Officers bear ultimate responsibility, Pentagon says

Army Report On Prisoner Abuses At Abu Ghraib

August 26, 2004

Here are excerpts from the Pentagon report on intelligence-gathering at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

While senior level officers did not commit the abuse at Abu Ghraib they did bear responsibility for lack of oversight of the facility, failing to respond in a timely manner to the reports from the International Committee of the Red Cross and for issuing policy memos that failed to provide clear, consistent guidance for execution at the tactical level. ...

205th MI [Military Intelligence] Brigade and 800th Military Police Brigade leaders at Abu Ghraib failed to execute their assigned responsibilities. The leaders from units located at Abu Ghraib or with supervision over soldiers and units at Abu Ghraib, failed to supervise subordinates or provide direct oversight of this important mission. These leaders failed to properly discipline their Soldiers. These leaders failed to learn from prior mistakes and failed to provide continued mission-specific training. The 205th MI Brigade Commander did not assign a specific subordinate unit to be responsible for interrogations at Abu Ghraib and did not ensure that a Military Intelligence chain of command at Abu Ghraib was established. The absence of effective leadership was a factor in not sooner discovering and taking actions to prevent both the violent/sexual abuse incidents and the misinterpretation/confusion incidents. Neither Department of Defense nor Army doctrine caused any abuses. Abuses would not have occurred had doctrine been followed and mission training conducted. ...

Clearly, abuses occurred at the prison at Abu Ghraib. ... The primary causes of the violent and sexual abuses were relatively straight-forward - individual criminal misconduct, clearly in violation of law, policy, and doctrine and contrary to Army values.

The chain of command directly above the 205th MI Brigade was not directly involved in the abuses at Abu Ghraib. However, policy memoranda promulgated by the CJTF-7 [Combined Joint Task Force] Commander [Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez] led indirectly to some of the non-violent and non-sexual abuses. In addition, the CJTF-7 Commander and Deputy Commander failed to ensure proper staff oversight of detention and interrogation operations. Finally, CJTF-7 staff elements reacted inadequately to earlier indications and warnings that problems existed at Abu Ghraib.

Most, though not all, of the violent or sexual abuses occurred separately from scheduled interrogations and did not focus on persons held for intelligence purposes. ... 205th MI Brigade and 800th Military Police Brigade leaders at Abu Ghraib failed to execute their assigned responsibilities. The leaders from these units located at Abu Ghraib or with supervision over soldiers and units at Abu Ghraib, failed to supervise subordinates or provide direct oversight of this important mission. These leaders failed to properly discipline their soldiers. ... The absence of effective leadership was a factor in not sooner discovering and taking actions to prevent ... the violent/sexual abuse incidents.

No single or simple theory can explain why some of the abuses at Abu Ghraib occurred. In addition to individual criminal propensities, leadership failures and, multiple policies, many other factors contributed to the abuses occurring at Abu Ghraib, including: Safety and security conditions at Abu Ghraib;

At Abu Ghraib, the lack of an MI commander and chain of command precluded the coordination needed for effective operations. At the same time, LTC [Lt. Col. Steven] Jordan failed to execute his responsibilities as Chief, JIDC [Joint Interrogation Debriefing Center]. Tactical doctrine states that interrogators should specify to the guards what types of behavior on their part will facilitate screening of detainees. Normally, interrogation facilities are collocated with detention facilities, requiring close coordination between the MPs who are responsible for detention operations, and the MI personnel who are responsible for screening and interrogations. ... . At Abu Ghraib, the delineation of responsibilities seems to have been blurred when military police soldiers, untrained in interrogation operations, were used to enable interrogations. Problems arose in the following areas: use of dogs in interrogations, sleep deprivation as an interrogation technique and use of isolation as an interrogation technique.

The existence of confusing and inconsistent interrogation technique policies contributed to the belief that additional interrogation techniques were condoned in order to gain intelligence.

Soldiers knew they were violating the approved techniques and procedures. The primary causes of these actions were relatively straight-forward - individual criminal misconduct, clearly in violation of law, policy, and doctrine and contrary to Army values. The second category of abuse consists of incidents that resulted from misinterpretations of law or policy or resulted from confusion about what interrogation techniques were permitted.

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