SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
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[H.A.S.C. No. 10828]
OPERATIONS AND RECONSTRUCTION EFFORTS IN IRAQ
COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED EIGHTH CONGRESS
MAY 7, 2004
HOUSE COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
One Hundred Eighth Congress
DUNCAN HUNTER, California, Chairman
Page 2 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCCURT WELDON, Pennsylvania
JOEL HEFLEY, Colorado
JIM SAXTON, New Jersey
JOHN M. McHUGH, New York
TERRY EVERETT, Alabama
ROSCOE G. BARTLETT, Maryland
HOWARD P. ''BUCK'' McKEON, California
MAC THORNBERRY, Texas
JOHN N. HOSTETTLER, Indiana
WALTER B. JONES, North Carolina
JIM RYUN, Kansas
JIM GIBBONS, Nevada
ROBIN HAYES, North Carolina
HEATHER WILSON, New Mexico
KEN CALVERT, California
ROB SIMMONS, Connecticut
JO ANN DAVIS, Virginia
ED SCHROCK, Virginia
W. TODD AKIN, Missouri
J. RANDY FORBES, Virginia
JEFF MILLER, Florida
JOE WILSON, South Carolina
FRANK A. LoBIONDO, New Jersey
TOM COLE, Oklahoma
JEB BRADLEY, New Hampshire
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCROB BISHOP, Utah
MICHAEL TURNER, Ohio
JOHN KLINE, Minnesota
CANDICE S. MILLER, Michigan
PHIL GINGREY, Georgia
MIKE ROGERS, Alabama
TRENT FRANKS, Arizona
IKE SKELTON, Missouri
JOHN SPRATT, South Carolina
SOLOMON P. ORTIZ, Texas
LANE EVANS, Illinois
GENE TAYLOR, Mississippi
NEIL ABERCROMBIE, Hawaii
MARTY MEEHAN, Massachusetts
SILVESTRE REYES, Texas
VIC SNYDER, Arkansas
JIM TURNER, Texas
ADAM SMITH, Washington
LORETTA SANCHEZ, California
MIKE McINTYRE, North Carolina
CIRO D. RODRIGUEZ, Texas
ELLEN O. TAUSCHER, California
ROBERT A. BRADY, Pennsylvania
BARON P. HILL, Indiana
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCJOHN B. LARSON, Connecticut
SUSAN A. DAVIS, California
JAMES R. LANGEVIN, Rhode Island
STEVE ISRAEL, New York
RICK LARSEN, Washington
JIM COOPER, Tennessee
JIM MARSHALL, Georgia
KENDRICK B. MEEK, Florida
MADELEINE Z. BORDALLO, Guam
RODNEY ALEXANDER, Louisiana
TIM RYAN, Ohio
Robert S. Rangel, Staff Director
James M. Lariviere, Professional Staff Member
Justin Bernier, Research Assistant
C O N T E N T S
CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF HEARINGS
Friday, May 7, 2004, The Ongoing Investigation into the Abuse of Prisoners within the Central Command Area of Responsibility
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Friday, May 7, 2004
FRIDAY, MAY 7, 2004
THE ONGOING INVESTIGATION INTO THE ABUSE OF PRISONERS WITHIN THE CENTRAL COMMAND AREA OF RESPONSIBILITY
STATEMENTS PRESENTED BY MEMBERS OF CONGRESS
Hunter, Hon. Duncan, a Representative from California, Chairman, Committee on Armed Services
Skelton, Hon. Ike, a Representative from Missouri, Ranking Member, Committee on Armed Services
Brownlee, Hon. Les, Acting Secretary of the Army
Myers, Gen. Richard B., USAF, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Rumsfeld, Hon. Donald H., Secretary of Defense
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Schoomaker, Gen. Peter J., USA, Chief of Staff of the Army
Smith, Lt. Gen. Lance L., Deputy Commander, Central Command
[The Prepared Statements can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Hunter, Hon. Duncan
Skelton, Hon. Ike
DOCUMENTS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
[There were no Documents submitted.]
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS SUBMITTED FOR THE RECORD:
[There were no Questions and Answers.]
THE ONGOING INVESTIGATION INTO THE ABUSE OF PRISONERS WITHIN THE CENTRAL COMMAND AREA OF RESPONSIBILITY
House of Representatives,
Committee on Armed Services,
Washington, DC, Friday, May 7, 2004.
Page 7 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The committee met, pursuant to call, at 3 p.m., in room 2118, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Duncan Hunter (chairman of the committee) presiding.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. DUNCAN HUNTER, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM CALIFORNIA, CHAIRMAN, COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
The CHAIRMAN. The committee will come to order. We are here today for a simple reason. Last year, several members of the United States military disgraced the uniform. By abusing enemy detainees a handful of miscreants broke our laws, embarrassed our country and created an international incident. Unlike Saddam, who practiced such abuse and much worse as a matter of state policy, the United States does not tolerate that kind of behavior. The military will bring the guilty to justice just as surely as Saddam could not escape accountability for his crime. I know that because I know this Secretary and the leadership team that he and the President have created for the Department of Defense (DOD).
We are engaged in a complex and global war on terror and are operating against terrorists in two major theaters. We need to judge the Department's leadership on its performance in that war, not on its public relations skills or the frequency with which a few egos on Capitol Hill get bruised. And in that area the Secretary and his colleagues have consistently demonstrated excellent management skills and superior military judgment.
Today, some people with 20/20 hindsight ask why the Secretary didn't drop everything to personally investigate the abuses when they were first reported in January. That is bad and irresponsible advice. It is immensely more important that the Secretary of Defense focus on defeating our enemies, particularly when investigators in Iraq were already conducting a massive comprehensive and swift investigation that has already resulted in six people being charged with criminal offenses under the Code of Military Justice.
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Simply put, the wheels of military justice are already moving, and we all know they turn much faster than our civilian courts. Even as we condemn the brutal acts of a few, we must remember that their behavior is isolated. The vast majority of American soldiers are serving their country honorably, professionally and in many cases heroically. Take for example, Gunnery Sergeant Jeffrey Bohr Jr., United States Marine Corps. While those abuses were taking place by a handful of people in that prison, Sergeant Bohr, Gunny Sargent Bohr, while serving in company A, first battalion fifth marine regiment in the First Marine division, volunteered to join an armored resupply convoy with its two soft skin vehicles.
According to the Navy, while moving through narrow streets toward the objective, the convoy took intense small arms and rocket propelled grenade fire. Through his movement Gunny Sergeant Bohr delivered accurate effective fire on the enemy while encouraging his Marines and supplying critical information to his company commander. The upshot was that Gunnery Sergeant Bohr protected his wounded Marines, laying down suppressive fire until he himself was mortally wounded by enemy fire. I offer that citation and the citation for the silver star, which was posthumously awarded to Gunnery Sergeant Bohr, not because it is isolated, but because that kind of heroism was and is widespread among the 135,000 Americans serving honorably in Iraq.
And I wanted to just make sure in this wave of publicity that has attended this massive focus on the six individuals who so far have been identified as having possibly committed criminal acts, that the vast majority of honorable and courageous soldiers fighting in that theater are not getting the attention and not getting the publicity that these few are. And I think it is important for us to keep this in perspective. In fact, over 300,000 people have served in the theater since the war started last year. And altogether, they have earned more than 3,767 purple hearts, four distinguished service crosses, 127 silver stars and 16,000 bronze stars.
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But there is more to our soldiers than just courage in battle. Today's military is also the most humane force in the history of the world. It is in Iraq to defeat tyranny, not to occupy another country. And it is rebuilding that country while fighting terrorists. Already in Iraq the coalition has completed over 20,000 reconstruction projects, restored electricity production higher than pre-war levels, rebuilt an oil industry that will help Iraqis build a better future and increased public health spending by a factor of 30. In every one of those areas, the men and women of our Armed Forces have had a major hand. Now, some people want to ignore these facts and focus solely on the immoral and illegal acts of a few. That is exactly what our enemies want, to portray the United States as a great Satan and to tar all of our soldiers with the reprehensible actions of a very few people.
Some tried to do that in Vietnam. We must not let it happen today. To focus solely on the abuses while downplaying the incredible accomplishments would be to create an injustice against our people who are serving honorably with the distinction and professionalism we have all come to expect from them. We are all outraged by what happened. I am sure that nobody in this room is angrier than our witnesses. Gentlemen, we will look forward to hearing how the Department of Defense is ensuring that the guilty parties are identified and brought to justice. I have every confidence in your commitment to that outcome and your continued leadership of our war effort. The American people could not ask for a better team.
And Mr. Secretary, while we have been concentrating on these actions in this criminal investigation and prosecution of some six individuals, I am reminded that you have some 2.5 million individuals that you have oversight over. You have forces around the world on every continent. You have two major wars in which you have just completed the biggest redeployment of forces, I believe, since World War II. You have reformed and reshaped the 750,000-man civil service department of the United States, and you have a $400 billion plus defense budget that you are currently working with us on to try to make sure that the people in uniform have the very best in equipment. You have a very big job. You have the biggest piece of the discretionary budget of the United States. And in my opinion, you are doing a very good job at managing our military in the war on terror.
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So we look forward to your testimony. I know this is a difficult time, a painful time and a difficult issue. But I think we are going to work through it and out of thisout of this week and the work that you have been doing over the last several weeks and that thethis Congress and this Armed Services Committee, of which I am very proud have been working on and putting this new budget together, we are going to move forward in the next several months and make great strides, both in Iraq in Afghanistan and in the war on terror. So we look forward to your statement. And I would like to now turn to my colleague, my great partner in this committee, the gentleman from Missouri, Mr. Skelton, for any remarks he would like to make.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Hunter can be viewed in the hard copy.]
STATEMENT OF HON. IKE SKELTON, A REPRESENTATIVE FROM MISSOURI, RANKING MEMBER, COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Chairman, thank you. And thank you gentlemen for appearing before us. We have some very difficult questions because this is a very serious and very disturbing matter. And Mr. Chairman, let me thank you for holding this hearing. But I also want to express my strong conviction that this must be the first of many hearings on this subject. These appalling revelations have done incalculable damage to our Nation's representation and to our military, and one hearing, however important as it is, will not suffice. For that reason I believe strongly, and I say here at the outset, that we must hold independent congressional investigations into these abuses and into the command atmosphere that permitted them to occur. Mr. Secretary, I have read your testimony.
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And I am pleased that you will be appointing senior former officers to look into the sufficiency of the current ongoing investigations. But this is not enough. Congress, having not been informed, must now be involved. Oversight of the Department of Defense, the military, is this committee's most important role. We must find out what happened and how far up it goes. To do this we need staff investigations. We need to get out into the field. Second-hand information is not sufficient. Mr. Chairman, I have never before been sadder or more disappointed. Each of us and every American have been horrified by the images we have seen and the stories we have heard in the last week from the Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad. The individuals who committed these shameful acts forgot that they were soldiers. They also forgot that the middle name of the American soldier is honor.
We deplore and condemn the abuse of those in the custody of the United States in Iraq. I am reminded of my conversation with the late historian, Steven Ambrose at a small breakfast in my office a few years ago. When asked what Americawhat makes America so great and so unique, he said that while Russia had a hearty workforce and great natural resources, they did not have a George Washington, John Adams, a Thomas Jefferson, a James Madison or the values they established. The actions taken by the soldiers at Abu Ghraib do not reflect the values of Americans. And the Iraqi people must understand that. If they don't, this incident could well become the tipping point for our entire effort to bring security and reconstruction to Iraq.
If we lose the trust of the Iraqi people, if we lose their hearts and minds, we cannot bring anything else effectively. We must win back this trust. The safety of our troops, Iraq's future depends on it. Abu Ghraib, once a chamber of horrors under Saddam Hussein, has become a chamber of indignities under the American military. It must be bulldozed to the ground to symbolize a break with the past and a new beginning with the Iraqi people. Many more steps are needed, but we must start with this symbol. We must also bring all responsible to justice. I support general Schoomaker's and the appropriate military authorities efforts to complete thorough investigations and to bring anyone who committed crimes to justice. This must apply regardless of who committed the crimes, military personnel, personnel of other government agencies or private contractors.
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The Iraqi people must see us take swift strong fair action. We must also address the command and other systemic deficiencies that contribute to the abuse, and I believe that we will need some independent congressional investigation on that. But I have to say that there is another trust that sadly has been lost, and that is between the Department of Defense and Congress. The investigation in this matter has been ongoing since January. Now neither this committee, nor myself, and I don't believe Mr. Hunter was informed, despite numerous meetings.
And I don't consider a passing reference in a central command press release, which I never saw, to be adequate notification of a matter that has such serious implications for our efforts in Iraq or our role in the world. The Secretary was here last Wednesday briefing us on the situation in Iraq. And that very day, that was the day the story aired on 60 Minutes II. And nothing was said. I believe in the words of President John Kennedy, that an error does not become a mistake until you refuse to correct it.
Without debate, without criticism, no administration, and no country can succeed and no republic can survive. Mr. Chairman, these mistakes must be corrected for the sake of this Nation, for our standing in the world and for our success in Iraq, which all of us want. Mr. Secretary, I look forward to your statement as well as the other gentlemen. Thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Secretary, again, thanks for being with us today. The floor is yours, sir.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Skelton can be viewed in the hard copy.]
Page 13 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSTATEMENT OF HON. DONALD H. RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE
Secretary RUMSFELD. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for your statement. Members of the committee, Congressman Cunningham, I would request that my full statement be put in the record.
The CHAIRMAN. Without objection. In fact, all statements will be accepted for the record.
Secretary RUMSFELD. In recent days, there has been a good deal of discussion about who bears the responsibility for the terrible activities that took place at Abu Ghraib prison. These events occurred on my watch. As Secretary of Defense, I am accountable for them and I take full responsibility for them. It is my obligation to evaluate what happened, to make sure that those have committed wrongdoing are brought to justice, and to make changes as needed to see that it doesn't happen again. I feel terrible about what happened to these Iraqi detainees. They are human beings. They were in U.S. custody.
Our country had an obligation to treat them right, to treat them as human beings. We didn't do that. That was wrong. So to those Iraqis who were mistreated by the members of the U.S. Armed Forces, I offer my deepest apology. It was inconsistent with the values of our nation. It was un-American. Further, I deeply regret the damage that has been done, first to the reputation of the honorable men and women in the Armed Forces who are courageously and professionally and responsibly defending our freedom across the globe. They are truly wonderful human beings, and their families and their loved ones can be enormously proud.
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Second, to the President, the Congress and the American people, I wish we had been able to convey to them the gravity of this matter before we saw it in the media. And finally, to the reputation of our country. The photographic depictions of U.S. military personnel that the public has seen have offended and outraged everyone in the Department of Defense. If you could have seen the anguished faces and expressions on those in the Department upon seeing those photos, you would know how strongly and deeply we feel. We take this very seriously. It is important for the American people and the world to know that while these terrible acts were perpetuatedperpetrated by a small number of the military, they were also brought to light by the honorable and very responsible actions of other military personnel.
This was not some sort of a news media discovery. There are many who did their duty professionally, and we should mention that as well. First, Specialist Joseph Darby, who alerted the appropriate authority that abuses were occurring. Second, those in the military chain of command who acted promptly upon learning of those activities by initiating a series of investigations, criminal and administrative, to assure that the abuses have stopped, and to assure that the responsible chain of command was relieved and replaced. Having said that, all the facts that may be of interest are not yet in hand. In addition to the Taguba report, are other investigations underway and we will be discussing them today.
Because all of the facts are not in hand, there will be corrections and clarifications to the record as more information is learned. From the witnesses here, you will be told the sequence of events and investigations that have taken place since the activities first came to light. I want to inform you of the measures underway to improve our performance for the future. Before I do that, let me say that each of us at this table is either in the chain of command or in positions of senior responsibility in the Department. This means that anything we say publicly could have an impact on the legal proceedings against those accused of wrongdoing in this matter.
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So please understand that if some of our responses to questions are measured, it is to ensure that pending cases are not jeopardized by seeming to exert command influences and that the rights of any accused are properly protected.
Now, let me tell you the measures we are taking to deal with this issue. First, to ensure that we have a handle on the scope of the catastrophe I will be announcing today the appointment of several senior former officials who are being asked to examine the pace, the breadth, the scope, the thoroughness of the existing investigations and to determine whether additional studies investigations may be needed. They are being asked to report their findings within 45 days of taking up their duties. I am confident that these distinguished individuals will provide a full and fair assessment of what has been done thus far and recommend whether further steps may be appropriate.
Second, we need to review our habits and procedures. One of the things we have tried to do since September 11 is to get the Department to adjust its procedures to fit a time of war and to fit the information age, the 21st century. For the past 3 years, we have looked for areas where adjustments were needed. And regrettably we have now found still another area. Let me be clear. I failed to recognize how important it was to elevate a matter of such gravity to the highest levels, including the President and the leaders in Congress.
Third, I am seeking a way to provide appropriate compensation to those detainees who suffered such grievous and brutal abuse and cruelty at the hands of a few members of the U.S. military.
Page 16 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC It is the right thing to do. I wish we had known more sooner and been able to tell you more sooner. But we didn't. Today we have a full discussion of those terrible acts. But first let's take a step back for a moment. Within the constraints imposed on those of us in the chain of command, I want to say a few additional words. First, beyond the abuse of prisoners, there are other photos, many other photos that depict incidents of physical violence toward prisoners, acts that can only be described as blatantly sadistic, cruel and inhuman. And I am advised there also are videos of these actions. Second, there are many more photos that have not yet come to light. Congress and the American people and the rest of the world need to know this. In addition, the photos give these incidents a vividness, indeed a horror in the eyes of the world. Mr. Chairman, that is why this hearing today is important. And it is why the actions we take in the days and weeks ahead are so important.
Because, however terrible the setback, this also is an occasion to demonstrate to the world the difference between those who believe in democracy and in human rights and those who believe in rule by terrorism. We value human life. We believe in individual freedom and in the rule of law. And for those beliefs, we send men and women in the Armed Forces abroad to protect that right for our own people and to give millions of others who aren't Americans the hope of future freedom. Part of that mission, part of what we believe in is making sure that when wrongdoing or scandals do in fact occur, that they are not covered up, that they are exposed and that the guilty are brought to justice.
Mr. Chairman, I know you join me today in saying to the world, judge us by our actions. Watch how Americanswatch how democracy deals with wrongdoing and scandal, and the pain of acknowledging and correcting our own mistakes and indeed our own weaknesses. And then, after they have seen America in action, then ask those who teach resentment, who teach terrorism, who teach hatred of America if our behavior doesn't give the lie to the falsehood and the slander that they speak about our people and our way of life. Ask them if the resolve of Americans' in crisis and difficulty, and yes, in the heartbreak of acknowledging the evil in our midst, doesn't have meaning far beyond their hatred. Above all, ask them if the willingness of Americans to acknowledge their own failures before humanity doesn't light the world as surely as the great ideas and beliefs that first made this nation a beacon of hope and liberty to all who strive to be free.
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We know what the terrorists will do. We know that they try to exploit all that is bad and try to obscure all that is good. That is their nature. And this is the nature of those who think they can kill innocent men, women and children to gratify their own cruel will to power. We say to the world, we will strive to do our best, as imperfect as that may be.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. My colleagues have some comments that they would like to make.
The CHAIRMAN. Certainly.
[The prepared statement of Secretary Rumsfeld can be viewed in the hard copy.]
The CHAIRMAN. And General Myers or Secretary Brownlee, who wants to go first. General Myers.
STATEMENT OF GEN. RICHARD B. MYERS, CHAIRMAN, JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF, UNITED STATES AIR FORCE
General MYERS. Mr. Chairman, Congressman Skelton, I would like to express my very deep regrets at being here under these circumstances. The incidents of prisoner abuse that occurred at Abu Ghraib prison are absolutely appalling. The actions of those involved are unconscionable and absolutely unacceptable. Since Brigadier General Kimmett's public announcement of the allegations back in January, the commander's response to the problems highlighted in these investigations has been timely and thorough. And just as a backdrop, we must also realize that our commanders have been handling some enormous challenges in Iraq, including the increased fighting in Fallujah and al Najaf, and the temporary plus-up of troops, and the departure of the Spanish brigade at the same time that they were dealing with the conclusion of some of these reports.
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Despite these extraordinary events on the battlefield, our commanders did exactly the right thing in a timely manner. I have great confidence in them, as should the American public and every Iraqi citizen. I have been receiving regular updates since the situation developed. I have been involved in corrective actions and I have personally recommended specific steps.
Again, I am confident that the commanders are doing the right things. You know, one of the U.S. military's greatest strengths comes from the fact that we hold our servicemen and women accountable for their actions. Our military justice system works very well. And I took an oath to support the Constitution, and with that comes the responsibility to ensure that all military members enjoy the full protections of our Constitution, to include the due process of a fair judicial system. After all, it is the respect for the rule of law that we are trying to instill in places like Afghanistan and Iraq.
And as the Secretary said, we are now in the middle of a judicial process dealing with the detainee abuse. And because of my position, I have to be careful I don't say anything that can be interpreted as direction or pressure for a certain outcome in any of these cases. Moreover, I think we have to understand that a fair judicial system takes time to work, as the chairman said. And I know you all understand that.
No one is stalling or covering up information, but it is absolutely essential to protect the integrity of our system. I have complete confidence in the military justice system. The accused will receive due process and those found guilty will receive punishment based on their offenses. When I spoke to Dan Rather, with whom I already had a professional association, concerning the 60 Minutes II story, I did so after talking with General Abizaid and out of concern, as was he, for the lives of our troops. The story about the abuse was already public.
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But we were concerned that broadcasting the actual pictures would further inflame the tense situation that existed then in Iraq and further endanger the lives of coalition soldiers and hostages. Again, it is useful to remember the context here. It was the heaviest fighting since the end of major combat. Some 90 hostages taken. Very delicate situations we were trying to control in al Najaf, Alkut, Nasariyah and Fallujah. Since the story of the photographs were already public, I thought we were on good ground asking him to hold off airing the actual photos. As we are now seeing, the photos are having a very real and a very emotional worldwide impact. This situation, as has been said, is nothing less than tragic. The Iraqi people are trying to build a free and an open society. And I regret that they saw such a flagrant violation of the very principles that are the cornerstone of such a society.
I am also terribly saddened that the hundreds of thousands of service men and women who are serving or who have served so honorably in Iraq in Afghanistan and elsewhere would have their representation or our representations tarnished and their accomplishments diminished by those few who don't uphold our military's values. I know our service men and women are all suffering unfairly with the collective sense of shame over what happened. But their credibility will be restored day by day, as they interact with the Iraqi people. And I am confident that our dedicated service men and women will continue to prove worthy of the trust and respect of this nation and for that matter, the world.
We continue to be very proud of them. And as always, I thank you on their behalf for your steadfast support. Now let me refer to a chart over here which will help explain why I am so confident in our military chain of command. I will do this quickly. But it is important to get the facts on the table. The commander, Combined Joint Task Force7 (CJTF7)you may not be able to read it, but the first part is an officerbut the commander of the CJTF7, General Sanchez, back in August, said I want to look at our detention operations and our integration operations and he had athe provost marshal of the Army appointed to do that investigation. While that was going on, at the insistence of some of the folks here at the table, Major General Miller, who was then assigned to Guantanamo and responsible for detainee operations there and interrogations, we asked him to go over and look at this as well, primarily concerned that we were getting the intelligence, and that we were doing the interrogations right, that we got the intelligence analyzed properly and into the field and into the hands of those where it could make a difference either in saving lives or in wrapping up the enemy.
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You can see his look lasted about 10 days. Then General Ryder, on November, submits his report. He talked about facilities needing some upgrading, meeting minimal standards but needing upgrading; that we need Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) involvement because we have to have a court system in Iraq that can handle these detainees, with the civilian attorneys for the criminals, so they can be treated in an Iraqi court. That would need standardization of our practices and so forth. Actions were taken by General Sanchez on all of that.
Somewhere between October and December this abuse occurred. On 13 January, it was reported by the individual that the Secretary talked about. One day later, the Army criminal investigative division initiates a criminal investigation into these allegations. On 16 January, that's when General Kimmett went to the public. I don't know how many people saw that report, but he pretty much said what it was. We have got reports of abuse. There supposedly are pictures, and gave a general description of that abuse, a very general description. On 18 January, based on what the Criminal Investigation Division (CID), the Army's police, essentially had found, the battalion leadership was suspended, the battalion that was responsible for the folks at Abu Ghraib. On 19 January, having had some of the reports out of the Army CID, General Sanchez says we need an investigative officer to look at all our detention facilities under the command of the 800 Military Police (MP) brigade.
That turns out to be the Taguba report. You can see that he was appointed there on the 31 of January. At the same time, General Sanchez asked his inspector general (IG) to look at all detention facilities in Iraq, be they divisional facilities that were temporary in nature, whether they were coalition facilities, to look at them all. Taguba did his work. At that time, as we started to learn some of what was coming out of the Taguba report, we in Washington, and through Secretary Brownlee, asked the Army, or the Army asked their IG to look at doing a broader assessment across the theater about all detention ops and about all interrogations from A to Z. And that report, that investigation is ongoing.
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On 12 March at the outbrief, this was the interim out brief to General Sanchez, when he learned of the issue between the military police and the detainees, and possible military intelligence involvement in their behavior, he asked for another investigation to start, and that isthat was appointed you will see down there on 15 April where Major General Fay, I think he is the Deputy Army G2, was asked to look at the military intelligence piece of this to see if there was undue influence on the military police and to see how they were doing their job.
That investigation is underway, and I think it is several weeks from completion if it stays on track. The Taguba outbrief on 12 March was to get General Sanchez briefed. Then they went to General McKiernan, at 3rd Army or the combined forces, land component Commander, it says Coalition Forces Land Component Command (CFLCC) there, four lines up from the bottom of the chart, who was responsible for the investigation. And we have to remember that the Taguba investigation, the 156 investigation can result in administrative actions against personnel who are found to be wrong.
It can also result in people being relieved from duty and so forth. So it is a serious report. It can have serious repercussions on individuals in the military, and therefore when it got to the General McKiernan level, there had to be time for people that were named in this report to offer rebuttal. And so it is again, it is the process that happens to make sure people have theirthe judicial process works appropriately, and the investigative process. It was finally approved, as you can see there on 1 May. And General Sanchez took actions against some individuals, administrative actions at that time. I don't know that there could be a better way to handle this situation, a quicker way to handle this situation or a more thorough way from the chain of command. I am very proud of what General Abizaid, General Sanchez and General McKiernan and others in this chain did to look at the situation. Some of those investigations are still pending. Mr. Chairman, that completes my statement.
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[The prepared General Myers can be viewed in the hard copy.]
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much, General. Mr. Secretary, do you have a statement?
STATEMENT OF HON. LES BROWNLEE, ACTING SECRETARY OF THE ARMY
Secretary BROWNLEE. Chairman Hunter, Representative Skelton and distinguished members of the committee, I appreciate the opportunity to be here today to offer testimony on actions taken by the Army in response to the appalling abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. I join the Secretary of Defense in apologizing to those detainees who were so horribly abused there. Let me begin by outlining the range of investigations into detainee abuse. From December 2002 to present the criminal investigation command has conducted or is continuing to conduct investigations into 35 cases of abuse or death of detainees held in detention facilities in the central command theater.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Secretary, can you pull the mike up a little bit. Thank you.
Secretary BROWNLEE. Is that better?
The CHAIRMAN. Yes.
Page 23 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Secretary BROWNLEE. I am sorry, sir. 25 of these are death cases and 10 involve assaults. The CID investigates every death in our custody. Of the 25 death investigations, CID has determined that 12 deaths were due to natural or undetermined causes, one was justifiable homicide and two were homicides. The 10 remaining deaths are still under investigation. Additionally, 42 other potential cases of misconduct against civilians occurred outside detention facilities and are currently under investigation by the Army CID or other responsible units.
In coordination with the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs on 10 February 2004, I directed an inspector general of the Army to conduct a functional analysis of the Department's internment, enemy prisoners of war and detention policies practices and procedures. I directed this inspection to determine if there might be systemic problems relating to the planning doctrine or training in the detention facilities operating within the Central Command theater. Phase one of this assessment is oriented on current operations in the US Central Command (CENTCOM) area of responsibility with assessment team visits to 16 detention facilities.
Phase two of the IG assessment will encompass visits to detainee facilities worldwide including previously visited facilities, to ensure compliance to establish standards. Preliminary findings indicate that leaders and soldiers are aware of the requirement and expectation to treat detainees humanly, and that it is their duty to report incidents of abuse. To date, the majority of abuse cases indicate the underlying cause has been twofold; an individual failure to adhere to basic standards of discipline, training and Army values, and leadership failures to provide oversight and enforce standards. To date, the Army has taken numerous actions to improve the training for military police and military intelligence soldiers. The Army is retraining select MP soldiers to serve as correctional specialists. We have incorporated detainee lessons learned from operations in both Iraq and Afghanistan into the MP school curriculum and have deployed MP training teams to our combat training centers.
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In response to a request from the CJTF seven commander, the Army deployed integrated multi-discipline mobile training teams to oversee and conduct comprehensive training in all aspects of detainee and confinement operations in theater. Additionally, the chief of the Army Reserves has directed his inspector general to conduct a special assessment of training for Reserve personnel on the law of war, detainee treatment ethics and leadership. All Reserve Component (RC) Military Intelligence (MI) soldiers are now required to mobilize at the intelligence school at Fort Wachuka, so they can receive the latest instruction on tactical questioning before deployment. Finally, the Army is improving the training of military police and military intelligence personnel at our combat training centers by incorporating detainee holding situations into the tactical scenarios.
These improvements were initiated for the later deploying Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF II) units and will be fully implemented for all OIF III deploying units. The reported acts of detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib are tragic and disappointing, and they stand in sharp contrast to the values of our Army and the Nation it serves. For these incidents to reflect negatively on the courage, sacrifice and selfless service of the hundreds of thousands of dedicated men and women who have volunteered to serve our nation in uniform, would be a tragedy as well. Our soldiers, over 300,000 of whom are deployed in over 120 countries around the world, most in Iraq and Afghanistan, have provided the opportunity for freedom and democracy for over 46 million people who have never experienced it before, while at the same time, providing protection to the American people. Mr. Chairman, we will find out how and why this happened and ensure that those individuals determined to be responsible for these shameful and illegal acts of abuse are held accountable for their actions.
Page 25 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I appreciate this opportunity to appear before you today. I thank you and the members of this distinguished committee for your continuing support of the men and women in our Army and I will look forward to answering your questions.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Secretary, thank you.
[The prepared statement of Secretary Brownlee can be viewed in the hard copy.]
The CHAIRMAN. General Smith, did you have a statement?
General SMITH. No, sir, in the interest of time I will withhold.
The CHAIRMAN. Okay. General Schoomaker.
STATEMENT OF GEN. PETER J. SCHOOMAKER, CHIEF OF STAFF, U.S. ARMY
General SCHOOMAKER. Yes, sir. Chairman Hunter, Representative Skelton and distinguished members of the committee, as the Chief of Staff of the Army, I am the individual responsible for training and equipping soldiers and growing Army leaders. I am also responsible for providing ready and relevant land power capabilities to the combat commanders in the joint steam. Although not in the operational chain of command, I am responsible for our soldiers, training and readiness therefore, I take it personally when any of them fall short of our standards. To put it in perspective, what we are dealing with are actions of a few, as has been mentioned, conscious actions that are contrary to all that we stand for.
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This is not just a training issue. We have annual requirements for all soldiers to train to the legal, moral and ethical standards embodied in the Hague and Geneva convention and the laws of land warfare. But this is an issue that involves character and values. The seven values of the Army are: Loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage. These values are inculcated in our soldiers from the moment they enter the training base and go with them throughout. There is no question that the potential consequences of this situation are serious.
But we must not forget that these are few among a great many others who are serving with great honor and sacrifice. And I would just remind you, I know many of you have been to Walter Reed. I was with a young Bradley Lieutenant, Bradley platoon leader, a couple of weeks ago, wounded in the first week of April, who, as we speak, is on his new leg, getting ready to go back to Iraq. That is his objective, to join his platoon. I mean, these are the kind of people this Army's made of, our soldiers, sailors and marines. We have got to remember that we are talking about very few people that made some conscious decisions to act contrary to the values of this Army.
We must be careful how we proceed, as it will affect the morale and safety of the great majority of our soldiers who are meeting the standards and are daily placing themselves in harm's way. They too take this personally. I am reminded that in the report by major General Taguba he spoke of several soldiers and units who were challenged by the same set of demanding circumstances at the same places and they did what was right and did not partake in the kinds of acts that are being discussed. The inexcusable behavior of a few, is not representative of the courageous and compassionate performance of the overwhelming majority of our soldiers who serve with pride and honor. We are currently undergoing an extensive investigation of every allegation. The system works and will result in fairness and justice.
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We will also learn and we will adapt as we always have. Our Army has already taken corrective actions. Our soldiers are performing with distinction and I am proud of them all. I am proud to serve with them. We owe them our confidence. Our Army is taking this very seriously, and we will meet the standards that our Nation expects, as we have for 229 years. Thank you very much, sir.
[The prepared statement of General Shoomaker can be viewed in the hard copy.]
The CHAIRMAN. General, thank you for your statement and gentlemen, thank you all for your opening statements here. And I think the first question that anyone would have is what have we done on the ground in the prison system in Iraq to change the situation. When you have a problem like this, especially in a war theater, the response has always been and must always be to send the right officers and non-commissioned officers (NCO)s into the trouble spot and get it taken care of. So first question, what is being done in theater on the ground?
General SMITH. Sir, the first things that happened is, as was mentioned on the time board, immediately those in the leadership chain were suspended. And prior to that, those that werethe individuals that were under investigation were also suspended and were not allowed to be around any of the detainees. All of that happened within the first several days. Then the Taguba report, the investigation team was put together. And then as that was ongoing and they discovered things, they were fixed immediately on the spot, when able. Things like the Geneva Convention not being posted in both languages. Those were fixed. And then the long-term solution was to appoint a single individual for detainee operations which was Major General Jeff Miller, who was the commander at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (Gitmo) and to put both the military intelligence brigade and the MP brigade underneath him as a single organization responsible for detainee operations.
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He has gone in, implemented most of the Taguba recommendations and has taken many of the stuff he learned at Gitmo, many of the procedures, established standard operations procedures, and he is continuing with that effort today.
The CHAIRMAN. So the Taguba report made a number of recommendations. Are you satisfied that the key recommendations are being implemented right now?
General SMITH. Sir, theI would say 75 percent of the recommendations have already been implemented. And the ones that have not are either in the process of being implemented or being evaluated as to whether that is the best course or another course might be better.
The CHAIRMAN. Okay.
Secretary RUMSFELD. Okay. Point of interest. That is the Taguba report right there.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes. I have read it. But it has got a few basic recommendations. And the key recommendations I think, what this committee is concerned about, first of all, is where the prisoners come into contact with American military personnel, where the rubber meets the road, have our officers and seniors NCOs assured themselves that the proper treatment of those prisoners, basic treatment is being followed. Understanding that the Taguba report is complex and goes to training and a lot of things that will have to take place over a period of years. But with respect to the actual treatment of prisoners who are in those facilities right now, in country, are you satisfied, General Smith, that thethat those prisoners now are being treated appropriately?
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General SMITH. Absolutely sir. That was taken care of immediately, with the new leadership chain and then General Schoomaker and the Department of Army put together a 32-man mobile training team as was recommended that have already gone through a significant portion of the training process, and that is ongoing as we speak.
The CHAIRMAN. Okay. The second question, and sincegentlemen, gentlemen, since you are all here, this is an excellent opportunity and one that we may not have for the next several weeks. I want to go to the 135,000 Americans who aren't the subject of this investigation, the troops who are performing. The situation on the ground in Iraq. Maybe General Myers, where do you place it right now. Where do you put us?
General MYERS. As you know, I think and as we talked about over the last week I think in this very room, the situation in Fallujah is calm but the situation is also not resolved at this point. There are Iraqis in a military formation, about a thousand of them, that are in the city. They have some tasks to perform, some of the things that we talked about last week. They have got to find the perpetrators of the Blackwater killings and desecration of the bodies. They have got to find the foreign fighters. They have got to find the regime extremists that have not given up. They have got a lot of work to do. We are scheduled, but to be determined yet, if our Marines start joint patrolling with these individuals. And that is the situation right now. And we will have to see how it develops. We are ready. We have to meet those objectives that I outlined and we are going to do whatever it takes to do it. Hopefully it can be done with these Iraqis under the leadership of General Latef, if not the Marines and coalition forces are going to have to take care of it.
Page 30 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And on to Najaf, we have just recently had some very successful operations there, against some of Sadr's thugs that attacked the first armored division forces that were conducting an operation. We killed a significant number of enemy. The Iraqis are still negotiating with Sadr. He is losing influence, I think, everyday, is a fair way to say it. And we think we can continue to let the Iraqis work that problem. But he is eventually going to have a way. Today in Friday prayers, one of his lieutenants offered rewards for coalition soldiers and civilians that were killed in the south and that certainly is not acceptable. And we will continue to watch that situation very carefully.
The rest of Iraq, Baghdad is still a place where there are bombs going off as we saw the other day, yesterday. So it is not fully secure yet. But the rest of the country is actually doing quite well.
The CHAIRMAN. Okay. Thank you very much. The gentleman from Missouri.
Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Chairman, thank you very much. General, in looking at your chart and the time line, it appears to me that on or about March the 12 would have been a suitable date to inform Congress as to the serious situation that was occurring. You know, we have a lot of wonderful troops, different services in Iraq. They know that at the end of the day that the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people must be won. There is fighting in Fallujah and Najaf, and the reason that they are there and they are involved in the fighting is the very reason we must win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people. That is why this investigation, that is why the justice that comes from this investigation must be thorough and transparent to the Iraqi people, to the Middle East, as well as to America. Secretary Brownlee mentioned some deaths that have occurred. The Washington Post reflects that 25 have died in U.S. custody in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Is there anything else that we ought to know that we won't be surprised with?
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Secretary BROWNLEE. Mr. Skelton.
Mr. SKELTON. Yes.
Secretary BROWNLEE. I am sorry.
Mr. SKELTON. Yes.
Secretary BROWNLEE. Sir, you should know that some of those investigations are ongoing, as I indicated, and the cases are open and we will continue to watch them. One of the things that I would like to do is have our staff work with your staff and we would be happy to come up and brief you periodically or whenever is necessary and keep you apprised of those things if there is an interest here. We would like to do that. We do not think that that may be necessary, but we will respond to that if you like many otherwise, we will be happy to keep you apprised of it. But there probablethere could be misconduct in some of these. We just don't know. They are being investigated.
Secretary RUMSFELD. Congressman Skelton.
Mr. SKELTON. I can't see you. Yes.
Secretary RUMSFELD. The answer to your question is there is more. I indicated in my remarks, there are more photographs. There are videos. There are a series of investigations underway. There are criminal prosecutions. And just without any question there is going to be more coming out. And there will be surprises. I mean that is the nature of this. And you know, in the Department of Defense, there were 18,000 criminal investigations last year. There were 3,000 court-martials.
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At any given moment, anywhere in the world, there is some sort of an investigation. And as I indicated in my remarks, the tension is how do you not damage the integrity of the criminal justice system and the uniform code of military justice, how do you avoid damaging that and still extract from these various investigations things that are important and goodness knows this is important. How do you extract that, get it up so that people aren't going to be surprised? I mean, you were surprised. The President was surprised. I was surprised. You say January 6
Mr. SKELTON. March 12.
Secretary RUMSFELD. March 12 would have been a good date. You are right. March the 20 Central Command went out and had a press conference and announced to the world and listed the kinds of abuses and charges that were being considered and criminal prosecutions.
Mr. SKELTON. He may have announced to the world, but he certainly didn't tell us.
Secretary BROWNLEE. Could I comment on that, sir.
Mr. RUMSFELD. Sure.
Secretary BROWNLEE. Mr. Skelton, if I mightbecause I appreciate the opportunity, if I could, to comment on this. If there is anybody on this panel who ought to realize the importance of notifying the committees, it is me; and I became aware of this the same as others did, when Central Command made their press release. I knew that there were reports out there. We had certain basic information. We had conversations with some of the members of your staff. But I wouldn't suggest that that rises to the level of congressional notification.
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I, quite frankly, was waiting for more and better information, a better report, so we could come and report it to you. The Secretary of Defense, I think, has every reason to expect that people like me will come over and tell you these things. I sincerely regret that I did not. I should have.
General MYERS. Congressman Skelton, let me just pile on a little bit. Obviously, I think we have gone to extraordinary lengths in the last couple of years to try to keep this committee and the Congress in general informed. We have really tried hard. We could have done better in this case. We could have done better. The Secretary said that; I have said it; Secretary Brownlee said it. It's a fact.
Mr. SKELTON. Mr. Chairman, I have other questions, but, in view of the time, I will reserve my questions.
The CHAIRMAN. And I will say to my friend from Missouri that we are going to take you up on your recommendation here, Secretary Brownlee. If you could have a point of contact who makes available a briefing to all members of the committee, maybe a morning briefing, just being available for us, and we will take one of the rooms here so that members have a status report as this thing walks down through the prosecutorial track and the investigative track. Maybe one day a week have a team or an individual who is your point man who lets us know, and members who want to attend that briefing can do it. So why don't we set that up.
I appreciate the gentleman.
Page 34 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The gentleman from New Jersey, Mr. Saxton.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman; and thank you all for coming here today.
As we all agree, the acts which this committee and the American people have read, seen, and spoken about are deplorable; and we all agree on that. As you have stated clearly, they are fundamentally against American values.
What I would like to do, Mr. Secretary, is to refer to General Myers' chart and kind of walk through this and to note, first, that it appears that in the fall of 2003 that we were concerned enough about the detention system, prison system, if you will, in Iraq, to do what is referred to as an assessment of it; and during the last quarter, then, of 2003 prisoners that were the responsibility of 372nd Military Police Company were subjected to a series of humiliations and abuses.
Then, on January 13th of 2004, a soldier assigned to the 800th Military Police Brigade left a compact disc of photos of the abuse on the cot of an investigator assigned to the U. S. Army Criminal Investigations Division in Iraq. The next day, on January 14th, CID initiated a criminal investigation of those abuses, and apparently that investigation is still ongoing today.
Then 2 days later, on January 16th, the United States Central Command issued a press release announcing that it was conducting a criminal investigation of reports of abuse at the Abu Ghraib prison. That same day, CENTCOM spokesman Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt briefed reporters covering CENTCOM's daily press beefing of such an investigation, that it was under way.
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Then, later in January, General Sanchez requested CENTCOM conduct an administrative investigation of the 800th Military Police Brigade and systemic factors that may have contributed to the abuse.
On the last day of the month, January 31st, Major Thomas Antonio Taguba, the Deputy Combined Forces Land Component Commander of CENTCOM, was assigned the task of conducting the administrative investigation. General Taguba completed his report in March, leading to recommendations for administration punishment, which General Sanchez acted upon in April.
General Taguba's report is today here and has been available for Members for a week or so for the committee's review and here in the committee's offices.
In February of 2004, Acting Secretary Brownlee ordered U.S. Army Inspector General Lieutenant General Mikolashek to assess the overall training and doctrine regarding detention operations. That review is ongoing, and the review team plans to report back to the Inspector General by May 21.
In March, the Army Chief of Reserve Affairs instituted an assessment of the Army Reserve training, with an emphasis on military police and military intelligence operations related to prisoners. That review is ongoing.
Also in March, the CID criminal investigation resulted in formal charges against six individuals from the 800th Military Police Brigade. At this time, three of those individuals have been recommended for a general court-martial, and the remaining three cases are still under review. The continuing authority of the court-martial has yet to be determined as to the details and how to proceed.
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My question is this: When I look at this process, it looks like an orderly process. It looks like it was taken up in a timely fashion. I guess my question is: If you had it to do all over again, looking in today's rearview mirror, would you do anything different, and does the process need to be changed?
Mr. RUMSFELD. It is an enormously difficult question, Congressman. As I indicated in my remarks, we are constantly finding that we have procedures and habits that have evolved over the years from the last century that don't really fit the 21st century. They do not fit the information age. They do not fit the time when people are running around with digital cameras. Second, with 24-hour news and digital cameras, something like this can have an impact that is just enormous.
Now we have rules against meddling in criminal prosecutions. As I said, we have gotwhat18,000 criminal investigations opened every year. We have 3,000 court martials in a year. And when do you reach down in there and run the risk of affecting the integrity of that process because you believe there may be something in there that is so explosive, so damaging to our country that you are willing to break the pattern and pull it up?
In this case, our habits and our patterns were that we don't do that, that these things get handled in the military justice system. They get handled in the commands. They get handled in the services as appropriate.
That big report over there hadn't even reached the Pentagon, to my knowledge, by the time someone took that secret report and gave it to the press. Now, it was inflammatory. If someone at this table had heard about it and gone in there and asked to get into it and do something with it or about it, they would have been widely criticized.
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I guess when I say I failed, I mean the President was blind-sided, the Congress was blind-sided, everyone at this table was blind-sided, except for General Smith, who is in that command.
We are trying to figure out how we do that better, and it isn't easy. We have to protect the rights of defendants. We have got to observe the proper handling of criminal investigations. And yet when something is radioactive like this, we have to find a way to get that up so we can look at it.
I mean, that chart over there, as you suggested, suggests that they handled it darn well at the command level, and yet look where we are. In the normal order of things, one would look at that and say, good job. And with the circumstance we are in, we have to say we apologize that it happened and that we did not have a system or a procedure where it would get pulled up and presented in a way that it could have been managed better.
Mr. SAXTON. Thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman.
The gentleman from South Carolina, Mr. Spratt.
Mr. SPRATT. Mr. Secretary, General Myers, thank you for your testimony.
Page 38 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC There is no trust that we hold more sacred than the good name of America. I think you will all agree the good name of America has been hurt and hurt badly by these revelations. Just as the world is looking at those revolting photographs, they are now looking back at us to see what we are going to do. Not what we are going to say but what we are going to do.
I think you will agree with me, it is not going to be enough just to make scapegoats of six or seven enlisted personnel. You have got to go up and down the chain of command and outside the chain of command, indeed, outside the uniformed military to look at the private contractors, among other places, to find out who knew of these practices, condoned these practices, encouraged and gave rise to these practices, assuming they weren't totally isolated actions. And I find it hard to believe that they were totally isolated actions.
Brigadier General Karpinski has said that the policy of interrogating prisoners and using the MPs to loosen them up, set them up, was set above her and has implied that, though these MPs may not have taken what they did as de rigueur, they could have regarded it as within the penumbra of these policies that were ''set-up or loosen-up policies.''
You say that all these things are in investigation. I look at the chronology you give and I am concerned, because there was an investigation, an initial investigation, which began in August, early September. General Miller apparently conducted it. He completed it in the first week of November. This was the same time period during which those abuses were taking place. How did the investigation miss those abuses if it was adequate?
Mr. RUMSFELD. I don't believe that I would characterize General Miller's activity as an investigation. He was the person who had been in charge of Guantanamo Bay. He had experience with the issues of detention and interrogation, and he was asked to go over there and make an assessment, and he did. And he came back and made a series of recommendations.
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But he did not go over there on an investigatory process, where he would be looking for wrongdoing or anything like that. He was looking at systems, procedures, approaches, and that type of thing.
Mr. SPRATT. One of the recommendations he made was that the joint task force should create a guard team that ''sets the conditions for the successful interrogation and exploitation of detainees.''
Later on, General Taguba and General Ryder made an examination or an assessment; and they said, according to the Taguba report, the recommendation of General Miller's team that the guard force be actively engaged in setting conditions for successful exploitation of the internees appears to be in conflict with the recommendation of General Ryder's team and Army Regulation (AR) 1908, that military police do not ''participate in military intelligence supervised interrogation sessions. Moreover, military police should not be involved with setting favorable conditions for subsequent interviews.'' And they were implying that he had sanctioned this activity and that this activity is wrong for a reason. I think the reason is you may get your MPs involved in the wrong kind of activity, or they may, without adequate supervision, go beyond what is approved procedure.
General Miller is now in charge of detainee operations in Iraq. Has any correction been issued to him, or has any exception been taken for sanctioning this kind of policy?
Mr. RUMSFELD. I will let General Smith respond in a minute, but first let meyou used some correct quotes from the assessment by Miller and by the Taguba report that seem in conflict. What was found at Guantanamo was that the task was to do three things: One was to keep terrorists off the street so they do not go kill more innocent men, women, and children; and the second was to look at punishment and potential prosecution of people; and the third task was to interrogate and learn about additional terrorist acts that might be conducted so we could save the lives of American people.
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The tasks are different for the people who have the responsibility for the custody of the detainee. Their job is to have them safe and secure and off the street. The interrogator's job is to learn what they can learn from them to save other lives.
It is quite proper, in my view and in my understanding of thisindeed, it is desirable to have the people who keep them safe and secure do it in a manner that allows the interrogation process to be the most effective.
I can see where the words from one assessment report and the words from the Taguba report, being different, that one could raise that issue, and that is clearly something that we need to address and come to some conclusions on, but I don't think that necessarily, on the face of it, there's a problem.
And do you know if there was any corrections issued, as the question was?
Mr. SPRATT. Are you saying, then, that this policy of loosening up said that the MPs should be engaged in this procedure of loosening up, setting up, and preparing the prisoners for interrogation?
Mr. RUMSFELD. Of course not. The things you are quoting about softening upI saw that myselfof course not. That is not the policy or the procedure.
Mr. SPRATT. But it appears in General Miller's assessment that ''they should set the conditions for successful interrogation and exploitation of internees.''
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Mr. RUMSFELD. That is a very different thing from softening up, I would submit.
Do you want to?
General SMITH. Yes, sir.
I talked to General Miller this morning about that, and his clear intent in thisand it was explained in his reportis that the two were related in one form or another because they were both involved in the same facilities and that the guards should be listening and watching to see who the detainees are talking to, should be part of the interrogation plan but not in the interrogation itself.
But if there waswith the minimums of the Geneva Convention, if they are to be woken up on time, or at a particular time, or have a certain amount of sleep, that was all part of the interrogation plan that would be approved up through the chain of command. None of it inferred or intended to do anything against the Geneva Conventions or the fragmentary order that was on the street that governed interrogation and the methods of interrogating.
So the idea of softening up was in no sense intended to do the sorts of things that we are talking about here or that we saw in the pictures but simply a matter of being part of the whole solution.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman.
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The gentleman from Texas, Mr. Thornberry.
Mr. THORNBERRY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Secretary and gentlemen, I appreciate your being here. I can't help but reflect that this sort of oversight and tough but fair questioning, which for the most part I think you have received today, is an element of exactly the sort of self-government we are trying to help the Iraqis to accomplish, where they, too, can ask questions of their government and to hold those who engage in misconduct accountable or to find out how they are going to be held accountable. So I appreciate your being here.
On Monday of this week I attended a funeral for 21-year-old Lance Corporal Aaron Austin in Amarillo, Texas, who was killed last week in Fallujah. He died trying to help the Iraqis develop a free and secure and stable country, and I guess the thing that bothers me the most about this incident is the extent to which it makes it more difficult to accomplish the objectives that Corporal Austin gave his life for.
It seems to me there are two aspects to this episode. One which you have set out in the chronology here relates to the conduct in the prisons. It is obviously deplorable, and we have investigations like we would have in a civilian context, if there were prison guards in a civilian prison or if there were police abuse. We have to be careful of the accused's rights. We have to focus on finding the facts. We have to get to the facts and engage in a systematic sort of prosecution. And I agree with you and with others who have said I can't find any fault the way that has been done so far, at least since January in this case.
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The other aspect to this matter, it seems to me, are the photographs, because they are being exploited by those people who want to try to keep the Iraqi people under oppression. They are humiliating. They incite people. They hit in some of the most sensitive cultural spots, and the damage they have done is tremendous.
I guess what I am not quite as clear about is whether our government is able to recognize and address that aspect of this problem or those kinds of things that come up. Some people will talk about psychological aspects of warfare, some people talk about the war of ideas, and it may be that these photographs in a classified report came out of nowhere and appeared and there was nothing that could have been done to diminish the psychological impact or the damage that they would do.
That is a long way of saying I hope in our investigations we don't just look at the conduct but we get, Mr. Secretary, what you called the habits and procedures that it seems to me do relate to how we win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people that are beyond just the bullets and the important things we are doing but relate to this war of ideas.
I guess I would like to askand I am not sure these questions can be answeredGeneral Smith, you seem to have the most knowledge and the longest stream of knowledge. Do you know how many sets of photographs there were? Do you know how they got out; how they were leaked to the media? And was it a complete surprise, to the best that you know, that they got out? Or did we have time to think about some sort of a strategy? Not to cover anything up but to try to limit the psychological impact that they would have.
Page 44 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC General SMITH. Sir, it was a surprise that it got out. I mean, it wasn't a huge surprise, because we knewwe had one disc that was given to us on the 13th, and in the subsequent investigation we got an additional disc that was back in the States, and to the best of our knowledge at that time that disc had not gone anyplace. It was one of the individuals. And we got the disc back, and it was our understanding that that was the limit of the pictures, and we thought that we had them all. But you know and I know it is a false hope, and we were wrong. Somebody put those pictures out in some form or another on the Internet, or however they got out.
Who leaked them? How they got out? I mean, in my view, it had to be one of the people that was involved in all of this stuff. Those are the only people that we know that had the photos, except, obviously, they gave them to the young sergeant that turned them in. He got hold of them.
So, yes, sir, it was a surprise, but not that big a surprise.
Mr. THORNBERRY. Thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman.
Just one thing. One question the gentleman asked or he implied that I think is really important, in light of Mr. Spratt's questions, and we would like to have this made very clearly, is there anything, any official regulation with respect to the treatment of prisoners that directs anything close to what we saw in terms of the activity manifested in those pictures?
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Mr. RUMSFELD. Absolutely not. Do you want to
General MYERS. I was just going to say, any implication that this behavior was driven by direction of the chain of command or by any pressure to get interrogation results from Washington, D.C., is absolutely just not right. I mean, that is not how it works at all.
Just to reiterate. The detainees in Iraq are covered under the Geneva Convention, article 4 for civilians and the other article for other folks. We still have a couplea handful of enemy prisoners of war. I think it is 12 at last count. Most of them are in the civilian category. The Geneva Convention applies, and those are the instructions that were issued.
We can talk about troop strength, and we can talk about training, and we can talk about leadership, and we can talk about all those things. What you see on these photographs are people. They could have had the best training. This was sadistic activity, and this was not a troop-strength issue. These were people that had gone off on some tangent on their own, for whatever reason, and done what they have done. It certainly wasn't under any direction from any headquarters that I know of.
General SMITH. Sir, could I also add that there were somewhere in the neighborhood of 7,000 to 8,000 prisoners there in three different camps. At Abu Ghraib, in cell block 1-A, which is where this occurred, there were about 20 to 30 prisoners, and they were the ones involved. And most of this activity, as best we can tell, occurred between 2200 and 0400 in the morning. So the pattern seems to be focused on a small group, these six or seven folks, and a small group of detainees.
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The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman.
The gentleman from Illinois, Mr. Evans.
General SCHOOMAKER. Sir, could I interject here?
The CHAIRMAN. Yes, certainly. General Schoomaker.
General SCHOOMAKER. In all of my years of service, I have never seen anything like this. I have spent an awful lot of years of service engaged in special operations and in all kinds of things, and I have never seen anything like this. And I want to be very careful here, because I believe that from what I have seen and read that there is a confluence here of a leadership void, inadequate leadership and supervision, with some people that deliberately did things that were contrary to what they knew to be right.
I think it is as simple as that, and I tried to address that in my statement very carefully. These soldiers have been exposed to the correct legal, moral and ethical standards and the values and the things that are there. I think this is a great example of the confluence of a leadership void and people that deliberately were participating in things they knew to be wrong; and I am convinced that this notion that there is somehow a systematic program to do this is incorrect.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much.
Page 47 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The gentleman from Illinois, Mr. Evans.
Mr. EVANS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Secretary, the Taguba report makes it clear that this was a failure in leadership.
Mr. RUMSFELD. Sir, could you speak up a bit? I am having trouble hearing you.
Mr. EVANS. I am sorry. The report makes it clear that this was a failure in leadership and training at the unit level from detachment to brigade level. Who is responsible when a brigade commander is found to have, in the words of the report, ''complete unwillingness to either understand or accept that many of the problems inherent in the 800th MP Brigade has been caused or exacerbated by poor leadership and the refusal of her command to both establish and enforce basic standards and principles among the soldiers?''
In other words, we see no officer implicated above Brigadier General Karpinski, who is now being held responsible for her failures within her command. But who is responsible for this failure? Did no one above her know what was going to happen and look at it another way?
In other words, Mr. Secretary, do other deployed units suffer from poor leadership and training of this magnitude, and are specific steps being taken to ensure units being caught up in the next rotation will not suffer from the same problems of poor leadership and training?
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Mr. RUMSFELD. I would like to start and then possibly others would comment.
The responsibility for training falls to the Department of the Army. The responsibility for leadership in the command falls to the Central Command. And the Taguba report, as you indicated, points up deficiencies and important deficiencies.
But that is the answer on the responsibility.
Mr. EVANS. What are we doing now to prevent this from happening again?
It is of great interest to me, because I have a National Guard unit that has been moved from artillery to MP status, and I don't know if they are getting the leadership or the help that they deserve. Can you comment about what we are doing immediately?
Mr. RUMSFELD. General Schoomaker, you want to comment on that?
General SCHOOMAKER. I apologize, but I cannot hear you at all.
The CHAIRMAN. General Schoomaker, I think I could hear Lane fairly well, and it is his concern about what is being done now to ensure that there is not a repeat of what we have seen.
Page 49 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. RUMSFELD. Whether with respect to training or leadership.
General SCHOOMAKER. Well, I think General Smith has addressed the fact that there have been major changes in terms of the leadership change and responsibility in theater. I know that we have placed into country, out of the training base, experts that are now embedded in support of General Miller over there and doing training on the scene to ensure that we have the right expertise and the right training going on with the people now on the ground there.
I believe General Smith mentioned this mobile training team that we have got in there. I also know that we have a variety of other looks going on. The Secretary of the Army, with the Department of the Army IG, is in there looking at this in a very holistic context. I think General Smith mentioned the chain of command has been established, cleaned up, and that we have General Miller now with responsibilities over the totality of the problem.
So my view is we moved in a very, very positive way, very quickly, and have got a pretty good handle on it. We, as we mobilize soldiers or deploy soldiers, are putting specific emphasis on the Geneva Conventionthe Hague and the Geneva Conventions, the law land warfare in our combat training centers. We are dealing specifically with the proper procedures and treatment of detainees from the point of capture all the way through the system to the point of detention; and I can assure you this is receiving very, very strong attention.
So, outside of thatand I might not have been as comprehensive as I could bebut that is what I am thinking of off the top of my head. Maybe the Secretary of the Army has something.
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General MYERS. Let me just add a word here that training is important, leadership is important, but in my 39 years in the service, I have been the victim of poor leadership, and you didn't need a leader standing over these individuals on those nights, October through December, to remind them that what they were doing was not only illegal but it is immoral and it is unethical.
And, yes, we have things to fix, and, yes, leadership can help. But there was one soldier in that unit that, despite the leadership, despite whatever training deficiencies there might have been, figured it out. My guess is there were many more, because this was a night shift operation that didn't know and, if they had known, would have done the right thing as well. This is a failure of individuals.
General SCHOOMAKER. I might add that the definitionif you understand discipline, discipline is doing what is right when nobody is watching. This is a breakdown of discipline and a void in effective leadership and supervision, in my opinion, from what I have read as I have gone through General Taguba's report.
But we are going to be very aggressive in going through this system and making sure that we have got a handle on and are being proactive in terms of what we are doing to prepare our soldiers to operate in Central Command and elsewhere in the world.
Secretary BROWNLEE. Well, I will just reiterate some of what General Schoomaker said. One of the things I want to emphasize is the Department of Army Inspector General teams that have gone over to Iraq and Afghanistan have done just what General Schoomaker said, they have started at point of capture and taken it all the way back to the detention facilities. So they have looked at some battalion level, they have looked at brigade level facilities, they have looked at the division levels and then the other detention facilities, the bigger ones. So this is a holistic look. It is comprehensive.
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But, in addition, a lot of the things I mentioned in my opening statement that have to do with sending mobile training teams to our training centers, our national training center and our Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC), where units train before they are deployed, we have emphasized these detention conditions also and training points there and our military intelligence people as well. All of our MI people now, before they deploy, go to Fort Huachuca first to get the latest in these things.
Mr. EVANS. All right. Thank you very much, and I appreciate your continued efforts.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman.
We are going to go to Mr. Ryun next, but I would like to ask unanimous consent of our members that any other Members of the House, who aren't members of the committee, get to ask questions at the end of our membership.
So, without objection, we will allow that to happen.
The gentleman from Kansas, Mr. Ryun.
Mr. RYUN OF KANSAS. Mr. Chairman, thank you very much for holding this hearing; and I would like to thank the Secretary, General Myers, General Smith, Secretary Brownlee, General Schoomaker and all those that are in uniform for your service to this country; and those that might be watching that they should understand that this is unacceptable what has happened, but we are grateful for what they have done in helping Iraq get on its feet.
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Like others on this committee who serve in Congress, I have had the privilege of going out to the hospitals and visiting with those soldiers, some who have given their life, some who have given a limb, an arm or a leg. I wish we were shining a light on that today, because I think what it would really show is their determination. Though they have lost perhaps a body part, they have never given up on the hope for freedom and are still fighting in their hearts for those that are there in Iraq and want to see that country truly experience what we in this country sometimes take for granted, that freedom is an everyday thing. But freedom has to be earned, and freedom is never really free.
I would like to shine a little light on just one simple question, because there are others here with questions as well. There has been a lot of discussion about the prison, Abu Ghraib, and the horrific past it had under Saddam Hussein. It was a torture chamber. Unfortunately, now it has gained even further notoriety. Would it not be perhaps a symbolic or psychological end to a horrific past if that particular prison were torn down, sending a message to not only Iraqis but to the world that this is an aberration, that this is not typical of Americans, and that we need to bring an end to it?
I would appreciate your thoughts on that.
Mr. RUMSFELD. There are certainly compelling arguments for that. It does have a past of Saddam Hussein's torturing and murdering and rape rooms, and it is just a horrible, horrible past. And it might very well be a good thing. I wouldn't be surprised to see the Iraqi people make such a decision as they take over the management of their country in the weeks immediately ahead.
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Mr. RYUN OF KANSAS. Anyone else?
General SMITH. Sir, right now it is just one of the wings that has the military in it. The Iraqi police and correctional folks have about five wings of that place. We are just using a very small part of it right now.
But they should certainly have an interest in tearing that place down. There is, unfortunately, just not a lot of other places of that significant or that kind of thing right now to do it, and it is going to take about 2 to 3 years to build the kind of facilities they need to house their criminal population.
Mr. RYUN OF KANSAS. Thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman.
The gentleman from Mississippi, Mr. Taylor.
Mr. TAYLOR. Thank you, Mr. Chairman; and I want to thank our guests for being with us today.
One of the great privileges of my life was getting to know Stephen Ambrose. One of the more profound things that he ever told me was in response to a question as to what was different about the American General Infantry (GI) in World War II. He said something to the effectand I wish I could remember it betterthat when a German soldier, or a Nazi, when a Japanese imperial soldier, when a Russian soldier showed up in a village, bad things were going to happen. Women were going to be raped, old people and kids were going to be tortured. Bad things were going to happen. And the difference was that when a GI showed up, be it in Belgium, be it in Germany, be it in Italy, even though 10 minutes before they were our enemies, that wasn't going to happen.
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That really has been the history and the pride of the American service people, and I deeply regret the actions of a handful of people that have tarnished that. I more so regret that the actions of a handful of people have put their brothers and sisters in uniform at risk. I strongly suspect that their actions will be one of the best recruiting tools for al Qaeda and the Baathists and those who seek to hurt us anywhere in the world.
Secretary Rumsfeld, I am troubled that it wasn't just this that happened. What I see is a persistent mention of a lack of manpower as one of the contributing factors.
I have taken the time to read the report by Major General Ryder, which is on your time-line over there, was presented on the 6th of November but actually took place between the 13th and the 6th. If you read the second report by Major General Taguba and read the first one, you might think you are in two different countries. The first report does not mention escapes, it does not mention the assistance of Iraqi guards in those escapes, it does not mention that a weapon was smuggled to an Iraqi prisoner, and yet, checking the time lines, most of these things occurred while General Ryder's team was in Iraq.
I say this because I seeas someone who believed the President when he said there were weapons of mass destruction and they were getting ready to be used against Americans and who voted for and shares in the responsibility for the death of over 700 Americans, I see a pattern here that I don't like. It was moms and dads from homes who had to write me and tell me that their kids weren't getting the proper body armor. It wasn't from one of these hearings. Then it was David Kay, a Bush appointee, who had to tell me in Baghdad that, because of a lack of manpower, huge ammunition caches were left unguarded in Iraq and were used by our enemies against our troops later on as people went and stole those weapons.
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As far as Improvised Explosive Device (IED)s, there was conversations with troops in the field that told me that was their biggest fear, not a hearing in this room, not a statement from the Secretary. It was troops in the field that told me that that is what they were afraid of, and they didn't think the proper measures were being taken to protect them.
And, last, it was a National Guard unit from home, shortly before Christmas, that showed me proudly their efforts to make their own up-armored Humvee, because apparently no one above was bothering to tell Congress, which writes the checks for these things, that they needed to be protected.
You are obviously a smart man. You are probably one of the smartest people I know. Just in this room last week you recalled a conversation we had 4 months ago, looked at me and made mention of it. Then you made mention of a conversation that you and I didn't even have, but I had with someone several links down the chain of command from you. What is troubling is how is it that someone who is so smart and so detail oriented, why does it take from January to May for this committee now to find out about this in the wake of all those other things that this committee should have known about?
I sent those kids off to get killed. I share in that responsibility. I also share in the responsibility to fix these things. But we can't fix these things if we are not told about them. And I would welcome your response.
Mr. RUMSFELD. You bet. If you have 18,000 criminal investigations opened a year and you have a society that respects the rights of defendants and people that are subject to potential prosecution and you look at this situation here, that report that is sitting over there worked its way along very rapidly. It was not yet in the Pentagon, to my knowledge, when a copy of that secret report was given to the press.
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There were no secrets about what was happening. It was announced by the Central Command in January that there were charges of abuse. It was announced on March 20th by Central Command, which I can't see it there, March 12th, and you knew what we knew at this level.
Mr. TAYLOR. Mr. Secretary, at what time were you made aware of the photographs?
Mr. RUMSFELD. There were rumors of photographs in a criminal prosecution chain back some time after January 13th that were basicallyI don't remember precisely when, but sometime in that period of January, February, March.
Mr. TAYLOR. But if I may, Mr. Secretary, I think there was a universal response in seeing those photographs, that we were all shocked, appalled, and probably 90 percent of us said what in the heck were they thinking. I've got to believe that, given the sensitivity of this and the graphic nature of what was going on, that this would have been
Mr. RUMSFELD. If you see the photographs, absolutely, I agree with you completely.
Mr. TAYLOR. But I would have believed that this would have been forwarded to you, that somehow someone would have seen that it got to you, because I know you are a smart, detailed-oriented guy.
Page 57 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. RUMSFELD. It wasn't. It just wasn't. The photographs were not brought up out of the criminal prosecution chain, because, as I said in my opening statements, the habits, the procedures, the normal pattern of the way things are done. And here was this, what you properly say was just so stunning, so shocking, and the damage that has been done is enormous, and it breaks our hearts that in fact someone didn't say, wait, look, this is terrible, we need to do something.
The legal part of it was proceeding along fine. What wasn't proceeding along fine was the fact that the President didn't know, and you didn't know, and I didn't know, and, as a result, somebody just sent a secret report to the press and there they are.
I don't know the answer. I tell you my nightmare today. I will bet you anything that the sensitivity throughout the chain of command today is great on this issue. I mean, everyone is stunned by it. My worry today is that there is some other procedure or some other habit that is 20th century, that is normal process, the way we have always done it, quote, unquote, a peacetime approach to the world, and there is some other process we haven't discovered yet that needs to be modernized to the 21st century, that needs to recognize the existence, in this case, for example, of digital cameras, and trying to figure out what that is before it, too, causes something like this, is my nightmare.
Mr. TAYLOR. Mr. Secretary, the chairman has been incredibly generous with my time. If I may follow up with one last question, open to the panel.
Were any of you aware of these photographs prior to the ''60 Minutes'' publication? General Myers has already made me aware that he was aware. I am curious if you other gentlemen would respond.
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General MYERS. Let me just respond. I did not see the pictures until last night with the Secretary. That is when I saw them. I think the Secretary and I, as he said, we were both aware there were the possibility of pictures in January, when this investigation started. That is when I was first aware.
Secretary BROWNLEE. Sir, we certainly knew what General Kimmitt said on March the 20th, and he described what people had been charged with, and we had been told there were pictures. Now, one may visualize that someone may have sneaked a camera in and taken some pictures of someone doing something with one of the detainees. But I don't think anybody sitting here thought in their wildest dreams that there were posed pictures of this kind of debauchery in these numbers.
And, for the record, I saw the pictures the first time on the Dan Rather video show, was the first pictures I had seen.
Mr. TAYLOR. General Schoomaker, the same? I see you nodding your head.
General SCHOOMAKER. I saw the pictures for the first time on television, and then I saw them with the Secretary last night on the disc, is the first time.
Mr. RUMSFELD. The reality is we don't know what is going on in these other 3,000 court martials that are going on today. In other words, we do not have visibility from the Pentagon, from Washington, D.C., into the criminal prosecutions that are existing all across the world. And the question is, should we?
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How would one do that without jeopardizing the rights of the defendants? How would one do that without being charged with creating a situation where no one gets convicted because of command influence? It is a very tough, complicated problem.
Mr. TAYLOR. Again, thank you, gentlemen, for being here; and, Mr. Chairman, thank you for your generosity.
General SCHOOMAKER. If I could, sir, I also think it is important to note that, aside from the pictures, the first time I know the Secretary and I saw the Taguba report was Monday.
General MYERS. Same for me.
Mr. RUMSFELD. We still haven't seen the videos. There is another disc that has videos on it.
Mr. TAYLOR. Thank you, sir.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman.
The gentlewoman from New Mexico, Mrs. Wilson.
Mrs. WILSON OF NEW MEXICO. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Page 60 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC General Schoomaker, you said with some passion that never in your career have you seen anything like this.
Mr. RUMSFELD. I am sorry, maybe my ears have gone bad, but I am having a dickens of a time hearing folks.
Mrs. WILSON OF NEW MEXICO. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
General Schoomaker, you said with some passion that never in your career have you seen anything like this, and it brought something to mind, and the parallels are pretty striking. What it brought to mind for me was My Lai. That incident had a profound effect on your generation of people in the Army and on American support for the war and on the world's view of America, and I don't think we can underestimate the importance of this hearing today or of the military and the Defense Department's response to what has been uncovered or how America will be perceived for the next 20 years.
I think it is very important for complete and full disclosure of all relevant information that the Defense Department has, irrespective of the way we have always done it. And I agree with you, Mr. Secretary, the way we have always done it, in compartmentalizing information that has a huge impact on the way America is viewed, is no longer acceptable. You need to break through those walls and be able to stand in front of the world and tell everyone what you know.
I would like to follow up a little on the line of questioning that Mr. Spratt began, and that has to do with command and control, the lines of authority. It is my understanding that there was an order given on the 19th of November that effectively put the Abu Ghraib prison under the command of military intelligence.
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There is a section of that order that is quoted in General Taguba's report. I do not have the complete copy of the order, but the paragraph says, ''effective immediately, Commander 201st Military Intelligence Brigade assumes responsibility for the Baghdad confinement facility and is appointed the forward operating base commander. Units currently at the Abu Ghraib are TACCON, tactically controlled, to 205 Military Intelligence Brigade for security of detainees and Forward Operating Base (FOB) protection.''
That order effectively put all the MPs in that unit under the command or under the control of military intelligence, which, as I understand it, is contrary to army regulation. Is that order still in effect or has it been rescinded?
Mr. RUMSFELD. General Smith.
General SMITH. It has been rescinded. The organization under General Miller right now is established so that he works for CJTF7 General Sanchez, and the MI Brigade and the MP Brigade both work directly for him.
Mrs. WILSON OF NEW MEXICO. Who signed that order?
General SMITH. The November Fragmentary Order (FRAGO)?
Mrs. WILSON OF NEW MEXICO. Who signed the order? And did any of you here testifying today know of that change?
Page 62 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC General SMITH. I am not sure what you mean. The November order?
Mrs. WILSON OF NEW MEXICO. The 19 November, 2003, FRAGO order changing the lines of command. Who signed it? And did any of you here today know that it had been signed?
General SMITH. General Sanchez signed the order as the CJTF7 commander.
Mr. RUMSFELD. I did not know.
General MYERS. I didn't know.
Mr. RUMSFELD. It is not the kind of thing we would know.
Secretary BROWNLEE. I did not know.
General SCHOOMAKER. I did not.
General SMITH. And I didn't know. I was just arriving at CENTCOM at the time.
Mrs. WILSON OF NEW MEXICO. I think the order may be in this pile over here; and I believe that the committee should have access to that order, preferably by close of business today.
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General SMITH. I might mention that the idea there really was to putbecause there were multiple commanders out there at Abu Ghraibto put the whole thing under one commander. More unity of command, unity of effort than it was to subordinate the MPs in the interrogation process.
Mr. RUMSFELD. I would also add that I do not know whether it is against Army regulations or not, or doctrine or procedures. I just simply don't know the answer to that, and I did not want to leave my silence to suggest agreement with your comment.
General SCHOOMAKER. I am told back here, Congresswoman Wilson, that that is a task organization issue, not a regulation.
Mrs. WILSON OF NEW MEXICO. According to Major General Taguba's report, he found that this setting of conditions and the lack of separation of military intelligence from MPs was contrary to Army regulation 1098 and was a contributing factor to the problems in Abu Ghraib. I think that is an important factor that warrants some further consideration that I haven't heard discussion of; and, Mr. Secretary, I would like your response and comment.
Mr. RUMSFELD. I am sorry, did you just ask me a question? I couldn't hear a thing.
General SCHOOMAKER. I heard what she said. I think we were addressing a different issue. You talked about tactical control, the MPs under it. Now you are talking about doctrinal mission business and Army regulation, and I think those are two things.
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You could have MPs under the tactical control of the MI to do the MP doctrinal role, which is to provide a safe and secure environment. When you step over the line and say you now have them setting conditions or participating in interrogation, that is a different issue; and I think you are exactly correct, the Army regulation prohibits that.
But I thought we were addressing a different issue when you first said that.
General SCHOOMAKER.I thought you were addressing the take on issue.
Mrs. WILSON OF NEW MEXICO. Major General Taguba's report says that there was confusion over who was in authority in this prison, and that some of the guards may have been taking their direction from military intelligence interrogators on that unit, and that this order contributed to that confusion, particularly as there were no written standard operating procedures as to how these soldiers should act and what the limits of their authority were.
That seems to me to be a major issue of command and control and something worthy of further analysis and thought.
General SCHOOMAKER. And I think we would agree with that, exactly what you just said.
The CHAIRMAN. And on the gentlelady's point, this question as toand I think the implication, though, once again, that what we saw in those pictures may have been directed by the interrogation leadership, which had taken over thewhich now had a larger role in the prison. I think that is a question that has to be explored and investigated. Is that question being explored and investigated?
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Secretary RUMSFELD. It is. The Fay investigation is the one that is looking at military intelligence. What is the due date?
General MYERS. I think it is several weeks out, if it stays on schedule.
The CHAIRMAN. And, Mr. Secretary and Secretary Brownlee, as you move forward, as we have this weekly briefing that is available for our Members on the status on this overall issue, that, of course, I think is a very important element because that obviously makes the perspective here much different.
Okay. The gentleman from Arkansas Dr. Snyder.
Dr. SNYDER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you gentlemen for being here. I think you have made a good start both with the Senate and over here today on trying to get this resolved, and I know that your country appreciates you.
Secretary Rumsfeld, I want to answer one of your questions which you brought up just a minute ago: Is there anything out there that we could be doing that could avoid things like this? There are some members of this committee that are very interested in doing an update in the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), modernize the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) with regard to sexual crimes. The Cox Commission three years ago recommended that it be revamped. It has been sitting there. We still have questions coming from DOD. The markup of the defense bill is on Wednesday and it would be a wonderful thing if you could resolve those concerns and questions by this next week, because it is the over50-year-old provisions that we are now using in the UCMJ to prosecute sex crimes. It needs to be updated. And I think we are just quibbling over some details that I would hope could get resolved.
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General Smith, there was a press report last week about specialist or, I guess, Sergeant Darby, a family member expressed concern for his safety. I assume from the comments you all have made here today and at the Senate that not only is he protected, but that he is well respected for what he has done throughout the military. Is that a fair statement?
General SMITH. Sir, I can't tell you that personally. I mean, I can make that assumption.
Dr. SNYDER. You don't have any reason to think that there would be anyone to bringwithin the military, there would be concern for his safety?
General SMITH. Sir, the shame for all this for the soldiers that are doingI mean, the danger is for the folks that protected them, not for the ones that turned them in.
Dr. SNYDER. General Myers, in your discussions with CBS about that report in which they delayed it, I think, for two weeks or something while things were going on, was there anything that you agreed to do in response for that? Did you agree not to go public with this or not to discuss this? Or it was just a courtesy that they extended to you in the interest of protecting the lives of our men and women in uniform?
General MYERS. Right. And that is why I did it, because I talked to General Abizaid, I think it was on Saturday. On Sunday I talked to my public affairs folks. Theyyou know, we heard aboutthis was in April. We heard for months that these photographs were out there. I hadn't seen them.
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Dr. SNYDER. I don't have much time, but your answer to that question was, no, you didn't agree to do anything to
General MYERS. No. We did say, when the photographs were released, that we would be willing to provide, you know, somebody to come and talk about this issue.
Dr. SNYDER. And General Kimmitt did that.
General MYERS. I think it was General Kimmitt that wound up. And it wasn't an agreement, it was just a suggestion that we would like to have somebody senior talking about this.
Dr. SNYDER. And I think he did a good job.
One of the concerns of this Congress has been, as you heard it today at the Senate, about our involvement in this and our lack of information, because we want to help you. I mean, this is a huge problem, as Heather Wilson pointed out. And you know it is a huge problem; and Secretary Rumsfeld's statements about it being a huge problem. But when you were here last week, General Myers, and as we left, I said to one of my colleagues that I wondered how long it had beenyou had a three-day weekend with your wife because you looked very tired. But you probably, perhaps one of the reasons, knew this thing was coming.
Perhaps if we had known that was coming, and General Myers and the Chairman of the committee and Mr. Warner and you all could have done some kind of a joint press conference and said, this thing is coming tonight on this show with very, very ugly photos, but we are committed as a Congress and a people to get to the bottom of that, that we could have helped you deal with it. Instead in this business, you know, a 1-day story becomes a 2-day story; obviously, it is much longer than that.
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But we want to help you. And I think that there are Members here, some of the most senior Members, that could have helped in this situation had we known. That is my only 20/20 hindsight comment that I am going to make. I am not going to prejudge all this stuff here.
General MYERS. Two comments. You are right, we could have done a better job of that. I am sorry I look tired, but
Dr. SNYDER. You are entitled. You have been working hard for a year and a half or 2, or 39. You have been working hard for 39 years.
General MYERS. Sir, and in fairness, though, there was a process that did inform some staff members that the show was going to come out on Wednesday night. I am not saying that was sufficient, but I am just saying
Dr. SNYDER. That was not sufficient, and we can't help youand there are Members, the Chairman would have sat down with you forand could have come up with what I think clearly would have been a better plan than what occurred.
I wanted to ask a specific question of General Smith, and it is a detailed question. You mentioned 20 to 30 detainees and a small number of people. The most recent Washington Post photo shows by my count nine military people in the photo. And then I don't know if there was a photographer, if that was a video camera from the second floor, but that potentially is 10 people. We can't possibly be having a 2-to1 or 3-to1 ratio of military to detainee, are we, in that prison? It is like 6- or 7,000. Is that number? Am I
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General SMITH. Sir, that cell was a special cell that kept 7/24 coverage with a number of folks. Now, some of the folks that were in those photos were people that should not have been in the photos and were not part of the hour-to-hour, minute-to-minute protection, or members ofthat the guardI mean, the guys with the dogs, for instance. But those six folks in one form or another were the onesthose six or seven were the ones that in one form or another were involved in it.
But we had about 450 people in a battalion that were guarding the 7- to 8,000 folks there with a contingent that stayed in that cell block one.
Dr. SNYDER. My time is up. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Secretary RUMSFELD. May I just say, you are right onif we had seen those photographs, you are absolutely right, we could have gotten together with the President, with the Congress, with others and figured out a way thatit still would have been terrible, and it is going to get still more terrible, I am afraid, because there is a still good deal more pictures and videos. But, you know, you are right.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman.
This is indeed a red-letter day, because you always want the Secretary to end up a statement by saying you are right, Dr. Snyder. I wished it happened all the time.
Dr. SNYDER. Not as important as you saying I am right, Mr. Chairman, but almost. Thank you.
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The CHAIRMAN. That will happen soon.
The fine gentleman from Connecticut Mr. Simmons.
Mr. SIMMONS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And thank you, Mr. Secretary, members of the panel. I have always been proud of my service as a soldier in the U.S. Army. I have been proud to be a military intelligence officer for over 30 years in the U.S. Army. I am proud to be a Vietnam veteran. But I think, like a lot of folks who saw these images, I am not proud of what took place at the Baghdad central correctional facility. It doesn't reflect our values. It doesn't reflect my values, or yours, or those of the American people, or those of the majority of our soldiers. And it alsoand I think this is really importantit doesn't reflect our rules, our laws, our regulations.
And I refer the committee to FM 3452, which is intelligence interrogation. This is the regulation which prohibits acts of violence or intimidation. It says: Such illegal acts are not authorized, will not be condoned by the U.S. Army. And it says that, in our experience, these acts don't work. And I agree with that. I did some interrogation work when I was assigned to Vietnam, and these types of activities don't work.
And then it goes on to say something that is really important: Revelation of use of torture by U.S. personnel will bring discredit upon the United States and its Armed Forces while undermining domestic and international support for the war effort.
Page 71 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC This is Field Manual (FM) 3452. That is what it says. And it also puts our soldiers and allied personnel at risk. This is the book. This is what the book says. And the book apparently was ignored or not read, or people were not trained in it. Or, as my colleague from New Mexico pointed out, under FRAGO 1108 issued on 19 November 2003, the lines that discriminated between MI personnel and MP personnel were blurred.
Now, I also went through the report, not the one with the annexes, but the one with the basic text, and what I see in the 800th MP brigade is a unit with low morale, no posted Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)s, no Mission Essential Task List (METL), poor training, no discipline, no saluting. And when the MI folks said, we need to salute, the Brigadier General said, no, we are not going to salute. No strictness on uniform, and no corrective actions.
And it seems to me that under those circumstances, that general should have been relieved. But my guess is that themy guess is that the FRAG order was issued to bring some of her MPs under the control of the MIs so that the MI could get what they wanted out of the situation.
And then I look at the recommendations for punishment. For the General, for the Lieutenant Colonel, promotable; for Colonel Pappas and for others, relieved of command, reprimands.
And I guess my question goes to two things. When you discover that you have a senior officer who is not getting it done, why don't you just get rid of them, send them home, not move the system around so that MI and MP are blurred? Because we know that is not the way it is supposed to be, and we know that is what the regulations say should not be done.
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And are people really going to be convinced of our seriousness about the leadership problems and the chain of command if it is the enlisted personneland I served as an enlisted person for 31/2 yearsif it is the enlisted who have their hands on the prisoners who are going to get the court martials, and the Majors and the Lieutenant Colonels and the Colonels and the Brigadier Generals are going to essentially get a reprimand and off they go? Is that the message that we want to be sending out at this point in time?
Secretary RUMSFELD. I guess that is a question that is difficult for each of us to answer because of the problem of command influence. The investigations are open, criminal and otherwise. They are proceeding. Each level, as I understand the process, and as you know, has an opportunity to review. And for those of us here in senior positions of responsibility to be commenting on the nature of the decisions that have been made at the lower levels would becould have an unintended consequence.
Mr. SIMMONS. I thank you for that answer, and I respect the situation that you are in. Let me just ask you this: Do you understand what my concern is?
Secretary RUMSFELD. I do.
Mr. SIMMONS. Thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank the gentleman.
The gentlelady from California Mrs. Tauscher.
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Ms. TAUSCHER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Secretary, General Myers, Secretary Brownlee, General Schoomaker, General Smith, it has been a long day, and I know it has been uncomfortable for many of you as it has been for us.
I think a lot has been made of the pictures, and I think the pictures certainly were a gut punch for many of us. But I would like to talk for a second about the fact that I believe you, Mr. Secretary, when you say that while there is a criminal investigation going on, it is very difficult because of the necessary protections one has to afford people that are under alleged crimes and under alleged criminal activity and potential prosecution, that evidence and things like that need to be protected. But I guess I wonder, were there no other sources or ways to know that there was a real problem?
And I look at that time line over there, and I find it interesting that the October to December 2003 abusealleged detainee abuse occurred. And I look above that, and I see that basically from May, June, until, thank God for Specialist Darby, webasically, where would we be today without Specialist Darby? And whatbut it confounds me that there was no other way for us to know that there were problems. Where was the International Red Cross (IRC)? Where were the humanitarian organizations? Where was the Red Crescent?
Mr. Secretary, there was no other way for you to find this out? You were not aware of concerns offered by the Red Cross? There were press reports today that the Red Cross and other human rights organizations were talking to Secretary Powell, Dr. Rice, and others in 2003 before Specialist Darby came forward. And if their concerns had been addressed, if there had been a proper hearing, perhaps we wouldn't be in a situation right now where we have parallel criminal investigations going on where we can't speak to issues, and maybe we could have addressed this a lot sooner.
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Secretary RUMSFELD. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) visits all of the facilities that the Department of Defense has. They have been doing so since the outset. They have made a series of comments on each of their visits. Those comments have been addressed by the Department of Defense, by the commands that have the responsibility for managing detainees, and it has been an ongoing relationship. They take their reports, they give them to the local commander, they also periodically visit the White House, they visit the Department of State, they visit the Department of Defense and provide their concerns, and the concerns get addressed. It is a continuing process. It goes on and on and on.
The implication that there was some pocket of information in the Department of State or in the White House that wasn't available to the Department of Defense and hadn't been addressed by the command, it seems to me, is a misunderstanding notwithstanding how it is being written in the press.
Do you want to comment, General Smith?
Ms. TAUSCHER. Well, Mr. Secretary, before you go there
Secretary RUMSFELD. He is the one who receives the report.
Ms. TAUSCHER. But you are telling us that you never heard of any suspected abuse prior to Specialist Darby coming forward in January of 2004?
Page 75 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Secretary RUMSFELD. I would have to think. There have been other charges of abuse at different locations around the world. It happens from time to time.
Ms. TAUSCHER. But you heard of no terrible abuse or questions of criminal behavior
Secretary RUMSFELD. In Abu Ghraib
Ms. TAUSCHER [continuing]. In Abu Ghraib, prior to Specialist Darby coming forward?
Secretary RUMSFELD. I recall no indication.
Do you, Dick?
General MYERS. No, sir.
Secretary RUMSFELD. Do you, Steve?
He just said what I said, that we had continuing reports of troubles in various places, and including the International Committee of the Red Cross. But in termsnothing of the scope that you are talking about here.
Ms. TAUSCHER. Well, so they were not taken seriously? It was the pictures, then, that you are suggesting?
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Secretary RUMSFELD. No, I am not. Of course they are taken seriously. They are taken seriously. There are 18,000 criminal investigations opened a year in the Department of Defense. You would not open them if you did not take them seriously. They are the responsibility of the commands. General Smith is the deputy combatant commander for the command. I think he should comment on this.
General SMITH. We did get the ICR, the International Red Cross report. Now, you know that that is not releasable information because of the relationship between the people that they investigate or that they visit, and so we can't theoretically talk about exactly the things that they saw. But that report was received. The 800th MP Brigade commander responded to that. Whether the response was adequate or not, I can't tell you. But then the ICRC came back and visited 4 through 8 January, and the indications from there was that there were improvements. And it is a continuing system of improvements.
And sothe interesting thing about the October 1 is it was a no-notice visit, and they didn't debrief anybody on the way out. So no action could be taken or respond to it until they submitted the formal report, which was significantly later. So the 800th MP Brigade command response was not until the 24th of December, but they madethey obviously improved sufficient that they got a better report card in the January visit.
Ms. TAUSCHER. Could that have been because they weren't there at night?
General SMITH. Possible.
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Ms. TAUSCHER. Thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentlelady.
The gentleman from Oklahoma Mr. Cole.
Mr. COLE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate that.
Before we begin, I just wanted to frankly thank each one of you for your service. You collectively have spent your lives, and, Mr. Secretary, you in more capacities than anybody I can imagine, serving your country, and I appreciate that. I think everybody here respects your patriotism collectively and individually, and your professionalism, and, frankly, your professional integrity. And this is a very sad and difficult day for us. I can't imagine what it is for you. And I just felt like that needed to be said.
Having said that, I want to make one other comment before I get to my questions, or make two other points.
One, it was mentioned earlier that the response, once this came up, was timely and thorough, and I think that is true, but only to a point. I think it is very true with respect to as soon as people knew something was happening, things startedcriminal investigations began, people started looking at it, actions were taken. But I think the Department, frankly, was extraordinarily slow in understanding the implications of what was going on and what that was going to do for public support for this effort and this country, what it was going to do to our efforts to win support in Iraq, and what it was going to do with respect to our enemy. I mean, we shouldn't kid ourselves. This is a political and public relations Pearl Harbor. It is a disaster of enormous magnitude and of great setback to us, and I think we were very slow to recognize that.
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I would also say, and I agree with my friend Dr. Snyder. I think you were very slow in coming to your civilian counterparts, or certainly the Congress. I think we could have and would have been helpful. I mean, terrible things happen in war. Awful things happen in war. But I know this country well enough to know it can't sustain conflict if it doesn't believe in the conflict that it is fighting and it doesn't believe in the cause that it is for. And I think we could have helped in that regard and explained that. And I would hope, as we move forward, that you keep that in mind.
Having said those things, there is a couple of things I would really like to focus on. One, we have had these press reports, and we began discussing a moment ago that we have had multiple alarm bells; not just a lot of bad things happening in one place, but a number of bad things happening in a number of different places. And there is a big difference between those two. If we have got something that went wrong with a particular unit, particular place, particular time, that is one thing. And we have got a number of places where we are detaining prisoners of war, detainees of one sort or another, and there are bad things happening in all those places, and that suggests a real problem in our systems, our command, and our personnel, our training.
So I would ask you, which is it? And be happy to directmaybe, Mr. Smith, you first, because I think you are mostbut I think that is a very important thing for us to establish how broad is this problem?
General SMITH. Sir, I mean, there is obviously abuse that occurs in the system from the time that somebody is captured to the time they are interned and released. Most of that occurs before arrival at the internment facility. But there are events that occur. But it is, in my view, not systemic, that they are rare events.
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That is what I was trying to get at about when I described how Abu Ghraib is. I mean, at the time there were 7- to 8,000 detainees there, and thewhile there were probably other levels of abuse, they were more the kind of being hooded and standing outside the facility with your arms tied behind you or something like that while they were waiting too long to get in, nothingnothing that even begins to compare to what we see in the pictures.
Mr. COLE. And I wouldagain, that is a very important point as you move forward to establish whether or not that is true, because I really think the confidence that the country has willyou know, will turn on that a great deal.
Second, let me ask you. I would argue, and I think you have acknowledged, that you were slow in informing Congress. We found out the very unfortunate way the American people found out in a very unfortunate way about this. Given that, when were you planning to let us know, and how were you planning to let us know? There is clearly a process here, but what were you thinking in terms of time line?
Secretary RUMSFELD. Well, let me walk back over it. It was announced to the public in January that there were charges of abuse. In March, he announced it again, and he listed specific indecent acts and sexual acts and other aspects of abuse, and that was announced to the world. It was briefed to the press in Baghdad.
Mr. COLE. I have been
Secretary RUMSFELD. And there were questions on CNN here.
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Mr. COLE. I understand that, Mr. Secretary. And I am not trying to be contrary or adversarial, but there is a big difference.
Secretary RUMSFELD. Of course there is.
Mr. COLE. I mean, when you really want us to know something, it is amazing, we usually have a classified hearing. I am not saying
Secretary RUMSFELD. I will answer you.
Mr. COLE. Yes, sir.
Secretary RUMSFELD. You knew exactly what we knew, I knew. The people in the command who were running the investigations, the criminal investigations, who had access to that disk knew more. I didn't know it, the President didn't know it, you didn't know it. The real issue is that a secret report was given to the press, and the disk. Itout of order. And you say, when did you plan to do this? We didn't plan it because we didn't know about it. We hadn't seen that report. We hadn't seen the disk.
Mr. COLE. And that is precisely perhaps the problem, Mr. Secretary.
Secretary RUMSFELD. Exactly.
Page 81 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. COLE. Not just that it was let out, because honestly something like this was going to get out. But why did this not get to you, I mean, with extraordinary speed, and why did it notbecause I think, as you say, the minute you see it, the implications were breathtakingly obvious. But that information was in the system, that there was something badly wrong for months. And this was not just a question of individual rights, but for months. And now it has undercut our ability to wage this war, to be successful, the credibility of outstanding men and women. And it was not acted upon, and it was not brought to you or to us in a way in which we could help you.
And I would just hopeI know this is agonizing that you have to go back through this, and I am really trying to look forward. The most important thing to me is, one, could you figure out if it is systemic and let us work with you on it, because, if it is, we have got a big problem; and, two, how do we deal with this stuff where it doesn't break out of the blue on us in a way that really is an enormous setback to our efforts?
You know, aside from the atrocity and the horror of this where the individualsand I know you share that. I have no doubt. I mean, you are all honorable and decent men. I know you were repelled by what you saw and what occurred, no doubt. But we are even beyond that, as bad as that is. What has stemmed from this of national and international consequences are justit is just staggering to me.
Secretary RUMSFELD. Congressman, we are trying to figure out what can be done to the process that is respectful of the defendants' rights, that does not put the Pentagon into the 18,000 criminal investigations that are going on in any one year, and yet we have the ability to find out something that is that big, that enormous, that is that potential for damage to our country. The system currently does not provide for that. And unless somebody down below looked at it out of theprobably first in the criminal investigation procedures, looks at it and says, well, we don't give these things to anybody, this has got to be kept in the criminalbut this is different. And I don't know how we do that, but we are going to sure try to figure out a way to do it.
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Mr. COLE. Let us, if I may, just close with this. Let us work with you on that, because this committee is fully your friends on both sides of the aisle, I can assure you that, and believes in what you are trying to do and trusts your personal integrity. And part of this perhaps is we have not had quite the degree of trust or dialog back and forth that we ought to have. So let us try and work with you to try and achieve that objective.
Again, thank you very much. Again, thank you for your service. I know this is a tough, tough day. And, you know, you have earned everybody's respect in this country and certainly on this committee.
Secretary RUMSFELD. Thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman.
And the Ranking Member had a comment.
Mr. SKELTON. I would like to follow up with an observation based on Mrs. Tauscher's line of questioning and now Mr. Cole's questions.
You know, if Private Jones down in the Second platoon lost his helmet, no one is going to pay much attention to that. If Private Jones down in the 2d platoon lost his rifle, that is going to go up the chain of command to goodness knows where, probably with someone with stars on his or her shoulders. This is very much like losing a weapon, not just ordinary piece of equipment.
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I know there are a lot of court martials out there, but there are some that are so explosive strategically that they ought to go up the chain of command, at least the potential of it. And I would hope that there would be some established procedure should these things come to pass in the future, because this is an absolute nightmare for everyone involved, our country, our soldiers, the Iraqi people. And I would hope, along that line, that there could be a recognition of the potential strategic court martials that have such an impact.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman.
The gentleman from Connecticut Mr. Langevin.
Mr. LANGEVIN. Rhode Island, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Langevin, I am sorry.
Mr. LANGEVIN. I know. It has been a long day.
The CHAIRMAN. The distinguished gentleman from Rhode Island Mr. Langevin.
Mr. LANGEVIN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Though we are very close with Connecticut.
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Let me just thank the gentlemen for being here. It has been a long day. I share my colleagues' outrage at this entire situation. It has done an enormous amount of damage to the credibility of this Nation, and it is going to take us years to recover from it. It has done great damage to us achieving the mission in Iraq. And I have been of the opinion that the success in Iraq is by no means assured, although we know that failure is not an option, and this is going to make it immeasurably more difficult to achieve the mission of establishing a functioning democracy in Iraq.
What I want to know as we go forward from this point forward, how do we repair the damage to our credibility as a Nation on the issue on human rights? How do we criticize other nations on their human rights violations? How does the President of the United States speak with credibility on human rights violations of other nations when he is meeting with foreign leaders? What advice are you going to give him to be able to do that with any sense of credibility, especially in the Arab world on this particular issue, and winning the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people?
The overwhelmingly majorityI want to be on record, too, as acknowledging the overwhelming majority of our men and women in uniform are doing an outstanding job. I have traveled to Iraq, and I had the opportunity to visit with our soldiers, and I know the pride that they share and the professionalism of their service and the dedication of their mission, and they have been tarnished by all this. They are owed an apology not only by the individuals who committed these acts, but the way this whole thing was bungled in terms of its handling in informing the world and particularly the Congress, because it could have been done better.
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Mr. Secretary, I am looking at this chart, this elaborate chart, and the one thing I don't see on there is the specific date on which you and General Myers actually became aware that something like this existed. And I would like that clarified, if I could, for the record. I know we have touched on it, but the specific date. And I also want to know what efforts were taken byI see there wason the 16th of January that General Kimmitt notified reporters. But what did he or others do in terms of taking specific steps to run this up the flag pole as high to the Pentagon as it could possibly go? I would like some answers to those questions.
Secretary RUMSFELD. Well, let me see if I canI cannot be certain of this; my memory is not perfect. But my first recollection of being aware of the abuses was in the context of the announcement that was made by the Central Command that they had someone who had provided information about possible abuses in that prison. That would have been January, in the mid-January period. The first time I was aware of this report, I believe, was after it had been given to the media. It had still basically been in the Central Command chain.
The first time I was aware of the photos was when somebody saidrumored that there were photos connected with the allegations of abuse in the prison. And that would have been sometime between January 16th and the 60 Minutes show. At that next point, there were a few pictures made available that had been doctored to make them less sensitive.
The first time I saw the disk was last night at 7:30 at night, and I have now still never seen the videos, nor have I seen the remainder of possibly a second disk which I am told today may exist.
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I believe you are roughly the same time period?
General MYERS. The same time frame. I remember, I did a little research, and I can't tell you the exact date, but it was in the 13th or 14th of January time frame, maybe the 15th, certainly before General Kimmitt going to the media, where General Abizaidwe talked to him once a day, once every other day, depends what is going on, and he informed us of this. And that washe informed us of basically the same thing that General Kimmitt said: Hey, there are reports of abuse, there are reports of pictures; here is what basically the pictures might show. This is a big deal. And so we knew that back then. And then he outlined the steps that were being taken.
Secretary RUMSFELD. I am told that there was some notification that came up in connection with the announcement that was made in the Central Command, and at that time there was a reference to the fact that there were some pictures connected to it.
Mr. LANGEVIN. On the credibility question, where do we go from here? How do we restore our credibility on human rights, Mr. Secretary? How do you advise the President on this issue of restoring our credibility on human rights when we come to criticize other nations?
Secretary RUMSFELD. Well, when you have got 2.4- men and women in uniform, Active Duty, Guard, Reserve individuals, Selective Reserve, they are doing a lot of wonderful things in the world. Some people did some perfectly terrible things.
Page 87 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC What happened after that? We announced it. It became public. We are having an open process. We are prosecuting the people who have done something wrong. The world is seeing what a democracy does. The world is seeing how people who care about human rights behave. This isn't a pattern or practice or policy of the government as it was under Saddam Hussein. This is something totally different.
And how do we always get from one step to the next step? We live our lives as best we can, knowing we are imperfect. Mistakes get made. People do bad things to people. We see it in every State of the Union every year, murder, rapes.
How do we restore our credibility? What do we do is we get up the next day and try to live our lives better, and we try to do a better job in government and public service. And over time truth wins out. We have a free, open system. We have got wonderful people in this country. We are not an evil society. There is not something bad about America. America is not what is wrong with the world, and the overwhelming majority of the people in the world know that. I mean, why do people line up to get into this country year after year after year? I read all this stuff, people hate us, people don't like us. The fact of the matter is people line up to come into this country every year because it is better here than other places, and because they respect the fact that we respect human beings.
And we will get by this. I don't like it any more than you do.
General MYERS. Let me just talk about the military angle of that. We have got 37,000 folks in Korea, been there for 50 years; we have got 47,000 troops in Japan, been there for 50 years, over 50 years; over 100,000 troops in Germany. They want us there. Occasionally a solder, sailor, airman, marine missteps, and we work our way through it, because it has been a long, long relationship.
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The world knows that the U.S. military is the best trained, the best led, and carries American values wherever they go, and they appreciate that. And as despicable as these events are, and as disgusting as they are to us, the fact that we are having this hearing, the fact that democracy is working, the fact that it has been in the open, the fact that as soon as we knew about it, two days later we are in front of the press, the free press, and saying, we think this may have happened, we are going to do an investigation, and we think it is going to be bad, the fact that we did that earns the world's respect.
Certainly there are going to be some setbacks, but most of the people that we have been working with in the world understand what this Armed Forces is about. And I frankly think that we will work our way through this just fine, because 99.9999 percent of the folks who serve on Active Dutyand I didn't do the math in Iraq. I was going to, butbut it would be whatever it is, is not going to be dispersed by six people. It will not happen.
I just came from a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) meeting. I talked to the major contributors to our operations in Iraq, the other countries. They were firm in their resolve. This was notthis incident was not lessening their resolve. They want to get the mission done, and I thanked them for that. But they are with us. They know us. The world knows us. We are probably in 140 countries today, or this past year we have been in 140 or 50 countries doing training operations and other things. They know us. They know the true American serviceman and woman, and they trust us. And they respect us.
Mr. LANGEVIN. I thank you for your time today. And thank you for your answers.
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The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman from Rhode Island.
And the gentleman from Georgia Dr. Gingrey.
Dr. GINGREY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And let me at the outset tell you, Mr. Secretary, Generals, that I have a great deal of confidence in you and your leadership. And I think what we have done here today, and maybe as well on the other side earlier in the day, it is a question of who knew what, and when did you know it. And you have answered those questions, at least to my satisfaction.
I agree with my colleague from Arkansas, a fellow physician, Dr. Snyder, and I think you agreed with him, too, that maybe in retrospect, when you did know it, when you did know the magnitude, when you had an opportunity to look at those heinous, disgusting photographs, it probably would have been good to let us know that, to share that with us at that time, and not wait for the Congress to see it on television.
Secretary RUMSFELD. I didn't see them until last night at 7:30.
Dr. GINGREY. I understand that, Mr. Secretary. And I think that is true of General Schoomaker as well as General Myers, and I understand that completely.
General Myers, you saidand I agree with youearlier in your testimony, in response to somebody's question, that no matter how much training these individuals, the six or eight miscreants, may have received, there was no way you could prevent just a few to go off on a tangent as they did. And I agree with your statement there, and indeedand I think every Girl Scout and Boy Scout in this country without $50,000 worth of military training clearly would understand that. But at the same time, I would like to associate myself with my colleague, the gentleman from Connecticut Mr. Simmons, in regards to we need to look very, very closely, I think, at this chain of command. And it is a little disturbing to me and I think other members of this committee that we take rather harsh but appropriate action for those miscreant few, and maybe a slap on the wrist of those who were maybe in a situation of command and creating a climate upon which something like this could occur.
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So those are my statements.
I wanted to specifically get back to Mr. Langevin's question, because the Ranking Member earlier at the outset mentioned: Well, gee, for one thing we ought to go in there and bulldoze that prison and wipe it from the face of the Earth. But the damage, of course, has already been done in regard to the prison. It is like shutting the barn door after the horse has already escaped. But there, I would like to know, and I think Mr. Langevin was asking this question, too, is there something that we specifically can do toother than the apology that the President gave to the Iraqi people, indeed to the Arab world, the same apology that you, Secretary Rumsfeld, have offered, is there more specifically that we can do to undo this damage? As an example, should we consider some kind of reparation, even indeed financial, for these particular prisoners, these 30 or so that were subject to both physical and emotional abuse?
Secretary RUMSFELD. Congressman, we proposed that; in my opening statement I mentioned it. And I agree with you completely. It isI checked. We do have the legal authority to do it. I am going to see that we do it. It is the right thing to do. Those people were badly treated by those people.
Dr. GINGREY. Thank you, Mr. Secretary. And I am very pleased with that response.
Let me ask one last question. In regard to these prisoners, were these considered high-value prisoners or particularly violent individuals; or were they low-level, who had maybe just been swept up in either combat or intelligence operations? And does the Army have a different standard operating procedure for detaining and interrogating a high-valued target as opposed to, say, a low-level enemy combatant?
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Secretary RUMSFELD. The answer is that high-valued targets are generally kept at a different facility, if by high-value you mean people like Saddam Hussein and the top 55 types that we have been looking after.
General MYERS. But no different treatment. The treatment is the same.
Dr. GINGREY. The treatment is consistent for each and every prisoner?
General MYERS. Exactly.
Secretary RUMSFELD. In terms of the Geneva Convention. On the other hand, there is a difference in this sense that the high-value targets become much more interesting from the standpoint of the interrogation process, whereas a simple low-level person is simply being kept off the street for a period.
General MYERS. But the standards, the Geneva Convention standards and the standards of treatment, are as prescribed in the Army manual, and those were the orders that were issued by General Sanchez, which I have a copy here, by the way.
Dr. GINGREY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. That concludes my questions.
Page 92 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman.
The gentleman from Florida Mr. Meek.
Mr. MEEK. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I want to thank all of you for testifying today before this committee also, the men and women behind you who have been in forward areas before and that have worked hard toward making sure that we are successful in Iraq.
I have a couple of questions, because I don't think this hearing today is about how we feel about the leadership that is sitting at the table; it is how the American people feel, and it is how the Arab world feel that we need in this effort against terrorism. So I guess I have a line of questioning, and if you could answer as soon as possible because I need to get to the end of that questioning.
General Smith, you spoke earlier about you had pictures in January, you thought you had it all, all of the information. What was that? What kind of pictures?
General SMITH. It was two disks with the type of pictures that you are seeing on the news, and many are more graphic.
Mr. MEEK. Thank you, sir.
General Myers, you mentioned that you were contacted by Central Command or had some knowledge; you were called and they said somewhere in mid-January that this is a big deal. I mean, these pictures areand this investigation is a big deal.
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General MYERS. Right. When we were first notified by General Abizaid, he said, this is a big deal.
Mr. MEEK. Sure. Okay.
And, Secretary Rumsfeld, at this time you and General Myers, you all meet, you mentioned in the Senate earlier and you mentioned here, quite often. I mean, you come together, you work together. General Myers, yourself, you all meet
Secretary RUMSFELD. Four or five times a day.
Mr. MEEK. You need another mike, I am sorry, because we can't hear you.
Secretary RUMSFELD. We are together four or five times a day.
Mr. MEEK. Okay. And that you meet with the President at least once a week to go over the issues of Iraq and what is going on.
Secretary RUMSFELD. Well, I meet with the President to go over all the issues that are involved with the Department of Defense, Iraq being one of them.
Mr. MEEK. Thank you very much.
Page 94 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So, in this big deal that General Smith has just said, the pictures that General Smith obviously and others have seen, General Myers said that he didn't see it, didn't see the pictures until last night or at 7:30you didn't see these pictures until 7:30. You have been meeting with the President day after day after day in a prison that not only he has said that atrocities have taken place, you have said it, you met with Saddam Hussein in the early 1980's and Bush 41. You alsoand Secretary Colin Powell has said a lot about this prison and atrocities that took place.
I know you said there are 18,000 cases that are out there that you a looking at, but there are not 18,000 cases in that prison. And you mean to tell me and the American people and the people of the Arab world that this did not rise to the President of the United States nor the Congress, and that you were in this room hours beforewell, General Myers was in this room hours before briefing Members like myself and others of Congress, and no one said, hey, guess what, prime time tonight these pictures are going to come out, and we are going to have issues?
I am notI am concerned about the time line that we have here, but I have a bigger concern about the fact that there is a lack of what happened at the highest ranks of our Pentagon and our military here in Washington, D.C., about how long we are going to be in the dark.
So I just want to say, Mr. Secretary, in all due respect, it really gives me no pleasure to say this, I think today there has been some reference to Members of Congress that have said that maybe you need to say this was good, I did all I could. But on behalf of troop protection, on behalf of the efforts that we have to move forth in the Arab world and protect America and what people think about us, maybe I need to think about my leadership, maybe I need to be able to allow someone else to be able to lead us from this point on.
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And I want to tell you, sir, I have a great deal of respect for you, your service. You have been a Member of Congress. You have to understand our job and our responsibility to the American people. And I will tell you, sir, in all due respect, I pray for you, and I know that you pray to give yourself wisdom and others to do the same, but I would ask you to please think about the forward days, the days that are going to come, more will come out; the fact that the integrity of the United States, the integrity of our Armed Forces, the integrity of our effort against terrorism is at stake; the fact that you are going to appoint, I am pretty sure, honorable men and women to get to the bottom of this will come into question. The U.N. Will have an investigation. We get concerned about what the U.N. Says and does.
But I will tell you, I know the President will not do it. He said that, no, you are an outstanding Secretary of Defense. But it becomes a point where some of us in this room, some of us in this Congress have already said that there is going to be great difficulty, sir, with all due respect, under your leadership leading the Pentagon in this very trying time with pictures that arewords inadequate even to describe the feelings of them. And the fact that the men that are sitting at the table with you, at least some of them, saw these pictures, knew about these pictures, knew that it was Saddam Hussein's prison, knew all of these things, and you didn't see it until 7:30 last night is verythe pictures, is questioning how we move from this point.
So I hope that I haven't offended anyone, but I think that this is really where we are, and this is where the rubber meets the road from this point on.
Secretary RUMSFELD. Well, Congressman, I don't know how quite how to respond to that other than to say that it is a fair question. Since this fire storm started, I have given a good deal of thought to the question.
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For me, the key issue is the one you ask, and that is, can I be effective if we have got tough tasks for this country and for this Department. And I would resign in a minute if I thought that I couldn't be effective. And I think of the task of helping, trying to be able to help the terrific civilian and military men and women in the United States, in the Department, and all across the globe, trying to be helpful to them in the critically vital work they are doing, and if I thought that I could not be effective, I certainly wouldn't want to serve. And I have to wrestle with that.
I will add, I am certainly not going to resign because some people are trying to make a political issue out of it. It is a substantive issue for me. And I will leave it at that.
Mr. MEEK. Mr. Secretary, I respect your response to the utmost, and I believe that you believe that, but I have heard that response in the Senate, and I heard it earlier today. This goes far beyond Democrat and Republican. We are far beyond that right now. We have troops that are in the forward area, that are going to be
Secretary RUMSFELD. You don't need to tell me where the troops are, I know.
Mr. MEEK. I didn't cut you off. But I was just saying, as you think and pray on the coming days, pleasepleaseI know there is some people out there on the political bandwagon, but in this committee
Page 97 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Secretary RUMSFELD. There is the understatement of the morning.
Mr. MEEK. It was mentioned earlierit was mentioned earlier, sirand, Mr. Chairman, I am closing. It was mentioned earlier the bipartisan effort that we have here in this committee. I was in Miami when you spoke on the Guantanamo issue, you and General Myers was there. I voted for things that you have asked me to vote for. We have given flexibility to the DOD when it was asked at any given time. And I will just tell you as you move forward without me even wanting a response is that that it is not all politics. And I think that all of us in this room are aware of that. But thank you for your service, sir.
Secretary RUMSFELD. I certainly understand it is not all politics.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman.
Ms. BORDALLO. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, and, gentlemen, for your patience and perseverance, for the long hours you have been before the Senate and now the House. I am sure that when you look at me, you think, thank goodness, this will be the last line of questions.
But I do want to say thank you to the Secretary for coming to visit Guam. We were very honored and pleased that you took the time to come out and check out our territory.
Page 98 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I have a couple of questions. I believe that the tragedy at the Abu Ghraib detention facility is symptomatic of the pervasive problems in the organization of our military force in Iraq. And in this case, these negative pressures came together with horrendous consequences, as we all know.
Secretary Rumsfeld, I recall your recent press briefing where you said you had read over the report of the 800th Military Police Brigade, and I would like to reference that report which highlights these negative pressures.
On page 43: The real presence of mortal danger over an extended time period and the failure of commanders to recognize these pressures contributed to the atmosphere that exists at the facility.
On page 37: Morale suffered. And over the next few months there did not appear to have been any attempt by the command to mitigate this morale problem.
Page 38: Over time, the 800th MP Brigade clearly suffered from personnel shortages through release from Active Duty options, medical evacuation, demobilization. In addition to being severely undermanned, the quality of life at Abu Ghraib was extremely poor. The brigade lacked adequate resources and personnel. In addition, overcrowding; because of slow process of releasing detainees, the prison was overcrowded. Confrontation between MPs and detainees, resulting in numerous shootings.
I would like to know what the status is of that. Escapes. What is our record there? This report states that investigated reports of escape were ignored by the command.
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Now, while the media may be focused on the fate of the prisoners, it falls to you, gentlemen, and to us as members of this committee to address the shortcomings in our military operations that denied our servicemen and women the support, the leadership, and resources that their duties required. I believe we have an obligation to address them.
Secretary Rumsfeld, General Myers, and the others, what changes across the entire Iraqi theater of operations will you implement in these three areas to address the underlying problems clearly identified in the Taguba report?
General MYERS. I will start.
One of the issues that you mentioned is a very serious one, and that is the ability to release detainees when they are no longerand that has been an issue, because part of that is a release process. And now I think we do a 6-day-a-week release process, 12, 15 hours a day, where we look at the detainees for theirdo we have a case, or is the intelligence value still there, or should they be released? And you take some risk in that, because some of them might go back to fighting. But in that effort, I think we are releasinghow many right now?
General SMITH. Sir, we did 350 last week, we are doing 400 next week, and 1,800 by 20 June is what we expect.
Secretary RUMSFELD. We have released 31,000 out of 43,000 that were detained.
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General MYERS. What we also need to make sure is that we have the Iraqi courts set up to handle the criminal cases, and that has been a slow process, getting that stood up. But that is absolutely what you are just talking about, so the detainee population can continue to be moved through. One of the reasons General Miller was put in charge over there was because of the good job he did in Guantanamo not only in handling the interrogation piece and the intelligence piece of it, but also just in the physical running of the facility. And I am confident that is a major part of what is going to fix the problems you cited.
A lot of those problems you cited are leadership and command problems. When you have a unit that doesn't have to wear hats, when you have a unit that doesn't have to wear uniforms, when you have a unit that calls lieutenant colonel ''Joe'' and the sergeant ''Jim,'' you have got a unit that has morale problems no matter if they are living in the dirt or they are living in the Hyatt Regency. You have got a real problem.
Ms. BORDALLO. Or a palace.
General MYERS. Or a palace. You have got a real problem there. So those problems are fixed, obviously, by putting another unit in charge and working on those problems.
I would only say that all those things on that time line over there, General Sanchez is very concerned about this; it looked at all these issues and took action on almost every point that you have brought up either before or during this report.
Page 101 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC General SMITH. Yes, sir. In fact, special attention has been paid to Abu Ghraib. They now have probably the best dining facility around. I am not sure that they have a Post Exchange (PX) yet, which was one of their complaints, but they are getting hard back buildings to live in. And so that has all been taken seriously and money put against many of the problems.
Ms. BORDALLO. I am pleased to hear that.
Secretary RUMSFELD. We are trying to correct some of those things. We ought to do it; it is getting done. But go back and look at the pictures. That is not the problem of quality of life. That is something so fundamental involved with the people involved that whether they have a PX or a good restaurant is not the issue.
Ms. BORDALLO. Thank you.
I have one follow-up question. I believe one of the biggest pervasive negative factors is that our troops and the public don't know for sure why we are still in Iraq. We have Saddam, and there are no weapons of mass destruction. Mr. Secretary, what is the mission in Iraq? What lies ahead? Is it nation-building?
Secretary RUMSFELD. The mission in Iraq is as the President and the Secretary of State and others have articulated and told to the Congress and to the United Nations and told to the world.
Secretary RUMSFELD. The plan is to turn the country back to the Iraqi people on June 30. The plan is to continue to assist them to develop the Iraqi security forces so that they can provide for their own security and our forces can come home.
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The hope is that what will be left will be a country that is whole, one country, not broken into pieces, a country that is respectful of the various religious and ethnic minorities in that nation, a country that is at peace with its neighbors and is not engaged in terrorist acts or weapons of mass destruction. And it is not an easy thing to do. It is a tough road to go from a vicious dictatorship to a representative system that is peaceful and rational and civilized and behaves that way.
And there are a lot of wonderful people out there who know precisely what the mission is, and all anyone has to do is visit our troops. They know what the mission is. And they are proud they are doing it. They know it is noble work, and they are dedicated to getting it done right.
Ms. BORDALLO. Do you think this incident will have any effect?
Secretary RUMSFELD. Of course.
Ms. BORDALLO. In what way?
Secretary RUMSFELD. Harmful.
Ms. BORDALLO. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentlelady.
Page 103 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Israel.
Mr. ISRAEL. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Secretary, if this day is difficult for you and for our troops and for Members of Congress, it is an especially difficult day for the family of Nathan Brukenthal. I attended his funeral this morning at Arlington Cemetery. He was the first member of the Coast Guard to be killed in action since Vietnam. He was killed by a fanatic. He was killed by a suicide bomber. He was killed by a maritime, improvised explosive device, by a culture that values death over life.
I am, as we all are, as you are, very concerned about the implications of this abuse on force protection. Instead of seeing images of empathetic soldiers right now, the Middle East is being bombarded with images over Al Jazeera and elsewhere of the most grotesque distortions of what we are about. There was an article in the New York Times this morning that said that, within Iraq, these images so far have not had a particularly virulent effect, but outside of Iraq, throughout the rest of the Middle East, they are very damaging.
So my question is, as a matter of force protection, what is your assessment of how thesethis media crisis is playing out through the Middle East? How are we responding to those images? And do you agree that if it takes the resignation, not necessarily yours, but resignations and the rolling of heads at the most senior levels in order to correct those images and create the contrast between a culture that condoned and considered torture commonplace versus a culture that demands resignations and departures when there are abuses, if that is what it takes, would you agree that we ought to head in that direction?
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Secretary RUMSFELD. Well, I will let General Smith respond to your question as to what the effect in the area is. He has just landed this morning from there and can speak to it better than I.
Those areit is a tough balance. It is a tough question to answer. What will help? What would be the most effective?
I serve at the pleasure of the President, and I have responded on that issue. There is no question but thatI do not believe that it would be right for me to run around looking for scapegoats so you can toss someone over the side.
And I will be damned if I am going to look at that list and pretend that I think it was badly done. I do not. I think they did a darn good job. Perfect? No. But a good job. They announced it to the public. They told the world. They started the prosecutions.
And so what am I supposed to do? Look for someone down there and say hey, ''Let's heave that guy over the side?'' that is not the way we do business in this country. That is all I have to say.
The CHAIRMAN. I thank the gentleman.
And thewe have a good friend of the committee who used to serve on the committee and now serves on defense Appropriations and also happens to be one of, in fact the only, Navy ace from Vietnam and a gentleman who was recommended for the Congressional Medal of Honor for his own service to our country, Mr. Cunningham. And he has been with us all day.
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And Duke, we would like to give you an opportunity to ask some questions.
The gentleman is recognized.
Mr. CUNNINGHAM. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I sat here for nearly 3 hours because I believe this is important, critically important. And Mr. Secretary, not exaggerating, and I have spoken to thousands of our enlisted and our officers, military, active duty and our veterans, and they would follow you into hell because they know you would get them back. You got us through two wars. You did it efficiently. You fought tooth, hook and nail against the enemy, and I would follow you, and you have my full support.
You know something? I saw the Congressional Black Caucus press conference when they talked about minimum politics in this. I sure hope somebody prays for me as they try and slip the knife in.
You know that I would like to allude a little bit to what Mr. Taylor said and why all of us feel so bad about this thing. And all of us do, on both sides of the aisle. And out there.
But I will tell you, it comes down to a wordun-Americanwhat happened. It is not this country. But what is American is the results that are going to come out of this. The world is going to see just how fair, under a free enterprise, under a free nation, that justice will come about and that the leaders themselves will take measure.
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One thing that does bother me is the word, I think, scapegoat because, you know, there was another event that I lived through, it was called Tailhook. And I beg you Mr. Secretary, I know a hundred officers that were tied up in that that should not have been penalized, but because of politics, many Members of Congress dug their heads in and ran for cover and would not stand up for those kids. You know, penalize the guilty ones, but by God, protect those fine kids.
Secretary RUMSFELD. You can count on it.
Mr. CUNNINGHAM. Thank you.
You know, theI have a recommendation for you. It is, I think, an advantage sitting here listening to other people. And that is why I wanted to sit in. I wanted to get kind of a feel and a tempo.
When I was in the service, I had an admiral, one of the best guys I ever worked for. We had a problem with driving under the influence (DUI), driving while intoxicated (DWI)s in the military. I mean, it is in the regulations. It is in the rules. You get trained. Hey, do not do it. But we had a rash of them. This Admiral was Commander, Naval Air Force, US Pacific Fleet (COMNAVAIRPAC), brought all of us Commanding Officers (CO)s in, and he said, ''Guys, any one of you get a DUI, a DWI''probably like that guy on TV''you are fired.'' and then we went down to our division officers and officers and enlisted and said, ''If you do this, you are fired.''
Page 107 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And my concern was, at that prison, I do not feel that someone came acrossyes, they were trained. They had the rules. They had the regulations. But in my own mind, I do not know if someone told them, said, ''These are the consequences if you act in a certain way.'' small recommendation.
Second recommendation. When Ithe day of my change of command, I pulled my squadron together because I had women in it, too. It was shore-based. And I know how important the chain of command is. People that have never served in the military do not understand that, many times, that it is chaos without it. But I told my squadron mates that there were some exceptions to the chain of command. One of those was anything known racialand that included verbal, because I saw an air craft carrier lose its mission capability because of it. And it was not something that I wanted to wait on over a period of time. I wanted to know about it. They could bypass my chief. They could bypass my division officer. They could bypass my department head, my executive officer, my command master chief, and they could walk right into that office. The other one was any known use or sale of drugs. The third was any sexual abuse, because I had women in there. And the fourth, which I think would be applicable to this hearing especially, that if any of my kids, enlisted or officers, did anything that reflected negatively on my unit, the Navy, or the United States, they could walk through that door.
Let me give you another good example. I never went to Tailhook without my wife. She went right along and so did my daughters, go along with me. And this was actually before the blow up, Mr. Secretary. I told my squadron that I was going to pay for our admin where everybody could go. It was going to be a place where the wives, the girlfriends, and your daughters or your sons could go, and there would be no alcohol in our admin suite.
Page 108 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But yet, I did not restrict them from going to the other activities. But I said, ''If you do anything that violates the rules, if your conduct reflects negatively or if you get a DUI or a DWI, going or comingI paid for the bus to get them thereI am going to fire your butts.'' you know, not one of my kids had a problem. And that is leadership, I think. And then, you know, I was so proud. One of my lieutenants had just took over as a commanding officer, sat his squadron down and did the same exact thing.
But it gets down, right down to the nitty gritty that, it may be in rules, it may be in regulationsand I hear it over and over. One of the big concerns we have is the timeliness. And I think, maybe in the future, something like this, especially, even at a lower level, if we know that these things are available, that they go right straight to the top and they walk through that door to the CO. Thank you.
Secretary RUMSFELD. That is good advice. Thank you. And thank you for your wonderful courageous service also.
Mr. CUNNINGHAM. Thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you very much, Duke.
And Mr. Secretary, we have a somewhat unusual question, but our vice chairman, Mr. Weldon, was unavoidably detained in his district, but wanted to be here. He is on the telephone. He has got a question for you. So with that, we willCurt, we can hear you.
Mr. WELDON. Thank you for your service to the country.
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General Myers, thank you for your service to the country. I led a delegation of our colleagues from the committee to Iraq and Afghanistan a few short weeks ago, and I want to tell you, at every stop that we made, we were impressed and proud of our troops and the leadership from Baghdad to Tikrit, from Kabul to our Karakorams 2 (K2) base in Uzbekistan. We saw nothing but pride and dignity and positive feelings about the leadership structure, the mission and role, and their dedication to complete the objectives.
The hearing today, which I have been able to see through TV because I cannot be with you, is an extremely important hearing because of the focus and the seriousness of the charges. And all of us are outraged. I am especially outraged because two of the units involved, the 372 and the 320 are from Pennsylvania and Maryland and involve our citizens.
I am proud that one of our soldiers blew the whistle when he did. I am saddened and outraged that other Pennsylvanians evidently were involved and implicated in these tragic acts. I am alsoI am confident that you will take the steps, along with the general, to get to the bottom of what happened here.
I just wish the American media would put the same level of focus on the atrocities caused by our enemies as they have on the current situation. When we had a young pregnant woman ambushed just a week or so ago in her station wagon and, at point blank range, was methodically killed with her four children ages 2 to 11 and then killed herself, it received one line in one of our newspapers. But on the same day, had half of a page dedicated to the allegations of brutality in Iraq.
Page 110 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We need to understand that this incident is an isolated case involving a very small number of our troops, but it in no way reflects on the total commitment of our troops and the leadership that is there.
I did want to talk to you today, however, with some specific questions because I spent 2 hours yesterday with one of our young sergeants who just returned and who was involved in the unit, the 372, from the period of October to December. And I would ask you, in the course of the investigation, to please look at some things and get to the bottom of some questions that he raised that I promised him I would raise with you.
He first reported his concerns in late December of 2003 and did not hear from a CID officer until yesterday. He talked to us aboutthat in the prison in question, there were 900 prisoners. But in the evening, only six to 8 troops were in fact on duty. That may or may not be true, but that is what he told us. He told us that MI ran the show, and that there was significant involvement and input from both the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the contractor CACI.
And I know that you will get to the bottom of our military's actions, but I would also ask you to please get to the bottom of what actions the CIA and CAI officials had, since their names were not on their uniforms as they directed our troops that were in fact in place.
I would also ask you to look into a platoon leader that evidently was aware of these actions, and a commander, who has been transferred but I understand not yet reprimanded or had charges brought, who is a staff member to a sitting Member of Congress, to see whether or not there was any special treatment granted.
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And I would also ask that you consider that there were at least two cases where soldiers were put into positions in the prison, one, an administrative clerk, and the other, a specialist who in fact was under a marital abuse order from his hometown and allegedly asked not to be assigned to be put in the place as a prison guard.
And finally, in the conduct of what to do after we get to the bottom of this, and I am confident that you will do that, I would also ask that we consider perhaps tearing down that prison because it was a symbol of torture under Saddam, and it unfortunately has a reputation now because of what just happened, caused by a very few in our military.
But again, Mr. Secretary, I want to congratulate you, and as my colleague said, we will work with you. We will get to the bottom of this. We will get beyond it, and our country will come out stronger. And our military will continue to shine, as they do around the world, in every location where they are on duty today. Thank you very much.
Secretary RUMSFELD. Thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. Mr. Secretary, that is it. We do not have any more special questions to ask.
Thank you for being with us today. And let me just say, because there has been lots of editorial comment as we have gone through these questions, in my judgment, you have managed a war in two very difficult theaters. You have managed our 2.5 million people in the military, active and reserve. At the same time, you have reformed the civil service system, which has at least made the major step in reform, which affects 750,000 people, all the while putting together a pretty big and complex defense budget.
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And I am not unmindful of the fact that what we do in Iraq and Afghanistan also involves dozens of allies, some of whom are more enthusiastic than others. In my estimation, you have done a great job, and you have done the one thing that the Nation requires and demands of its Secretary of Defense, and that is to be effective in managing this military complex.
So you have my full faith and I think you have done a good job. And I look forwardand I wish we had time, I know secretary Brownlee had many instances to bring forth today. But I look forward to working with you on the challenges in the future because we have our forces engaged right now.
We have a political transition which will take place very quickly, which will require our full focus. And I think that you have now delivered this problem to the appropriateand in fact, it was delivered early on in January, to the military system, which is walking it down through the criminal justice system, which is precisely where it should be.
And I would ask you to return that focus now that we have had a full airing on this issue, to the 135,000 troops who are doing a great job, who are in theater, as well as our troops in Afghanistan and other parts of the world. And let's knock out this defense budget, try to do good things for our country and for the troops. We appreciate you being with us today.
Secretary RUMSFELD. Thank you.
The CHAIRMAN. And I think the ranking member has a statement to Mr. Secretary.
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Mr. SKELTON. Just a word to thank you very much, and we look forward to your continued information to us in the days ahead per our discussion earlier. Thank you very much.
[Whereupon, at 6:15 p.m., the committee was adjourned.]