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RED CROSS VISITS TO ABU GHRAIB
5. Senator LEVIN. General Myers and General Smith, the ICRC report of February 2004 states that the ICRC was aware of abuses at Abu Ghraib prison for months prior to the period covered by General Taguba's investigation and had repeatedly asked U.S. authorities to take corrective action. What was the extent of the ICRC's access to the facilities at Abu Ghraib? Did it include the part of the facility where the abuses depicted in the photos are alleged to have occurred?
General MYERS and General SMITH. The ICRC Summary Report of February 2004 refers to an ICRC visit to the Abu Ghraib Correctional Facility conducted in October 2003, during the same period that many of the alleged abuses occurred. A written report related to the October 2003 visit was provided to CJTF-7 Staff Judge Advocate's office in November 2003. Both ICRC reports provide indications of detainee abuse, however, not to the extent depicted in the photographs. The CJTF-7 Staff Judge Advocate Office circulated the November report among relevant commands and staffs, proposed a draft response and, following discussions and meetings with leadership of the military intelligence and military police units involved, forwarded
the draft document to the 800th Military Police BDE. A written response to the ICRC was signed by the Commander, 800th Military Police Brigade in December 2003 and delivered to the ICRC. A staff action plan was implemented for the next ICRC visit to Abu Ghraib in January 2004. During the October visit to Abu Ghraib and in subsequent visits, ICRC representatives did have access to the part of the prison where the abuses are alleged to have occurred.
6. Senator LEVIN. General Myers and General Smith, what specific steps were taken to correct the situation at Abu Ghraib in response to these ICRC requests? General MYERS and General SMITH. The longstanding arrangement between the ICRC and the Department of Defense is that issues are discussed and resolved at the local level or at the lowest practicable level of command. At Abu Ghraib, the lowest practicable level of command would have been the 800 Military Police Brigade and 205 Military Intelligence Brigade, overseen by CJTF-7. Following receipt of the November ICRC report, a staff action plan was developed. Improvements in detention conditions were made by the commands following the October 2003 visit as noted by the ICRC in a subsequent visit in January 2004. Since January 2004, the Department of Defense has initiated numerous investigations regarding the treatment of detainees and instituted changes at every level to ensure improved conditions of detention facilities and appropriate treatment of detainees.
Included in these initiatives are significant organizational and policy changes. The Office of the Secretary of Defense has established an office, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Detainee Affairs, which focuses on worldwide detainee operations. The Joint Staff has also expanded staff organizational responsibilities. As a result of a policy change, reports from the ICRC are forwarded expeditiously by commands to the Department of Defense, reviewed by these staffs and significant issues are brought to the attention of the leadership.
7. Senator LEVIN. General Myers and General Smith, there are reports of "ghost detainees" who were moved around within the facility in order to conceal them from ICRC_inspection teams. Have you investigated these reports, and if so, what were your findings?
General MYERS and General SMITH. The allegations were investigated and other investigations are ongoing. Apparently there existed a practice in the fall of 2003 of allowing Other Government Agencies (OGA) to drop off detainees for up to a 72hour hold without being processed and issued Internee Security Numbers (ISN) in accordance with Army and CJTF-7 procedures. CJTF-7 learned of this practice in early January 2004 and stopped it.
In other instances, the OGA detainees were in-processed and registered with the ICRC. Reports received indicate that ICRC representatives observed these detainees in cells marked with their Geneva Conventions status. The ICRC was not allowed to meet with certain detainees during visits because they were being interrogated. Under provisions of the Geneva Conventions, detainees may be held for a reasonable period of time without registering them with the ICRC for military necessity. This may include the time required to process detainees from point of capture to a detention facility.
All detainees currently in the custody of the Department of Defense have been registered with the ICRC.
8. Senator LEVIN. General Myers and General Smith, the ICRC told the Department of Defense (DOD) of the alleged abuses at Abu Ghraib months before a U.S. soldier notified his superiors in January of this year. What steps were taken to investigate, verify, address, or stop the abuses detailed by the ICRC?
General MYERS and General SMITH. An ICRC visit to the Abu Ghraib Correctional Facility was conducted in October 2003. A written report related to the October 2003 visit was provided to the CJTF-7 Staff Judge Advocate's office in November 2003. This ICRC report provided indications of detainee abuse, however, not to the extent depicted in the photographs. CJTF-7, the 800th Military Police Brigade and the 205th Military Intelligence Brigade staffed the report locally. Corrective actions were taken as noted by the ICRC during the January 2004 visit. I am not aware of any other reporting of ICRC findings to Department of Defense officials. To ensure visibility above the local level, the Department of Defense has implemented a policy that requires ICRC reports to be forwarded higher.
9. Senator LEVIN. General Myers and General Smith, other than Brigadier General Karpinski, was anyone else within DOD, the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), or other Federal agencies briefed about the abuses, detailed by the ICRC, at Abu Ghraib? Who were they and when were they briefed?
General MYERS and General SMITH. The November 2003 ICRC report gave indications of detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib, but not to the level of abuse later revealed in the photographs. General Abizaid notified me on 13 January 2003 of the allegations of abuse at Abu Ghraib reported by a soldier in the 372d Military Police Company. I don't recall an ICRC report being mentioned during that conversation. I am not aware of briefings concerning the November ICRC report being conducted within the Department of Defense or any other Federal agency until after the investigation into the alleged abuses was opened in January.
10. Senator LEVIN. General Myers and General Smith, which senior administration officials have received the reports by the ICRC detailing abusive behavior at U.S. detention facilities in Iraq? When did they receive such reports? What actions were taken in response to such reports?
General MYERS and General SMITH. I personally was not provided copies or summaries of any ICRC reports detailing abusive behavior at U.S. detention facilities in Iraq. The ICRC generally provides working papers, reports, and observations to the lowest level organization that the ICRC believes can resolve the issues. In Iraq, the ICRC reports were provided to the detention facility visited, to the CJTF-7 staff, or in at least one instance to the CPA. The ICRC does not provide reports to the Joint Staff. The ICRC may on occasion provide information to the Department of State or to the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD). I am not aware of any senior officials in OSD, or in any other Federal agency, who may have received ICRC reports detailing abusive behavior at U.S. detention facilities in Iraq.
11. Senator LEVIN. General Myers, USA Today reports that on January 13, 2004, General Abizaid made a phone call to you in which he “described the allegation of mistreatment" and told you about the pictures, saying 'here's what basically the pictures might show.' Is this an accurate accounting of this conversation?
General MYERS. Yes, it is accurate. The CENTCOM chain of command immediately recognized the significance of the allegations of abuse at Abu Ghraib. Determined to take proper action, a criminal investigation was immediately initiated and the matter was reported to the chain of command. General Abizaid contacted me telephonically and informed me that a soldier had reported the abuse. As I recall, he also informed me that the soldier provided photos of abusive acts that were significant, although I do not believe the acts depicted in the photos were precisely described. General Abizaid further informed me that the Criminal Investigation Division (CID) was investigating the report and that LTG Sanchez would direct a separate investigation into the matter.
12. Senator LEVIN. General Myers, at the hearing you said that you had meetings starting in January 2004, including with Secretary Rumsfeld, in which you discussed the detainee abuse situation at Abu Ghraib, and that you understood at that time the potential damage of the problem, and of photos you were aware of. Please provide the dates of the meetings you had at which you discussed this detainee abuse problem, and whether you discussed the photos and the potential for this issue to cause damage. When did you plan on informing the relevant congressional committees about this matter?
General MYERS. In January 2004, General Abizaid informed me of the allegations of abuse and the nature of the photographs. Subsequently, various meetings were held with the Secretary of Defense in January, February, and March, and a meeting with the President, Secretary Rumsfeld, and Vice Chairman Pace was held in midApril. The abuse issue was one of many topics mentioned at these meetings. While we were advised of the allegations, we had not seen the photos. We were aware that reports of detainee abuse could potentially affect the world's opinion of the United States and impact our forces in Iraq, especially at a time when former regime elements had increased the tempo of their attacks. We were also aware that public discussion of the investigations into these allegations by senior leaders could be interpreted as direction or pressure for a certain outcome in these cases. It was our intent to provide information to the relevant congressional committees about this matter once the investigations were complete, the chain of command had the opportunity to make decisions, and we had sufficient information to release to the committees. This plan was preempted by unauthorized release of the photographs and Major General Taguba's report. As I stated in my 7 May testimony, we could have done a better job of informing Congress of the situation and the existence of the
NUMBER OF INVESTIGATIONS
13. Senator LEVIN. Secretary Rumsfeld, during the week of May 3, General Casey, the Army Vice Chief of Staff, said that there were some 35 investigations under way relating to detainee abuses or deaths or similar allegations. On May 11, General Romig testified that the Army was tracking some 83 different detainee abuse cases in Iraq and Afghanistan. As of today, how many cases of abuses have been reported and how many investigations have been initiated? How many relate to abuse, and how many relate to deaths?
Secretary RUMSFELD. As of 7 May, a total of 56 cases of abuse had been reported and were being investigated. Of these 56 cases, 33 involve allegations of abuse and 23 involve deaths. These numbers will almost certainly change as more information becomes available and we will continue to brief the committee as additional findings arise.
14. Senator LEVIN. Secretary Rumsfeld, how many people are under investigation in these cases? Is it more than the ones identified in the Taguba Report?
Secretary RUMSFELD. As of 7 May, a total of 122 people were under investigation in the 56 detainee abuse and death investigations. It is believed this number exceeds the number of individuals identified in the Taguba Report.
15. Senator LEVIN. Secretary Rumsfeld, given the apparently large number of investigations, and based on the Taguba Report, this appears to be a systemic problem. Do you agree?
Secretary RUMSFELD. The Department of the Army Inspector General, after completing his inspection of detainee operations, concluded that the abuse of detainees does not appear to be a systemic problem. This conclusion was shared by the Schlesinger Panel, which noted that there was no “policy of abuse” at Abu Ghraib. This conclusion is also consistent with the findings of the Fay Report. We have other investigations in progress and will continue to brief the committee on additional findings.
CLASSIFICATION OF THE TAGUBA REPORT
16. Senator LEVIN. Secretary Rumsfeld, the DOD has classified the Taguba Report. I have concerns about how this process was conducted. Why is the section detailing abuses classified while the names of the alleged perpetrators were not?
Secretary RUMSFELD. In preparing his report, I am advised that General Taguba relied upon material marked classified as sources of information. Under established classification guidance, General Taguba was required to carry that classification forward on all statements in his report that were derived from this source material. Additionally, his entire report is required to be marked at the highest classification level of any material in it. Consequently, while most portions of General Taguba's report were marked unclassified, the entire report was marked Secret NOFORŇ. We have, however, released large portions of that report and the several others that followed.
17. Senator LEVIN. Secretary Rumsfeld, Section 1.7 of Executive Order 12958 states: "In no case shall information be classified in order to . . . conceal violations of law [or to] prevent embarrassment to a person, organization, or agency." What was the justification for classifying some of the report and not the portions naming the alleged perpetrators? Who was involved in the classification process and how was their decision reached? Do you believe that it was appropriate given the nature and content of the report?
Secretary RUMSFELD. See answer above.
READING OF THE TAGUBA REPORT
18. Senator LEVIN. General Myers, you testified that you had discussed the prisoner abuse issue with Secretary Rumsfeld in January. You called CBS in early April to request that they delay broadcast of the photos showing the abuse, which they did. Yet a week after CBS had broadcast the photos, you had still not read the Taguba Report, even though it had been completed in March. Given that you knew of the abuse problem in January, and you knew in early April that release of the photos could cause serious problems, why did you not read the Taguba Report as