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Author of prison abuse report to testify

Lawmakers discuss release of more photos, video

From Joe Johns and Steve Turnham
CNN Washington Bureau

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Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba is the author of the Army report looking at how Iraqi detainees were treated at the Abu Ghraib prison.
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The author of a 53-page Army report critical of the "sadistic, blatant and wanton criminal abuse" of some Iraqi prisoners is scheduled to testify before a Senate committee Tuesday.

Meanwhile, top Democrats and Republicans were meeting to discuss whether and how to release to Congress digital video clips and about 100 additional pictures of the abuse at the Abu Ghraib prison outside Baghdad, Iraq.

Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba will be the first witness when the Senate Armed Services Committee convenes at 9:30 a.m. An afternoon session is to include testimony from other military officers and will focus on intelligence issues, according to a press release.

The committee, along with its House counterpart, heard testimony last week from Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Richard Myers and others.

Taguba concluded that U.S. military police in Iraq inflicted "sadistic, blatant and wanton criminal abuse" on prisoners in their custody numerous times. Seven soldiers face criminal charges in the case and six others, all officers or noncommissioned officers, have been reprimanded.

Some of those implicated in the case have said they were told to prepare the prisoners for questioning by military intelligence officers at the Abu Ghraib prison outside Baghdad.

A Red Cross report delivered to U.S. and British officials in February warned that prisoners considered likely sources of intelligence faced coercion that in some cases was "tantamount to torture."

Photographs of naked, hooded Iraqi prisoners being sexually humiliated stirred anger at home and abroad, prompting President Bush to publicly declare he was sorry for their treatment. But Bush has spurned calls for Rumsfeld's resignation, praising his performance as "superb" during a visit to the Pentagon on Monday.

On Capitol Hill, the focus was on the possible release of more photos as well as digital video.

Senators on both sides of the aisle have said they need to see the pictures and video if they are to effectively carry out their oversight responsibilities. If an agreement is reached, the Pentagon has told Sen. John Warner, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, that it would make the material available to lawmakers as soon as this afternoon.

Senior GOP sources said top leaders were considering whether to allow all 100 senators to view the photos and video, along with annexed sections of the Taguba report.

The sources said they will also consider whether to recommend that the administration make the material public. That decision is up to the administration, a source said.

Some Republicans have said they are concerned that the steady appearance of new photos in the news media is generating endless damaging headlines, and that it would be better to get the material out all at once.

"The pictures might very well find their way into the public domain," said Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, a Tennessee Republican.

One option under consideration is for the photos and video to be taken to the secure committee office space, where senators and staff members may see the material in private.


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