CACI Headquarters - Arlington, VA
A Message from Dr. J.P. (Jack) London, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, CACI International Inc, released to CNSNews.com 10/9/06
Two and a half years ago, along with much of the world I watched in shock and with a deep sadness as photos of some American soldiers were shown abusing detainees in Iraq. As a citizen and as a former Naval officer proud of my country and of America's long history of moral leadership, I hoped and I believed that the photos showed the actions of an aberrant few.
Little did I imagine that our company, CACI, along with the integrity of our employees, and my own honor would soon be scrutinized in connection with the interrogation of detainees in Iraq. Nor could I guess that even now, more than a year after the last CACI interrogator left Iraq in the fall of 2005, CACI and its 10,000 employees would still be attacked with baseless accusations that we "torture for profit." That ugly smear is back in a film called "Iraq for Sale," which indiscriminately slanders as war profiteers private contractors, including CACI, which answered our government's call for help.
Some have advised me to stand silent, to hunker down while these accusations are flung about. But I am concerned that silence may be misconstrued as an acceptance of the accusations. So I am taking my guidance from Abraham Lincoln's observation: "To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men." I feel duty bound to set the record straight - on behalf of all of the brave men and women who have or still are risking their lives in Iraq because their country called.
The U.S. government has partnered with private companies for more than half a century on such work as our space and nuclear programs. And since the early 1990s the use of contractors has been a core element of military program planning that frees troops for critical military combat missions and makes it possible to meet America's security needs with a smaller, all volunteer force.
For more than four decades, through nine presidential administrations, both Democratic and Republican, CACI has been proud to be one of the contractors that has helped our government meet national priorities. When the U.S. Army asked for help in Iraq, we considered it our duty to answer "yes." It was the right thing for us to do.
Among the jobs we were asked to do was interrogation support. Although it was a new assignment for CACI, we saw interrogation as a natural extension of the intelligence support and information collection services we had provided for many years. The Army simply did not have enough skilled interrogators available for the vital work of gathering information, which can literally mean the difference between life and death for our troops and Iraqi friends.
Interrogation of prisoners is a normal and appropriate way to obtain information and to help our soldiers win wars. At home police interrogations protect us by solving crimes, and questioning by security agencies can unravel terrorist plots and activities. Efforts such as these can prevent or prempt violent attacks like 9/11. To be sure, interrogators are bound by certain rules of conduct that bar abuse and mistreatment. But, done correctly, interrogation is not a synonym for abuse or torture. Rather it is about asking questions to solve crimes, to win battles, and in Iraq, to save American lives.
Therefore, for two years beginning in August 2003, CACI provided interrogators who were approved for hire by the Army and who worked under the Army's direction and supervision. Most of these interrogators had prior military experience and others had equivalent civilian experience as approved by the Army. In a July 2004 report the Army's Inspector General confirmed that every interrogator we hired met all of the Army's requirements. They were all U.S. citizens and had current government security clearances.
Subsequently, the U.S. Navy Inspector General, Vice Admiral Albert T. Church, recognized the valuable contributions made by CACI and contract interrogators, stating, "On average, contractors were more experienced than military interrogators and this advantage enhanced their credibility with detainees and promoted successful interrogations. There is no link between approved interrogation techniques and detainee abuse." The independent investigative report by James R. Schlesinger, former Secretary of Defense, stated, 'Some of the older contractors had backgrounds as former military interrogators and were generally considered more effective than some of the junior enlisted personnel.'
All told, nearly 200 CACI employees, including several dozen employed as interrogators, worked in Iraq between 2003 and 2005 when that contract ended there. Of these, three were alleged to have engaged in some abusive conduct. To date, almost three years after these alleged actions took place in late 2003, no proof has arisen and none of these men, nor any other CACI employee or former employee, has been charged by the United States for any wrongdoing in Iraq.
Even if any proof emerges that any of the three men acted wrongly, it is unconscionable to assign guilt to all the others who served with honor. It is especially distasteful to smear our good people with the label "torturer." But that is exactly what the critics are trying to do.
Torture is a heinous crime that deserves our condemnation. But just as we have a common human obligation to root it out, I believe we also have an obligation not to use the word carelessly. Our critics have been irresponsible and I would say dishonest in their casual use of that word. Proper and legal interrogation must not be either mistaken for, or knowingly mislabeled, as torture.
Army specialist Joseph Darby, who submitted the infamous Abu Ghraib pictures to his Army superiors, recently pointed out that, "The soldiers involved at Abu Ghraib were not interrogating inmates." He added that, "These guys were doing nothing but occupying themselves in very sick ways. It was never about interrogations." (italics added)
There have been many allegations about CACI contractors made while simultaneously showing pictures from the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal. This is completely wrong and even deceitful. No CACI employee has ever been depicted (shown to be) in any of the notorious Abu Ghraib abuse pictures - none.
Overall, our work in Iraq, though important, contributed less than 1% of our total revenue during the two years we were there. It was not a major contributor to our bottom line and does not, in any way, come close to justifying the suggestion that it drove our business strategy. CACI could never be honestly described by any critic using the disparaging term of 'war profiteer.' It is simply not the truth.
Nearly half a century ago I traveled from Oklahoma to join the Brigade of Midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy. On a proud day in my life when I entered the Naval Academy in 1955 I lifted my right hand and took an oath to live by the Navy's core values of honor, courage and commitment. When I was commissioned as an officer, ensign, in the U.S. Navy in 1959, I swore to defend and uphold the Constitution of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic. I have never resigned or disavowed that oath. I consider that I am honor bound by it to this day. And I will never forswear it. In 12 years of active duty, with another dozen years of service in the Naval Reserve, and in nearly 35 years since at CACI supporting our U.S. government clients, I have striven to honor that oath and to establish the Navy code of honor and integrity as the CACI way, too.
I cannot speak for others who worked in Iraq, but I do believe that the people of CACI have remained true to that commitment everywhere that we have served. We remain proud of those efforts, of our work in Iraq, our support for the war against terror, and our dedication to America's cause. And as Abraham Lincoln suggested, I will not dishonor those efforts by failing to speak out in defense of our good name.