CIA personnel, civilians cited in abuse

USA TODAY
August 20, 2004, Friday, FINAL EDITION

BYLINE: Tom Squitieri and Dave Moniz
SECTION: NEWS; Pg. 11A
LENGTH: 750 words
DATELINE: WASHINGTON

WASHINGTON — More than two dozen U.S. military intelligence personnel and at least five civilian contractors will be implicated in the Army’s latest investigation of prisoner abuse in Iraq. Among the allegations against some of those individuals will be what military officials described as the most serious cases of sexual abuse and sodomy yet made public.

The report criticizes the Army for importing to Iraq interrogation techniques used in Afghanistan and elsewhere without properly retraining individuals about key differences between the prison situations and legal guidelines in the two countries. The contents of the report were described by two Defense officials who have either seen the document or been extensively briefed about it. Both asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the report and because it is not scheduled to be released until Tuesday.

The report will substantiate claims by some Army military police that they were told by intelligence personnel to treat Iraqi detainees harshly to prepare them for questioning, the officials said. CIA personnel will be cited in the report for possible improper actions, with the recommendation that they be further investigated, the officials said.

The report stems from an investigation initially headed by Army Maj. Gen. George Fay, who was ordered to look into allegations of prisoner abuse by military intelligence personnel at Abu Ghraib, a sprawling prison complex about 20 miles west of Baghdad. Fay’s investigation was one of several into abuses that occurred at Abu Ghraib last fall, including incidents in which prisoners were stripped naked and sexually humiliated and abused by U.S. personnel. An earlier investigation of the role of MPs by Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba found widespread abuse and led to criminal charges against seven soldiers, one of whom pleaded guilty.

The officials described the Fay report as a complex document that deals with numerous issues, including specific allegations of prisoner abuse, the “culpability of omission” by individuals who failed to report or stop abuse, and confusion over which interrogation techniques could be used, how, and under what circumstances.

The report finds that military medical personnel became aware of abuse at Abu Ghraib while treating injured prisoners but failed to report it to their superiors, the officials said. The role of the medical personnel was first reported in The New York Times Thursday.

Investigators from the Army’s criminal investigative division are separately reviewing at least 50 deaths of prisoners while in U.S. custody in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to one of the officials. The Pentagon had previously acknowledged investigations into 39 deaths.

The Fay report does not cite any direct abuse of prisoners by officers. However, it does criticize senior officers for failing to provide proper oversight for the military intelligence personnel working at Abu Ghraib.

The report also says a volatile situation was created in the prison by the shifting rules about which interrogation techniques were permitted, the Defense officials said.

The report describes how an increasingly hostile environment inside the prison and outside its walls affected the behavior of soldiers inside.

The Fay investigation, which began in April, focused on the role of the 205th Military Intelligence Brigade, the unit that was in control of interrogations at Abu Ghraib. The brigade was under the command of Col. Thomas Pappas and Lt. Col. Steve Jordan.

The Fay investigation focused on officers up to Pappas who had direct day-to-day command over the prison, the Defense officials said. Under new privacy rules in effect at the Pentagon, Pappas and other individuals will not be identified by name in the report, one of the officials said.

Also scheduled to be released Tuesday are the results of an investigation chaired by former Defense secretary and CIA director James Schlesinger, which examined whether Pentagon officials set clear interrogation rules for Iraq.

The Senate Armed Services Committee has scheduled a hearing for Sept. 9 to review the Fay and Schlesinger reports.

Another investigation headed by the Navy Inspector General is looking at the handling of prisoners and interrogations throughout the military. There are also investigations underway of accusations of prisoner abuse in Afghanistan and another on allegations of abuse by special operations personnel in Iraq.