The first indication that civilians were involved in the abuses at Abu Ghraib came when an internal Army report by Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba was leaked to the media in late April.
The report said a CACI interrogator, Steven A. Stefanowicz, was among four individuals suspected to be "either directly or indirectly responsible for the abuses at Abu Ghraib." It went on to say that Stefanowicz allowed or instructed military police to set conditions for interrogations and claims that he "clearly knew his instructions equated to physical abuse." Stefanowicz's lawyer has repeatedly said his client did nothing wrong.
Military officials say that care is now being taken to ensure that civilian workers at Abu Ghraib have proper credentials and that new contract workers are closely observed.
(Ceerwan Aziz -- Reuters)
The Taguba report also implicated another contract employee, John Israel. It identified Israel as an interpreter working for CACI, but Israel was actually employed by a subcontractor to Titan. Israel could not be reached for comment.
London said that the leaked excerpts were not "backed up by any facts at all or even any vague circumstances or situations" and that they were "overstated, exaggerated and, quite frankly, misinterpreted" in media reports.
CACI conducted its own investigation into the matter and said in August it had not found "credible or tangible evidence that substantiates the involvement of CACI personnel in the abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib prison or elsewhere in Iraq."
The panel of three Army generals, led by Fay, released its report in August. The bulk of the Fay report, which is more than 140 pages long, deals with the actions of military police and intelligence officers.
Portions of the Fay report shed light on the ambiguous role contractors played at the prison, starting with Stefanowicz. Stefanowicz's attorney, Henry E. Hockeimer Jr., said the Army informed him his client was the CACI interrogator identified in the Fay report only as "Civilian 21."
The report cites two cases in which Civilian 21 allegedly directed soldiers to use military dogs to threaten prisoners.
The report says that, based on interviews with soldiers, it is "highly plausible" that the CACI contract interrogator "used dogs without authorization and directed the abuse" several times against a detainee who was suspected of involvement with al Qaeda. Another passage in the Fay report says the CACI interrogator apparently "was encouraging and even directing the abuse with dogs [by military police]; likely a 'softening up' technique for future interrogations."
But the report also says the CACI employee, who "seemingly had little or no interrogator experience," had been encouraged to take an aggressive approach earlier, when he asked a military officer for advice on how to get information out of prisoners. The officer "related several stories about the use of dogs as an inducement, suggesting he [the CACI interrogator] talk to the [military police] about the possibilities." The officer also suggested the CACI interrogator could "take some pictures of what seemed to be guards being rough with prisoners . . . so he could use them to scare the prisoners."
The Fay report says this conversation "certainly contributed to the abusive environment at Abu Ghraib."
The report also cites conflicting evidence of Civilian 21's conduct. In one case, the report says Civilian 21 reported to a superior officer that he had witnessed two soldiers escorting a detainee clad only in underwear and carrying a blanket from one location to another. The two soldiers were removed from interrogation duties, according to the report.
In another incident, however, the report says a witness told investigators he heard Civilian 21 "tell several people that he had shaved the hair and the beard of a detainee and put him in red women's underwear." The CACI employee was "allegedly bragging about it," the report says.