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General: Rumsfeld OK’d Cuba interrogations

WASHINGTON – Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld personally approved four special interrogation techniques used on two al Qaeda operatives held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, who then talked about the terrorist network and its plans, the commander of U.S. forces in Latin America said Thursday.

Army Gen. James Hill, who heads the U.S. Southern Command, declined to describe the techniques.

But Hill specifically denied that police dogs have been used to intimidate detainees during interrogations at Guantanamo, contrary to a sworn statement by an Army intelligence officer under investigation in the Abu Ghraib prison scandal in Iraq.

As reported May 26 by the Washington Post, Col. Thomas Pappas, commander at Abu Ghraib when abuses of detainees occurred, said the use of dogs was urged by Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller in a 2003 visit to Iraq.

Miller, who was then the commandant at Guantanamo Bay and has since been put in charge of Abu Ghraib, has denied the allegation.

Rumsfeld approved the special interrogation techniques after lengthy study by an interagency committee of a longer list of possible methods submitted by Hill’s staff, Hill said.

Hill described one of the two captives on whom the techniques have been used as “a very high-value target detainee at Guantanamo that had direct knowledge and linkage to 9-11.”