Monday, March 22, 2010

West Bank town mourns youths killed by Israel

News Watch

Iraq Burin residents protest continued settler efforts to take over land. Har Bracha settlers: Urgent to expand as much as possible Mourners grieving the loss of two Palestinian teenagers killed by Israeli forces this weekend directed their anger on Sunday at Jewish settlers living on occupied land next to their village in the West Bank.

Several thousand people turned out for the funerals of Mohammed Kaddous, 16, and Osaid Kaddous, 17, who were shot by Israeli forces on Saturday in the village of Iraq Burin, which has been occupied by Israel for 42 years.

Teacher Fathi Faqih remembered Mohammed Kaddous as his best student. "He dreamt of being an engineer or doctor. It's a loss for Iraq Burin and Palestine," he said.

The Israeli army said it was firing only rubber bullets at a crowd throwing stones and denied troops used live ammunition. Palestinian doctors who treated the two showed a Reuters journalist images which they said proved live rounds had been used.

Iraq Burin is one of a growing number of places where Palestinians protest regularly against Jewish colonisation of occupied land. Locals call it "popular resistance". They often throw rocks and sometimes petrol bombs, but rarely use guns.

The Palestinians of Iraq Burin focus their anger at the nearby settlement of Har Bracha (Mount of Blessing), one of more than 100 settlements across the West Bank.

"The aim of the settlers is to get our land," said Abdel Rahim Kaddous, head of the village council, who like many villagers shares the same family name. "They want to take more of our land. The army protects them. They exploit this".

'We will continue to resist'

One youth at the funeral said the village would continue its struggle. He would not give his name for fear of arrest: "The settlers come to take our land," he said. "We won't let them. We will continue to resist and to push them out."

On the website of Har Bracha, the settlers, who say they number 90 families, explain their attachment to living in a spot with biblical significance for Jews and their fears that Israel may withdraw from territory that has not been built on by Jews: "It is urgent for us to expand as much as possible," they say.

The international community says the settlements are illegal and pose an obstacle to peace by stunting the viability of a future Palestinian state.

Witnesses said Mohammed and Osaid Kaddous, who were not directly related, had not taken part in Saturday's protest. They had just returned from Nablus when they were hit by what Palestinian medics say were live bullets.

The Israeli army denied that: "Live fire was not used. The Palestinians were hurt by rubber bullets used during the riot."

It said the Palestinians had incited a confrontation and dozens of them had attacked security forces by throwing stones.

Mohammed and Osaid Kaddous were the first Palestinians to die as a result of the recent wave of protests that has swept both the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The bodies, wrapped in Palestinian flags, were carried through the village before burial on Sunday. Mourners declared them martyrs and chanted defiant slogans against Israel.

Ynet News

Egypt's Mubarak appoints new al-Azhar head

News Watch

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt's president has appointed Sheikh Ahmed El-Tayeb as the head of al-Azhar, Egypt's most prestigious seat of Islamic learning, the state news agency said on Friday, nine days after the former head died in Saudi Arabia. President Hosni Mubarak, 81, is in Germany, recovering from gall bladder surgery he had two weeks ago, and has handed presidential power to Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif.

Officials from Al-Azhar were not immediately available for comment.

Al-Azhar, which runs schools, universities and other educational institutions across Egypt and sends scholars to teach in countries across the Muslim world, receives most of its funding from the state.


Iran's supreme leader rejects US engagement call


TEHRAN (Agencies)

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei On Sunday rejected a U.S. call for engagement and full diplomatic relations saying Washington's actions were opposite to its call for dialogue.

"The new administration and president claimed interest in just and fair relations, they wrote letters and sent messages ... saying they are willing to normalize relations with the Islamic republic but in practice they did the opposite," he said in an address in the holy city of Mashhad on the occasion of the Iranian new year. It was carried by state television.

" If they were able to do it, the U.S. and Zionist regime would have sent troops to Tehran's streets, but they knew it would hurt them. Thus they spread propaganda and supported the rioters "

Iran supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei Khamenei added that the "enemies" of the Islamic republic had plans to start "civil war" after last June's elections.

Blaming the United States and Israel for much of the unrest after the presidential election, Khamenei said: "The enemies wanted to divide the people... and to create a civil war, but the nation was alert.

"If they were able to do it, the U.S. and Zionist regime would have sent troops to Tehran's streets, but they knew it would hurt them. Thus they spread propaganda and supported the rioters."

Iran was plunged into one of its worst political crises after the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in a vote his rivals claim was massively rigged.

Israelis want MBC shut down over Turkish series


DUBAI (Al Arabiya)

Israelis demanded on Sunday through comments posted on Israeli newspaper websites that MBC1 channel programming be shut down in their country, following the television's announcement that it would air a Turkish TV series that caused a diplomatic spat between Israel and Turkey.

Relationships between Turkey and Israel fell to a serious diplomatic crisis in October 2009 after Turkey's TRT1 state-sponsored channel aired the prime-time TV series Ayrilik (Farewell). The series depicts fictional Israeli characters killing Palestinian children and abusing elderly Arabs.

Several scenes in the series depict the IDF using firearms against unarmed Palestinians whose only weapon is rocks. A soldier is seen kicking the body of a dead Palestinian boy while his mother runs towards him in tears. Another soldier shoots a Palestinian girl who is seen smiling right before she receives a bullet in her.

Israeli Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon summoned the Turkish ambassador and deliberately humiliated by making him sit on a lower chair, an incident which led Turkey to demand and receive an official apology from Israel.

Yediot Aharonot newspaper published Saturday an article reporting that MBC would soon begin broadcasting the controversial TV show, prompting many of its readers to call for the Arab channel to be shut down in Israel.

The paper reported that Israel had condemned the broadcasting of the series in Turkey and said it incited "hatred against Israel" and was "not worthy of being broadcast even in an enemy state."

Director of Marketing in MBC Group Mazen Hayek said that the Arab TV network would not give in to any pressure and cancel or stop broadcasting the series. He said MBC group was committed to its programming coverage, important to the general public in the region and around the world, reported Palestinian MAAN news agency.

Ayrilik (Farewell) Series is broadcast daily on MBC1 from Saturday to Wednesday at 1 p.m. GMT

Drubbing for the right as France loses faith in Nicolas Sarkozy


Socialists and allies scoop 54% of vote, say pollsters, but left fails to pull off 'grand slam' in regional elections

Lizzy Davies in Paris

The leader of France's reinvigorated Socialist party hailed an "unprecedented victory" for the left at the ballot box last night after voters dealt a crushing defeat to Nicolas Sarkozy's rightwing party in regional elections.

With almost all votes counted, official figures indicated that a leftwing alliance led by socialists and ecologists had won 54% of the nationwide ballot, leaving the president's beleaguered UMP party with just 35%.

Across mainland France, the left claimed victory in 21 of the 22 regions. The only chink of light for the UMP came in Alsace. Corsica, which in 2004 was retained by the UMP, fell to the left for the first time since 1984. A relative comeback by the far right Front National, which scored over 20% in two regions, added to the ruling party's woes.

Last night, as jubilant supporters gathered at the Socialist party's headquarters, party chief Martine Aubry said French voters had "punished" the government for policies which had failed to protect them from the economic downturn. Although France weathered the recession better than many other countries, unemployment has topped the symbolic bar of 10% and there is widespread anger over factory closures, decreased spending power and the "bling bling" President's perceived fiscal pandering to the rich.

"The French people have tonight given an unprecedented victory to the alliance of the left," said Aubry.

"[They have] expressed their rejection of the policies of the president and his government."

In the wake of elections whose first round last Sunday brought the worst results suffered by the UMP in years, the mood on the right was scarcely more forgiving. Although as head of state Sarkozy was not officially involved in the election, his unpopularity has been blamed for his party's dismal performance.

The vote was a "message of the French people ... to the president of the republic and to him alone", said one UMP member . Jean-Francois Copé , one of the president's most outspoken critics within the UMP, agreed. The results were "a real defeat" and the party must "go back to basics", he told France2 television.

Held over two rounds, the first of which gave a resounding victory to the PS and confirmed the green coalition Europe Ecologie as France's third political force, are the means by which French voters choose the councils and presidents governing the 26 regions.

However, as the vote came at a time when confidence in Sarkozy's much-touted reformist agenda is at rock bottom, it has been viewed by commentators as something of a referendum on his leadership.

UMP chiefs attempted to gloss over the party's defeat by insisting that low voter turn-out made drawing any conclusion from the poll impossible. But critics, even those within the party, have said the right must try to change its ways.

Writing on his blog last week, former prime minister Alain Juppé said the government needed to reflect on "the rhythm of reforms... and the way in which they can be better understood".

Last night a contrite Fillon said he acknowledged "his share of the blame" for the defeat, and said he would discuss it with the president at the Élysée this morning.

The president's adviser Claude Guéant said the expected reshuffle would consist of "small changes".

'Netanyahu seeks US bombs for Iran attack'

Press TV

As Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu plans a visit to Washington, a report says he will ask the US to release sophisticated bombs needed for a possible strike on Iran's nuclear sites.

Netanyahu will ask Israel's closest ally to supply sophisticated 'bunker-buster' bombs needed to break through to Iran's nuclear enrichment sites, the Sunday Times reported.

The Israeli premier is expected to attend a three-day meeting of the top pro-Israeli lobby in the US, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, commonly known as AIPAC and to meet with senior administration officials.

Despite Tel Aviv's refusal to renounce nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction, Israel and its Western allies accuse Iran of seeking to develop nuclear weapons under the guise of a civilian program - a charge strongly denied by Tehran.

Iran, a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), views the claims as "unfounded and baseless" as the non-diversion of Iranian nuclear materials has been repeatedly verified in unannounced visits by UN inspectors.

Israel, reported to have the region's sole atomic arsenal, has a long-standing tendency to bomb Iran's nuclear sites, arguing that the country is seeking to develop nuclear weapons.

Plans for a military attack against Iran have gained momentum in Tel Aviv over the past few months.

On November 7, Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon warned Iran that Tel Aviv's persistent threats of military action were not just a bluff.

Meanwhile, the Sunday Herald has reported that hundreds of powerful US "bunker-buster" bombs are being shipped from California to the British island of Diego Garcia located in the Indian Ocean.

Experts believe that the cargo manifest from the US navy is being put in place for an assault on Iran's nuclear facilities, said the newspaper.

The US military used Diego Garcia as a base to attack Iraq in 1991 and 2003.

The developments come as US president Barack Obama on Saturday once again repeated his offer of "dialogue" with Tehran.

Iran says it is hypocritical of the US to call for normalization of ties with the country but does the opposite in practice.

The new [US] administration and president ... wrote letters and sent messages ... saying they are willing to normalize relations with the Islamic Republic, but in practice they did the opposite," Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said Sunday in a Nowruz address to Iranians in the holy city of Mashhad.

Israeli jets hit south Gaza again

Press TV

Israeli warplanes have once again struck the southern part of the Gaza Strip overnight, the military says.

Palestinian witnesses and Israeli military sources said Monday that an Israeli aircraft hit a tunnel on the Rafah border with Egypt, AFP reported.

The witnesses said no one was injured in the attack.

The army said the attack came in response to a rocket fire from the Gaza Strip.

The military launched a new series of attacks on the strip as tensions run high over the regime's settlement activities in East Jerusalem (al-Quds).

Its warplanes bombed several sites including a disused airport in southern Gaza Strip late Friday night, leaving more than 14 people injured.

Pakistan ready to introduce constitutional reforms to reverse military backed reforms


Pakistan is to unveil a package of sweeping constitutional reforms on Tuesday to distribute powers seized by military dictators across national and provincial government.

By Javed Siddiq in Islamabad

President Asif Zardari will lose prerogatives under the proposals, which are designed to guarantee the sovereignty of parliament and devolve power to provincial governments in a country plagued by regional insurgencies against the overbearing federal government.

Presidential allies said the proposals would restrict the scope for military chiefs to seize power by using a pliable presidents to oust the prime minister. The prime minister, as head of the executive backed by parliament, would be the most powerful figure in the government.

Members of Pakistan's National Assembly meeting in London in the last week have been recalled to Islamabad as President Zardari's supporters press ahead with plans to introduce the bill on Tuesday.

The Eighteenth Amendment Bill would overturn former military ruler General Musharraf's constitutional changes, which gave the president power to dismiss elected governments and banned two time prime ministers from serving a third term - a move specifically aimed at banning former prime ministers Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif, who was overthrown in the 1999 coup, from returning to power.

Two Pakistan governments led by the late Miss Bhutto were dismissed by a president acting with Army support.

"This will make Asif Zardari the president who gave away his powers. It will be the greatest contribution to democracy in this country since the 1973 constitution. It will reform his image and complete Benazir Bhutto's unfinished business," one of the president's closest confidents said last night.

The decision to grant extra powers to the provinces have proven most controversial. An eye-catching measure to rename the North West Frontier Province as 'Pakhtunkhwa' after its ethnic Pashtun majority has ran into opposition. The alternative name Afghania' has been proposed as a compromise.

Mr Sharif's supporters raised fears the measures could fuel ethnic nationalism and thereby weaken the country. "If we accede to the demands of the parties seeking maximum autonomy, then Pakistan will not remain a federation it would become a confederation," said Raja Zafar-ul-haq, an opposition leader.

The move also is aimed at addressing the grievances of Balochistan's insurgents and nationalists who complain the federal government is dominated by Punjab, the country's largest province.

While the move is expected to increase President Zardari's domestic support levels, its long-term success will be measured by the durability of Pakistan's return to democracy.

"Zardari will get some credit, but the past record shows whenever the prime minister has been powerful, we've [then] had martial law," said Najam Sethi, a leading commentator. "It's how the key players, the prime minister, president and army chief work together [that matters]."

Bagram prison in Afghanistan may become the new Guantánamo

The Times

Michael Evans, Pentagon Correspondent

The American detention centre at Bagram in Afghanistan could be expanded into a Guantánamo-style prison for terrorist suspects detained around the world.

This is one of the options being considered as US officials try to find an alternative to Guantánamo Bay, which President Obama promised to close within a year of taking office. The continued use of the prison in Cuba has presented Mr Obama with an embarrassing dilemma because of the difficulty of finding somewhere acceptable to imprison those considered to be the most dangerous detainees.

A decision to send al-Qaeda suspects detained in countries such as Yemen and Somalia to Bagram, which is located north of Kabul, would be highly controversial.

General Stanley McChrystal, the American commander in Afghanistan, has already voiced his opposition, according to the Los Angeles Times newspaper, because of the negative publicity it would generate.

Bagram is synonymous in Afghan eyes with past human rights abuses, although the old prison has been replaced by a new facility at the large US airbase.

A senior Pentagon official said: "No one particularly likes any of the choices before us right now, but Bagram may be the least bad among them."

The other alternative - of using a special prison in the US - is seen as less practical because the detainees would have to be put through the American justice system, and some of the suspects considered by the US as the most dangerous would be difficult to prosecute because of the lack of sufficient evidence. Congress would also oppose such a move.

Bagram currently houses about 800 detainees, including a small number of foreign fighters who were not arrested in Afghanistan. They were taken there under the Administration of George W. Bush.

The other complication for Mr Obama is that, under current plans, Bagram is to be handed over to the Afghan Government next year, so unless the US military retained control over one section of the prison - solely for suspects detained outside of Afghanistan - it is unlikely that the Government of President Karzai would approve of having responsibility for those detained by US special forces or the CIA in another part of the world.

A US official told the Los Angeles Times that General McChrystal supported the idea of Bagram being used for foreign fighters detained in Pakistan, provided they had a direct bearing "on the fight in Afghanistan". That would include Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the alleged Taleban leader captured in Pakistan in February.

The issue of where to put high-risk detainees is so sensitive that when Admiral Eric Olson, commander of US Special Operations Command, was asked at a Senate hearing last week where he would send a terrorist suspect arrested in Yemen, he said that he could answer that question only in closed session.

Islamic cleric warns against meddling in Nigeria's affairs


KANO, Nigeria (AFP) - Nigeria's top Islamic cleric warned foreigners against meddling in the nation affairs on Sunday, days after Libya's leader suggested the country be broken up into Muslim and Christian areas.

"External commentators on the Nigerian situation should ... be told in no uncertain terms that Nigeria, despite its difficulties, has come a long way and that it should not be taken for granted or viewed as a simplistic conglomeration of ethnic or religious groups," said the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Saad Abubakar.

Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi, until recently the chairman of the African Union, suggested last week that Nigeria follow the partition model of Pakistan as a way of ending repeated bouts of inter-religious violence.

Pakistan was formed in 1947 after the Muslim minority of predominantly Hindu India founded their own homeland.

Without making direct reference to Kadhafi, the sultan told a meeting of the supreme Islamic body the Jama'atu Nasril Islam (JNI) in northern Nigeria's political capital Kaduna, that Nigeria was capable of fixing its own problems.

Nigeria, Africa's most populous country, has over 200 different ethnic groups, but its 150 million people are almost equally divided between Muslims and Christians.

"The bonds that keep us together are much stronger than those that divide us," said Abubakar, according to a copy of his speech seen by AFP.

Kadhafi's comments came as new sectarian killings claimed hundreds of lives in the central Plateau State.

The state, with Jos as its capital, is the de facto buffer between the predominantly Muslim north and the largely Christian and animist south.

Kadhafi suggested that a Christian homeland in the south could have Lagos as its capital while a Muslim homeland in the north would have Abuja as its principal city, while the two communities should peacefully agree to share Nigeria's huge oil and mineral wealth.

His comments drew the ire of the Nigerian government which recalled its ambassador from Tripoli.

A 'model' Islamic education from Turkey?

Today's Zaman

In the Beyoğlu Anadolu religious school in İstanbul, gilded Korans line the shelves and on a table lies a Turkish translation of "Eclipse", a vampire-based fantasy romance by US novelist Stephanie Meyer.

No-one inside the school would have you believe this combination of Islamic and western influences demonstrates potential to serve as a 'moderate' educational antidote to radical Islam.

But there is fresh outside interest in schools like this, which belong to the network known as imam-hatip.

Some people, particularly officials from Afghanistan and Pakistan, have suggested the Turkish system can light the way to a less extremist religious education for their young Muslims.

The interest is understandable. The imam-hatip network is a far cry from the western stereotype of the madrassa as an institution that teaches the Koran by rote and little else.

Originally founded to educate Muslim religious functionaries in the 1920s, the imam-hatip syllabus devotes only around 40 percent of study to religious subjects like Arabic, Islamic jurisprudence and rhetoric. The rest is given over to secular topics.

The network has incubated the elite of the Islamist-rooted AK party which came to power in Turkey in 2002. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan -- who went on to study economics -- and around one third of his party's MPs attended imam-hatip schools.

For Turks, however, it's ironic that a system which for over a decade has been suppressed by the military enforcers of secularism could be seen to champion any institutional accommodation between the Islamic and the secular.

A revised system of university credits introduced in the late 1990s puts imam-hatip students seeking to study non-religious subjects at university at a disadvantage.

"It's very interesting that these schools that are so controversial in our own country have become role models elsewhere," said Iren Ozgur, a Turkish-American academic at New York University who has studied the imam-hatip system.

In his office close to the Golden Horn inlet of the Bosphorus, former imam-hatip pupil Huseyin Korkut believes the schools could work abroad if they remain true to "Islamic values". But he bristles at the idea of the network being pigeonholed into helping solve international security problems.

"We are disturbed by this understanding that these schools would educate 'soft' Muslims that could easily adapt to the needs and requirements of the international authorities," said the moustachioed economist. Calling himself a typical graduate of the system, Korkut works at Kirklareli University and is general director of the imam-hatip alumnae association.

Current students like Kerem Fazil Cinar, an 18-year-old final year pupil at Beyoğlu Anadolu imam-hatip School, see the system as a refuge from the perils of the outside world.

"In the regular school would be the danger of meeting dangerous friends who have not inherited religious values," said the earnest, bespectacled teenager, the beginnings of a beard sprouting from his chin.

"The environment would be more degenerate."


Named after the preachers and prayer-leaders it was set up to train, the imam-hatip system has earned less media attention in the west than the moderate international network set up by exiled Islamic scholar Fethullah Gulen. There are many Gulen schools in Central Asia, and other outposts in the Balkans and Western Europe.

Last month, Afghanistan's Education Minister Farooq Wardak visited an imam-hatip school in Ankara and declared the system could be a model for moderate religious education in his country. Pakistan's ambassador to Turkey has said the imam-hatip system was discussed in recent high-level talks. And Wardak's visit followed a Russian delegation, including the deputy minister of education, which came to see the schools last year.

"An education system should not just be an education, it should be a tool to fight extremism," Wardak said, adding that he was impressed by the way the imam-hatip school combined religious instruction with other subjects.

"We need to make sure that graduates of religious schools ... also have skills and vocation, and they get a knowledge to be part of the mainstream of society."

Overseas interest in the schools may also have been partly kindled by Turkey's changing foreign policy priorities, as Ankara seeks to play a greater role among Muslim states -- including Syria and Iran -- and cools on long-term ally Israel.

Turkey's largest ever foreign aid effort is now directed to Afghanistan, and last year it agreed to establish a high-level co-operation council with Pakistan. Russia is Turkey's main trading partner.

In imam-hatip institutions, as in every school in the country, images of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk -- the founder of the Turkish Republic -- are on display. Students can tackle Arabic passages describing the Prophet Mohammad's journey to Medina in classrooms also displaying Ataturk's address to Turkish youth.

"There has always been a tension between orthodoxy and heterodoxy within the framework of Turkish Islam," said Professor M. Hakan Yavuz, of the University of Utah's Middle East Centre.

"As a result Turkish Islam has these sites outside the control of orthodox Islam, and remains more pluralist, more tolerant."


But by singling out imam-hatip schools, Afghanistan's minister may unwittingly have been treading on deep Turkish sensitivities.

The network -- which with high standards and low costs proved popular with conservative Turkish families in the past -- was targeted after senior generals pushed out Turkey's first Islamist-led government in 1997.

Whereas in the second half of the 1990s about 600 imam-hatip schools across the country educated half a million pupils, after what was known as the "post-modern coup", imam-hatip middle schools for pupils aged 11-14 were abolished.

Even more damaging were the changes to the university admission system, which calculates the relevance of subjects studied at school to a student's proposed university course. Modifications after 1997 meant that -- unless they chose to study religion -- imam-hatip students found their grades devalued against those of applicants from conventional schools.

Waning prospects for higher education diminished the appeal of imam-hatip schools. Today around 450 educate 120,000 pupils. The AKP has worked towards their rehabilitation, but it has not succeeded yet in changing university entrance requirements.


It is in this context that students like Cinar experience the system. Gathered in a mosque in the heart of the old city with two fellow students -- including Nur Sumeyye Karaoğlan, a quiet girl in a patterned headscarf -- the young man's comments reflect an anger with Turkey's secular establishment that makes nonsense of such distinctions as "radical" and moderate".

"Surely religion should have a public role," he said -- a view that flies in the face of Turkey's 87 years of secularism. "Not only in Turkey, but throughout the world."

Sitting among glass-walled cloisters, he warmed to the theme of Turkey's suppression of the imam-hatip network, and by extension of its alumni, saying his country needed men like him to stand up for religion and traditional values.

"We want Turkish society to feel that it is right to fear us," he said.

Over their tea, his fellow pupils murmured in approval.

"I am very proud to be an imam-hatip student," said Karaoğlan, 16, the only girl in the group. "I feel it is in line with human nature."

Gates admits concerns on US assassins in S. Asia

Gates admits concerns on US assassins in S. Asia

Press TV

The US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates says he is concerned "in principle" about the existence of an alleged private network of assassins in Afghanistan and Pakistan run by the Pentagon.

An earlier report by The New York Times suggested that Michael Furlong, a Defense Department official, set up a network of assassins that tracked and killed suspected militants in the region under the guise of collecting intelligence.

"Quite frankly, in principle, I would have concerns about that but I don't know enough to know whether... it took place and if so, whether there was value added," Gates said Monday in a joint press conference with his Canadian counterpart, Peter MacKay, AFP reported.

Gates said investigations are underway to find out real facts about such a spy network.

"We do have reviews and investigations going on to find out what the story is here, to find out what the facts are," he said. "And if it's necessary to make some changes I'll do that."

Gates added that the Pentagon is deeply involved with about 85 percent of the country's intelligence budget devoted to Defense Department agencies.