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DoD on bombing of al-JJazeera

If it is shown by our analysis that our weapons were at fault, we stand up and say so. We're not to that point yet.
Presenter: Rear Adm. Craig R. Quigley, DASD PA Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2001 - 3:16 p.m. EST

Q: Nadia Rahman from Al Jazeera TV.

Quigley: Hi.

Q: This morning an Al Jazeera office was destroyed by a U.S. missile in Kabul. This is according
to a CNN crew that went to the site to inspect the site afterwards, and they reported back to the
headquarters of the Al Jazeera in Qatar. Also, the BBC and APTN offices nearby were affected.
What information do you have about that, and how would you explain this incident?

Quigley: I have seen the news reports that report, as you say, that some sort of weapon went
awry and destroyed those facilities. What we have done since the earliest days of the military
portion of the campaign against terrorism is to try our very best every day, every hour of every
day, to only target military targets. But despite our best efforts, some weapons have failed and
some human errors have been made, resulting in targets being struck that we did not intend to
strike.

We do not have people on the ground everywhere to give us reliable real-time information as to
the status of those. So what we do is we go back and we review the strike planning. We review
the reports that we have from our aircrews, as well as from people on the ground. We take a look
at overhead imagery. And we put all the parts of this puzzle together. And if it is shown by our
analysis that our weapons were at fault, we stand up and say so. We're not to that point yet. But if
that would be the case, that is what you will hear from us.

Go ahead.

Q: Surely in whatever wars or whatever conflicts, there's always a gathering of various news
agencies, and that gathering is quite clear and the military tends to know about the whereabouts of
these media organizations. You must have had information about where Al Jazeera, BBC, APTN
and others in the area are.

Quigley: I don't know that we do. Typically when we have that knowledge, it is always -- you
always have much better knowledge of what is on the ground if you have troops on the ground
and can see it. Aerial photography and intelligence reporting and things of that sort are all useful,
but they're never a substitute for the clarity that you get from seeing things with your own eyes with
troops on the ground. And we don't have that, certainly not in all areas.

So we -- as I said, what we have done is try very hard to find out what did happen here. And if
we misidentified a target, if a human error was made, if a weapon malfunctioned in some way
resulting in our weapon being the cause of that destruction, we will say so and we will try our very
best to explain how that happened.
 
 

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