Sexual misconduct at Gitmo

Four U.S. officers, including a one-star general, at the detention center for terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, are under criminal investigation for alleged sexual misconduct, a senior defense official said Friday.

The general’s case has been referred to the Army, the official said.

U.S. Southern Command, which oversees the Guantanamo facility, had announced March 4 that two lieutenant colonels and one colonel had been suspended pending an investigation of alleged “personal misconduct,” which was not further described. It also said another officer’s case had been referred to the Army.

None of the accused officers have been identified by name and Southern Command did not disclose that the case referred to the Army involved a general officer.

The senior defense official is familiar with some details of the cases; he spoke only on condition of anonymity because the cases are under legal review.

This official described the alleged misconduct as sexual in nature and said the officer whose case was referred to the Army was a one-star general.

In its earlier announcement, Southern Command said the alleged misconduct had nothing to do with detainees at Guantanamo Bay.

CBS News reported on Friday that the colonel who was suspended was in charge of the interrogation center at Guantanamo Bay. One of the accused lieutenant colonels commanded the military police guarding the prisoners, and the other lieutenant colonel was in charge of the soldiers responsible for base security, CBS reported.

The CBS report said the colonel and the two lieutenant colonels are accused of committing adultery with a Navy nurse and a number of female civilian contractors.

CBS said the one-star general who is under investigation for alleged adultery was the deputy commander of the prison camp. The investigation began after a soldier who had been disciplined for adultery made accusations against the four officers.

© 2005 The Associated Press