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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Senate Committe Hearings

Aired May 19, 2004 - 11:10   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: We want to go back to Washington D.C. right now. The Senate Armed Services Committee continuing their hearing. The top generals from Iraq, the military situation in Iraq, testifying before the committee. Let's listen in.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

LT. GEN. RICARDO SANCHEZ, COMMANDER, MULTINATIONAL FORCE-IRAQ: ... defend the forward operating base. That was the judgment that I expressed in the issuance of that fragment.

SEN. JOE LIEBERMAN (D), CONNECTICUT: Got it. But that's what I wanted to clarify.

But at that time, the dysfunction that you saw at Abu Ghraib did not include your knowledge of prisoner abuse. Is that right?

SANCHEZ: Sir, that is exactly right.

LIEBERMAN: And, General Miller, I take it from -- your understanding of the reasons why you were dispatched to Iraq last fall, did not include -- or did they? -- a concern about prisoner abuse?

MAJ. GEN. GEOFFREY MILLER, DEPUTY COMMANDER FOR DETAINEE OPERATIONS, MULTINATIONAL FORCE-IRAQ: Sir, they did not concern -- were not focused on the concern about prisoner abuse. They were about the overall capability of CJTF-7 to develop actionable intelligence, to do intelligence fusion, to see how interrogations...

LIEBERMAN: Got it. So your stress on the humane treatment of the Geneva Convention was of your own initiative, not because anyone, as they dispatched you to Iraq, had said, "We think we have a problem with prisoner abuse"?

MILLER: Sir, that is absolutely correct.

LIEBERMAN: Let me now go to the chart that's received so much attention.

I got to say, again here, this was given -- you know, put before us by General Alexander, the general of the Army who's in charge of intelligence. So the fact that it comes from a lower ranking -- a company commander, Captain Woods, is surprising.

Now, maybe it was given to us in the context of this investigation because it's not all bad news for the Army. It does have a series of approved approaches for all detainees, on the left here, which certainly to me seems reasonable.

At the bottom, it lists safeguards, including "approaches must always be humane and lawful; Geneva Conventions apply."

The problem is this section here on the right which Captain Woods was notifying anyone who saw this chart that required General Sanchez's approval. Some of these seem reasonable. Some of them literally seem in violation of the Geneva Convention.

And I wanted to ask you, Colonel Warren, two questions. One is, how Captain Woods could have come up with these sections that he said required the commanding general's approval, if the commanding general had not approved this chart.

And secondly, do you agree with -- do you agree that the procedures listed on the right side, including environmental manipulation, sleep adjustment, sensory deprivation, are, in fact, violations of the Geneva Convention under all circumstances?

LIEBERMAN: Because I thought in your answer to Senator Reed earlier, you opened a door in which you were suggesting they might not be. And if so, I think it's very important for the committee to hear that.

COL. MARC WARREN, ARMY JUDGE ADVOCATE GENERAL: My answer is that they are not. And this is why this cannot be...

LIEBERMAN: That these are not violations of the Geneva Convention?

WARREN: These are not, in and of themselves, in isolation, violations of the Geneva Conventions. Specifically the fourth convention, when applied to security internees, in this case who are unlawful combatants, who under...

LIEBERMAN: Which covers a number of the people at Abu Ghraib, is that right?

WARREN: It does. It should cover those who in this circumstance would have been permissibly under active interrogation.

As was pointed out by Senator Graham, some of the people depicted in these photographs could not have been under interrogation at all. They were of no interest. They were actually criminal detainees who should not have been in that cell block in the first place.

But that is an aside, sir.

This is more complicated than a yes-or-no answer. Those things that were on the right, that were placed there by Captain Woods, as I said earlier, sir, were placed there in order to show the range of the universe, if you will, of things that were not authorized. They were representative... LIEBERMAN: Where did he get the authority to not only put them down on the paper, but to say that they required the approval of General Sanchez? I mean, he's a captain.

WARREN: Actually it's a she.

LIEBERMAN: She.

WARREN: Yes.

But I think I can explain that, sir, because, again, I was present throughout, as this policy developed.

LIEBERMAN: Please.

With the chairman's consent, if you'd just take a moment to just go over this.

WARNER: The witness will have adequate time to respond.

WARREN: Thank you, sir.

This goes back to General Miller's teams visit, where they looked at a broad range of interrogation and intelligence analytical operations. Their recommendation was that we should have an interrogation policy.

We, as a task force, did not have one. We were focused on the tactical level of interrogations. We were following predominantly the Army Field Manual approaches. And in addition we had other units, such as Alpha Company 519th Military Intelligence Battalion, which had served in Afghanistan, bring in their own policies that had been used in other theaters.

Additionally, we had what we call the common law of interrogation approaches. And that is approaches which were variations on the authorized approaches contained within the Army Field Manual by way of implementation. So the point that was made, to have a policy, I believe was a reasoned and correct recommendation.

And I was present at meetings in which...

LIEBERMAN: Reasoned and correct.

WARREN: Reasoned and correct, absolutely, sir.

WARREN: I believe we needed to have one as we moved our focus to the operational level, as we became more sophisticated and, frankly, as we wanted to stem the growth of this common law of interrogations so that we could regularize it, so that we could regulate it, and so that we should be able to provide proper oversight.

So we took a number of these standard operating procedures and policies. Among them were those in use in Guantanamo Bay. Others were, as I mentioned, those that were imported into theater. We put together a team of folks who were military intelligence and legal officers. We looked at those policies, we reviewed them against the requirements that we believe were imposed by the fourth Geneva Convention. We discarded some of those procedures; an example: sensory deprivation.

We floated these through the command in a series of drafts.

To be sure, in some of these drafts, specifically one dated 10 September, you may very well find all of those on the right-hand side, including sensory depravation.

But during the course of the staffing and the deliberative process and the review -- and, sir, by no means is there a book that you can look up that runs through interrogation approaches and methods and has a check and a block that they comply or don't comply with the Geneva Conventions. This is a matter of judgment, a matter of rigor and a matter of oversight and interpretation.

We came up with the interrogation policy first dated 14 September. We then sent that to Central Command, as General Sanchez described.

During the course of the next 28 days, this deliberative and consultative process continued within the legal and the military intelligence community. It resulted ultimately in the 12 October policy.

The 12 October policy, as I described, requires compliance with the Geneva Convention. It draws a legal contrast between prisoners of war and between security internees interned for suspicion of hostile activity to the security of the state, and it requires the safeguards and the oversight mechanisms that I described.

WARREN: That policy contains only the field manual approaches, which applied to enemy prisoners of war who enjoy the highest and most preferred status on the battlefield, plus segregation in excess of 30 days.

When Captain Woods at some point -- we believe in October -- prepared that slide, what I believe that she did was to take all of the approaches that were floating around the command, if you will, in various drafts and within the policies, list them to ensure that interrogators understood that only those things on the left were authorized without permission.

LIEBERMAN: But, again, you would say that of the group on the right -- which has attracted the attention of the committee, the media and the public, that is OK with General Sanchez's approval...

KAGAN: We've been listening in once again to the Senate Armed Services Committee. Senator Joe Lieberman questioning the top generals in the Iraqi theatre. They're before the committee today the topic right there, trying to figure out which techniques used at Abu Ghraib would fall under the Geneva Convention and which would not. We've been dipping in and out of the committee hearing and we'll hear a little bit more just ahead this morning.

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