Senate Denied Access to CIA ‘Ghost’ Detainee Headcount

It's good that the Senators care enough, belatedly, to try to get to the bottom of a small amount of information about who did what to whom in the great Iraq prison/war crime scandal. But it doesn't sound as if they are getting very far.

Senators Criticize C.I.A. in Inquiry on Iraqi Prison Abuse: Senators examining the Abu Ghraib prison scandal criticized the CIA on Thursday for failing to provide Army investigators with documents on unregistered “ghost detainees.''

At a hearing, lawmakers indicated their frustration that Army generals who investigated the prison abuses couldn't put a specific figure on the number of ghost detainees and could only give a range of up to 100 detainees, though they said it was more likely closer to two dozen.

“It's a very difficult question for us to answer, Mr. Chairman, because we don't have the documentation,'' Gen. Paul Kern, who oversaw an Army investigation of the 205th Military Intelligence Brigade, told Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John Warner, R-Va.

The panel's top Democrat, Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan, said “it's totally unacceptable that documents that are requested from the CIA have not been forthcoming.'' And, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said the ghost detainee issue “needs to be cleared up really badly.''

Contacted after the hearing, CIA spokesman Mark Mansfield declined to comment on number of ghost detainees and said it is one aspect of a review under way by the agency's inspector general

Translation of the CIA's comment: [                           ]

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