Taguba Report Annex 91: Testimony of Mr. John Israel, Civilian Contract Interpreter, Titan Corporation, 205th Military Intelligence Brigade re: Allegations of Detainee Mistreatment and Abuse at Abu Ghraib Prison

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Testimony of Mr. John Israel. Mr. Israel is a US Civilian Contract linguist/Interpreter hired by the Department of Defense through the Titan Corporation and assigned to the 205th Military Intelligence Brigade to assist in detainee interrogations at Abu Ghraib prison. He described the training and instructions for the assignment as “a little seminar of what's going on, what's going to happen, what's the limitations, what you're supposed to do, what not to do. If you see anything wrong, you're to report it immediately”. And he added “My job is just a translator, no more, no less”. Mr. Israel then described the routine for interviewing detainees and the limitations on his role in the matter. When asked if he heard any comments from any of the MPs or any of the interrogators or analysts regarding any rumors or direct information in regards to detainee abuses? His answer was “Honestly, no”. The interview continued with questions regarding detainee handling by MPs, but no abuse was witnessed opr suspected by Mr. Israel. The interview was then concluded.

Thursday, February 12, 2004
Monday, October 18, 2004


1 was interviewed on 12 February 2004, as
2 follows:]

3 Q. Have you been informed of the nature of our interview

4 today?

I would like you to explain to me exactly. We did

6 some investigation back in Abu Ghraib, and I would like to--if
7 you could elaborate on that a little bit more.
8 Q. would be very happy to do that for you before we

5 A..

9 start. I just wanted to preface that by saying, if you have any
10 knowledge, whatsoever. I am Major General Taguba. I'm the

11 Deputy Commanding General of the Coalition Land Forces Component
12 Command that is headquartered at Camp Doha, Kuwait. My
13 commanding officer, Lieutenant General David E. McKiernan, the
14 Commanding General of the Coalition Forces Lard Component
15 Command has appointed me as the investigating officer under the

16 provisions of Army Regulation 15-6. That was under the
17 direction of General John Abizaid, the Commander of Central
18 Command. Our investigation is to gather all relevant facts and
19 circumstances surrounding recent allegations of maltreatment of
20 detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison, also known as the Baghdad


21 Central Confinement Facility, as well as the detainee escapes
22 and accountability lapses as reported through CJTF-7. And my
3 inquiry w:11 further investigate training, standards,

A-, vevc14 9 /
1 employment, command policies and internal policies concerning
2 the detairees held at the Abu Ghraib Prison. And finally, our
3 inquiry lE to assess the command climate and the supervisory

4 presence of the 800th Military Police Brigade and chain of
5 command. I also want to advise you that our interview is being
6 recorded F.° we can capture the accurate questions and responses
7 that you will provide. Do you have any questions about the
8 scope?

9 A.

No, sir.

10 Q.
For the record, please, would you please state your
full name":


My name is
13 Q.

And your social security number?
14 A UMW
15 Q.

The nature of your employment?

16 A.

I am a linguist. I was hired by SOS, Titan firm, for

the Army.
18 Q.

So you're principally an interpreter?
19 A.

Yes, sir.
20 Q.

Do you do any interrogations at all?
21 A.

Not myself.
22 Q.

Not by yourself?

3 A.


1 Q. But since you're an interpreter, are you interpreting

2 for the interrogator and translating for the detainee?

3 A. Absolutely.

4 Q. Good. How long have you been doing this now?

A. Since October 14th until now.
6 Q. Until now. Who are you, since you're a civilian
7 contractor hired by Titan, who is your chain of--who do you

8 report to

9 A. As far as civilian matters or military matters?

10 Q. Military matters.

'1 A. Well, we have Sergeant--in the beginning, it used to

12 be Sercleantillill then...to be honest with you, I forgot the

13 name because we kept shifting from team to team. But my

14 immediate guy who was in charge was

15 Q. He was a civilian or military?
16 A. He was a military--he was taking care of our

17 businesses for the linguists.

18 Q. Who is your immediate military supervisor? Do you

19 have one?
20 A. Well, usually it's my interrogator, 1111111 And 1111111
2 1 has another guy to report to. Because we're working on a
22 special project, and he has to let him know about my situation,

3 and from there, through his report, he has to tell other people.


1 Q. But did you understand that there's a military
2 commander above the things that you're doing?
3 A. Yes.

4 Q. I understand you work with civilians.
5 A. No, I know. I forgot his name, Major 1111111,
6 Q. Major 111111. was?
7 A. Major ills at that time, it was Major Aim
8 Q. When did you arrive at Abu Ghraib?
9 A. October 14th, I believe, either the 14th or the 15th.

10 Q. Did you do any other interpreting, translation job
'1 before tnen?
i2 A. No, sir.
13 Q. Sc you were assigned to Abu Ghraib?
14 A. Yes, sir.
15 Q. Were you hired back in the United States or were you

16 hired here?
17 A. No, back in the United States.
18 Q. At that point in time, were you advised of the nature
19 of your job?
20 A. They told us it could be in the field, could be

21 anywhere .f I took the job, regardless of what the situation
22 was.


1 Q. When you arrived at Abu Ghraib, did anyone explain to
2 you the nature of your job?
3 A. Yes, indeed, Chief 1111111111 and they give us like a
4 little seminar of what's going on, what's going to happen,

5 what's the limitations, what you're supposed to do, what not to
6 do. If you see anything wrong, you're to report it immediately,
7 and things. like that.
8 Q. So you received a briefing and a seminar.
9 A. They did give us a briefing, yes, sir.

10 Q. How long was that training?
'1 A. That's a good question, an hour, give and take. To be
12 honest with you, I don't recall, but I think it was a lengthy
13 one, because they went through all the procedures.
14 Q. Di-d they give you, beyond that, the conditions and the
15 personnel that are being held at Abu Ghraib prison, did they
16 give you additional instructions or information with regards to
17 the nature of the operating environment?
18 A. Yes, and no. The reason, for example, they told us
19 what our _imitations is. We have to be with an interrogator and

20 we have tc have an analyst and things like that. We cannot--we

have to stay with the detainee. If we see anything wrong, we
22 have to report it and things like that. And they told us, "If
3 you don't like the environment, you just could stop and walk

A. I believe they gave us some paper to read, and we had
2 to sign is at the time. But the details, I don't recall, to be
3 honest with you, but I signed two papers, I believe I signed.
4 Q. Do you recall what you signed?
5 A. Some of the procedures, the limitations for the--if
6 you see anything wrong, you have to report it, anything unusual,
7 you have to report it and things like that. But to be honest
8 with you, Geneva Convention, I might have read it. I might have
9 signed it, but I don't recall too much.

10 Q. Do you know what the Geneva Convention is?

A. You know, how to--if somebody has a prisoner of the
i2 war, you have to treat them nicely, because it's a mutual
13 situation. We could be detainees on the other side, so there is
14 rules and regulations, like that effect his personal rights and
15 things, you know. There's limitations for everything.
16 Q. Did they explain to you how your employees would
17 protect you should you be detained by Iraqi or anti-coalition
18 forces?
19 A. That's a good question, I don't think so.
20 Q. They never explained that to you. .
21 A. No.
22 Q. That you could be detained at any time by other people

3 that were anti-coalition forces?

A. That's a good question. I can': answer that, sir.
2 don't recall.
3 Q. You don't recall that being explained to you?

4 A. I don't recall. They might, but I don't recall. If
5 they mentioned it, I might--it's a great question.
6 Q. Did they explain to you if you get hurt or if you die
7 here or you're captured----
8 A. They gave us a file. They said, give it to the
9 immediate people just in case something happens to you, they

10 have the record. They have things, the next of kin and things
'1 like that.

. 2 Q. Let me move forward now with the context of your duty 13 as a translator purely for doing the interrogation period. And 14 I'm not Icoking for anything specific or the contents of the 15 interrogation, specific contents of the interrogation. Could 16 you describe for me what typically happens, generally, in the 17 conduct of an interrogation? 18 Okay, what would happen is usually the interrogator 19 goes to the MPs and says, "I want this prisoner," and they would
20 say, "Where do you want him to be?" If there's empty booths,
21 they will guide the detainee to that location. And then what
22 happens is the interrogator will set up the tables, the table

3 and the cnairs according to the way he wants it to see fit.

1 I've seen some of the interrogators, they tell me to stay behind
2 the detairee. Some of the guys tell me to sit next to him.
3 Some of t1.e guys tell me to "Sit next to me facing the
4 detainee.' And then they want to ask a question, then I have to
5 translate back and forth, from Arabic to English, from English
6 to Arabic.
7 Q. So it's never the same.
8 A. Never the same.
9 Q. It could be, where we're sitting today, you're to my

10 left.

'1 A. Right.
12 Q. And the detainee could be to the right, and the
13 interrogator could be in the middle.
14 A. Or sometimes what they do is they put the detainee in
15 the corner with a chair, and I will be sitting next to the

16 interrogator.
17 Q. Okay.
18 A. Some of the interrogators, they have their own
19 preference. They will say, "We want you to be--" they put the

20 detainee halfway in the middle. I'd be behind him and they--
21 facing him--because some of the detainees, they like to see the
22 interpreter because he speaks the same language, they always go

3 like this [turning his head to the side].

1 Q. So it's not always the same.

2 A. No.
3 Q. I got it. Prior to the interrogation being conducted,
4 is there a plan?

5 A. Yes, lately, they put a lot of emphasis on it. The
6 interrogator will say, "Okay, this is my game plan." Sometimes
7 he will say, "I'm going to ask him 12 questions, and don't
8 listen to him. Just translate my questions to him and don't
9 listen to what he's going to say." Or sometimes they will say,

10 "Okay, this is the game plan. We're going to ask easy questions
'1 and we want----"
12 Q. So like a rehearsal?
13 A. A rehearsal, absolutely.
14 Q. Is that in writing or is that given to you verbally?
15 A. Oh, verbally. But he has----
16 Q. You said "lately," now, you said, "lately," there's
17 been more emphasis on the interrogation plan.
18 A. No, as a matter of fact, this goes back to September,

19 the beginning of September.
20 Q. And you arrived here in October.
21 A. In October, yeah. I would say end of November or last
22 part of November, they put a lot of emphasis on that.

3 Q. You said this was typically done verbally.

1 A. Verbally, yes, sir.
2 Q. Did you see anything in writing signed by somebody?
3 A. Usually, the interrogator will have the info, usually.
4 Because tf-at's done by the interrogator, will brief us, we have
5 an analyst, and then we'll walk into the booth.
6 Q. Please describe for me at the conclusion of the
7 interrogation what happens next?
8 A. What happens, after back and forth session of
9 questions and answers, questions and answers, me and my

10 colleague, which is the interrogator and analyst, will sit and

he will try to absorb what happened in the room. And there will
12 be questions and answers. And he will say, "Did I miss
13 anything, as for as----"
14 Q. Is this in the presence of the detainee?
15 A. No, after we send the detainee, we go back to the ice
16 room-- --
17 Q. Okay, let me back up. At the end of the session,

18 let's ;us: say we just ended now and----
19 A. Okay, I see what you're saying. In that case, what
20 happens is, one of the--usually the analysts are military.
21 What happens is they stay with the detainee and we'll go tell
22 the MPs tnat we're done and they will come and guard it. This

3 is--we are in the hard cell, in the ISO. But if we are in the


1 and i also will tell the MPs. It's walking distance from the
2 second floor to the first floor, and they will come and guide
3 the detainee back to his cell.

4 Q. Do you know at that time when the detainees are given
5 back to the MPs, whether there are additional instructions given
6 by the analyst to the MP?
7 A. To be honest with you, I don't interfere with that.
8 Q. But you're not aware of any instruction?
9 A. No, sir. Usually, the interrogator will go back to

10 the MPs_ they have anything that needs to be discussed.
'1 That's their job.

Q. So the detainees are given back to the MPs and they're
13 placed back in their cell. And then you said that now you and
14 the analyst will then review the process....
15 A. And the interrogator.
16 Q. The interrogator, I'm sorry, will review the process
17 and to, they will ask, "Did I miss something?"
18 A. As far as, for example, when he speaks Arabic, he
19 might mention a few things that I wasn't able to elaborate on in
20 detail. : might say, "You know what, also, I think this is what

21 he meant."
22 Q. Okay.
3 A. Give him some example.

1 Q. An after action review.

2 A. Yeah.

3 Q. But not in any kind of depth, type of a post-

4 interrogation review is the analyst asking you for your thoughts

5 in terms of what to do next.

6 A. No, no. It's a matter of conversation that the

7 detainee was talking about just in case, you know, because a lot

8 cf times in the Iraqi accent, there is a lot of things that he

9 mentions, so you have to be aware of that. Since I'm an Iraqi,

10 I know what they want to say, so I will try to help them as much

'1 as I can as far as what he's saying.

Q. Did you have any knowledge, whatsoever, to rumors or
13 direct knowledge of escapes or shootings or detainee
14 mistreatment in the Abu Ghraib facility?
15 A. I heard about the escapee cases, but indirectly, but
16 we didn't hear it from the military, that aspect. We heard
17 there was an escapee. And the shooting, it happened, was a
18 quirk, we didn't know about it. That night, we were supposed to
19 go on an interrogation with the same guy that started shooting.

20 It could've been me or it could've been the interrogator. But
21 we knew about it like later on. And that day, I worked from
22 almost 10 o'clock at night all the way to the next day until-­
3 what was it, like 2 o'clock, 2 in the afternoon.

1 Q. So interrogations typically happened at any given
2 hour?
3 A. Right, absolutely. We have a schedule. They have a
4 schedule. But in my case, because the shooting happened that

5 night, they didn't know what was going on. You know, they need
6 a linguist. So I stayed interrogating a lot of people because
7 they didn't know who got the gun, what's going on. So I
8 volunteered and I stuck there until the next day until almost 3
9 o'clock, End then I went home.

10 Q. How many linguists or translators are working at Abu
'1 Ghraib?
12 A. That's a good question. As far as on my team, with
13 the MI, I would say about 16 or 15, because we have the
14 screening people that work in the screening. And we have the
15 interrogation team, I would say a minimum of 12.

16 0. Do you work with the same interrogator all the time?
17 A. Lately, I work with the same interrogator because we
18 have a special case. But previously, I was with a team and that

19 team, maybe there's three or four interrogators, and I switch my
20 time with them. As soon as this guy's done, the next guy is
21 ready, go with the next guy.

22 Q. So it's not--you're just based on the need.
3 A. On the need, yes, sir.

Q. So you knew about the shooting that happened. What do
2 you know about that?
3 A. I would say like with the next----

4 Q. Do you know what month it was?
5 A. That's a good question. I think it was December.
6 Q. December?

7 A. I think.
8 Q. And you were there when that shooting----
9 A. No, we went and ate chow and----

10 Q. You were in the facility.
1i A. In the facility, yeah, and then...I forgot his name,
12 he's transferred now. He came and he said there was a shooting,
13 and he tc:11( a [inaudible) he's trying to [inaudible) and things.
14 Because Lnaudible] and we didn't know what was happening and
15 everybody was alert. And he came and told us...Colonel 11111111
16 Q. Colonel 11111111
17 A. Yes, he came and told us the shooting happened and
18 this is what's going on. And he did elaborate in detail as far
19 as what's going on. He was very concerned. And like after
20 that, they' came and tell us, "We want some help with the
21 linguists." So that's how we got stuck until the next day.
22 Q. Okay, let me fast forward now. Do you recall on the

3 20th of December, you were accompanying Mr. and

1 Sergeant MIN to the hard site whereby a prisoner was being
2 returned tack to custody to the MPs and being accompanied by
3 Sergeant 11.11111or a Sergeantill111111 Do you recall that
4 date?

5 A. I met with but I don't recall
6 the details, honestly, because I go back and forth so many
7 times, I didn't pay attention, I didn't concentrate on the
8 situation, so it's hard to tell.
9 Q. Let me be a bit more clear on that. That particular

10 day was given as a date where a prisoner was given back to the '1 MPs where Sergeant"... and also Sergeant I? supposed;: noises were heard when prisoners were being put back 13 in their cells, whether a prisoner was being--a detainee, I'm 14 sorry, wa: either falling down or was being struck by something. 15 Do you recall that? 16 A. Nc, sir, I honestly do not. 17 Q. Have you heard any comments from any of the MPs or any 18 of the interrogators or analysts regarding any rumors or direct
19 information in regards to detainee abuses?
20 A. Honestly, no.
21 Q. You don't recall any of that at all?
22 A. No, because what happens is a lot of times I walk

3 behind them. And when they talk together, I don't want to

1 interfere. Because once my job is done, I'm so tired, because 2 when I translate, I want to be fair for both parties. I don't 3 want to compromise anybody's situation. I'm so tired from 4 talking. Usually the session goes an hour, an hour and a half 5 just constantly talking back and forth from both sides. And 6 sometimes, you know, it's a peace of mind for me to keep quiet, 7 just walk to my place. 8 11 • Is there a rule in the unit that you belong to now, at 9 the conclusion of the interrogation regarding whether it's the
10 same interrogator or a different interrogator, is there a rule
1 1 that states not to discuss the contents of that interrogation
12 with other translators----
13 A. Yeah, absolutely, absolutely, especially in my case
14 with Steve. I have to be quiet. Even, I can't tell you
15 anything unless if you want to go ahead and ask, that's up to

16 you. 17 Q. I'm not asking for the specific details----18 A. Exactly, but in my case, I usually keep quiet. He 19 tells me keep quiet, but he knows I'm quiet. I don't like to 20 elaborate on my cases. 21 Q. Did they give you a security clearance at the time you
22 were hired? 3 A. My case is pending, sir.
1 Q. So your case is pending. 2.A. Yes. 3 Q. You don't have a security clearance at this time. 4 A. No, sir. I wish I could have one, sir. At least I'd 5 know I have a job for the whole year. 6 Q. Were you given an interim clearance? 7 A. To be honest with you, at that time, I didn't know 8 what the procedures were, but I knew that I was accepted, I'd be 9 able to go to Iraq. 10 Q. Do you know that you were supposed to have a '1 clearance')
12 A. I'm looking forward to it. I'm trying to do my best
13 to have a clearance, but that's all up to them.
14 Q. If you don't mind me asking you, Mr. IIIIIIr are you

15 an American citizen?
16 A. Absolutely.
17 Q. And how long did you live in the United States?
18 A. Since 1981, sir.
19 Q. So you've been there forever.
20 A. Absolutely, that's my country now.
21 Q. Since you were governed by the interrogation rules of
22 engagement:, you're familiar with that. Did you know that to be

3 in writing, or was this just given to you?

1 A. I can't recall that, sir. 2 Q. You can't recall? Let me show you something here that 3 states what the interrogation rules of engagements are. Are you 4 familiar with that? 5 A. Yeah, as a matter of fact, they did one time, they 6 gave us this, we went over it, yeah. 7 Q. So you're familiar with that? 8 A. Yes, because the reason I'm saying this, one of the 9 sergeants, she went in details, she went an extra effort with
10 her interrogators. And we were sitting in the meeting just to
'1 know what's going on. And she went over the issues, explained
12 to everybody what's going on, yes, indeed.
13 Q. So there was a lot of explanation----

;4'1' 14 A. Yes, yes, this goes back,-I think, to December, mid-
15 December, I think. Don't quote me on the dates, I could be

16 wrong.
17 Q. You mentioned meetings. How often do you have these
18 meetings?
19 A. Meetings?
20 Q. General meetings, everybody there.
21 A. When a lot of information nappens, but as far as

22 meetings, usually, if something needs to be elaborated on, for

1 example, _n that case, she gathered us, I think she spent about,
2 I think 2 hours, about 2 hours, yeah.
3 Q. About 2 hours.
4 A. Yeah, it was a nightshift, I think. And she said,

5 "The reason I want you to be here for the linguists..." because
6 part of that wasn't our concern, it was just to know what's
7 going on.
8 Q. Let me go back again just to clarify something. Up
9 until the time that you were hired, on or about the middle of

10 Oc:obe:, again, you did not receive any training or instructions '1 as to the nature of the job you were going to perform here in 12 theater? 13 A. Well, they told us it was going to be like an 14.interrogation thing. Chief took ns for a tour. He
15 showed us the booths----

16 Q..When you arrived. .
17 A. When we arrived, yes, absolutely, the first day. Then 18 he said, ..t's going to be like a trial for 2 weeks just to see, 19 you know, who could accept this. He said, maybe some people, 20 it's against their religion. Some people, maybe they don't 21 accept tne situation. And which was true, after 2 weeks, things 22 happened. I stayed with the interrogation team, and some other
1 guys, the" went to screening. Some of the guys went to MPs, and

2 things like that.
3 Q. So it kind of divided.
4 A. Divided, yes.

5 Q. Before you arrived, there was nothing----

6 A. Absolutely not, absolutely not.
7 Q. And then at the time you were shown or given
8 familiari::ation, I should say, and other instructions on the
9 conduct cl your specific job, were there other instructions

10 given or any changes to the procedures given to you or at least

instructed to you with your other coworkers?
12 A. Could you elaborate on "changes"?
13 Q. Yes, let me just be specific on that. At the time of
14 the shooting, at the time of allegations of detainee abuse,
15 which I'm sure people were made aware of, were there any changes
16 made to the procedures from when you were conducting the
17 procedures; that you were now executing?
18 A. :'m sure changes happened, but as far as visually, I
19 didn't see changes. But as far as, we can't walk with the

20 detainee Loo far. We have to have the military escort the
21 detainee all the way back. I'm sure changes happened, but I
22 didn't see any changes as far as----

1 Q. During the course of your involvement with 2 interrogation operations and then when the detainee was given 3 back to the MPs, did you see any physical action that would leac
4 you to question whether they were right or wrong? What I'm 5 saying is, when they're handling detainees, besides handcuffing, 6 besides leading the detainee back to his cell and besides having 7 the bag placed back on his head, did you see anything out of the 8 ordinary----9 A. Well, one time, like I mentioned in the--previous witl
10 the criminal investigation, I saw that they were searching their
'1 cells. They got all their stuff out. I think after the
12 incident of the shooting, they were searching their cells and

13 there was a dog present in the hallway.
14 Q. Were you there at the time?
15 A. Yeah, one time, I couldn't do anything. I just backed
16 up because I couldn't do anything when they were searching the
17 cells.
18 Q. So you were in the cell?
19 A. Not in the cell, no, in the hallway.

20 Q. You were in the hallway.
21 A.

In the hallway, but I saw the dog present and stuff on

the ground. They were searching the cells and they wanted to
3 make sure there was no weapon or anything.

I Q. Was the detainee in the cell or outside the cell, that
2 you can recall?
3 A. That's a good question, because I saw the stuff on the
4 ground. : saw the dog. I didn't go inside the hallway, because
5 I was on this side, and the hallway was this way and the dog was
6 in the hallway to your right, and the cells are to the left and

7 the right. You could see the cells.
8 Q. Which part of the hard site was that? Was that on
9 Tier One A?

10 A. I think it's in the A, which is where the politicians

I and the----
Q. The security detainees.
13 A. Right, the Iraqi section, the other section.
14 Q. So you had been in the hard site?
15 A. Yes, I have.
16 Q. Did you notice anything peculiar like detainees

17 without their clothes on?
18 A.

That I didn't see. That I didn't see, and I hate to

see people naked. Until now, I don't take a shower as a naked
20 person. 1. have to go by myself.
21 Q. Did any interrogation ever happen in the cell, itself?

1 A. In the cell, itself? No, because the cells are so
2 tiny. You can't conduct interrogations in the cell. There is
3 no way.

4 Q. Very confined.
5 A. Yes. Because maybe sometimes, the first session would
6 be, for example, they would say, "Ask him this, ask him that."
7 Because a lot of times when I'm done with my session, the MPs
8 would say, "Could you come down and see what he wants, what he
9 needs, because we can't understand his language?" And I would

10 go and ask him what he wants. Like a couple incidents happened,
1 1 one of the guys, he was sick and he wasn't feeling good, and he
1 2 wantec a doctor. And I had to translate that, "This is how his
13 feels. Maybe he has a stomach pain or back pain," or things
14 like that
15 Q. Was it common, was it just you they were asking for,
16 or were there other translators----
17 A. It happened that moment I was there. They might ask
18 me because I'm done with my session and I'm about to walk and
19 they say, "Could you please come here for a second? Just ask
20 him what he wants." And then I'd say, "I'd be glad to." And I
21 would ask him what he wants and he would say, "I'm not feeling
22 good," th.Lngs like that. Maybe the next interrogator or the

3 next linguist, he might be 2 hours later. They might--if he

1 wants something from him, the MPs, he would ask them the same


3 Q. The night or the day, I should say, where you were
4 there observing a dog doing the searching in the cell and things
5 on the ground, was that because you were called to assist as an
6 interpreter?

7 A.

Oh, no, no. I think we had a session, we wanted to do
8 an interrogation and we didn't do it because the situation
9 didn't happen because of the search incident and stuff.

10 Q.

Why were you there to begin with?
'1 A.

What happened is, we were the nightshift. We have to
12 do interrogation on the nightshift. We were--like 24 hours.
13 And my nightshift was--I think, starts from 10:30 all the way tc
14 7 o'clock. So as we were about to go to interrogation, then
15 when we saw the scene, it didn't help. We declined to go


forward. We just----
17 Q.

So you were there to take custody--or actually, not
18 take custody, but you were there to accompany the detainee to ar.
19 interrogation site, but because a search was happening at that
20 time, you could not conduct your interrogation. Is that what


you meant to say?

22 A.

No, sorry, let me say this. Because usually in the
3 nighttime because of the mortars they hit us with it, we used to

I do some of the interrogation in the building, itself, in the
2 ISO.

3 Q. What's an ISO?
4 A. Isolation section, they call it isolation.
5 Q. In the hard site?
6 A. In the hard site, itself, in the building, itself
7 because of the shells. There was the stairs, kind of like a

8 room, we used to sit there and do the interrogations because we
9 don't want to take the detainee outside, so we used to go there
10 [inaudible; and take him back to his cell, which is nearby.

Q. Which is a separate area away from the cell.
i2 A. Right, right, it is separate. Then before you go to
13 that sect:on, there's a door, you have to pass that door, then
14 the cells would be to your left and to your right. They're
15 subdivided according to the numbers. And we were in the
16 hallway, then we saw the dogs. We saw the things, and the
17 element didn't help. So we didn't go forward. We just stopped.
18 O. But you didn't see the detainee, himself?
19 A. No, no, sir, absolutely not.

20 Q. But was that the detainee you were supposed to
21 intervJew or interrogate that night?

A. Yeah, because we were supposed go to do the
2 interrogation. Then when we saw the dog, we just--they were
3 searching, so....

4 Q. They were searching the cell of the detainee that you

5 were going to interrogate that night.
6 A. That's a good question, it could be him, it could be
7 anybody because they were searching all the cells. So I don't
8 know what they were planning on.
9 Q. Oh, I see. But typically, back to the interrogation

10 plan, are you then made aware or informed which detainee that is
'1 going to be interviewed? Or do they just bring in a detainee
12 and say, "Okay, now we're going to do the interview."
13 A. Usually, they tell us there is--we're going to do
14 interrogation, could be for me the first time, or could be for
15 me, for example, the case that we're working on, it's been like
16 a month and a half. But previously, it could be anybody. So I
17 didn't know exactly who we were going to--they might say he's a
18 General. They might say he's this. They might say he's a bomb

19 maker. They give us a head start.

20 Q. Okay, but they don't tell you the ISN number of that
21 detainee.
22 A. The number, no, that has nothing to do with me.

1 Q. They just say, "We want to interrogate somebody that
2 has something to do with----"
3 A. Right, for example, they would say, this is--maybe
4 he's [inaudible]. Maybe he has a relation with Al Qaeda. "This
5 is what the game plan is. This is what we're looking for, his
6 friends and things like that." But as far as his number, they
7 might tel] me the first name and they might tell me some of the
8 background so I will be mentally prepared what kind of person
9 I'm gcing to see. But as far as his prisoner number, no.

10 Q. Let me go back to the interrogation plan. After you
'I conduct an interrogation, the detainee is given back to the MPs
t' so he can be returned to the cell, you mentioned.
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And then, you and the interrogator will then discuss--
15 you do an after action review, basically, whether the questions
16 were answered to the satisfaction of the interrogator or whether
17 something else was missing. Is that typically what happens?
18 A. Usually, for example, I would say--he would say, "This
19 is what he meant, right?" I'd say, "Yeah, this is what he

20 meant." there is another answer to the same question, I 21.might teL them. If not, that's what it is. 22 Q. So you try to recall----
1 A. Exactly, I try to recall what he said and things like
2 that, if missed anything, just to be just for both sides.
3 Q. How confident are you with the procedures now that yol..

4 have been in that operating environment now since your arrival

5 at Abu Ghraib?
6 A. Right now, it's very decent. I'm confident now
7 because everybody knows what they're supposed to do. Once we're
8 done, they let the MPs know that we're done, they will come and
9 escort the detainee back to his cell, and that's what it is.

10 Q. Have you worked with Mr. before?

A. Yes, as a matter of fact, from October...couple times,
i2 then she Last case, basically, I'm all the way with him until
13 now with him----
14 Q. Because you're working on a special project.
15 A. Yeah, I'm on that special project.
16 Q. How many other interrogators, roughly, did you work
17 with?
18 A. I would easy, five or six.
19 Q. Did you know who Colonel Tom Pappas was?

20 A. Yes.
21 Q. How often did you see him?
22 A. Very often.

3 Q. Very often?

1 A. Yeah.
2 Q. Indirectly?
3 A. Indirectly.
4 Q. You mentioned Colonel Did you see him
5 directly all the time?
6 A. I seen him. He greeted me the first time when I went

7 to Abu Ghraib, he gave me a pep talk. And every now and then,
8 he used to come. He used to eat chow with us and all that. I'd
9 see him more often. He used to walk a lot in the hall facility.

10 Q. To check?

A. To check, absolutely.
12 Q. Did you know any medical facilities that were
13 exclusively for the detainees when they get sick? You mentioned
14 people said, "I don't feel good," and they'd call you into the
15 site and asked you to interpret what is wrong with them.
16 A. Yeah, what happened is, something urgent, or "This is
17 what I thjnk," they might call the doctor. There is a doctor

18 standby. But also, I used to do in the morning, I used to go
19 spend an hour and half, about an hour and a half in the open
20 camp tran!,lating for the doctor. There was certain days I am
21 supposed to go in the morning with our doctors, because it's an
22 open camp. There is tents. There is a lot of Iraqi detainees.

3 They used to stand in a row. Everybody comes in and I will


1 A. Right, it's only common sense. Not only that, but
2 back in the States, you listen to news and the Geneva
3 Convention, and besides, I study the law from this country, so I
4 know what the Geneva Convention is.

5 Q. Speaking of that, what is your civilian employment
6 before you were hired as a translator?
7 A. My background is accounting. I have a degree in
8 electroni:.s. I work for Icon Office Solutions for almost 12
9 years. I'm a field technician, a senior tech. I service Ricoh,

10 Canon, Hewlett Packard product and Sharp product.

1 Q. Typically automation----I") A. Automation, office, yeah, networking, printers and 13 things like that. 14 Q. Okay, all right, is there anything else you want to 15 add, Mr. Israel? 16 A. No, sir, but I'd be glad to--if you guys need me in 17 the future, I'd be glad to serve. And I'm happy to serve the 18 United States Army. It's a pleasure for me because they opened 19 the door. The United States gave me a home, so they made me 20 feel at home. That wasn't my original home, and I'm dedicated
21 to serve he United States in my full capacity. 22 Q. I'm glad you mentioned that, Mr.11111111 because I'm a 3 naturalized citizen myself, so I understand how you feel.
Okay, well, let me remind you please to not discuss
2 the contents of our interview here or the scope of our
3 investigation with your coworkers or anybody that is

4 unauthorized. I also want to advise you, please, that you will
5 be subject to recall for a re-interview and we will advise you
6 and your supervisors of when that's to occur. Up until that
7 time, please safeguard the information.

8 A. Absolutely.
9 Q. Do you have any-r--
10 A. Could I ask a couple of questions?
11 Q. Sure.
I/ A. Is that going to affect my clearance situation?
13 Q. You're not being suspected of anything. What we're

14 trying to do, as I mentioned to you, we're trying to gather
15 facts and relevant information to the allegation of
16 mistreatment, any of this information where we could ascertain,
17 in other words, once we go through and evaluate the information
18 of whether we have the relevant information and the facts
19 associated with that. So for now, sir, you are not being
20 suspected of anything. We just want to gain your knowledge of

21 conditions and information associated with Abu Ghraib. 22 A. My pleasure to help you, sir.

I [Mr. Israel departed the interview area. The interview
2 terminated at 1114, 12 February 2004.)