The Taguba show
By Steve Turnham
CNN Political Unit
Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba appears before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday.
|ON CNN TV|
Stay with CNN-USA for updates, analysis and perspective on the Senate Armed Services Committee's hearings on the Iraqi prison abuse scandal: Our correspondents are following developments on the Hill, at the White House and in Baghdad.
|MAJ. GEN. ANTONIO TAGUBA|
Experience: Deputy Commanding General for Support, Third U.S. Army. Former acting director of the Army staff at the Pentagon. Began his career with troop-leading assignments in Korea.
Personal: Second highest ranking Filipino-American in U.S. Army. Father was a U.S. Army sergeant and POW in Japan.
Education: B.A. in history, M.A. in public administration, M.A. in international relations, M.A. in national security and strategic studies.
Awards: Legion of Merit
Meritorious Service Medal
Army Commendation Medal
Army Staff Identification Badge
Distinguished Service Medal.
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The general who exposed the Abu Ghraib prison scandal appears for the first time before the Senate today in what promises to be a grim accounting of what went wrong.
Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba took the oath before the Senate Armed Services Committee Tuesday morning in a hearing that should be very different from Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's appearance last week.
As Taguba testifies, committee lawyers will be busy working on the next explosive chapter in the Abu Ghraib story -- at least 100 new photos along with digital video files allegedly depicting crimes even more severe than those already seen.
While there is broad bipartisan agreement that the additional photos and videos should be made available to members of the Senate, leaders said Monday evening that they do not want to take possession of that material until the rules under which senators will view them are properly established.
"Once the question of these pictures coming up here was raised I decided this is an institutional problem," said Armed Services Committee Chairman John Warner, who said he has asked the Pentagon not to send the pictures up until the Senate is ready.
Lawyers for Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, Minority Leader Tom Daschle, Warner and ranking committee Democrat Carl Levin are now examining the legal issues around the release of the pictures and videos, a process that could take all of tomorrow at least.
"We're not starting this game until we know how it ends," said a senior Frist aide.
Senate leaders are adamant that however strongly members feel that the material should also be released to the general public -- and most senators do think that -- that decision is the Pentagon's alone, and that when the Senate is done looking at the photos and videos, they will promptly be returned to the Pentagon.
"If and when this is going to be released to the public the Senate is not going to have a role in it," said the aide.
The senators' concerns are twofold: first that the release of the material might compromise ongoing prosecutions of those involved in the abuse; and secondly to avoid any blowback from the devastating effect the new material is expected to have on world opinion.
Off the Senate chamber, leading senators braced for the worst, but said that it is better to get the stuff out and take the hit than endure the slow drip of new photos emerging every day in the media.
"They're going to get out, obviously," said Armed Services Committee member Wayne Allard, R-Colorado. "They're out there, people know they're out there, and there's no reason to hold them back."
"Sooner or later they're going to have to be released," said Sen. Pat Roberts, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which also plans hearings into the abuse. "They'll come out piecemeal or you can have full transparency and get it over with."