Saturday, July 03, 2004

Intelligence: Capture of Hussein Aides Spurred U.S. Interrogators

The New York Times> Intelligence: Capture of Hussein Aides Spurred U.S. Interrogators:
"Within days after Saddam Hussein's capture last December, the American military jailers at Abu Ghraib prison received an important new batch of prisoners: bodyguards and other loyalists who tended to Mr. Hussein in his final weeks on the run, passing messages to his confederates and shuttling him to safe houses and secret meetings in battered taxis."

According to military intelligence officers and soldiers at the prison, the capture of the bodyguards led to an all-out push for information about close supporters of Mr. Hussein who were suspected of plotting against the American occupation of Iraq.

It would be a race against time before those supporters found other hiding places, so a group of interrogators was given greater latitude to use tactics on the new prisoners that had previously required the signed approval of senior officers, said military intelligence soldiers who asked to remain unidentified for fear of harming their careers.

They said the tactics included sleep and food deprivation, extended isolation and the use of menacing dogs. "It was `Do whatever you have to do, find out where they are and let's get 'em fast,' " said a military intelligence analyst. "We needed to get them before they got away."

While it is not clear whether the intensified intelligence gathering led to mistreatment of prisoners, the disclosure about the loosening of rules after Mr. Hussein's capture adds a new element to the evolving picture of abuses in Abu Ghraib prison.

It also shows the role of a previously unreported military intelligence unit at the prison, known as the special projects team, which was assembled to interrogate Mr. Hussein's loyalists, sometimes for 10 hours at a time.…

The worst known abuses at Abu Ghraib occurred in October and November, before Mr. Hussein's capture, and involved members of the military police who have said their actions were encouraged by officials at the prison.

But the mistreatment of prisoners continued into December, according to Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba of the Army, who investigated abuses at the prison. Several other inquiries are under way to determine the extent of mistreatment and how it occurred at Abu Ghraib and other detention centers in Iraq and Afghanistan.
con·cept: Intelligence: Capture of Hussein Aides Spurred U.S. Interrogators