CACI calls Abu Ghraib lawsuits baseless

CACI International Inc. has denied what it calls the malicious and unfounded allegations that the company was involved in the torture of four former Iraqi prisoners at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison.

The Arlington, Va., federal contractor said the charges in lawsuits filed June 30 repeat "baseless allegations about CACI that appeared more than four years ago."

The suits were filed in federal courts in Maryland, Ohio, Michigan and Washington state ? where the defendants reside ? by the nonprofit Center for Constitutional Rights; Burke O'Neil LLC, of Philadelphia; and Akeel and Valentine PLC, of Troy, Mich.

They charge the defendants with multiple violations of U.S. law, including torture, war crimes and civil conspiracy.

In addition to CACI, the defendants are subsidiary CACI Premier Technology Inc., of Arlington; L-3 Services Inc., an Alexandria, Va.-based division of L-3 Communications Corp., of New York; and three employees of the contractors.

A spokeswoman for L-3 said the company had no comment at this time.

The suits allege that CACI provided interrogators and L-3 provided translators at the Iraqi prison, and that both companies were linked to abuses revealed during military court martial proceedings that resulted in convictions for U.S. military personnel.

But, according to the lawsuits, there were no civil or criminal penalties for the individual defendants who allegedly "tortured and conspired with others to torture" the four former prisoners.

The complaints said the defendants not only participated in physical and mental abuse of the detainees, but also destroyed documents, videos and photographs; prevented the reporting of the torture and abuse to the International Committee of the Red Cross; hid detainees and other prisoners from the Red Cross; and misled military and government officials about conditions at Iraqi prisons.

CACI said nothing has changed since the claims first surfaced in spring 2004 that would give any merit to them. "Indeed, the latest lawsuits by plaintiffs' counsel represent another predictable step in an ongoing 'big lie' propaganda campaign to keep their lawsuits in the public eye and their personal political agendas in the public light," the statement said.

"The plaintiffs are attempting to prosecute the same restated and reformulated claims that were frivolous when first filed and which remain so today," the CACI statement said, adding that none of the plaintiffs "have connected their allegations of abuse to any CACI personnel."

Earlier this year, CACI Chairman J.P. London published "Our Good Name," a 760-page book that refutes similar allegations of prisoner abuse by a CACI employee when the Abu Ghraib scandal surfaced in 2004. "Subsequent in-depth government investigative reports in 2004 and 2005 would neither confirm nor corroborate the allegations made against our CACI employee," London wrote.

"CACI refuses to take these false accusations in these vexatious lawsuits lying down," Jodi Brown, CACI executive vice president for corporate communications, told Washington Technology. "We intend to set the record straight and will continue to fight the misguided and politically driven Center for Constitutional Rights to get the truth told and defend our good name."

In its July 1 statement, the company said it has "unequivocally renounced any abuse of detainees in Iraq and has cooperated fully in all government inquiries." No CACI employee or former employee has been charged with any misconduct in connection with the company's interrogation work in Iraq, officials added.

The court papers named the three contract employees as Adel Nakhla, a translator employed by L-3, then Titan Corp., from June 2003 to May 2004; Timothy Dugan, who was employed by CACI as a screener and interrogator in Iraq from October 2003 to May 2004; and Daniel Johnson, also employed by CACI as an interrogator in Iraq from October 2003 to February 2004.

L-3 Communications ranks No. 8 and CACI International ranks No. 17 on Washington Technology's 2008 Top 100 list of the largest federal government prime contractors.

About the Author

David Hubler is the former print managing editor for GCN and senior editor for Washington Technology. He is freelance writer living in Annandale, Va.

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