Friday, March 10, 2006

Army Is Asked To Delay Retirement Of General Who Oversaw Detention Operations

By Jeff Schogol, Stars and Stripes
Mideast Stars and Stripes
March 10, 2006

ARLINGTON, Va. — Two key senators have asked the Army to postpone the retirement of Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, who oversaw detention operations at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib prison, according to a letter obtained by Stars and Stripes.

Miller’s decision not to testify in the courts-martial of two dog handlers accused of detainee abuse raises questions about his testimony before a Senate committee looking into detainee operations, according to a letter signed by Sens. John Warner, R-Va., and Carl Levin, D-Mich.

“Major General Miller’s decision to exercise his right to remain silent raises potential issues regarding his candor and the completeness of his testimony before the Committee,” the letter states.

Warner is the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Levin is the ranking Democrat.

Army spokesman Paul Boyce gave a brief comment on the matter Wednesday, saying, “We cannot discuss any specific correspondence between the legislative and executive branch, but we are always quick to reply to any concerns by members of Congress.”

Web news outlet Salon.com first reported Tuesday that Warner and Levin had asked Army Secretary Francis Harvey to postpone Miller’s retirement pending the completion of the courts-martial of two dog handlers accused of detainee abuse.

Miller has said he will invoke his right to remain silent during the courts-martial of the dog handlers. Since the letter was written, Army Capt. Mary McCarthy, the attorney for dog handler Army Sgt. Michael Smith, has rescinded her request for Miller to testify.

In the letter, Warner and Levin ask that Miller not be allowed to retire until the committee has had a chance to review Miller’s testimony and determine if he should testify again.

A spokesman for Levin’s office deferred comment on the letter to Warner because the letter originated from Warner’s office.

A representative from Warner’s office could not be reached for comment Wednesday and Thursday.

In November 2002, Miller took command of the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay. Miller later took charge of U.S.-run prisons in Iraq after allegations emerged of detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib prison.

Miller’s retirement date has not been set, a Defense Department official said.

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