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Transcript of Detainee Operations Update


Major General Donald Ryder

Provost Marshal General of the Army

Mr. Thomas Gandy

Senior Intelligence Official, G2 Section

Colonel Joseph Curtin

Chief, Army Media Relations

Press Briefing

23 February 2005

Major General Ryder: First let me just say thanks. I appreciate you coming in to listen to the briefing and listen to what I'd like to talk to you about. I do have a very short statement that I'd like to read, and the reason I want to read it is there is some important information that I want you to take away and for sure I want to be on the record.

So again, I'm very pleased that you could join us today for an update on the Department of Army's role in detainee operations and actions that we have undertaken as a department to generate and implement rapid and effective improvements across a broad spectrum of policy, doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leadership, personnel and facility issues relevant to detainee operations.

As you know, subject to the authority of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, the Office of the Secretary of Defense in the Office of Detainee Affairs, the Secretary of the Army serves as the executive agent for the Department of Defense in matters of detainee operations policy. In my role as the Provost Marshal General of the Army I serve as the Secretary's action agent in this mission.

On September 17, 2004, over the signature of the Chief of Staff of the Army, the Army published an action plan of detainee interrogation operations. This plan leverages multiple assessments, investigations and inspections conducted in response to allegations of detainee abuse and the practical lessons learned from the past and current operations to develop and implement detainee operations policy that both reflect the nation's commitment to doing what is legally and morally right, and meets the needs of the warfighting combatant commanders who are conducting detainee operations.

The Army is making significant progress in the implementation actions of this plan and we want to tell you a little bit about that here today.

There are ten separate investigations. Inspections and reviews have yielded numerous recommendations on ways to improve the conduct of detainee operations. Eighty-four of these recommendations relate in some way to the Secretary of the Army's Title 10 responsibilities to train, equip, and otherwise prepare soldiers to conduct detainee operations under the auspices of the combatant commander and involve the Secretary's executive agent responsibilities for detainee operations policy. All 84 pertinent recommendations have been incorporated into the Army Action Plan. May fixes are already completed and are underway and I'd like to describe some of them today.

I know you've got the recorders here, but I'm going to step away from the podium a little bit as I talk to this slide. I know you're looking at it and you're telling me that it's an eye chart, so I'm going to have to tell you to trust me and I'm going to walk you through the slide. I will refer back to some notes every now and then, but this slide, I think -- Can everybody hear me?

This slide, this chart kind of represents from start to finish detainee operations. The way I'll walk you through it is obviously from left to right and from top to bottom.

When you start here, what we're talking about is a paradigm shift. The bullets that you see there are things that we know that took place in the area of operation. What I will highlight is, the very first bullet talks about three theaters of operation. Let me not confuse you. I'm talking about detainee operations and the three theaters that I'm talking about are Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantanamo Bay. Those were detainee operations, where they were being conducted at that point in time.

We all understand that after we went to war the regime collapsed so we all understand what was going on in Iraq at that point in time. We understand that there were no law enforcement, there were no judicial systems, there was not a penal system. Remember, I'm focused on detainee operations.

We all understand this new operational environment and the way I'd like to describe that is a non-linear battlefield. A non-linear battlefield that is conducting Phase 4, stability and support operations, in the theater. That is the new operating environment.

The comment about unprecedented number of internment resettlement -- every time you see an IR think about facilities. Internment resettlement facilities where we conduct custody and control of detainees and also we conduct interrogation operations.

The number you see is 32. That is specifically for Iraq.

If you go down and talk about an insurgency and you talk about a new environment, a non-linear battlefield, what we saw which was different than our doctrine initially was -- Our doctrine called for enemy prisoners of war and detainees to be moved as rapidly as we could from the front line. On a non-continuous battlefield, that wasn't there.

Also with this insurgency there was a requirement for commanders on the ground to receive intelligence. They needed to know what was going on in their battlespace. What that then created was a larger number of internment resettlement facilities than we thought of.

We talk about the number of persons that we screened. I put the number up here of 65,000. It may be a little bit more, it may be a little bit less, but I think that's a good number, 65,000. Then actually 30,000 that have internment serial numbers. That's what the ISN is.

This is kind of when we went into I would say what we faced.

The next piece that we'll talk about is how the Army was adapting and adjusting before any abuse, before the spring of 2004 when detainee abuse came up on the screen. What we talk about is initially the office that I currently hold. The creation of the Office of the Provost Marshal General. That was done on 26 September in '03. That office was established as the senior Army representative on the staff responsible for law enforcement policy, which includes, as I mentioned earlier in my comments, to be the Secretary of the Army's action agent for executive agency in detainee policy.

I talk about Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. The rotations. We continue to support the combatant commander. The Army continues to support the combatant commander with requests for forces and reviewing operational need statement when it talked about either technology or new equipment.

This piece here, redesign of military policy internment resettlement and military intelligence units. In 2003 the Army leadership made a decision that our internment resettlement structure was not right. They did a force design update, 2003, a force design update that said we need to change that structure. That decision was made long before anything came up on detainee abuse. The Army recognized that we needed to change that structure and they did it. And I'll talk a little bit when I get to this side of the slide, I'll talk a little bit about what that really means in structure today.

Additionally, early on the United States Army Military Police School developed in the training support piece here, developed what we call training support packages. A 55 hour training support package that deals with training soldiers, not just soldiers -- training soldiers in the active, Reserve and National Guard, and also you'll see when I get to this piece of it, we're talking about training other services. We're talking about training marines, we're talking training airmen and we're talking about training sailors.

So that training support package was already being developed based on the lessons learned we had been receiving from the start of operations.

The mobile training teams that I talk about here took those training support packages and put together what we call mobile training teams that went to sites. Went to mobilization sites. Even went into theater and conducted training with this 55 hour training support package that I mentioned.

I'll now transition here. This piece of the chart kind of talks about what we faced and then talks about what we did early on. Now let me talk about this piece of the slide here. What this represents are the investigations, the assessments and the reviews that have been conducted. Those that are in green are those that are completed. Those that are in red, they have not been completed yet and we do not have the access to. The one that you see in yellow is ongoing criminal investigations.

The reason that I show you this is what the Army has always done and what the Army will always do is take lessons learned, and that's what comes from this -- lessons learned. Findings, recommendations of what these assessments saw in detainee operations. To take those lessons learned and do something adequate with them we developed a task force. That's what this organize staff structure is. The Department of the Army did a task force to then take all those lessons learned, all those findings and recommendations, which there were a total of about 369, I believe, of which the Army had 199 of them. We then took them and then developed -- I mentioned the Chief of Staff of the Army signed an action plan. We developed this action plan. What this action plan does, with a synchronization matrix, is take all those actions, all those recommendations, all those findings, and put them together.

We then put them together and we have the Senior Army Oversight Council that takes those actions, makes sure that the right staff action, whether it's at the departmental level or even down into the Army, into our MACOMs, our major Army commands such as TRADOC, responsible for doctrine and training.

We take them and they are then, for lack of a better term, tasked out. We track each and every one in quarterly meetings. We track each and every one that is making progress, and we're going to track it until completion.

I jumped ahead a little bit because we're also tied, you see up here the Joint Staff and OSD also has an oversight council. I represent the Army in that oversight council. The question may be is that redundant? The answer is no. I talk 369 actions that come out of all these findings and recommendations. The Army has 199. There are actions that go to the Joint Staff for policy; there are actions that go to the combatant commander in the operational arena. So I represent the Army at this level.

I'm going to refer to some notes because there's some information I think is important that you understand as the Army executes its Title 10 and its executive agent responsibility that now falls into continuing Title 10.

I mentioned support to the warfighters earlier, and we continue support to the warfighters. We continue to support the warfighter and the combatant commanders again in either the request for forces that they may send to the Joint Staff and then comes to the Army of what those forces are; operational needs statements which are statements that say we need different equipment, or maybe we need some new technology; but maybe more importantly what we do in supporting the combatant commander is as we go through rotations ensure that the training that has been provided is going to continue to be conducted for those units and those soldiers, and you'll see in a second, and sailors and airman, that are going to go into operation. So we continue to provide support to the warfighter.

You heard me say, and I know this acronym here, PDOTMLPF. If you go back to my statement, that stands for, the first P is for policy, then doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leader development, personnel and facilities. The reason that that is so important is because, in a second I'm going to talk about standing up 35 military police internment resettlement organizations. If in fact across these domains that I just talked about you are not synchronized, an organization is not synchronized, at the end of the day those units will not be effective, and here's what I mean.

You establish an internment resettlement organization, a military police organization, a company or battalion. When you establish that you must have synchronized the policy that you're now going to ask this organization to implement out in the field. You have to have doctrine that is synchronous to this organization you stood up because the doctrine is the how-to manual that this organization is going to follow. When you stand up an organizational construct, whatever it is, you then have to make sure that that organizational construct has the right equipment. All of that falls right in this area.

When you look at the PDOTMLPF it sounds like it's kind of gobbledy gook, but it's extremely, extremely important.

When we talk about accelerated units, let me just give you some numbers of what we're talking about. I mentioned earlier that in 2003 the Army did a force design update on our military police internment resettlement units. In the next three years the Army will stand up 35 internment resettlement organizations. That equates to a brigade, that equates to seven battalions, and that equates to 27 companies. And that is across all components -- active, Reserve and Guard. Across all components.

In that structure that I just talked about we have already stood up in Guantanamo Bay an internment resettlement battalion and an internment resettlement company. The first internment resettlement organizations on the active side.

When I talk about enhanced training, this is across all services. I mentioned earlier the 55 hours that we do for the training support packages, but what you need to know is that training that was conducted at mobilization training sites was not just for Army soldiers, was not just for the active, Reserve or Guard. That training was also provided to 320 Air Force personnel in December of '04. That training was provided to 15 Marines in January of '05. And that training was also provided to 720 sailors this month in February. So the training of how we conduct, the lessons we learned to then develop additional training to how we conduct our operations has been provided to not only Army but other services.

In the institutional side of the house, the institutional side being our schoolhouse, Training and Doctrine Command mostly, they have also done great work. What I mean by that is they've taken their programs of instruction and updated them starting from initial entry training all the way through the professional military education to go even into what we used to know as our Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, what is now our intermediate level education where you have scenarios of detainee operations that are being taught at those institutions.

The other piece that I talk about in our Training and Doctrine Command, I talked about professional military education. Training and Doctrine Command has reviewed five core tasks that run the thread from initial entry training to our professional military education and those core tasks that they've worked on and improved, based on the lessons learned that we pull from here, are in the areas of ethics, leadership, law of warfare, Geneva Convention, and values.

Additionally, at the medical school at Fort Sam they've also revised their programs of instruction for medical personnel.

In the policy and doctrine, I talked a little bit about the policy and doctrine. Over the next year, by the end of '05, we will have revised eight doctrinal manuals and we will have revised two policy manuals. That will all be completed by the end of '05.

Now let me pause for a second because I need to make an important point. The important point is just because those manuals that I just talked about, those doctrinal manuals and the regulatory policy issues, are not in final does not mean we did not take, again I keep driving you back to the lessons learned, does not mean that we have not taken those lessons learned and have already seeded that in our training that's being conducted. So we're not waiting for the policy to come out -- the manual to come out to conduct the training. We're already doing it. I guess the term I would use would be spiral development. We understand that we need to conduct the training but it will be by the end of the year when the final product of these doctrinal manuals and policy comes out.

I guess what I would leave you with is the Army has taken action. It has taken action from the very beginning. The training that is being conducted is not just for soldiers but is also being conducted for soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines. We will continue. This is an ongoing living process. When these investigations assessments are completed we will take those and we will do the exact same thing we've done. We'll analyze them, we'll then take those tasks, put them into this matrix, and we'll see them to completion.

I think I'll take any questions that you might have.

Press: Will Dunham with Reuters.

Can you tell us a little bit about the ongoing criminal investigations? I know this is a minor issue in the scheme of things, but could you tell us about, we understand there is one CID investigation ongoing into an allegation of the rape of an Iraqi female detainee.

COL Curtin: Will, why don't you see me afterwards? I have a statement on that issue. I really want the General to focus on not so much the investigative aspects, but on what we're doing on these issues to get ahead, and I have a statement I can give you or anybody else in that regard.

Press: Dmitri Sevastopula, Financial Times.

Can you tell us, what is the Army policy on cavity searches, and has that policy changed recently?

MG Ryder: The policy that we are currently using in theater is they are not conducting, to the best of my knowledge, cavity searches.

Press: Is that a new policy?

MG Ryder: That has changed over time.

Press: Can you go into more detail?

MG Ryder: What I don't want to do is give you a timeframe that I don't have off the top of my head about when that changed. That's why I'm hesitating on answering the question. I don't want to give you bad information. So I think what I'd prefer to do is take it and then give you the exact timeframe that we went to a different policy.

Press: Can you say why it changed?

MG Ryder: We'll take the question.

Press: [inaudible], America Hostage [inaudible].

Can you speak a little bit more about these 35 new IR units? Is this going to be a new MOS? How are these units going to differ from a regular MP unit or a regular EPW unit?

MG Ryder: They are specifically designed to conduct internment resettlement, and I'll use another term that maybe will help, to conduct corrections operations.

What these units specifically on the active side, what will happen is our current structure that's at the United States Disciplinary Barracks that's at Fort Knox, that's at Fort Sill, that's at Fort Lewis, that current structure will be converted to internment resettlement. These will be military police units and their specialty will be to conduct corrections and detention operations.

Press: Is that additional training for the individuals in these units?

MG Ryder: I don't feel it's additional training. The training -- Our subject matter experts, our experts in this field are 31 Echoes, correctional specialists. These units will be filled with 31 Echoes correctional specialists to then conduct these type of detainee operations, where you then have the capability where they're conducting them here in the United States and also can be deployed.

Press: So it's more of an organizational change to make this capability in a deployable status?

MG Ryder: It's not only an organizational change, but it's also, for the first time I mentioned we're going to add them in the structure on the active component side.

Press: Tom Bowman, Baltimore Sun.

General, I wonder if you could address a few issues that came up over the past year as a result of Abu Ghraib. One was International Red Cross reports not getting to the right people, not being distributed. I know General Abizaid at one point talked about this on the Hill saying in essence the system was broken about how these things were distributed to top officials.

Also, what happens when another government agency comes into your facility? How are they treated? Have you worked out the rules and regulations? And lastly, with military intelligence, have you spelled out a relationship, what these guards can and can't do as far as facilitating interrogations?

MG Ryder: Let me see if I can remember all three that you asked me.

The first one, I think the ICRC, we now have policy in place, we now have procedures in place that that information goes not only from the facility but through the chain of command up into the executive agent and up into OSD. So those policies have already been put into place. I don't have the exact date that they were signed, but those policies are already in place to get to the issues that I think General Abizaid said about how you report them, and I think that was the issue.

Do you want to talk OGA?

Mr. Gandy: Sure. OGA, similarly the policies have been, actually there never was a policy to not have accountability of OGA, so the policies that were already in place have been enforced and trained. An OGA comes into a DoD facility, they follow DoD rules and regulations. They process prisoners in so there cannot be any ghost detainees. The same way any other prisoner is processed into the systems. Detainees are provided with ISNs for full accountability.

When they go in and interrogate and debrief they have to follow the rules of DoD interrogators and they have to follow the same oversight rules which means leadership oversight of the interrogations. In some places leadership viewing of the interrogations through video cameras if video cameras are in place, et cetera.

The bottom line, OGA in DoD facilities follow DoD rules.

Press: Just to clarify. No ghost detainees whatsoever. Everyone has to be counted?

Mr. Gandy: Correct.

Press: What about if the CIA Director asks the Defense Secretary to hide someone? What if there's a finding?

Mr. Gandy: That's a higher level than I can answer to. I can tell you the facilities where in fact the military police are managing or the military intelligence are operating in, that they must register detainees in those facilities.

Press: Every single detainee.

Mr. Gandy: Right.

Press: How do you spell [inaudible]?

Mr. Gandy: Gandy, G-A-N-D-Y.

MG Ryder: I think you had a third piece.

Mr. Gandy: MI/MP relationship.

MG Ryder: Oh, the MI/MP relationship. Clearly right now the relationship is the military police are responsible for custody and control and the safe and secure environment in detention facilities. Military police are not involved in interrogations and they are, like I say, clearly responsible for custody and control.

The interrogators are clearly responsible for conducting interrogations and not responsible for securing or providing any custody and control for detainees. The policy is very clear in the field.

Press: Vince Collier with Army Times.

Of the 35 units you're creating, about how many personnel does that involve? And you also said you trained about, well over 1,000 members from other services. Why did you do that? Are there not enough MPs to handle this function? And since we're doing multiple questions, a more philosophical one of I can't imagine a Cold War scenario that would not have involved massive operations along this line, so if you have an Army that's transitioning from Cold War to modern operations, why were you apparently so unprepared for handling large numbers of interred individuals?

MG Ryder: I'm trying to get back to the first question.

Press: Size of the brigade.

MG Ryder: I'm going to add up the numbers. I'm going to have to get back to you what those numbers of those 35 units add up to. I'm just going to have to get back to you. I'm going to give you an accurate number.

The second piece of that was?

Press: Why are you training the folks from other services [inaudible]?

MG Ryder: Right now those that are being trained, as we build this structure to continue to conduct our detention operations we're training -- now the Air Force that I talked about are security police types, but we're training those individuals to conduct the operation.

I don't think I would make the analogy that you made about Cold War and that what's taking place has not been successful. If you look at what our soldiers and our marines and sailors and airmen and all our service members have done in Iraq and Afghanistan, the recent election, I think I would not make that analogy that they're not successful. I'd make the analogy that they've been enormously successful.

Press: General, you said that some of these changes were in place even before the revelations of Abu Ghraib, is that right?

MG Ryder: Yeah, the Office of The Provost Marshal General, the force structure changes in '03, the development of the mobile training teams and the development of the training support packages were coming to fruition as we were going through that --

Press: So you didn't have the training teams, 55 hours of training before Abu Ghraib?

What I want to get at is, if you were doing some things before Abu Ghraib but we still had Abu Ghraib, what have you changed, what are you doing differently now to try to prevent another one?

MG Ryder: I think what we're doing is, I think my comment back to you would be exactly as I described to you. We are making tremendous strides in our training programs at our schoolhouses. We are in fact conducting mobile training teams right this minute that cover individual soldier skills and also unit skills. We are making changes in policy and in doctrine. And in addition to those changes, like I mentioned, what we've seeded in our mobile training teams and our training support packages are those lessons learned.

The piece that you're really asking me that I need to get back is when the training support package was approved. I think that training support package was approved before Abu Ghraib, but I've got to get back to that issue to you. That's what you're asking, when was that training support package approved, and I'm not too sure right now so I need to get back to you.

Press: Can you just get a little specific on what are the couple of main lessons learned, or a couple of main changes in doctrine or training procedures?

MG Ryder: The example I would take from a lesson learned that came across -- the one example I think I would give you that came across in numerous reports, and it's the one that we started talking about a little earlier that Tom Bowman asked. That's the relationship between military police, military intelligence, and then everyone else that is in a detention facility conducting operations. The relationships between those.

We have put out a rapid revision, what I'll call a quick revision of Army Policy 190-8 that covers the exact things that I mentioned to Mr. Bowman when he asked me about the relationship between military police and military intelligence. That is out in the field. We're not waiting for the policy to be "approved", the rapid revision is out in the field so I think that change is there right now.

The training pieces that we're giving these units that are going in I think is a change and it's an improvement to where we were. So the organizational structure is a change.

Press: John Lumkin with AP.

Could you talk a little about the Formica report, its recommendations, and how Special Operating Forces roles and functions may have changed.

Mr. Gandy: That one was under the auspices of OSD and it's not been released yet.

Press: But it seems as though it's playing into -- If I'm reading this right it's playing into the changes and things that are being implemented, so I was wondering if you could speak to that from --

MG Ryder: You're exactly right, and I'm afraid I can't speak to the details of the Formica report. Parts of it are classified, but I can't speak to the details of it. I'm just not prepared to get into the details of each one of the reports. Some of them are thousands and thousands of pages. I'm sorry.

Press: Any general changes then from, we're talking about relationships between MI and MP, OGA at the prisons, anything in particular from a Special Operating Forces perspective?

MG Ryder: I just can't answer it. I have to go back and look. I just can't give you the answer. I'm sorry.

Press: Dave Moniez with USA Today.

Can you talk a little bit about interrogation techniques? What if anything you've done to revamp sort of the rules and regs on what's allowed, not allowed?

Mr. Gandy: On the techniques themselves, FM 34-52 describes the techniques. One thing we're doing is we're changing our doctrine a little bit into a new manual which should be out next month that will kind of recategorize those techniques. And we're also going to have left and right boundaries of behaviors associated with the techniques. We believe that our discussion in doctrine wasn't as specific. One of the lessons learned that in the previous discussion was our interrogators were having a difficult time gluing together their training on Geneva Convention's laws of war, which they had a lot of. That's one of the things that confused us. They had the Geneva Convention training. But when they would see things happening, for instance in Abu Ghraib, it might not get reported. We said why? We felt we had a shortfall there.

So what we've done is in the new manual, and you'll see when it's published, I think you'll probably have access to it, is that the Geneva Conventions are well integrated into the techniques and the portion of the techniques. So you might have a technique that says direct approach, and direct approaches can never do this and that and the other in accordance with the Geneva Convention. So you'll see a much closer binding of the Geneva Convention Laws of War, those kinds of things with the techniques of interrogation. So that would be one of the major changes.

We're also going to be very specific in our training on the left and right boundaries, what you can and cannot do. So leave it far less up to the interrogator to decide what they can and cannot do.

Press: Can you give any details as fine as dog shall never be used or --

Mr. Gandy: Exactly.

Press: Can you give us a couple of examples?

Mr. Gandy: That's your best example right there.

MG Ryder: I can tell you that in the issue, in the Army regulation about dogs it clearly lays out what the use of dogs are in internment facility or detention facility operations. It clearly talks about external security and clearly kind of delineates it to that of external security. I'll just leave it at that. But it's clearly laid out in policy

Mr. Gandy: And we specifically, on the intelligence side, we synchronize with -- This is part of the synchronization with exactly on the MP side, so when there's a rule that the military policemen enforce, our interrogators know about it so we have no confusions or misunderstanding between the two sides of this equation. We have the exact same dog lines, I believe, in our doctrine, as the intelligence doctrine has --

MG Ryder: Exactly the same.

Press: Josh White, Washington Post.

Just a follow-up to that question. Will there be any leeway for a commanding general to deviate from those rules as we saw as a possibility in Iraq? I mean will the commanding general be able to say well, I can approve this in certain circumstances, because that was certainly an area of confusion.

MG Ryder: The combatant commander can set the policies in theater for interrogation, and they do. In fact they tighten the procedures and controls on which techniques are allowable. They can never authorize illegal approaches to be used. In the training and the doctrine we actually train soldiers more than we did before on reporting and how to handle what they believe to be directions to do something outside the boundaries that they're trained to do than before, to preclude the difficulties.

Press: Sir, if we could go back to those 35 new units again, please. Is this going to be a net addition of military police officers to the active duty Army? Or are you going to be reorganizing other existing military police units? And what timeline is there for getting these units on-line?

MG Ryder: The timeline is between now and '08 is the timeline. But the answer to your question is it a net increase or is it that we're going to do reorganization. The answer to that question is yes. So there is an increase. There is an increase in companies that will be activated and not reflagged from something else.

When I talk about the battalions and some of the companies, I mentioned Fort Knox. Those organizations will be reconfigured, without getting too technical with you, reconfigured to what we call MTO&E, deployable units. Right now they are post, camp and station units and we don't deploy them very often. We deploy them as individuals. Those organizations will be reconfigured so we then can deploy them as whole units. And because we're standing up so many of them we'll have the capability to continue to run our facilities here in the United States and also be able to deploy them out on deployments. So we're going to have that capability. But the answer is some are reflagging, taking an existing organization and reconfiguring it to this new organization, and some are new organizations.

I can break that down for you and give you the exact numbers.

Press: It just seems to me if you've got garrison corrections units it's because there's a corrections mission at that garrison. So am I correct in assuming if you're going to make those units deployable you're also going to add people to those units so they can handle a deployable mission?

MG Ryder: I guess I didn't say it -- That's exactly what I was saying. You are going to have, and I'll use the disciplinary barracks at Fort Leavenworth as an example. You are going to have the capacity to continue to run that facility, and if needed, the capacity to take the new organization construct that we've got and deploy it to go do a mission.

You will also have the same organizational construct in the Reserve and National Guard to be able to bring those units either to deploy on mission or to go to facilities in the States. I'm glad you clarified it. That's exactly what we're doing. Thanks.

Press: General, Steve Hatches with the Chicago Tribune.

It's been more than a year since the Abu Ghraib investigations began. Why has it taken so long to come out with a new training manual for interrogation and MP practices? Also, are you announcing these changes today, discussing these changes to preempt criticism in the reports that will be coming out in the next few weeks?

Mr. Gandy: The interrogation manual was actually under development when the Abu Ghraib scandal hit. What we did is we pulled it off production to incorporate the lessons learned from the Detainee Operations Task Force that General Ryder chairs, and to put back in the manual so that's part of the delay.

Now that said, as General Ryder also said, we have not waited to implement the training and doctrinal and structural changes. We're not waiting on the manual to do that. We are already training and moving out on all these fixes and the manual's going to kind of catch up to this, to what we're doing now, basically taking the lessons learned, integrating them into the training and the doctrine and the force structure. The manual's going to catch up in this case. The rest of it, I've got to tell you is just legal reviews, printing time, print setup, those kind of normal bureaucratic friction.

MG Ryder: I think it's important, again, for me to note that the actions that are being taken and have been taken are actions that the Army takes every single day either on operation or in training. Every single day the Army views what they are doing, they take lessons learned from operation, good or bad. They then bring those back, they analyze them and say how are we going to improve our ability to support combatant commanders with trained soldiers and leaders? That has absolutely nothing to do with detainee abuse. That's exactly how the Army operates and how the Army has operated for the past 226 years.

Press: I don't think you answered the second part of my question which was, is this discussion today intended to preempt the results of the investigations coming out?

MG Ryder: No. This discussion today is to allow you to know in full disclosure the actions the Army has taken under its Title 10 executive agent responsibility. That's what this discussion today is for.

Press: [inaudible], BBC.

Can you tell us how many criminal investigations have taken place, been completed? How many are ongoing? How many prosecutions as of now are either taking place or have taken place?

MG Ryder: I think I can give you -- I'll give you the pieces that I can give you. 308 criminal investigations investigated by the Army. 201 of those are closed, and 107 of those are open. I do not have the fidelity of the disposition of the cases that have been closed so I can't give you that information.

Press: How many prosecutions?

MG Ryder: That's what I don't have. I don't have the fidelity of the disposition, the prosecution of those cases. I just don't have that, sir.

Press: Do those investigations refer only to Army personnel or do they include private contractors?

MG Ryder: The investigation that I gave you could be an investigation that was initiated on a soldier but if it involved a private contractor, that investigation is then turned over to the Department of Justice.

Press: Can I get a clarification on one thing? I thought I understood you to say that part of the changes you're making are to separate the command of the intelligence or the interrogators from the command of the prison guards, essentially, the correctional officers. Is that part of the changes that you've made? Is that designed to address what we saw at Abu Ghraib where the soldiers who were on guard duty apparently said that they had been told by the interrogators to soften up the prisoners, et cetera? So are you putting an end to that? Are you putting a wall between that?

MG Ryder: I would not use the term separate. I would use the term, the policy that has been developed and the policy that's going to be developed is to clarify for sure the roles and responsibilities of everyone who works inside a detention facility. To clarify that policy. I don't think I used the term separate. If I did, I didn't mean to use it. The policy that we're developing is to clarify the roles and responsibilities of the military police, of the interrogators, of the doctors and medical types that are in there, and of other governmental organizations or agencies that may be in the facility. It's to clarify those roles and responsibilities.

Press: So those roles aren't necessarily separate? Are the prison guards subject to the orders or requests of the interrogators? Or is that a separate command structure?

MG Ryder: The prison guards, the military police that are conducting internment resettlement operations are there to provide custody and control and a safe and secure environment in that facility. The interrogators are there purely to interrogate.

Press: Jim Manion from AFP. What about the role of the guard in setting conditions for interrogations, which of course has been another thread throughout this?

MG Ryder: Let me see if I can answer it this way in setting conditions.

Military police, as I've said, are responsible for custody and control and safe and secure environment for detainees. If a military police man or woman that's operating a facility sees something unusual about a detainee they should tell those that are conducting the interrogations. In the same fashion, if the interrogator wants let's say to the military police that are responsible for custody and control, that please don't put (house) detainee X near detainee Y. We want to keep them separated. The answer to that is that will be done.

Press: What about things like psychological monitoring? That sort of --

MG Ryder: Those setting conditions as far as military police or even interrogators are concerned I don't think are there.

Mr. Gandy: It would be limited to what the military policemen observe in the day to day management, in the performance of their findings. If interrogators find some of that information useful, who talks to who inside the place. Who, if there are cliques forming perhaps or whatever. That information can be useful. It's not always, but it can be useful to interrogators and for that reason interrogators may, in fact they will have meetings and discuss these things before they conduct interrogations with the MP, with the chain of command, and appropriate people on board. To share that kind of information.

The idea of softening up and all that kind of stuff has never been a part of our doctrine, it has never been a part of our training, and we have clarified those roles and missions so that that cannot occur again. In fact the procedures, if you go out and have an opportunity to view any of these places you'll see the procedures in place that would preclude that from happening on many different levels.

COL Curtin: Folks, I'm going to let General Ryder make a final statement and then my team has a handout for you, some facts and figures you might want to capture. I'll stay behind to answer the question Will brought up.

MG Ryder: I think what I would leave you with, or try to impress is how important it is that we apply the fixes, the recommendations that come out of these assessments to ensure that we conduct detainee operations properly and we train our soldiers properly. I think that is paramount.

Additionally, I guess I'd ask that maybe we don't lose sight of or let this detainee abuse that we keep talking about overshadow the actions of tens and thousands of American men and women that serve valiantly every single day on freedom's frontier. We should not let anything overshadow that.

Again, I appreciate you taking the time to come in on what was probably short notice. And I look forward to, as we continue to provide updates, to continue to tell you exactly, at least from an Army perspective, what the Army is doing as an executive agent, or from Title 10 responsibilities.

Thank you very much for your time.

# # # # #

COL Curtin: In your press kit, we're going to hand out these media notes that have some facts and figures on there. If anybody is interested in Will Dunham's first question, I've got an update on that.

Colonel Joe Curtin, Chief of Army Media Relations. Thank everybody for coming today.

We plan on doing another update next, probably sometime next month hopefully on some of these issues. You asked some pretty good questions today. Sir, we'll try to get you an answer as soon as possible. I've got to tell you, we prepped for some of these questions and that's one that quite frankly we didn't have the answer to. That's a fair question.

Mr. Dunham asked about some news that's been reported here in the last 24 hours about potentially a new rape case by an American soldier and an Iraqi woman. I checked back with CID. What we have learned is this. It is not a rape investigation case.

What it is, sometime approximately August of '03 an elderly Iraqi woman we believe to be in her early 70s made a complaint on or about March of '04 that coalition forces, she believes American coalition forces, took her under control, too her to an undisclosed location for several days, and possibly, she alleges, sodomized her, robbed her, and inflicted bodily harm.

Doctors, both Iraqi and American, found no such evidence of this. The case does remain open. She alleges that some of her property was stolen. We're working to get that information at this time.

There are no leads right now, there are no suspects right now. So we're trying to again confirm the voracity of her information.

Press: Is that the same case that was contained in the ACLU, the documents they managed to obtain?

COL Curtin: That's a good question. There are so many pages, we'd have to kind of narrow it down, so I don't know.

If the case is still open that would not have been released yet. What has been released are the closed cases.

Will, that was your question. Do you have a follow-up, sir?

Press: So Army CID is still investigating --

COL Curtin: Yes, now working with the Iraqi authorities.

Press: There was seven months between the alleged incident and the report?

COL Curtin: That's correct, sir. And we're working with the Iraqi authorities to learn more about her. The doctors did do a health examination and what we're told is there was no evidence of physical abuse. So again, the voracity of her information is --

Press: That's why you say it's not a rape investigation case?

COL Curtin: It's being treated as a sexual assault case and robbery. She said some property was stolen.

They're leaving the case open because the Iraqis have asked us to. It's a cooperative effort and it's the right thing to do.

Press: Was she a detainee? Was she at a facility?

COL Curtin: That's what we don't know. Again, given her age and the factors -- Again, she doesn't know where she was taken, she doesn't know where she was taken to, but she only alleges it was American, coalition forces, probably American.

Press: Is she a resident of a particular city?

COL Curtin: I'll get that for you. We don't have that. I'm going to assume the Baghdad area.


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