Angelides Threatens Banishment for Company Involved in Iraq Torture

August 3, 2004 ( - A CACI International employee's involvement in the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal has two of the nation's largest public pension funds rethinking their investments.

California State Treasurer Phil Angelides, who serves on the board of directors for both the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS), and teams of other pension fund board members interrogated Kenneth Johnson, president of Arlington, Virginia-based CACI.   At the heart of the discussion was CACI employee Steven Stefanowicz, an interrogator in Iraq who has been implicated in an Army report on prisoner abuses at the infamous prison, according to a San Francisco Chronicle report.

A report by Army Major General Antonio Taguba found that Stefanowicz had commanded military police when torture took place and recommended that he be fired and stripped of his security clearance.   However, civilian contractors working abroad fall into a legal black hole and are out of reach of most forms of military and civilian justice. Johnson noted that Stefanowicz has not been charged with any crime.

Following this report, Angelides said that at the next CalPERS board meeting, scheduled for September 1, he might recommend that the fund sell its CACI holdings. “Either CACI needs to get out of this line of business, or our pension funds need to get out of this company,” he said.

CalPERS, which has $162 billion in assets, owns 209,100 shares of CACI.   CalSTRS, which has $114 billion in assets, owns 77,882 shares.

In the company’s defense, Johnson points to CACI’s profitability in Iraq. Additionally, Johnson said he now personally reviews and approves every hire and that all employees being sent toIraq must undergo a one-week “charm school” run by the Army at Fort Bliss, Georgia, which includes some human rights training.