was a truck or a car.

Q: Ken, as an assistant secretary, are you on the distribution list? Did you get a copy of the report?

A: I did --

Q: Did you read it?

A: -- and I read it. I read it -- (inaudible) --

Q: Did it raise any red flags with you?

A: I knew that the security situation in -- that there were security challenges in Saudi Arabia. I knew that there had been a concerted and active program to improve security all over Saudi Arabia for American troops, and this did not surprise me.

Q: But this was -- I mean, what I'm probing at here, this is one of many such reports that obviously you received; am I in correction that? I mean, it didn't jump out and say this is unique; it was sort of a pattern of security reports that you might get anywhere, elsewhere in the Middle East, elsewhere in the world?

A: It leapt out at me because it had a very striking picture attached to it, pictures that you've seen -- like what you've seen many times since of the -- of the compound. Since -- it's my impression that since General Hughes took over as the director of DIA, the graphics and the art has improved dramatically in some of these reports, and frankly, that's one of the things that leapt out at me, was how the graphics of this report had improved.

Q: Did you call it to anybody's attention up on the E ring above you?

A: As I said, Ivan, I knew, because I had been to Saudi Arabia and because I had been following events there, I knew that our security had improved and I knew that we were working hard to improve it still further. So I saw it in the context of a long line of efforts to improve security of our forces in Saudi Arabia. Now, there-- General Estes will run through, will run through these with you when he comes down, as I read a listing from General Peay, but a lot of security is not -- is pretty -- is pretty standard stuff of improving what you've got, improving fences, improving barriers, improving perimeters, improving surveillance, improving patrols. And that's what was done.

Q: Specifically in the last question on this, did you, after getting this, and saying it jumped out at you, did you discuss it with the secretary?

A: I said it jumped out at me because of its graphics. This was an issue, as I said, which fit into a pattern of what I knew to be going on in Saudi Arabia, and that is a long line of improvements to the security of our forces. It's only natural that we would do this after the November 13th bombing.

Q: Did you discuss it with the secretary after you read it?

A: I did not discuss it with the secretary.

Yes?

Q: You said that the secretary can't remember if he saw the report. Can you tell us when the secretary was aware of the specific incidents cited in the report, then, of a vehicle attempting to ram the fence or --

A: I cannot tell you that. I can tell you that he was--

Q: Was he ever aware of those specific incidents?

A: I do not know whether he was. He was aware of a pattern of security incidents in Saudi Arabia, clearly starting with the OPM-SANG bombing, and he was very determined, and he made this clear in directives to his commanders, that security was a top priority issue and had to be studied.

Q: Is that the type of incident that would never be brought to the attention of the secretary?

A: No, not necessarily. But as I say, he tends to look at broad patterns, and his briefings focus on broad patterns rather than on individual events. He was very aware of the security challenges our forces were facing in Saudi Arabia and was moving -- or getting -- asking the commanders to move to improve those and they were doing that, to improve the security situation.

Yes?

Q: Was this report something that was just in a big thick binder of intelligence reports you get every morning, or was it something special distributed that was a new and special --

A: It was in a binder of several intelligence reports, yeah.

Yes?

Q: Have the Saudis been receptive to the deployment of additional U.S. military security police to Saudi Arabia? And could you talk about what additional steps have been taken to bolster security in the recent -- around U.S. facilities?

A: Certainly there have been heightened patrols and more security people assigned. There have been changes in movement patterns. There have been a variety of other changes, but I'd rather not go into specific detail, but yes, there have been continuing changes.

Q: But have you increased the number of security forces?

A: I cannot give you numbers on that, but certainly we've increased attention on security in the last few days, but this has been --

Q: And have the Saudis been receptive?

A: The Saudis have been -- very much understand our situation and share our concern to protect American forces.

John?

Q: Shortly before you came out, one of your favorite senators was in the gallery, Senator Specter, saying "Secretary Perry needs to explain why he did not take preventative action after seeing the report, and if he did not see the report, he needs to explain why he did not see it." Do you have a specific response to that?

A: I have my -- yes. The secretary was very aware of the security situation facing our forces in Saudi Arabia and was working actively through his commanders to improve their protections, and that in just the Khobar Towers alone, more than 130 security enhancements had been made since November of 1993. And, as I pointed out, a number of enhancements had also been made since April -- I mean, November of 1995. And a number of improvements had been made since April of 1996, when the events in this report began.

Q: Specter went on to say, and I am much more paraphrasing now, that the disclosure that this report existed makes the issue of Perry's continued tenure, as Secretary of Defense, loom larger in his mind -- the question of it.

Do you have a response to that?

A: I think it would be -- it will be -- there is no one who cares more about the security of U.S. troops than Secretary Perry.

What's important here is to unify against the common enemy, which is international terrorism, and not to attack each other. The U.S. government should be unified -- Congress and the administration -- infighting what's an increasing threat. And I hope that if anything comes out of this tragedy, it will be a greater appreciation of the magnitude of the threat we face, not only in Saudi Arabia, but all over the world, and of the need to act together to fight that threat.

Bob?

Q: Another subject, if I may?

Q: On a related subject?

The embassy -- the U.S. embassy in Riyadh cautioning Americans yesterday in Saudi Arabia -- (to take ?) -- extra precautions and saying that there were -- there had been indications of -- there might be further attacks. Has the U.S. military also received such indications of specific threats -- additional threats since the bombing?

A: We're aware of the same threats that the State Department has received. They were quite specific about the threats, and I don't think I want to go into specific threats at this stage.

Q: (Well ?) they were specific about who had received the threats, saying that it was individual Americans, as well as companies and the embassy. I'm just asking whether the military has also received these threats?

A: The military is at the -- probably is on a -- as high a state of alertness right now, toward terrorist threats, as it can be.

Q: New subject?

Q: No.

Q: No.

Q: Is there anything further on the movement of American troops out of Riyadh and out of Dhahran, for that matter, to the air base south of Riyadh?

A: It remains under consideration. I would expect that there would be something relatively soon on that. But so far the --the next step will be get a firm plan to move forward on this from CENTCOM and then we will begin that process. But right now --

Q: (Off mike) -- it will happen?

A: I think it's quite clear that there will be some movement to some place. What -- the degree, the timing, et cetera is still to be worked out.

Q: Is there any consideration to moving people out of Dhahran and specifically out of the Khobar Towers?

A: Well, I think until the plan is completed by CENTCOM it probably is not worth talking about because I don't have the details. No one has the details until the plan is completed. And --

Q: Do you have any plans to take the troops out of Khobar Towers, then?

A: Well, as I said, all of that will become clear once the plan is presented and considered here at the Pentagon. It's just premature to talk about details right now. I do think there will be some movement of some troops. The question is when and how many. And all of that will -- will become clear once the plan is -- is generated and approved.

Q: One of -- one of the reasons the State Department issued supposedly a detailed warning yesterday as it did goes back to the Lockerbie bombing where a decision was made within the executive branch to release details of potential threats so that the public and the 40,000 Americans who live in Saudi Arabia would be as apprised as the people within the government. Are you indicating that within military circles that there are additional details about the types of threats that people are receiving that you are not revealing--

A: No, I'm not indicating that at all. I'm not indicating that.

Q: Just wondering.

A: What I said very clearly is that we are on a very high state of -- of responsiveness to potential threats. And I just want to leave it at that. We're aware of -- that, for one thing, all the attention to this bombing has certainly generated the possibility of more attacks. And the secretary said that unfortunately we will never have the luxury of living in a world that's free of terrorism. And I think we have to recognize that, and then we have to do our best to prepare ourselves for these types of attacks. And that's what we've been doing, in Saudi Arabia and around the world, for a considerable number of months.

Yes, Jim?

Q: Does the United States have any evidence linking the attack to Syria or any other country?

A: I'm not going to get into evidence. The FBI's handling the investigation with the Saudis. It's not appropriate for me to talk about it.

Ivan?

Q: New issue?

A: Are we through with this --

Q: When you say that the U.S. military is on as high a state of alert as they can be, is that limited to the Middle East, to that region? Is that more worldwide? Is it a worldwide alert?

A: It's certainly in the CENTCOM region.

Q: And beyond?

A: And some areas beyond as well.

In the -- yes?

Q: Is there an expectation that there will be another terrorist attack in Saudi Arabia?

A: (Pauses.) "Expectation" would be too strong. There's certainly worry. I think a worry is different than expectation.

We have to be prepared, and we're doing our best to be prepared.

Q: (I mean ), the State Department's warning yesterday seemed to suggest there were reports that certainly showed that people are planning a terrorist attack. Whether they carry it out is a different question, I realize.

A: (Inaudible) --

 

Q: Does it appear that the planning is going on for another attack?

A: There are very concrete reasons to be worried about additional terrorist attacks. We are, and we're doing everything we can to protect ourselves against that threat.

Q: (Can you say ?) any more about this question of an outside organized terrorist ring that is participating in these attacks? Or-- (off mike) --

A: I can't. I can't right now. It would just be speculation.

Q: The report in the Washington Post also made mention of the threat-level assessment going from medium to high. Does the report talk about that at all -- (off mike) --

A: The threat-level assessment had been high long before this report was written, months before the report was written. It has nothing to say about threat-level assessment. And that particular assertion just doesn't fit the events. The threat level was already high at the time this report came out.

Now, Ivan, you've been very patient.

Q: You've been very -- what's the word I'm groping for? You've done very well, sir. Thank you.

A: Thank you.

Q: My question I wanted to ask -- (laughs) -- the DoD appropriations bill is coming up, perhaps today, if not, tomorrow, for a vote in the Senate. It's $10 billion over what the administration has asked for. Has the Secretary recommended to the President that he veto this bill if it's passed in its present form and if it clears the conference committee roughly in its present form? And do you have any reason to believe, if so, that the president will veto it?

A: Well, the president's advisers have said that they -- his economic and budget advisers have said that they would recommend a veto if the -- if the spending-level issue can't be addressed in conference.

Q: That's a recommendation, but is there a recommendation from this building as well --

A: Well, I'd just like to leave it at that, that the White House has said, Mike McCurry has said that the advisers would recommend a veto.

Q: Having recommended it, or if they do recommend it, do you have any reason to believe that in a presidential election year, with a lot of electoral votes in states that build weapon systems, that there will be a veto?

A: I think I should let the president and his staff talk about vetoes. It's not my job to forecast what the White House is going to do at this stage.

Tammy?

Q: New subject. Bosnia. Now that warrants have been issued for the arrest of Karadzic and Mladic, do you anticipate any change in the role of IFOR forces, for example to back up (police ?), international police officers serving these warrants?

A: There's been no change in the role of IFOR forces so far that I'm aware of. Now, IFOR forces are in the same posture of being ready to detain war criminals and turn them over to the authorized authorities if they're encountered in the course of their patrols or other actions.

Q: Would the U.S. have the ability or the authority to arrest or detain these two outside of the IFOR structure?

A: Well, U.S. is in IFOR, and we follow the IFOR rules.That's one of the reasons IFOR has been so successful, that all of the countries have worked together, and I expect that to continue.

Q: But what about using units outside of the context of IFOR?

A: I don't want to -- that's something that I don't think bears speculating about now. (Telephone ringing.) Sorry, I have a phone call. (Laughter.)

Q: Thank you.

A: Thank you.