QUESTION: This is your first opportunity to talk about this case publicly, and I wonder if you could address some of the difficulties from the FBI's point of view, and one of the early subjects that was widely discussed was the potential dangers or damages that might result in the investigation from diplomatic security people giving certain assurances to the Blackwater guards in the first place. That's one of the hurdles that your agents had to deal with. I wonder if you could talk about some of the challenges, like you say.
MR. PERSICHINI: Well I think that topic was discussed with Mr. Rowan. And as he said, we made some considerable issues to protect any of those statements or any issue related to that. And I go back to Garrity or a statement such as that we've dealt with in the past, not just on this case.
So again, I think that's something that you'll hear in court and Mr. Rowan will discuss that I think in depth.
QUESTION: What other difficulties can you talk about that you're agents had to overcome in their four trips to Baghdad to collect evidence?
MR. PERSICHINI: I just think that again you're on foreign soil, you're outside the Green Zone, just the operating within that community. And again, understanding cultural differences, religious practices, language barriers.
But I think the team did a fantastic job. Again, as we operate as a team. Whether it's the investigators, the linguists, and analysts, forensic experts.
We spent 80 days in country. And I think they've done a tremendous job of operating within that area.
QUESTION: Could I ask a question for Mr. Rowan? Are there plans to brief families of the victims? And when will that occur? And who is going to do those briefings?
MR. ROWAN: There will be further contact with the victims, obviously, by the agents and prosecutors who are directly involved in the case. I'm not going to get into timing today, but consistent with the way we would this in any offense, the agents and the prosecutors who have had contact with them before will have further contact with them hopefully in the near future, and continue to work with them as this case moves forward.
QUESTION: Do you know if the Iraqi government, given the fact that the immunity has now been lifted under the state of the status of forces agreement, is there any way in which they can now prosecute this case as well as the United States ?
MR. ROWAN: I'm not going to comment on Iraqi law or whether or not they could proceed on it. I would be -- it would be way beyond my expertise.
QUESTION: Can you tell us, will Mr. Ridgeway be testifying on behalf of the government?
MR. ROWAN: I'm not going to talk who our witnesses will or will not be.
QUESTION: My question as far as the 15 Blackwater guards, can you discuss charges that were not presented against them. They were part of the same incident. What was their role and to what extent would their testimony be significant to your case?
MR. ROWAN: I'm going to wait for trial.
QUESTION: Technical question on the venue issue. You said the fact that you have this guilty plea in the District weighs in your favor for venue here. Well, you have the other arrests in Utah . So how do those two balance out?
MR. ROWAN: The defendants, as you heard at the outset, their homes are all over the country and the fact that all decided to get together and turn themselves in Utah , I don't think that that will have a great deal of effect. It's obviously an issue that we assume will be litigated, but the statue recognizes that venue exists for other defendants if one of the defendants is first arrested in a particular jurisdiction.
QUESTION: So the fact that he was arrested before them is what weighs in your favor?
MR. ROWAN: That is the principle in that part of the venue statute, yes.
QUESTION: Pat, can you tell me a little bit about some of the challenges that you expect during the trial in terms of bringing Iraqi witnesses here. Are you going to have to work very closely with the State Department? How do you plan to do this?
MR. ROWAN: We have worked with the State Department in the course of this case, and we expect that they will continue to help us. And that will be one of the challenges that we'll have to face at some point or another, but we don't expect to have any serious problems, provided that we have, you know, appropriate lead time. The State Department has been very good to work with on that issue, and we expect that that will be true, going forward.