Abuse Of Iraqi POWs By GIs Probed

<B>60 Minutes II</B> Has Exclusive Report On Alleged Mistreatment


Rather asked Kimmitt about understaffing. "That doesn't condone individual acts of criminal behavior no matter how tired we are. No matter how stretched we are, that doesn't give us license and it doesn't give us the authority to break the law," says Kimmitt.

"That may have been a contributing factor, but at the end of the day, this is probably more about leadership, supervision, setting standards, abiding by the Army values and understanding what's right, and having the guts to say what's right."

Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski ran Abu Ghraib for the Army. She was also in charge of three other Army prison facilities that housed thousands of Iraqi inmates.

The Army investigation determined that her lack of leadership and clear standards led to problems system wide. Karpinski talked with 60 Minutes' Steve Kroft last October at Abu Ghraib, before any of this came out.

"This is international standards," said Karpinski. "It's the best care available in a prison facility."

But the Army investigation found serious problems behind the scenes. The Army has photographs that show a detainee with wires attached to his genitals. Another shows a dog attacking an Iraqi prisoner. Frederick said that dogs were "used for intimidation factors."

Part of the Army's own investigation is a statement from an Iraqi detainee who charges a translator - hired to work at the prison - with raping a male juvenile prisoner: "They covered all the doors with sheets. I heard the screaming. ...and the female soldier was taking pictures."

There is also a picture of an Iraqi man who appears to be dead -- and badly beaten.

"It's reprehensible that anybody would be taking a picture of that situation," says Kimmitt.

But what about the situation itself?

"I don't know the facts surrounding what caused the bruising and the bleeding," says Kimmitt. "If that is also one of the charges being brought against the soldiers, that too is absolutely unacceptable and completely outside of what we expect of our soldiers and our guards at the prisons."

Is there any indication that similar actions may have happened at other prisons? "I'd like to sit here and say that these are the only prisoner abuse cases that we're aware of, but we know that there have been some other ones since we've been here in Iraq," says Kimmitt.

When Saddam ran Abu Ghraib prison, Iraqis were too afraid to come ask for information on their family members.

When 60 Minutes II was there last month, hundreds had gathered outside the gates, worried about what is going on inside.

"We will be paid back for this. These people at some point will be let out," says Cowan. "Their families are gonna know. Their friends are gonna know."

This is a hard story to have to tell when Americans are fighting and dying in Iraq. And for Cowan, it's a personal issue. His son is an infantry soldier serving in Iraq for the last four months.

Rather asked Cowan what he would say to "that person who is sitting in their living room and saying, 'I wish they wouldn't do this. It's undermining our troops and they shouldn't do it.'"

"If we don't tell this story, these kinds of things will continue. And we'll end up getting paid back 100 or 1,000 times over," says Cowan. "Americans want to be proud of each and everything that our servicemen and women do in Iraq. We wanna be proud. We know they're working hard. None of us, now, later, before or during this conflict, should wanna let incidents like this just pass."

Kimmitt says the Army will not let what happened at Abu Ghraib just pass. What does he think is the most important thing for Americans to know about what has happened?

"I think two things. No. 1, this is a small minority of the military, and No. 2, they need to understand that is not the Army," says Kimmitt. "The Army is a values-based organization. We live by our values. Some of our soldiers every day die by our values, and these acts that you see in these pictures may reflect the actions of individuals, but by God, it doesn't reflect my army."

Two weeks ago, 60 Minutes II received an appeal from the Defense Department, and eventually from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Richard Myers, to delay this broadcast -- given the danger and tension on the ground in Iraq.

60 Minutes II decided to honor that request, while pressing for the Defense Department to add its perspective to the incidents at Abu Ghraib prison. This week, with the photos beginning to circulate elsewhere, and with other journalists about to publish their versions of the story, the Defense Department agreed to cooperate in our report.