A U.S. Army general dispatched by senior Pentagon officials to bolster the collection of intelligence from prisoners in Iraq last fall inspired and
promoted the use of guard dogs there to frighten the Iraqis, according to
sworn testimony by the top U.S. intelligence officer at the Abu Ghraib prison.
According to the officer, Col. Thomas Pappas, the idea came from Maj. Gen.
Geoffrey D. Miller, who at the time commanded the U.S. military detention
center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and was implemented under a policy approved
by Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez, the top U.S. military official in Iraq.
“It was a technique I had personally discussed with General Miller, when he
was here” visiting the prison, testified Pappas, head of the 205th Military
Intelligence Brigade and the officer placed in charge of the cellblocks at
Abu Ghraib prison where abuses occurred in the wake of Miller’s visit to
Baghdad between Aug. 30 and Sept. 9, 2003.
“He said that they used military working dogs at Gitmo [the nickname for
Guantanamo Bay], and that they were effective in setting the atmosphere for
which, you know, you could get information” from the prisoners, Pappas told
the Army investigator, Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba, according to a
transcript provided to The Washington Post.
Pappas, who was under pressure from Taguba to justify the legality and
appropriateness of using guard dogs to frighten detainees, said at two
separate points in the Feb. 9 interview that Miller gave him the idea. He
also said Miller had indicated the use of the dogs “with or without a
muzzle” was “okay” in booths where prisoners were taken for interrogation.
But Miller, whom the Bush administration appointed as the new head of Abu
Ghraib this month, denied through a spokesman that the conversation took