Transcript: Senate Hearing on Iraq Prison Abuse
WARREN: Sir, that does not require a yes-or-no answer. I have to elaborate upon it.
REED: Well, Colonel, my time is six minutes. So let me just move on.
WARREN: Yes, sir.
REED: You just said that these are coercive means.
WARREN: No, sir, I did not. What I said is...
REED: For a protected person, to obtain information.
WARREN: No, sir. What I said was that those that are on the right are a list on a slide which was produced at a low level, which was not representative of our counter-resistance and interrogation policy.
REED: Excuse me, Colonel, I'm asking you a question, not how it was evolved, but if 72 hours with a bag over your head to obtain information is contrary to Article 31 of the Geneva Convention; correct?
WARREN: That would be yes, sir.
REED: Thank you.
General Sanchez, today's USA Today, sir, reported that you ordered or approved the use of sleep deprivation, intimidation by guard dogs, excessive noise and inducing fear as an interrogation method for a prisoner in Abu Ghraib prison.
REED: Is that correct?
SANCHEZ: Sir, that may be correct that it's in a news article, but I never approved any of those measures to be used within CJTF-7 at any time in the last year.
REED: Excuse me. Because I want to get back to this.
It may be correct that you ordered those methods used against a prisoner. Is that your answer?
SANCHEZ: No, sir, that's not what I said. I said it may be correct...
REED: Well, I didn't hear; that's why I want...
SANCHEZ: ... that it's printed in an article, but I have never approved the use of any of those methods within CJTF-7 in the 12.5 months that I've been in Iraq.
REED: What level of command produced this slide?
SANCHEZ: Sir, my understanding is that that was produced at the company commander level.
REED: How could the company commander evolve such a specific list? How could the company commander then turn around and said some of these things would require your permission without any interaction between your command? It seems to me just difficult to understand.
SANCHEZ: Sir, it's difficult for me to understand it. You have to ask the commander.
REED: Now, this is the company commander that you relieved and gave him a letter of admonition.
SANCHEZ: No, sir.
REED: No. OK.
General Miller, at Guantanamo, it's been reported that you developed a 72-point matrix for stress and duress, lays out types of coercion, escalating levels. They include harsher heat or cold, withholding food, hooding for days at a time, naked isolation and cold, dark cells. Is that correct?
MILLER: Sir, that is categorically incorrect.
REED: That never happened.
MILLER: That is categorically incorrect.
When you were dispatched by Secretary Cambone and General Boykin to go to Iraq, did they give you any specific instructions about increasing the aggressiveness of interrogations?
MILLER: Sir, I was tasked to go to assist -- conduct assistance visit by the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
MILLER: They tasked Southern Command, who then tasked JTF Guantanamo to put the team together.
REED: Did you have conversations with General Boykin and Secretary Cambone prior to your departure about your trip?
MILLER: Sir, I did not.
REED: You did not. Did you have any discussions after your visit, after your return?
MILLER: Sir, I submitted the report up to SOUTHCOM. I had no direct discussions with Secretary Cambone or General Boykin.
REED: Well, Secretary Cambone testified that General Boykin briefed him on your discussions. And he led the implication that you and General Boykin -- have you spoken to General Boykin about any of these issues?
MILLER: No, sir. The report was provided up and it may -- and this is my speculation because I do not know -- it may have gone to General Boykin. But he and I have not had conversations about personal conversations about this inspection visit.
REED: Your team, when they went down and briefed at the -- how low a level did you brief and talk to people in that prison?
MILLER: Sir, the team went at several different levels. They started at the CJTF level...
REED: How far did they go in the prison?
MILLER: They went down to the battalion commander level at the military police function and to the company commander level at the military intelligence function.
REED: And that might be the level where this document was developed?
MILLER: Sir, I do not know at what level that document was developed at.
REED: Did your team specifically brief that these techniques, which you deny being placed in Guantanamo, could not be used? Did they any way suggest that methods could be used in that prison that are contrary to Geneva Conventions?
MILLER: Sir, no methods contrary to the Geneva Convention were presented at any time by the assistance team that I took to CJTF-7.
MILLER: And there is no -- as you brought up again, sir -- there is no status, or there is no program, JTF-Guantanamo, that has any of those techniques. That are...
MILLER: ... that are prohibited by the Geneva Convention.
REED: One of the problems that we have, General, is that we have not yet, after repeated requests, received the documentation about the interrogation techniques at Guantanamo, which is another lack of cooperation in this investigation.
My time's expired. Will we have a second round, Mr. Chairman?
WARNER: It's important that we conclude today's round with a closed session in which members will be given an opportunity to have questions.
SESSIONS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And I thank all of you for your service in a difficult and dangerous area of the world. You're serving your country with distinction.
General Abizaid, I appreciate your leadership and your comments earlier today.
We have made progress in Afghanistan and Iraq. We've had Al Qaida on the run. And we've made -- we've avoided another attack on this country, for which we can be grateful.
I think you're correct to suggest that sometimes, in this city, people get preoccupied with failure and error rather than seeing the progress that's occurred.
And I am troubled by this suggestion that the interrogation rules are some, sort of, smoking gun of illegality and impropriety.
You've been asked about -- what about sleep adjustment or sleep management for 72 hours? Those -- as I read this document, this is a restrictive document that said anything -- that such an action must be, have the direct approval of the commanding general.
SESSIONS: Is that the way you understand it, General Sanchez?
SANCHEZ: Sir, that's the way I read that document also, sir.
SESSIONS: And was it you or the commanding general, or who was the commanding general referred to?
SANCHEZ: That referred to the commanding general CJTF-7. That's me, sir.
SESSIONS: So, the system was set up to restrict these kind of activities. They could never be done even though, as Colonel Warren, the JAG officer said, could be acceptable under -- some of them at least can be acceptable under the Geneva Conventions. They had to make a written report and request the use before any of those could be used.
SANCHEZ: That is exactly right, sir.
SESSIONS: And were any of these ever approved by you?
SANCHEZ: Sir, the only approvals that I ever had at my desk was for continued segregation beyond 30 days. And there were 25 of those who were approved. I never saw any other method come to my level requesting approval.
SESSIONS: So the only request under this category of what some refer to as harsher treatment were the isolation requests, which are done in American prisons every day. And these isolation requests were, in fact, submitted to you in writing. And do you or your staff make an evaluation before you approved them?
SANCHEZ: Yes, sir, those came forward. My staff -- both the intel officer and my staff judge advocate evaluated those. And then my staff judge advocate brought them in to me, and I personally approved it.
SESSIONS: And I would like to note that in big print here, it says, "Safeguards: Approaches must always be humane and lawful. Detainees will never" -- in capital letters -- "be touched in a malicious or unwanted manner." Would that violate -- were the actions in this prison in violation of that directive? The allegations and the pictures we've seen, that would be in violation of that directive, would it not?
SANCHEZ: Sir, if those allegations are proved in the investigative process to be true, those would be violations.
SESSIONS: And it said Geneva Conventions must be complied with.
SANCHEZ: Absolutely, sir, that was always the standard.
SESSIONS: Now, General Abizaid or General Sanchez, the Ryder report -- General Ryder was the provost marshal. That's the person in change of the military prison system, is that not correct?
ABIZAID: Yes, sir, it's correct.
SESSIONS: He's the Army's top expert on how to house prisoners. And it's not easy in the United States, I'm telling you. Senator Kennedy and I sponsored a bill recently to crack down on sexual abuse in prisons, a prison rape bill, because it happens in American prisons we have abuses. But it's difficult in a theater of combat operation.
You brought him over to help you bring order to this situation in the post-hostility conflict? Is that what you did?
ABIZAID: Yes, sir. We've asked for a lot of help, because we need a lot of help in this theater on a lot of different things.
But what's the most helpful is where commanders travel and look and see with their own eyes what's going on and how it's going on. And General Sanchez and I and others have been all around the theater and talked to interrogators. We've looked to make sure what was happening was right. And we emphasize to them all the time that they need to treat people right.
SESSIONS: Well, things go awry; there's just no doubt about it. And it's more difficult in a combat environment.
General Miller, you had a reputation of being able to manage a prison and to obtain information from detainees in a way that was closely inspected and observed by the Red Cross and other people on a continuing basis.
SESSIONS: And we had soldiers at risk in Iraq. We had civilian leadership of the new Iraqi government at risk of their very lives, as we saw one just killed recently. It certainly would have been wonderful if we'd obtained intelligence so we could have interdicted the latest murder of the head of the council in Iraq.
And, General Abizaid, you said you wanted to get information to the tactical commanders. The American people may not understand this language. Part of the problem was, as I understood it, you're obtaining information, but we're not getting it out to the people who could benefit from having it. Is that fair to say?
ABIZAID: Well, Senator, as I traveled around -- and I spend most of my time when I go around going to tactical units -- I was extremely impressed by the amount of information that they had about local conditions. And I would always ask them whether once the detainees were evacuated into the prison system, did they receive follow-up information that would help them in their difficult job of breaking down the cellular structures that the enemy uses against us.
And at the same time, General Sanchez and I, probably very early on in General Sanchez arriving in the theater, were concerned that we were not getting a good view of what was happening at the leadership level. So we knew that there had to be a connection between what the tactical units knew and what the leadership knew if we were ever to get at the insurgency base problems that we were seeing out there.
So we were dealing with a systemic problem and we still don't have as good a view as we'd like to have about the nature of the insurgency and who's in charge and where the cells move and how they operate, et cetera. It's an intelligence-intensive task.
SESSIONS: Well, General Miller, one of your responsibilities is to try to make sure that evidence that had been gathered was promptly disseminated.
SESSIONS: And is that one of your responsibilities?
MILLER: That's correct, Senator.
SESSIONS: I think my time's expired.
WARNER: Thank you, very much, Senator.
Senator Ben Nelson?
BEN NELSON: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And thank you all for being here this morning.
General Abizaid, I want to commend you particularly for your candor. This is a city and this group from time to time is used to what I've termed progressive candor. We learned a little bit at a time. And ultimately somebody has to take responsibility. I appreciate very much your willingness to take the responsibility.
General Miller, there are photos showing military intelligence, M.P.s and private contractors in the vicinity of prisoner abuse. We would be -- we're being told that it was a handful or a few -- the operative word of the day -- a few bad apples engaging in activities that were abusive, not consistent with either Geneva Convention rules or with the expectations of the command above them.
So can you tell me who were the participants, who were the abusers in the situation? I'm not aware of anyone outside of a handful of privates, sergeants, et cetera, being charged with anything. What about the private contractors or the military intelligence people, apart from M.P.s, being charged? Or do you know?
MILLER: Senator, those -- the events, are part of the investigations being done, also being done now by General Fay involving the intelligence elements, both the military and any of the contractors who would be involved in the intelligence function.
BEN NELSON: Will we expect something within a timely manner on those investigations?
MILLER: Sir, it's my understanding that General Fay's report is nearing close and that those reports will be given to the chain of command very quickly.
BEN NELSON: General Miller, what instructions or orders were you given before you arrived and on your way to Guantanamo?
MILLER: Sir, on my assumption of command of JTF-Guantanamo, I went to the headquarters Southern Command and General Hill laid out his responsibilities for me and gave me the orders.
We had an opportunity to fuse two JTFs together that were not working as successfully; that was the priority mission, to be able to integrate both the detention and intelligence function to produce actionable intelligence for the nation. In this case, operational and strategic intelligence to help us win the global war on terror.
BEN NELSON: Did you talk to any of the civilians within the Department of Defense?
MILLER: Sir, initially I did not. Once I made my assessment at JTF-Guantanamo, then I went to Washington, D.C., and talked to both the intelligence community and others who were a part of the functionalities that we had at Guantanamo, about detentions, interrogation and an intelligence fusion.
BEN NELSON: Any one at the level of undersecretary or assistant secretary of defense?
MILLER: Sir, I did not initially talk, but later on, as the mission in Guantanamo went -- as you remember, I was there for 17 months. Then I talked all the way up to the secretary of defense- level, briefing them on the operations that we had and the intelligence that we'd gathered and the integration of those operations throughout Guantanamo.
BEN NELSON: Were any of those discussions directed at what you might do in the future if you were assigned to Abu Ghraib or to Iraq in general?
MILLER: No, sir, they were not.
BEN NELSON: Were there any differences between the two assignments?
MILLER: Senator, there were substantial differences. As you know, JTF-Guantanamo has a responsibility to detain enemy combatants not covered by the Geneva Convention. And so there were specific authorizations and limits that went directly into Guantanamo.
MILLER: And so I became very knowledgeable of those, I read the Geneva Convention, to be frank with you, in great depth, my lawyer probably spent one to two hours a day with me, as I learned every day how to be more effective in doing this job and also doing it to the standards of America: humane detention and interrogation that reflected America's values.
BEN NELSON: Thank you.
General Sanchez, you have suspended the entire chain of command that was under the command of General Karpinski, including General Karpinski. She says she objected to the interference with her command which was represented by Colonel Pappas in bringing intelligence operations in tactical control over the prison. But you disagree that she objected?
SANCHEZ: Senator, General Karpinski never talked to me about any interference in my command.
BEN NELSON: Did she send you a written communication?
SANCHEZ: Sir, she received the same order that assigned responsibility for FOB protection and security of detainees as the other commanders in the task force.
BEN NELSON: Is it usual that a military intelligence officer would take over the tactical command for force protection?
SANCHEZ: Sir, it is dependent upon the senior commander in that forward operating base that has responsibility to defend its soldiers.
BEN NELSON: Do you know of any other instances?
SANCHEZ: The brigade commander, sir -- the M.I. brigade commander, no, sir. He was a senior man that was permanently on that forward operating base, and he had responsibilities for protecting the soldier...
BEN NELSON: Merging interrogation and force protection together?
SANCHEZ: Sir, a commander has integral responsibility, independent of his mission, to protect his soldiers. And that was what I was trying to institutionalize.
BEN NELSON: My time has expired. Thank you.
WARNER: Thank you very much, Senator.
COLLINS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
First, let me begin by thanking all of you for your extraordinary service. One of the tragedies of this abuse scandal is that it not only obscures the fine work that you're doing, but it also overwhelms the thousands of acts of kindness, courage and compassion by our troops every day in Iraq. And that's why this abuse scandal is particularly upsetting.
COLLINS: I feel it sets back and undermines the good work of our troops -- the vast majority of our troops.
I have to say that after reading the Taguba report, reviewing the various interviews and participating in these hearings, I remain unclear about the answers to some very basic and critical questions, questions such as who really was in charge of the prison and what was allowed in the treatment of the prisoners.
General Sanchez, at the committee's hearing last week, General Alexander referred to these guidelines, these Interrogation Rules of Engagement, as yours. Numerous press reports have referred to these rules as "The Sanchez guidelines."
But is it your testimony this morning that these guidelines were not issued by your office and that, in fact, you only saw them last week at our hearing?
SANCHEZ: Ma'am, absolutely not. The first time I saw the slide that was specifically shown to me by one of the senators is what I was referring to.
I personally issued the memorandums and I have both memorandums sitting here that I will provide to the committee. Those rules of engagement were my rules of engagement and I personally approved those after I consulted with my higher headquarters and my staff judge advocate.
COLLINS: In response to a question from Senator Reed, you said, however, that you had never approved the presence of dogs, sleep deprivation, stress positions, however, that are listed on these guidelines.
COLLINS: Is that correct?
SANCHEZ: Ma'am, that is exactly right.
COLLINS: General Sanchez, I also want to follow up on your November order putting military intelligence in charge of some aspects of the prison. I also want to explore with you the role of military intelligence in general.
In the Taguba report the general says that the recommendations of General Miller's team that the guard force be actively engaged in setting the conditions for the successful exploitation of the detainees would appear to be in conflict with the recommendations of General Ryder's team and AR 190-8 that military police do not participate in military intelligence-supervised interrogation sessions.
He also says that having military police actively set the favorable conditions for interviews runs counter to the smooth operation of a detention facility.
Didn't your order, where you involved the military police in some aspects of the supervision of the prison, run counter to the regulations cited by General Taguba?
ABIZAID: Senator Collins, may I take this?
COLLINS: Yes, General.
ABIZAID: First of all, we do not have all the facts. And I think it's important for the committee to understand that.
We need to see what we're going to hear from the 205th M.I. Brigade. What was in the mind of that commander? What did he think?
So if we can set that aside, let me share with you one of the findings that came out of the Department of the Army I.G. investigations that are preliminary; they're not approved. I'm sure they'll be shared with this committee.
Our doctrine is not right. It's just not right.
ABIZAID: I mean, there are so many things that are out there that aren't right in the way that we operate for this war.
This is a doctrinal problem of understanding where you bring, what do the M.P.s do, what do the military intelligence guys do, how do they come together in the right way. And this doctrinal issue has got to be fixed if we're ever going to get our intelligence right to fight this war and defeat this enemy.
So we've got problems that have to be looked at from top to bottom in order to ensure that there is no confusion, because you see the Ryder report says one thing, the Taguba report will say one thing...
COLLINS: Exactly my point.
ABIZAID: ... you're going to see that the Fay report says something else, and it's not because anybody's lying to anybody; it's because the system is not right.
And there are a lot of systems that are wrong out there that we had better fix if we're going to beat this enemy.
COLLINS: But, General, I guess what concerns me is when you have all these contradictory doctrines, or all these contradictory findings, it suggests to me that there was great confusion at the prison, and that confusion can set the stage for the kinds of unacceptable abuses that occurred. That's my concern.
ABIZAID: It is a concern that I share, Senator, and we will find out the facts.
But I would like to ensure that you understand that there is great confusion in a combat zone all the time, almost as much as there is here in Washington, but not quite.
COLLINS: Thank you, General.
WARNER: Thank you, Senator.
And that confusion in a combat zone goes way back in history.
DAYTON: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
WARNER: History of the country, all conflicts.
DAYTON: Mr. Chairman, I wanted to join with others in thanking you for convening this hearing and doing your utmost to get to the bottom of these matters.
But I really question our ability to get down to the truth of what's occurred at six minutes apiece. We've now had 15 of the highest level officials involved in this entire operation, from the secretary of defense to the generals in command, and nobody knew that anything was amiss, no one approved anything amiss, no one did anything amiss.
We have a general acceptance of responsibility, but there's no one to blame except for the people down at the very bottom of one prison, and the focus has been on that, although the International Red Cross report says that there were abuses at 14 different prisons under U.S. control.
DAYTON: And according to the New York Times today, the Red Cross complained in writing on November 6th about some of the abuses that they had witnessed which paralleled the practices that were shown in the pictures, of holding Iraqi prisoners naked in dark, concrete cells for several days at a time, forcing them to wear women's underwear on their heads while being paraded and photographed.
And it characterizes the response of the Army to that complaint as barring unannounced visits by the Red Cross at the prisons. And it cited in particular a letter dated December 24th that the Army had described as evidence of the military promptly addressing the Red Cross concerns, but the action that was taken -- the barring of unannounced visits -- brings into question what the content of that letter actually was.
The Army's refused to release that letter, citing a tradition of confidentiality in dealing with the international agency. And an Army spokesman declined on Tuesday to characterize the letter or to do discuss what it said about the Red Cross's access to the cell block.
General Sanchez, is that evidence of the transparency of this Army's handling of these matters? How are we going to find anything out if no one will tell us anything or even provide the information that is necessary to evaluate these matters?
SANCHEZ: Senator, I swore to tell you the truth and everything that I've told you in here is the truth.
DAYTON: What is in the December 24th letter to the Red Cross?
SANCHEZ: Sir, I don't recall exactly what -- we have the letter, obviously, and I'd have to leave it to the department to provide that letter to you, sir.
DAYTON: Will you release that letter?
SANCHEZ: Sir, as far as I'm concerned, we are transparent within CJTF-7.
DAYTON: Well, sir, all right, I'll accept that then. So you'll provide a copy of that letter and we can assess what the response was?
SANCHEZ: Sir, as long as that is within the approval of the higher headquarters and the department, yes, sir, we will provide that.
DAYTON: That's a big caveat but we'll see what comes forward.
SANCHEZ: Sir, I have no problems with providing you that letter. However, there are higher headquarters directives.
DAYTON: Fair enough.
Sir, on November 19th, you, again according to another newspaper report -- as soon as I think our responsibilities in this body are delegated to reading the newspapers and watching the other news reports to find out these things that we're not getting any information about.
But there's reportedly a memo from your office, General Sanchez, on November 19th that placed two key Abu Ghraib cell blocks where the abuses occurred under the control of Colonel Pappas.
And then there's also reference made to a request he made reportedly made to you 11 days later about an interrogation plan for a particular prisoner that involved: First, the interrogators were to throw chairs and tables in the man's presence at the prison and quote, "invade his personal space," close quote.
This is a request from Colonel Pappas, the man to whom you turned over that authority over those two cells.
DAYTON: Then the police were to put a hood on his head and take him to an isolated cell through a gauntlet of barking dogs. There the police were to strip-search him and interrupt his sleep for three days with interrogations, barking and loud music, according to Army documents.
The plan was sent to you -- is that one of the 25 requests for additional interrogation techniques that you approved?
SANCHEZ: Sir, first of all, you stated that I issued an order that I specifically put key cell blocks under Colonel Pappas. I never issued such an order.
DAYTON: OK, and...
DAYTON: The article's incorrect? That I...
SANCHEZ: Sir, I never issued such an order.
DAYTON: I regret the...
SANCHEZ: And secondly, that request never made it to my headquarters -- or to me, personally, rather.
DAYTON: So there wasn't memo on November 19th, to place -- from your office -- to place these cell blocks under Colonel Pappas?
SANCHEZ: No, sir, I never issued such an order.
DAYTON: All right.
SANCHEZ: And that specific request for interrogation methods -- that never...
DAYTON: Let me see that one.
SANCHEZ: ... never got to the CJTF-7 commanding general's level, and I never approved any interrogation methods other than continued segregation.
DAYTON: Thank you.
General Abizaid, you commented on that -- we just stay the course. And I, you know, wanted -- on behalf of, speaking for myself anyway; I won't presume to speak for my colleagues -- but, you know, the Senate has been bipartisanly resolute behind every request the president's made for funding and support.
It's been virtually unanimous. It's been -- across the board, the supplemental appropriations, the authorizations, we're taking up now the 2005 authorization. We're adding, at the request of the president, an additional $25 billion for purposes that haven't even been defined.
But I think it's something I wanted to try to get an answer from various authorities: What is that course? And what is the, you know, the direction that we're on?
And just note, in response, particularly to some comments that were made about how well things are going -- and I don't know how to sort this out. I want us to succeed there. I just want to be told the truth about whether we are or not so we can assess whether the Minnesotans and other Americans who are serving over there are going to be there for months or years and what their likelihood is of returning safely and alive.
But I refer here to a Washington Post comment made by a Kurdish member of the governing council, that if something is not done about the security situation, there will be no transfer of power.
DAYTON: (inaudible), his name, who is generally pro-American, described the assassination as only the most extreme example of the lawlessness that has grown in the year since President Saddam Hussein was driven from power. Quote, "Never in Iraq has it been like this, never, even under Saddam," he said. "People are killed, kidnapped and assaulted. Children are taken away. Women are raped. No one is afraid of any punishment."
Is that an accurate description of 1 percent of the country? 5 percent? More than that? What is the security situation there, sir?
ABIZAID: Yes, sir, I appreciate the question.
First of all, not only were people carried away in the middle of the night and raped and tortured and killed under Saddam, but it happened at a huge scale, on an institutional scale unequaled in any recent memory and I guess perhaps only rivaled by what the Nazis did.
So are things better just by the mere fact that that regime of torture and intimidation is gone? Yes, that's a good thing.
On the other hand, I won't be Pollyannish about where we are, Senator. This is a hard thing. And it's going to take a long time. And it's going to take a lot of courage and a lot of perseverance and unfortunately more blood, and it's going to take more treasure. But there are more people in Iraq that are working with us to try to make their country a better place than are trying to tear it apart.
The people that are trying to tear it apart are ruthless. They are doing it precisely now for the reasons that I think I've been about as honest as I could be with this committee in the past, because this is the vulnerable time. They must make it fail now. They are pulling out everything that they can to make it fail.
And it's hard. That's why we kept extra forces there. And it's hard and it's tough and it's difficult, but we will prevail. And I'm telling you, you know, there are things that are bad about Iraq, and we are responsible for security. And it's not like walking in downtown Washington, D.C. It's a dangerous place.
But I can tell you, people have a right to express their opinion. There's political activity. There's freedom of the press. There are things that are happening in Iraq that don't happen anywhere else in the Middle East. And we ought to be proud of it.
DAYTON: May I just conclude? My time is up. How soon do you expect the 200 or 4,000 or whatever Iraqi police and militia will be in a position to enforce their own law and order on their city streets?
ABIZAID: Well, Senator, I would have said, before the recent events, that somewhere between September and December they would be ready.
ABIZAID: But we had a setback. We know we had a setback. Putting one of our best officers in the United States military on the job. And I'm saying if the creek don't rise somewhere between January and April they'll be ready.
DAYTON: Thank you.
WARNER: Thank you very much, Senator.
CHAMBLISS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Gentleman, let me echo the sentiments of all of our colleagues up here relative to the leadership you're providing and the great job that all the men and women underneath you are doing.
And while we've seen on the front pages of the paper for the last three weeks this story, those of us who follow the details of the battles that your men and women are waging every day know and understand that you have scored major victory after major victory in the last three weeks. And we commend you for the great job you folks are doing right on.
Colonel Warren, would you tell me what is the jurisdiction between the Central Intelligence Agency and the Army relative to the arresting, securing, transporting and interrogation of these detainees in Iraq.
Sir, I don't know that it's a matter necessarily of jurisdiction. We do know that other agencies do detain individuals in Iraq. They use the same legal standard under the fourth Geneva Convention, which is that they are imperative threats to security. And once they are brought into a coalition forces detention facility, they are subject to our rules and regulation.
CHAMBLISS: Well, is there any integration or cooperation between the CIA and the Army relative to the securing of prisoners and bringing them to places like Abu Ghraib?
WARREN: Sir, your question is outside the scope of my knowledge. I can speak to the rules that apply once they are inducted. With arrangements relative to operations, I'm unable to speak to that.
CHAMBLISS: General Abizaid, can you answer that question?
ABIZAID: Sir, I would like to answer the question in closed session.
General Abizaid and General Sanchez, I have asked this question twice before and I still have not gotten a satisfactory answer. And that is, General Ryder was sent to this prison. He was there in late October, early November of 2003. During the very time he was there, these particular incidents that are alleged -- the alleged abuses that we're talking about now were ongoing during that point in time. Yet, even though he was asking questions of the conditions of the prison and the condition of the prisoners, nobody told him, apparently, one word about these incidents happening.
Can either of you give me any explanation why that would have happened when a general of his stature was there?
ABIZAID: Well, I can tell you that, as I travel around, I don't always get the whole truth and nothing but the truth. You know, I get a lot of, "Everything's OK, everything's fine; don't worry about it." And that's one of the problems we have in the armed forces, that we've got to look beyond our rank and got to think about what would our son be doing in that particular position in that particular unit and is he or she -- or your daughter doing the right thing or not.
ABIZAID: And so because General Ryder was there, because General Sanchez was there, because half a dozen other important people that went there to visit it didn't see it doesn't mean it wasn't happening. And we have a lot to understand about what went on in that organization, and why, and who was responsible.
CHAMBLISS: Well, I accept your answer, and I think it's a repeat of the statement you made earlier that there are some things in this system that are broken. And you're now working to fix them. That's what leadership is all about: When you recognize a problem, you take after it and you fix it. And I commend you for doing that.
General Miller, the situation at Guantanamo has been alluded to by a number of folks during this process. And I've been down there a couple of times, had the opportunity to visit the prison both before the new camp was built, as well as afterwards. Saw interrogation of prisoners down there.
From what I saw and from what I've heard, there's been no systemic prisoner abuse that was ongoing at any point in time in Guantanamo, and I just wish you'd address that very quickly, if you will, please.
MILLER: Thank you, Senator.
Sir, there is no -- there was no systemic abuse of prisoners at Guantanamo at any time. I believe that there were three or four events -- I'll have to correct that for the record as we go back and look -- of instances of minor abuse. Two or three of those were corrected by administrative action in Article 15 and one went to court-martial about an abuse of one of the enemy combatants down there.
It was the effect of strong, dynamic leadership by the chain of command, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, that did not allow the abuse to happen.
We walked the cell blocks and the interrogation booths of Guantanamo around the clock, not because we didn't trust our people, but this is a very difficult mission and it takes active engagement by leadership to ensure that it is done correctly. That is why in Guantanamo, because of the enormously talented people who were there, 75 percent, as most of you know, were reserve component leaders, were successful.
CHAMBLISS: Thank you.
Colonel Warren, there is a report in the Wall Street Journal today which -- there is an article today which says, "A senior legal adviser to Lieutenant General Sanchez helped draft a formal response to the Red Cross's November report, according to one senior Army official."
CHAMBLISS: Is that you they're referring to?
WARREN: Sir, that may be me to whom they are referring. In fact, I did not draft that particular response. I believe, however, that my office did.
And as General Sanchez alluded to earlier, before January, the intake of working papers, the camp visit reports from the International Committee of the Red Cross, were handled in a haphazard manner. Some of them were given to the camp commander. Some were given to the military police brigade. Some went to my office.
In the particular case that is at issue, the October visit, it took a period of time -- and I don't know how long, but I believe several weeks -- for the working papers to reach the level of my office.
My office participated in the drafting of a response for General Brigadier Karpinski's signature. That response was dated 24 December and would have been delivered to the International Committee of the Red Cross.
When we discovered this haphazard process -- and, frankly, were concerned in the December time frame when I first became aware of the content of the report and its genesis -- I talked to General Sanchez. This would have been in early January.
General Sanchez then mandated that from that point forward all International Committee of the Red Cross reports and working papers would be addressed to him, and that the single entry point for those to the command would be me. And in that way we could maintain positive accountability of those reports, as well as take remediative action and track the corrections that were done by the subordinate commands.
CHAMBLISS: Thank you.
Thank you, gentlemen.
WARNER: Thank you very much, Senator.
CLINTON: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And I thank our witnesses for their service and for their appearance today. I know it's not an easy assignment to be here, given especially all your other responsibilities.
But it is in line with this committee's constitutional and institutional responsibilities, and I believe all of us are trying to discharge them to the best of our ability.
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