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Senator KENNEDY. Thank you very much. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

To the people in the Middle East, and too often today, the symbol of America is not the Statue of Liberty, it's the prisoner standing on a box wearing a dark cape and a dark hood on his head with wires attached to his body, afraid that he's going to be electrocuted. Now, these incidents of torture and abuse have resulted in a catastrophic crisis of credibility for our Nation.

Since the beginning of the war, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has provided the Pentagon officials with reports of abuses at this prison, saying that some of them were tantamount to torture. They issued serious complaints during the inspection of the prison in October 2003 and at several other times.

The State Department and the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) appealed to you to stop the mistreatment of the military detainees. Secretary Powell raised this issue at Cabinet meetings and elsewhere, pleading with officials from your Department, Mr. Secretary, to see that detainees were properly cared for and treated, and your Department failed to act.

The military leadership put the troops in charge of the prison. They weren't trained to do the job, and they assigned far too few guards to the prison that were required to do the job right. They relied on the civilian contractors to perform military duties, as I understand it, including the interrogation of Iraqi prisoners. As Senator Levin pointed out, the top-level DOD officials directed guards at the prison to set physical and mental conditions for favorable interrogation of the detainees, a decision that directly resulted in the abuses.

The military leadership failed to respond in a systematic way even after it initiated the 35 criminal investigations into alleged mistreatment of detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan, 25 of these investigations involving deaths. I know that Secretary Brownlee referred to this.

In particular, in December 2002, military doctors at the Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan ruled that two Afghan men in U.S. custody died from blunt-force injuries. No one in the military has been held accountable for those homicides.

You and your senior leadership have shown, I believe, a disregard for the protection of the Geneva Conventions in detainee operations. In January 2002, you were asked why you believed the Geneva Conventions do not apply to detainees in Guantanamo. You replied that you did not have the slightest concern about their treatment, in light of what occurred September 11.

According to The New York Times, you have known about the graphic photographic evidence of abuse in the Abu Ghraib prison since mid-January. You told President Bush about these reports of abuse shortly thereafter. Yet, rather than work with Congress to deal with the problem together, you and other top DOD officials have apparently spent the last 3 weeks preparing a public relations plan.

Can you tell us what exactly you did tell the President about these reports of abuse in late January, and what did he say? What have to pass before anything happened? Then we find out that the pictures came out, and the President is, indeed, angry.

Secretary RUMSFELD. First, Senator Kennedy, your statement that other agencies of government were concerned about detainees and the DOD failed to act is simply not correct.

Senator KENNEDY. This wasn't brought to your attention by the State Department?

Secretary RUMSFELD. I'll respond. I did not say that. I said your statement that the DOD

Senator KENNEDY. It was brought to you then by the State Department. We don't want to parse words. Was this brought to you by the State Department? I mentioned Secretary Powell. The question is whether this was brought to you, and when did you know it? You gave us a laundry list in your presentation about the timeline on it. I'm trying to find out, because it's been published that you were notified about this and advised to do something about it a series of times and nothing was done.

Secretary RUMSFELD. It's not correct to say nothing was done. You're making a set of conclusions that are just simply not accurate. We have had numerous discussions, interagency, on detainees. All in all, there have been some 43,000 people who were captured or detained in Iraq, of whom 31,850 have already been released. That is a big task for the Army to undertake. The actions of the ICRC—you said they came in and indicated concerns about the Abu Ghraib prison. That's correct. The prison officials began the process of making corrections, and General Taguba's report found that a number of those things were already underway, in terms of corrections. When he made his study, a number of additional things and corrections were made. So it seems to me that the ICRC report was helpful, and that the military command, as I understand it, undertook a series of corrections.

Now, with respect to when we were knowledgeable of this, the situation was this. Specialist Darby told the CID that he had information about abuses in the prison. I believe it was on the 13th or 14th of January. By the 15th or 16th, an investigation had been initiated, and CENTCOM's public affairs people went out and told everyone in the world that there were allegations of abuse, and they were being investigated. Again, by mid-March, when some criminal-I don't know the legal term, but some criminal actions were initiated—the CENTCOM's public affairs people went out again and announced that not only were there allegations of abuses, but they listed the types of abuses. This was to the world; everyone knew it. CNN was there asking questions. That is the time frame when General Myers and I were meeting with the President and discussing the reports that we had obviously heard because they weren't hiding anything. They disclosed it to the world.

Chairman WARNER. Thank you, Senator.
Senator Roberts.

Senator ROBERTS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I mean, in no way, to diminish the seriousness of what has occurred here, but it seems very clear to me that the task before Congress is to determine

move on.

or if this was a matter, as has been indicated, of individuals who simply broke the rules.

With that in mind, I'd like to know, Mr. Secretary, were any of the abuses that occurred in Iraq encouraged, condoned, or permitted by DOD regulations or policy? Were any local or unit-levels in effect that would have encouraged, condoned, or permitted these abuses?

Secretary RUMSFELD. Certainly not to my knowledge. When one looks at the abuses and the cruelty, the idea that you would have regulations that would permit, condone, or encourage that type of thing is just not comprehensible. General Smith is the deputy at CENTCOM, under General Abizaid, and he is responsible for the management of the guidance and instructions. He can respond if you'd like.

Senator ROBERTS. No, I think you've answered the question, at least to the degree that I want it answered right now. I want to

I do have the privilege of being the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Three days ago, we had a hearing. We had the MI representatives there. We had the CIA there. They indicated, at that particular time, that they did not know and had no evidence of any direction on the part of intelligence personnel at this prison suggesting that they commit these abuses at the behest of the military interrogators, who asked the MP to “soften up” the detainees to prepare them for the interrogation. This gets back to the opening statement by Senator Levin and the question by Senator McCain.

Let me remind everybody that, as we speak, we have men and women in uniform engaged in combat in Najaf, and basically when we interrogate people, it is to get information from the prisoners, in terms of force protection and in terms of the mission in Iraq, to find out precisely what's going on. It's a very important mission. It was a closed hearing, but ì said at the time that I would be stunned—and I've said it to the press—that anybody in MI would condone these kind of activities. This criteria is ingrained, in terms of their training. It's black and white.

So my question to you is—and I think it is going to result in the Fay Report here—is there any truth to the allegations made in the press and by some of the accused MPs that they did commit these abuses at the behest of the military interrogators?

Secretary RUMSFELD. I've read the same allegations and comments that you have. That is what the criminal investigations are looking at, among other things. We will, at an early date, know what the answers are to those questions.

Senator ROBERTS. Can you give me a time frame on when the Fay Report will be completed?

General SMITH. Sir, it should be completed in the next couple of weeks, if he does not ask for an extension. Part of the problem is, that unit has redeployed back to Germany, and so there is traveling back and forth involved.

Senator ROBERTS. That would help answer the question that was asked by Senator McCain as to actually who was "in charge” of that prison. I put the "in charge” in quotes. You had the intelnance of the unit, and then it seems to me that there's another command that you mentioned, in terms of the contractors.

I think Senator McCain's question is right on. Who was really in charge? I think you have a tri-part system here. Is that being fixed? Will that be recommended by the Fay Report?

General SMITH. Sir, that's already been fixed with the appointment of Major General Geoff Miller as the

Senator ROBERTS. He's the person that straightened out Guantanamo Bay down in Cuba.

General SMITH. Sir, he is there doing that right now. He has been there since the middle of April.

Senator ROBERTS. I thank you, Mr. Chairman. Chairman WARNER. Thank you very much. Senator Byrd. Senator BYRD. Mr. Chairman, thank you for calling this timely and important hearing. I apologize for my voice. I've been struggling with a bout of laryngitis.

I share your outrage over the atrocities that have emerged from the Abu Ghraib prison. I believe Congress has the responsibility to demand a public accounting and a public explanation from the leadership of the DOD. I'm sure this is only the beginning of a long and painful process, but I am glad that you've taken the first steps to begin a necessary public examination of the massive policy failure that led to this catastrophe.

Among the many aspects of this situation that are so troubling to me is why the President and his advisors are only now publicly condemning the prisoner abuses in Iraq, when apparently the DOD has known about them for months. I do not recall hearing a peep out of either of you, Secretary Rumsfeld or General Myers, about this before CBS broke the silence.

Why did it take the televised broadcast of graphic photos of prisoner abuse, a broadcast General Myers has acknowledged he tried to suppress, to galvanize the leadership of the DOD to express its outrage over the situation?

Why was a report that described sadistic, blatant, and wanton criminal abuses by American soldiers left to languish on a shelf in the Pentagon unread by the top leadership until the media revealed it to the world? Why wasn't Congress appraised of the findings of this report from the DOD instead of from CBS News?

Mr. Secretary, it was President Truman who was said to have displayed the famous sign on his desk, “The buck stops here." I served with President Truman. He was an honorable man. He did not shirk his responsibility.

I see a very different pattern in this administration. I see arrogance and a disdain for Congress. I see misplaced bravado and an unwillingness to admit mistakes. I see finger-pointing and excuses.

Given the catastrophic impact that this scandal has had on the world community, how can the United States ever repair its credibility? How are we supposed to convince not only the Iraqi people, but also the rest of the world, that America is, indeed, a liberator and not a conqueror, not an arrogant power? Is a presidential apology to the King of Jordan sufficient? I ask you that question.

Secretary RUMSFELD. Senator, the facts are somewhat different

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Baghdad. General Kimmitt stood up, in January, and announced that there were allegations of abuses and that they were being investigated. He then briefed reporters. I think it was March 20. There's a timeline up here. By March 20, he went back out again and said that these had been filed.

The idea that this was a story that was broken by the media is simply not the fact. This was presented by CENTCOM to the world so that they would be aware of the fact that these had been filed. What was not known is that a classified report with photographs would be given to the press before it arrived in the Pentagon.

Senator BYRD. Mr. Secretary, we'll put my timeline in the record and compare it with yours.

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SECTION: MAIN NEWS; Foreign Desk; Part A; Pg. I

LENGTH: 1767 words

HEADLINE: Bush Scolds Rumsfeld on Abuse Inquiry;
The Iraq scandal caught the president off guard, an official says. The Pentagon maintains it made the
prison charges known to the White House.

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BYLINE: Edwin Chen, John Hendren and Janet Hook, Times Staff Writers



A clash erupted Wednesday between the White House and the Pentagon over the handling of the Iraq prison abuse investigation, with President Bush telling Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld that he felt personally blindsided by the scandal and should have been more fully informed about its severity.

Bush rebuked Rumsfeld during an Oval Office meeting, a senior administration official said Wednesday evening. Bush told Rumsfeld that the White House should have been informed about the photographs documenting some of the abuses, which began appearing in the news media late last week, the senior official said.

"The president wasn't satisfied when he saw those pictures on TV," the official said, referring to photographs of Iraqi prisoners stripped naked and being abused. "And he made that clear to Secretary Rumsfeld. They should have been brought to his attention, and he shouldn't have had to learn of them through the media."

The official said Rumsfeld agreed with Bush that the manner in which the information reached the president was "not satisfactory."

However, Pentagon officials contended that Rumsfeld and defense officials moved swiftly to make the
seriousness of the charges known within the administration and at news briefings. They said a senior
Pentagon official confirmed to a reporter in January the possibility of graphic photographs.
"This was attacked very aggressively," said Pentagon spokesman Lawrence Di Rita. "The White House
notification was a symptom that everyone knew this was important. I think there was a good

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