[MORE IRAQ / ABU GHRAIB][THE-SIGNAL.COM][S.C.V. HISTORY IN PICTURES]
SENATE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE
May 11, 2004
Transcript: Taguba, Cambone on Abu Ghraib Report
Sen. John W. Warner (R-Va). Chairman
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.)
Sen. James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.)
Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.)
Sen. Wayne Allard (R-Colo.)
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.)
Sen. Susan M. Collins (R-Maine)
Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.)
Sen. Jim Talent (R-Mo.)
Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.)
Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.)
Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-N.C.)
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas)
Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) Ranking Member
Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.)
Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.)
Sen. Josheph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.)
Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.)
Sen. Daniel K. Akaka (D-Hawaii)
Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.)
Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.)
Sen. Mark Dayton (D-Minn.)
Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.)
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.)
Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.)
Army Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba, deputy commanding general for support for the coalition forces land component command
Stephen A. Cambone, the undersecretary for intelligence
Air Force Lt. Gen. Lance L. Smith, the deputy commander of the U.S. Central Command
WARNER: Before turning to the matters at hand, and a quorum being present, I ask the committee to consider five civilian nominations: Tina Jonas to be undersecretary of defense comptroller, Donald Abalis (ph) to be undersecretary of the Navy, Gerald Paul (ph) to be principal deputy administrator of the Nuclear Security Administration, Chatfield (ph) to be director of the selective service, Paul Koff (ph) to be a member of the National Security Education Board.
All of these nominations have been before the committee the required length of time. Is there a motion to favor a report the nominations?
MCCAIN: Mr. Chairman, I reserve the right to object and will not object except to say that I will hold these nominations until we get the requested information that has been outstanding for a long period of time now concerning communications on the Boeing issue. And I won't waste the time of the committee much longer, but we're approaching a time where I will be asking a vote of the committee to see whether we subpoena these documents or not.
WARNER: Senator, you have been straightforward in that. I've done my best to date. We'll continue to help you gain that material. But you have kept the chairman and the ranking member informed continuously of your views.
MCCAIN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
WARNER: The issue of the nominations before the committee, all in favor, say aye.
Ayes have it.
Now proceeding to the floor.
The committee meets today for the second of a series of hearings regarding the mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners by some elements and certain personnel, few in number, I hope, of the armed forces in violation of the United States and international laws.
Testifying before us today is Major General Antonio Taguba, U.S. Army, deputy commander for support, coalition forces land command.
On January 31st, 2004, General Taguba was appointed by General Sanchez, commander, Combined Task Force-7, to conduct a Procedure 15 investigation into allegations of prisoner abuse at the Abu Ghraib Prison.
General Taguba's report was received by this committee on Tuesday, May 4th and its related annexes were received yesterday, May 10th. As members know, they're in the possession of the committee and members and staff worked on those reports until very late last night.
WARNER: Joining General Taguba are Lieutenant General Lance L. Smith, United States Air Force, deputy commander of Central Command; and Dr. Stephen A. Cambone, undersecretary of defense for intelligence. We welcome our witnesses.
And, General Taguba, I wish to personally say I commend you for your public service.
TAGUBA: Thank you, sir.
WARNER: Following the testimony of witnesses, we will receive testimony from a second panel of witnesses this afternoon commencing at 2:30.
As I stated last week, this mistreatment of prisoners represents an appalling and totally unacceptable breach of military regulations and conduct. The damage done to the reputation and credibility of our nation and the armed forces has the potential to undermine substantial gains and the sacrifices by our forces and their families and those of our allies fighting with us in the cause of freedom.
This degree of breakdown in military leadership and discipline represents an extremely rare chapter in the otherwise proud history of our armed forces. It defies common sense and contradicts all the values for which America stands.
There must be a full accounting for the cruel and disgraceful abuse of Iraqi detainees consistent with our law and protections of the Uniform Military Code of Justice.
I'm proud of the manner in which the armed forces have quickly reacted to these allegations, undertaken appropriate investigation and begun disciplinary actions. We are a nation of laws and we confront abuses of our laws openly and directly.
We have had an apparent breakdown of discipline and leadership at this prison and possibly at other locations. I think it important to confront these problems, swiftly assuring that justice is done and take the corrective action so that such abuses never happen again.
WARNER: At the same time, it is important to remember that our commanders and their troops in Iraq are confronted with a very difficult, dangerous, complex military situation. Defeating insurgents and terrorists who seek to deny freedom and democracy to all Iraqis and who threaten our troops is the highest priority and our troops are working very hard, courageously and sacrifices to achieve that mission.
Intelligence obtained in the course of any military action, obtained in accordance with proper laws and professional procedures, is an essential element of any military campaign.
I was heartened by President Bush's words of support for our men and women in the armed forces as he stated yesterday in visiting the Department of Defense. And I quote our president: "All Americans know the goodness and the character of the United States armed forces. No military in the history of the world has fought so hard and so often for the freedom of others.
"Today, our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines are keeping terrorists across the world on the run. They're helping the people in Afghanistan and Iraq build democratic societies. They're defending America with unselfish courage. And these achievements have brought pride and credit to this nation.
"I want our men and women in uniform to know that America is proud of you and that I'm honored to be your commander in chief."
Speaking for myself, I feel our president, our secretary of defense, chairman of the Joint Chiefs and the other officers of our military have very correctly and properly addressed the seriousness of these issues and I commend them.
We must not forget our overall purpose in Iraq. Success there is absolutely essential.
WARNER: Our men and women in uniform make a remarkable institution in this great America and from time to time it must heal itself consistent with law and tradition. And that we're doing in this particular case. We have a responsibility here in the Congress to help them do that and that is precisely the purpose of these hearings.
LEVIN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Today's hearing continues the committee's examination of the events at Abu Ghraib detention facility and the effort to learn what led to the abuses of Iraqi prisoners so graphically depicted in the photographs that have shocked and disgusted the civilized world, and who may have authorized, encouraged or suggested those despicable actions.
Getting to the truth of what happened and who is responsible is important for our military men and women, for the American people, for the success of our mission in Iraq, and for a watching world.
General Taguba, while your report paints a disturbing picture of horrible abuses and leadership failures at Abu Ghraib, your report reflects an honest and detailed assessment of the situation there and includes sensible recommendations on how to begin fixing those problems. I thank you for your professionalism in carrying out this service to our nation.
The hearing we held last week barely scratched the surface of the issues that this committee must examine. It yielded little in the form of detailed information as to how these abuses could possibly have occurred and who was responsible for them, including those within and without the chain of command whose policy decisions created an environment in which the abuses could occur.
The despicable actions described in General Taguba's report, not only reek of abuse, they reek of an organized effort and methodical preparation for interrogation.
The collars used on prisoners, the dogs and the cameras did not suddenly appear out of thin air.
LEVIN: These acts of abuse were not the spontaneous actions of lower ranking enlisted personnel who lacked the proper supervision. These attempts to extract information from prisoners by abusive and degrading methods were clearly planned and suggested by others.
Today we begin with what must be a determined pursuit of the answers to the questions: Who organized the effort, who oversaw it, under what directives and policies were these actions implemented?
All of those up and down the chain of command who bear any responsibility must be held accountable for the brutality and humiliation they inflicted on the prisoners and for the damage and dishonor that they brought to our nation and to the United States armed forces, which is otherwise filled with honorable men and women acting with courage and professionalism to bring stability and security and reconstruction to Iraq.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
WARNER: I'll ask the witnesses to rise. Raise your right hand.
Do you solemnly swear that the testimony that you are about to give before the Committee of the Armed Services of the United States Senate will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?
TAGUBA: I do.
SMITH: I do.
CAMBONE: I do.
WARNER: In accordance with the time-honored traditions of our country the civilian control over the military we recognize Secretary Cambone who is speaking on behalf of the Department of Defense.
CAMBONE: Mr. Chairman, thank you, and members of the committee.
We're here today to continue the discussion on the terrible activities at Abu Ghraib which began last Friday by the secretary of defense, the chairman and other members of the manual.
Before going further, let me say we are dismayed by what took place.
CAMBONE: The Iraqi detainees are human beings, they were in U.S. custody, we had an obligation to treat them right, and we didn't do that. That was wrong. And I associate myself without reservation to the sentiments expressed by the secretary.
To those Iraqis mistreated by the U.S. armed forces, I offer my deepest apology. It was un-American and it was inconsistent with the values of our nation.
Now, a number of issues arose related to those events during the hearing last Friday which, as Senator Levin has noted, were not fully engaged. And I wanted to tick off a short list that we have been developing since then as a way of preparation in answer to the questions we know that you have.
But before I go through those, let me say again that we will give you this information today to the best of our knowledge. We do not have yet all of the facts related to this case. There are at least five other investigations ongoing, and we will need that information in order to come to a full understanding.
So first, with respect to the application of the Geneva Convention to detainees in Iraq, from the outset of the war in Iraq, the United States government has recognized and made clear that the Geneva Conventions apply to our activities in that country. Members of our armed forces should have been aware of that. If they were not if they were not, Lieutenant General Sanchez, the CJTF-7 commander, reminded them on more than one occasion that the forces under his command operated under that obligation.
Nevertheless there clearly was a breakdown in following Geneva Convention procedures at Abu Ghraib, and we are in the process, as you know, of investigating why that happened.
CAMBONE: As Major General Miller, who is now in charge of detainee operations in Iraq, remarked on Saturday, the procedures established for interrogations in Iraq were sanctioned under the Geneva Convention and authorized in U.S. Army manuals.
All permissible interrogation activities were within the requirements and boundaries of applicable provisions of the convention. We are currently investigating why soldiers some soldiers at Abu Ghraib did not abide by those understood procedures and guidance.
Early in the war on terrorism, long before the war in Iraq, the president made a determination that the Geneva Convention did not apply to Al Qaida detainees. That decision was made because the Geneva Conventions govern conflicts between states and Al Qaida is not a state, much less a signatory of the convention. Moreover the conventions forbid the targeting of civilians and require that military forces wear designated uniforms to distinguish them from noncombatants.
Terrorists don't care about the Geneva Convention, nor do they abide by its guidelines. They deliberately target civilians, for example, and have brutalized and murdered innocent Americans.
To grant terrorists the rights they so cruelly reject would make a mockery of the Geneva Conventions. Nevertheless President Bush did order did order that detainees held at Guantanamo be treated humanely and consistent with the convention's principles and, in fact, those detainees in the war on terror are being provided with many of the privileges typically afforded to enemy prisoners of war.
The notion that this decision in some way undermined the Geneva Convention or create a poor climate is false. To the contrary, the administration made this decision with the objective of assuring that those who would claim protection under its auspices and not act in keeping with its intent did not abuse the Geneva Convention. Far from disrespect, the decision was made out of a notion of respect.
The notion of a departmental belief that the alleged climate created and led to abuse in Iraq is therefore not in keeping with clear and stated determination to adhere to the Geneva Convention.
Second, Major General Miller's recommendations: Major General Miller was sent to Iraq it was late August of '03.
CAMBONE: Based on his experience with the flow of information gained by interrogation at Guantanamo Bay, he was sent under joint staff auspices, and as I said on Friday before this committee, with my encouragement to determine if the flow of information to CJTF-7 and back to the subordinate commands could be improved. He laid out an approach to do this in a series of recommendations to General Sanchez recommendations to General Sanchez. He had no directive authority in that visit.
One recommendation on detention operations was to dedicate and train a detention guard force subordinate to the joint intelligence commander that would, in the words of General Taguba's report and others, "set the conditions for the successful interrogation and exploitation of internees and detainees."
In making this recommendation, Major General Miller was underscoring the need for military police and military intelligence personnel, both of whom serve different functions, to act in a fashion such that the one, military police, did not undermine the efforts of the other, military intelligence, to discover during interrogation information that was important to coalition forces and to the lives of Iraqi civilians.
Consequently, he underscored the need for legal review of his recommendations by a dedicated command staff judge advocate.
With respect to detention operations, Major General Miller noted that their purpose is to provide a safe, secure and humane environment that supports the expeditious collection of intelligence. In addition, he observed that detention operations must be structured to ensure the detention environment focuses these internees' confidence and attention on their interrogators. He recommended training in building the teamwork the interrogator and detention staffs needed to accomplish the objective.
CAMBONE: The order placing the military police at Abu Ghraib under the tactical control of the 205th Military Intelligence Brigade and here, for more of the detail, I can defer to General Smith but on November 19th of 2003, General Sanchez issued an order effectively placing Abu Ghraib under the tactical control of the 205th Military Intelligence Brigade.
This order was within the authority of General Sanchez to give. And, as I say, Lieutenant General Smith might elaborate on the reasons that the order was given.
But what it did is it gave a senior officer responsibility for the facility for the facility. We needed someone to take care of such matters as security, force protection, the internal security, living conditions for the troops and other things. It did not give, as far as I understand it, the military intelligence brigade commander authority over military police operations.
And as I might note, if you look at General Karpinski's CNN interview last night, she makes comments to that effect.
Let me stress that the promulgation of the order in no way changed the rules governing the conduct of military police and military personnel in Iraq with respect to the laws of war, the Geneva Convention, CENTCOM directions or CJTF directions and instructions.
Third, the role of contractors: Contractors may not perform interrogations except under the supervision of military personnel. There may have been circumstances under which this regulation was not followed; I cannot tell you that it was followed in all respects. This is a matter that General Fay is now examining.
In addition, contractors may not supervise or give orders or direction to military personnel. And while contractors are not under military discipline another issue raised on Friday they are subject to suspension from their contracts by the government for cause.
CAMBONE: Furthermore, criminal sanctions for any crimes a contractor may commit may be available in U.S. federal court and may be referred to U.S. federal court.
Fourth, with respect to the oversight of military intelligence, criminal investigation and the operations of combatant commanders, I have, on page eight of the statement that I prepared for you, listed the roles of the office I presently hold, that of the joint command, and that of the services.
I then go on and talk about oversight of criminal investigation and the role of the DOD I.G.'s office and the counterintelligence oversight.
On page nine, I begin, "The actions under way." The secretary reviewed those with you on Friday and I will not take your time here unless the committee wishes to return to them, but to add one development since we were here last, and that is that the secretary is now preparing a personal message for the men and women of the armed forces underscoring his dismay over the events at Abu Ghraib, expressing his confidence in the valor and professionalism of the men and women, stressing, once again, that the Geneva Convention applies to our conflict in Iraq, and expressing his confidence in the ultimate success of our mission in Iraq.
Mr. Chairman, this is an occasion to demonstrate to the world the difference between those who believe in democracy and those who do not. We value human life, we believe in the right to individual freedom and the rule of law. And for those beliefs, we send our men and women abroad to protect that right for our own people and to give millions of others hope for freedom in the future.
Part of that mission is making sure that when wrongdoing or scandal is heard it's not covered up, but exposed, investigated, publicly disclosed, and the guilty brought to justice.
I believe we can repair the damage done to our credibility in the region.
CAMBONE: If we hold true to our principles and continue to keep our commitments to the people of Iraq and Afghanistan, eventually the nobility of that mission will touch the hearts of more people in the Arab world. I am confident of this because of the outstanding service that has been rendered by the vast majority of the men and women of the U.S. armed forces.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
WARNER: Thank you very much, Secretary Cambone.
General Smith, do you have a few opening comments?
SMITH: Senator Warner, Senator Levin, members of the committee, sir, I'll stand by the comments that I made on Friday, but to add that once again, on behalf of General Abizaid and all the men and women of Central Command, we regret very much that these events ever occurred and apologize to those who are victims of the abuse.
I would like to assure you that in every case of where the investigations have had recommendations and findings that we have either implemented the recommendations or are in the process of making the fixes necessary to ensure that those gaps that we had either in policy procedures or leadership are being fixed.
We, at the same time, have a number of investigations that are ongoing, that should give us more answers to some of the questions that we all have about what actually went on in the Abu Graib prison, the most significant of which is the General Fay investigation over the military intelligence brigade. We will continue to try and make every effort to ensure that we implement the proper procedures, policies and practices to ensure that this never happens again, sir.
Thank you, Senator Warner.
WARNER: Thank you.
General Taguba, we welcome you.
TAGUBA: Thank you, sir.
Mr. Chairman, Senator Levin, members of the committee. Good morning all.
I am Major General Antonio Taguba, the deputy commanding general for support, Army Central Command and Combined Forces Land Component Command, that is headquartered in Camp Arifjan, Kuwait.
TAGUBA: On 24 January, 2004, when...
WARNER: If you'd direct right at the mike aligned with you and...
TAGUBA: OK. My apologies, sir. Let me continue, sir.
On 24 January, 2004, I was directed by Lieutenant General David McKiernan, the commanding general, ARCENT/CFLCC, to conduct an investigation into the allegations of detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib Prison, which is also known as the Baghdad Central Confinement Facility.
And I appreciate the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss the purpose, the findings and the recommendation of that investigation.
The purpose of the investigation with specific instructions were as follows: first, inquire into all of the facts and circumstances surrounding the recent allegations of the detainee abuse, specifically allegations of maltreatment at the Abu Ghraib Prison.
Second, inquire into detainee escapes and accountability lapses as reported by CJTF-7, specifically allegations concerning these events at the Abu Ghraib Prison.
Third, investigate the training, the standards, employment, command policies, internal procedures, and command climate in the 800 M.P. Brigade as appropriate.
And finally, make specific findings of facts concerning all aspects of this investigation and make recommendations for corrective action as appropriate.
My investigation team consisted of officers and senior enlisted personnel for our military policemen, experts in detention and corrections, judge advocates, psychiatrists and public affairs officers.
TAGUBA: At the onset, I did not have military intelligence officers or experts in military interrogation in my team because the scope of my investigation dealt principally with detention operations and not intelligence-gathering or interrogations operations.
However, during the course of my team's investigation, we gathered evidence pertaining to the involvement of several military intelligence personnel or contractors assigned to the 205th M.I. Brigade and the alleged detainee abuses at Abu Ghraib.
As stated in the findings of the investigation, we recommended that a separate investigation be initiated under the provisions of procedure 15, Army regulation 381-10, concerning possible improper interrogation practices in this case.
Again, my task was limited to the allegations of detainee abuse involving M.P. personnel and the policies, procedures and command climate of the 800th M.P. Brigade.
As I assembled the investigation team, my specific instructions to my teammates were clear: maintain our objectivity and integrity throughout the course of our mission in what I considered to be a very grave, highly sensitive and serious situation; to be mindful of our personal values and the moral values of our nation; and to maintain the Army values in all of our dealings; and to be complete, thorough and fair in the course of the investigation.
Bottom line: We will follow our conscience and do what is morally right.
As agonizing as this investigation was, I commend the exceptional professionalism of my teammates, their extraordinary efforts and the outstanding manner by which they carried out my instructions.
I also commend the courage and selfless service of those soldiers and sailors who brought these allegations to light, discovered evidence of abuse, and turned it over to the military law enforcement authorities.
TAGUBA: The criminal acts of a few stand in stark contrast to the high professionalism, competence and moral integrity of countless active, Guard and Army Reserve soldiers that we encountered in this investigation.
At the end of the day, a few soldiers and civilians conspired to abuse and conduct egregious acts of violence against detainees and other civilians outside the bounds of international law and the Geneva Convention.
Their incomprehensible acts, caught in their own personal record of photographs and video clips, have seriously maligned and impugned the courageous acts of thousands of U.S. and coalition forces.
It put into question the reputation of our nation and the reputation of those who continue to serve in uniform, and who would willingly sacrifice their lives to safeguard our freedom.
Thank you for the opportunity to speak before you today. I look forward to answering your questions. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
WARNER: Thank you very much, General. I must say that I was very heartened by your use of the phrase, "follow our conscience; do what is morally right." Sir, I think you've done that.
Colleagues, we'll have a six-minute round. We take note that votes will start at 11:30, but it is the intention of Senator Levin and myself to continue this hearing on into approximately the 12:30 to 12:45 time frame, in hopes that further opportunity can be given members for questions.
(UNKNOWN): Mr. Chairman, will it be one round?
WARNER: I said that we'll continue to 12:45 and we'll do our best...
(UNKNOWN): Thank you.
WARNER: ... given the votes. We will try to keep the hearing going during portions of the votes.
Secretary Cambone, my understanding is that in my briefings with you and I thank you for discussing these matters with me over the weekend that your office has the overall responsibility for policy concerning the handling of detainees in the global war on terrorism.
WARNER: Is that correct?
CAMBONE: Not precisely, sir. The overall policy for the handling of detainees rests with the undersecretary of defense for policy, by directive.
WARNER: Wait a minute. Rests with?
CAMBONE: The undersecretary of defense for policy, by directive. My office became involved in this issue primarily from the perspective of assuring that there was a flow of intelligence back to the commands and done in an efficient and effective way.
WARNER: Then I would presume it would be incumbent upon this committee to get the undersecretary for policy over and let him provide this committee with such knowledge that he has.
CAMBONE: Sir, and his responsibilities and I have talked with Mr. Feith about this he issued any number of statements and directives to the effect that detainees in Iraq, civilian or military, were to be treated under the provisions of the Geneva Convention.
WARNER: And did you work with him in that? I'm trying to ascertain...
CAMBONE: Yes, sir. I was aware of that work and knowledgeable of it and endorsed it, of course.
WARNER: I'm trying to ascertain the degree to which the civilian authority in the Department of Defense, under the secretary, be it yourself...
CAMBONE: Yes, sir.
WARNER: ... or the other undersecretary, reviewed the procedures by which interrogations took place in our places of incarceration, and most specifically by those doing it in Iraq.
CAMBONE: Yes, sir.
WARNER: You did review the procedures that were being followed for the interrogation of detainees in Iraq?
CAMBONE: We gave direction that the the department gave direction that the Geneva Convention was to be followed.
CAMBONE: The procedures for interrogation are established via the use of and General Taguba and General Smith can clarify but they are established on the basis of approved techniques for interrogation. There is a list of those and you will find them in Army doctrine and manuals.
CAMBONE: Those are approved for use by the commanding general and any exceptions to those activities that he authorizes, he would then set terms and conditions for exceptions to his guidance.
At the level of those techniques and so forth, they were signed out at the command level and not in the Department of Defense.
WARNER: You've had time to reflect on this. In simple and plain words, how do you think this happened?
CAMBONE: With the caveat, sir, that I don't know the facts, it's, for me, hard to explain.
I have spent a good deal of time over the last 10 days to two weeks looking at the various elements of this issue. And I think what we did have here was a problem of leadership with respect to the 372nd Battalion, that was the M.P. unit.
WARNER: Failure of leadership starting at what level?
CAMBONE: That is decidedly more difficult to say, sir.
Again, in simple terms, you asked, there was clear direction moving down the chain from the secretary to General Abizaid to General Sanchez to those people who were in charge of the military police and that, in this case, is General Karpinski.
She had, I think it's eight battalions under her control lodged at a large number of locations.
CAMBONE: She, best I understand it, was not frequently present at Abu Ghraib.
Abu Ghraib itself and let's remember the time frame that we're talking about. We're coming out of the period of active combat operations. We have a large number of detainees who are being moved from a facility...
WARNER: I'm going to ask you to be brief because I'm holding myself...
CAMBONE: I understand, sir.
Move them into a from temporary facilities into permanent facilities, the place is being mortared and attacked frequently and the local commander was unable to bring order to that place. And for that reason, I would argue, General Sanchez looked to Colonel Pappas, the head of the 205th Military Intelligence Brigade, and gave him the responsibility then for taking care of Abu Ghraib as an installation.
Now, the reports that were developed by international organizations the Red Cross and others it's my understanding they came to your office for an assessment and a determination as to what was to be done in response to those reports.
CAMBONE: No. The reports that are at issue here is the ICRC, the International Community of the Red Cross.
WARNER: But you told me I thought over the weekend that you...
CAMBONE: I've seen the reports.
WARNER: You've seen them.
CAMBONE: I have seen...
WARNER: You've seen some steps to implement of their recommendations?
CAMBONE: Steps were taken to implement their recommendations. I saw those reports well after they were issued.
The one in question was issued on the 6th of November. It was addressed, to my knowledge, to General Karpinski, and she replied at her command level on the 24th of December of '03 to the ICRC.
WARNER: Well, now, who else in the building had access to those reports? Did they reach the secretary's level?
CAMBONE: No, sir, they did not. Those reports those working papers, again, as far as I understand it, were delivered at the command level. They are designed the process is designed so that the ICRC can engage with the local commanders and make those kinds of improvements that are necessary in a more collaborative environment than in an adversarial one.
CAMBONE: And so they tend to try to work these problems at that level.
There was, sir, just for the record, another paper developed by the ICRC which was delivered to the Coalition Provisional Authority in February of 2004. That paper is a historical paper. It is a review of activity from March or so of '03 through the end of January.
WARNER: My time is up. Sorry to cut you off. We've asked for those reports.
CAMBONE: Yes, sir.
WARNER: It's my understanding the secretary...
CAMBONE: The secretary is going to give them to you, sir.
WARNER: General Taguba, in your orders, were there any restrictions placed upon you by General McKiernan, General Sanchez or Abizaid in the scope of your inquiry? In other words, were you given a free hand to do what you felt had to be done?
TAGUBA: Sir, the scope as I described to you was related to the detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib. However, because there were detention operations under the purview of the 800 M.P. Brigade, we also look at the operations at Camp Buka, a high-value detention facility at Camp Cropper, and also the MEC (ph) facility at...
WARNER: I ask the same question to you: In simple layman's language, so it can be understood, what do you think went wrong in terms of the failure of discipline and the failure of this interrogation process to be consistent with known regulations, national and international? And also, to what extent do you have knowledge of any participation by other than U.S. military, namely the Central Intelligence Agency and/or contractors, in the performance of the interrogation?
TAGUBA: Sir, as far as your last question, I'll answer that first.
The comment about participation of other government agencies or contractors were related to us through interviews that we conducted that was related to our examination of written statements and, of course, some other records.
TAGUBA: With regards to your first question, sir, there was a failure of...
WARNER: In other words, in the material that you've now submitted to the Senate or the department has submitted...
TAGUBA: Yes, sir.
WARNER: ... we will find in there all of your knowledge with respect to participation by other government agencies?
TAGUBA: Yes, sir.
WARNER: It's nine volumes and about almost...
TAGUBA: Six thousand pages. Yes, sir.
WARNER: Six thousand pages, and we just got it yesterday.
TAGUBA: Yes, sir.
WARNER: Well, can you give us a quick synopsis of the participation by other U.S. government agencies?
TAGUBA: They refer to them as OGAs or M.I.s. And when I asked for clarification, it's because of the way they wore their uniform. Some of them did not wear a uniform.
And so, I would ask them to clarify further if they knew any of these people and they gave us names, as stipulated on their statements.
They also gave us names of those who are M.I. uniformed M.I. personnel in the U.S. Army. And that was substantiated by the comments made to us by other witnesses as we conducted our interviews.
In simple words your own soldier's language how did this happen?
TAGUBA: Failure in leadership, sir, from the brigade commander on down. Lack of discipline, no training whatsoever and no supervision. Supervisory omission was rampant. Those are my comments.
WARNER: Thank you very much.
LEVIN: General Taguba, the ICRC said that the military intelligence officers at the prison confirmed to them that this was all part of the military intelligence process these activities.
LEVIN: Would you agree with the ICRC that coercive practices such as holding prisoners naked for extended periods of time were used, in their words, in a systematic way as part of the military intelligence process at the prison?
TAGUBA: Sir, I did not read the ICRC report.
LEVIN: Would you agree with that conclusion?
TAGUBA: Yes, sir. Based on the evidence that was presented to us and what we gathered and what we reviewed, yes, sir.
LEVIN: Now, that's more than a failure of leadership. That's an active decision on the part of leadership. It's not just oversight or negligence or neglect or sloppiness, but purposeful, willful determination to use these techniques as part of an interrogation process.
Would you include that in your definition of failure of leadership?
TAGUBA: Yes, sir, they were.
LEVIN: Secretary Cambone told us earlier, a few minutes ago, that the shift in command at the prison did not mean that the military intelligence commander had command authority over the M.P.s, but your report says the opposite, that the decision to transfer that command to the military intelligence commander did effectively put that commander in charge of the military police. Would you stick by your statement?
TAGUBA: That to me, sir?
TAGUBA: Sir, the I did not question the order that was given to Colonel Pappas on the fragmentary order that he received on the 19th of November. It was not under my purview. I did ask him to elaborate on what his responsibilities were.
LEVIN: Your report states that that change in command, quote, "effectively made a military intelligence officer rather than an M.P. officer responsible for the M.P. units conducting detainee operations at that facility."
LEVIN: Is that your conclusion?
TAGUBA: Yes, sir. Because the order gave him tactical control of all units that were residing at Abu Ghraib.
LEVIN: All right.
Secretary Cambone, you disagree with that?
CAMBONE: Tactical control is the question here.
LEVIN: Do you disagree with what the general just said?
CAMBONE: Yes, sir.
CAMBONE: I do. I do not believe that the order placing Colonel Pappas in charge gave him the authority to direct the M.P.s' activities in direct OPCON (ph) conditions.
Is that true, General?
LEVIN: Thank you. No, it's OK. Let me just keep going. You have just a disagreement over that.
Secretary Cambone, in an article in last Sunday's Post, in April 2003, the Defense Department approved about 20 interrogation techniques for use at Guantanamo that permit reversing normal sleep patterns of detainees, exposing them to heat, cold, sensory assault. And the use of these techniques required the approval of senior Pentagon officials and, in some cases, of Secretary Rumsfeld, according to that article.
These procedures, according to the Pentagon spokesman, Bryan Whitman, are controlled and approved on a case-by-case basis.
And then it says that the defense and intelligence officials said that similar guidelines have been approved for use on, quote, "high- value detainees in Iraq, those suspected of terrorism or of having knowledge of insurgency operations." Is that true? Were those techniques adopted for Guantanamo and were they then used or accepted or adopted for Iraq?
CAMBONE: There are command-level guidelines for the use in interrogation. They are, in some cases, the same and in many cases not.
LEVIN: Not the same in Iraq?
CAMBONE: Not the same.
LEVIN: In Iraq. Can you give us a copy of the guideline?
CAMBONE: I can do that.
LEVIN: Both. So there were specific guidelines for Guantanamo and they were different from the guidelines for Iraq?
CAMBONE: I believe that they were. And I will give you the comparison.
LEVIN: All right. And you will give those to the committee then.
Let me go to another issue, and that has to do with whether or not the let me start it this way.
There was an interview in the Times last week in which Major General Miller said that 50 techniques that the military officially uses in prisoner interrogations, including hooding, sleep deprivation and forcing prisoners into stress positions, have been adopted. Are you familiar with those 50 techniques?
CAMBONE: As I said in my opening statement, there are those techniques in Army doctrine, yes, sir.
LEVIN: Those are 50 techniques?
CAMBONE: I don't know that it's 50, sir. But there is a...
LEVIN: But includes stress positions?
CAMBONE: I believe they do.
LEVIN: All right. And is that something that you will also supply to the committee?
CAMBONE: We can supply the manual to you, yes, sir.
LEVIN: It says here the following. That the interrogation officer excuse me. This is an annex in the Taguba report says the following, as being a permissible technique for use in the Iraqi theater: "The interrogation officer in charge will submit memoranda for the record requesting harsh approaches for the commanding general's approval prior to employment: sleep management, sensory deprivation, isolation longer than 30 days and dogs."
Secretary Cambone, were you personally aware of that permissible interrogation techniques in the Iraqi theater included sleep management, sensory deprivation, isolation longer than 30 days and dogs?
CAMBONE: No, sir. That list, both in terms of its detail and its exceptions, were approved at the command level in the theater.
LEVIN: That was a command-level approval?
CAMBONE: As far as I understand it, yes, sir.
LEVIN: And finally, Mr. Secretary, you said that you have decided right from the beginning that the Geneva Conventions would apply to our activities in Iraq.
CAMBONE: Yes, sir.
LEVIN: And yet, Secretary Rumsfeld repeatedly has made a distinction between whether or not those Geneva Convention rules must be applied, whether people prisoners will be treated, quote, "pursuant to those rules or consistent with those rules."
LEVIN: And he said this is just a few days ago that "The Geneva Convention did not apply precisely."
LEVIN: You, this morning, said again, "The Geneva Convention applies to our activities in Iraq..."
CAMBONE: In Iraq.
LEVIN: ... but not precisely?
CAMBONE: No, sir. I think what the secretary, I let me tell you what the facts are. The Geneva Convention applies in Iraq.
CAMBONE: Precisely. They do not apply in the precise way that the secretary was talking about Guantanamo and the unlawful...
LEVIN: Well, he was talking about Iraq let me cut you right off, there. This whole interview here about Iraq and the conditions at that prison. That's what this whole entire interview was about. It was on NBC. It was on May 5th, 2004. It was an interview about Iraq. No longer Guantanamo is the issue here.
And the secretary said something he said elsewhere and I've heard this with my own ears recently. He said that the Geneva Conventions apply not precisely, that prisoners are treated consistent with, but not pursuant to.
Now, he did say the other day, this is a quote, saying that, "The Geneva Convention did not apply precisely." Are you saying that the secretary misspoke on...
CAMBONE: I can't speak for the secretary. I can only tell you what my understanding is, Senator.
LEVIN: You don't know what he meant by that?
CAMBONE: I can tell you what I understand.
LEVIN: No. Do you know what he meant by that?
CAMBONE: Sir, I can't speak for the secretary on that issue.
LEVIN: And you've not talked to...
CAMBONE: I will take a question for the record and I will ask him one.
LEVIN: May 5th interview.
WARNER: Thank you very much, Senator Levin.
I think at this juncture, Secretary Cambone said the question of the utilization of dogs and other things were at the command level. Can you speak to that response then?
SMITH: Sir, I can't. The rule on dogs, that I'm aware of, is that they can patrol in the areas, but they have to be muzzled at all times.
WARNER: Have you examined the exact language that your command promulgated down to these prisoners?
SMITH: Sir, I have the Army techniques that are authorized which is what they lived by.
WARNER: All right. We have to clarify this. Secretary Cambone said it came from your command, so I ask you to focus on it and provide it for the committee.
MCCAIN: General Taguba, I want to thank you for your excellent report and I think it's been very helpful to this committee as well as to the American people.
General Miller first of all, we know that the detainees at Guantanamo Bay are not subject to the Geneva Conventions because they're Al Qaida, at least those that are Al Qaida and, therefore, being terrorists, they are not subject to the Geneva Conventions for the treatment of prisoners of war. And I don't disagree with that assessment and I don't think you do either, do you?
TAGUBA: Yes, sir. No.
MCCAIN: And yet, General Miller was quoted in your report when he arrived in Iraq I believe Secretary Cambone was one of those who urged his transfer there that he wanted to Gitmoize the treatment of prisoners in throughout Iraq, including Abu Ghraib prison. What do you make of that statement?
TAGUBA: I'd defer that to General Miller, sir.
But for the record, I've never been to Guantanamo. I'm only knowledgeable of my experience and my observations at Abu Ghraib, which is a detention operation along with the other detention operations under the command and control of the 800 M.P. Brigade as under combat conditions, separate and distinct of what I consider to be a sterile environment and...
MCCAIN: But you found clearly in your report violations of the rules for the Geneva Conventions for treatment of prisoners of war, right?
TAGUBA: Yes, sir.
MCCAIN: Including moving prisoners around to avoid International Red Cross inspections?
TAGUBA: Sir, yes, sir. That was conveyed to us by those that we interviewed and comments that we assessed in the written statements.
MCCAIN: In your report, General Karpinski says that General Sanchez said that in the case of problems in the prison there was uprising and riot and escape; an American, I believe, was killed that they should use lethal means immediately and not nonlethal means to start with. Isn't that according to your report?
TAGUBA: Yes, sir. They changed their rules of engagement, I believe four times to use lethal and then to nonlethal to lethal force based on the level of the events. I believe the last time they changed that rules of engagement, sir, was in November of last year. That's contained in one of the annexes that we have.
MCCAIN: In your judgment, were these abuses as a result of an overall military or intelligence policy to quote, "soften up detainees for interrogation"?
TAGUBA: Sir, we did not gain any evidence where it was an overall military intelligence policy of the sort. I think it was a matter of soldiers with their interaction with military intelligence personnel who they perceived or thought to be competent authority that were giving them or influencing their action to set the conditions for a successful interrogations operations.
MCCAIN: According to your report, these abuses were very widespread. Correct?
TAGUBA: Sir, the manner by which we conducted our investigation in collecting evidence was that they were between mid to late October and as late as December, perhaps early January.
MCCAIN: Mr. Cambone, the media report that complaints were made by Ambassador Bremer and Secretary Powell concerning the treatment of prisoners in Iraq; do you know anything about that?
CAMBONE: No, sir, I'm not aware of those complaints.
MCCAIN: In your opinion maybe I better ask General Taguba how far up the chain of command did awareness of these ongoing abuses let me ask this when someone says that they're going to Gitmoize a prison, wouldn't a subordinate think we're going to change the rules?
TAGUBA: Sir, I'd rather not speculate on that. And I don't exactly know what General Miller meant by Gitmoizing Abu Ghraib because it's a different situation there.
MCCAIN: I think it's pretty obvious, but I thank you for your testimony and your report.
Tell me, again, about your view of General Karpinski's role in this. She says that she was excluded from certain parts of the prison in certain areas where some of these abuses took place. Do you have anything on that?
TAGUBA: I disagree with that.
MCCAIN: Do you agree or disagree?
TAGUBA: I disagree with the fact that she was excluded from certain areas of the prison. I believe, in my interview of her, she was still in charge of detention operations in theater, and it's hard for me to believe that she would be excluded from many of those facilities or even a portion of those facilities.
MCCAIN: What evidence did you find that these individuals received any training in the Geneva Conventions for the treatment of prisoners of war?
TAGUBA: Sir, the evidence that we gathered were training records from the training that they received at the mobilization station and home station, their mission essential task lists that they developed to prepare them for deployment, that sort of thing.
TAGUBA: And several of these soldiers intimated to us at least conveyed to us that they were never trained on internment resettlement operations. But as far as I was concerned, sir, their leaders should have, could have provided the necessary resources to which they are expected to do so in training their soldiers.
MCCAIN: But they did not receive it?
TAGUBA: No, sir.
MCCAIN: Mr. Cambone states that they did, and the secretary of defense states they did.
I thank you, General.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
CAMBONE: Mr. Chairman, could I just be a little more clear with Senator McCain?
You asked if I was aware of concerns expressed by Ambassador Bremer and the secretary of state, and I assumed you meant specifically on these cases. And then that's what I intended to answer.
MCCAIN: No. I meant on the treatment of prisoners of war.
CAMBONE: Let me give you a broader answer, which is...
MCCAIN: Thank you.
CAMBONE: ... Ambassador Bremer had been concerned about the number of people who were in custody and was anxious to see them move through the system and released as rapidly as possible, as was Secretary Powell. So on the broad question...
MCCAIN: But my question was, and I'm sorry to interrupt, my time's expired...
CAMBONE: Forgive me.
MCCAIN: ... were you aware of complaint about treatment of prisoners of war made by Ambassador Bremer?
CAMBONE: Per se in that sense, no. That he was worried about prisoners of war, that I knew.
MCCAIN: Thank you.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SMITH: Sir, could I also add that I have all the standard operating procedures here for Gitmo, and in every case it is very specifically and clearly written that the humane treatment of prisoners is first and foremost and inhumane treatment of detainees is never justified, and it is all in the spirit of the Geneva Convention?
MCCAIN: I thank you. But, clearly, there is a difference between adherence to the Geneva Conventions for treatment of prisoners of war...
SMITH: Yes, sir, but we were operating under the Geneva Conventions in Iraq. We clearly understood that.
MCCAIN: I thank you.
WARNER: Now, those applied to the prison in Iraq?
SMITH: Sir, when he went over there and...
WARNER: When who went?
SMITH: When General Miller went over there and he spoke and addressed us with each of the commanders, he gave them the special operating procedures that they were using at Gitmo to use as an example on how they should generate their own operating procedures.
WARNER: And that included the phraseology you just...
SMITH: Exactly, sir. I just read it to you.
Sir, may I also just mention on your question on promulgation of policy, the policy regarding dogs and stuff was established and put out by CJTF-7 on the 12th of October and it specifically says that, "Interrogators must ensure the safety of security internees and approaches must in no way endanger them. Interrogators will ensure that security internees are allowed adequate sleep, that diets," et cetera, et cetera. And it says, "Should military working dogs be present during interrogations they will be muzzled and under control of a handler at all times to ensure safety."
So what General Sanchez, through his thing, very specifically addressed what was allowed in the interrogation room and what was not allowed and those things that required his approval, such as segregation from the population in excess of 30 days.
WARNER: Can you throw any light, then, on where this thing broke down, given that you started in the proper way?
SMITH: Sir, given the guidance that was put out there I can't I have to agree with General Taguba's assessment of it in that these rules and regulations were out there, and somewhere in the leadership chain, execution and implementation of these policies broke down.
WARNER: Is CENTCOM trying to find out where that happened?
SMITH: Absolutely, sir.
WARNER: Thank you.
KENNEDY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
General Taguba, I want to join others in commending you and thank you for the service to this country.
Dr. Cambone, I hope when you have a chance to read through the 2004 report, which, according to the ICRC, was given to Paul Bremer, General Sanchez and the U.S. permanent mission in Geneva, according to Christopher Girard (ph) from the ICRC.
KENNEDY: It talks about, "The ICRC collected the allegations of ill-treatment following the capture that took place in Baghdad, Basra, Ramadi and Tikrit." It isn't just focused on this one...
CAMBONE: Yes, sir.
KENNEDY: ... prison camp, but lists the others as well. And I think we have to be aware of that.
CAMBONE: Yes, sir.
KENNEDY: Let me just go quickly to this report that was in Newsweek magazine. Newsweek magazine reports that, "Since 9/11, Secretary Rumsfeld has insisted on personally signing off on the harsher methods used to squeeze suspected terrorists held at U.S. Prison Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He's approved such tactics as the use of stress positions, stripping of detainees naked, prolonged sleep deprivation."
Have you advised Secretary Rumsfeld on these issues? And what other officials at the department have participated in these decisions? And has the general counsel been involved in giving advice?
CAMBONE: Yes, sir...
KENNEDY: He's been involved?
CAMBONE: If I may, sir, with the permission of the chair and yourself, the secretary has a deep regard for the well-being of those being held in Guantanamo and their well-being and their care.
Therefore, any procedure which is of the type that General Smith suggested, which are within the approved rules but are harsh, he has withheld to his approval, first.
Secondly, when the issue of how these prisoners, detainees, in Guantanamo were to be treated, there was convened under the G.C., the general counsel of the department, a working group whose objective it was to work through all of these issues.
So that matrix that has been reported is the product of that effort.
KENNEDY: All right. Let me because the time is short, has the secretary so he has evidently approved these kinds of...
CAMBONE: I don't know in detail, sir, but there is a list that he has approved.
KENNEDY: He has approved.
KENNEDY: What about on Iraq? Has he approved a signing off on harsher methods of interrogation on Iraq?
CAMBONE: Answer no; that as General Smith said was a CJTF-7 promulgation.
KENNEDY: If not, then who has someone had that authority in Iraq?
CAMBONE: If there was anything that exceeds General Sanchez's direction, he is, as I understand it, to sign off on that exception.
KENNEDY: So he has the authority General Sanchez. Do you know whether he's used that or not?
CAMBONE: General Smith?
SMITH: Sir, he...
KENNEDY: Just quickly.
SMITH: Yes, sir.
Just in that policy that I told you where separation of greater than 30 days, he would be the approval authority. To the best of my knowledge he has not used anything beyond that.
KENNEDY: Let me ask you, Dr. Cambone, about rendering. A number of reports about detainees in U.S. custody U.S. military intelligence officials being transferred for interrogations to governments that routinely torture prisoners. December, 2002, Washington Post state, "detainees who refuse to cooperate." The Americans have been rendered to foreign intelligence services: Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Morocco, Syria and other countries.
Can you assure the committee that the administration is fully complying with all of the legal requirements and that all reports of U.S. officials engaging in the practice of rendering are false?
CAMBONE: Sir, to the best of my knowledge, that is a true statement.
KENNEDY: We are not, we have not your sworn statement now to your knowledge, the United States has not been involved in any rendering, any turning over of any personnel to any other country?
CAMBONE: No, you said that they were turned over for torture and misbehavior mistreatment. We have returned, for example, individuals to the U.K. There may be three or four of them that have been returned from Gitmo.
KENNEDY: Have you turned over, to your knowledge, any suspects to Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Morocco or Syria to gather information?
CAMBONE: From those people in DOD custody, not that I'm aware of, sir.
KENNEDY: So you would know...
CAMBONE: I am not aware of any that have been transferred for that purpose, and if there are...
KENNEDY: For any other purpose?
CAMBONE: If there are, I will come back to you and tell you. As best I know, there are not any persons under our custody that have been transferred.
KENNEDY: Do the interrogators for military intelligence, the Central Intelligence Agency, and also the contract intelligence, do they all have identical rules and regulations in terms of interrogating the detainees or prisoners of war or combatants? Or is there any distinction between the three?
CAMBONE: Within Iraq, the rules of the Geneva Convention apply, so therefore the rules are same for all three.
KENNEDY: I'm not that isn't my question. That's not my question.
My question is: Do they have different kinds of rules of questioning? Do each of those services have rules? If they do have rules, how are they different?
CAMBONE: I can speak for the DOD and contractor and military personnel, and those rules are the same.
CAMBONE: The people we hire, in most cases, are required to have had that training in the military in order to become interrogators.
KENNEDY: And they are bound by the same set?
CAMBONE: Yes, sir.
KENNEDY: So your testimony is the private contractors, military intelligence and the military interrogators all operate and the CIA all operate with the same rules of interrogation?
CAMBONE: I can only speak for the last inside of Iraq, sir.
KENNEDY: You're going to provide those rules to us?
CAMBONE: I can do that.
KENNEDY: Let me just ask you, finally, in the opinion of General Taguba, the setting of conditions for favorable interrogation is not authorized or consistent with Army regulations. You seem to reach a different conclusion in your testimony today.
Do you agree you and General Taguba there differ on that those issues? Correct?
CAMBONE: We do, and in this sense...
KENNEDY: Well, I think it's important that we understand when we were talking about the abuses that are taking place with the military police and you have two entirely different kinds of viewpoints on this issue, how in the world are the military police that are supposed to implement going to be able to get it straight, particularly when you have General Miller there that is following what you believe, Mr. Secretary?
KENNEDY: How do you expect the M.P.s to get it straight if we have a difference between the two of you?
CAMBONE: Well, let me try and explain it.
As far as I understand it, there is doctrine relative to the military police which gives them the responsibility for conveying to the interrogators the attitudes of those who are going to be interrogated, their disposition, who they've been talking to and so forth. And it's the interrogators, in turn, under doctrine, Army doctrine, ask the military police those kinds of questions. So there is designed in the system a collaborative approach with respect to gaining that information.
With respect to the issue of Gitmoizing, if I may return to that, Senator Kennedy, let's go back to the conditions that were in Abu Ghraib. They were disorderly, as the general has pointed out, and the notion it seems to me that General Miller had was that order needed to be established in the processes and procedures.
KENNEDY: Well, just to finish, because my time is up.
General Taguba, why do you believe that there should be a separation between the military police and intelligence officers?
TAGUBA: Sir, there's a baseline that we use as a reference, which is Army regulation 190-8, which is a multiservice regulation, establishes the policy in executive agency for detention operations. In there enumerates in paragraph 1-5 the general policy and the treatment of not just EPWs, but civilian internees, retained personnel and other detainees. That's the baseline that we use.
We also use the M.P.s' doctrine on detention operations which is Field Manual 3-19.40.
TAGUBA: And we further referred to the interrogation operations doctrine used by the M.I. which is Field Manual 3452.
WARNER: Thank you very much.
INHOFE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
First of all, I regret I wasn't here on Friday. I was unable to be here but maybe it's better that I wasn't because as I watch this outrage this outrage everyone seems to have about the treatment of these prisoners I have to say, and I'm probably not the only one up at this table that is more outraged by the outrage than we are by the treatment.
The idea that these prisoners you know, they're not there for traffic violations. If they're in cell block 1A or 1B, these prisoners they're murderers, they're terrorists, they're insurgents. Many of them probably have American blood on their hands. And here we're so concerned about the treatment of those individuals.
And I hasten to say, yes, there are seven bad guys and gals that didn't do what they should have done. They were misguided. I think maybe even perverted. And the things they did have to be punished, and they're being punished. They're being tried right now and that's all taking place.
But I'm also outraged by the press and the politicians and the political agendas that are being served by this, and I say political agendas because that's actually what is happening.
I would share with my colleagues a solicitation that was made. I'm going to read the first two sentences.
"Over the past week we've all been shocked by the pictures from Abu Ghraib Prison in Iraq, but we have also been appalled at the slow and inept response by President Bush which has further undermined America's credibility."
And it goes on to demand for George Bush to fire Donald Rumsfeld. And then it goes on to a time line, a chronology.
INHOFE: And at the very last and they say, "a solicitation for contributions."
I don't recall this ever having happened before in history.
Mr. Chairman, I ask unanimous consent that this solicitation be made a part of the record at this point.
WARNER: Without objection.
INHOFE: Mr. Chairman, I also am I have to say when we talk about the treatment of these prisoners that I would guess that these prisoners wake up every morning thanking Allah that Saddam Hussein is not in charge of these prisons.
When he was in charge, they would take electric drills and drill holes through hands, they would cut their tongues out, they would cut their ears off. We've seen accounts of lowering their bodies into vats of acid. All of these things were taking place.
This was the type of treatment that they had and I would want everyone to get this and read it. This is a documentary of the Iraq special report. It talks about the unspeakable acts of mass murder, unspeakable acts of torture, unspeakable acts of mutilation, the murdering of kids lining up 312 little kids under 12 years old and executing them.
Then, of course, what they do to Americans, too. There's one story in here that was in the I think it was the New York Times, yes, on June 2nd. I suggest everyone get that and read it. It's about one of the prisoners who did escape as they were marched out there blindfolded and put before mass graves and they mowed them down and they buried them. This man was buried alive and he clawed his way out and was able to tell his story.
And I ask Mr. Chairman, at this point in the record, that this account of the brutality of Saddam Hussein be entered into the record and made a part of the record.
WARNER: Without objection, so ordered.
INHOFE: I am also outraged that we have so many humanitarian do- gooders right now crawling all over these prisons looking for human rights violations while our troops, our heroes, are fighting and dying, and I just don't think we can take seven seven bad people.
There are some 700 guards in Abu Ghraib. There are some 25 other prisons.
INHOFE: About 15,000 guards altogether and seven of them did things they shouldn't have done. And they're being punished for that. But what about some 300,000 have been rotating through all this time, and they have all the stories of valor are there?
Now, one comment about Rumsfeld: A lot of them don't like him. I'm sorry that Senator McCain isn't here because I just now said to him, "Do you remember back three years ago when Secretary Rumsfeld was up for confirmation?" I said, "These guys aren't going to like him because he doesn't kowtow to them. He is not easily intimidated." I've never seen Secretary Rumsfeld intimidated. And quite frankly, I can't think of any American today as qualified as Donald Rumsfeld is to prosecute this war.
Now oh one other thing: All the idea about these pictures, I would suggest to you any pictures and I think maybe we should get direction from this committee, Mr. Chairman, that if pictures are authorized to be disseminated among the public, that for every picture of abuse or alleged abuse of prisoners, we have pictures of mass graves, pictures of children being executed, pictures of the four Americans in Baghdad that were burned and their bodies were mutilated and dismembered in public. Let's get the whole picture.
Now, General Taguba, many, many years ago, I was in the United States Army. My job I was a court reporter. I know a little bit about the history. The undue command influence that is a term that you've heard and I'd like to make sure that we get into the record what that is.
I'm going for memory now, but it's my understanding that commanders up the line can possibly serve as appellate judges. Consequently commanders up the line are not given a lot of the graphic details, but merely said, as in the case of Rumsfeld, "Serious allegations need to be investigated," and they start an investigation. This is back in January.
Now, Rumsfeld said, and I'm quoting him now, "Anything we say publicly could have the impact on the legal proceeding against the accused. If my responses are measured, it is to assure that pending cases are not jeopardized."
INHOFE: Do I have an accurate memory as to why they have this particular undue command influence provision that we have been following now for five decades that I know of?
TAGUBA: Sir, I'm not a lawyer, and...
INHOFE: Isn't that reason you were called in? Well, I should ask General Smith.
General Smith, isn't that the reason that General Taguba was brought in the first place, to keep this from happening?
SMITH: Yes, sir. To do the investigation and do the fact- finding, so the commanders could make informed decisions on what actions should be taken thereafter.
And the difficulty in the command influence piece is that, should General Sanchez or should I or General Abizaid say something along the lines that, "We must take this action against these individuals," then that is command influence down the line that those that are making judgment on them would influence and bias their decisions.
INHOFE: And that, sir, has not changed for the last 45 years.
SMITH: That has not changed. And that has happened we have had a number of folks that have their sentences or whatever have been impacted by command influence.
INHOFE: Mr. Chairman, one last question to General Smith.
All kinds of accounts are coming out now, many of are fictitious, I would suggest. One was about a guy being dragged out of a barber shop it was in The Washington Post this morning. They talked about the person doing this had AK-47s, was blindfolded.
Are our troops issued AK-47s?
SMITH: They are not, sir.
INHOFE: Thank you very much.
Thank you very much, Chairman.
WARNER: Thank you very much, Senator.
For the benefit of all members, the subject of the pictures has been raised and I would like to address that.
In consultation with the department over the weekend, the department indicated its willingness to cooperate in every way to provide these pictures to the Senate Armed Services Committee.
WARNER: But it occurred to me, in my capacity as chairman, that this issue was a Senate institutional issue It went beyond this committee because I think other senators should be entitled to receive that information in the same way that members of this committee.
I thereby asked the Senate leadership majority, minority and invited Senator Levin to join me, and we discussed this issue very carefully yesterday. We are seeking the advice of Senate counsel and the respected counsel of the majority-minority leader and counsel to this committee, and we will before, hopefully, the end of the day have adopted a procedure by which that transmission of further evidence can come to the Senate the whole Senate and how it would be made available to all senators and under what conditions in compliance with Senate precedents, rules and to protect the legal interests of all parties involved.
BYRD: Thank you, General Taguba, for your report and for your service to your country.
In Friday's hearing before the Armed Services Committee, General Schoomaker, the Army chief of staff, said of the prison abuse, "This is not a training issue, but one of character and values."
It's becoming clear to me that this abuse wasn't just about values, it was about policies and planning.
General Taguba, based on your investigation, who gave the order to soften up these prisoners, to give them the treatment? Was this a policy? Who approved it?
TAGUBA: Sir, we did not find any evidence of a policy or a direct order given to these soldiers to conduct what they did. I believe that they did it on their own volition. I believe that we did collaborate it with several M.I. interrogators at the lower level, based on the conveyance of that information through interviews and written statements.
TAGUBA: We didn't find any order whatsoever, sir, written or otherwise, that directed them to do what they did.
BYRD: Doesn't the lack of training of our troops for prison duty actually demonstrate a monumental failure in planning for the long- term occupation of Iraq? How else could the military and civilian leadership of the Pentagon explain why this training wasn't even offered?
TAGUBA: Sir, the training of the Geneva Convention is inherent every time from as a recruit all the way up to my rank level.
In terms of these M.P.s, as far as internment and resettlement, some of them received training at home station and the mob station and some did not. And that was our recommendation, that a mobile training team be deployed to theater to ensure that they are in compliance with training tasks to do that.
And there was a capacity to do that during the conduct of their operation, because there were competent battalion commanders. The battalion commander at Camp Arifjan was conducting his detention operation to standard. At Camp Buka, they did that at Camp Buka. And also at Camp Cropper. Somehow it did not pan out at Abu Ghraib.
SMITH: Sir, I might also mention that this organization, the 800th M.P., is a specific task-organized internment and resettlement organization. Their job was this sort of stuff.
BYRD: So you don't agree that there was a monumental lack of planning that there was a monumental failure of planning for the long-term occupation of Iraq? You don't agree with that?
SMITH: Sir, are you talking to me?
SMITH: I'm just addressing the specific training issue for the 800th M.P. that you related to. This was their task to come over and do that. I mean, that's what they did as an organization. So they were brought over to conduct internment and resettlement issues.
CAMBONE: If I may, Senator Byrd, I don't think that the difficulties we found at Abu Ghraib indicates that there was a long- term planning effort. In fact, Major General Ryder, who also did a report, was there specifically for that purpose: What is the long- term basis for confinement facilities and training and care and so forth?
So, no, there was attention being paid to the longer-term occupation issues.
BYRD: Secretary Cambone, when, if ever, did Ambassador Bremer first raise any concerns about how the military was running prisons in Iraq?
CAMBONE: Sir, as I said earlier, the broad question of moving detainees through the prison system was a concern of Ambassador Bremer early on.
With respect to the specific conditions inside of those facilities, I am not aware of his having raised them. I don't know when that might have been.
I do know that I am told that some time in the February-March time frame he raised this issue, but I would have to check records for you, sir.
BYRD: Didn't Ambassador Bremer have overall responsibility for what was going on in Iraq?
CAMBONE: Yes, sir. He was the occupying power the one in whom that was invested.
BYRD: Shouldn't he have known how Iraqi prisons were being run, and shouldn't he have sounded the alert if he thought that the military were doing something wrong?
CAMBONE: And again, sir, the working papers that are issued by the ICRC are done at the level of the command that they are investigating and they don't frequently elevate to that level.
CAMBONE: They did meet in February of 2004, which is the result the resulting paper is the one that has been distributed. And at that time the ICRC presented to Ambassador Bremer their findings for that previous year. And it is my guess it is that point that the specific issues that you're addressing may have been raised by Ambassador Bremer.
BYRD: Do you know if Ambassador Bremer made any recommendations to the Department of Defense?
CAMBONE: He was anxious that the department find a way to, as I've said, move prisoner detainee more rapidly through the system, provide addresses for the location to dependents and things of that character, that is, the general treatment of the detainees within the system in Iraq.
BYRD: Do you know if he made any recommendations with reference to policy?
CAMBONE: No, sir, not beyond what I've said. But he that again his concern would have been for the broad population in assuring that we were moving people through that system, doing what was necessary for interrogations and releasing those who had either served their time or had no reason for being in custody. He was anxious to see those people returned to their homes and families.
WARNER: Thank you, Senator Byrd.
BYRD: Thank you very much.
WARNER: Senator Roberts?
ROBERTS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I think my questions are somewhat repetitive, but at any rate, General, thank you for the job that you've done. Many are called and few are chosen, and you have done an outstanding job.
In your report, you indicated that the 800th Military Brigade had not been directed to change its policies and procedures to set conditions for intelligence interrogations, but you concluded indeed such changes had been made at lower levels.
Were these changes made at the battalion or the company level?
TAGUBA: Sir, we didn't find any changes either at the company or the battalion or even at the brigade.
ROBERTS: I'm going to repeat the question by Senator Byrd: Did these changes result from orders or direction from the military intelligence unit at the prison.
TAGUBA: Sir, there were interaction between the guards and the military interrogators at that level.
ROBERTS: But the changes were not policy?
TAGUBA: No, sir.
ROBERTS: Did you discuss with Major General Miller his recommendation that the M.P.s and the military intelligence functions be better coordinated to determine exactly what he had in mind? And as a follow up this is the Gitmoize question is there some level of coordination between the military police and the military intelligence units that is permitted by Army regulations?
You cited a whole series of Army regulations.
General Ryder I believe states that we should have a firewall in between the M.P.s and the military interrogators. But yet, General Miller says, from his experience in regards to Gitmo, that that basically, if not impossible, is actually detrimental in terms of cooperation, but insists that if you do have that kind of cooperation, you must have leadership, you must have discipline and you must have training.
Were the military intelligence officers at Abu Ghraib familiar with Major General Miller's recommendations?
TAGUBA: Sir, I cannot answer that. I was not there for the debriefing nor did I discuss in any detail General Miller's report. However...
ROBERTS: Did the intelligence officers then at the prison believe that Major General Miller's recommendations had been accepted and adopted? And if so, what was the basis of this belief?
TAGUBA: Sir, I cannot answer that. I was not there nor did I question whether the CJTF-7 accepted his recommendations or not. I just read his report.
General Smith, an order to soften up a detainee would not be a lawful order. Is that correct?
SMITH: Sir, that's correct.
ROBERTS: What legal basis, then, would a soldier have for following that order?
SMITH: Sir, none, and especially if you're an organization of that type and have read any of the regulations all of them are replete with guidance on humane treatment, as well as the number of fragmentary orders that were put out through General Sanchez telling them they could not do many of these take actions that were inhumane.
ROBERTS: Secretary Cambone, thank you for your appearance, and we welcome you to the Intelligence Committee tomorrow.
Some accused of the abuses at the prison claim they were acting under orders from intelligence officers. Do any of the Department of Defense regulations or policies encourage, condone or permit such actions?
CAMBONE: No, sir.
ROBERTS: In your review of this matter, have you learned of any local or unit level policies I emphasize the word policies that encourage or condone or permitted these abuses?
CAMBONE: No, sir.
ROBERTS: Were you aware of Major General Miller's recommendations that M.P.s set the conditions for the interrogations at the prison? Did you discuss this recommendation with anybody at the Joint Task Force 7?
CAMBONE: I did not discuss them with anybody at Joint Task Force 7. No, sir.
ROBERTS: What did you understand this recommendation to mean?
CAMBONE: That there had to be a basis for the transfer of information from those who had custody on a daily basis of those who were being interrogated to those who were being interrogated in order that the interrogators understood personalities, relationships, in order to be able to gain the information that they were trying to gain from...
ROBERTS: From a pragmatic standpoint, is this a good thing or A bad thing? Is Ryder right and Miller wrong, Miller right and Ryder wrong, or is it somewhere in between?
CAMBONE: Sir, this is a matter while it is written in doctrine, it seems to me doctrine is meant to be adapted to circumstance. And that was what the substance of General Miller's recommendation was.
ROBERTS: When is the Fay report going to come out?
CAMBONE: My understanding and, General, you can correct me that he is completing his work in Iraq over this week. He has to go to Germany to see people who have since rotated from Iraq to Germany and then will come back here to meet others.
So we're looking toward the end of this month and, perhaps, the first part of June.
ROBERTS: Is the policy in regards to the military police and the military intelligence functions at Gitmo, is this being reviewed for compliance with Army regulations?
CAMBONE: If General Fay didn't realize that was the subject of his investigation, sir, he's now painfully aware of it.
ROBERTS: Was your encouragement to Major General Miller to inspect the prison in any way prompted or otherwise linked concerns about any abuse at the prison?
CAMBONE: No, sir, to the contrary. It was the desire to make certain that we had the proper conditions within those places in order for the information to be gathered.
ROBERTS: When you learned of the abuse, and knowing of the intelligence activities at the prison, did you have any concern about a possible link to the intelligence units?
CAMBONE: I understood, it's probably in February, that there were military intelligence personnel who were implicated. I did not know the nature of that implication, the extent or scope of the abuse that had taken place, so I didn't make a connection in the sense that there was a significant issue here until we moved down the path and realized exactly what was taking place.
Furthermore, I still don't know that there is a significant issue here.
ROBERTS: I thank the chairman.
SMITH: Sir, could I clarify on the M.P.-M.I. regulation here? It is not absolutely clear in this regulation that the M.P.s and the military intelligence guys should not have some relationship.
What is absolutely clear in the regulation is that M.P.s are not allowed to be in the interrogation process.
So do not take it that there is some Army regulation out here that says this shall not be. I've got it right here and I'll be glad to provide it for the record. And it is...
ROBERTS: I think that would be helpful. My point was, I don't think you can set up a firewall between those who are interrogating and the M.P.s. I don't even think that would be desirable.
On the other side of the fence, you don't want them directly involved...
SMITH: Yes, sir.
ROBERTS: ... and with a lack of discipline and leadership and training, to have something like this happen.
SMITH: I agree with you. And I believe, when you read the document, you will see that that allows that sort of activity.
ROBERTS: Mr. Chairman, it would be helpful if we had Secretary Cambone's statement. I don't have that. I don't know if it was made available.
WARNER: It was made just shortly before the hearing commenced.
ROBERTS: Thank you, sir.
WARNER: It's being reproduced.
ROBERTS: Thank you.
WARNER: I acknowledge, as chairman of the Intelligence Committee, you're conducting a separate inquiry on this matter, but I think it's important I picked up on something that Secretary Cambone said.
Do you have any knowledge of any central intelligence participation in the interrogation process in the cell blocks?
CAMBONE: I do know that there were people who were brought by agency personnel to that place, to the cell blocks. And there may be and again there may have been interrogations conducted by the agency personnel while they were there and that's about the extent of my knowledge of specifically what they were engaged in in terms of interrogation.
WARNER: General Smith, do you have any additional knowledge?
SMITH: No, sir, I do not.
WARNER: Thank you very much.
REED: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
General Taguba, to the best of your knowledge, when did this pattern of abuse begin as we've seen in the pictures?
TAGUBA: As to the best of the evidence that we gathered, it happened some time after the 15th of October thereabouts mid to late October.
REED: The 15th of October. Right.
And General Smith, General Miller came to Iraq in August with the base line from Guantanamo which had a series of coercive measures which was being employed in Guantanamo, and we all recognize that area was not subject to the Geneva Convention. He briefed, as you indicated in your previous testimony, individuals at the prison. He also recommended the establishment of a theater-joint interrogation and detention center there. Is that correct?
SMITH: I believe so, sir.
REED: That's correct. That's August. And then in October we start seeing a series of abusive behaviors which the accused suggest were the result of encouragement or direction from these intelligence people in this theater-joint interrogation and detention center.
General Taguba has testified that he did not investigate, talk to or in any way know anything about what was going on in that joint interrogation center. Does that appear to be sort of the chronology?
SMITH: Sir, it's a fair chronology. I would only say that in talking in speaking with General Miller, and he has to be the one that answers some of this, he spoke directly to the brigade commanders that were involved here and he had the special operating procedures with him and left those with them.
REED: And, General, to your knowledge General Miller made it very clear to these brigade commanders that because of the Geneva Convention many of these provisions could not be applied?
SMITH: Sir, according to General Miller, that was very clear to the commanders.
REED: Very clear. Then why would he bring those procedures over and brief them?
SMITH: Sir, to the best of my knowledge and again, these are questions you're going to have to ask General Miller. But to the best of my knowledge, he did bring those coercive procedures over with him.
REED: Thank you.
Mr. Secretary, you encouraged General Miller to visit.
CAMBONE: I did, sir.
REED: Were you in communication, or anyone in your office in communication with General Miller during his trip or after his trip?
CAMBONE: He technically went over under joint staff auspices, but with my encouragement and that of other senior members of the department, to look at the issues that we've talked about. On his return, when he completed his report, I received a briefing on it and then asked for people to look at its subsequent progress and what had taken place.
REED: So you were briefed on his recommendation to use the GOT (ph) force actively to condition the...
CAMBONE: No, sir, again, the...
REED: You weren't briefed on that.
CAMBONE: No, no, excuse me. I want to phrase this right. And that is on the issue of making certain that we had the kind of cooperative relationships, I understood that.
I don't know that I was being told, and I don't know that General Miller said that there should be that kind of activity that you are ascribing to his recommendation.
REED: General Taguba, was it clear from your reading of the report that one of the major recommendations was to use guards to condition these prisoners?
TAGUBA: As I read it on the report, yes, sir. That was recommended on the report.
REED: But General Miller didn't think it was important enough to brief you, Mr. Secretary.
CAMBONE: I was not briefed by General Miller.
REED: Who were you briefed by?
CAMBONE: Deputy General Boykin briefed me on the report.
REED: So General Boykin and General Miller were collaborating on this exercise?
CAMBONE: Not at all, not at all, sir.
REED: General Boykin didn't think it was important enough to brief you on that?
CAMBONE: No, sir. Again, your suggestion that the report on the phrase "setting the conditions" is tantamount to asking the military police to engage in abusive behavior I believe is a misreading of General Miller's intent.
REED: Mr. Secretary, what I'm suggesting is anyone in your position should have asked questions. One specifically would be: What does it meant to set the conditions for these troops under the Geneva Conventions?
REED: Did you ask that question?
CAMBONE: And, well, I didn't have to answer that question. Why? Because we had been through a process in which we understood what those limits were with respect to Iraq and what those were with respect to Guantanamo.
REED: Mr. Secretary, what is the status of the detainees in that prison under the Geneva Convention?
CAMBONE: I'm sorry, sir, which prison?
REED: Abu Ghraib.
CAMBONE: They are there under either Article 3 or Article 4 of the Geneva Convention.
REED: Let me recite Article 4. "Persons protected by the convention are those who in any manner whatsoever find themselves, in case of a conflict or occupation, in the hands of a party to the conflict or occupying power of which they are not nationals. These are protected persons."
Let me read Article 31. "No physical or moral coercion shall be exercised against protected persons in particular to obtain any information from them or from third parties."
CAMBONE: Sir, we're in agreement here.
REED: Well, we're in agreement. I don't think we are, Mr. Secretary.
CAMBONE: We are in agreement on...
REED: General Miller suggested that guard forces be used to set the conditions, based on the template at Guantanamo, those methods were coercive. Yet you did not choose to ask about this. You were completely oblivious to this.
CAMBONE: No, sir. Again, what I said was we knew what the circumstances were with respect to Guantanamo.
CAMBONE: We knew what the circumstances were with respect to Iraq. We understood that the Geneva Convention and all of its articles applied in Iraq.
In that, again, I come back to what I keep saying here. The notion was that you had to have a cooperation, a cooperative attitude team building, call it what you will, between the M.P.s and the M.I.s.
REED: Mr. Secretary, please. This is not a cooperative attitude. This is not a god observing the comments of a prisoner.
CAMBONE: That is exactly true, sir.
REED: Is that what's happening at Guantanamo?
CAMBONE: No, sir. What is actually...
REED: What's happening at Guantanamo?
CAMBONE: What took place in the prison, we have all said, exceeded the regulations, laws and laws of war, convention of the Geneva Convention and everything else.
General Taguba has said repeatedly that there was no policy, he discovered no direction; that these were not directed acts on the part of those individuals.
REED: Mr. Secretary, people failed to ensure, by asking the appropriate questions, that these recommendations were transmitted down to individual soldiers in a way that they would understand...
CAMBONE: But, sir...
REED: ... that this just is cooperating, not participating in the setting the conditions as was done as is done in Guantanamo.
CAMBONE: Senator, I agree with you on the transmission of those directions. And as I said to you, and as General Smith has alluded to, there is a paper from General Sanchez making precisely those points.
Moreover, if you read General Miller's report, he says, "Before you do anything with this, we need a command staff judge advocate to work this problem and make sure its done..."
REED: Did a command staff judge advocate issue a legal opinion?
CAMBONE: Again, what I have is his report and it says that that was an activity in progress and I have not heard what I know is that General Sanchez...
REED: General Sanchez ordered this policy without advice of counsel?
CAMBONE: No, sir, he did not.
If you read General Taguba's report, he will tell you that at the time he was there, he had not seen any actions page 12 I think to implement the procedures specifically and officially from General Sanchez down to anyone in the lower ranks of his command.
CAMBONE: And that the activity that was taking place was not authorized.
SMITH: I would add that there were numerous fragmentary orders out there that direct other than what you are suggesting.
WARNER: Thank you very much.
If there's further amplification to the senator's question, please provide it for the record.
ALLARD: Mr. Chairman, I want to thank you for moving forward on this investigation quickly here at the committee level. I think it's something that we need to move off our agenda so that we'll be able to concentrate on the many good things that are happening in Iraq as far as moving them toward the sovereignty their own sovereignty.
And I do have a statement I'd like to have put in the record...
WARNER: Without objection.
ALLARD: ... unanimous consent prior to my questioning.
I also share my shock and dismay that Senator Inhofe mentioned in the fact that the unfortunate situation at Abu Ghraib prison is actually being used as a fund-raiser by the Kerry campaign. I just find that appalling.
And now I'd like to move forward and have a question to you, General Taguba.
In my statement, I find that your reporting supports that the Army has taken the initiative and following through appropriately on our own affairs.
And just so that I am clear in my own understanding, were you directed by any of your superiors to remove any findings that you felt were credible or relevant?
TAGUBA: Sir, I was not directed by my superiors.
ALLARD: Were you directed by any of your superiors to withhold or remove recommendations for any adverse personal actions regarding subjects of your investigations?
TAGUBA: Sir, none whatsoever.
ALLARD: And just so I am clear also about the makeup of the prison population, my understanding from some of the testimony we received here today that if somebody is classified as a terrorist in other words, they're not associated with any country officially then there is a difference they don't fall under the Geneva guidelines. Is that correct?
CAMBONE: The president designated the Al Qaida as being unlawful combatants, sir.
ALLARD: So just that particular terrorist organization, or any terrorist organization?
CAMBONE: I know for a fact it's Al Qaida. And my guess is that, depending on the circumstances, if we found ourselves in armed conflict with some other organization such as, the president would take that under advisement.
ALLARD: Now, did we have terrorists in the population at this prison?
TAGUBA: Sir, none that we were made aware of.
ALLARD: So as far as we know, these were all related to those guidelines that generally you're complying with, as far as the military's concerned on how you handle prisoners?
TAGUBA: Sir, they were either classified as security detainees, or other detainees, criminals, things of that nature.
ALLARD: But no terrorist classification?
TAGUBA: None that we were given, no, sir.
ALLARD: Secretary Cambone or General Smith, in your estimation, why was anyone taking picture in the security detention facility at Abu Ghraib, and is there any explanation from a physical security or prisoner security or military intelligence perspective?
CAMBONE: Sir, the photographing of prisoners, especially with private cameras, is against...
ALLARD: Private cameras?
CAMBONE: Private cameras. Is against the rules.
ALLARD: And so these were taken by private cameras?
CAMBONE: Sir, I believe they were taken by digital cameras that belonged to the individuals. But I don't know that. Maybe General Taguba does.
TAGUBA: Sir, they were personal cameras.
ALLARD: They were personal cameras.
CAMBONE: This specifically says, "photographing, filming and videotaping of individual EPWCI, other than internal interment facility administration or intelligence, counterintelligence purposes, is strictly prohibited."
ALLARD: And so this doesn't have anything to do with the way you managed the prisoners or any of their interrogation or any physical security of the prison. This was taken on by individuals unknown to those in command at the time?
TAGUBA: That is my belief, but I don't know specifically.
CAMBONE: Sir, as far as we know, based on the evidence and the interviews and the statements, they were taken with personal cameras.
ALLARD: Individuals taking that on their own without any instruction from command.
SMITH: Yes, sir.
Now, General Smith, in General Taguba's report he recommended that a mobile training team be assembled and dispatched to your area of operations to oversee and conduct comprehensive training in all aspects of detainee and confinement operations. Were these teams dispatched as recommended?
SMITH: Sir, they were dispatched before the report was actually approved. About 50 percent of the training is complete and they will continue and have all of this completed by the end of June, although everybody that's out there is getting training weekly awaiting the mobile training team specifically getting down there. That will be followed by sustained required training every week in all of these rules.
Additionally, the Geneva Conventions are required to be briefed at every change of shift.
ALLARD: And your point is is that when you got General Taguba's report, even before it was finalized, you were beginning to take corrective action. And so, you were responding immediately to concerns about what was being reported in the camp of Abu Ghraib.
SMITH: That's correct, sir.
General Smith, General Taguba, I understand the necessity and significance of maintaining a strategic interrogation exploitation process. After all, our primary goal along these lines is to save the lives of Americans, Iraqis and other partners in the region.
Can you share with us whether or not your command is actually developing good intelligence based on your approved interrogation techniques? In other words, are we saving lives?
SMITH: Sir, my belief is that we are. We absolutely have built the networks and what they look like and who the players are based on intelligence information from human intelligence. A portion of that is this kind of activity.
And so, sir, I would say absolutely that there have been lives saved because of the people that we have been able to go out and pick up because of the human intelligence process.
WARNER: Thank you very much, Senator.
AKAKA: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
General Taguba, I want to commend you and your team for submitting a very what I consider candid and thorough report. Your task was not an easy one. However, your honesty and your integrity reflect the character we expect from soldiers in our military.
General Taguba, in your report, you referenced the lack of supervision over U.S. civilian contractor personnel, third country nationals and local contractors within the detention facility at Abu Ghraib. During your investigation, did you determine how many civilian contractor personnel were working there? Who supervised these individuals? And can you describe what you observed in terms of type of access these individuals had to the detainee areas?
TAGUBA: Sir, we did not make any determination of how many civilian contractors were assigned to the 205th M.I. Brigade and operating at Abu Ghraib.
I personally interviewed a translator and I also personally interviewed an interrogator, both civilian contractors. There was also a statement substantiated by the witnesses that we interviewed of another translator, a third country national, in fact, that was involved. And there was another third country national who was acting as a translator for the interrogators that was involved in one of the interrogation incidents where dogs were used.
TAGUBA: Their supervision, sir, from the best that we could determine or discern from the information that we gathered was they were under the supervision of the joint interrogation and debriefing center, the JIDC, who was then under the supervision of one a lieutenant colonel, who was also supervised by the brigade commander, the M.I. brigade commander. That was the chain, sir.
AKAKA: What access did these individuals have to the detainees?
TAGUBA: Sir, they had an open access to the detainees.
AKAKA: General Taguba, your report finds that two contractors were either directly or indirectly responsible for the abuses at Abu Ghraib. Were either of these contracted personnel supervising soldiers or in a position to direct soldiers to take specific actions?
TAGUBA: Sir, they were not in anyway supervising any soldiers, M.P. or otherwise. However, the guards those who were involved looked at them as competent authority, as in the manner by which they described them as the M.I., or by name, or by function.
AKAKA: Secretary Cambone, what kind of training did the U.S. civilian contractors have prior to going to Iraq? I've been informed that the training for interrogators included training tactics and techniques used by other countries. Did such training occur, and if so, are these tactics and techniques approved by DOD intelligence officials?
CAMBONE: The only tactics and techniques that would be approved, sir, are those that are approved by the command for use in that situation.
As I said earlier, the recruitment and if you look at the advertisements for the recruitment, they look for people who have had the experience of being interrogators. And I am told that, in fact, some of the retired personnel and those who have since left the service are quite capable and are, in terms of the interrogators' art, better able to conduct those interrogations than the younger individuals who are new to that activity.
SMITH: Sir, most have gone through the 19 1/2 week training at Fort Huachuca, either while they were in the service or afterwards.
AKAKA: General Smith, who is keeping a record of all the employees that work for all the contracted firms in Iraq and Afghanistan? Is it the contracted firm or DOD?
SMITH: Sir, you're beyond my knowledge there except that the contracting officer who contracts with the company is responsible for ensuring that they comply with the contract. And by name, I suspect, he has who those contractors are, but I can't tell you that for sure.
AKAKA: Thank you for your response.
WARNER: Thank you very much, Senator Akaka.
SESSIONS: First, I want to again state my appreciation for the superb work of our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. In many, many instances, some of which we've seen on television, they demonstrate restraint day after day. They have, sometimes under very intense pressure, maintained their poise and their professionalism.
They've risked their lives, as we've seen a soldier going to the bridge to save an Iraqi woman under hostile fire. They have, on their off hours, built schools and hospitals and treated the sick.
SESSIONS: So this is particularly painful for all of us, to have this experience.
But I absolutely I have visited those soldiers there and I know them who've been there, they've told me of things that they've done and the relationships they've had with Iraqi citizens. It's interesting how many want to volunteer and go back because they believe in their work and they want to see this to be a healthy, stable country. And nothing we say today should denigrate that.
I have been somewhat concerned at the suggestion that there is a policy of abuse here. General Smith, I think you've read clearly that the explicit statements from every level of command are in existence that would absolutely prohibit this kind of behavior. Is that not correct?
SMITH: Sir, that's absolutely correct in many venues, in a number of times, where fragmentary orders have been republished for the purpose of doing that. And I would like to present those for the record. I know Senator Reed is very concerned about it and I would like to put those in the record.
SESSIONS: With regard, General Smith, of the Geneva Conventions, I was in the Army Reserve. I for a short time had a JAG slot, although I'm not like Colonel Lindsey Graham over here, who's an actual practicing JAG officer. But I remember in the transportation unit, I had to train the transportation soldiers, enlisted people, in the Geneva Conventions. Isn't that done throughout the Army, in the military?
SMITH: Sir, that continues to be a requirement.
SESSIONS: And in basic training, every soldier has been trained in the Geneva Conventions. Is that not correct?
SMITH: That's correct, sir.
SESSIONS: And I heard you say that they are briefing the Geneva Conventions at every shift change now in Abu Ghraib Prison?
SMITH: That's correct, sir.
SESSIONS: And before that occurred, one of the criticisms I think General Taguba mentioned was they were supposed to be briefing the Geneva Conventions periodically but perhaps it was not occurring. Are you familiar with that part of the report and what the requirement was?
SMITH: Sir, I'm familiar with the report...
SESSIONS: General Taguba, you made some reference to the fact that there was an established procedure to train periodically and it may not have been occurring?
TAGUBA: Yes, sir. It's required under AR-190-8 to post the Geneva Convention in the language of the detainee. So you have many detainees there of different languages; they have to post that. It's a requirement, especially for those units that are conducting internment and resettlement mission requirements. Those guards, in terms of discipline, were supposed to conduct by their own SOP (ph), guard mounts where you have shifts. You change in shifts and you have guard mount.
TAGUBA: Sir, those we found evidence that that was not being done. They did, kind of, a replacement, so to speak, during their shift time because they were not conducting guard mounts by which they were to reinforce tenets of the Geneva Convention or make clear that the postings of the Geneva Convention were to be made available not only to the detainees in the language from which they come from but also where they could see them.
SESSIONS: And that was never challenged or rejected by General Abizaid, General Sanchez or anyone else in authority in Iraq? I mean, those policies were in effect and it amounted to a violation of the established Army policy when that did not occur. Is that correct?
TAGUBA: Sir, I cannot speak for General Abizaid or General Sanchez, but that's the responsibility of the battalion commander and also those personnel that are conducting internment and resettlement of detention operations. It's clear. It's in their doctrine. It's in the regulation.
SESSIONS: And, of course, General Smith, military police have more of this training than others and the soldiers, I'm assuming, in how to handle prisoners.
SMITH: Sir, I can't speak to that. But my assumption would be that certainly they have more training than the average soldier would.
SESSIONS: Well, I would thank you for your comments and will note that the time is expiring.
But this Gitmoize issue, I think, really misses the point. Yes, we want to use some of the procedures that were working in Guantanamo and try to share that information to get it up to the people in authority so we could save lives, get it out to the people who could use it to identify who these attackers and terrorists were. But I don't think there's any indication that General Miller would in any way suggest this kind of behavior was legitimate.
SMITH: Sir, you're absolutely right in both counts. In a counterinsurgency like this, intelligence is critical, in that if you want to go find the guys that are making the IEDs or the ones that are shooting down our helicopters with SA-7s or folks that are fomenting the insurgency, then you have to use human intelligence to do that. You can't do that by technical means alone. So it is a critical...
WARNER: Thank you very much, Senator.
SMITH: ... piece of the process.
And clearly, time and time again, we are told humane treatment in concert with the Geneva Conventions.
WARNER: Thank you, Senator.
That's a very important inquiry and response, and I appreciate that, General.
BILL NELSON: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I don't think General Miller is where the problem lies, Senator Sessions. I think it lies elsewhere.
General Taguba, on page 16 of your report, you state, "I find that the intentional abuse of detainees by military police personnel included the following acts," and you list a whole number of those acts.
Among them, videotaping and photographing naked male and female detainees; forcibly arranging detainees in various sexually explicit positions for photographing; forcing groups of male detainees and I will insert paraphrasing here certain sexual acts while being photographed and videotaped; a male M.P. guard having sex with a female detainee; using military dogs without muzzles to intimidate and frighten detainees, and in one case biting and severely injuring a detainee; sodomizing a detainee with a chemical light and perhaps a broomstick; using military working dogs to frighten and intimidate detainees with threats of attack, and in one instance actually biting the detainee.
BILL NELSON: Is that your report?
TAGUBA: Yes, sir.
BILL NELSON: All right.
Mr. Secretary, when did you become aware of the nature of these prisoner abuses and the existence of the photographic and video evidence? That's two questions.
CAMBONE: The photographic evidence to be clear, that there were photographs associated with this inquiry, I knew early, in the change of the year. The nature...
BILL NELSON: I'm sorry, I didn't understand...
CAMBONE: We did not give...
CAMBONE: I'm sorry. I understood at the beginning of this year that there were photographs associated with the criminal investigative inquiry...
BILL NELSON: Did you know about these acts?
CAMBONE: I did not know about these acts, and learned of them in specificity when I read the report when I was exposed to some of those photographs.
BILL NELSON: And you read the report when?
CAMBONE: It's got to be in the last week, sir. It was not out of the command until the end of last month.
BILL NELSON: Now, the secretary of defense told us last Friday that he learned about these abuses in the middle of January.
CAMBONE: That we had abuses, true. The nature of them, I was not aware of.
BILL NELSON: Did you know they were horrific?
CAMBONE: No, sir. I received a report that there was an inquiry under way a number of six or seven, by the way, this being one of them under way, in which there were people implicated in abuses of prisoners in Iraq. The character of it, the scope, the scale I was not aware of.
BILL NELSON: Specific to this prison, what was your role in alerting others that you work for, such as the secretary of defense?
CAMBONE: Yes, sir. Again, as the secretary testified, corporately we were aware, and I was one of those who told him so, that there were investigations under way with respect to this facility, and ultimately the report that General Taguba's done, in the February time frame.
CAMBONE: And so it was a report of an investigation about acts of abuse.
BILL NELSON: And what was your role in alerting the secretary to the danger posted to our theater strategy and the general perception around the world?
CAMBONE: Yes, sir. And let me draw gradations here.
There are instances of people having been mistreated in their apprehension, transportation and interrogation. A level of poor performance and behavior on the part of our people was understood, but it was understood at a fairly low level of abuse and incidents rate of incidents.
The scale of this was unknown to any of us, and had we known its scale, scope the earlier we would have known, the sooner we would have been able to come to you, to the president and to others to talk about it.
BILL NELSON: And you're saying you didn't know about that until last week?
CAMBONE: Scope, scale until the pictures began appearing in the press, sir, I had no sense of that scope and scale. I knew of the problem, that there was abuse, that there was a criminal investigation, that there was an investigation being done by General Taguba, but I had no sense of it, sir.
BILL NELSON: OK. Given that fact, why was the secretary of defense unprepared when he came before us in the secure room in the Capitol on April 28th? Why was he unprepared to share the information that he knew of with members probably some 35 or 40 members of the U.S. Senate?
CAMBONE: Sir, I don't I can't answer for the secretary on that question.
He was here. He spoke with this committee and gave his answer, as I recall. I can't speak for him on why he did not raise it that evening. I don't know.
BILL NELSON: You had not discussed that with him?
CAMBONE: That day I had not discussed it with him, no, sir.
BILL NELSON: Had you discussed it with him any time before after you had learned in mid-January about these abuses?
CAMBONE: Again, I informed him that there were investigations under way, of which this is one of six or seven that I was informed of. And again, I did not understand scope and scale. If I had, I assure you, Senator, I would have told him.
WARNER: Thank you very much, Senator.
TALENT: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Secretary Cambone, very quickly, one of the things I've wondered about, when you say you didn't recognize scope and scale, is it possible that, not having seen the pictures, you didn't recognize what the significance of the pictures would be in terms of the impact of this internationally?
CAMBONE: Yes, sir.
TALENT: General Taguba, your report, I think if we summed it up, would say that the unit at the prison was underdisciplined, undermanned and poorly led. Is that a fair summation?
TAGUBA: Sir, very fair.
TALENT: And in the middle of an Army that I think all of us would agree is very well-disciplined and very well-led, and so the question in my mind is, well, how? Why is this particular unit so below the standards and performance of the rest of the United States Army?
And I'm going to make a comment and you can comment on it if you want. I was in the other body all throughout the '90s, during which time the highest civilian authorities, here and on the other side of Pennsylvania Avenue, were cutting the size of the Army and in my judgment not funding adequately the end-strength that we had remaining.
And what I saw consistently was the Army, in order to keep the tip of the spear sharp, if you will, allowing some of the rest of the spear to go rusty. And, you know, sooner or later, those chickens come home to roost. You get a poor commander. You don't have enough people. The guys you've got are not trained up adequately because you don't have the money for it. And then something like this happens.
And I'll just say I wish we'd had the interest nationally through the '90s about funding the Army adequately and maybe we wouldn't all be sitting here.
TALENT: General Smith, let me ask you a question. I had a phone call, actually, from a constituent who raised an issue that might help in one aspect of this.
As I understand it, one of the difficulties of getting this up to the very highest civilian levels is the concern about command influence, because the same people that you'd want to report this through and to are the people who would be involved in passing on any courts-martial that may emerge from this. And I know this is a problem; my wife used to be in the JAG corps.
Well, a constituent let me know that there is an office in the Air Force, the Reporting Office on Special Interest Cases, which is evidently designed to deal exactly with this.
Are you aware of that office?
SMITH: Sir, I'm not aware of this of that office. And this was in basically Army channels.
TALENT: Right. And what I'm wondering, and maybe to recommend to the secretary, this office exists for, as I'm told and we're checking this out in my office in the Air Force to deal with cases like this.
So you can if you think something is of special significance you can get it up to higher authority but through a separate, specially created chain of command so you don't compromise the command influence. And then you can get it to somebody who then has the discretion, if they want to, to go directly to the secretary or deputy secretary.
And we're certainly going to be looking and I'd recommend it to you if you're not aware of it, because evidently it functions pretty well in the Air Force.
You're not aware of it, though, as of now, I take it.
SMITH: Now that you mention that office, yes, I recall that there is one. And I can tell you that the secretary has more than that on his list of ideas or will have more than that on the list of his ideas.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
SMITH: Because you're right, some way has got to be found to do this.
TALENT: Yes, I'm we clearly have a defect in this. Command influence is a problem and when you think everybody involved in this probably wishes they just said, "The heck with command influence, we've got to pick up the phone and call and let people know."
SMITH: Yes, sir. And, indeed, you know, at least to the extent that the sergeant delivered the disk to the Criminal Investigative Division, he put in train, at least, a process that has brought all this to light.
TALENT: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
WARNER: Thank you very much.
BEN NELSON: I thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I thank the witnesses today as well for your very strong statements about your opinions, as well as the nature of the investigations.
I'm going to ignore some of the partisan sniping that's been going on from the other side today because I don't think it's particularly helpful.
Having said that, General Taguba, in your opinion this is not a top-down problem. I think what you're saying is that this was something that may have been spontaneous, but an abuse involving only a handful last week, the operative word was few individuals but I think that right now I think that perhaps it's a limited number of people. Is that accurate?
TAGUBA: Yes, sir. Based on the interviews and the statements that were given to us by both the detainees, M.P. personnel, and those that we examined. There were others, but we just could not track them down.
BEN NELSON: Well, what's the highest ranking officer you interrogated?
TAGUBA: My interview, sir? Brigadier General Janis Karpinski.
BEN NELSON: You didn't talk to General Sanchez or...
TAGUBA: No, sir.
BEN NELSON: Did you talk to Colonel Pappas?
TAGUBA: Yes, sir, I did.
BEN NELSON: What's the highest ranking official not officer official you may have talked to?
TAGUBA: Sir, none. I stopped at General Karpinski.
BEN NELSON: So what may have happened above General Karpinski is an open book? In other words, it's not or is a closed book. No one knows what may or may not have occurred above that level, is that accurate insofar as your investigation is concerned?
TAGUBA: Yes, sir. She did intimate to me other officials from the Coalition Provisional Authority that she interacted with in terms of the prison system the Iraqi prison system, but I did not go after that. I did do a mid-course brief to General Sanchez and General McKiernan, but only in that we were proceeding on the time line without any great detail.
BEN NELSON: But General Karpinski says that her command was severed by the infusion of military intelligence dealing with certain detainees. Is that accurate or an approximation of her statement?
TAGUBA: Sir, I don't understand where her command authority, her command was severed from Abu Ghraib.
BEN NELSON: Well, because others were put in and she was given the instruction. Colonel Pappas appeared on the scene and military intelligence, not under her command, were there as well. Is that accurate?
TAGUBA: Sir, as contained in my report, that when I asked her if she had known about the FRAGO 1108 dated 19 November, the first time or the only time I interviewed her, she had no knowledge of that until about two days afterwards, of which I asked her, what did she do after that and then she wanted clarification from her chain of command of which she was told that, you know, the FRAGO was, indeed, in effect and that the M.I. brigade commander was the commander, the forwarding operating base commander.
BEN NELSON: Well, under those circumstances, if her command wasn't severed, was it at least interfered with, in your judgment?
TAGUBA: Sir, truthfully, she challenged that.
BEN NELSON: She challenged. In what way...
TAGUBA: She challenged the authority that was given to Colonel Pappas.
BEN NELSON: And what was the result of the challenge?
TAGUBA: Sir, it created a confusion and friction between those two commanders.
BEN NELSON: So what we have now is confusion, a lack of clarity of command. We've got a handful at least of spontaneous abusers as it relates to detainees.
Do we know whether in that prison or in other prisons where there were criminal prisoners as well, not detainees, whether there was any abuse that carried over into their lives?
TAGUBA: Sir, the fragmentary order only affected Abu Ghraib. Camp Bucca was still under the 800th M.P. Brigade exclusively, so was Camp Cropper and Camp Ashraf.
BEN NELSON: Well, were the abuses there anywhere similar, were there photographs there as in the case of Abu Ghraib?
TAGUBA: None that we gathered in terms of evidence, no, sir.
BEN NELSON: And those other prisons were under her command, is that correct?
TAGUBA: Yes, sir. There were, you might consider abuse, but that was in terms of slapping a prisoner and they were dealt with.
BEN NELSON: But not similar type of abuses as we have here?
TAGUBA: Not to the gravity that was exposed, no, sir.
BEN NELSON: And not photographs?
TAGUBA: Not photographs, no, sir.
WARNER: Thank you very much, Senator.
BEN NELSON: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
WARNER: Senator Chambliss?
CHAMBLISS: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
General Taguba, it's refreshing to those of us who deal with the military every day not only to look at your report but to see your frankness here today. And I think every military officer can certainly walk a little taller and a little straighter because of the work that all of you gentlemen are doing, but particularly, General, with respect to the way you have handled yourself and being willing to be critical where you need to be critical.
Now, General Smith, you've made the comment earlier that this particular unit, the 800th M.P. Brigade, they were trained their job was this sort of stuff.
CHAMBLISS: Now, I'm assuming you mean from that that their job was to go over there and run this prison.
SMITH: Sir, and maybe General Taguba can jump in on this a little bit. But I believe there are only one or two organizations of its type in the United States Army, and it is an internment and resettlement brigade.
CHAMBLISS: And, General Taguba, while General Schoomacher took exception to a comment I made the other day relative to the lack of training of this unit that just happened to be a reserve unit, the fact of the matter is there were a few dysfunctional individuals within this unit that, according to your report, was a very poorly- trained unit that didn't have knowledge of what they were supposed to do.
In fact, as I read your statement here, "There's a general lack of knowledge, implementation and emphasis of basic, legal, regulatory, doctrinal and command requirements within the 800th M.P. Brigade and its subordinate units."
Do you still stand by that statement?
TAGUBA: Yes, I stand by that statement.
CHAMBLISS: In fact, your report is replete with comments relative to the lack of training of this particular unit that was supposed to be highly specialized and trained to do exactly what they were sent there to do. Isn't that correct?
TAGUBA: Sir, when I interviewed the company commander and asked him to outline for me what training he received at the mob station, he basically gave me the typical basic requirements only: marksmanship, things of that nature. When I asked him, "Did you get any additional training prior to your deployment and into deployment with regards to internment or resettlement, or anything that has anything to do with detention operations," he said he did not.
TAGUBA: I did not interview the battalion commander the 320th M.P. Battalion commander, because he invoked his rights. However, those that we interviewed within that chain of command also concluded that.
CHAMBLISS: OK. General, there's something that has puzzled me throughout this process that's has evolved over the last or been made public over the last 10 days or so. And one thing is the fact that Major General Ryder went in there in October and November of 2003 and did a report.
And his report, according to your report his objective was to, "observe detention and prison operations, identify potential systemic and human rights issues, and provide near-term, midterm and long-term recommendations to improve operations in Iraqi prison system."
Yet he during the time that he was there in Abu Ghraib, some of these instances were occurring. I think your report confirms that. Certainly, when he testified the other day in the Intelligence Committee that was obvious.
I have asked the question, privately and publicly: Why didn't somebody come forward and tell Major General Ryder about this during the time that he was there when these incidents were going on?
Do you have any can you shed any light on that particular question?
TAGUBA: Sir, I read General Ryder's report. I did not discuss it with him. I know that in within the content of his report, he visited quite a bit of the detention centers, not just exclusively Abu Ghraib.
You know, the results, of course, with his recommendations, I agreed with, in terms of put things under a single command and control, things of that nature.
And I don't want to speculate about anything about with regards to any knowledge of detainee abuse having not been reported or being reported up the chain of command.
TAGUBA: It was apparent in our investigation that these things were happening, but we were puzzled also at the fact, sir, that none of this stuff was going above the battalion commander level. And that's what we concluded that none of this stuff was going above the battalion commander level.
CHAMBLISS: Thank you, General.
WARNER: Thank you very much.
The committee will continue right through the first vote. And if there's a second likewise, until every senator has had their opportunity to ask a question.
Next week we have our bill on the floor, according to the current schedule. So in all likelihood, we'll have to suspend the series of hearings until after the bill has been considered.
(UNKNOWN): Will we be continuing with a second round?
WARNER: No, Senator, because I think we would be infringing on the policy councils for both parties.
Thank you very much.
DAYTON: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And I thank you, Mr. Chairman, for holding today's hearings and for your resolve to face these atrocities. You're an honorable man and would that everyone shared your resolve to find the truth rather than to deny it or deflect it.
Unfortunately, we in this committee were overshadowed yesterday by President Bush's words and actions traveling to the Pentagon with the vice president to tell the secretary of defense, the country and the world, quote, "You're doing a superb job."
The president looked at a dozen more pictures of abuse, and reportedly shook his head in disgust. But the apologies, regrets and mea culpas are now history. It's back to business as usual.
And if anyone missed those subtleties, the vice president was even more direct over the weekend when he said, quote, "People ought to get off of his case and let him do his job," referring to the secretary of defense.
In other words, we should stop meddling and interfering and let them go back to running the war.
This morning illustrates the difficulty in a hearing to get beyond the words to the realities.
DAYTON: General Taguba's report and directness here today are notable exceptions, but it shows why the pictures made such a difference. They showed us the truth.
Most of the words today have managed to obscure that truth. We're told there were papers and procedures, policies and protocols. There were directives given, conditions set and everyone followed the Geneva Convention, international law, United States principles, except for a few people who did very bad things unbeknownst to anyone else, all of whom were doing what they were doing to save American lives.
So let's dispense with this and get back to our good intentions, the great progress going unreported in 95 percent of Iraq, the upcoming handoff of democracy to whoever the recipients shall be. And that's why those pictures are so disruptive because they defy that sanitizing. They can't be obscured by nondescriptions like, quote, "the inappropriate behavior of a sexual nature," close quote, which were words used to describe the forced masturbation of one detainee or the rape of another. That's why Pentagon officials are reportedly preventing the additional pictures from being publicly released.
White House communications director said that the president wants the Pentagon to, quote, "use its best judgment about the release of the photos," close quote. Well, we've seen where that best judgment has gotten us so far, and I think it's deplorable that they intend again to try to suppress the truth and all the truth from the American people.
WARNER: Senator, having worked on that question with the department, at this point in time, the decision as to public release is an ongoing review. To the best of my knowledge, as of late last night, no final decision has been made by the Department of Defense, the White House or others.
DAYTON: All right. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
If you go elsewhere and thank goodness for a free and vigilant press, because I don't think we would find most of this out any other way.
But there's a Red Cross report which describes patterns of excessive force used by U.S. soldiers in prisons, and not just the one subject to this investigation, but throughout the country.
The Red Cross wrote that, "ill treatment during capture was frequent, that often included pushing people around, insulting, taking aim with rifles, punching, kicking, striking which seemed to reflect a usual modus operandi and appeared to go beyond the reasonable, legitimate, proportional use of force required to apprehend suspects or restrain persons resisting arrest or capture."
The published reports say that as many as 43,000 Iraqis were detained at various times and that an estimated 90 percent of them were determined to not have any involvement in the matters that were of concern to U.S. authorities, that only 600 were turned over for prosecution, but 8,000 remain in detention now for indefinite periods of time. Although, I gather that there's now steps being taken to release all but 2,000 of them.
My time is up but I'm just going to complete here by just referring to one individual that said he was taken from a barber shop where he was getting a shave and he was beaten with pipes starting on his legs and back and moving to his head.
DAYTON: He was bleeding from his mouth and ears. He fainted. When he woke up he was in a dog's cage at a local military base. He was left naked in the cage for several days, receiving only scant food and water until soldiers hung him from a tree by his cuffed hands. "They told me they would bring my wife and hang her next to me."
I don't take any pleasure in recounting these incidents, but I take umbrage that there are still those who want to deny that they occurred to any degree or to those that want to ascribe other motives to those of us who are just trying to face up to them.
I want the United States to succeed in Iraq. I'm deeply concerned that what's occurred there is going to cause further violence that will come down on our troops who will bear the brunt of this and set back our ability to meet our objectives there.
But I don't see how that's going to be served by trying to obscure or deny what's occurring there or what has occurred there and make sure try to make sure it doesn't happen again, there or anywhere else in the world.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, my time has expired.
WARNER: I thank you, Senator.
CORNYN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
General Taguba, Chairman Warner asked, I believe, earlier the question, "What went wrong?" And you answered, "There was a failure of leadership from the brigade level and down."
In your investigation, did you find any evidence any evidence whatsoever that culpability extended beyond the brigade level?
TAGUBA: No, sir, we did not. However, we did recommend, based on some evidence that we gathered of the complicity of M.I. interrogators and we recommended that that would be a separate investigation be provided under procedure 15 of 380-10.
CORNYN: How many individuals do you believe were involved in this abuse at Abu Ghraib?
TAGUBA: Sir, directly there were those six or seven, I believe. I know that the ongoing investigation continues under Article 32. I don't know anybody of any others.
In terms of those soldiers' supervisors and leaders, I illuminated that on my report, I believe there were a total of 17 that I identified.
CORNYN: So there were seven there was disciplinary action taken against the seven supervisors and then there was the actual criminal charges that have now been brought, I guess, against another seven, is that correct?
TAGUBA: Yes, sir. Those were the criminal investigation, you know, but I'm not involved in that whole process. But my investigation was truly administrative, to gather facts and circumstances that were related to detainee abuse and the other things that I mentioned to you earlier. Principally their leaders.
CORNYN: I asked those questions because I'm concerned that there are those who are suggesting that somehow what you have said was exceptional misconduct on the part of these guards and their superior officers was somehow the norm.
CORNYN: Indeed, there was a question asked earlier, attempting to suggest that this was the implementation of policies and procedures that are in existence at Guantanamo Bay. There was a question asked about whether Guantanamo Bay was somehow the baseline, and that now that represented the norm, and this was the logical conclusion of those policies and procedures at Guantanamo Bay.
I have to tell you that, like other members of the committee no doubt, I've travelled to Guantanamo Bay, because of my interest in the detention of the individuals there, who, of course, plan, finance and execute terrorist attacks against Americans and other innocent civilians.
And had an opportunity to meet General Jeffrey Miller, who was the commander of the joint task force at Guantanamo. And I was very impressed with the treatment, with the policies and procedures that allow the humane interrogation of detainees there.
And let me just ask you, is there any whether they're enemy combatants or unlawful combatants or common criminals, is there any policy that you're aware of in the United States military that allows for less than humane treatment of detainees?
TAGUBA: No, sir. Did not find that anywhere.
CORNYN: And, of course, we are concerned about the atypical conduct on the part of these individuals who committed these crimes, and those who failed to see that they got the supervision and the leadership necessary in order to avoid these crimes.
But I must add my voice to those of others that say, while we are absolutely committed to getting to the bottom of this and your report gets us a long way there and making sure that the guilty are held accountable, we can't forget the context in which all of this is taking place. And that is in a larger context of many other military troops serving honorably in Iraq, in Afghanistan and elsewhere, and the need to get essential information from some of these detainees that could well protect America from the next 9/11.
CORNYN: And so, I want to commend you and the others for the wonderful service that you're performing and thank you for helping us get to the bottom of this, and I hope that we will ultimately be successful in doing so, holding those accountable who are responsible, and then making sure we focus on our greater and more important job of making sure that America is safe in this war on terror.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
WARNER: Thank you very much, Senator.
CLINTON: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And I want to join in thanking you, General Taguba, for your service and for this report.
You know, I don't think anyone disagrees with the last comment by my colleague that our objective is to prosecute this war on terrorism successfully and also to ensure the safety and security of our own people from future attacks. The question is whether behavior and conduct and decisions with respect to the treatment of these detainees undermines the potential success that we all agree is essential to our national security.
I am still confused, and my confusion is this: With respect to the actions that are described in your report, General Taguba, you also included a number of other problems at other detention facilities. But is it your best information that no detention facility that was in any way connected with the 800th M.P. Brigade had the level of problems that you reported in this unit at Abu Ghraib?
TAGUBA: Yes, ma'am. The scope again was within the context of those facilities that the 800th M.P. operated.
CLINTON: And the 800th M.P. Brigade was under the command of General Karpinski. Is that correct?
TAGUBA: Yes, ma'am.
CLINTON: Now, if the problems were severe and located principally in this one unit, then I think it is appropriate to follow the chain of command up to the decision to send General Miller to that prison where, as I understand the testimony thus far, he set up a specific joint interrogation unit. He did, however one wants to describe it, either coordinate or direct the M.P.s' involvement in the conditioning of the detainees.
CLINTON: Is that a correct statement, General?
TAGUBA: Yes, ma'am.
CLINTON: All right.
So it seems to me that if, indeed, General Miller was sent from Guantanamo to Iraq for the purpose of acquiring more actionable intelligence from detainees, then it is fair to conclude that the actions that are at point here in your report are in some way connected to General Miller's arrival and his specific orders, however they were interpreted, by those M.P.s and the military intelligence that were involved.
And, therefore, I for one don't believe I yet have adequate information from Mr. Cambone and the Defense Department as to exactly what General Miller's orders were, what kind of reports came back up the chain of command as to how he carried out those orders, and the connection between his arrival in the fall of '03 and the intensity of the abuses that occurred afterward.
Now, we know that General Karpinski has been rightly singled out for appropriate concern about her behavior and her failure of command.
But I just want to read to you a comment she made in an interview which I find extraordinary, and I quote, "But when I looked at those pictures and when I continued to see those pictures, I don't think that there was anything that was improperly done because this wasn't something that was a violation of a procedure. This was something they were instructed to do as a completely new procedure. I'm not sure that those M.P.s had ever been confronted with any instructions like this before."
CLINTON: General Taguba, can you explain for us the disparity between holding this brigade commander completely accountable and the comments that I just read to you in light of the fact that certainly the 205th Military Intelligence Brigade was given tactical control over that prison? Can you explain General Karpinski's comment?
TAGUBA: Yes, ma'am.
During the course of our investigation, there was clear evidence based on my interview of General Karpinski and Colonel Pappas that there was friction between those two commanders in the operation of Abu Ghraib.
The distinction was that who was in charge of when and at what time. They could not explain, so that's the context of the ambiguity of the order that was given to Colonel Pappas. It was clear that he was directed to be the forward operating base commander there for security detainees and force protection. However, General Karpinski challenged that and she noted that in her recorded testimony, point one.
I held her accountable and responsible, not exclusively and solely for the abuse cases there at Abu Ghraib, but the context of her leadership, the lack of leadership on her part overall in terms of her training, the standards, supervisory omission, the command climate in her brigade.
TAGUBA: Those are all in totality why I held her accountable and responsible now.
CLINTON: And just one last follow up, General. Did Colonel Pappas report directly to General Miller?
TAGUBA: That I did not know because General Miller was not there. He reported, I believe, to CJTF-7.
CLINTON: General Smith, do you know who Colonel Pappas reported directly to?
SMITH: Yes, ma'am, through CJTF-7.
Ma'am, General Miller had no command relationship in this at all. I mean, he came over to do an investigation and make some findings and recommendations on how to improve. Nobody reported to him. Nobody he had no relationship whatsoever other than to report details.
ACTING CHAIR: Thank you, Senator Clinton.
GRAHAM: Thank you, Senator.
I think they've left, but just a few minutes ago there were some foreign military officers that came to the hearing and I would just want to say for the record that I'm very proud of the fact that our military command system, civilian and military, comes out in the open fast, hard questions has to appear before the public.
And you've documented, General Taguba, some failings.
I think we're failing the country ourselves up here a bit. I think we're overly politicizing this. This should be what binds us, not what tears us apart. I think Republicans and Democrats have a different view of a lot of things, but it seems to me that investigating a prison abuse scandal, when you say you're the good guy, should pull you together, not tear you apart. And I would just hope my colleagues can understand that when you say you're the good guys, you've got to act as the good guys.
General Taguba, how long have you been in uniform?
TAGUBA: Sir, this is my 32nd year.
GRAHAM: Saddam Hussein is in our control. How would you feel if we sick dogs on him tomorrow?
TAGUBA: Sir, on Saddam Hussein?
TAGUBA: Sir, we still have to follow the tenants of international law.
GRAHAM: As much as you and I dislike him, as mean a tyrant as he is and you know he'd kill us all tomorrow, I am so proud of you.
What are we fighting for, General Taguba, in Iraq? To be like Saddam Hussein? Is that what we're fighting for?
TAGUBA: No, sir.
GRAHAM: Our standard, General Smith, can never be to be like Saddam Hussein, can it be, sir?
SMITH: No, sir.
GRAHAM: How long have you been in the service?
SMITH: 34 years.
GRAHAM: Is it OK with you if the International Red Cross comes and looks at our prisons?
SMITH: Absolutely, sir, and they should.
God bless you both.
General Taguba, it comes down to this for me. You got one prison that was run differently than other prisons. The photo we see of the detainee on the stool wired up, was that just six or seven people having a good time in a perverted way at that person's expense or was there something deeper going on there, and do you know?
TAGUBA: Sir, based on the evidence, it was six or seven people that created that type of a scenario or situation.
GRAHAM: OK, to the dog scenario where you see the detainee with two dogs, was that a couple of guards with dogs in a perverted way having a good time, or was there something else going on?
TAGUBA: No, sir. The dogs were invited in there, according to written statements and collaborated by interviews by the two M.P. guards.
GRAHAM: The way these people were stacked up in sexual positions and the sexual activity, was that just individual guards or was that part of something else going on?
TAGUBA: Sir, those actual acts, based again on interviews and statements and collaborated by the detainees' statements as well.
GRAHAM: Part of the defense that we're going to be hearing about in these courts-martial is that the people that we're charging are going to say this system that we see photographic evidence of was at least encouraged if not directed by others. Do you think that's an accurate statement?
TAGUBA: Sir, I would say that they were probably influenced by others, but not necessarily directed specifically by others.
GRAHAM: For those we're not going to have a seminar in military law today. But I have a different view of command influence than some people have suggested in terms of what we can disclose and how it would affect courts-martial.
There are another level of accountability in the military beyond just participating in out-of-bounds behavior, Geneva Convention or otherwise. Do you agree with me that the Uniform Code of Military Justice prevents this conduct regardless of the Geneva Convention?
GRAHAM: So, ladies and gentlemen, what we're here today is to show the world that our military is governed by the rule of law just like all of us. And having been a JAG officer for over 20 years, a prosecutor, a defense attorney, now a Reserve judge, I've got great confidence that we'll get to the bottom of this. Do you agree with that, General Smith?
SMITH: Yes, sir, I do.
GRAHAM: Now, dereliction of duty, as a concept unique to military law. Probably should apply to us in politics; a lot of us would be in trouble, probably me included if that was the case. But in the military, as a commander, it can be a criminal offense if you derelict your duty to maintain good order and discipline in a way that crosses the line, is that correct?
SMITH: Yes, sir.
GRAHAM: You interviewed a general officer. And in your report, you indicated that you thought the general officer misled you about how many times that person had been through the prison system. Is that correct?
SMITH: Yes, sir, that was collaborated by her own aide.
GRAHAM: I would suggest to you, General Taguba, that out of this investigation not only should we focus on the privates and the sergeants and the specialists who did criminal activity, but we also should have higher accountability; that if a general or officer misrepresents what they did in terms of command and control that a letter of reprimand may not be the appropriate sanction. But I will leave that discussion for others.
GRAHAM: Colonel Phillabaum your description of his time there was classic dereliction of duty. You have recommended a letter of reprimand for him.
CAMBONE: And a relief from command, sir, and to be removed from the promotion list.
GRAHAM: My point is that Secretary Rumsfeld should not be held accountable for the criminal activity of others. It would be unfair to any military commander, politician or otherwise to have to take a fall when people break the law and take the law into their own hands. However, those of us in responsibility do have a burden to bear.
ACTING CHAIRMAN: Senator Graham, your time has expired.
GRAHAM: Can I just end with this one thought, Mr. Chairman?
ACTING CHAIRMAN: Yes, sir.
GRAHAM: Secretary Rumsfeld has to manage the whole war. I think it would be unfair for him to take a fall if this is just a limited activity of a few people or of a prison poorly run.
At the end of the day, General Taguba, responsibility, command and otherwise, is very much a part of the military law and culture, and I appreciate what you've done to expose the failings.
Thank you very much.
ACTING CHAIRMAN: Thank you, Senator Graham.
BAYH: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And thank you, gentlemen, for your presence here today.
Two quick questions for you, Mr. Cambone, and then one observation that if any of you want to react to I would appreciate it. And I apologize for moving expeditiously, but there is a vote that is about to expire.
Mr. Cambone, I'd like to follow up on the questions of some others I think Senator McCain started it and then it was touched upon a little bit later with regard to Ambassador Bremer's warnings.
CAMBONE: Yes, sir.
BAYH: The published reports indicate that he began raising these warnings in about August of last year. And as I understand your testimony, these were, sort of, general in nature about the overcrowding and the concern for transiting people through there and returning them to their civilian situation when they didn't need to be retained any longer.
The Red Cross report came to his attention in February or March, and you seem to imply that perhaps his warnings became more specific with regard to activities in the prison thereafter. Is that the case?
CAMBONE: With respect to the first part of your question, sir, or your statement, I believe that to be the case. That is to say I was not in communications with Ambassador Bremer or know of any statements by him specific to these...
BAYH: So in his meetings with the secretary you were never present?
CAMBONE: I did not know of those. I did know of his general concern, as you said, for the prison population.
BAYH: What about following the Red Cross report?
CAMBONE: With respect to the 2004 report, I can only tell you again what I know. And that is that there was a meeting in that time frame of February at which senior members of the CPA staff met with members of the ICRC and this report was made available. And from that there were some communications from CPA to the State Department and elsewhere with respect to these concerns.
BAYH: About these abuses.
CAMBONE: That's what I think I know.
BAYH: Did that make its way into...
CAMBONE: Sir, I did not see the ICRC report until I began working my way into this problem over the last two weeks.
BAYH: My second question involves the dispute between you and the general about who had tactical control at the prison. As I understand it, he believes that the military intelligence individuals did exert practical, tactical control and it's your opinion that they did not.
As I understand your position, the intelligence authorities were given control over the facility but not control over the individuals running the facility.
What exactly does that mean? How do you have control over a facility but not the people who are running it?
CAMBONE: The same way that...
BAYH: What? Were they in charge of the plumbing, or the...
CAMBONE: No, sir. Well in the same way you have a building supervisor who doesn't tell the tenants how to do their business. In other words, you do require someone who is senior in command to be able to be responsible for the facility: that is for its security from outside activity, internal security, the care and feeding of folks, all of those administrative logistics tasks that go with running a large facility.
Then there are within that facility, a number of operations and activities that take place which are under the command of other individuals. And those individuals are responsible for the exercise of command over those activities.
BAYH: Well, a layman's opinion General, I'd be interested in your opinion it seems to me the attempt here to draw this line may have contributed to the confusion of who was in charge which may have led to some of these troubles. General, is that a fair comment?
TAGUBA: Yes, sir. We followed doctrine in the context of our investigation as a matter of our base lines. We use those as references.
Doctrinally take on, as given to Colonel Pappas, was that his mission was for security of detainees and force protection. Doctrinally, if you are take on to him, he establishes priorities.
BAYH: My comment yes, go ahead.
CAMBONE: That doesn't go, sir, to the heart of his being able to give what would have been and, General, correct me unlawful orders to the commander of that military police battalion.
SMITH: Sir, nor did it allow him to change their mission. In other words, they're trained to a specific task. It's the person with operational control that is allowed to change how they do business and the like.
So as General Taguba said, he can change the priorities for these folks, but they still have to operate within the guidelines and the doctrine that they are trained to. So they are still cops doing cop business.
TAGUBA: Sir, there were established standards, two in fact, that were signed by Lieutenant General Sanchez that stipulated what you can and cannot do. Those were clear. However, the feeling here was that some leaders just not complied with it. They were posted for a purpose, sir. And there are certain standards that they have to follow.
BAYH: I'm confounded by a number of other things including lack of uniformity in training.
My last comment and this gets to the dilemma that we face repeatedly in the intelligence arena, Mr. Chairman and that is the following.
Timely and accurate intelligence information is essential to our protecting our troops, civilians, winning the war against this insurrection and the larger war against terrorism. At the same time, preserving our honor and our moral integrity is also vitally important in the longer term to winning this struggle, because that at the end of the day is what differentiates us from those with whom we fight.
Now, it seems to be that there you've laid out to all of you in your testimony we begin taking our instructions about how do you draw the line? How do you draw the line between vigorous but acceptable interrogation versus morphing into abuse?
BAYH: We start with the Geneva Convention and general principles. I think, Mr. Cambone, you then used the terms, "approved interrogation techniques, of which there were 20 or 30," so we try to refine that general guidance into more specific guidance. Then exceptions are allowed at the behest or the direction of the commander, who I assume, in this case, would have been General Sanchez; is that correct? I assume he didn't authorize any exceptions. No.
That's the process that we go through in trying to determine where the line is, what you can do and what you can't do.
And I'd just like to conclude by saying, I think it is absolutely critical that we enforce the line as we defined it, vigorously, hold those who crossed it to account to show that we don't tolerate this kind of thing.
But let's learn the lessons of the past as well. We are currently trying to overcome some past intelligence abuses 20, 30 years ago and our reaction to those abuses that have hamstrung us in the covert arena and otherwise.
So let's draw the line bright and clear, let's institute training, lets hold commanders who don't insist that the line be followed to account, as well as the foot soldiers.
But let's not throw the baby out with the bath water, because gaining the access to appropriate information is also important as we also preserve our moral integrity and our honor.
CAMBONE: Thank you for that, Senator.
And if I may say, in trying to answer the committee's questions today on these issues, if any way I suggested that if we find that there was misconduct or misbehavior or inappropriate behavior on the part of anyone associated with the military intelligence side of this, which General Fay is now looking at today, I can assure you and other members of this committee that we will be back here and we will tall you that.
ACTING CHAIRMAN: Thank you Senator Bayh.
LIEBERMAN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Thanks to the witnesses.
In absentia, I wanted to thank Chairman Warner and Senator Levin for the speed and intensity with which they've convened this series of hearings.
And to thank you, gentlemen, for being here.
LIEBERMAN: I mean, we've got a real challenge here, which is to deal with this inhumane, immoral, unacceptable, un-American behavior that happened in this prison and maybe others, I want to ask some questions about that and to do it as quickly as we can so that we can get back to fighting the war on terrorism; and to do it in so comprehensive and aggressive a way that we do not allow, or even facilitate unintentionally, the erosion of public support in this country for the critically important mission our troops are performing in Iraq and the broader war against terrorism.
And that's why I appreciate these hearings.
In that regard, I think the comprehensiveness of our investigation yours, really is critically important.
And General Taguba, I just want to make clear, when you were asked to investigate you were asked to investigate conditions at Abu Ghraib and two of the other most populated prison facilities in Iraq, is that correct?
TAGUBA: Yes, sir, with matters related to training, standards and internal policies and the like yes, sir.
LIEBERMAN: Are there other prison facilities in Iraq beyond those three, therefore, that have not been reviewed? Or are they being reviewed now for conduct that we're concerned about?
TAGUBA: Sir, I did not go beyond the four that I looked at during the course of the investigation and I believe a subsequent investigation by the Army inspector general conducted that following my investigation. They looked at other facilities.
LIEBERMAN: Is that General Ryder's investigation? It's another investigation.
CAMBONE (?): No, sir, there's an independent investigation put in train by the acting secretary of the Army that covers all as I understand it not only facilities in Iraq but in Afghanistan as well.
LIEBERMAN: That was my next question Afghanistan as well.
TAGUBA: That's ongoing, Senator.
LIEBERMAN: That is ongoing...
TAGUBA: Yes, sir.
LIEBERMAN: ... in the sense that it predates this scandal?
TAGUBA: No, sir. It was directed and it continues today. They are still...
LIEBERMAN: So that I got you. So that would it be fair for you to say, through us, to the American people, that we are essentially looking everywhere throughout the American military prison system to make sure that nothing like what happened at the Abu Ghraib Prison is occurring anywhere else?
CAMBONE: I'd have to look at the specific charge that the Department of Army I.G. was given, but I believe that to be the case. Certainly, they are looking well, go ahead.
SMITH: With respect to the CENTCOM AOR and the handling of prisoners there and the terrorists who are in detention, the secretary of defense has asked the secretary of the Navy to take a look, as well, at Charleston and other places where there may be internees.
LIEBERMAN: OK, that's very important.
Let me come back, and obviously you will continue to report to us on the conclusions of those investigations.
I had an exchange with Secretary Rumsfeld on Friday that reverberated in my own mind over the weekend. I think one of the other senators may have asked one of you a question about this and it is about the relevance of the Geneva Convention to the prisoners being held in Iraq.
I had read various statements by the secretary and others that confused me on this because I didn't think the Geneva Convention was being applied precisely to detainees, and in response to in Iraq and my question on Friday, Secretary Rumsfeld said "The president announced from the outset that everyone in Iraq who was a military person and was detained is a prisoner of war. Therefore, the Geneva Conventions apply."
And second, continuing with the secretary's statement, "The decision was made that civilians or criminal elements that are detainees are also treated subject to the Geneva Convention although it is a different element of it."
At an earlier point, in an interview he did on television, he and this is I think what was asked before, he said that they're not entitled to the Geneva Convention oh, I'm sorry. Here it is. "The decision was made that the Geneva Convention did not precisely apply but that every individual would be treated as though the convention did apply."
So, first off, my staff can't find the statement that the president made announcing that policy. And Secretary Cambone, I'd ask you...
CAMBONE: Sir, I'd be happy to get that for you. And I'm happy to ask the secretary this afternoon what, indeed, he had in mind in that expression. Senator Levin asked that question earlier. And I will ask him. I will get you an answer.
LIEBERMAN: I would appreciate that.
And as part of that and I'd ask General Taguba or General Smith to respond to this part of it how do we there's a report in one of the papers today, based on an International Red Cross report, that 70 to 90 percent of the detainees, according to the Red Cross, were captured without solid evidence of their guilt. And the numbers are large.
Is there a process for determining, considering what Secretary Rumsfeld said on Friday, who is a prisoner of war and who is a detainee? Who is military, and therefore treated as a prisoner of war, who's a detainee, and therefore who gets the higher level of rights legally?
CAMBONE: We have, at the moment, very few, as I recall, enemy prisoners of war left in the system. What we have primarily are those who have posed a threat to the security of the coalition forces, the Iraqi government, the Iraqi people, or others who may have committed crimes or one kind or another against Iraqi citizens.
There are some of those latter, who are, as I understand it, in custody and being in the custody of Iraqi security police and things of that sort. And they are in a process, to be brought forward before an Iraqi judicial process, which itself is slowly and painfully standing up.
LIEBERMAN: OK, so my final question. I think my time's up, maybe I should ask you to bring it back to the Pentagon and then respond, if you could is the status which is because as I read the Geneva Convention, I think the detainees have rights under the convention. They're a lot lower than the rights of prisoners of war. So I'm confused by what seems to be the policy that Secretary Rumsfeld articulated on Friday, that though they're not entitled to the rights of Geneva, that we're giving it to them.
CAMBONE: Yes, sir. Well, I will take one more step on behalf of my general counsel. And I will offer you him for a period of time to come by and brief you and other senators, as you might wish, Mr. Chairman, on precisely how this has unfolded, and so that there is no confusion left in the committee or in the American people about where we stand on the confusion.
LIEBERMAN: I appreciate that.
Thanks, Mr. Chairman.
WARNER: And thank you, Senator.
I will be discussing with the secretary of defense and others the other witnesses that I think should come before the committee. And I'm considering the general counsel, given his expertise in this area. So we'll do that.
CAMBONE: Yes, sir.
WARNER: And again, I wish to thank the secretary of defense, through you, Mr. Secretary, for the cooperation in putting together this series of hearings that we're holding today.
I would ask now, do you or any other witness have a response to a question, or wish to make any added statement before we close out this morning's record?
CAMBONE: Sir, I ordinarily begin my presentations here by saying that it's a pleasure. This is not. It is a duty and a responsibility. We take it seriously. We will get to the bottom of this.
Moreover, I would like to thank you for your courtesies. They are important to all of us who are grappling with a very difficult problem. And in the end, we will answer this committee's questions, and those of the other committees of the Congress, to the best of our knowledge, with as much knowledge as we have at the time we are asked the question.
And, sir, therefore, I say to you, if we read through this record and we find we have a mistake I have misspoken on a convention or I have told you something about command relationships that is incorrect I would beg your indulgence to allow us to correct that record as quickly and as accurately as we can, and make any changes known to every member of the committee when we do so.
WARNER: And I thank you for that offer, and it will be done.
This afternoon, we'll be having Lieutenant General Keith B. Alexander he's the deputy chief of staff G-2, United States Army, handling intelligence matters Major General Ronald L. Burgess Jr., director for intelligence, J-2, of the joint staff; and Major General Thomas J. Romig, judge advocate general of the United States Army.
If there are no other comments, I thank my colleagues for the sincerity, the tremendous time that each of them are putting in to prepare for this hearing.
And I think it has been a very successful hearing and I thank you Secretary Cambone, General Smith and General Taguba.