- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 27, 2004

An Arlington defense contractor supplying civilian interrogators to the U.S. military at the scandal-ridden Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq is a subject of five government investigations, the company president said yesterday.

J.P. London, president and chief executive officer of CACI International Inc., told Wall Street analysts that the company is cooperating fully with the investigations. The company also has been doing its own investigation.

“We continue to actively support every inquiry,” Mr. London said. “CACI … is working diligently to determine the facts. We do not tolerate breaking of the law. We will make things right.”

Most of the investigations center on whether it was proper for CACI to provide interrogators to the Army under a contract with the Department of the Interior that was designed for information-technology services.

Earlier this week, the Interior Department blocked the Army from ordering new services from CACI under the contract while it is being reviewed. CACI interrogators in Iraq are permitted to continue their work.

Mr. London said he thinks the interrogators are a proper fit under the contract.

“We’re not in the soldiers-for-hire business. We’re not in the mercenary business,” he said. “The interrogator aspect is, we believe, part of the information gathering, information analysis, and intelligence input.”

The investigations are being conducted by the Interior Department’s contracting office, the Army inspector general, the Defense Contract Audit Agency, the General Services Administration (GSA) and military intelligence.

The inspector general’s investigation focuses on the quality of the interrogators’ work, Mr. London said.

One of CACI’s interrogators, Steven Stefanowicz, was singled out in the investigation by Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba as contributing to the prison abuse at Abu Ghraib by allowing or instructing military police “to facilitate interrogations by ‘setting conditions’ which were not authorized.”

CACI is investigating the conduct of its interrogators, but Mr. London said, “We believe people are innocent until proven guilty.”

Mr. Stefanowicz’s lawyer has proclaimed his client’s innocence.

The GSA review was promp-ted when the administration’s officer in charge of suspension and debarments “received information that caused him to invite CACI in and have a conversation,” said GSA spokeswoman Mary Alice Johnson. She declined to discuss the case in detail because it is under review.

If GSA was to find CACI that acted irresponsibly, it could take a variety of administrative actions, including barring CACI from GSA contracts. CACI said about one-third of its business is connected to GSA contracts.

Mr. London said he did not think any of the investigations would result in a serious punishment for CACI, saying, “We expect the government will accept our efforts to remedy this problem … and that suspension or debarment are not going to be needed.”

CACI shares on the New York Stock Exchange dropped $4.94 yesterday to $37.48.

The charges of wrongdoing by civilian contractors at Abu Ghraib and the revelation that contractors are performing functions such as interrogations has prompted some criticism that the Army is relying too heavily on contractors, who are not subject to the same type of regulation and oversight and who are outside the military chain of command.

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