In his now-famous report on Abu Ghraib prison, Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba identified Steve Stefanowicz, a civilian interrogator employed by CACI International, as having “allowed and/or instructed” MPs to abuse and humiliate Iraqi prisoners and as giving orders that he knew “equated to physical abuse.” Taguba charged that Stefanowicz was one of four people, including a contract interpreter employed by Titan Corporation and two military intelligence officials, who were “either directly or indirectly responsible” for the abuse. On May 21 the Justice Department opened a criminal investigation into an unnamed civilian contractor in Iraq after receiving a referral from the Defense Department.
Unlike Titan, which fired a translator suspected by Taguba of sexually humiliating detainees, CACI, which has twenty-seven interrogators working under Army command in Iraq, has taken a defiant stance on Taguba’s allegations. On May 27, J.P. “Jack” London, CACI’s longtime chairman and CEO, told securities analysts that CACI is unaware of “any specific charges” against its employees but is “working diligently to get the facts.” He added, “We feel we’ve done a fine job for the United States Army,” and said that “our work and integrity will come shining through.” CACI declined comment for this article. Stefanowicz, through his attorney, has denied any wrongdoing.
CACI’s history and operating philosophy provide valuable clues to its activities at Abu Ghraib. Based in Arlington, Virginia, the company was founded in 1962 by two men affiliated with the Air Force’s RAND Corporation. For the next thirty-five years, it grew steadily by providing specialty software to the Pentagon and other government agencies, and in the late 1990s it plunged into the military-intelligence market. With the assistance of friends in high places, including Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage–a CACI director and consultant from 1999 to 2001, when he joined the Bush Administration–CACI entered the small universe of companies providing information technology and services to military units devoted to countering terrorism, a strategy once known to military planners as “asymmetric warfare.” Since 9/11, CACI has emerged as one of the most unabashed corporate backers of Bush’s foreign policy and a key supporter of the military campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“Even as I speak, men and women from CACI are forward deployed, worldwide, where the Army finds itself fighting this new century’s most heinous war–the war on terrorism,” London declared last October upon receiving a special award from the Association of the United States Army (a nonprofit organization that describes itself as “fostering public support of the Army’s role in national security”), according to CACI’s website. “We will be successful and victorious in eliminating this fanatical horror.” In 2002 London said he had come up with a “simpler way” to define asymmetric warfare: “Not fighting fair.” Those engaged in such tactics, he said, “embrace barbarism. And their ultimate goal is not victory, but absolute devastation.” One of CACI’s specialties is “social networks” analysis, which involves mapping relationships among terrorist networks and their civilian supporters–exactly what the US Army interrogators at Abu Ghraib were after. Such techniques are also embraced by the Israeli army in its confrontations with Palestinian militants in the West Bank and Gaza, and may explain the special award London received in January from Ariel Sharon’s defense minister, Shaul Mofaz.