CACI criticizes court ruling on Abu Ghraib torture case

CACI International criticizes a court ruling rejecting the contractor’s request to dismiss charges alleging that CACI employees abused prisoners during interrogation sessions at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison.

CACI International Inc. has criticized a court ruling rejecting the government contractor’s request to dismiss charges alleging that CACI employees abused prisoners during interrogation sessions at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison.

“From day one, CACI has rejected the outrageous allegations against the company in this lawsuit and continues to do so,” the company, based in Arlington, Va., said in a statement released today.

U.S. District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee, of Alexandria, Va., on March 18 denied CACI’s motion to dismiss the detainees’ claims that included torture, war crimes and civil conspiracy.

The Virginia federal court ruled that the four former Abu Ghraib detainees who were later released without charge could sue CACI International, according to the Center for Constitutional Rights, a human rights group that is defending the four.

CACI sought immunity against the lawsuits and claimed that the actions of its contract interrogators at Abu Ghraib were beyond judicial review. But court martial and other testimony of the soldiers convicted of abuse linked CACI personnel to the abuse, CCR attorneys said.

The four Iraqis brought the federal lawsuit, Al Shimari v. CACI, against CACI International and its subsidiary CACI Premier Technology Inc. in 2004. The plaintiffs assert that CACI participated directly and through a conspiracy in torture and other illegal conduct while the government contractor was providing interrogation services at Abu Ghraib.

“The court’s ruling cannot obscure the fact that none of the four Iraqi plaintiffs alleges any interaction with anyone affiliated with CACI,” the CACI statement said. “Rather, their entire action is based upon an undefined ‘conspiracy’ involving the Department of Defense and the military.”

CACI said it believes it is improper for the courts to allow lawsuits against either the government or contractors by aliens detained as enemies during wartime.

“CACI has unequivocally renounced any abuse of detainees in Iraq and has cooperated fully in all government inquiries relating to Abu Ghraib,” the statement said. “CACI intends to vigorously pursue all of its legal alternatives to defend itself and vindicate the company's good name.”

After five years and numerous investigations, no CACI employee or former employee has been charged with any misconduct in connection with CACI’s interrogation work in Iraq, the company said.

In April 2008, CACI released a book, "Our Good Name," which it said was a true and factual account of CACI’s involvement at Abu Ghraib. The company said the book is based entirely on public documents, statements, on-the-record congressional testimony, courts martial testimony, and other sources on the public record.

CACI International ranks No. 17 on Washington Technology’s 2008 Top 100 list of the largest federal government prime contractors.