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Thank you for the opportunity to speak before you today, and I look forward to answering your questions.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman WARNER. Thank you very much, General. I must say that I was very heartened by your use of the phrase "Follow our conscience. Do what is morally right.”
General TAGUBA. Yes, sir.
Colleagues, we'll have a 6-minute round. We take note that votes will start at 11:30, but it's the intention of Senator Levin and myself to continue this hearing on into approximately the 12:30 to 12:45 time frame, in hopes that further opportunity can be given to members for question.
Senator INHOFE. Mr. Chairman, will there be one round?
Chairman WARNER. We'll continue until 12:45, and we'll do our best given the votes. We will try to keep the hearing going during a portion of the votes. Thank you. Senator INHOFE. Thank you.
Chairman WARNER. Secretary Cambone, my understanding is, and in my briefings with you—and I thank you for discussing these matters with me over the weekend—that your office has the overall responsibility for policy concerning the handling of detainees in the global war on terrorism. Is that correct?
Secretary CAMBONE. Not precisely, sir. The overall policy for the handling of detainees rests with the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy by directive.
Chairman WARNER. Wait a minute. Rests with
Secretary CAMBONE. The Under Secretary of Defense for Policy by directive. My office became involved in this issue primarily from the perspective of assuring that there was a flow of intelligence back to the commands, and done in an efficient and effective way.
Chairman WARNER. Then I would presume that it would be incumbent upon this committee to get the Under Secretary for Policy over, and let him provide this committee with such knowledge that he has.
Secretary CAMBONE. Yes, sir, and that his responsibilities—and I have talked with Mr. Feith about this-he issued any number of statements and directives, to the effect that detainees in Iraq, civilian or military, were to be treated under the provisions of the Geneva Conventions.
Chairman WARNER. Did you work with him in that?
Secretary CAMBONE. Yes, sir, I was aware of that work, and knowledgeable of it, and endorsed it, of course.
Chairman WARNER. I'm trying to ascertain the degree to which the civilian authority in the DOD, under the SECDEF, be it yourself
Secretary CAMBONE. Yes, sir.
Chairman WARNER.-or the other under secretary, reviewed the procedures by which interrogations took place in our places of incarceration, and, most specifically, by those doing it in Iraq.
Secretary CAMBONE. Yes, sir.
Chairman WARNER. You did review the procedures that were Secretary CAMBONE. We gave direction that the—the DOD gave direction that the Geneva Conventions were to be followed. The procedures for interrogation are established via the use of-and General Taguba and General Smith can clarify-but they are established on the basis of approved techniques for interrogation. There is a list of those, and you will find them in Army doctrine and manuals.
Chairman WARNER. Right.
Secretary CAMBONE. Those are approved for use by the commanding general. Any exceptions to those activities that he authorizes, he would then set terms and conditions for exceptions to his guidance. At the level of those techniques and so forth, they were signed out at the command level, and not in the DOD.
Chairman WARNER. Now, you've had time to reflect on this. In simple and plain words, how do you think this happened?
Secretary CAMBONE. With the caveat, sir, that I don't know the facts, it's, for me, hard to explain. I have spent a good deal of time over the last 10 days to 2 weeks looking at the various elements of this issue, and I think what we did have here was a problem of leadership with respect to the 372nd Battalion. That was the MP unit.
Chairman WARNER. Failure of leadership starting at what level?
Secretary CAMBONE. That is decidedly more difficult to say, sir. Again, in simple terms, you asked. There was clear direction moving down the chain from the SECDEF to General Abizaid to General Sanchez to those people who were in charge of the MP. That, in this case, is General Karpinski. She had, I think it's eight battalions
General SMITH. Yes, sir.
Secretary CAMBONE.-eight battalions under her control, lodged at a large number of locations. She, as best I understand it, was not frequently present at Abu Ghraib.
Abu Ghraib, itself-and let's remember the time frame that we're talking about. We're coming out of the period of active combat operations. We have a large number of detainees who are being moved from a facility
Chairman WARNER. I'm going to ask you to be brief, because I'm holding myself to my time.
Secretary CAMBONE. I understand, sir-moved them from temporary facilities into permanent facilities, the places being mortared and attacked frequently. The local commander was unable to bring order to that place. For that reason, I would argue, General Sanchez looked to Colonel Pappas, the head of the 205th Military Intelligence Brigade, and gave him the responsibility, then, for taking care of Abu Ghraib as an installation.
Chairman WARNER. All right. Now, the reports that were developed by international organizations--the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and others--in my understanding, they came to your office for an assessment and a determination as to what was to be done in response to those reports.
Secretary CAMBONE. No, the reports that are at issue here isthe ICRC, the International Committee of the Red Cross
Chairman WARNER. But you told me, I thought, over the week
Secretary CAMBONE. I've seen the report.
Chairman WARNER.—you took some steps to implement some of their recommendations?
Secretary CAMBONE. Steps were taken to implement their recommendations. I saw those reports well after they were issued. The one in question was issued on November 6, 2003. It was addressed, to my knowledge, to General Karpinski, and she replied, at her command level, on December 24, 2003, to the ICRC.
Chairman WARNER. Who else in the building had access to those reports? Did they reach the SECDEF's level?
Secretary CAMBONE. No, sir, they did not. Those reports, those working papers—again, as far as I understand it were delivered at the command level. The process is designed so that the ICRC can engage with the local commanders and make those kinds of improvements that are necessary in a more collaborative environment than in an adversarial one, and so they tend to try to work these problems at that level.
There was, sir, just for the record, another paper developed by the ICRC, which was delivered to the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) in February 2004. That paper is a historical paper. It is a review of activity from March or so of 2003 through the end of January.
Chairman WARNER. My time is running out. Sorry to cut you off. We've asked for those reports.
Secretary CAMBONE. Yes, sir. The SECDEF is going to give them to you, sir.
Chairman WARNER. General Taguba, in your orders were there any restrictions placed upon you by General McKiernan, Generals Sanchez or Abizaid, in the scope of your inquiry? In other words, were you given a free hand to do what you felt had to be done?
General TAGUBA. Sir, the scope, as I described to you, was related to the detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib. However, because there were detention operations under the purview of the 800th MP Brigade, we also looked at the operations at Camp Bucca, the highvalue detention facility at Camp Cropper, and also the Mujahedine Khalq (MEK) facility at Camp Ashraf.
Chairman WARNER. I ask the same question to you. In simple, layman's language, so it can be understood, what do you think went wrong, in terms of the failure of discipline and the failure of this interrogation process to be consistent with known regulations, national and international? Also, to what extent do you have knowledge of any participation by other than U.S. military-namely, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and/or contractors—in the performance of the interrogations?
General TAGUBA. Sir, as far as your last question—I'll answer that first-the comments about participation of other government agencies or contractors were related to us through interviews that we conducted, it was related to our examination of written statements and, of course, some other records.
With regards to your first question, sir, there was a failure of Chairman WARNER. In other words, in the material that you've now submitted to the Senate, or the DOD has submitted, we will find in there all of your knowledge with respect to participation by other government agencies.
General TAGUBA. Yes, sir.
Chairman WARNER. It's nine volumes and about 6,000 pages. We just got it yesterday.
General TAGUBA. Yes, sir.
Chairman WARNER. Can you give us a quick synopsis of participation by other U.S. Government agencies?
General TAGUBA. Sir, they refer to other government agencies as OGAs or MIs. When I asked for clarification, it's because of the way they wore their uniform. Some of them did not wear a uniform. So I would ask them to clarify further if they knew any of these people, and they gave us names as stipulated on their statements. They also gave us names of those who are of MI, uniform MI in-personnel in the U.S. Army. That was substantiated by the comments made to us by other witnesses as we conducted our interviews.
Chairman WARNER. All right. In simple words, your own soldiers' language, how did this happen?
General TAGUBA. Failure in leadership, sir, from the brigade commander on down, lack of discipline, no training whatsoever, and no supervision. Supervisory omission was rampant. Those are my comments. Chairman WARNER. Thank you very much. Senator Levin.
Senator LEVIN. General Taguba, the ICRC said that the MI officers at the prison confirmed to them that these activities were all part of the MI process. Would you agree with the ICRC that coercive practices, such as holding prisoners naked for extended periods of time, were used, in their words, “in a systematic way” as part of a MI process at the prison?
General TAGUBA. Sir, I did not read the ICRC report.
General TAGUBA. Yes, sir, based on the evidence that was presented to us and what we gathered and what we reviewed. Yes, sir.
Senator LEVIN. Now, that's more than a failure of leadership. That's an active decision on the part of leadership. It's not just oversight or negligence or neglect or sloppiness, but purposeful, willful determination to use these techniques as part of an interrogation process. Would you include that in your definition of failure of leadership? General TAGUBA. Yes, sir, they were.
Senator LEVIN. Secretary Cambone told us a few minutes ago that the shift in command at the prison did not mean that the MI commander had command authority over the MPs. But your report says the opposite, that the decision to transfer that command to the MI commander did effectively put that commander in charge of the MP. Now, do you stick by your statement?
General TAGUBA. Is that to me, sir?
General TAGUBA. Sir, I did not question the order that was given ceived on November 19, 2003. That was not under my purview. I did ask him to elaborate on what his responsibilities were.
Senator LEVIN. Your report states that that change in command, "effectively made an MI officer rather than an MP officer responsible for the MP units conducting detainee operations at that facility.” Is that your conclusion?
General TAGUBA. Yes, sir, because the order gave him TACON of all units that were residing at Abu Ghraib.
Senator LEVIN. All right. Secretary Cambone, do you disagree with that?
Secretary CAMBONE. TACON is—
Secretary CAMBONE. I do. I do not believe that the order placing Colonel Pappas in charge gave him the authority to direct the MP's activities in direct operational control (OPCON) conditions. Is that true, General?
Senator LEVIN. Thank you. No, it's okay. Let me just keep going. You'll have just a disagreement over that.
Secretary Cambone, in an article in last Sunday's Washington Post, in April 2003 the DOD approved about 20 interrogation techniques for use at Guantanamo that permit reversing normal sleep patterns of detainees and exposing them to heat/cold sensory assault. The use of these techniques required the approval of senior Pentagon officials and, in some cases, of Secretary Rumsfeld, according to that article. These procedures, according to the Pentagon spokesman, Brian Whitman, are controlled and approved on a caseby-case basis. Then it says that the defense and intelligence officials said that similar guidelines had been approved for use on "high-value detainees in Iraq, those suspected of terrorism or of having knowledge of insurgency operations.” Is that true? Were those techniques adopted for Guantanamo? Were they then used or accepted or adopted for Iraq?
Secretary CAMBONE. They are command-level guidelines for the use in interrogation. They are, in some cases, the same; and, in many cases, not.
Senator LEVIN. They're not the same in Iraq? Secretary CAMBONE. Not the same. Senator LEVIN. In Iraq. Can you give us a copy of the guidelines? Secretary CAMBONE. I can do that. [The information referred to follows:] [Deleted.)
Senator LEVIN. Both. So there were specific guidelines for Guantanamo, and they were different from the guidelines for Iraq.
Secretary CAMBONE. I believe that they were, and I will give you the comparisons.
Senator LEVIN. All right. You'll give those to the committee, then. Let me go to another issue.
There was an interview in the New York Times last week in