Officials say U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld will apologize to Congress
for not keeping it informed about the abuse of Iraqi prisoners in U.S. custody.
Mr. Rumsfeld is expected to face tough questions about the prisoner abuse
when he appears Friday, before the Senate and House of Representatives Armed
Controversy over the mistreatment has sparked calls for Mr. Rumsfeld's resignation,
and compelled President Bush to issue a public apology.
Lawmakers say Mr. Rumsfeld's testimony will be crucial to his survival as
defense secretary. The committees are expected to press Mr. Rumsfeld about
the extent of prisoner abuse at Baghdad's Abu Ghraib prison, steps taken to
correct the problem, and why lawmakers were not informed about the mistreatment
Officials say Mr. Rumsfeld will also ask that an independent commission be
formed to review how the Defense Department handled the abuse cases.
The controversy began last week after U.S. television network CBS aired photos
of Iraqi prisoners, some naked, posed in humiliating positions.
|Photo - CBS-TV 60
In addition to Mr. Rumsfeld, the committees will hear today from General
Richard Myers, chairman of the U.S. military's Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Among those calling for Mr. Rumsfeld to resign are the top Democrat in the
House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, and a prominent U.S. Muslim group,
The Council on American-Islamic Relations.
President Bush has rejected calls for Mr. Rumsfeld's resignation, saying
he is a valuable member of the cabinet.
Mr. Bush Thursday issued a rare public apology for the Iraqi prisoner abuse.
Speaking at the White House after talks with Jordan's King Abdullah, Mr. Bush
said he was "sorry" for the incidents, called them a stain on the country's
honor and vowed to punish those responsible.