ACCESSION NUMBER:291843 FILE ID:POL204 DATE:06/29/93 TITLE:CLINTON SAYS STRIKE AT IRAQ SENT "APPROPRIATE MESSAGE" (06/29/93) TEXT:*93062904.POL CLINTON SAYS STRIKE AT IRAQ SENT "APPROPRIATE MESSAGE" (U.S. "will not tolerate" terrorist acts) (450) By Alexander M. Sullivan USIA White House Correspondent Washington -- The United States chose to strike at Iraq's major intelligence facility to "send the appropriate message" to Saddam Hussein, President Clinton said June 29. Asked at a news conference why he had not chosen to strike more directly at Saddam Hussein personally, the president acknowledged that it would be "highly unusual" for an operation such as the attempted assassination of former President Bush to be "authorized other than at the highest levels" of the Iraqi government. But he said that "under international law and the facts of this particular case," he had decided the headquarters of the Iraqi intelligence service was "the best possible target." The president added that it was likely the plot to explode a car bomb -- perhaps at an outdoor ceremony at the University of Kuwait while Bush and the emir of Kuwait were in attendance -- was hatched in the compound. "To damage that headquarters," Clinton said, "would send the appropriate message, given the facts of this case." Pressed on whether he thinks Saddam Hussein "signed off" on the assassination plot, Clinton replied, "I have given you the only answer I think it's appropriate for me to give you." The president said the cruise missile attack on the compound had "made it absolutely clear that we will not tolerate acts of terrorism or other illegal or dangerous acts. I think it sent a very important message." Asked to justify the cruise missile attack in light of U.S. leadership in disarmament, Clinton said Washington has signed agreements to reduce nuclear armaments, but he reminded the questioner that the weekend attack was a response to the attempt on the life of a former president. It was a response, he added, "to an operation that involved a bomb that, had it exploded in downtown Kuwait City, had a 400-yard radius of lethal destruction." He said the U.S. action was "a clear signal that people ought not to use weapons in illegal ways. Clinton said the standard rules of engagement covered a separate incident over the "no-fly" zone imposed by the United Nations Security Council in southern Iraq. A U.S. F-4G aircraft launched an anti-radar missile against an Iraqi installation. "If radar locks onto our airplanes," Clinton explained, "our airplanes are authorized to take action against those installations." The president noted similar incidents have occurred in the past and said he "wouldn't read too much into" the event, despite its 1uxtaposition with the U.S. cruise missile attack. NNNN .