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Sat Dec 25 12:04:04 MST 2004
Insurgents infiltrating coalition, US says
Iraq screening boosted as growing threat cited
By Bryan Bender, Boston Globe Staff | December 25, 2004
WASHINGTON -- Iraqi insurgents and their informants have been infiltrating
US and coalition organizations, Iraqi security units, and political parties
in growing numbers, posing a daunting challenge to efforts to defeat the
guerrillas and create a stable Iraqi state, according to US military
officials, Iraq specialists, and a new study of Iraqi security forces.
Officials in Baghdad insist they are putting systems in place to review new
recruits for the Iraqi security forces and Iraqi and foreign workers who
mingle daily with large numbers of American and allied troops. Yesterday,
US authorities announced that a new assessment team will conduct a
wide-ranging probe into security lapses at US and Iraqi government facilities.
Insurgents infiltrating coalition, US says (Today's Globe)
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American deaths in Iraq and Kuwait (Today's Globe)
But the apparent suicide attack that killed 21 people inside a US Army base
in northern Iraq this week brought home what US officials have quietly been
warning for months: insurgents in Iraq, including Iraqis and foreign
fighters, are increasingly operating within their midst.
And in many cases, they appear to be gathering better intelligence on US
military movements and the activities of the new Iraqi government than
coalition forces are gathering on guerrilla plans.
''Penetration of Iraqi security and military forces may be the rule, not
the exception," according to a draft version of a study of Iraqi security
forces by a senior Pentagon consultant.
Military analysts concur that such infiltration is a worsening threat that
is undermining US and Iraqi efforts to stand up viable security forces and
to protect coalition troops from increasingly deadly attacks.
''There are more and more infiltrators out there," said Army Colonel Paul
Hughes, who served as a political adviser to US occupation authorities in
Iraq. ''It is the nature of an insurgent."
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