CACI says interrogators were screened properly

CACI International Inc. said Sunday that it carefully screened all prospective interrogators before sending them to Iraq and followed the military's requirements for interrogators and "other allied specialties."

In a statement responding to allegations that its employees participated in the abuse of Iraqi detainees, CACI sought to clarify what it said were "erroneous comments reported in the media" about the qualifications of its employees working in Iraq, their supervision by the military and the company's recruiting process.

The company's contract with the military required workers with demonstrated information-gathering and analysis experience who had Defense Department "secret" level security clearances, which call for a government background check.

CACI also said that the military specified it would provide readiness training, rules-of-engagement briefings and general orders applicable to contractors.

The Arlington, Va. defense IT company said that in screening prospective interrogators, the company reviewed close to 1,600 job applications but approved less than 3 percent for the military's final review. It also said that the Army monitored and supervised CACI employees.

An Army report on the abuse of Iraqi prisoners at the Abu Ghraib detention facility outside Baghdad named two CACI civilian contractors, Steven Stephanowicz and John Israel, as "directly or indirectly responsible for the abuses." But the report on another page identified Israel as an employee of San Diego defense company Titan Corp.

Two other people, Adel Nakhla and Torin Nelson, are named in the report as Titan employees, the first one a suspect and the other a witness.

Titan last week said one of the individuals named was not one of its employees and that it only provided translation services to the military in Iraq. Titan also said that no formal accusations had been made against any of its contractors.

Likewise, CACI also said last week that one of the employees named in the report did not work for the company, but did not specify which one. CACI contractors have not been charged formally with any wrongdoing.

J.P. "Jack" London, CACI's president and chief executive officer, said May 5 during a conference call that he dispatched a company executive to Iraq to find out more about the matter, and hoped for a briefing in a day or two.

Jody Brown, CACI's senior vice president of public relations, did not respond to calls today for additional information.

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