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Senate Panel Blames Rumsfeld for Tortures

WASHINGTON (CN) - Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was primarily responsible for the abuse of prisoners at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, according to a report released Thursday by the Senate Armed Services Committee. The bipartisan report rejects President Bush's argument that torture helped protect America, and says it "damaged our ability to collect accurate intelligence, strengthened the hand of our enemies, and compromised our moral authority."

Most of the report, jointly issued by Sens. Carl Levin and John McCain, is classified. But the 19 "Conclusions" in the 29-page Executive Summary link the acts of Rumsfeld and other top Pentagon officials to the tortures committed in the field.

For instance, "Conclusion 19" states, in its entirety: "The abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib in late 2003 was not simply the result of a few soldiers acting on their own. Interrogation techniques such as stripping detainees of their clothes, placing them in stress positions, and using military working dogs to intimidate them appeared in Iraq only after they had been approved for use in Afghanistan and at GTMO. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's December 2, 2002 authorization of aggressive interrogation techniques and subsequent interrogation policies and plans approved by senior military and civilian officials conveyed the message that physical pressures and degradation were appropriate treatment for detainees in U.S. military custody. What followed was an erosion in standards dictating that detainees be treated humanely."

Here are links to the statement Sen. Levin made in releasing the report, and to 105 pages supporting documents, including a 63-page collection, and another collection of 42 pages. Click on the text icon on the CNS home page for the Executive Summary.

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