Prison Investigations Moved Swiftly, Officials Say
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, May. 3, 2004 Once military authorities received information about possible prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib prison outside Baghdad, investigations moved swiftly, Defense Department officials said today.
A soldier, disturbed by the goings-on at the prison, went to officials with his allegations Jan. 13. The next day, Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez, commander of Combined Joint Task Force 7, launched a criminal investigation.
The criminal investigation has resulted in the Army charging six soldiers from the 800th Military Police Brigade with a variety of offenses. The soldiers still are serving in Iraq although not as military police and will remain there until the investigations are complete. The offenses against them include conspiracy, dereliction of duty, cruelty and maltreatment, assault, and indecent acts with another.
There are four other investigations into the "heinous" acts that allegedly took place in the prison, said a senior defense official on background.
A second investigation, recently completed by Army Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba, looked into procedures used at the prison. Taguba is the deputy commanding general for support at the 3rd Army, Fort McPherson, Ga. While classified, that investigation is "damning," said one official. Six noncommissioned and commissioned officers have received letters of reprimand following that investigation.
The Army inspector general's office has launched a third investigation, which began in February. That group will look at "detention operations around the world" to ensure humane, normal policies are being followed.
Lt. Gen. James R. Helmly, chief of the Army Reserve, ordered a fourth investigation to assess the state of training of Army Reserve units. The 800th is an Army Reserve unit based at Fort Totten, N.Y.
A final investigation is looking into the possible involvement of military intelligence personnel in the abuse. Army Maj. Gen. George Fay, the service's deputy chief of staff for intelligence, is leading that inquiry.