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Thursday, September 09, 2004

C.I.A. Hid More Prisoners New York Times > Than It Has Disclosed, Generals Say

September 9, 2004
WASHINGTON, Sept. 9 — The Central Intelligence Agency kept dozens of detainees at Abu Ghraib prison and other detention facilities in Iraq off official rosters to hide them from Red Cross inspections, far more than has been previously reported, two senior Army generals said today.
An inquiry by three generals issued last month found eight documented cases of so-called "ghost detainees," but two of the officers said in congressional testimony and interviews later that depositions with military personnel at the prison suggested the number was far higher.
"The number is in the dozens , and perhaps up to 100," Gen. Paul J. Kern, the senior officer who oversaw the inquiry into the role of military intelligence personnel in the prisoner-abuse scandal, told the Senate Armed Services Committee. He added that a precise number would never be known because there were no records kept on most of the C.I.A. detainees.
Another senior Army investigator, Gen. George R. Fay, described for the first time in detail how C.I.A. officials in Baghdad and at the agency's headquarters in Langley, Va., three times refused his request for information, finally explaining they were doing their own investigation into the matter.
Military officials have said the C.I.A.'s practice of using the military's prisons in Iraq to hide prisoners they are interrogating violated military regulations and international law. The inspectors general of the Defense Department and C.I.A. are now investigating the matter.
The new disclosures on the "ghost detainees" highlighted a day that two congressional committees dedicated to the Abu Ghraib matter. Lawmakers scrutinizing the Army report and the findings of an independent panel into prisoner abuse also questioned whether either inquiry sufficiently held top civilians and generals accountable for the scandal.
Two former defense secretaries said that failures on the part of top deputies to Donald H. Rumsfeld to properly oversee the development of interrogation policies for Iraq had contributed to the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.
The former secretaries, Mr. Schlesinger and Harold Brown, both offered praise for Mr. Rumsfeld himself, saying that he had conducted himself responsibly and strongly reiterating past statements that he should not resign over the affair.
But both former secretaries were more specific than in the past in criticizing some of Mr. Rumsfeld's deputies, identifying two undersecretaries of defense and the Pentagon's general counsel as having fallen short in their conduct.
Mr. Brown, who served under President Jimmy Carter, also pointed a finger of blame beyond Mr. Rumsfeld to the "very top" of the Bush administration for what he called "the responsibility for failing to plan for what actually happened after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein."
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