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Cablegate: Atf Promotes Standards in Iraqi Post-Blast

VZCZCXRO5233
RR RUEHBC RUEHDA RUEHDH RUEHKUK
DE RUEHGB #0416 0480414
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 170414Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY BAGHDAD
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6658
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE
RUEAWJA/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC
RHMFIUU/FBI WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/CDR USSOCOM MACDILL AFB FL
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUEKJCS/CJCS WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC

UNCLAS BAGHDAD 000416

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

JUSTICE FOR ODAG, OPDAT, ICITAP, CRM
STATE FOR NEA/I, INL/I

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV KJUS IZ KCRM PTER
SUBJECT: ATF Promotes Standards in Iraqi Post-Blast
Investigations

REF: 09 Baghdad 2709

1. (SBU) Summary: The recent series of high-profile Vehicle Borne
Improvised Explosive Devices (VBIED) in Baghdad has highlighted the
Iraqi Ministry of the Interior's urgent need for an incident command
system that helps ensure the safe and necessary collection of
evidence and facilitates follow-on investigation and prosecution.
On February 11, the Embassy's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms
and Explosives (ATF) Attache was one of three presenters at a U.S.
military Iraqi Transition Assistance Mission- sponsored (ITAM)
incident command seminar reaching 90 senior MOI Police officials
including numerous provincial police chiefs. MoI Director of
Operations Staff Major General Abdul Kareem expressed his ministry's
desire to improve in this critically important area and acknowledged
what ATF and other USG officials have identified as a key
investigative gaps. With VBIEDs a constant threat to Iraqi
stability and security, ATF will continue its efforts to cultivate
MOI capacity to properly conduct effective post-blast
investigations. End Summary.

2. (SBU) On February 11, ITAM hosted a successful one-day seminar
on implementing an effective incident command system allowing safe
and proper site exploitation and evidence collection. The
conference focused specifically on high profile explosive incidents
such as VBIEDs. The topics included an overview of the incident
command system common in the U.S and evidence exploitation
protocols. ATF Attach closed the session with a discussion of his
first-hand observations from multiple explosive incidents both in
Iraq and the U.S., offering insight on its implementation in Iraq.


3. (SBU) Reflecting the rising number of VBIED incidents
specifically in Baghdad, post has argued for the continuation of ATF
support in Iraq (reftel). Additionally, the GoI has increased its
requests for security assistance from the Embassy in the area of
explosives exploitation and post-blast investigation, and it has
recognized the ATF Attach office as having "overall responsibility
for all counter-Improvised Explosive Device (IED)- related
assistance to the GoI. ATF's support for the Incident command
seminar further underscores the Embassy's capacity building goal in
this important area.

4. (SBU) Multiple MoI entities have conducted VBIED investigations
during the past six months The investigations focused primarily on

interrogations and confessions, often ignoring the collection and
potential analytical value of forensic evidence. In fact, the
evidentiary summaries provided by MoI's General Counter Explosives
Directorate (GCED) misidentified the explosive materials used in the
August 19 and October 25 attacks. The Iraq National Intelligence
Service (INIS) report, completed within 48 hours of the October 25
bombings, misidentified the explosive materials, causing additional
confusion throughout the MOI ranks and specifically at the deputy
minister level.

5. (SBU) Frictions between the MoI and the Ministry of Defense
over who will assume on-scene command and which MoI directorate will
lead both the scene and follow on investigation remain a impediment
to effective crime scene management. The allocation of the
Qto effective crime scene management. The allocation of the
necessary resources and time to properly control, manage and process
a crime is critical to the safety of responding Iraqi police
officers and civilians, who often gain unneeded and uncontrolled
access to crime scenes, contaminating the scene, and opening the
damaged facility to looting.

6. (SBU) Comment: VBIEDs remain the insurgents' top weapon
against the GoI. Enhanced crime scene management is critical to
apprehension and prosecution of these terrorists. The seminar was
an important first step in advancing GoI post-blast exploitation and
response capabilities. With the impending withdrawal of U.S.
military forces, similar capacity building efforts that review
known gaps in the GoI's response to high profile VBIED attacks are
critical to the USG's mission in Iraq. End Comment


FORD

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