This is a partial transcript from On the Record with Greta Van Susteren, May 3, 2004 that has been edited for clarity.
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GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: Tonight: A few disgrace us. Graphic, sadistic and pornographic photos of some American soldiers allegedly abusing Iraqi prisoners trigger outrage.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COLIN POWELL, SECRETARY OF STATE: These are despicable acts, and I know mycolleagues in the Pentagon are -- there are a number of investigations under way. It doesn't reflect on all ofour troops. Most of our troops are doing a great job upholding the highest standards of the service anddoing everything they can to help the Iraqi people. We're there to help, not to hurt.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAN SUSTEREN: Joining us from Baghdad is deputy coalition director of military operations Mark Kimmitt.
BRIG. GEN. MARK KIMMITT, DEPUTY DIRECTOR COALITION OPS: Hi, Greta. How areyou this morning?
VAN SUSTEREN: I'm very well, sir. Now, I understand that these -- what happened in the prison s the activity of a few, but can you tell us what you know the few did?
KIMMITT: Well, I think everything we know about what the few did is shown in those disgustingpictures. They abused our prisoners, they humiliated our prisoners, they conducted acts with them that areclearly outside the rules and regulations and any notion of dignity and respect.
VAN SUSTEREN: General, is it -- are we sure that it's limited to about six or seven soldiers?
KIMMITT: Well, we don't know. We have another investigation ongoing, reviewing some of themilitary intelligence procedures at the prison. We don't know the outcome of that investigation yet. It could certainly be that, as part of that investigation, we find more persons are implicated. But all indications are this is a very, very small number of the hundreds of guards that we have out at that prison.
VAN SUSTEREN: General, when was this -- when did this first come to light? When did the --sort of the higher up in the military learn about these six or seven who have abused Iraqi prisoners?
KIMMITT: Well, these photos came to the attention when one of our great soldiers came forwardwith a set of these photos on a CD and said, Listen, I can't live with myself. I just got to let you know whatI'm seeing here and what I've been given. And that was in early January.
VAN SUSTEREN: General, in terms of these -- in terms of what happened there, I mean, how farup the chain of command does the knowledge go, beyond the six or seven, that prisoners were beingabused?
KIMMITT: Well, that -- that came out in part of the investigations. I think, again, the knowledgewas limited to a small number of people. But in terms of once the investigation started, the investigationsnot only went into the criminal conduct of those individuals, but also took a hard look at the organizationthey belonged to, to see if they had the right standards, the right policies, the right training.
VAN SUSTEREN: Was this cell block where this happened under the control of militaryintelligence, so does some of the responsibility lie with military intelligence?
KIMMITT: Well, as I said earlier, Greta, there is an investigation looking into the activities of themilitary intelligence. It's not limited to the criminal conduct of a couple of individuals, which is the firstinvestigation. Nor was the investigation limited to the actions of their supervisors or lack of action, whichwas the second investigation. But there's a third investigation, too, examining the military intelligencesaspects and operations at there at Abu Ghraib (search), as well.
VAN SUSTEREN: Can you say with some confidence, sir, that the abuse against the Iraqi detainees is limited to that which we see depicted in the photographs, or is there a risk that there is more widespread abuse of Iraqi detainees?
KIMMITT: All the information we have right now, again, suggests that this was limited to a small number of persons, a small number of detainees. But I don't want to prejudge the outcome of this last investigation. It could be that there are a couple of more people involved, a few more people involved.
VAN SUSTEREN: General, you're in Iraq. What are the Iraqi people saying about this? Because I'm sure that this is, no doubt, leaking out information to the Iraqi people.
KIMMITT: Well, taking a look at the headlines yesterday in the newspapers, talking to our friends, talking to the government officials, they have the same reaction that the people of America have, which is this is disgusting, this is absolutely vile, and there's no excuse for this conduct.
VAN SUSTEREN: How much trouble does that give you, or how much harder does it make yourwork, having to sort of confront not only the fact that an investigation is going on and these events occurred,but the obvious, you know, bad PR that it creates for our military there, even though it's the act of some andnot all?
KIMMITT: Well, it's not really PR that we're concerned about. It's building the trust and confidence of the Iraqi people. That's something we have to do every day, and that is made more difficult atinstances like this. But all we can do is take the 150,000 coalition soldiers that we have here, get them backout on the streets every day, have them be the best emissaries, the best ambassadors to convince the peopleof Iraq that our actions are not representative of those few people who they saw in the photos, but theoverwhelming number of soldiers here are serving honorably, serving professionally, and are a credit totheir nation.
VAN SUSTEREN: Do you think that it would help to have a very sort of public disciplinaryproceeding of the six or seven who are being investigated, so that even our own soldiers, when they arecaptured -- we've got at least one in -- who is captive now, so they are treated in accordance with all -- you know, the Geneva Convention (search) and with a sense of dignity and humanity?
KIMMITT: No, you're exactly right, Greta. That's probably our major concern. We have to be an example for the world, in terms of how we treat our prisoners. We've got to be the people they point to and say, that's how we want our prisoners treated, because when our soldiers get captured, they can't be expected to be held humanely if we have not held the adversary's prisoners humanely, as well.
VAN SUSTEREN: So how do we do that? Do we make a huge public display of our disciplinary proceeding of the six we suspect?
KIMMITT: Well, I think we've got procedures for public access to the court-martials, if there willbe any. I think full disclosure, within the limits of the law, are exactly what we should be doing. But even more important than trying to turn this into a show trial, what's even more important is that the soldiers ofthe coalition continue to interact and engage with the Iraqi people and demonstrate not just by their wordsbut by their actions every day that they are humane soldiers going about a mission to free this country andturn into it a democratic nation.
VAN SUSTEREN: And of course, it is not the entire coalition, it is only a few, which is important to emphasize. General, thanks for joining us.
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