Geoffrey Miller; Questions of Intelligence

Article excerpt

Byline: Babak Dehghanpisheh

Since news of the prisoner-abuse scandal at Baghdad's Abu Ghraib Prison broke earlier this year, the U.S. military claims to have implemented serious changes at the facility. Registration procedures have been streamlined to avoid overcrowding, and controversial coercive interrogation techniques like the hooding of detainees and sleep deprivation have been banned. Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, the man in charge of the prison, recently claimed that these new measures have resulted in an increase of "high-value" intelligence gleaned from prisoners. NEWSWEEK's Babak Dehghanpisheh spoke with Miller at Abu Ghraib last week. Excerpts:

Dehghanpisheh: How have the changes in your interrogation methods affected intelligence?

Miller: Incentive-based interrogation or rapport-based interrogation is the most effective way to gain useful actionable intelligence. I would say we're getting 25 to 30 percent more intelligence. We're getting it more rapidly. And we're getting higher validation on intelligence that we are developing.

Does that specifically focus on actionable intelligence?

It goes across the spectrum. Actionable intelligence is the intelligence that would be used immediately at the tactical operational level. Then we have operational intelligence about how terrorist or insurgent organizations are organized, recruited, financed, maintained. Both are high-value.

How widespread was the problem of so-called ghost detainees at Abu Ghraib?

I wouldn't speculate on that, to be frank with you. There was some small number; [I'm] not sure what the number is. Every detainee that we have is registered with the International Committee of the Red Cross. There's a detainee serial number.

Were any detainees kept off the roster at Guantanamo?

No.

During the congressional hearings on Abu Ghraib, it was revealed that some of those cited for abuse were contractors. How has their role changed at the facility?

We have a small number of civilian contract interrogators. I hold them to the same standard that we hold soldiers to. They go through the same training. They're effective in doing their part of this mission. Simplistically, you lay out the standards of how the organization operates. You ensure everyone understands those. …