Abu Ghraib Interrogators May Be Questioned Incognito in Lawsuit

(Bloomberg) -- As a decade-old lawsuit over alleged torture by a U.S. military contractor at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq finally moves toward revealing what really happened 15 years ago, a judge ruled that the interrogators can be questioned but their identities must remain secret.

The federal judge in Virginia issued an unusual order to accomplish this: The lawyers for contractor CACI Premier Technology Inc. asking the questions will conduct a deposition of the interrogators from a separate location without use of video recording.

U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema said in her May 4 order that the U.S. government should try to make the interrogators available so that the company can defend itself. But she agreed with the Justice Department that they should stay incognito, saying “good cause exists for those depositions to proceed in a manner that protects the identity of the deponents, including their visual representations.”

CACI, which lost a motion to dismiss the lawsuit last year, said it’s “essential” to question the interrogators to figure out who may have directed any mistreatment of the three Iraqi detainees who are suing. The Arlington, Virginia-based company said it also needs the depositions to pursue its counterclaims against the government and 60 unidentified individuals it contends are the actual wrongdoers.

Brinkema said that she’d be willing to revisit her ruling on the "pseudonymous” depositions if the company determines after questioning the interrogators that it still doesn’t have enough information.

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