Army Memo: Rebuttal by Staff Sergeant to Written Reprimand

A Sergeant who received a Written Reprimand disagrees with characterization of his responsibility for incident.

Doc_type: 
Non-legal Memo
Doc_date: 
Sunday, November 9, 2003
Doc_rel_date: 
Sunday, May 15, 2005
Doc_text: 

DEPARTMIENT OF THE ARMY
I04TH MILITARY INTELLIGENCE BATTALION
4TH INFANTRY DIVISION (MECHANIZED)
TI} IT, IRAQ 09323-2628

AFYB-MIB-CDR 9 NOV 2003
MEMORANDUM FOR Commander, 104 th Military Intelligence Battalion; 4 th Infantry Division
(Mechanized), Tikrit, Iraq 09323-2628
\-)
SUBJECT: Rebuttal of Staff Sergeant .
o Written Reprimand
1. I understand that I aril being reprimanded for failure to properly superVise SPCs
Ina \
..41,¦•¦
during interrogations at the TF IH DCCP. I understand that, as NCOIC of the Interrogation Control Element (ICE), it is ultimately my responsibility to. ensure that interrogations are conducted in adherence to guidelines established by the Department of the Army. I accept this responsibility. However, even after a very thorough 15-6 investigation, I feel that the incidents surrounding.this reprimand are being oversimplified.
2. Paragraph one of the written reprimand states that I am responsible for ensuring that SPCs
011.111.1.°h
were properly trained. I feel this is untrue. My element is conducting real-,
N")
world interrogation operations; in a ­very active combat zone during a resistance movethent by
a
well-funded, hostile, armed force in the early stages of a major insurgency; with very few assets:
This being my fourth combat tour in twelve years, I can say with confidence that this is not the
environment for training.
3. SPC 41111111 has been assigned to the 104 th Military Intelligence Battalion for over two years
as a member of the Battalion S3. I am assigned to D Co. and SPC , em has never been under
my superVision until approximately one month before the incident occurred. As the de facto
senior Human Intelligence Collector (97E) for the 4`
h
' InfantryDivision, and being aware of SPC

‘15-1—illa
duty position in the Battalion S3; Imade two attempts, in January 2001 to include SPC Ss in Sergeant's Time training with D Co. at Fort Hood (There was no MOS training in the S3 for a Human Intelligence Collector). Both of these attempts were unsuccessful due to
pres
ice by his supervisors: These two years would have been the proper time to train -SPC not during real-world operations.
• \D
4. Paragraph one of the reprimand states that I "... inadvertently led SPC All ¦ to believe
that..." I myself "...perhaps condoned certain practices that were outside the established regulations". Given specific phrases that .I had said to SPC
1 I recall a conversation that I
had with SPC limb However, the topic of this conversation was a contingency plan for aseparate interrogation facility, in the event alternative interrogation techniques were authorized and ordered into effect at our echelon. At no point did the topic become the techniques
themselves. The facility could not be manned by personnel from Mobile Interrogation Team (MIT) 91, as most did not have a sufficient level of competency. At the time, given my extremely limited assets, SPC -msg.
was a prime candidate for thTS facility. As I recall, I made it clear to SPC "ma that alternative techniques must be authorized by.higher echelons, on a case-by-case basis, and then only at certain facilities. If SPC ` 11.1111 . took my statements to
.1.

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mean anything more than what I said, that was not my intention. I do not feel that I said anything
to SPC 410
.1 that would lead a reasonable person to believe that I condoned any practices
outside regulations.
5. SPC . 111111.1
is a 98G Voice Interceptor, attached to the 100' Military Intelligence Battalion as a linguist. He is neither trained, nor authorized to conduct interrogations. I trained SPC on his duties as an interpreter during interrogation operations and he has always
performed admirably and with dedication. There was no reason, whatsoever, to think that SPC , would harm the detainee or allow him to be harmed. During the incident in question, SPC lama was under the immediate supervision of the team leader of MIT 91 and assistant
NCOIC of the ICE, SSG
VIM (223rd MI BN), who was supposed to be conducting the
interrogation. My duties are such that I cannot supervise more than a small fraction of the interrogations or screenings carried out by my element. I am forced to delegate supervisory responsibilities during the majority of operations.
6. Paragraph two of the reprimand states that I "...assigned a known difficult interrogation task to-a very junior and inexperienced interrogator". While.this is true
,
the truth of it is rather

relative. All interrogationS at the TF IH CCP are difficult due to several factors that have been brought up, through Tac HUMINT Ops, many times. Suggestions made to rectify these problems have been, and continue to be, ignored. With the exception of myself, all interrogators at the TF IH ICE were, and most remain, inexperienced at actual interrogation.. The intelligence exploitation of detainees at the TF IH CCP has been limited, largely, to cursory and in-depth screenings of detainees due to insufficient personnel, time and resources. Relatively speaking, few formal interrogations have been carried out, and all of these have been indiViduals targeted as being of potentially high intelligence value. After two to three weeks of observation and
assessment of SPC WOW
performance during joint screenings and interrogations, prior to the incident, SPC IN* was found to have a level of methodological proficiency above most ofthe other interrogators at the ICE and had, in fact (as I noted to CW3
Ma on one occasion),
exhibited a preference for "soft" approaches. In short, SPC '4011111111 is, in reality, no less
proficient, and possibly more talented, than most of the other interrogators at the ICE:

7. Paragraph two of the reprimand also states that I "..failed to discern what techniques [SPC
44111) would use during the interrogation". I do not feel that this is entirely accurate. When
discussing the pending interrogatiOn with SPC "%ft he stated that he planned to use a "harsh
approach". This is a term used frequently among interrogators to refer to such hostile approach
teclmiques as "Fear-Up (harsh)" and "Pride and Ego-Down", or a combination thereof.
Considering the approaches used previously against MP2496,.and their relative ineffectiveness, I
felt, and still feel, at that time, a "harsh approach" was in order. Additionally, interrogators are
never required to have individual approaches approved by the ICE. An interrogation is an

extremely fluid .
prOcess that requires the interrogator to, in turn, be extremely flexible. While all
interrogators must infOrm me as to the general approach they plan to use, as SPC

did,
limiting interrogators to specific, preplanned approaches and techniques is not feasible during a
proper interrogation. Some standard interrogation processes, which May be identified in FM 34­52 INTELLIGENCE INTERROGATION, are no longer applicable and may very well be
counterproductive, due to this FM's application being Major Theater War operations. In many

cases it is not applicable to the modern battlefield. I believe this is
one of the reasons that it is no
longer printed. To my knowledge, no FM covers counterinsurgency interrogation operations.
8. I firmly believe that SPC m• took the actions he did, partially, due to his perception of the command climate of the division as a whole. Comments made by senior leaders regarding

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detainees such as "They are not EPWs. They are terrorists and will be treated as such" have caused a great deal of confusion as to the status of the detainees. Additionally, personnel at the ICE regularly see detainees who are, in essence, hostages. They are normally arrested by Coalition Forces because they are family of individuals who have been targeted by a brigade based on accusations that may or may not be true, to be released, supposedly, when and if the targeted individual surrenders to Coalition Forces. In reality, these detainee's are transferred to Abu Ghyraib prison and become lost in the Coalition detention system regardless of whether
-the
targeted individual surrenders himself I know that SPC 411.111 has himself witnessed senior
leaders at briefings, reporting that they have taken such detainees, with the command giving their tacit approval. In hindsight, it seems clear that, considering the seeming approval of these and other tactics by the senior command, it is a short jump of the imagination that allows actions such
as those committed by SPC I
to become not only tolerated, but encouraged. This situation is made worse with messages from higher echelons soliciting lists of alternative interrogation techniques and the usage of phrases such as "...the gloves are coming off ". The
theory becomes even more plausible when one considers the facts surrounding a detainee such as MP24496—a known terrorist, insurgent and killer of American soldiers. While I do not condone
SPC
actions in any way, I am beginning to see how he might arrive at certain
erroneous conclusions, despite my warnings that there is no detainee here worth any of my
soldiers going to prison. I feel that this is a dangerous situation that should be confronted.

9. I agree that I am in a very delicate and perilous duty position. It is one for which none of my training has prepared me and, was not supposed to exist. Additionally, numerous other issues inhibit our effective mission accomplishment. Our unit has never trained for detention facility operations because our unit is neither designed nor intended for this mission. Current detainee handling policies adversely effect operations in ways that eliminate any reasonable chance of successful interrogation. Other factors effecting mission accomplishment are more complicated. I spent over three years, between deployments, training my soldiers to operate in Tactical HUMINT Teams. in a combat environment remarkably similar to the one in which our division is currently operating. Instead of allowing our soldiers to execute the mission which exists, for
which they have trained, they are assigned a mission for which they have not trained, are not
manned, are not equipped, are not supplied and, considering manning and the current policies
effecting interrogation operations; cannot effectively accomplish at division level regardless.
Unfortunately, the element's low production of IIRs supports this. -

10. I•agree that I have made some mistakes since being assigned this duty position. However, I
feel that I have carried out my duties as well as, and in many cases better than, could be expected.
I have been given scant resources, few supplies, and some of the attached collection assets could

. have only been considered mediocre.at best. I have considered, at length, what more I could have done to prevent the actions of SPCs wWillgRall5".11""Wh
while still conducting the element's assigned operations. Currently, I am still at a loss. SPC 411.00. was being supervised by a trained SSG.Vuman Intelligence Collector, senior but subordinated to me, attached to the element, and supposedly in charge of his interrogation: SPC wow. is a Human Intelligence Collector whom I was not given the opportunity to properly train. HoWever, due to limited organic assets, he was needed to help conduct operations. I feel I took what measures were available to me within the constraints of my mission and available support. I will continue to execute my assigned mission to the best of lily ability.
amir¦••••' SSG, USA
NCOIC, TF IH ICE
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Doc_nid: 
3413
Doc_type_num: 
63