MS. PERINO:  Sounds like you have plenty of material to work with, and I
don't think I need to give you anything else.


Q    Me?  How does the President intend to commemorate "Mission
Accomplished" after five years of death and destruction?

MS. PERINO:  What you're referring to is the banner that ran -- that was
aboard the ship five years ago.  President Bush --

Q    I'm talking about the anniversary tomorrow.


MS. PERINO:  Yes, I get -- no, I understand.  That's the anniversary of
when that banner flew on that ship.  President Bush is well aware that the
banner should have been much more specific and said "mission accomplished
for these sailors who are on this ship on their mission."  And we have
certainly paid a price for not being more specific on that banner.  And I
recognize that the media is going to play this up again tomorrow, as they
do every single year.

I think what's important is what the President would -- how the President
would describe the fight today.  It's been a very tough month in Iraq, but
we are taking the fight to the enemy.  The President, you heard him say
yesterday, believes that fighting terrorists, jihadists, al Qaeda, and the
Iranian-backed militias --

Q    Is every Iraqi a terrorist?

MS. PERINO:  -- and the Iranian-backed militias --

Q    We're fighting the Iraqis, we're bombing their homes.  What do you

MS. PERINO:  Helen, we are going after terrorists and al Qaeda and
Iranian-backed Shia militia who are killing not only innocent Iraqis but
our soldiers as well, and we're doing so in --

Q    We're bombing homes with children --

MS. PERINO:  -- we are working very closely with the government of Iraq in
order to take back these provinces.  And I would point you to Basra and the
battle on Basra, in which the initial reports was that it was an
unmitigated failure.  And actually if you look at it now, we were -- the
Iraqis, working with us, with our support, were able to take back that port
and that town.	And I think what that shows is that Prime Minister Maliki,
once he decided to take on these criminal elements, brought together his
government, and now they're backing him and they're working together, and
now they want to start taking on other militias, such as in Sadr City.

But remember, Helen, when we are going after these terrorists and the ones
who hide amongst innocent civilians --

Q    We're going after Iraqis who are fighting for their own country.

MS. PERINO:  But they hide amongst innocent civilians, and that is where
you get problems that we obviously regret and go out of our way to avoid.

Q    How about this gentleman's question, Dana?  How about him?  He's had
his hand up all this time.

MS. PERINO:  Yes, I'm well aware.  I am sure it will be a great question. 
Go ahead.

Q    The New York Times has reported that over the last --

MS. PERINO:  Definitely going to be a good question.  (Laughter.)

Q    -- over the last six years the Pentagon conducted a secret operation
designed to sell the war in Iraq and the war on terror to the American
people.  It recruited more than 75 ex-military officers, many with
financial ties to the defense industry, provided them with talking points
and an extraordinary degree of access not available to ordinary members of
the press, including meetings with the Secretary of Defense, and it got
them higher supposedly independent military analysts by every U.S.
television network.  One of its participants described it --

MS. PERINO:  Do you have a question?

Q    One of its participants described the program as "psyops on steroids"
and others said that if they --

MS. PERINO:  Is this your opinion?

Q    I'm describing the program.

MS. PERINO:  What's your question?

Q    Others said that if they departed from the Pentagon's talking points,
their access was cut off.  And my question is, did the White House know
about and approve of this operation?

MS. PERINO:  Look, I didn't know -- look, I think that you guys should take
a step back and look at this -- look, DOD has made a decision, they've
decided to stop this program.  But I would say that one of the things that
we try to do in the administration is get information out to a variety of
people so that everybody else can call them and ask their opinion about

And I don't think that that should be against the law.	And I think that
it's absolutely appropriate to provide information to people who are
seeking it and are going to be providing their opinions on it.	It doesn't
necessarily mean that all of those military analysts ever agreed with the
administration.  I think you can go back and look and think that a lot of
their analysis was pretty tough on the administration.	That doesn't mean
that we shouldn't talk to people.

Q    Thank you.


END	      1:00 P.M. EDT

* The Administration's last forecast, in November 2007, was 2.7% GDP growth for the four quarters of 2008. This forecast will next be revised during the mid-session review in July.

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