Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs George Little provided the following statement:
“Secretary Panetta strongly rejects the conduct depicted in these two-year old photographs. These images by no means represent the values or professionalism of the vast majority of U.S. troops serving in Afghanistan today.
“An investigation that could lead to disciplinary measures is underway. Anyone found responsible for this inhuman conduct will be held accountable in accordance with our military justice system.
“The secretary is also disappointed that despite our request not to publish these photographs, the Los Angeles Times went ahead. The danger is that this material could be used by the enemy to incite violence against U.S. and Afghan service members in Afghanistan. U.S. forces in the country are taking security measures to guard against it.”