Transcript : Taguba, Cambone on Abu Ghraib Report
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.
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