The Pictures: Lynndie England

<B>Dan Rather</B> On Pfc. Lynndie England

The prison scandal started when the photographs of abuse were first brought to the Army's attention in January.

But was the mistreatment the act of a few bad apples, as the Defense Department has repeatedly said?

Or was it an organized military intelligence tactic -- using humiliation to get information -- and using the pictures to show other inmates what might become of them if they did not cooperate?

In her first interview since all of this began, one of the more famous faces of the scandal Pfc. Lynndie England, the guard seen smiling and pointing at Iraqi prisoners, said she was ordered to pose for the pictures by "persons in my higher chain of command." Correspondent Dan Rather reports.
"I guess it just goes with stuff that happens during war time," England told reporter Brian Maass in an interview with CBS station KCNC-TV.

"Going in and interrogating, and doing what you're told. People probably think that, 'No, they thought of this on their own, and they were just doing this of their own free will, and this and that,'" said England.

"It's not like we laid in bed one night and thought, 'Oh, I want to do this tomorrow, let's do this.' We didn't think of it."

At Abu Ghraib, MI was a reference to "military intelligence." OGA was "other governmental agencies" like the CIA.

"Something would come up, an MI or an OGA would come in and then tell us, 'Hey, so-and-so needs this … we're going to come back in a couple of hours or in two days … Make sure so-and-so was ready … Make sure they are softened up and weak for interrogation," England said.

For 21 years, Bob Baer worked in the Middle East for the CIA, and was questioned on the credibility of England's story.

"Not knowing her, I believe it," he says. "I couldn't imagine a prison guard arranging for this to happen in the middle of a hallway like this, unless there was some sort of complicity in the higher command."

Rather asked Baer if the photographs may have been taken as a way of blackmailing or recruiting.

"It's a way to collect intelligence," he said. "Whether it's right or wrong is another question, but if I'm out to get a source quickly, and we call this a dirty recruitment, you want to find information on them to blackmail them. It's been done all the time. It's been done all the time the CIA has been around. It's been done as long as the KGB has been around."

Rather also questioned if, in the Muslim world, being photographed and being seen in compromising, sexual positions was subject to blackmail.

"It's not just subject to blackmail," Baer said. "It's subject to you being killed within the tribe."

When England was asked if there were other things that happened at Abu Ghraib, things that were not photographed, she said, "Yes." When asked if there were worse things that happened, she said "Yes," but would not elaborate.
  • Rebecca Leung

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