Karpinski Interview Sparks New Call for Rumsfeld Testimony

By Leon Worden
Signal City Editor

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

*MEDIA—MANDATORY CREDIT: The Signal newspaper of Santa Clarita, Calif.

Sgt. Javal Davis
Sgt. Javal "Sean" Davis
former Abu Ghraib prison guard will use a recently published Signal interview in an effort to elicit Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's testimony, his attorney said Monday.
    Sgt. Javal Davis, 26, of New Jersey, has claimed since charges were filed against him in April that he was acting on orders to "soften up" detainees for interrogation sessions last fall.
    Leaked portions of an Army report said four military intelligence officers and contractors, including John B. Israel of Canyon Country, were responsible for the prisoner abuse, but no explanation of the accusation has been released to the public.
    On June 21, Davis' attorneys convinced a military judge to order testimony from Davis' superior officers, all the way up to four-star Gen. John Abizaid, commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East, to determine what, if any, instructions he received.
    But the judge, Col. James Pohl, didn't see sufficient cause to order testimony from Rumsfeld or Stephen A. Cambone, Rumsfeld's undersecretary for intelligence.
    Although allegations have swirled at lower echelons, no general officer had publicly intimated that Rumsfeld had anything to do with the approval of interrogation methods at the Iraqi prison.
    That changed June 29, a week after Davis' hearing in Baghdad, when Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski told The Signal that she saw memos where Rumsfeld "signed and agreed to" the use of particular interrogation tactics.
    Karpinski, commander of detention operations throughout Iraq last fall, said she didn't see the approvals from Rumsfeld at the time, "but since all of this has come out, I've not only seen, but I've been asked about some of those documents."
    The memos were "about using the same techniques that were successful in Guantanamo Bay, at Abu Ghraib," she said in the interview, published July 4.
    On June 22, the Pentagon released memos showing Rumsfeld approved a list of interrogation tactics in late 2002 for use at Guantanamo Bay, including stripping, hooding and sensory deprivation.
    The Pentagon flatly denied Karpinski's claim that Rumsfeld approved similar tactics for Iraq.
    "The secretary of defense was not involved in the process in Iraq or the Central Command theater," a Pentagon spokesman said July 2. "He wasn't asked to approve anything."
    But Paul Bergrin, Davis' civilian attorney, wants to hear it directly from the source.
    Bergrin said Monday he is renewing his call "for demanding Secretary Rumsfeld to testify under oath, based on the direct link as stated by Brig. Gen. Karpinski" in the Signal interview.
    Bergrin said he'll file a motion by Friday asking Pohl to reconsider.
    A Pentagon official said Monday that the Defense Department "will cooperate with any due process," and said it doesn't get involved in the calling of witnesses.
    Contesting or consenting to Bergrin's motion would be up to the Central Command prosecutor, whose spokeswoman in Baghdad could not be reached by press time.
    Karpinski said Monday she believes it is important for all pertinent information to come out.
    "Whatever it takes to ensure the soldiers are given the best opportunities to gather all necessary information and evidence, is what they need to allow," she told The Signal.