Following are excerpts from a briefing yesterday by Lt. Gen. Thomas Kelly, director of operations for the Joint Chief of Staff; Capt. David Herrington, deputy intelligence director for the Joint Chiefs, and Pentagon spokesman Pete Williams:

HERRINGTON: From the center part of Baghdad, {the Iraqi military has all of its} strategic command and control facilities. From there they control the air defense, the military has their command and control there, and of course the leadership has their major command and control facilities right downtown in the heart of Baghdad.

We've announced that since the first day we have been targeting strategic command and control . . . . Targets in downtown Baghdad were part of that targeting package, struck over a period of time. The net effect of that was that it's forced them away from these centralized command and control facilities out to some alternate command and control facilities. What you are seeing on TV today is one of those alternate command and control facilities that we knew was active.

This . . .facility {is} . . . kind of bounded by a residential area to the north and south. There's a school that's located very nearby as well as a civic recreation center and a mosque that's located about 100 meters away. Because it was located in the middle of a lot of civilian kinds of facilities, we chose 04:30 in the morning, local time, to strike this target. At that time, two bombs, laser-guided, went right down to the center of that facility. It's baffling to me as an American, and it hurts me deeply, to see that apparently civilians were placed in what is clearly a military facility.

Saddam Hussein . . . had to know that we knew that this was a military facility, and why he would put innocent civilians in this facility troubles me greatly and is something which quite frankly just mystifies us.

Why do we know this is a command and control facility? We know a great deal about this facility. For example, we know that in the early eighties, during the Iran-Iraq war, this facility was constructed. But the key point is it was converted to a military command and control facility in the late 1980s. As a part of that conversion it took over ownership by the military. . . . . It had a lot of military-associated equipment there. In addition to that, even though this ceiling or the top floor here was something over 10 feet thick, they had reinforced that with metal -- big sheets of steel. Now, that's in addition to what you've already seen, the fact that it has a camouflaged roof, the fact that it has a security fence around it with barbed wire. . . . Apparently there was no {air raid sirens}. Civilians in Facility Q.

Given that you know so much about this facility, are you surprised not to have known that there were civilians there? Were they moved in surreptitiously, or is it an intelligence lapse? And, if so, should there be a change in the rules of engagement?A.

KELLY: First, everything that we're seeing relative to this facility is coming out of a controlled press in Baghdad, so we don't know what all the facts are, we don't have a free press there asking hard questions like you all do here. We didn't know that there were people in there. I think I heard on TV earlier today they were going in there every night, but that was strictly hearsay. They could have been put in there last night. We simply don't know.

We don't know what the logic would be to put civilians in a place that had the roof painted camouflage and was the only building in the neighborhood that had the roof painted camouflage . . . .

I found it was striking to me that the sign that said "bomb shelter," by the way, that's been shown on TV several times, looked, A, very new, and B, had "bomb shelter" in English and I don't know what utility there is to that. So that, you know, there's some strange things about it.

Now what Dave said, that we're not happy that civilians got hurt, as apparently they did, is utterly true. We have been -- we have been more than careful in trying to strike only military targets and to miss civilian targets. We are certain that we have been very successful at that; didn't say perfect. I said successful at that.

We knew this to be a military command and control facility and targeted it for that reason. The people who owned the building also knew that it was a military command and control facility because they were using it. And yet we had allegedly or possibly a number of people in there. I don't know what that number would have been. So I find it very bizarre.

Propaganda Victory Q.

Some say because of events like this that Saddam Hussein is winning a propaganda . . . victory . . . . What will be the course of action for the future, and do you see a point when civilian casualties, or potential civilian casualties, outweighs a desire to take out a military target?A.

KELLY: {Defense} Secretary {Richard B.} Cheney said earlier today that we will continue to target military command and control facilities. . . . I think the real important point is that we are sure that it was a military command and control facility, that it was a valid military target.

We didn't know that the Iraqis had civilians in there. We don't know what the Iraqis' intentions were, but we do know that these are the same people, or Saddam Hussein is the same individual, who used poison gas against the Kurds, you know, the same litany, who had civilians in military production facilities during the fall, who allegedly has POWs in military production facilities, who pulled the plugs out on the incubators in Kuwait and the hospitals when they occupied that country.

And so, while we don't know that he may have done this on purpose, we do suspect he would have been capable.Q.

General, given the fact that you're so certain it was a military facility, do you think perhaps that you were sandbagged? In other words, did Saddam Hussein allow civilians to go in there, knowing that eventually this would be hit to stir up the propaganda?A.

KELLY: That's a possibility, certainly, but we don't know what his intentions are.

Detection Capabilities

If you saw military people coming and going to that facility, as they suggested in the briefing in Riyadh today, could you please explain how it was that you didn't see civilians coming and going?

KELLY: First, my understanding is it was built originally as an air raid shelter . . . . It was converted to a military facility subsequent to that. We are sure of that. Third, we did see military people going in and out. Why didn't we see civilians going in and out, maybe they didn't go in and out until after dark last night and we didn't have a picture of it. . . . . We can't detect everything. We don't have a 100 percent capability. They could have gone in after dark last night when we weren't up there looking. We had the airplanes scheduled to come in to bomb it.

But I think the overriding fact is, sir, that it was a military facility, and that's why it was bombed. We are chagrined if people were hurt. The only information we have on people hurt is coming out of a controlled press in Baghdad.

Precautions Taken Q.

Did you take any special precautions to ensure that it wasn't being used as a shelter still, and what will you do in the future because of this experience?A.

KELLY: We did take all the precautions we could. Obviously we didn't know that the civilians were in there: we would not have bombed the thing.

The second part, what special precautions will we take in the future, that's a policy decision that has to be made at a level higher than mine. It's being looked at. But I heard from the secretary today that we will continue to target military command and control facilities.Q.

If you knew a week ago or two weeks ago, you said we can target the second floor of a building because we know that's where the command and control structure is, how is it that you didn't know -- how is it that your intelligence is failing to not know exactly -- A.

KELLY: You're making the assumption that our intelligence is failing, and we don't agree with that at all. First of all, I'll say one more time that all you have seen on this is what has come out of a controlled press and what has been approved by Iraqi censors.

Second, we know most of the command and control facilities aren't on the second floor of a two-story building, they're on the bottom floor or down under it. And that's why we were going deep in that particular case.

I think the simple fact is that we knew it was a command and control facility. We targeted it, we bombed it very accurately, we bombed a building that had barbed wire around it, not an indication of a bomb shelter. We bombed a building that had a camouflage roof painted on it for whatever reason, again, didn't look like a bomb shelter. And there certainly is a possibility that there were civilians inside. And that's a shame. But we acted in good faith and in a military regime.Q.

Are you saying then that you're not watching these buildings that you're going to target 24 hours a day?A.

KELLY: We can't watch anything 24 hours a day. That country is the size of California, you know, we pointed that out before. That much technology doesn't exist on Earth.

Recent Use of Facility Q.

Can you say how recently you believe this was being used as a command and control facility? You told us a few days ago that sometimes these targets are scheduled several days in advance.

Second, without going into your intelligence capabilities, what capability does he have to fool you into thinking that he's sending radio signals, for example, that are live from a facility like this when he may not be?A.

KELLY: The first question, how recently was it used as a command and control facility, it had been being used consistently to the best of my knowledge recently. Not at the beginning of the war. Remember, we forced them out of some of the facilities they had in central Baghdad into more peripheral areas, one of which was this particular target.

Now, can they use deceptive communications to make us think something's -- yeah, they can send messages, we listen to them if we can. We don't always have that capability.

Roof Camouflage Q.

General, we have correspondents on the scene who have reported subsequent to the early television reports, when interrogated by our people, that they did not see camouflage on the roof, they saw no antenna -- it may have been destroyed, but they didn't see any -- no berms around the building, no fortifications, no other external signs that the facility was being used for military purposes.

And they added that they had, once they were on the scene, the freedom to go where they wanted, and asked the questions that they wanted, and observed whatever they could see.

In that light, is there any more explicit evidence that you can present that would sustain what I'm sure is your belief, your honest belief that the facility was military and a command and control center?A.

KELLY: Well, let me address a little bit what you said. There's no berm around it but there are no berms normally around any of the buildings in Baghdad. There was, I believe, a chain-link fence around it, there was barbed wire around it.

The fact that they didn't see an antenna is not very significant since there would be an effort to offset the antennas anyway to try to keep the identification or the identity of the building as secret as possible.

They didn't see {camouflage on the roof}? Well, it was on the roof. Did they climb up on the roof?A.

They apparently were at some vantage point where they could see the roof.Q.

KELLY: Well, then they've got bad eyes because I have seen, and I will guarantee you that there's camouflage, blotches painted on that roof.

Type of Aircraft Used Q.

Do you think it's possible that the Pentagon will be releasing the videotape from the planes that went in and dropped these two bombs?

And, also, what kind of planes did it? And finally, the third part of the question is, in terms of the military command control facility that was there, can you provide us with the specific nature? Was it the air force, the army? Was it intelligence? What was the nature of the communications? Were they sending orders to the Kuwaiti theater?A.

KELLY: Videotape. I don't know the answer to that because I haven't seen the videotape yet, and it would take several days for us to get it back from theater.

The type of aircraft, we're not going to discuss, except it was an extremely accurate aircraft. Both bombs landed right where they were programmed, you know, within 20 feet of the actual aim point.

The third part of your question was, was it army, navy, air force, et cetera. Do we have anything on that, because I don't know.Q.

Did you have reason to think Saddam Hussein was there? Is that why it was moved up the targeting list?A.

KELLY: No. And we don't know where Saddam Hussein is. Probably in some civilian house, incidently. And I would say to the people of Iraq, the safest place for them at night is home in their beds because we're not bombing neighborhoods. We're bombing buildings that are military command and control facilities.Q.

Is it possible that this was a privileged sanctuary that included not only members of the command structure, but also their families?A.

KELLY: Anything's possible. We can't attribute intent. If it was my family and I had a building like that a camouflaged roof, and I knew that the coalition bombs penetrated those things, even with 10 or 15 feet of reinforced concrete, I wouldn't want my family in there. I'd want them right where I said, right home in their bed, because we're not bombing neighborhoods.Q.

You have no information as to that?A.

KELLY: No, we do not.

U.N. Action Q.

As you are speaking and as they were speaking, the United Nations Security Council was due to take up the issue as to whether perhaps the United States is exceeding its United Nations authority, and perhaps somebody might use this as one of the excuses to say that the U.S. is exceeding its authority in bombing Iraq.

What would be the Pentagon's response to that?A.

WILLIAMS: There is a team of briefers from the Pentagon that's going up to talk to {U.N. Secretary General} Javier Perez de Cuellar and some of his associates to bring them up to date on what we've done in the military operations so far . . . . obviously we don't feel we have in any way exceeded the U.N. Security Council resolutions by the way the operation has been carried out so far.