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'04 Pentagon Report Cited Detention Concerns

Padilla's attorneys -- Orlando do Campo, Andrew Patel and Michael Caruso -- did not return calls seeking comment or declined to comment. Federal prosecutors also declined to comment. A hearing is expected soon on whether Padilla's attorneys can question military officials about his treatment and the conditions at the brig.

A Pentagon spokesman, Navy Cmdr. J.D. Gordon, said multiple reviews of detention operations have not found policies that condoned abuse and have led to more consistent policies to prevent abuse.

"The reviews have resulted in numerous recommendations which have been implemented and have improved our detention operations," he said. "The Department of Defense policy is clear: We treat detainees humanely."

Thiessen's report is part of a larger review by Vice Adm. Albert T. Church III, then the Navy's inspector general. Rumsfeld ordered the wide-ranging military investigation to determine whether any interrogation policy for terrorism suspects had caused detainee abuse in U.S. military detention facilities.

The Church report presented to Congress in March 2005 concluded that there was no deliberate high-level policy that led to the numerous cases of mistreatment. Instead, it blamed inept leadership at low levels and confusion over changing interrogation rules.

Church focused on the conditions for foreign nationals held at Guantanamo Bay. But the details of what Thiessen found in the Charleston brig were not mentioned. When asked, high-ranking military officers asserted that the brig fared well in the review.

"The brig here has a good record, and the people who run it are well trained," then-Secretary of the Navy Gordon England told reporters in 2004.

A third prisoner at the brig, Yaser Hamdi, was released in 2004 after the Supreme Court ruled that the government could not hold him indefinitely without a trial, and after he agreed to U.S. conditions that he go to Saudi Arabia and give up his U.S. citizenship.

Staff researcher Julie Tate contributed to this report.


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