Firm tied to Abu Gharib scandal still under contract in Iraq

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

A U.S. firm cited in connection with the abuse of inmates at Abu Gharib prison continues to operate in Iraq under a contract with the U.S. military.

CACI International, with 9,400 employees, said it still works for the U.S. Army in Iraq on a range of intelligence and related services.

A company statement did not say where staffers were located, Middle East Newsline reported. "CACI continues to provide professional interrogation and analyst support services an intelligence information gathering function to the U.S. Army in Iraq," the company said.

The company said staffers were not granted authority over U.S. military personnel in Iraq. The statement said CACI personnel serving in Iraq have been under the operational control and direction of U.S. military.

A U.S. Army report has raised the prospect that a CACI staffer allowed or instructed soldiers to abuse inmates at Abu Gharib prison. The army said it has employed 27 CACI interrogators translators and other staffers in Iraq.

In response, CACI said its personnel in Iraq provided administrative supervision, such as managing and monitoring payments, billeting, and leave schedules. The company said control over the interrogation of inmates at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere came under military authority.

"Interrogation operations at Abu Ghraib prison were, and remain, under the operational control of the JIDC, a military unit under the command and control of military personnel," the company said.

In May, Acting Army Secretary Les Brownlee told the Senate Armed Services Committee that civilian interrogators and interpreters do not have supervisory capabilities. Brownlee said the contractors work under the supervision of military officers, an assertion disputed by a CACI employee in an e-mail to the Washington Post in May.

CACI said its staffers continue to work at Abu Gharib. The company said it has provided a range of staffers, including a "few senior intelligence advisor positions in Iraq" in an effort that has enhanced military effectiveness and enabled the deployment of troops for other missions.

"These advisors are located either at the army or joint task force headquarters, not in the prisons where interrogations take place," the company said. "While these advisors provide valuable insight and advice to the military intelligence communities they serve, they do not issue orders or exercise operational control of interrogation or other intelligence gathering and assessment activities, as such control is vested solely in the military chain of command."

Copyright 2004 East West Services, Inc.

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