Excerpts from the press briefing conducted by White House spokesman Marlin Fitzwater yesterday.

Q:

I'd like to know what the policy is and who is giving -- who is moving this policy? Is {President Reagan} saying to the Pentagon that you shall give out from now on all information concerning the military operations {in the Persian Gulf}? Because if that's so, then that's a violation of the guidelines that were agreed upon after Grenada.

Fitzwater:

Well the guidelines, as I understand them require for disclosure of information . . . . There has been extensive release of information . . . . I think it's important to point out that we are talking here about one very, very small incident {the U.S. Navy fighter plane that fired missiles reportedly at an Iranian aircraft over the weekend} . . . . At this point, I will not confirm any part of the incident, let alone the nature of the fire.

Q:

. . . What is the policy?

Fitzwater:

The political judgment at this point is that in this case, we are not prepared to confirm the incident or to discuss it or to release any information about it . . . .

Q:

Hasn't it been confirmed on background at the Pentagon?

Fitzwater:

I don't know whether it has. I know that {Defense Secretary Caspar W.} Weinberger refused to confirm it on the record this morning, and I cannot do anything different . . . .

Q:

Can you say whether the president approved or in any way was involved in the discussions {about} the handling of this information? When he was informed as to this incident, whether he believes it is a non-incident?

Fitzwater:

I have no idea about the information discussions. The president was informed soon after the incident happened.

Q:

Which incident?

Fitzwater:

. . . The incident that I'm not confirming.