« PreviousContinue »
CONTINUE TO RECEIVE TESTIMONY ON ALLEGATIONS OF MISTREATMENT OF IRAQI PRISONERS
TUESDAY, MAY 11, 2004
COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES,
The committee met, pursuant to notice, at 2:34 p.m. in room SD106, Dirksen Senate Office Building, Senator John Warner (chairman) presiding.
Committee members present: Senators Warner, McCain, Inhofe, Roberts, Allard, Sessions, Collins, Talent, Chambliss, Graham, Levin, Kennedy, Byrd, Lieberman, Reed, Akaka, Bill Nelson, E. Benjamin Nelson, Dayton, Clinton, and Pryor.
Committee staff member present: Judith A. Ansley, staff director. Majority staff members present: Charles W. Alsup, professional staff member; L. David Cherington, counsel; Elaine A. McCusker, professional staff member; Paula J. Philbin, professional staff member; Lynn F. Rusten, professional staff member; and Richard F. Walsh, counsel.
Minority staff members present: Richard D. DeBobes, Democratic staff director; Daniel J. Cox, Jr., professional staff member; Jeremy L. Hekhuis, professional staff member; Gerald J. Leeling, minority counsel; and William G.P. Monahan, minority counsel.
Staff assistants present: Michael N. Berger, Andrew W. Florell, Sara R. Mareno, and Bridget E. Ward.
Committee members' assistants present: Christopher J. Paul, assistant to Senator McCain; John A. Bonsell, assistant to Senator Inhofe; Darren M. Dick, assistant to Senator Roberts; Lance Landry, assistant to Senator Allard; Derek J. Maurer, assistant to Senator Collins; Clyde A. Taylor IV, assistant to Senator Chambliss; Meredith Moseley, assistant to Senator Graham; Mieke Y. Eoyang, assistant to Senator Kennedy; Erik Raven, assistant to Senator Byrd; Frederick M. Downey, assistant to Senator Lieberman; Elizabeth King, assistant to Senator Reed; Davelyn Noelani Kalipi, assistant to Senator Akaka; Eric Pierce, assistant to Senator Ben Nelson; Andrew Shapiro, assistant to Senator Clinton; and Terri Glaze and Randy Massanelli, assistants to Senator Pryor.
OPENING STATEMENT OF SENATOR JOHN WARNER,
Chairman WARNER. Good afternoon. The Armed Services Committee reconvenes for a second panel to resume our hearing, a series of hearings regarding the mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners by some elements and certain personnel, few in number, I hope, of our Armed Forces, in violation of the United States Constitution and laws and international laws.
Testifying before us are Lieutenant General Keith B. Alexander, Deputy Chief of Staff, G-2, United States Army-General Alexander is the senior intelligence officer in the Army; Major General Ronald L. Burgess, Director for Intelligence, J-2, Joint Staff; and Major General Thomas J. Romig, Judge Advocate General (JAG) for the United States Army.
We're privileged to have you here. I thank you, Secretary Rumsfeld, and the Acting Secretary of the Army, Les Brownlee, for facilitating your presence here today.
Senator Levin, you can make any comments you want.
STATEMENT OF SENATOR CARL LEVIN
Senator LEVIN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Let me add my welcome to our three witnesses this afternoon. We all appreciate their appearing before us.
This morning, General Taguba agreed with the conclusion of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), based on the evidence presented to him, that coercive practices, such as holding prisoners naked for an extended period of time, were a systematic part of the intelligence process at Abu Ghraib.
Additionally, we heard from Under Secretary Cambone that stressful and harsh approaches, including sleep deprivation and use of dogs, could be approved by the commander. But that doesn't square with the statements by the witnesses that the Geneva Conventions provisions and principles were supposed to be followed, since they don't allow for such practices. For instance, Article 31 of the fourth Geneva Conventions states that "no physical or moral coercion shall be exercised against protected persons, in particular to obtain information from them or from third parties." I hope that our witnesses this afternoon will address, in great detail, that issue.
Finally, Mr. Cambone said this morning that one of General Miller's recommendations for Iraq was to dedicate and train a detention guard force, subordinate to an intelligence commander, who would set the conditions for successful interrogation. But General Taguba told us this morning that under Army doctrine that should not be the function of a guard force. So that is also an issue which I hope our witnesses will address, along with a multitude of other matters which I know are before this committee.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman WARNER. Thank you, Senator Levin.
Gentlemen, will you kindly stand and raise your right hands? [Witnesses sworn.]
General Alexander and other witnesses, I presume each of you has a brief opening statement. Your entire statements will be ad
If you will proceed, General Alexander.
STATEMENT OF LTG KEITH B. ALEXANDER, USA, DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF, G-2; ACCOMPANIED BY MG RONALD L. BURGESS, JR., USA, DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF, J-2; AND MG THOMAS J. ROMIG, USA, JUDGE ADVOCATE GENERAL
General ALEXANDER. Chairman Warner, Senator Levin, and members of the committee, on behalf of the men and women of the United States Army Intelligence, we appreciate the opportunity to appear before you today. With me today is Major General Ron Burgess, J-2, Joint Staff, and Major General Tom Romig, the JAG of the Army. I am making this statement on behalf of the three of us. First, let me assure you that we find the alleged abuses of detainees in Abu Ghraib prison, Iraq, totally reprehensible. Army Intelligence neither condones, nor tolerates, these actions. Furthermore, we would like to emphasize that Army Intelligence soldiers are trained to abide by the highest standards for the humane treatment of all personnel in the custody of our soldiers worldwide.
We conduct extensive legal training for all of our Army Intelligence professionals, especially interrogators, in the law of war and the provisions of the Geneva Conventions of 1949. Our training manuals specifically prohibit the abuse of detainees, and we ensure all of our soldiers trained as interrogators receive this training.
Geneva Conventions protocols are reinforced during each practical exercise. Sir, there are 12 practical exercises that the interrogators go through, each of those last 2 hours. An interrogator will flunk an exercise should he or she inadvertently violate a Geneva Accord.
The contemptible behavior of a few soldiers does not represent the professionalism, dedication, and compassion demonstrated by the majority of soldiers in Iraq. Commanders and soldiers at every level have the duty to respect and follow the established international laws of armed conflict, and to treat everyone, to include those within our military detention facilities, with dignity and decency in the same ways that we expect to be treated, as Americans. Those soldiers who mistreated or humiliated detainees will be brought to justice swiftly. Again, the Army does not condone or tolerate such behavior.
The allegations of misconduct at Abu Ghraib have hit at the very core values of our Nation, the Department of Defense (DOD), and the Army, causing us grave concern, and prompting a very focused and thorough review of these incidents. Senior leaders at all levels take every report seriously, and expect an extensive investigation of every allegation.
The Combined Joint Task Force-7 (CJTF-7) in Iraq has an ongoing investigation of allegations that intelligence soldiers were involved in the abuse of detainees in Abu Ghraib. This investigation, called a Procedure 15, is currently ongoing and being conducted by Major General Fay for Lieutenant General Sanchez, and will identify and report questionable intelligence activities that may have violated law, executive order, or presidential directive.
Army Intelligence will not tolerate soldiers who violate the dignity and rights of others, to include those whom we have detained. We remain steadfastly committed to dealing expeditiously with any
complaint or allegation of mistreatment, and to ensuring our commanders take appropriate action.
Sir, I would like to address a few issues that arose during this morning's testimony.
First, on the interrogation rules of engagement (ROE), we brought with us the rules of engagement that were in effect at the CJTF-7 in Iraq prior to October 2003. These rules are in compliance with the Geneva Conventions, and directly stem from our interrogation manual, Field Manual (FM) 34-52. These are the rules that interrogation soldiers are trained on at Fort Huachuca. In addition, contractors were to read and sign that they understood these rules.
Second, in the timing of events, the ICRC reports cover periods from March 2003 through the end of 2003, and perhaps into 2004. They visited Abu Ghraib, we know for sure, in October 2003, on the 11th and 12th, and again on the 23rd, and conducted a series of interviews with detainees. That report, as Major General Taguba stated, was given to Brigadier General Karpinski to respond, and she provided her response on the 24th of December 2003. A formal report was produced in February 2004. Important to note is, many of the problems that were identified during that time period were prior to the issue of when the military intelligence (MI) brigade took over, on 19 November 2003.
Chairman WARNER. Did you personally get copies of those reports?
General ALEXANDER. Sir, I got copies of those reports this week. I did not get those last year. No, I did not.
Sir, reference tactical control (TACON), my understanding, in discussions with General Sanchez, was that the military police (MP) would remain in charge of detainee operations, but he needed Colonel Pappas to take over force protection and the overall management of the forward operating base (FOB) at Abu Ghraib and kick off many of the initiatives he wanted accomplished to upgrade the facility. However, this is a key issue, and I would recommend that we take this for the record, from the Joint Staff to Central Command (CENTCOM).
Sir, I would like to briefly go over interrogation operations, because I think this gets to the key that we see a split between MI and MPs. I think we need to understand that. In my discussions with General Ryder, we do not have a split. There is a door at places, and there is openness at places, and I'd like to explain that. First, if you were to look at the general population for when prisoners of war (POW) come in there, that general population is seen most clearly by the MPs, and is screened by MI personnel who talk to the MPs on who are the key folks that are there. Sir, as you may expect, the MPs understand who are the ringleaders, who is the person who is in charge, and who are the key folks that may have intelligence value. It is a requirement in that phase that the MP and MI work closely together to develop and understand who are the high-value detainees.
The second step, isolating and getting those high-value detainees into the Joint Interrogation and Debriefing Center (JIDC), and looking at what goes on with those prisoners. The people who understand the environment that those prisoners are in day in and
day out, 24 hours a day, are the MPs, and the best way to understand that interrogation plan and the methods that the interrogator will use is the MP and the personnel who are around him, and that is one of the things that we need to have MP and MI talk about. Is this detainee or prisoner having a good day or bad? Has he been quiet, or has he been talking? What is the way to discuss this with him?
There is a gate, and that gates starts at the interrogation cell itself. That's where the MPs should not be involved, and that is the door that General Ryder talked about in my discussions with him. I think we need to be clear on that, because when we talk about doors we give the inference that we mean, "No MPs over here, and no MI over there."
That is what General Miller found when he went over there. He found that the MPs and the MI were not talking enough together, so that we missed key people who ought to have been interrogated, and that we weren't making the best value of it.
Now, there's another part of this that I need to walk through, and that is how we develop the interrogation plan. Because, sir, this is not something that we just say, "Okay, bring 'em in. What are we going to do?" We develop an interrogation plan. In that plan, we look at the prisoner. What do we want to get from this prisoner? What are the approaches, the techniques to be used? Sir, those techniques, again, are in our FM 34-52, and are in the ROE that I talked about. What are the questions to be asked? What do we learn?
That interrogation plan is to be approved by the chain of command. Then, from that, we get an interrogation report that comes out, the information that was received during that interrogation. The leaders review and approve both of those parts of that plan. All of that stems from the priority intelligence requirements that the theater, the divisions, and the brigades have.
Sir, in early August, I went over to Iraq. One of the things that I found, in talking with the division commanders and the brigade commanders and CJTF-7, is that the flow of information that Dr. Cambone talked about, was not getting back to the units that apprehended these people. There was a problem. That flow of information-so if they grabbed a prisoner, the information on what that prisoner had that could have been useful for that brigade, the interrogation reports, were not getting there. That's important to saving soldiers' lives.
That was one of the key things that we were trying to fix. How do you get, when you consolidate all the prisoners from Iraq at one facility, information that goes back to 4th Infantry Division to this brigade to say, "This is the guy who fired the improvised explosive device, and he's part of this network." If it does not get there, we are not going to stop those attacks, and we're going to have soldiers killed. That was one of the things that we were looking at.
Chairman WARNER. Did you visit the prison and look at that? General ALEXANDER. Sir, at the time I was there I got there in early August-Abu Ghraib was not yet stood up. Abu Ghraib was in the phases of getting the prison stood up. The engineers were there, so it was not stood up. There were not prisoners at Abu Ghraib at that time. I have not been back to Iraq since August, sir.