Bush criticized for withholding prisoner abuse information

by on May 4th, 2004


May 4 (Bloomberg) — Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. Congress said they should have been told earlier of allegations that U.S. soldiers abused Iraqi prisoners and that the incident may have set back the U.S. mission in the Arab nation.

Lawmakers said they should have been briefed on a Defense Department report completed a month ago that catalogs abuse at the U.S.-run Abu Gharib prison in Iraq. They said their first indication of a problem was the photos, some showing a pile of nude prisoners surrounded by smiling soldiers, that were broadcast last week on CBS’s “60 Minutes II” and shown in newspapers.

“This report was available a month ago. It should have come to us immediately; it did not,” Senator Carl Levin of Michigan, ranking Democrat on the Armed Services Committee, said. The Bush administration “needs to make sure that Congress has the full information” on the accusations, said Republican Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld knew “60 Minutes II” was going to air the photos and didn’t tell senators when he briefed them on Iraq the afternoon before the show, Levin said. He said he and Senator John Warner, chairman of the Armed Services panel, agreed that Rumsfeld should explain his actions to the panel in the next few weeks. Levin said an independent probe may be warranted.

Etalkinghead Staff