by David Phinney
Monday October 21st 2019

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‘Top Secret’ Material May Have ‘Devastated’ U.S. Iraq Mission

June 16, 2007 — Massive amounts of “top secret” material stored in the living trailer of the former Camp Cropper prison commander was “extremely sensitive” and could have devastated the U.S. mission in Iraq if it had been leaked, an investigator said Tuesday.

The hearing on allegations that Army Lt. Col. William H. Steele aided the enemy by allowing three juvenile prisoners to make unmonitored cell phone calls to their families, among other things, came to a close Tuesday with the explosive claim that Steele possessed material that could ruin the U.S. Iraq mission.

The final witness, Special Agent Thomas Barnes of the Army’s procurement fraud unit, said his team searched Steele’s work tent and living trailer on February 22 at Camp Victory after Steele had left his Camp Cropper command. Camp Cropper is known to have held high-profile detainees such as Saddam Hussein and other former Baath Party members, Al-Qaeda operatives, and members of the Iraqi insurgency.

In Steele’s trailer, Barnes said, according to The Los Angeles Times:

“I was shocked at the material we found….I’d never seen that amount of classified material not properly stored, not properly labeled and not properly protected….I believe if those documents were compromised, it could have been devastating.”

What was that material? It’s classified, of course, and the hearing was alternately open and closed to the press, so there’s no indication of what the “devastating” documents might contain. But we do know that Steele was accused of downloading some 18,000 classified computer files onto CDs before he left Cropper.

Without naming his source, investigative reporter Wayne Madsen suggested on April 30 that the classified files may be related to Abu Ghraib and contain graphic images involving inmates that were once under U.S. supervision “The investigation of Steele may have something to do with the homo-erotic materials, including photos and videos, spirited from the Abu Ghraib prison, some of which were released to the media.”

Steele is also accused of improper relationships with two Iraqi women: a detainee’s daughter and an interpreter. Details about the relationships have yet to be offered.

In 1993, Florida prosecutors alleged that Steele kept food from his 11-year-old stepson and struck him for failing to do chores and homework. He faced felony charges of aggravated child abuse and resisting a law enforcement officer, but the charges were dropped because Steele allowed court protection for the boy, public records show.

Whistleblower Retribution?: Prior to that Incident, Steele had a brief but controversial career with the Hernando County Sheriff’s office in central Florida. Steele’s friend, Mo Lubee told Fox 13 in Tampa that Steele was a whistleblower in the department and had been targeted for retribution.

“There was the incident with the sheriff’s office where he pulled over a deputy from another county who was drunk driving. He wanted to arrest him, the brass wouldn’t, and from that point on he was an unwelcome member of our local sheriff’s department,” Lubee recalled…. Lubee says the abuse case was retribution for Steele’s whistle blowing, and he thinks the same thing is happening to Steele in Iraq…. “In my mind, he (Steele) was conducting an investigation and it involved information coming evidently from a detainee and his daughter.” he said.

Here’s The Los Angeles Times story.

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One Response to “‘Top Secret’ Material May Have ‘Devastated’ U.S. Iraq Mission”

  1. T2 says:

    This guys is just being made a scapegoat. Yeah he proabably had classified stuff in his trailer etc. but you know what I seriously doubt any of it was TS unless they upgraded it after the fact to screw him.
    As an MP CO he would not have need to know for the TS type of info he was supposed to know. I would bet his clearance was only at a Secret Level !
    I saw way more serious incidents of break of security protocol at all of the prisions than what this guy is supposed to have done at one. Oh…and the cigars…everyone knew that we were buying them and supplying them to Saddam. They even occassionaly provided him wine with his dinner. He was treated with a little more respect than the rest of his cronies becuase of who he was. You know now that I think about it …..really the only thing that could think of that he might have add access to that would be really sensitive is the transcripts from the information we got from bugging his room ??

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