U.S. Commander of Iraqi Prison Charged With Aiding the Enemy

Lt. Col. William Steele, Commander of the 451st Police Detachment Unit at Camp Cropper, located at the Baghdad airport, which houses some of Saddam Hussein's top deputies, has been charged with aiding the enemy, having improper sexual relations with a translator and a detainee's daughter and possessing pornographic videos.

The aiding the enemy charge stems partially from allegations he provided unmonitored cell phones to detainees. In all there are nine charges:

The other charges included unauthorized possession of classified information, fraternizing with the daughter of a detainee, maintaining an inappropriate relationship with an interpreter, storing classified information in his quarters and possessing pornographic videos, the military said. Steele also was charged with improperly marking classified information, failing to obey an order and failing to fulfill his obligations in the expenditure of funds, the military said.

Steele is being held in Kuwait pending an Article 32 hearing. The 451st Police Detachment Unit is based in Inkster, MI (pdf).

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    The (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by ding7777 on Thu Apr 26, 2007 at 10:11:53 AM EST
    pornographic videos are probably just interrogation sessions

    He's a Lt. Col., not a Lieutenant (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by MarkBernstein on Thu Apr 26, 2007 at 11:27:14 AM EST
    I believe the officer being detained is a Lieutenant Colonel (that is, a very senior officer two rungs below General), not a Lieutenant (a very junior officer)

    thanks, I'll correct both (none / 0) (#10)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Apr 26, 2007 at 08:06:59 PM EST
    his name and rank.  Much appreciated.

    Stockholm syndrome (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Repack Rider on Thu Apr 26, 2007 at 07:06:47 PM EST
    The officer probably began to empathize with people who had not done anything worthy of being stuck in a place where they could not leave.

    He something in common with the prisoners.

    He's in just a wee bit of trouble (none / 0) (#2)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Apr 26, 2007 at 11:15:39 AM EST

    just (none / 0) (#8)
    by Jen M on Thu Apr 26, 2007 at 03:10:47 PM EST
    a smidge.

    Can you say "example"?

    And what will the military consider is the worst crime? The porn?


    If the daughter is a minor (none / 0) (#11)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Apr 26, 2007 at 08:25:56 PM EST
    that will be the biggest.  Otherwise aiding the enemy puts the mission at risk and other soldiers under his command which is a HUGE FAUX PAS with the unmonitored cell phone use. As a Lt. Col. if he is married, officers according to the Officer's Manual ;p aren't supposed to have sexual relations with someone who isn't their spouse (it really is considered a violation of his commission) and they aren't supposed to be involved when they are single with people who are more than five years older or younger than they are.  Those regulations aren't always enforced until someone decides to enforce them.  The porn issue, I know there are lots of soldiers over there with porn even though they aren't supposed to have it because it is very offensive to Muslims, but some small fry soldier isn't going to get into as much trouble for it as a Lt. Col. is.  He is supposed to be setting the example that all those under his command aspire to and so far he has really done a bad job.

    Wanted to add that we don't send (none / 0) (#12)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Apr 26, 2007 at 09:21:55 PM EST
    pork products to our soldiers now either because that is evil to Muslims that we would bring unclean pig into what is basically a clean pigless part of the world.

    And just because we have (none / 0) (#14)
    by libertarian soldier on Thu Apr 26, 2007 at 11:09:31 PM EST
    halal MREs doesn't mean we don't still have ones with pork parts.

    I don't know about MRE's (none / 0) (#15)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Apr 26, 2007 at 11:11:13 PM EST
    but military family members don't send pork products to the soldiers.  We have been requested by the command not to.

    Aw, C'mon (none / 0) (#13)
    by libertarian soldier on Thu Apr 26, 2007 at 11:08:30 PM EST
    You could be a wee bit more accurate--and where in the world did you pull that 5 year thingie from?
    From googling adultery and UCMJ:

    In 1998, the Clinton Administration authored a change to the Manual for Courts-Martial, which provided that cases of adultery be handled at the lowest appropriate level, and provided specific guidance for commanders to use in order to determine whether or not the member's conduct was "prejudicial to good order and discipline," or "of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces." While the President does have the authority to issue changes to the MCM, this proposal resulted in screams and yells from Congress, and was subsequently dropped.
    However, in a very quiet move, in 2002, President Bush adopted many of the changes that were proposed by President Clinton. In addition to the Elements of Proof," the "Explaination" section under this offense now requires commanders to consider the following factors when determining whether or not the offense of "adultery" constitutes a crime:

    The accused's marital status, military rank, grade, or position;

    The co-actor's marital status, military rank, grade, and position, or relationship to the armed forces;

    The military status of the accused's spouse or the spouse of co-actor, or their relationship to the armed forces;

    The impact, if any, of the adulterous relationship on the ability of the accused, the co-actor, or the spouse of either to perform their duties in support of the armed forces;

    The misuse, if any, of government time and resources to facilitate the commission of the conduct;

    Whether the conduct persisted despite counseling or orders to desist; the flagrancy of the conduct, such as whether any notoriety ensued; and whether the adulterous act was accompanied by other violations of the UCMJ;

    The negative impact of the conduct on the units or organizations of the accused, the co-actor or the spouse of either of them, such as a detrimental effect on unit or organization morale, teamwork, and efficiency;

    Whether the accused or co-actor was legally separated; and

    Whether the adulterous misconduct involves an ongoing or recent relationship or is remote in time.

    What this means is that many incidents of "adultery" may not be considered a punishable "crime" in the military, unless there is some kind of direct negative impact on the military itself.
    This does not mean


    My husband is an officer (none / 0) (#16)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Apr 26, 2007 at 11:13:07 PM EST
    He was who told me it was a violation for officers to have relationships with individuals more than five years their junior or senior.

    I just called my husband on this (none / 0) (#18)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Apr 26, 2007 at 11:53:44 PM EST
    He has honestly told me this forever. It is in his old Officers Handbook. I went and got it and the copyright is 1969 so there.  It has been a rule for a really long time as you can see ;)

    And as far as officers having affairs (none / 0) (#17)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Apr 26, 2007 at 11:24:03 PM EST
    I know a few angry wives who have started IG investigations of their husbands doings.  As far as what they end up hanging the guy on, I suppose that's up to whoever decides to hang him if they decide to hang him.  My husband says that cheating is lying and being a big liar isn't allowed in the manual ;).

    making a guess (none / 0) (#3)
    by zaitztheunconvicted on Thu Apr 26, 2007 at 11:26:13 AM EST
    Could we make the guess that this fellow did not believe that the detainees under his care were in fact deadly terrorists?

    And, if some of them were terrorists, would a friendship or romance with one of his daughters be harmful to US interests?  Maybe the terrorist would be less likely to kill Americans, if the daughter says we are nice.

    Why would possessing pornography be a crime for a military person?

    One would guess.... (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by kdog on Thu Apr 26, 2007 at 01:12:58 PM EST
    the prisoners were desperate to contact family members...and the soldier is guilty of having a heart.

    The porn thing is odd...one would think our soldiers stuck in a country where the beekeeper suit is popular would need porn the most.  Are they at least allowed Playboy magazines?  


    He's also William, not Charles (none / 0) (#5)
    by MarkBernstein on Thu Apr 26, 2007 at 12:08:03 PM EST
    As far as I can tell, the officer is William H. Steele, not Charles Steele.

    Saddam's deputies (none / 0) (#7)
    by zaitztheunconvicted on Thu Apr 26, 2007 at 01:22:40 PM EST
    If they are Saddam's deputies, I would guess that they are the kind of person we would wish to encounter while alone, unarmed and in a dark alley at night.

    However, if they survived Saddam, it is probably because they were able to recognize and obey the guy who had power.  Some of them would probably be working for us now, if we hadn't mistreated them and/or their families and friends.