Abu Ghraib Head: We Were Scapegoated

Brigadier General Janis Karpinski, who ran Iraq prisons in 2003, including the notorious Abu Ghraib prison was insistent that all orders on interrogation practices came from the top down during the Bush administration on CBS News' The Early Show this morning.

"These soldiers didn't design these techniques on their own…we were following orders," Karpinski told Harry Smith. "We were bringing this to our chain of command and they were saying whatever the military intelligence tells you to do out there you are authorized to do."

A new Senate Armed Services Committee report finds that early roots of U.S. interrogation practices were being circulated through the CIA and the Pentagon as early as 2002.

The report also ties the interrogation policies of the Bush administration to abuse cases at Abu Ghraib prison as well as to interrogations at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

After the scandal involving Abu Ghraib's torture practices, Karpinski was demoted to colonel and has since retired.

Karpinski argued that there was a "clear" line between the techniques condoned by top level administration officials and the practices condemned in Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib.

"The line is clear," she said. "It went from Washington, D.C. From the very top of the administration with the legal opinions through Bagram to Guantanamo Bay and then to Iraq via the commander from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. And the contractors who were hired to do those things."

Karpiniski was insistent that she and the soldiers prosecuted were "scapegoated" by superiors in the administration.

"Scapegoat is the perfect word and it's an understatement," she said. "Right now, with the hard, fast facts in those memos, the black and white proof, the administration is suggesting that those operatives should be immune from any investigations or persecution."

You can watch the interview below:

  • Michelle Levi

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