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Abu Ghraib Whistleblower Speaks Out

No longer restrained by a government gag order, the Army reservist who first told military investigators about photos of inmate abuse at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison is speaking out.

Many of Sgt. Joseph Darby's former comrades from the 372nd Military Police Company have been sentenced to prison for their roles in the Abu Ghraib case. Darby, who will leave the Army at the end of August, cooperated with those prosecutions.

Prisoner abuse started at Abu Ghraib even before his unit arrived, Darby says. "Disgusted" by the now-infamous photographs, he decided to alert the Army's Criminal Investigation Division.

He says that he asked Army Spc. Charles Graner -- who is now serving a 10-year sentence for his role at Abu Ghraib -- for photographs of their time in Iraq that he could keep as mementos. One of the CDs Graner gave him contained the photos of the prisoner mistreatment.

His identity as the whistleblower was made public in May. When he returned to the United States, Darby was placed in protective custody.

Nonetheless, Darby says disclosing the abuse was "the right decision and it had to be made."

Darby's story will appear in the September issue of GQ magazine, an excerpt of which appears below.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Michele Norris