Friday, April 14, 2006 According to the online magazine Salon on Friday, United States Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld let an “abusive and degrading” interrogation happen in 2002, citing an Army document obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request as its source. The magazine quoted a December 2005 Army inspector general’s report where officers told of Rumsfeld’s direct contact with the overseeing general at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
According to the article, the victim, Mohammed al-Kahtani, was made to stand naked in front of a female American interrogator and accused of being a homosexual, forced to wear women’s underwear and to perform “dog tricks” on a leash and went though 18-20 hours of interrogation per day during 48 of 54 days.
Salon reports that “on Dec. 2, 2002, Rumsfeld approved 16 harsher interrogation strategies for use against Kahtani, including the use of forced nudity, stress positions and the removal of religious items.” According to the report, Rumsfeld revoked these harsher interrogation techniques in mid-January 2003 and they were not approved again.
Salon cites Army investigator Lt. Gen. Randall Schmidt’s statement, which was made under oath, that he concluded that although Rumsfeld did not specifically order the interrogation methods used on Kahtani, the open-ended policies approved by Rumsfeld paired with lack of supervision of day-to-day interrogations permitted the abusive conduct to take place.
Pentagon spokesman Jeffery Gordon told Reuters that “We’ve gone over this countless times and yet some still choose to print fiction versus facts,” and added that “Twelve major reviews, to include one done by an independent panel, all confirm the Department of Defense did not have a policy that encouraged or condoned abuse. To suggest otherwise is simply false.”