US intelligence personnel ordered military dog handlers to use unmuzzled dogs to intimidate detainees at Iraq
's Abu Ghraib prison, The Washington Post has reported.
A military intelligence interrogator also told investigators that two dog handlers at the prison were "having a contest" to see how many detainees they could make involuntarily urinate out of fear of the dogs, the Post said, citing statements obtained by the newspaper.
Six US soldiers face possible court martial and one has already been jailed for a year because of the abuses at Abu Ghraib, where photographs have shown detainees being sexually humiliated, physically tormented and threatened with dogs.
Two army dog handlers assigned to Abu Ghraib, Sgt. Michael Smith and Sgt. Santos Cardona, told investigators that military intelligence personnel asked them to bring their dogs to prison interrogation sites numerous times to help question detainees
in December and January, the Post reported.
According to the report, Smith and Cardona said they complied with the requests because they believed the tactics had been approved by Col. Thomas Pappas, the military intelligence officer in charge of the prison.
At the cell blocks, they allowed their dogs to menace detainees, they told investigators.
At the behest of interrogators, Smith said, in some cases he would bring the barking dog to within 15 cm of terrified prisoners, the Post reported.
The officer in charge of the military intelligence-run interrogation centre at the prison had to approve the use of dogs in interrogations, according to a military intelligence memo obtained by The Washington Post.
"It's all under investigation"
There is no explanation in the memo of what parameters would have to be in place or what the dogs would be allowed to do, the report said.
Neither Smith nor Cardona have been charged in connection with the abuse at Abu Ghraib.
"It's all under investigation," Lt. Col. Pamela Hart, an Army spokeswoman, told the newspaper.
A Pentagon spokesman was not immediately available for comment.