San Diego Union Tribune

May 5, 2004

S.D. firm's workers said to be part of POW abuses


WASHINGTON Employees of San Diego-based Titan Corp. and another civilian contractor are named as suspects or witnesses in a classified Army report about the abuse of Iraqi prisoners, but company officials say they have heard little or nothing about the matter from the Pentagon.

"If we're asked, we will cooperate fully," Titan spokesman Wil Williams said. "We're unaware of any allegations against our employees or our company."

The report on the physical and psychological abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison outside Baghdad identifies one suspect as Adel Nakhla, who is described as a civilian translator for Titan Corp. assigned to the 205th Military Intelligence Brigade.

The report says Nakhla was questioned about the treatment of several detainees accused of rape and quotes him as saying that two Army sergeants made the prisoners, who were naked, do "strange exercises" and then "started to stack them on top of each other" after handcuffing them and shackling their legs.

The report does not detail why Nakhla is listed as a suspect.

Two other civilian employees, John Israel and Steven Stephanowicz, "were either directly or indirectly responsible for the abuses at Abu Ghraib," the report says. While Israel is identified at one point as a Titan employee, he also is identified as working for Virginia-based CACI. Stephanowicz is identified as an interrogator from CACI.

According to the Web site of Washington Technology, CACI has said that only one of the two Israel and Stephanowicz work for the company, but would not identify which.

"We have never provided interrogation services," Williams said. "The only thing we provide is linguistic services."

The allegations of abuse by U.S. military and civilian personnel at Abu Ghraib have created an international furor and renewed questions about the Pentagon's growing reliance on contractors to handle a range of services.