Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says there is evidence suggesting two popular
Arabic-language television stations may be cooperating with anti-coalition forces
Mr. Rumsfeld says employees of al-Arabiya and al-Jazeera have from time to
time been in close proximity to terrorist attacks on coalition forces - sometimes
appearing on the scene of incidents even before they happen.
Speaking to reporters at the Pentagon, Mr. Rumsfeld says it is not clear
how that happens.
But in response to a question, he says there are "scraps of evidence" suggesting
collusion between the television stations and the terrorists.
"Haven't U.S. troops in fact gathered up some pretty compelling evidence
that either both or one of these organizations maybe cooperating with these
terrorists," asked one reporter.
"The answer is yes," Secretary Rumsfeld said. "I have seen scraps of information
over a sustained period of time that need to be looked at in a responsible,
Still Mr. Rumsfeld declined to comment on the decision by Iraq's Governing
Council this week to shut down the Baghdad bureau of al-Arabiya. He said he
is not completely familiar with the Council's decision and its implications
Late Monday, Iraqi policeman, acting on the orders of the Governing Council
and the Interior Minister, raided al-Arabiya's office and seized broadcast
The move followed the station's broadcast earlier this month of an audiotape
purportedly containing the voice of ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. The
tape called on Iraqis to wage war against coalition forces and Iraqis working
with the coalition.
Al-Arabiya employees in Baghdad have expressed anger and disappointment over
the decision to shut down the bureau.
Al-Arabiya and al-Jazeera are considered highly popular and influential in
the Arab world. U.S. officials have been frequently critics of the stations'