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More details of Army's abuse probe surface

From Barbara Starr
CNN Washington Bureau

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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The U.S. military's criminal investigation into potential abuse of Iraqi detainees by U.S. soldiers at Abu Gharib prison in Iraq now includes reports from soldiers that military police took photographs showing soldiers hitting detainees, CNN has learned.

Earlier, several Pentagon officials who declined to be identified by name confirmed to CNN that investigators were looking into the reports -- all coming from fellow soldiers -- of photographs showing male and female detainees with some of their clothing removed.

It is not clear whether any photographs were taken, but several military police at the prison have been removed from duty until the matter is resolved, a military source said. The Army's Criminal Investigation Division seized computer drives searching for the photographs and more evidence of abuse.

The CID is looking into whether the Iraqis were hit by military police or whether the photographs were staged. Even if staged, such pictures would be a U.S. military violation of the Geneva Conventions that prohibit subjecting prisoners to ridicule.

A U.S. military source said the pictures would constitute criminal activity unless it could be demonstrated they were taken for official reasons related to processing and handling of detainees.

However, a Pentagon source said there is no reason to believe any of these were official photographs, and notes the reports of abuse came from other soldiers at the prison.

A military official last week said the Army is concerned there are problems of "poor discipline, poor leadership, and a need for re-training," in the military police community.

Several officials say they cannot come to any conclusion about the matter until the investigation is complete, but they all reiterate that Lt. General Ricardo Sanchez, head of coalition forces in Iraq is among the U.S. officials taking the matter very seriously.

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