MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- The Army has reprimanded a senior congressional aide who served in Iraq for his role in the abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib prison, his lawyer confirmed yesterday.
David P. Sheldon declined to discuss the exact reason for the punishment of Captain Christopher Brinson, deputy chief of staff for US Representative Mike Rogers, an Alabama Republican
Brinson led the platoon of Army reservists that included Specialist Charles A. Graner Jr., a guard and central figure in the scandal who was sentenced in January 2005 to 10 years in prison.
Sheldon said Brinson was unaware of his soldiers' actions and blamed his superiors for allowing the abuse to happen at the prison. Brinson has submitted a rebuttal to the Army, the lawyer said.
''The command structure that Captain Brinson inherited at Abu Ghraib was not of his making. Nor was the treatment of detainees something that members of his unit initiated," Sheldon said in a statement to The Associated Press.
''Captain Brinson had no knowledge while he was at Abu Ghraib of conduct by certain soldiers that subsequently led to the criminal prosecutions of those soldiers."
Brinson received the reprimand in January. It was first reported yesterday by
Marshall Macomber, Rogers's chief of staff, said only that the matter was ''an internal issue of the Department of the Army."
A memorandum by Brinson to Graner praised him for ''doing a fine job" and said prisoners often tried to provoke the guards. The memo was dated Nov. 16, 2003, eight days after Graner was photographed in images showing some of the abuses alleged at the prison near Baghdad. In one, the former Pennsylvania prison guard stands grinning behind a pyramid of naked prisoners. In another, his fist is cocked as if to punch a hooded prisoner.
The Associated Press obtained a copy of the memo in August 2004 from a former member of the 372d Military Police Company.
Rogers, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, declined to comment at the time; his spokesman, Marshall Macomber, had called it an Army issue.