Senator Reid Not Seeking Rumsfeld's Resignation

Senator Harry Reid
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Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., isn't joining the call for Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld's resignation over the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. soldiers - at least for the time being.

Reid, the Senate's No. 2 ranking Democrat, said he was glad to see Rumsfeld address the controversy last week before Armed Services panels in both the Senate and House but many unanswered questions remain.

"While I'm not calling for his resignation at this point, I am extremely troubled by Rumsfeld's failure to inform the American people about the situation," Reid told the Reno Gazette-Journal.

"We must address the apparent breakdown in the chain of command and demand full accountability from our civilian military leaders," he said.

Photos depicting the torture and sexual humiliation of prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison outside Baghdad have led to worldwide condemnation.

Some leading Democrats, including Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California, have said Rumsfeld should step down.

But Republican members of Nevada's congressional delegation said Rumsfeld took responsibility for the soldiers' actions and should not be forced to resign.

Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., a member of the Armed Services Committee, said Democrats calling for his resignation have a political agenda.

"This isn't about Rumsfeld. It's about (getting at President) Bush," said Ensign, who had breakfast on Thursday with Rumsfeld.

"In these situations, the best thing to do is get everything out on the table as soon as possible, and that's what they're doing," he said.

Rep. Jim Gibbons, R-Nev., a member of the House Armed Services Committee, praised Rumsfeld's testimony.

"His testimony showed the characteristics of a strong leader who is working to ensure such incidents never happen again and those responsible for the wrongdoing are brought to justice swiftly," Gibbons said.

"These reprehensible acts will not be overlooked and all of the individuals responsible will be held accountable," he added.

But Democrats said the scandal has tainted America's reputation and set back efforts to safeguard the country.