From NBC's Courtney Kube
Pentagon press secretary Eric Ruff provided a quick read-out of outgoing Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's surprise visit to Iraq over the weekend. Per Ruff, Rumsfeld did not meet with any Iraqi officials or receive any briefings while on the ground. He did, however, have dinner with about one dozen US officials in Iraq -- including top generals and Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad. In all, Rumsfeld spent about 26 hours on the ground for his final trip to Iraq.
Ruff maintains that Rumsfeld went to Iraq to speak directly to the troops and thank them for their service. He defended the Pentagon's decision not to take the news media on the trip, explaining that the secretary was "not looking for broad news coverage." Ruff said that Rumsfeld and FOX News' Sean Hannity, who accompanied the secretary, had been talking about a trip together to Iraq for several years, and that all news about the trip was supposed to be embargoed until they landed back in the US Sunday night. He could not explain how they planned to keep the several thousand troops he met with and all of the media in Iraq from reporting about the trip.