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Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Congressional Letter? What Congressional Letter? 

Perhaps one of the dogs ate it:
A U.S. congressional panel has ordered Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to turn over documents on the probe into abuse at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison after the Pentagon failed to respond to an earlier request.

The House Government Reform Committee issued a subpoena to Rumsfeld last week and said the Pentagon must produce a raft of documents, including all drafts of the report on the Abu Ghraib investigation, by the end of business on July 14.

The subpoena follows Rumsfeld's failure to respond to a March 7 letter from the congressional panel requesting the same documents . . . .

"When the Committee requests information from executive branch departments and agencies, we try to be reasonable and accommodate their legitimate concerns about the volume and the sensitivity of what we're asking for," said Rep. Tom Davis, a Virginia Republican and chairman of the committee.

"But if the department won't even return a call, after three months, and begin that dialogue, we really have no choice but to subpoena the material and compel their attention to our request" . . . .

[The panel] also requested all communications related to cases in which detainees' family members were involved in interrogations after Provance said children of detainees were used to "break" the prisoners and force them to cooperate with investigators.
A subcommittee, meanwhile, is investigating allegations of retaliation against Army Spc. Samuel Provance, who claims that he was "rebuffed" by superiors when he tried to bring the atrocities of Abu Ghraib to their attention. Sibel Edmonds's outfit, the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition, today issued a press release on Provance's case:
According to his testimony: "They [the investigations] seemed to me to be designed to shut people up, not to reveal the truth about what happened and punish all the wrongdoers. In particular, they seemed focused on trying to shut off the responsibility of those who were higher up the chain of command."

Three days after his May 18, 2004 interview on ABC News about the abuses at Abu Ghraib, Provance "was administratively flagged" and had his "top-secret clearance suspended." Under questioning from House National Security Subcommittee Chairman Christopher Shays, Provance said that as of February 2006: "I still haven't received my clearance back or any official word as far as where it stands and so the only thing I've been doing since being demoted is picking up trash and guard duty and things of that nature" . . . .

Among the many incidents, Provance described in his testimony was his interview with General Fay in March 2004, and his resistance to listening to Provance's allegations concerning military intelligence abuses. After telling General Fay about these abuses, Provance testified: "He then said he would recommend administrative action against me for not reporting what I knew sooner than the investigation. He said if I had reported what I knew sooner, I could have actually prevented the scandal."
The moral of the story: timing is everything. What ho!

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