Alumnus started firm connected to Abu Ghraib

By Juliana Wu

Of the numerous contracting firms to provide civilian interrogators and translators in the Abu Ghraib prison, one, California Analysis Center, Inc (CACI), has ties to the University of Chicago. CACI was co-founded in 1962 by University of Chicago alumnus and Nobel Laureate in Economics Harry Markowitz.

Twenty seven CACI employees were sent to Abu Ghraib, a few of which have been targeted for the responsibility of abusive behavior. According to General Antonio Taguba’s military report these individuals “were either directly or indirectly responsible for the abuses at Abu Ghraib.”

Despite these allegations, CACI maintains that it “does not condone, tolerate, or in any way endorse illegal behavior on the part of its employees or those with whom it works while conducting CACI business in any circumstance at any time.”

“In the event there is wrongdoing on the part of any CACI employee, we will take swift action to correct it immediately, but at this time we have no information from the U.S. Government of any violations or wrongful behavior,” said CACI Chairman, President, and CEO Doctor J.P. London.

In co-founding CACI, Markowitz wanted to train users to use an unsupported public-domain software language, called SIMSCRIPT, and provide consulting services. Today CACI provides private and government organizations, including the Defense Department, with data collection and analysis and IT networking solutions.

While Markowitz was unable to be contacted for comment, he is not currently working for CACI.

Markowitz was born in 1927 in Chicago and entered into the University of Chicago’s two-year bachelor’s program. In his autobiography he comments on the characteristic education of the University as one that “emphasized the reading of original materials where possible.” He later received a Ph.D in Economics from the U of C in 1955.

As a graduate student Markowitz wrote his dissertation on portfolio theory, for which he later won the Nobel Prize for Economic Sciences in 1990.

“I first met him in 1959 and several times since. He is a gentleman and a very fine person,” said Lester Telser, Professor Emeritus of Economics in the College.