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Bush demotes officer in charge of Abu Ghraib

President Bush demoted Brig. Gen. Karpinksi to the rank of colonel.
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Gallery:  Abuse at Abu Ghraib prison (Contains graphic content. Viewer discretion advised.)

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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush has demoted Army Reserve Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, who was in charge of Abu Ghraib during the prison abuse scandal in 2003, after an extensive investigation, the Pentagon said Thursday.

Now a colonel, Karpinski was formally relieved of command of the 800th military police brigade last month.

She is the only high-level officer to be disciplined so far in a scandal that provoked outrage and headlines around the world.

Although the investigation substantiated charges of dereliction of duty against her, it also found that her lack of leadership did not contribute to the abuse.

"Though Brigadier General Karpinski's performance of duty was found to be seriously lacking, the investigation determined that no action or lack of action on her part contributed specifically to the abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib," the report from the Army inspector general said.

Karpinski was cited for two of the four allegations against her: dereliction of duty and shoplifting, the latter charge stemming from her theft of a cosmetic item while a colonel at MacDill Air Force Base near Tampa, Florida.

Her demotion came on the recommendation by the U.S. Army Reserve Command commander, the chief of staff of the Army, and the secretary of the Army.

'It's a shared responsibility'

Last week Karpinski's military attorney, Neal Puckett, told CNN she was singled out. "She accepts her part of the responsibility, but it's a shared responsibility throughout the chain of command, not just her."

Karpinski has insisted the Army was aware of prison abuses at Abu Ghraib months before investigations were begun.

She also contends that it was military intelligence that gave instructions on interrogating prisoners to military policemen, who have since been implicated in the scandal.

Four other top officers, including Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, commander of U.S. forces in Iraq at the time, have been cleared of wrongdoing.

Also cleared were Maj. Gen. Barbara Fast, the former top intelligence officer in Iraq; Maj. Gen. Walter Wojdakowski, Sanchez's former top deputy; and Col. Mark Warren, Sanchez's top legal adviser.

The Pentagon said 1,700 interviews were conducted and more than 16,000 pages of documents combed for 10 separate investigations into the matter.

One of the most damning reports, issued last August, found 44 instances of abuse at Abu Ghraib. The "Fay report," named after the general who compiled it, Maj. Gen. George Fay, said that some of those cases amounted to torture.

Sen. John Warner, a Virginia Republican and chairman of the Armed Services Committee, has said he will hold a hearing on whether the probes went far enough in determining the extent of Army leadership's involvement.

Wednesday a military judge declared a mistrial in the case of Army Pfc. Lynndie England after her former boyfriend and supervisor, Pvt. Charles Graner Jr. testified she did not know her actions were wrong.

Images of England holding a dog leash around an Iraqi prisoner's neck at Abu Ghraib have become symbolic of the prison abuse scandal there. (Full story)

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