Saturday, December 04, 2004

The New York Times > Washington > Detention: Abuse Inquiry Finds Flaws

The New York Times > Washington > Detention: Abuse Inquiry Finds Flaws:
"A Pentagon investigation of interrogation techniques at military detention centers in Cuba, Afghanistan and Iraq concludes that senior defense officials exercised little or no oversight of interrogation policies outside of Guantánamo Bay, leaving field commanders to develop some practices that were unauthorized, according to a draft summary of the classified report.

The inquiry by Vice Adm. Albert T. Church, the naval inspector general, found that by January 2003, military interrogators in Afghanistan were using techniques similar to those that Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld had approved for use only at Guant?namo Bay. They included stress positions, and sleep and light deprivation.

But when the command in Afghanistan submitted in January its list of techniques to the military's Joint Staff and Central Command, as requested, and never heard any complaints, it 'interpreted this silence to mean that the techniques were unobjectionable to higher headquarters and therefore could be considered approved policy,' the summary said.… "

The investigation, ordered in May by Mr. Rumsfeld, also reaffirms two important findings of previous military inquiries into detainee abuse: that at least 20 substantiated cases of abuse occurred during interrogations, contrary to the Pentagon's original claims; and that the Central Intelligence Agency kept some 30 "ghost detainees" at Abu Ghraib prison and at other detention centers in Iraq off official rosters. Other investigations have found this practice was to hide the prisoners from Red Cross inspectors.

The Church report, however, does not blame the detainee abuses in Iraq and elsewhere on the flawed interrogation policies, blaming mainly a breakdown in "good order and discipline." It found no evidence that senior Pentagon or White House officials pressured interrogators to use abusive tactics to wring information from recalcitrant detainees to help fight the insurgency.

But these findings are unlikely to satisfy critics, who have accused defense officials in Washington of allowing, or even creating, an environment conducive to misconduct.

The findings are in an unclassified 30-page executive summary of the classified report, which runs more than 400 pages. A copy of the summary was reviewed by The New York Times. Lawrence Di Rita, the Pentagon spokesman, said in an interview this week that the draft report has been circulating for comment inside the department for several weeks. It was unclear what changes Admiral Church might incorporate into his final version, to be submitted in the coming days.
con·cept: The New York Times > Washington > Detention: Abuse Inquiry Finds Flaws