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STATEMENT OF MG GEOFFREY D. MILLER, USA, DEPUTY COMMANDER FOR DETAINEE OPERATIONS, MULTI-NATIONAL FORCE-IRAQ
General MILLER. Mr. Chairman, members of the committee, thank you for affording me this opportunity to appear this morning. While I have no opening statement, I do stand with the statements of General Abizaid and General Sanchez.
Chairman WARNER. Thank you very much.
STATEMENT OF COL MARC L. WARREN, STAFF JUDGE
Colonel WARREN. Mr. Chairman, I have no opening statement, but I would be happy to respond to any questions.
Chairman WARNER. Thank you very much.
We will have a 6-minute round and I advise the committee that, in consultation with General Abizaid and the ranking member, there will be a brief closed session following the open session, such that we can receive some classified material.
General Abizaid, what policies has CENTCOM established for the conduct of interrogations in detainee operations? When were these policies established? What allegations of abuse are you aware of that could have also occurred in Afghanistan? Are the policies being uniformly applied and enforced throughout your area of responsibility (AŎR)?
General ABIZAID. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
As I believe the Army has come over and discussed with the committee, the total number of detainee abuse cases that have been investigated since, I believe, the beginning of the conflict in Afghanistan is around 75. Of course, there are some death investigations, as well. We have homicide investigations that go back as far as December 2002 in Afghanistan that we absolutely have to move on and understand what happened there. We are working with the Army CID to understand that. But I believe the committee has the statistics on abuse.
Abuse has happened. Abuse has happened in Afghanistan, it has happened in Iraq, it has happened at various places. The question is, is there a systemic abuse problem with regard to interrogation that exists in the CENTCOM AOR?
Yesterday and I know the committee has not had a chance to review it yet-I did see the preliminary findings of a Department of the Army Inspector General (IG) investigation that talked about problems in training, problems in organization, very specific changes that will need to be made in doctrine, et cetera. I specifically asked the IG of the Army if he believed that there was a pattern of abuse of prisoners in the CENTCOM AOR. He looked at both Afghanistan and Iraq, and he said no. I sent my IG out in August of last year, asking him the same question, Are we treating people with dignity and respect?
Chairman WARNER. What findings did he report back when you sent him out in August?
General ABIZAID. He came back and said that we were struggling with the number of prisoners, we were struggling with the facili
ties, and we were struggling to, in particular, deal with criminal detainees that needed to go into an Iraqi criminal detention system that still did not exist.
Chairman WARNER. But he did not discover any of the evidence that is now being revealed about these abuses?
General ABIZAID. No, sir, he did not.
Chairman WARNER. All right. That is a direct answer.
Can you provide the committee, without violating UCMJ procedures, your own personal observations as to what you believe happened from the breakdown of the orders to General Sanchez, as clearly documented here this morning, and where it happened?
General ABIZAID. Sir, I think you know that Major General Fay is still conducting
Chairman WARNER. Yes.
General ABIZAID.—an investigation, and so I am not quite ready to say where I think all the breakdowns were. But it is clear that there were some breakdowns in procedures, in access, in standards of interrogation, in confusion between the roles of what the MI people were doing, versus the MPs. There was also, clearly, criminal misconduct that took place.
Chairman WARNER. All right.
General ABIZAID. The criminal misconduct is not the subject of any order or policy that I believe exists anywhere.
Chairman WARNER. There has been, of course, concern that the initial steps by the chain of command were directed at a group of enlisted people who are now subject to various forms of UCMJ accountability. Can you assure this committee that you will diligently pursue all evidence and-no matter how high up the chain, or sideways or down the chain-all persons will be brought forward, subject to the UCMJ?
General ABIZAID. Sir, I assure the committee that we will do that.
Chairman WARNER. Fine.
General ABIZAID. I can also assure the committee that I have been in this business a long time, and when General Sanchez called me up and told me, I think, probably within 24 hours of the evidence being handed to his CID people in Baghdad, he followed it up very shortly with a decision to suspend the entire chain of command, which is a pretty strong action that does not just focus at a low level. He initiated investigations and he moved ahead in a way that I thought was commendable.
Chairman WARNER. Do you feel that the UCMJ procedures and other regulations impeded, in any way, your responsibility to keep the civilian control structure back in Washington advised?
General ABIZAID. No, sir, it did not impede us. As always, we believe that we have to do everything possible to protect the evidence that is available to keep the investigatory information within investigatory channels, and that is what we tried to do.
Chairman WARNER. You tried to do that in a timely fashion.
Chairman WARNER. General Sanchez, on November 19 you directed that the commander of the 205th MI Brigade assume command of all units and operations in the Abu Ghraib prison. Why did you put MI in charge of the prison? In your view, did this new
command arrangement improve intelligence and detainee operations? What objections did General Karpinski, commander, have concerning the change in command responsibilities?
General SANCHEZ. Mr. Chairman, on November 19, I issued a Fragmentary Order that placed all elements at Abu Ghraib under the tactical control of Colonel Pappas, the 205th MI commander. The specific order stated that this was for forward-operating base (FOB) protection and for security of detainees. The context of the order was that we had been receiving significant amounts of direct and indirect fire, and, during the conduct of one my visits, I had found that force protection and the defensive planning of that FOB was seriously lacking, and I needed to get a senior commander in charge of the defense of that FOB, and that was the purpose of the order.
The order did not intend to eliminate any of the responsibilities of the 800th MP Commander, and that was a specific purpose for the tactical control (TACON). TACON placed the 320th under the 205th MI Brigade Commander, and what that does-specifically, it gives the MI brigade commander authority to conduct local direction and control of movements or maneuvers to accomplish the mission at hand. All of the other responsibilities for continuing to run the prison, for logistics, training, discipline, and the conduct of police-or, correction-of prison operations remained with the 800th MP Brigade Commander. There was never a time where General Karpinski surfaced to me any objections to that TACON order.
Chairman WARNER. Thank you.
General Abizaid, you have, quite properly, advised this committee this morning that you are fighting a war. This responsibility, occasioned by these abuses, has taken a measure of your time, but you have continued, and your troops have performed bravely.
Here is the question I put to you, eliciting your professional and personal view: Is the scheduled change of limited sovereignty on July 1 consistent and achievable, in your judgement, given the security situation?
General ABIZAID. Mr. Chairman, it is achievable, but it needs to emerge soon as to who is going to be in charge, what their names are, where they are going to be, and what they are going to do.
Chairman WARNER. That is on the Iraqi side.
General ABIZAID. That is correct.
Chairman WARNER. It is clear on our side that we have a United States Ambassador in place to provide the security?
General ABIZAID. Sir, we are going to be there, no matter what. Chairman WARNER. Thank you.
Senator LEVIN. Thank you.
General Sanchez, your answer to Senator Warner about who was responsible for the MP units conducting detainee operations at that facility leaves me uncertain now, because General Taguba says that your order of November 19 effectively made the MI officer, rather than the MP officer, responsible for the MP units conducting detainee operations. That is a quote. Do you disagree with General Taguba, then, on that point?
General SANCHEZ. Senator, the purpose of the order was as described. It was to ensure that I had synchronized FOB defenses,
and that was the purpose for the TACON order that was issued to the MP unit at that installation.
Senator LEVIN. In addition to its purpose, though, General Taguba said that the MI officer then became responsible for the MP units conducting the operations. Do you differ with that?
General SANCHEZ. They were responsive to the MI officer for the specific purpose of defending the FOB, Senator.
Senator LEVIN. That did not, then, include conducting detainee interrogations.
General SANCHEZ. That is exactly right, sir. It did not include that.
Senator LEVIN. There is a difference there between you and General Taguba.
General SANCHEZ. Yes, sir.
Senator LEVIN. General Abizaid, in May 2003, the ICRC sent to the coalition forces a memorandum based on over 200 allegations of ill treatment of prisoners during capture and interrogation at collecting points, battle-group stations, and temporary holding areas, according to the ICRC report, which I am now reading. It said here that CENTCOM in Doha received this memorandum. I am wondering if, in fact, you remember receiving that memorandum and what action you took on it.
General ABIZAID. There are some ICRC reports, Senator, that we received. Which one are you talking about?
Senator LEVIN. May 2003.
General ABIZAID. I know that the May 2003 report was received at our headquarters, that is correct.
Senator LEVIN. What action do you remember taking?
General ABIZAID. I was the deputy commander at the time. I know that we discussed the report, we sent it forward to the Coalition Forces Land Component Commander, General McKiernan, and we asked for his take on it.
Senator LEVIN. Did you receive a report from him, do you remember?
General ABIZAID. I do not believe we received a report in writing. I do not recall having a lot to do with this particular report, or paying much attention to it.
Senator LEVIN. Perhaps you could check your records and supply to the committee any documents relative to that.
General ABIZAID. I will, sir.
[The information referred to follows:]
CENTCOM was unable to locate the requested document. A memo is attached ex
MEMORANDUM FOR CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEE
SUBJECT: Combined Forces Land Component Command Response to
1. During the SASC hearings on 19 May 2004, Senator Levin requested that Commander, United States Central Command, supply the committee with any documents relative to a 12 May 2003 report made by the International Committee of the Red Cross.
2. A diligent and thorough search of records held at United States Central Command and Combined Forces Land Component Command revealed that neither command had any documents responsive to the report made by the International Committee of the Red Cross.
JOHN G. CASTELLAW
Senator LEVIN. In early July, according to the ICRC, they sent to the coalition forces a working paper detailing approximately 50 allegations of ill treatment in the MI section of Camp Cropper. This, according to their report, set forth requiring or using stress positions for 3 or 4 hours, physical hits, prolonged exposure to sun, and a number of other allegations. Can you tell us whether the early July ICRC report was received at headquarters?
General ABIZAID. No, and we have a real problem with ICRC reports and the way that they are handled and the way that they move up and down the chain of command. For example, the February report of 2004, I first read in May.
Senator LEVIN. But relative to the early July report
General ABIZAID. I will not make any excuses for it, Senator. I will just say that we do not all see them. Sometimes it works at a lower level. Sometimes commanders at the lowest level get the report, and they work on it confidentially. I think what we have to do is have a system, when there is something that comes to the attention at any level of command, that is not being worked through at the lower level, but that it surface all the way up through the chain of command. So we have a problem there that has to be fixed.
Senator LEVIN. Thank you.
General Sanchez, is there a record of the ICRC working paper