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Army General Says Abuse Resulted From Faulty Leadership

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Army General Says Abuse Resulted From Faulty Leadership

Taguba Makes First Appearance Since Writing Report on Abu Ghraib

The Associated Press

Tuesday, May 11, 2004; 11:17 AM

The Army general who first investigated prisoner abuse in an Iraqi prison told Congress on Tuesday the mistreatment resulted from faulty leadership, a "lack of discipline, no training whatsoever and no supervision" of the troops.

Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba also left open the possibility that members of the Central Intelligence Agency as well as armed forces personnel and civilian contractors were culpable in the abusive treatment of prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison.

"A few soldiers and civilians conspired to abuse and conduct egregious acts of violence against detainees and other civilians outside the bounds of international laws and the Geneva Convention," Taguba told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Without mentioning names, Taguba pointed to Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski of the 800th Military Police Brigade for failed command leadership. Karpinski, a general in the Reserves who had command of military prisons in Iraq, has been suspended and issued an official letter of admonishment in connection with the abuse. She has not been charged.

Taguba testified at the committee's second hearing into abusive treatment of Iraqi prisoners at the hands of American captors, some of whom forced the detainees to assume sexually humiliating positions.

"These acts of abuse were not the spontaneous actions of lower enlisted personnel," said Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., the senior Democrat on the panel. They were "clearly planned and suggested by others....

"All of those up and down the chain of command must be held accountable ... for the brutality and dishonor they brought" on the troops, Levin said.

At the same time, questions about ultimate responsibility for control of the Abu Ghraib prison produced a disagreement between Taguba and Stephen Cambone, the undersecretary of defense for intelligence.

Taguba said that control had been turned over to military intelligence officials.

Cambone said that was incorrect, and it resided with the military police.

In a further disagreement, Taguba said it was against Army rules for intelligence troops to involve MPs in setting conditions for interrogations. Cambone said he believed it was appropriate for the two groups to collaborate.

Taguba also told the committee his investigation had not found "any order whatsoever, written or otherwise," that directed the military police to cooperate with intelligence forces at the prison.

Regardless of any disagreements, Cambone and others told the panel that troops in Iraq were under orders to abide by the Geneva Conventions, which dictate terms for humane treatment of prisoners.

"An order to soften up a detainee would not be a legal order, would it?" asked Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kansas.

"No sir," replied Lt. Gen. Lance F. Smith, the deputy director of the U.S. Central Command.

Taguba told the panel that his investigators had been told about participation by "other government agencies or contractors" in the abuse.

Other government agencies is a euphemism for the CIA.

Cambone, too, was asked whether he had any knowledge of CIA involvement in the abuse at Abu Ghraib.

"There were people brought by agency personnel to that place. ... There may have been interrogations conducted by the agency personnel while they were there," he said.

The hearing took place while Senate leaders sought access to photos and videos of abuse not yet made public. Officials said the plan was for all senators to have access to the material.

Any viewing by senators would be restricted to a secure room in the Capitol to protect against leaks that might violate the privacy of prisoners or endanger the prosecution of any military personnel charged in the case, according to several officials.


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