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Rumsfeld Vows Full Investigation of Abu Ghraib Abuses

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said May 4 that alleged abuse of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. Army Reservist military police guards at the Abu Ghraib Confinement Facility (BCCF) outside Baghdad was "totally unacceptable and un-American" and that the Department of Defense will take steps to bring those responsible to justice.

U.S. military personnel first reported the allegations on January 13, and the Army's Criminal Investigation Division (CID) began an investigation of the alleged prisoner mistreatment the next day, Rumsfeld said. Two days later, Army Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt, deputy director of operations for Combined Task Force 7, first made the allegations public at a media briefing in Baghdad, Iraq. In addition, Rumsfeld said, U.S. Central Command, which is responsible for all military operations in the region, reported the same allegations in a news release at the same time.

"The images that we've seen that include U.S. forces are deeply disturbing, both because of the fundamental unacceptability of what they depicted and because the actions by U.S. military personnel in those photos do not in any way represent the values of our country or the armed forces," Rumsfeld said during the May 4 Pentagon briefing. "As President Bush has stated, their treatment does not reflect the nature of the American people."

"Have no doubt that we will take these charges and allegations most seriously."

Rumsfeld said that on January 31 Major General Antonio Taguba, at the request of Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez -- the commanding general in Iraq, began an administrative investigation of procedures at the prison.

"In February, the secretary of the Army directed the Army inspector general to conduct an assessment of doctrine and training associated with detention operations throughout the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility," he said.

In March, Rumsfeld continued, the Army's chief of reserve affairs initiated an assessment of Army Reserve training, with an emphasis on military police and military intelligence activities related to prisoners.

On April 23, at the request of Lieutenant General Sanchez, the head of Army intelligence provided an investigating officer to investigate military intelligence practices in Iraq, he said.

"Let there be no doubt that this matter will be pursued properly under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The actions of the soldiers in those photographs are totally unacceptable and un-American. Any who engaged in such action let down their comrades who serve honorably each day, and they let down their country," Rumsfeld said.

Marine General Peter Pace, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters at the briefing that "there has been no attempt to hide this" investigation or the allegations.

Meanwhile, also on May 4, Senate Armed Services Chairman John Warner said he and his committee received a closed and classified briefing on the suspected mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners of war from Army Vice Chief of Staff General George Casey; Lieutenant General Paul Mikolashek, the Army's inspector general; and Major General Michael Marchand, assistant judge advocate general for the Army.

"Speaking for myself, I'm gravely concerned about this situation," Senator Warner, a Virginia Republican, said following the briefing. "I have been privileged to be associated with the military for over a half-century, been on this committee for 25 years now, and this is as serious a problem of breakdown in discipline as I've ever observed."

Senator Carl Levin of Michigan, the ranking Democrat on the committee, said that there "will be a thorough, complete, total, prompt investigation as to these events -- how widespread they are; if they go beyond the specific events we know about."

Casey told reporters after meeting with the Senate Armed Services Committee that he was extremely disappointed that anyone would mistreat detainees.

"The Army is a values-based organization. And what you see on those pictures is not indicative of our training or of our values," Casey said. "It is a complete breakdown in discipline."

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site:


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