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)
Late October: Lt. Col. Jerry L. Phillabaum, the 320th battalion commander, briefs the senior American general in Iraq on the deteriorating conditions in Abu Ghraib. (NYT, 5/9/2004)
October - December 2003: A number of "sadistic, blatant and wanton criminal abuses [are] inflicted on several detainees" in Tier 1-A of the Abu Ghraib prison. "Almost every witness testified that the serious criminal abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib occurred in late October to early November 2003." (Taguba Report)
Early November 2003: Two weeks after the end of the Abu Ghraib visit, the ICRC presents a "working paper" to Karpinski outlining their concerns in writing. Karpinski responds in writing shortly after. (ABCNEWS)
Nov. 4, 2003: Iraqi prisoner is killed in detention while under interrogation by CIA employee.
November 5-8, 2003: Detainees escape from Abu Ghraib prison and Camp Ganci (NYT, 5/9/2004, quoting military investigations which have been made public.)
November 8, 2003: The worst abuses at Abu Ghraib prison take place on or around this date, principally in Cellblock 1-A, the group of cells set aside for high risk prisoners. (Taguba Report)
November 19, 2003: Command of the Abu Ghraib prison is switched to the 205th military intelligence brigade, putting Col. Thomas M. Pappas, the brigade's commander, in charge of the military police. (NYT, 5/9/2004)
November 24, 2003: Prison riot breaks out at Abu Ghraib; 12 detainees are shot, 3 killed, after military police battalion opens fire. (NYT, 5/9/2004, quoting military investigation report.)
Nov. 26, 2003: A former Iraqi air defense commander dies while under interrogation. U.S. military says he died of "natural causes."
December 2003: 372nd MP Company learns that their tour could be extended to June. (NYT, 5/9/2004)
December 6, 2003: Photo of naked Iraqi prisoner with dog handlers is allegedly taken. (New Yorker, 5/17/04)
January 6, 2004: The U.S. Army discharges three reservists and orders them to forfeit two months' salary for abusing prisoners at a detention center in Iraq. (AP, 1/6/2004)
Jan. 13, 2004: A soldier of the 800th military police brigade at Abu Ghraib reports allegations through chain of command.
January 14 or 15, 2004: Rumsfeld learns about prisoner abuse and informs Bush. (Wash Post, 5/7/2004)
Jan. 14, 2004: Combined Joint Task Force-7 criminal investigation is initiated
Mid January 2004: According to a military official: General John Abizaid is first made aware of the abuse. (ABCNEWS)
January 15, 2004: ICRC president meets with Rice and Powell and briefs them on Abu Ghraib abuses. He briefs Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz a day later. (ABCNEWS)
Jan. 16, 2004: U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt holds briefing on criminal investigation. CENTCOM issues press release to publicly acknowledge the investigation.
Jan. 17, 2004: Karpinski is formally admonished and suspended from her duties in writing by Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez regarding the "serious deficiencies in her Brigade." (Taguba Report) Col. Phillabaum is suspended. (NYT, 5/9/2004)
January 19, 2004: Sanchez requests senior level investigation of procedures at the prison. Five days later, Abizaid directs the Coalition Forces Land Component Command to conduct the investigation requested by Sanchez. (ABCNEWS)
Jan. 30, 2004: Taguba is appointed to conduct an investigation in Iraq concerning allegations of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib, as ordered by CENTCOM at the request of Sanchez (Taguba Report)
Early February: The Army inspector general begins an investigation of "what we were doing throughout the AOR [area of responsibility]," not including Abu Ghraib, but including Kandahar, Bagram, and other facilities in Iraq. (ABCNEWS)
Early February: In the midst of three investigations, the chief of the Army Reserves decides to conduct an internal review and assessment of how reservists are prepared for these missions. (ABCNEWS)
Early February: ICRC issues report on "brutal treatment" in interrogations in Iraq and delivers it to the Bush administration. (Wall Street Journal, 5/7/2004)
Feb. 10, 2004: Human Rights Watch writes to Rumsfeld, expressing concern about the treatment of detainees in Iraq and urges the administration to publicly clarify the status of the detainees and to make public the numbers of detainees being held. (Human Rights Watch)
Feb. 23, 2004: U.S. forces investigation of mistreatment of Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib prison results in the suspension of 17 soldiers, including a battalion commander and a company commander, pending the outcome of an investigation into allegations of abuse of detainees. (Reuters)
Feb. 23, 2004: CNN learns an investigation of Abu Ghraib prison abuse is under way.
March 3, 2004: Taguba finishes his preliminary assessment and presents it to Lt. Gen. David D.McKiernan. (ABCNEWS)
March 15, 2004: Army Criminal Investigation Division issues a preliminary assessment re: criminal investigation. (ABCNEWS)
March 20, 2004: Charges are preferred against six U.S. military personnel. Kimmit briefs on the matter in Baghdad, as some have already had their Article 32 hearings. (ABCNEWS)
April 6, 2004: McKiernan approves the findings of the Taguba Report, which leads to at least six letters of reprimand and two soldiers being released for cause (reassigned to other jobs). All of the soldiers are from the 800th MP Unit.
April 9, 2004: Article 32 proceedings are held for Staff Sgt. Ivan L. Frederick. The abuses become public at this hearing due to the outrage of Spc. Joseph M. Darby, an MP. He received a CD of photos from Cpl. Charles A. Graner, one of the accused, and Darby then submitted the photos along with a sworn statement to the Army's Criminal Investigation Division. (New Yorker, May 10, 2004)
April 22, 2004: In a press release, Human Rights Watch says: "The United States has failed to provide clear or consistent information on its treatment of some 10,000 civilians detained in Iraq".
April 23, 2004: Gen. George Fay, deputy chief of staff for Army intelligence, initiates an investigation of military intelligence gathering practices inside Iraq. Fay is on the ground in Iraq. (ABCNEWS)
April 28, 2004: CBS' 60 Minutes II airs segment showing pictures of prisoners being abused at Abu Ghraib prison.
April 28, 2004: Sen.Tom Daschle says he and other congressional leaders met with Rumsfeld and other Pentagon leadership on this date, but they were not told about the abuses.
Around April 30, 2004: Seymour Hersh writes a New Yorker article detailing abuses at Abu Ghraib.
May 2, 2004: Myers admits to not having read Taguba report. (ABC, "This Week," 5/2/04)
May 3, 2004: Pentagon announces that six soldiers in supervisory positions have received letters of reprimand and a milder letter of admonishment to a seventh. Six in subordinate positions have already been charged. (NYT, 5/3/2004)
May 4, 2004: Rumsfeld claims to have read only part of the Taguba report. He says he read an executive summary. (AP, 5/4/2004)
May 4, 2004: Gen. George Casey states that since December 2002, there have been 35 Army criminal investigations into the treatment of detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan. 25 involve deaths. Two were classified as homicides.(ABCNEWS)
May 5, 2004: The Senate Intelligence Committee hears from CIA officials and the head of Army Intelligence in closed session. No names are provided. (ABCNEWS)
May 5, 2004: White House press secretary Scott McClellan says: "We've only learned more recently about the precise nature of what occurred."
May 6, 2004: Bush aides leak news that the president scolded Rumsfeld for not telling him about the pictures. (Wash Post, 5/7/04)
May 6, 2004: Rumsfeld and Myers get first private look at the pictures.(Rumsfeld, Myers testimony, Senate Armed Services Committee)
May 6, 2004: Washington Post publishes more photos of prisoner abuses.
May 6, 2004: Attorney General John Ashcroft signals the Justice Department will be investigating alleged abuses of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. civilians. (ABCNEWS)
May 7, 2004: Testifying in front of a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, Rumsfeld offers his deepest apologies to Iraqi victims of prisoner abuse, saying the culprits should be punished. He says he will not quit to respond to political pressure.
May 7, 2004: Salon magazine publishes story in which he says he was approached last spring by "senior officers" of the military's legal division, who "expressed apprehension over how their political appointee bosses were handling the torture issue."
May 9, 2004: Seymour Hersh prints article containing new details and pictures of abuse. (New Yorker)
May 10, 2004: President Bush appears at Pentagon news conference with Rumsfeld, says Sec. of Defense is doing a "superb job" that he is a "strong Secretary of Defense." White House spokesperson acknowledges receiving ICRC briefs on torture since March 2003.
May 11, 2004: Taguba appears before the Senate Armed Services Committee with Stephen A. Cambone, the undersecretary for intelligence, and Air Force Lt. Gen. Lance L. Smith, the deputy commander of the U.S. Central Command.
May 11, 2004: Video of Nick Berg, American civilian, being beheaded by group in Iraq allegedly linked to Zarqawi is posted on an Islamist website.
May 11, 2004: In an e-mail, Lt. Phillabaum takes full responsibility for failure of oversight but casts the abuse as the actions of sadistic individuals and not as any interrogation policy.
May 12, 2004: Members of Congress see additional pictures and video of Abu Ghraib abuse.
May 13, 2004: Rumsfeld makes an unannounced visit to Iraq, briefly touring Abu Ghraib and meeting with soldiers. He says U.S. administration lawyers are advising the Defense Department not to publicly release any more photographs of abuse.
May 13, 2004: NYT reports that CIA has used coercive interrogation methods against a select group of high-level AQ leaders that have been so brutal causing growing concerns inside the agency about the abuses.
May 13, 2004: The International Committee of the Red Cross issues a new report criticizing the imprisonment of hundreds of suspects at the U.S. Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Compiled by ABCNEWS' Brinda Adhikari, with additional reporting by ABCNEWS staff.