WASHINGTON – The U.S. military has found a total of 94 cases of confirmed or alleged abuse of prisoners by U.S. soldiers in Iraq (search) and Afghanistan (search) since the fall of 2001, the Army's inspector general said Thursday in a long-awaited report made public at a hastily called Senate hearing.
The Pentagon had refused until now to give a total number of abuse allegations since the prisoner abuse scandal broke this spring. The 94 number is significantly higher than all other previous estimates given by Pentagon officials.
The inspector general investigation, ordered Feb. 10 after the allegations of abuse at the Abu Ghraib (search) prison in Iraq came to the attention of top Army officials in Washington, concluded that there were no systemic problems that contributed to the abuse. In some cases, the report found, the abuse was abetted or facilitated by officers not following proper procedures.
In contrast to its own findings, however, the Army report also cites a February report from the International Committee for the Red Cross (search) that alleged that "methods of ill treatment" were "used in a systematic way" by the U.S. military in Iraq.
Sen. John Warner, the Republican chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, who had been pressing for the results of the inspector general report for several weeks, called a last-minute hearing Thursday before Congress leaves for the rest of the summer Friday.
Warner apologized for the late notice of the hearing, but said he had wanted to get the information to the committee members as soon as it was available.
The Army has not yet made the entire report public but released parts during the public hearing.