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American Forces Press Service

Independent Review Panel Meets

American Forces Press Service

Washington, May 21, 2004 -- The four-member Independent Panel to Review DoD Detention Operations met for the first time May 20 to begin its review and assessment work.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld appointed the Panel May 12 to review current and completed inquiries of DoD detention operations. Panel members are James R. Schlesinger, former secretary of defense and energy; Harold Brown, former secretary of defense; former U.S. Rep. Tillie K. Fowler; and retired Air Force Gen. Charles A Horner.

"Secretary Rumsfeld has entrusted us with this important work, and we are dedicated to conducting a fair and transparent review of current and past investigations," Schlesinger said. "It is our solemn responsibility to look carefully into all that was involved in the series of events that led to behavior so inconsistent with American values. We will make recommendations designed to help repair the policies and procedures that allowed this to happen."

"We need to determine how and why this terrible behavior took place," Brown added, "and to assure that changes are made to prevent such things from happening again."

Fowler noted that the panel agrees "there are no easy answers to solving this problem, but we will not shy away from any issues we may uncover as we thoroughly examine this matter." She said the panel would work independently from the "administration, Congress or any other outside source."

"Our fact-finding will have no limits," she emphasized. "We owe it to the young men and women proudly serving in our Armed Forces around the world to help restore the trust that has been tarnished by these acts."

Horner said the panel's "job is to ensure the integrity of the investigations in this matter, resolve any gaps between the various efforts and recommend measures that will preclude similar offenses in the future."

The panel is scheduled to present its report to Rumsfeld and to the Senate and House Armed Services committees by the end of July.

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