December 8 Defense Department Briefing

By The Pentagon, The Pentagon - December 8, 2011

            GEORGE LITTLE:  Good afternoon.  Just a couple of announcements before we throw it over to questions. 

            The White House announced today that on Saturday President Obama, Vice President Biden and Dr. Jill Biden will attend the 112th edition of the annual Army versus Navy football game at FedEx field.  I wanted to let you know that Secretary Panetta will also attend. 

            CAPT. JOHN KIRBY:  Otherwise Navy versus Army. 

            MR. LITTLE:  (Laughs.)  More information will be forthcoming as it is available. 

            Also, the Air Force, at 4:00 this afternoon in the briefing room, will conduct a press briefing on issues related to Dover and other Air Force matters that you may want to ask about. 

            With that, I think that's it. 


            Q:  Acknowledging that this video only just came out and that you're probably still looking at it, can you give us at least an initial assessment as to whether or not the aircraft in the video is legitimately -- could be a Sentinel or not?  And if so, can you give us any idea about whether or not you agree it could have landed somehow -- or somewhat intact? 

            CAPT. KIRBY:  No.  (Chuckles.)  No, we're just not -- we've -- certainly we've had a chance to look at the images, and there are folks looking at them.  But we're not going to comment beyond that. 

            Q:  But -- 

            Q:  Do you -- do you believe the Iranians have the drone? 

            CAPT. KIRBY:  Just -- we're not going to comment about this particular topic. 

            Q:  But you did put out a statement last week saying you'd lost a drone, and you thought this might be it. 

            MR. LITTLE:  We said, you know, all week that, you know, we did have a UAV go missing.  But you know, when it comes to sensitive reconnaissance missions, we call them sensitive for a reason.  So we're not going to add to what we said over the weekend. 

            Q:  But don't you think you at least owe the public at least a general assessment as to whether we should reject out of hand that this is -- you know, that this is -- this could be one of these aircraft, if it's -- looks like a mock-up or a model or -- shouldn't there be at least some truth-telling here that would at least put some reality to the claims? 

            MR. LITTLE:  I don't have anything to add to what John said. 

            And that is that we're not going to comment one way or the other at this -- at this stage. 

            Q:  But to be clear on that, you're not -- you can't call this a fake; that you can't say categorically what the Iranians have put out is a fake. 

            MR. LITTLE:  I'm not commenting at all. 

            Q:  John, when you said that you have people looking at it right now, what exactly are they looking for?   

            CAPT. KIRBY:  I just mean folks are -- you know, folks are obviously looking at the imagery as well, but -- and we certainly wouldn't even -- no matter what you might end up thinking about the imagery, I don't think you're going to -- you know, you're going to get confirmation one way or another here.  I mean, we're just not going to talk about these kinds of missions and these kinds of capabilities. 

            Q:  Why are military personnel looking at Iranian video of a CIA mission? 

            CAPT. KIRBY:  I think it's -- I wouldn't characterize it just as military personnel looking.  We've seen the imagery.  There are folks that are looking at it.  But again, we're just not going to get into the specifics of these particular kinds of missions.  We're just not. 

            Q:  You did acknowledge that a drone went missing in Iran.  Was the president -- 

            CAPT. KIRBY:  No, we did not. 

            MR. LITTLE:  We acknowledged that a drone went missing. 

            Q:  OK.  Was the president ever briefed on plans to retrieve or destroy the missing drone? 

            MR. LITTLE:  I'm not going to comment on -- on that either. 

            Q:  Is the drone you reported missing still missing? 

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