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General to testify on abuse probe

As many as 300 more photos of abuse said to exist


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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) -- With the Army general who investigated abuse of prisoners in Iraq set to testify before a Senate committee Tuesday, Pentagon sources told CNN there are 200 to 300 more photographs of abuse at Abu Ghraib prison.

Army Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba, author of a leaked internal report on abuses at U.S.-run prisons in Iraq, is scheduled to be the first witness when a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee convenes at 9:30 a.m. (Full story)

The Senate voted 92-0 Monday for a resolution "condemning the abuse of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison [and] urging a full and complete investigation."

The Pentagon sources said officials also are investigating an allegation that three soldiers took a female detainee to an isolated area, and while one stood guard, the other two attempted to fondle and kiss her until another soldier caught them.

Red Cross alleges coercion

Meanwhile, a report completed in February by the International Committee of the Red Cross and leaked to media outlets Monday found that up to 90 percent of Iraqis held by U.S. and allied troops have been arrested by mistake.

The report also said those considered likely intelligence sources faced coercion that in some cases was "tantamount to torture."

"In certain cases, such as in Abu Ghraib military intelligence section, methods of physical and psychological coercion used by the interrogators appeared to be part of the standard operating procedures by military intelligence personnel to obtain confessions and extract information," the report said. (Full story)

In a New Yorker magazine article this week, journalist Seymour Hersh reports that military commanders did nothing about Red Cross allegations until a military policeman turned over a computer disk containing images of prisoners forced to simulate homosexual acts while American soldiers watched. (Full story)

Photos have been trickling out during the past couple of weeks. The latest to surface is included in Hersh's New Yorker article. The photo shows American guards holding back leashed dogs near a naked prisoner, and is one of 20 pictures Hersh says were taken by a soldier in one of the military police units at Abu Ghraib.

Sources said an intense debate was under way at the White House and at the Pentagon over whether to release the photographs now in government hands to get all of the information out -- rather than be caught off-guard by leaks to the news media.

There was no immediate decision, but President Bush said in an interview that the process should be transparent.

"The way you handle that is you just tell the truth, which stands in stark contrast to societies run by tyrants," Bush told the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service.

A similar discussion was taking place among Senate leaders.

Bush defends Rumsfeld

Earlier in the day, Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Colin Powell and top military brass stood next to Bush at the Pentagon as the president gave a resounding endorsement of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

"You're doing a superb job. You are a strong secretary of defense, and our nation owes you a debt of gratitude," Bush said.

Members of Congress from both parties have criticized Rumsfeld's handling of the prisoner abuse scandal and expressed anger that he failed to warn them about the extent of the abuse depicted in photos appearing in media reports.

Some have called for Rumsfeld's resignation, as have some newspapers and magazines.

Republican Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Rumsfeld should not resign at this point.

"Until we find out all of the facts in regards to this prison scandal, I think it would be premature for him to step down," Roberts said.

Bush reviews photos

While at the Pentagon, Bush and his war Cabinet reviewed more than a dozen classified color photographs of abuse. Bush was "disgusted," his spokesman said.

"There will be a full accounting for the cruel and disgraceful abuse of Iraqi detainees," Bush said at the Pentagon briefing.

"Those responsible for these abuses have caused harm that goes well beyond the walls of a prison," Bush said.

Bush apologized last week to the detainees shown in the published photographs.

In all, there are about 1,000 photographs on three CD-ROMs. Many of the photographs are of sites in Iraq, similar to tourist photographs. But sources said 200 to 300 photos detail abuse at the prison.

Some of the worst photos are of prisoners being sodomized by chemical lights, also known as "glow sticks," the sources said.

There are also videos created by digital cameras with a "movie mode" feature. Some show "abuse consistent with that depicted on still pictures," one Pentagon source said.

Appearing on CNN's "American Morning," an attorney for Pfc. Lynndie England said the photos were "staged" by intelligence officials who were running Abu Ghraib at the time.

England was photographed holding what appears to be a leash attached to the neck of a naked Iraqi prisoner. She faces four charges, including committing an indecent act and assaulting Iraqi detainees on multiple occasions.

"They are psychological operations photos," attorney Giorgio Ra'Shadd said. "Those were instructed, and the ones that were not specifically instructed were inferred by the civilian intelligence people who took control." (Soldier charged)

There were signs the scandal was taking a political toll on Bush.

According to the latest CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll, the president's overall job approval rating has slipped to 46 percent, the lowest point in his presidency. And just 44 percent of those polled now say it was worth going to war in Iraq, a drop of 12 points in two months.

Bush maintained a slight lead over his Democratic rival, Sen. John Kerry, but the difference was within the margin of error. (Full story)

CNN's Barbara Starr, John King, Jamie McIntyre, Ed Henry and Dana Bash contributed to this report.


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