U.S. security contractors said their primary
role was translation, not the interrogation of Iraqi prisoners at the Abu Gharib prison north
But U.S. officials said that under the terms of the Defense Department
contract, private security personnel could be asked to serve as
interrogators in case of a shortage of U.S. military personnel.
The contractors denied involvement n the abuse of Iraqi
prisoners. At least two U.S. contractors were hired to provide services at
The two contractors were identified as CACI International and Titan
Corp. Both companies said they provided Arabic interpreters to translate for
military intelligence during interrogations, Middle East Newsline reported.
"The company's contract is for linguists, not interrogators," Titan said
in a statement. "For security and safety reasons, we do not discuss
individual assignments, military operations or duty locations."
But Pentagon officials said security contractors agreed to also serve as
interrogators at Abu Gharib and other detention centers in Iraq. The
officials said interrogations conducted by the private security personnel
were under U.S. Army supervision.
"In the theatre we have employed civilian contract interrogators and
linguists," Acting Army Secretary Les Brownlee told the Senate Armed
Services Committee on May 6. "The Central Command has done this. And these
people have no supervisory capabilities at all. They work under the
supervision of officers in charge or non-commissioned officers in charge of
whatever team or unit they are on."
Lt. Gen. Lance Smith, deputy chief of U.S. Central Command, said
security contractors at Abu Gharib provided a range of services for
intelligence officers. Smith said contractors were expected to provide both
translation and interrogation services depending on needs of military
"In this particular case, there is a tiger team that interrogates and
goes through that process," Smith said. "One is an interpreter normally. One
is an analyst. And one is an interrogator. And where we have a shortage in
the military of interrogators and translators we go to contractors to do
Neither CACI nor Titan explained the assertion by the Pentagon officials
regarding the use of security contractors in the interrogation of Irarqi
prisoners. But the companies said they have ordered their personnel
stationed at Abu Gharib to cooperate in the army investigation. So far,
neither company reported that its employees had been charged with the abuse
of prisoners at the detention facility.
"There is an ongoing investigation underway in which our people have
cooperated in the interview process," CACI president Jack London said. "CACI
will continue to
cooperate with all U.S. government investigations when requested and is now
conducting its own analysis and investigation of events."