At least 2,000 pages might have been missing from the copy of the Army report on soldiers' abusive treatment of Iraqi prisoners that was delivered to the Senate Armed Services Committee.
The 6,000-page report, compiled by Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba, formed the basis for hearings this month into the allegations. Taguba found "numerous incidents of sadistic, blatant and wanton criminal abuses" had been inflicted on Iraqis held at Abu Ghraib prison outside Baghdad between last October and December.
Pentagon spokesman Lawrence Di Rita said he knew of no contact with the Pentagon by anybody at the committee about the reported missing pages. He said he understood there may have been a computer glitch that made some of the electronically stored pages difficult to open, but the problem was resolved.
"Certainly, if there is some shortfall in what was provided, it was an oversight," Di Rita said in a statement.
Time magazine reported yesterday that committee aides noticed the report was missing a third of its pages after they divided the document and its 106 annexes into separate binders, stacking them and comparing the stack with an already counted stack of 6,000 pages.
One committee member, Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), said yesterday he would talk to the chairman, Sen. John W. Warner (R-Va.), to get the facts.
"I don't know" whether pages are missing, Roberts said, "but we'll sure . . . find out." Roberts heads the Senate intelligence committee, which also has been given the report.
Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), another Armed Services Committee member, said he became aware Friday of the possibility of the missing pages.
Reed, who appeared with Roberts on CBS's "Face the Nation" yesterday, indicated he would not be surprised if it were true because of the way, he said, that the Defense Department usually treats Congress.
"There's a lack of cooperation. There's a lack of candor. And that has hurt not only their perception but also gives rise to feelings or inferences that something is amiss deliberately," Reed said. "I hope that's not the case."