The Pentagon is investigating allegations linking the US military to human rights abuses in Iraq by police commando units who operated a network of detention and torture centres.
A 15-month investigation by the Guardian and BBC Arabic, published on Wednesday, disclosed that the US sent a veteran of the "dirty wars" in Central America to oversee Iraqi commando units involved in some of the worst acts of torture during the American-led occupation.
The allegations, made by US and Iraqi witnesses, implicate US advisers for the first time in these human rights abuses. It is also the first time that the then US commander in Iraq, David Petraeus, has been linked through an adviser to the abuses.
Colonel Jack Wesley, a Pentagon spokesman, told the Guardian on Thursday: "Obviously we have seen the reports and we are currently looking into the situation."
In an email, he added: "As you know the issue surrounding accusation of abuse and torture of Iraqi detainees is a complex one that is full of history and emotion. It will take time to work a thorough response."
The Pentagon argument is that it needs time because of the legal implications and also because those named in the documentary no longer serve in the military.
The relatively muted response in the US contrasted with that in Iraq. In Samarra, one of the centres of the Sunni insurgency against US-led forces and where Iraqis are alleged to have been tortured in a library, residents greeted a showing of the documentary on Wednesday evening.
Waleed Khalid said thousands of people gathered in the city for anti-government protests were excited to watch part of the documentary and there was a plan to set up big screens to show the whole film on Friday.
Gee, so hard to figure out what will happen to this investigation....