Hearing opens against colonel accused of aiding enemy in Iraq

WORLD DIGEST

May 01, 2007|By Los Angeles Times

BAGHDAD -- Military prosecutors began laying the groundwork yesterday for the case against an Army commander accused of aiding the enemy, suggesting he was a pornography collector who let a "high-value" detainee use his cell phone and carried on an inappropriate relationship with the man's daughter.

The line of questioning pursued on the first day of an Article 32 hearing, which will determine whether Lt. Col. William H. Steele is court-martialed, appeared aimed at showing he abused his position as commander of the 451st Military Police Detachment at Camp Cropper in Baghdad and later with the 89th Military Police Brigade in Baghdad.

In both positions, Steele, 51, a reservist from Virginia, oversaw hundreds of detainees, many of them former high-ranking officials in Iraq. He faces nine counts, including aiding the enemy, conduct unbecoming an officer, failing to obey an order, possession of pornographic videos and mishandling classified information.

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