Investigators Detail Gitmo Abuses

A detainee is escorted by military police at Camp 4 of the maximum security prison Camp Delta at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in this Thursday, Aug. 26, 2004 file photo, in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
AP Photo/Pool
Interrogators subjected a suspected terrorist to abusive and degrading treatment, forcing him to wear a bra, dance with another man and behave like a dog, military investigators reported Wednesday, saying that justified their call for disciplinary action.

They said they recommended that Army Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller be reprimanded for failing to oversee his interrogation of the 9-11 suspect at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

But Gen. Bantz J. Craddock, commander of U.S. Southern Command, said he overruled their recommendation and will instead refer the matter to the Army's inspector general. Craddock concluded that Miller did not violate any U.S. laws or policies, according to officials familiar with the report.

Investigators described their findings before the Senate Armed Services Committee Wednesday. They were looking into allegations by FBI agents who say they witnessed abusive interrogation techniques at the Guantanamo prison for terrorist suspects.

The chief investigator, Air Force Lt. Gen. Randall M. Schmidt, described the interrogation techniques used on Mohamed al-Qahtani, a Saudi who was captured in December 2001 along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

It was learned later that he had tried to enter the U.S. in August 2001 but was turned away by an immigration agent at the Orlando, Fla., airport. Mohamed Atta, ringleader of the Sept. 11 hijackers, was in the airport at the same time, officials have said.

Schmidt said that to get him to talk, interrogators told him his mother and sisters were whores, forced him to wear a bra, forced him to wear a thong on his head, told him he was homosexual and said that other prisoners knew it. They also forced him to dance with a male interrogator, Schmidt added, and subjected him to strip searches with no security value, threatened him with dogs, forced him to stand naked in front of women and forced him onto a leash, to act like a dog.

Still, he said, "No torture occurred."

Al-Qahtani was provided food, water and medical care, he said. Together these techniques are degrading and abusive, he said. FBI agents raised their concerns about the techniques to Miller, and he should have monitored them, but he apparently took no action, Schmidt said.

"It is clear from the report that detainee mistreatment was not simply the product of a few rogue military police in a night shift," said Carl Levin of Michigan, the top Democrat on the committee. Bush administration officials have sought to portray the excesses at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq as just that.

But Armed Services Chairman John Warner, R-Va., said investigators found only three instances, out of thousands of interrogations, where military personnel violated Army policy. He did not immediately describe those incidents.

Investigators determined that interrogators violated the Geneva Conventions and Army regulations three times. It was unclear from the aide's description what those instances were.

  • Stephen Smith

    Stephen Smith is a senior editor for