Rebels have infiltrated Iraq's police force, but the extent to which they have done so remains unclear, Iraq's national security advisor Muwaffaq Rubaie said on Tuesday.
"Our Iraqi security forces in general, police in particular, in many parts of Iraq, I have to admit, have been penetrated by some of the insurgents, some of the terrorists as well," he told BBC television. "I can't deny this."
The incident triggered concern about collusion between the Iraqi police and militiamen, as the US and UK which invaded Iraq in March 2003 wonder how much longer they will need to maintain a military presence.
Rubaie said Iraq's interim government was putting into place "a very scrupulous, very meticulous vetting procedure" as it recruits new members of the police and armed forces.
It should, he said, "clean our security forces as well as stop any penetration in future from the insurgents and terrorists."
Rubaie's remarks came a day after British troops stormed a police station in the southern city of Basra, looking for two soldiers later found and freed from a house where they had been taken from a police cell by militiamen, reports Taipei Times.