Resignation could undo damage, but no plans to quit: Rumsfeld

Published on May 11, 2004 03:48 PM IST

Admitting that it was "possible" his resignation could help undo the damage caused by the prisoner abuse scandal in Iraq, US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said he will appoint a panel of senior officials to review the ongoing probes into the issue.

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PTI | ByPress Trust of India, Washington

Admitting that it was "possible" his resignation could help undo the damage caused by the prisoner abuse scandal in Iraq, US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said he will appoint a panel of senior officials to review the ongoing probes into the issue.

Rumsfeld, grilled by the Senate Armed Services Committee yesterday, was asked whether his resignation would help undo the damage done by the abuse of Iraqi prisoners.

"That's possible," he said.

Asked specifically by a Democrat member of the Committee "whether he would not be serving the country better if he resigned", Rumsfeld said "I would resign in a minute if I thought I could not be effective.

"I would not resign simply because some people are trying to make a political issue of it."

The US Defence Secretary told the Committee he would appoint a panel of former senior officials to conduct an outside review of ongoing investigations into the scandal to determine whether additional probes were necessary.

"I'm confident that these distinguished individuals will provide a full and fair assessment of what has been done thus far and recommend whether further steps may be necessary," Rumsfeld said.

He said the panel would be asked to submit their report within 45 days of its constitution.

He later told reporters former Defence Secretary James Schlesinger, former Florida representative Tillie Fowler, retired Air Force General Chuck Horner had agreed to participate in the review and a fourth person too was being asked to be a part of the team.

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