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US Defense Official: Suit Against Rumsfeld 'Frivolous'


U.S. officials are dismissing as frivolous a request by a New York-based advocacy group asking German prosecutors to investigate possible criminal charges against Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said Tuesday he has not seen the charges, which allege Rumsfeld had a role in sanctioning abuse of prisoners in U.S. custody. But he said the United States has already thoroughly investigated the abuses, and that people have already been prosecuted.

Federal prosecutors in Germany said they received the 220-page complaint Tuesday from the Center for Constitutional Rights.

The group's attorneys say the case examines the responsibilities of high-ranking U.S. officials authorizing war crimes in their fight against terrorism. A similar complaint filed in 2004 was dismissed.

The lawyers say the new case contains substantial new evidence following Rumsfeld's resignation.

Germany's universal jurisdiction law allows the country's courts to hear cases originating from anywhere in the world.

The Center for Constitutional Rights says it represents one detainee held at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and 11 Iraqis who were held at Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad.

The complaint also seeks criminal prosecution of U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and former CIA Director George Tenet.

Rumsfeld resigned last week but is expected to remain until his proposed successor, Robert Gates, is approved by the U.S. Senate.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP .