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CNN BREAKING NEWS

Pentagon Disputes Lebanese TV Report on U.S. Kidnappings

Aired August 22, 2003 - 13:18   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LEON HARRIS, CNN ANCHOR: Coming out of the Pentagon is word perhaps from the Pentagon casting down some reports that have been circulating across the wires and in the international media about perhaps some U.S. solders coming into some seriously critical situations in the Middle East, particularly in Iraq.
Let's go now to the Pentagon. Our producer, Chris Plante, has been checking on these different stories that have been circulating around the Pentagon and around the media.

And, Chris, what have you learned there?

CHRIS PLANTE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Pentagon sources are throwing a bit of cold water on these reports that have been coming out of Lebanese TV. And I'm told now that administration officials elsewhere in the Bush administration are also beating back this story that originally aired on Lebanese television.

The report claimed that two U.S. soldiers, two Army officers, had been taken prisoner or captive by a terrorist group that had not been heard of before. This group, the Medina Group I believe they are called, claimed to have had these two Army officers in custody. As evidence, they offered up two identification cards.

The Lebanese station broadcast the identification cards, and since that time, the Pentagon has been furiously checking out the reports, trying to track down the two soldiers that were identified, in an effort to determine whether they were, in fact, missing. It is now looking increasingly like they are not missing. One has been accounted for, and efforts are under way to account for the second officer -- Leon.

HARRIS: Very good. Thank you very much, Chris. Chris Plante reporting live for us from the Pentagon.

HARRIS: And also,

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