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Marines limiting info about attacks on troops

Robert Burns
Associated Press
Apr. 3, 2004 12:00 AM


WASHINGTON - Citing a need to protect the troops, the Marine Corps operating in Fallujah and elsewhere in the volatile Sunni Triangle of central Iraq is restricting the information it releases about insurgent attacks that kill Marines.

On Friday, for example, a statement from the Marines' base camp outside Fallujah said a Marine had been killed the day before "as a result of enemy action" in Anbar province. In a break from the practice of other U.S. forces in Iraq, the Marines gave no details.

The Army and the Pentagon, in their news releases announcing service members' deaths in Iraq, typically offer a brief characterization of the hostile action, such as mortar fire, roadside bomb or other type of attack. They usually cite the town where it happened; the Marines do not.

"Force protection measures preclude the release of any information that could aid enemy personnel in assessing the effectiveness or lack thereof with regard to their tactics, techniques and procedures," the Marine statement said. "The release of more details about the incident could place our Marines and sailors at greater risk."

The Marines are operating in some of the most dangerous parts of Iraq, and at least 12 of them have been killed since they arrived in March to replace the Army's 82nd Airborne Division, including the death Thursday. In line with standard military practice, the Marines have not publicly released that name, pending notification of relatives.

At U.S. Central Command, Capt. Bruce Frame said it was the Marine Corps' prerogative to determine how much information to release about casualties.

The Defense Department's deputy assistant secretary for public affairs, Bryan Whitman, said the Pentagon was in discussion with the Marines about modifying their policy to provide more information.

On Friday, the Pentagon released the identities of the five soldiers killed: 1st Lt. Doyle M. Hufstedler, 25, of Abilene, Texas; Spc. Sean R. Mitchell, 24, of Youngsville, Pa.; Spc. Michael G. Karr Jr., 23, of San Antonio; Pfc. Cleston C. Raney, 20, of Rupert, Idaho; and Pvt. Brandon L. Davis, 20, of Cumberland, Md.


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