The release of graphic photographs depicting the abuse of Iraqi prisoners in Abu Ghraib prison, a U.S.-controlled detention center outside Baghdad, has sparked an international firestorm of controversy. The scandal is also raising questions about which high-ranking members of the U.S. military knew of the allegations and when they were informed.
The following is a timeline of events regarding the investigations of the abuse allegations:
(Sources are listed in parentheses.)
April 2003: The Defense Department issues the first publicly known documentation of an official policy permitting interrogators to use physically and psychologically stressful methods during questioning. (The Washington Post, May 9,2004)
May 2003: The International Committee of the Red Cross sends to coalition forces a memo based on over 200 allegations of ill treatment of POW's. (A report compiled by the Red Cross between March and November of last year and handed to coalition military commanders in February 2004, hereafter known as the ICRC report)
May 12, 2003: Four soldiers kick and beat prisoners at a camp in southern Iraq. They are later found guilty of mistreating Iraqi detainees. (The New York Times, May 9, 2004)
June 2, 2003: Senator Patrick Leahy writes National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice on allegations, saying: "Condi — I want to make sure we are on the right moral plain if an American is being held abroad." (ABCNEWS)
June 25, 2003: Defense Department counsel William J. Haynes II lays out the administration's policy on torture in a deatiled letter to Leahy. (Human Rights Watch)
June 30, 2003: Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski arrives in Iraq to take over command for 800th military police brigade. (NYT, 5/9/2004)
Early July: The ICRC sends coalition forces a working paper detailing approximately 50 allegations of ill treatment in the military intelligence section of Camp Cropper. (ICRC report).
July 2003: ICRC president meets with Secretary of State Colin Powell and raises "serious concerns" about the treatment of prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan. (ABCNEWS).
July 17, 2003: The 320th military police batallion is sent to Abu Ghraib prison. (NYT, 5/9/2004)
August 14, 2003: A team of interrogators from CACI, a Virginia-based company, begin work with military police and intelligence at Abu Ghraib. (NYT, 5/9/2004)
Aug. 31 - Sept. 9, 2003: Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller leads a team to Iraq to review the military's ability to rapidly exploit Iraqi prisoners for actionable intelligence. . (Article 15-6 Investigation of the 800th Military Police Brigade, a classified, 53-page Army report completed in February by Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba, hereafter identified as the Taguba Report.)
September 2003: 372nd military police company is told their tour of duty may be extended by three months. (NYT, 5/9/2004)
Sept. 6, 2003: Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld tours Abu Ghraib prison and meets with Karpinski.
October 2003: 372nd MP Company is sent to Abu Ghraib. (NYT, 5/9/2004)
Oct. 13 - Nov. 6, 2003: Maj. Gen. Donald Ryder leads an assessment team to Iraq to make specific recommendations concerning detention and interrogation operations. He finds that there are potential human rights abuses, training, and manpower issues system-wide that needed immediate attention. (Taguba Report)
Mid October 2003: ICRC interrupts a visit in Abu Ghraib where they were witnessing detainees being kept totally naked. (ICRC Report)