U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld allowed an “abusive and degrading” interrogation of an al Qaeda detainee in 2002, the online magazine Salon reported on Friday, citing an Army document.
In a report a Pentagon spokesman denounced as “fiction,” Salon quoted a December 2005 Army inspector general’s report in which officers told of Rumsfeld’s direct contact with the general overseeing the interrogation at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
The report at http://www.salon.com, titled “What Rumsfeld Knew,” comes amid a spate of calls by retired U.S. generals for the Pentagon chief to resign to take responsibility for U.S. military setbacks in Iraq.
Rumsfeld spoke regularly to U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, a key player in the treatment of detainees in Iraq and Guantanamo, during the interrogation of Mohammed al-Kahtani, suspected to have been an intended September 11 hijacker, Salon quoted the inspector general’s report as saying.
Kahtani, a Saudi national, received “degrading and abusive” treatment by soldiers who were following the interrogation plan Rumsfeld had approved, Salon said, quoting the 391-page report, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.
Over 54 days in late 2002, soldiers forced Kahtani to stand naked in front of a female interrogator, accused him of being a homosexual, and forced him to wear women’s underwear and to perform “dog tricks” on a leash, Salon reported.
Salon cites Lt. Gen. Randall M. Schmidt, an Army investigator, as saying in a sworn statement to the inspector general that “The secretary of defense is personally involved in the interrogation of one person.”