Officer: CIA sought to thwart Geneva
The New York Times; Oct. 9, 2004
WASHINGTON - The actions of the CIA in keeping
inmates at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq off official rosters appeared to have been
intended to speed their transfer to sites outside Iraq, where they would not be
protected by the Geneva Conventions, the former commander of the joint
interrogation center at the prison has told Army investigators.
allegation by Lt. Col. Steven Jordan, in testimony in February, was included in
hundreds of pages of secret documents released yesterday by the Center for
Jordan said the approach had been authorized under
an unwritten agreement between the CIA and Col. Thomas Pappas, the top military
intelligence officer at the prison.
The center said it had obtained
the documents from a journalist, Osha Gray Davidson, a contributor to Rolling
Two Army generals told Congress last month that at the
CIAs request, Army jailers had failed to register dozens of detainees at Abu
Ghraib in order to hide them from Red Cross inspectors.
said in his testimony that the CIA's purpose had been to avoid anything that
might have slowed moving them.
"They would not put them in the regular
detainee process where you get fingerprinted, because once a detainee did that,
you're kinda in there three to six to eight months," Jordan said in his
testimony, in Camp Doha, Kuwait, on Feb. 21.
He went on to use an
abbreviation for "other government agency," a term used in military circles to
refer to the CIA: "The OGA folks wanted to be able to pull somebody in 24, 48,
72 hours if they had to get'em to Gitmo, do what have you."
past, U.S. officials have insisted that no prisoners from Iraq were ever
transferred to the American detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, which is
known as Gitmo. They have acknowledged two cases in which prisoners captured
were transferred out of Iraq and then returned, but they have declined to
comment on whether there might have been others.
The United States has
said all prisoners captured in Iraq were covered under the Geneva Conventions.
Prisoners held by the United States in Guantanamo and some other lockups,
including those in Afghanistan and some secret locations, have not been granted
the same protection.
A CIA spokesman would not comment on Jordan's
remarks, and a lawyer for Jordan also declined comment.
Army reservist, is among the military intelligence officers identified by Army
investigators as sharing in responsibility for the abuses at Abu
An Army report by Gen. Paul Kern and others criticized Pappas
in particular for failing to challenge the CIA practice of keeping detainees off
In 185 pages of testimony, Jordan also referred to the
death at Abu Ghraib of an unregistered detainee who had been brought to the
prison by CIA officers.
Jordan said he reminded Pappas at the time
that it would have been better to have a written agreement with the CIA about
the handling of such prisoners, and he said the colonel had responded: "Well, if
I go down, I'm not going down alone. The guys from Langley are going down with
The documents made public by the Center for Public Integrity
yesterday also included a classified memorandum written by an Army general in
September 2003 recommending that guards at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq be put
under the authority of a senior military intelligence officer.
document provides the clearest indication to date that the military police at
Abu Ghraib were made subordinate to the new Joint Interrogation and Debriefing
Center, under Jordan.