Transcript : Taguba, Cambone on Abu Ghraib Report
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.
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