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Mikulski urges 'vigorous' probe of prison scandal

May 28, 2004|by TAMELA BAKER

tammyb@herald-mail.com

U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., said Thursday she has called for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's resignation over the prisoner abuse scandal at the Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad, Iraq.

Several members of the Army Reserves' 372nd Military Police Company, based near Cumberland, Md., have been charged with abusing Iraqi prisoners at the facility.

One of them, Spc. Jeremy C. Sivits of Hyndman, Pa., was court-martialed earlier this month.

"There needs to be a vigorous investigation, not only of the 372nd and the 205th (Military Intelligence Brigade), but all the way up to the top generals and Rumsfeld," Mikulski said.

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Mikulski said she has two concerns. The first is her belief that "we went into Baghdad on flimsy information."

The second, she said, is that everyone responsible for the scandal be held accountable, "not only the perpetrators, but anyone who gave permission or looked the other way."

"But we also need to acknowledge what went right," she said, noting that Marylander Spc. Joseph M. Darby, 24, of Corriganville, had reported the abuse. She also acknowledged Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba's investigation and subsequent report to Congress on the scandal.

"What disturbs me is that the privates will be court-martialed and the generals will get book and film contracts," Mikulski said.

Mikulski stopped in Smithsburg during a swing through Western Maryland to officially announce a $298,230 federal grant for the town's planned new library.

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