The Guardian and BBC Arabic just released a blockbuster story, linking David Petraeus to two veteran advisors of El Salvadorean paramilitary squads who ran Iraqi interrogation centers that exacerbated the country's sectarian violence.
It's a staggering report. According to the outlets, Colonels James Steele and James Coffman both worked in El Salvador during that country's civil war. In 1986, Petraeus, then a Ph.D. candidate at West Point, traveled to the country, and "became a major advocate of counterinsurgency methods." In 2004, he was tasked with organizing the country's security forces, and Coffman became his direct report.
Coffman and Steele hired Shia to work as police commandos in detention centers — largely representatives from extremist groups like the Badr brigades. According to a former Iraqi general who worked with the men, each detention center had a committee comprised of one intelligence officer and eight men who worked as "interrogators."