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Hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee - Investigation of the 205th Military Intelligence Brigade at Abu Ghraib Prison, Iraq

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC


Federal News Service

HEADLINE: HEARING OF THE SENATE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE

SUBJECT: INVESTIGATION OF THE 205TH MILITARY INTELLIGENCE BRIGADE AT ABU GHRAIB PRISON, IRAQ

CHAIRED BY: SENATOR JOHN WARNER (R-VA)

WITNESSES: GENERAL PAUL J. KERN, COMMANDING GENERAL, UNITED STATES ARMY MATERIEL COMMAND; LIEUTENANT GENERAL ANTHONY R. JONES, DEPUTY COMMANDING GENERAL, CHIEF OF STAFF, UNITED STATES ARMY TRAINING AND DOCTRINE COMMAND; MAJOR GENERAL R. STEVEN WHITCOMB, SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO THE COMMANDER, UNITED STATES CENTRAL COMMAND; MAJOR GENERAL GEORGE R.FAY, DEPUTY COMMANDER, UNITED STATES ARMY INTELLIGENCE AND SECURITY COMMAND; MAJOR GENERAL ANTONIO M. TAGUBA, DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE FOR RESERVE AFFAIRS, READINESS, TRAINING AND MOBILIZATION

LOCATION: 216 HART SENATE OFFICE BUILDING, WASHINGTON, D.C.

BODY:
SEN. MARK PRYOR (D-AR): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I'd like to thank the senator from Florida for doing that. That was unnecessary.

Let's see. General Taguba, you'll be happy to know that most of my colleagues have asked the questions that I was going to ask. And I did have a follow-up for you, and that is, you mentioned sort of the eight-to-one ratio; I think you said 500-ish to 4,000, so it's roughly an eight-to-one ratio. And we had a worse ratio than that in Abu Ghraib; it sounds like significantly worse.

Is that due to a shortage of these type of soldiers in our system? Or is it due to a lack of planning about Iraq that we just didn't make what we had available inside Iraq?

GEN. TAGUBA: Sir, as I recollect, there have been comments from those that I interviewed about shortages of personnel, not just in Abu Ghraib but in the other detention centers that we visited. It was either a series of folks who have redeployed back, things of that nature, but were not being replaced.

With regards to the shortage at Abu Ghraib, as I interviewed the operations officer for the 800th MP brigade, based on doctrinal precepts that he fully understood was perhaps as a temporary measure until he can get further replacements of reallocating forces, MP soldiers within the other three detention centers to help obviate or at least relieve the pressure at Abu Ghraib at the time. And he could not come up with a good enough response of why he could not have done that.

SEN. PRYOR: Okay, so let me make sure I understand your answer then. Is it a lack of resources within the system, or was it more of a lack of planning or a lack of availability of American forces inside Iraq?

GEN. TAGUBA: Sir, two things. One was an inability to adjust their planning factors when they assumed the mission at Abu Ghraib. And secondly was the matter of requesting for additional forces within the command.

SEN. PRYOR: So as I understand-and I'm not trying to put words in your mouth-it really was a lack of planning or at least a lack of making the existing resources available where they needed to be.

GEN. TAGUBA: Yes, sir.

SEN. PRYOR: General Fay, we've all covered the fact that you found 44 cases of alleged abuse and that, you know, we've talked about the chain of command leading up to General Sanchez and, I think in your words, other senior-level officials on what was going on inside the prison.

But at the same time, you did not-in your mission here, your group did not recommend disciplinary action against General Sanchez or anybody else. Do you want to explain why you didn't and how we should understand that?

GEN. FAY: Well, sir, my role was the 205th MI Brigade. And on the 205th MI Brigade, soldiers and the contractors that worked with the 205th MI Brigade, we either referred them to the commanders after we outlined all of the things that we believed that those people did do, or to the Department of Justice. The individuals above the 205th MI Brigade was not within my jurisdiction.

SEN. PRYOR: Was beyond your scope.

GEN. FAY: But it was within General Jones's scope.

SEN. PRYOR: General Jones, do you want to answer that?

GEN. JONES: Yes, sir, I can address that. And I think General Kern has also talked about the challenges the CJTF-7 leaders and their staff had. When I looked at it above the 205th Command, I looked at it to determine if they had direct or indirect involvement in the abuses, in the cases that had happened. Did they provide clear and consistent guidance, and did they resource the subordinate units for the missions they had given them?

And in this case, I found that the leadership above the 205th was not directly responsible for the abuses or the causes of abuse that happened. There are some things they could have done as far as the guidance and the policy memos, making sure that the lowest-level soldiers understood what the policies were.

They did fight for resources. They did reprioritize some things, and they did publish memos that emphasized that the (law of land?) warfare and the rules of the Geneva Convention would be upheld.

SEN. PRYOR: General Jones, you've had a chance-I'm sure all your colleagues have-to look at the Schlesinger report. And I'd just like to ask, is there anything in there that you disagree with? I mean, are all the findings in the Schlesinger report consistent with your findings?

GEN. JONES: (Pause.) And I have looked at it. I'm trying to think, because we had this discussion earlier. I think a couple of things that I think I would disagree with-not particularly disagree with, because I thought it was a very good report, and I think all the reports, as you see come out, are very much synchronized.

SEN. PRYOR: No, I think the committee understands the spirit in which you're going to answer the question, not to blame anyone or not to-but give me your thoughts on it.

GEN. JONES: I think there are some comments in there that talks about other services' responsibility in terms of human intelligence, which is something they don't have at this time. And so to refer to other services when the Army basically has the lead for human intelligence may not be making the right point.

SEN. PRYOR: Anybody else on the panel like to address that?

GEN. KERN: I'll-there's one that I don't think we completely agree with because we don't know all the facts that they were using, and that's the judgment on General Fast's role. General-and it goes back, I think, a little bit to questions that Senator Reed was asking earlier as well-we found that General Fast came into the theater to do an architectural assessment and to do work on improving the integration of all of the activities of intelligence activities, and she did a very good at that. As noted, we have seen significant improvements from the time she showed up there until today.

There are a series of vacuums in there which relate to this issue of the ICRC reports and abuses, I think. What we found-and I'd ask anybody else to correct me if I misinterpret this-is that General Fast was not in country. She was out for health reasons at the time that the ICRC report was delivered.

The staff judge advocate, Colonel Warren, in his assessment of it, delivered the report after he made his assessment to General Karpinski, not General Fast, because the military police were responsible for the detention operations.

So our assessment is that she did what she was asked to do in terms of improving intelligence activities, and we've seen significant results as a result of that. We do not have the evidence that would suggest that she was overlooking things that she should have. We also know that she spent a significant amount of time working not just with the combined joint task force but also with the Coalition Provisional Authority. What I can't tell you is if there's other things that Secretary Schlesinger's panel found that may have come from other sources that we don't know.

I would add to that the-and, first of all, she is the one that went back after the death of the one detainee in November and had surfaced later on-she is the one who went back to the agency and told them they will comply if they detained personnel in the military facilities. And so she was the catalyst for that. She was also the one to ensure that they investigated that incident, and it was properly handled; it did not get pushed aside. And I would tell you, and I-I had to be involved with the leadership above the 205th, and probably the two people that stand out-they're totally taxed with their duties, responsibilities, particularly in supporting the CPA and the Iraqi people-building the coalition, building the intelligence piece, and getting those reports that Senator Session talked about from tactical to a strategic and the reach-back capability in place because they didn't have the communication and didn't have the equipment or the personnel-the two people that stand out not only is Joe Sanchez but is General Fast. She did yeoman work in theater, and that was shown in, probably, her relationship with the coalition and the allies also.

GEN. FAY: Sir, just one point on your original question about some of the factual data, which is contained in the independent review by Dr. Schlesinger. There was one in the beginning of this report. He states that none of the abuses occurred during interrogations, and we found that there were 13 instances, and Dr. Schlesinger has corrected that in his statement to this committee.

GEN. KERN: And could I make a correction to what I was told-that General Fast was out of the country during the development of the policy memos. She was there when the ICRC report was given, but it was not given to her. It was given to General Karpinski.

SEN. PRYOR: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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