Seymour Hersh’s 3rd New Yorker article on Abu Ghraib

It’s out, and it’s ugly.

The roots of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal lie not in the criminal inclinations of a few Army reservists but in a decision, approved last year by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, to expand a highly secret operation, which had been focussed on the hunt for Al Qaeda, to the interrogation of prisoners in Iraq. Rumsfeld’s decision embittered the American intelligence community, damaged the effectiveness of élite combat units, and hurt America’s prospects in the war on terror.

According to interviews with several past and present American intelligence officials, the Pentagon’s operation, known inside the intelligence community by several code words, including Copper Green, encouraged physical coercion and sexual humiliation of Iraqi prisoners in an effort to generate more intelligence about the growing insurgency in Iraq. A senior C.I.A. official, in confirming the details of this account last week, said that the operation stemmed from Rumsfeld’s long-standing desire to wrest control of America’s clandestine and paramilitary operations from the C.I.A.

So much for the “bad apples” theory, which every thinking person knew from the start was a load of crap. Hersh outlines how this program started, and how Stephen Cambone, Rumsfeld’s Under-Secretary for Intelligence, helped codify it. No, this story isn’t going away, and eventually some heads will have to roll. Cambone is dead meat and he knows it.

The Discussion: 5 Comments

Look, we all know that this shameful conduct is simply the misbehaviour of a few bad apples.

Rumsfeld, Cheney, Bush, Wolfowitz…

May 15, 2004 @ 7:24 pm | Comment


Once again, excellent work; you beat me to the keyboard. If you don’t mind I am also going to post about Seymour’s newest article, with a tip of the hat to The Peking Duck.

I owe you an e-mail–and an answering comment on my new comments feature. I will get around to both as soon as possible. Life has been exceedingly hectic for me. Take care my dear friend, and keep up the good fight.


May 15, 2004 @ 9:32 pm | Comment

Is this like Hersh’s expose a few years back — later proven to be ustter horseshit — that the US engaged in chemical and biological warfare experiments in Vietnam.

Sorry, Hersh has come up with a number of fabulist stories that didn’t pan out over the years. I’m willing to lay you serious odds tht this proves to be another.

May 17, 2004 @ 12:55 am | Comment

Conrad, Hersh’s track record is pretty good, and as you’ve seen, when he talks the world listens. I can’t say yet if it’s BS or not, but the very mainstream Newsweek has jumped on board with its own story on how figures at the top (read Rumsfeld, Cambone, etc.) took it on themselves to impose Gitmoesque tactics on the prisoners in Iraq. (

I think the fireworks are just starting.

May 17, 2004 @ 3:45 pm | Comment

1993, Les Aspin, Sec. of Defense, resigned. Recommend you see articles on Wolfie and Rummy at
Slate has a good read on Rumsfeld as well.

May 17, 2004 @ 7:07 pm | Comment

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