ABC News has learned new details of the military's efforts to reach out to insurgents, including secret face-to-face meetings with a notorious group that has bragged about multiple attacks on U.S. forces.
The group is the 1920s Revolution Brigade, Sunni insurgents who have bragged of repeated attacks on Americans, including one just three weeks ago.
"You name a mainstream insurgent group, and we're talking to them," a source familiar with the effort told ABC's Jonathan Karl.
And military commanders have high hopes this tactic used by U.S. and British officials will be effective. Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno said he believes that the negotiations can convince 80 percent of the Sunni and Shiite insurgents to lay down their arms.
The CIA is also involved in the effort, identifying insurgent leaders and bringing them in for talks with the military. That effort has stretched to relatively junior commanders, as lieutenant colonels have been given the authority to negotiate directly with insurgents.
"I'm empowering them and trying to give them some tools to reach out, because there are insurgents reaching out to us," Odierno said today during a Pentagon briefing.
In one instance, the leader of 2,000 Sunni tribesman met with a lieutenat colonel earlier this month and said his members, including many who are suspected of supporting the insurgency, are looking for jobs with the local police.
So far, the talks have not included anyone tied to al Qaeda, but Odierno does not rule them out entirely. "I believe little -- very few of al Qaeda are reconcilable. But there might be a small portion," he said.
As the price for peace, the insurgents have demanded jobs, pensions and amnesty for their fighters, including those who have killed Americans. That is hugely controversial, but it may simply be necessary. As one senior Pentagon adviser put it, "They will stop killing us if we reconcile with them."