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General SANCHEZ. Is this the July paper? Senator LEVIN. The July working paper detailing 50 allegations of ill treatment.
General SANCHEZ. Not that I am aware of, Senator.
Senator LEVIN. So there is no indication at your level, at your headquarters, that that document was ever received?
General SÁNCHEZ. No, Senator. The working paper that I am aware of that made it to my headquarters was the November paper.
Senator LEVIN. The Interrogation Rules of Engagement is a document which was presented to this committee by General Alexander, saying that the ROE that were in effect at the Combined Joint Task Force 7 (CTJF-7) in Iraq prior to 2003 are set forth on a piece of paper, which—are you familiar with it?-called “Interrogation Rules of Engagement”?
General SANCHEZ. Yes, sir, I have seen that.
Senator LEVIN. Did you approve this? Did you have legal advice? What is this document that General Alexander told us were the ROE that were in effect at the CJTF?
General SANCHEZ. Sir, the first time I saw that paper was when it was shown in one of the prior hearings in this same forum.
Senator LEVIN. So that he would-
Senator LEVIN. All right. So he was in error, then, relative to that? General Alexander, then, would have been in error if he said this was the document
General SANCHEZ. Right, sir. I have never seen that, I had never approved it, and I had no part in putting that together, sir.
Senator LEVIN. I do not believe this committee has your October 12 policy statement. If I am wrong, then fine. But would you provide that October 12 statement to the committee?
General SANCHEZ. Yes, sir. [The information referred to follows:) The requested document was provided to the committee as an attachment to the question for the record (QFR) 76 for Lieutenant General Sanchez.
Senator LEVIN. Finally, the newspaper reported that a hundred or so high-value detainees do not fall under your command, General Sanchez, but are the responsibility of General Dayton, who is commander of the Iraq Survey Group and reports directly to General Abizaid. Is that accurate, as far as you know?
General SANCHEZ. Yes, sir, that is accurate.
Senator LEVIN. Can you just tell us, then, why that was done that way, General Abizaid?
General ABIZAID. Sir, that was done that way because the people at Camp Cropper happened to be those people who had theoretical information concerning WMD information, and also were the highvalue detainees who we hope someday to turn over to a legitimate Iraqi government for trial.
Senator LEVIN. But why should they be treated differently from other detainees, separated out that way?
General ABIZAID. They were separated out that way to ensure ment, as opposed to the tactical environment, where we would get information from lower-level detainees. It was established that way as a result of discussions that had taken place here in Washington regarding having a better and more efficient way to really understand what was going on with regard to WMD.
Senator LEVIN. That was all, then, WMD-information related, basically?
General ABIZAID. It was, sir, but it was also dealing with very senior levels of the former Íraqi Government.
Senator LEVIN. Thank you.
I have just been told that the DOĎ has informed the committee that another disk of pictures has been located, and I will soon advise the committee on the conditions under which that can be viewed.
I want to thank the witnesses, particularly Generals Miller, Abizaid, and Sanchez, for their outstanding service to our Nation under the most difficult circumstances. I was pleased to hear that you were here on other business and did not have to be called back from the theater of operations. I thank you for all the time and effort you have devoted to trying to resolve this terrible issue. We are very grateful for that and for your appearance here today.
General Sanchez, according to a November 19, 2003, message, as you responded to questions from Senator Warner and Senator Levin, you transferred full responsibility to Colonel Pappas to assume full responsibility for Abu Ghraib and appointed the National Guard units to be under the tactical control of 205th MI Brigade Commander for security of detainees and FOB protection. I quote from your message. I think that is accurate.
In his statement to General Taguba, Colonel Pappas said, "Policies and procedures established by the joint detention and detention center at Abu Ghraib relative to detainee operations were enacted as a specific result of a visit by Major General Geoffrey Miller, Commander Joint Task Force Gitmo." He went on to say, “The key findings of his visit were that the interrogators and analysts developed a set of rules and limitations to guide interrogation and provide dedicated MPs to support interrogation operations.” I repeat, “and provide dedicated MPs to support interrogation operations."
Now, General Sanchez, General Miller's report, as I understand it, had observations and recommendations. One of those recommendations was, “It is essential that the guard force be actively engaged in setting the conditions for successful exploitation of the internees.”
Am I accurate so far, General Sanchez?
Senator McCAIN. Well, General Miller, do you believe that your instructions may have been misinterpreted?
General MILLER. Senator, I do not. On our visit to the JTF to be major areas: intelligence fusion, the interrogation process, and humane detention-the team of 19 experts laid out those standards that would allow for humane detention, interrogation in accordance with the Geneva Conventions, and then recommended procedures by which intelligence could be fused more rapidly to provide actionable intelligence for units and for the JTF itself.
Senator MCCAIN. Well, thank you. But it seems to me that this order that I just quoted turned over certain MP duties to the control of Colonel Pappas and then certain things happened. According to General Taguba's report, soldiers were questioned who were involved in this.
Soldier number one, question: "Have you ever been directed by the MI, military intelligence, personnel or any government agency to soften up a prisoner prior to interrogation?"
Answer: “Yes. Sometimes they would ask me to show a prisoner, 'special attention.''
Soldier number two: “Have you ever been told by MI personnel to work over a prisoner?”
“Yes. MI told us to rough them up to get answers from the prisoners.'
"Why didn't you report the abuse?”
"Because I assumed that if we were doing anything wrong or out of the ordinary or outside the guidelines, someone would have said something. Also, the wing belonged to military intelligence, and it appeared military intelligence personnel approved of the abuse.”
Soldier number three, question: “What can you tell us about the abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib?”
"Yeah, the MI staffs, to my understanding, have given compliments to us on the way we were handling the MI holds. Example being statements like: 'Good job. They're breaking down real fast; “ They answer every question now. Keep it up;'” and “They're giving out good information.'»
Soldier number four: “Have you heard MI insinuate the guards to abuse inmates of any type of manner?”
Answer: "They said, 'Loosen this guy up for us. Make sure he has a bad night. Make sure he gets the treatment.'”
Do you see my point, Major General Miller? According to General Taguba's report, there were at least a number of guards, MPs, who were under the impression, or stated that they were under the impression, that they were under specific directions of MI personnel to, “rough up, soften up, given 'em a bad night," et cetera. How do we respond to that, General Miller?
General MILLER. Senator, in the recommendations that we made
Senator McCAIN. This goes back to my first question. Does this lead you to believe that your orders were misinterpreted?
General MILLER. No, sir. The leadership that received the recommendations throughout the JTF had a clear understanding of the recommendations that we made in those three areas of intelligence fusion, interrogation, and humane detention that laid out those requirements, that laid the base that they must be in concert
experience about how those three functions could be done successfully.
Senator McCAIN. There must have been a breakdown somewhere.
General MILLER. Sir, in my estimation, it was a breakdown in leadership on how follow-on actions may have occurred, but I was not present at that time, so it would be difficult for me to give
Senator McCain. General Sanchez, my time is expired.
General SANCHEZ. Senator, I wanted to make one clarification, that General Miller did not issue any orders, and he has not issued any orders, until he arrived as the deputy commanding general for detainee operations. Those orders were my orders, sir.
Senator McCAIN. I guess my question was better directed to you. Were those orders misinterpreted?
General SANCHEZ. Sir, I do not believe those orders were misinterpreted. The procedures that General Miller and I had discussed, that he recommended, were very detailed, and it very clearly stated that MPs were involved in passive enabling of those operations and had no involvement in the conduct of interrogations. Those were the orders in the standard operating procedures (SOPs) that remained after General Miller's visit.
Senator McCAIN. I thank the witnesses. My time has expired.
Senator KENNEDY. Thank you very much. General, I echo the sense that all of us greatly respect you and the troops who you are commanding. We have lost 23 very brave soldiers from my State of Massachusetts and we are all very mindful of the complexities and the difficulties that the uniformed service personnel are facing over there. So we thank you so much for your leadership and your careers of public service in serving our country.
General Sanchez, as an old MP myself, I am surprised that you think the MI are better at protecting the forces than the MPs, but we will leave that for another time.
When we had the SECDEF here, General Abizaid, last week, he denied that there was any failure to take any of these reports seriously. The military, not the media, discovered these abuses, he said. Specialist Joseph Darby reported the acts of abuse at Abu Ghraib prison in mid-January. According to Secretary Rumsfeld, by the next day, investigations were authorized.
Yet now we learn, both from the front page of The New York Times and the front page of The Wall Street Journal today, that the ICRC observed abuses in the prison during the two unannounced inspections in October 2003 and it complained in a strongly-worded written report on November 6. This report was reviewed by senior military officials in Iraq, including two advisors to General Sanchez, according to this report.
So it appears that the military's first reaction was to restrict future ICRC visits to Abu Ghraib. That is the story in here. After the personnel who were dealing with the prison then was to restrict access. They said, “You have to give us notice.”. All of us understand what that means. If you are going to give notice prior to the inspections, it obviously compromises the inspections.
So according to those news reports, nothing was done in the prison for 2 months. The military previously acknowledged that the worst abuses continued into December 2003.
So we have the SECDEF saying one thing, and we are learning, from two newspapers, another story. That is why I think we were trying to find out exactly who was in charge and who bears the responsibility. These are completely conflicting stories that have come out within a period of just a few weeks here before this committee. I do not know whether you have any reaction to those stories, whether you had a chance to see those this morning.
I want to move on quickly. I suppose it is fair to ask, who in Iraq or in CENTCOM is responsible for receiving and responding to the reports of violations of international law or conventions by U.S. military personnel?
General ABIZAID. I am responsible. If someone brings it to my attention, I am responsible, and I will not turn my back on any report that I receive.
Senator KENNEDY. Well, you obviously did not get these reports. General ABIZAID. No, I did not, but
Senator KENNEDY. Well, I am asking who would have gotten these reports. Who would have received this report in the chain of command? General?
General SANCHEZ. Senator, the November report was received by the brigade commander. Then, as I find out now, the CJTF-7 staff assisted her in responding to that report.
Senator KENNEDY. Did that brigade commander receive all of the reports, or just who, institutionally
General SANCHEZ. No, sir. What
Senator KENNEDY.-receives, within your organization, any of the-like for the ICRC violations that come on in. Who is in charge on that? Who receives it?
General SANCHEZ. When the February 2004 report came in, that is when I found out that the November working papers had been issued to the brigade commander. At that point, I immediately changed the procedure and required that those reports come to me as the senior commander in the country. That is the procedure now.
Senator KENNEDY. There was no central receiving officer in charge prior to what you have just established? Is that right?
General SANCHEZ. Sir, prior to that, those all would come to the Staff JAG's Office. That was the repository, and he was the point of contact, in terms of commander-it was coming at the lowest level.
Senator KENNEDY. At the staff JAG officer-
Senator KENNEDY. Let me move on to General Miller. After your