Excerpts From The Book
The Truth Will Out
In August of 2003, CACI’s long-time customer, the U.S. Army, was in critical need of assistance: could CACI provide intelligence support and logistical services in Iraq and could the company do it now?
Since its founding in 1962, CACI International Inc has proudly provided information technology (IT) services to government and private sector customers to enhance efficiency and meet mission and project effectiveness. During that time, CACI has worked with the U.S. government and military in a variety of projects through nine U.S. Presidential administrations each with its own policies, agendas and objectives. For over forty-five years, our work for government agencies has played a vital role in protecting America’s security, improving the performance of domestic programs and enhancing the country’s intelligence capabilities at home and abroad.
Our many offerings have included IT services, systems and support, for both logistics and intelligence efforts. But what the army was asking for was a first for us, to provide this field support for an immediate wartime need: intelligence services and interrogator support. CACI’s steadfast objective in serving our government clients has always been to provide quality service and dedication in meeting our customers’ needs. And, the sense of importance and urgency of the U.S. Army’s request was more than obvious. CACI agreed to the job.
Our sense of duty and reputation were soon to come under attack. An illegally leaked copy of a classified, preliminary investigative U.S. Army report (SECRET/NO FOREIGN DISSEMINATION), by Major General Antonio M. Taguba came to light in April of 2004 citing details of alleged abuse of Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib prison outside Baghdad. The report implicated not only military personnel assigned to the prison, but also civilian contractors. There was an allegation that one CACI employee, another contractor (which the Taguba report mistakenly identified as a CACI employee), and two U.S. Army officers, a colonel and a lieutenant colonel, were “suspected” of having been “either directly or indirectly responsible” for abuses at Abu Ghraib. No direct or specific charges were made, only “suspicions”, generalized accusations and allegations. But the infamous photos of the abuses — in which no CACI employee appeared — had also just been made public on television on April 28, 2004 setting off a media frenzy all over the world.
Taguba’s vague allegations about the CACI employee were not substantiated by any evidence or proof, and not confirmed by any of the subsequent investigations that would soon follow. Nevertheless that one line from the Taguba report about his “suspicions”, coupled with the indelible images of the photos would throw CACI into an international spotlight that would continue to glare for well over a year. CACI was put under intense microscopic scrutiny that few other companies have ever faced, including unrelenting media examination and nine extensive government investigations — one even threatening the very existence of the company.
The people of CACI would also face a challenge of conscience. The media, pundits, critics and other bodies and organizations called for accountability by insisting that the company fire the accused, admit guilt, and beg for forgiveness, all before getting to the facts or the truth — to say nothing about proving the allegations. But the CACI team would not give in to such intimidation. At CACI, we took these charges very seriously and no action would be taken without establishing the facts, adhering to the rule of law, including due process and the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. At the same time, with mounting speculation and misstatements of facts, CACI found it necessary to focus considerable effort on correcting egregious statements and false commentary about the company.
One of our first actions was to state our vital position: CACI was requested to assist the U.S. Army in a critical war-time situation that was important to our national defense and saving our soldiers’ lives. Furthermore, CACI would not condone, tolerate or endorse any illegal behavior by our employees in any circumstance or at any time. Everyone at CACI was as shocked and disgusted with the apparent abuses as the rest of the world was in watching the images emerge in the global media display. We would act forcefully if the evidence showed that any of our employees acted improperly. But we would not rush to judgment on the basis of speculation, innuendo, partial reports, agenda-driven propaganda, or incomplete investigations. There would be no witch-hunts, no lynch mobs, no kangaroo courts, and no trials by the media. Instead, our motto became: “The Truth Will Out.”
While we emphatically condemned the terrible abuses depicted in the Abu Ghraib photos, we had no earlier indication at all of any wrongdoing by any CACI personnel. The army had consistently said that the company was doing a good job. Further, longstanding CACI culture, ethics, and code of conduct all endorsed and emphasized obeying the law, being responsible and accountable, and most important, as a CACI board member would later state, “doing the right thing.”
CACI’s response and approach throughout the ordeal would be responsible and justifiable. Subsequent in-depth government investigative reports in 2004 and 2005 would neither confirm nor corroborate the allegations made against our CACI employee in the earlier illegally leaked Taguba report. And as 2008 approached, not one current or former CACI employee had been be charged with any wrongdoing. But by then, unfortunately, much damage had already been done. Despite all this, the abuse pictures combined with the unsubstantiated mention in the Taguba report of one employee were apparently enough to wrongfully condemn CACI in the court of public opinion. The media’s propaganda-like bombardment and distorted portrayal of the allegations about our employee in the Taguba report began a gauntlet of investigations and triggered intense scrutiny of the company — a virtual “wire brushing” — that I dare say few companies could have undergone and survived. Further, publicity-seeking opportunists and self-styled experts with their self-serving opinions became engaged in manipulating the facts to malign the company for their own personal or political gain.
Even as you read this, we routinely find persistent, but critical errors, as well as gross exaggerations and falsehoods about the company regarding Abu Ghraib. And we believe, as our corporate responsibility, it is our obligation to our employees, shareholders, and clients — and the public at large — to address and correct all of these falsehoods.
Yet there has never been any instance that I know of where the media focused a critical and investigative eye on the Taguba report itself, its allegations, or the claims that it got right or that it got wrong. And I also know of no attempt to investigate who illegally leaked the report to the public in the first place before the entire investigative process was completed and all of the verified facts were presented.
The tragic events of Abu Ghraib and the obvious abuse of detainees is surely unjustified, regrettable, and a sad moment for our country and our military. The irresponsible acts of a very few at Abu Ghraib have, to a degree, tarnished the reputation and honorable service of all Americans that have ever worn our country’s uniform and have saluted and served under our nation’s noble flag.
Through all this, CACI faced the allegations by fully cooperating with all government inquiries, and by being forthcoming, thorough, and unyielding to far-fetched speculation, and false and malicious accusations. Throughout CACI’s history, our enduring goal has been to support the country’s future through quality service achieving the highest ethical standards in doing so.
In all this, I am ever grateful to CACI’s employees and supporters. The story you are about to read is how CACI faced this ordeal, how we sought out the truth, and how in the process we upheld our good name.
"Literally overnight CACI's world was turned upside down. In late April 2004, just as the annual explosion of Washington, D.C.'s azalea blossoms heralded the promise of springtime, a heretofore relatively unknown federal government contractor, CACI International Inc., found itself suddenly facing a long dark summer of corporate crisis and external scrutiny. The reason for its travails: an Iraqi prison complex called Abu Ghraib and allegations that a single civilian interrogator employed by CACI at the prison was somehow involved, along with a number of U.S. Army soldiers, in the abuse of prisoners. CACI and its people would soon be engaged in a modern-day media frenzy, their lives changed irrevocably. "
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