PHOENIX (AP) - A man who was with an armed group that approached National Guard troops near the Arizona-Mexico border earlier this month, causing the troops to pull back from an observation post, came as close as 10 meters to the Guardsmen, according to an incident summary written by the National Guard Bureau.
The summary, which Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano's office provided to The Associated Press on Friday evening, reveals more details of the Jan. 3 incident than information that was previously released.
Previously, the Border Patrol said that the armed men only came about 100 yards from the four Tennessee Guard troops.
Border Patrol spokesman Gustavo Soto would neither confirm nor deny that the armed men came within 10 meters of the troops. He said releasing the information would compromise the investigation.
"That (100 yards) was preliminary information that we gave out at the beginning of the incident," he said. "Since the investigation has continued, we have since found out that it was closer than we initially put out, but we're not going to confirm the distance."
The number of armed men in the group also was not previously released. The summary said there were six to eight armed men in the group.
According to the summary, which a congressional liaison with the Guard wrote in response to an inquiry from a member of Congress, the troops were manning an observation post near Sasabe when they saw the men approaching.
"As the group approached, and while under observation of the Guardsmen, the group split into two groups to surround the site," according to the summary.
The Guardsmen, who were armed, then began to withdraw to avoid a confrontation. As the troops were loading their gear into their vehicle, one of the armed men approached within 10 meters, according to the summary.
"Both groups kept their weapons 'ready low' and never pointed them at each other. No shots were fired," according to the summary.
The troops finished loading the vehicle and drove away. They then called Border Patrol agents, who tracked the armed men back to the border but were not able to find them.
Maj. Paul Aguirre, a spokesman for the Arizona National Guard, said the summary didn't reveal any new details, nor did it contradict earlier statements about the incident.
"I didn't see anything new in it," Aguirre said. "I didn't see anything different."
Aguirre said the number of approaching gunmen has always been in question. The darkness of night and the terrain would have made it hard to spot people, he said.
"In the fog of this mission in the middle of the night, you may never be able to pinpoint (the number) decisively," Aguirre said.
Aguirre said the National Guard troops weren't trapped, surrounded or overrun.
The summary praises how the troops handled the encounter.
"We see this as a triumph of the training, discipline and professionalism of the Guardsmen performing this mission," the summary says.
Soto also praised the troops' actions.
"It is a serious incident in that several armed men came within a very close distance of National Guard troops," Soto said. "The National Guard troops did exactly as they were trained to do - they evaded the threat, they moved to a safer location and called the Border Patrol to deal with that threat."
National Guard troops are in Arizona and the three other border states assisting Border Patrol agents in a variety of roles, such as operating surveillance cameras, repairing border fences, constructing vehicle barriers and reporting illegal entries.
They have been heading to the border for two-week rotations since last spring, when President Bush deployed them to free up immigration agents so they can focus more on border security.
The Guard is not performing law enforcement duties and is not allowed to apprehend illegal immigrants.
Observation teams such as the one that saw the armed men near Sasabe look out and report illegal border crossings to federal agents.
Officials have said they do not know who the armed men were and what they were doing near the observation post.