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Committee Chairman Commends Defense Department's Cooperation

By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 15, 2004 – Sen. John Warner of Virginia, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, today commended the Defense Department for its cooperation regarding the Iraq prisoner abuse.

Defense officials have been "forthcoming with witnesses and documents," Warner said. "It was made clear today, when we got to address the International Red Cross issues, that there's still some additional documentation which the department is obtaining and will provide the Senate," he said.

Ryan Henry, principal deputy undersecretary of defense for policy, and other military officials briefed the committee during a closed-door session. Following the briefing, Warner, accompanied by Vice Adm. A.T. Church III, inspector general of the Navy, talked with reporters. Warner described the briefing, which lasted several hours, as "excellent."

"No stone is being left unturned as the Department of Defense and, to some extent, the Department of Justice are looking at this situation to determined what happened, how it happened, who is accountable, and how, more importantly, it can never happen again," he said.

New information continues to emerge each day, he said, but under the direction of the defense secretary, "everything that can be done is being done to analyze what happened in the past and to prevent any recurrence in the future."

The senator from Virginia noted that the Congress must proceed carefully so that it does not impede the International Committee of the Red Cross's ability to function in other nations of the world.

The ICRC's success is dependent on the confidentiality of their investigations, Warner said. For the ICRC to do its job, he said, "you cannot have a revelation of all the facts that occurred in that situation. It's as simple as that."

As more information becomes available upon the completion of all investigations, the chairman said, the Senate committee may hold an open hearing that would provide the American public with a better understanding of what happened.

In most of the cases the committee was briefed on, Warner added, "the appropriate authorities took corrective measures."

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