Barbara Fast

From SourceWatch
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Major General Barbara Fast, the "head of intelligence for the U.S. command in Baghdad, Fast was in charge of interrogators at Abu Ghraib, where prisoners were beaten, sodomized and photographed in sexually degrading positions." [1]

According to Bill Hess with the Sunday, May 16, 2004, Sierra Herald Review the 'Taguba Report' "also mention's Maj. Gen. Barbara Fast, who a week after arriving on Fort Huachuca last year as the deputy commander of the Intelligence Center, left for Iraq. Fast is scheduled to return to the post soon to become the commander of the center and the fort. Marks, who served in Middle East before the war began and in Baghdad later, is retiring in June."

In Susan Taylor Martin's May 8, 2004, St. Petersburg Times article "Report steers clear of interrogators' boss," Martin writes that "except for one brief mention" in the "55-page report" by Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba, it "contains nothing about the role of the top military intelligence officer in Iraq, Maj. Gen. Barbara Fast."

"An investigation into intelligence practices in Afghanistan and Iraq," Martin writes, "including at Abu Ghraib prison, was begun April 23 by Maj. Gen. George Fay, the Army's deputy chief of staff for intelligence."

"The investigation focused on abuse of prisoners by members of the 800th Military Police Brigade, led by Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski from last July until she was reassigned in January." Taguba's report "severely faulted Karpinski's leadership and found that the reservists under her command were poorly trained and supervised."

"However," Martin adds, "the report also says military intelligence officers set the conditions for 'favorable' interrogation of prisoners, including instructions on how to 'loosen up' inmates so they would talk."

"Over Karpinski's apparent opposition, military police units at Abu Ghraib were under the command of Col. Thomas M. Pappas, whose 205th Military Intelligence Brigade came under Fast's oversight."

Martin interviewed "Larry Korb, a former Navy captain and assistant secretary of defense in the Reagan administration," who said "'it's a legitimate question' why the investigation stopped at Pappas' level and didn't examine the role of his superiors, including Maj. Gen. Fast, head of intelligence in Iraq."

"In Taguba's report," Martin writes, "the only mention of Fast refers to her position as 'detainee release authority,' in charge of deciding which inmates accused of crimes against the coalition could be released.

"According to Karpinski, who was formally in charge of Iraq's prison system, those detainees made up 60 percent of the prison population and were the fastest-growing segment. However, Karpinski told investigators, Fast 'routinely' denied recommendations to release inmates who were no longer deemed a threat and clearly met the requirements for release," Martin said. "Karpinski further complained that 'the extremely slow and ineffective release process has significantly contributed to the overcrowding of the facilities,' Taguba's report said.

"As head of intelligence in Iraq, Fast would have been responsible for intelligence officers working inside Abu Ghraib. She also 'would have been very interested in the interrogation reports coming out of that prison,' says Charles Heyman, senior defense analyst for Jane's Consultancy," Martin writes.

Hess states that "Fast had release authority. ... Taguba wrote that she, Karpinski and Col. Marc Warren, the Staff Judge Advocate for Combined Joint Task Force 7, were the Detainee Release Board ... [and that] Fast was the 'Detainee Release Authority' for inmates being held for committing crimes against coalition forces, which the report stated Karpinski said made up 60 percent of the detainee population and the category was growing fast."

"However," Hess reports, "Karpinski said Fast 'routinely denied the board's recommendations to release detainees in this category who were no longer deemed a threat and clearly met the requirements for release,'" Taguba's report states.

"'Information from the prisoners is very valuable to the intelligence community so the intelligence community is going to have someone in that the prison system,'" Heyman said. "Under standard procedures, 'very high-ranking" officers like Fast and Karpinski would have agreed between themselves who would be responsible for what in the prisons. ... Where it could have gone wrong,' Heyman said, 'is that the CIA could have wandered in and said, 'Hey, we're going to park ourselves with the intelligence people' and the intelligence people didn't tell the prison system.'," Martin writes.

"The scant mention of Fast in the report is likely because Taguba was told to focus on the role of the military police, not military intelligence," Martin presumes.

Martin informs that "Fast, 50, graduated from the University of Missouri with a degree in education and has a master's degree in business administration from Boston University. Before her current assignment, she was director of intelligence for U.S. European Command in Stuttgart, Germany, and deputy commander of Fort Huachuca in Arizona."

As for Fast's future military assignments, Martin confirms that "Last month, the Pentagon announced Fast will return to Fort Huachuca - to head the Army Intelligence Center. ... The fort's Web site described the center as 'focused on leading, training, equipping and supporting the world's premier corps of military intelligence professionals - imbued with a warrior spirit, self-discipline and mutual respect.'"

Hess states that "Taguba made no recommendations concerning Fast."

SourceWatch Resources

External links

  • [ HQ USAREUR, June 1998 (image)]: "COL(P) Barbara Fast, Commander, 66th MI, the last US unit to be ..." (link no longer active).
  • "485th members recognized," Federation of American Scientists, September 1999: "Army Brig. Gen. Barbara Fast, associate deputy director for Operations (Military Support), National Security Agency ..."
  • David Madrid, "Prison boss was officer at Huachuca," The Arizona Republic, May 7, 2004: "Maj. Gen. Barbara Fast, a deputy commanding general at Fort Huachuca last year, is criticized in the report for her reluctance to release some detainees who were deemed no longer a threat, which led to severe overcrowding at the prison. ... Fast is slated to return to Fort Huachuca as commanding general of the Intelligence Center."