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To the editor: Your Oct. 10 story by Vanessa Blum, “Prosecutors Had Early Word of Abuse” [Page 19], overlooks key parts of the Department of Defense Inspector General’s report upon which the story was based, and unfairly maligns current and former senior members of the Office of the Chief Prosecutor. Specifically, the story says that after two prosecutors learned of potential detainee maltreatment and reported it to three senior members of the prosecution team, the senior members “did not report it.” That is incorrect. If Legal Times had contacted the three individuals before publishing the story, this error could have been avoided. The story ignores portions of the IG report that contradict the assertion that the information was not reported. For instance, the report says, “[Name redacted] refuted the assertion [made] in [an] email that alleged suppression of FBI allegations of abuse of detainees. . . . [Name redacted] provided emails and documentation that illustrated the abuse allegations were reported . . . for further investigation” (Paragraph 11). Additionally, the report confirms that the prosecution forwarded the information to the Criminal Investigation Task Force (CITF). The report says, “[Name redacted] telephonically notified him [Deputy Commander of CITF] that OMC [Office of Military Commissions] personnel were made aware of possible abuse of detainees during in-take processing at Bagram,” and he was informed of what the two prosecutors had learned about potential maltreatment (Paragraph 17). I realize the redactions make it difficult to connect the dots; however, in this case the reputations of Cmdr. Lang and Lt. Cols. Brubaker and Couch were tarnished with no apparent effort to contact them and allow them to set the record straight. That’s a foul. The men and women assigned to the Office of the Chief Prosecutor are talented and dedicated professionals. They will aggressively pursue each case, but with a commitment to doing so with respect for the dignity of each individual, an unwavering focus on fairness and justice, the assurance of a full and fair trial, and openness to the maximum extent possible. To the extent the story suggests anything less, it is wrong. Col. Morris D. Davis Chief Prosecutor Office of Military Commissions
Reporter Vanessa Blum responds: Col. Davis is correct in his assertion that I did not contact the senior members of the prosecution team — Lt. Col. Kurt Brubaker, Lt. Col. Stuart Couch, and Cmdr. Scott Lang — to confirm details of the inspector general’s report. However, I did request an interview with Col. Davis, who was in a position to offer the same details, as related in his letter, prior to publication of the article. I was told by a Defense Department spokesperson that he was not available. After receiving Davis’ letter, I attempted to contact the three senior prosecutors. Couch, the only one of the three who could be reached for comment, explained why the allegations of abuse were not reported immediately: “Our attempt was to get the facts. You don’t want to be the boy who cries wolf and just go off making allegations against people.” Roughly 30 days later, at the insistence of then-chief prosecutor Col. Frederic Borch III, a report was made to U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command. According to Couch, the three responded to the initial allegations by reviewing their case files for any similar claims of abuse. In one case, Couch came across such claims and personally requested that a military investigator look into them. The results of that probe were forwarded to U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command and an individual has now been charged in connection with the investigation. It is worth stating again, as my article noted, that the inspector general concluded that the actions of the prosecutors did not constitute criminal or ethical misconduct. Davis’ letter references e-mails and documentation that show that abuse allegations were eventually reported. Those records are now being processed for release by the Defense Department. When the documents become public, they may provide new details as to how the abuse allegations were handled. Until then, what remains clear is that the initial allegations of abuse were not formally reported to military investigators until roughly one month after they were brought to the attention of prosecutors.

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