US army 'pleased' with interrogators

The chief executive of a defence contractor that provides civilian interrogators to the scandal-ridden Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq has said the US army is pleased with its work.

    Abu Ghraib prison has long been notorious for its interrogations

    "It's been reported to us that we're doing a fine job. That's from our customer (the army), and those are the people who count," said JP "Jack" London, head of CACI, on Monday.

    He also said that the company's employees fully understand they are under military authority.

    One of CACI's interrogators was criticised in an internal army report for helping to facilitate the physical and sexual abuse documented against detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison.

    London said last week's congressional hearings with Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and others bolster the company's contention that its employees operate under close supervision and direct control of military personnel.

    "Our workers have no supervisory authority," London said. "We are not in the chain of command. We never have been in the chain of command. We don't want to be in the chain of command."

    He also said the company was continuing its own investigation and cooperating with military investigators but that CACI still had received no formal notice from the Pentagon about any improper conduct.

    Some critics of the government's increased reliance on contractors say the practice leads to a lack of accountability and oversight.

    Duties and qualifications

    But CACI on Sunday said its contract with the army carefully details the qualifications and duties of the interrogators.

    "Our workers have no supervisory authority ... We are not in the chain of command. We never have been in the chain of command. We don't want to be in the chain of command"

    JP London
    Head of CACI

    The company also said that it received nearly 1600 applications for an interrogation job, but approved less than three percent of those applications, which were then sent to the Pentagon for review as well.

    London has declined to specifically discuss the status of the interrogator named in the Army's report, but said in a conference call with investment analysts last week that all CACI employees in Iraq remain on the job.

    Central Command spokeswoman Colonel Jill Morgenthaler said on Monday in an e-mailed response to a question that she has "no opinion" on whether the interrogator in question should still be working.

    Seven enlisted soldiers are facing courts-martial for their alleged roles in the prisoner abuse scandal, and reprimands have been issued to six officers and non-commissioned officers.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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