The only Army officer charged with a crime as a result of the abuses at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq has been cleared of all criminal responsibility in the case after a general this week dismissed the one conviction against him and wiped away the sentence.
Lt. Col. Steven L. Jordan was convicted last year on one charge of disobeying an order when a jury found that he spoke to others about the Abu Ghraib investigation after he was ordered not to do so. Though Jordan was exonerated at trial of any connection to the abuse of Iraqi detainees in 2003, he was issued a criminal reprimand for his failure to obey Maj. Gen. George Fay, who led the most significant investigation into the abuses after they were discovered.
Maj. Gen. Richard J. Rowe, commanding general of the Military District of Washington, wrote a short letter to Jordan's attorney on Tuesday night explaining that the criminal charge would be dismissed. "The finding of guilty and the sentence are disapproved," Rowe wrote. "The charges are dismissed."
Col. James Yonts, a spokesman for the Military District of Washington, said last night that Rowe has issued Jordan an administrative reprimand that clears Jordan of criminal responsibility but still questions his decision to disobey Fay's order. Rowe's action means that Jordan will have no record of a criminal conviction and will continue to serve as an active-duty officer at Fort Belvoir until his retirement.
"In light of the offense Lt. Col Jordan has been found guilty of committing, and the substantial evidence in mitigation presented at the trail and in post-trial matters submitted by defense counsel, Maj. Gen. Rowe determined that an administrative reprimand was a fair and appropriate disposition of the matter," Yonts said last night.