Seymour Hersh reveals shocking new details of Abu Ghraib; 'Father and son forced to do acts together'
In a Saturday interview with CNN's Late Edition, veteran New Yorker reporter Seymour Hersh revealed new details about the coverup of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal. His new piece in the magazine can be read here.
"The notion... that our leader, Donald Rumsfeld, the Secretary of Defense and his aides, they all went and testified in May after the stories about Abu Ghraib became public that 'oh my God, we just didn't know about, we didn't realize how serious it was,' is simply not true."
Blitzer asks Hersh about a quote given by Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba said in a May 6, 2004 meeting with Rumsfeld, then-Deputy Undersecretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz and top brass at the Pentagon.
"I described the naked detainee lying on the wet floor, handcuffed, with an interrogator shoving things up his rectum and said, 'That's not abuse, that's torture,'" Taguba said. "There was quiet."
The following day, May 7, Rumsfeld testified before the House Armed Services Committee.
"It breaks our hearts that in fact someone didn't say wait, look, this is terrible," Rumsfeld said. "We need to do something to manage -- the legal part of these proceeding along fine. What wasn't proceeding along fine was that the president didn't know, and you didn't know and I didn't know and as a result, somebody leaked a secret report to the press and there they are."
Hersh scoffs at Rumsfeld's response.
"It's sort of ridiculous. Everybody at the top, by the middle of January, knew," Hersh said. "The only question I raise at the end of the article, is what the president know, when?"
Blitzer reads the White House response.
"The President addressed this fully," a White House statement says. "He first saw the pictures on TV and was upset by them. He called for the investigation to go forward. He found the actions abhorrent and urged the Defense Department to get to the bottom of the matter."
"It's not when they saw the photographs," Hersh stresses. "It's when they learned how serious it was. They were told in memos what the photographs showed... They showed other, more sexual abuse than we knew, sodomy of women prisons by American soldiers, a father and his son forced to do acts together. There was more stuff [than] was made public. You didn't need a photograph if you had a verbal description of it.
"It's quite implicit," he added. "They knew very quickly this was bad."