Joe Darby

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Joseph M. Darby
Born1979 (age 38–39)
Cumberland, Maryland
AllegianceUnited States United States of America
Service/branchUnited States Army seal United States Army
Years of service1998 - 2005
RankArmy-USA-OR-05.svg Sergeant
Unit372nd Military Police Company
Battles/warsOperation Iraqi Freedom

Sergeant Joseph M. Darby (born c. 1979) is a former U.S. Army Reservist known as the whistleblower in the Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse scandal. Darby is a graduate of North Star High School, near his hometown at the time, Jenners, Pennsylvania.[1]

At the time, Darby served as an M.P. at the Abu Ghraib prison, in Abu Ghraib, Iraq. After learning of the abuse, Darby was the first person to take steps to alert the U.S. military command.

Disclosure of abuses at Abu Ghraib[edit]

In January 2004, Darby provided two CD-ROMs of photographs to Special Agent Tyler Pieron of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, who was stationed at Abu Ghraib Prison, triggering an investigation that led to the implication of several soldiers violating the Geneva Convention. Darby initially wanted to remain anonymous, and had been assured of anonymity[2] — he and those implicated all served in the 372nd Military Police Company, but became known when The New Yorker published his name and when later Donald Rumsfeld named him during a Senate hearing.[2][3][4] Darby had agonized for a month beforehand, but finally decided to blow the whistle on his former friends explaining: "It violated everything I personally believed in and all I'd been taught about the rules of war." He had known Lynndie England, one of the most well-known suspects, since Basic Training. He testified that he had received the photos from Charles Graner, another soldier in the photographs.


The disclosure was not received well by the community in which Darby and his wife, Bernadette, were living in Maryland.[3] They have been shunned by friends and neighbors, their property has been vandalized, and they now reside in protective military custody at an undisclosed location. Bernadette said, "We did not receive the response I thought we would. People were, they were mean, saying he was a walking dead man, he was walking around with a bull's-eye on his head. It was scary."[5]

On the other hand, CBS reports that former neighbors from one of his childhood homes in Pennsylvania were proud of him.[6] Darby has also said that soldiers in his unit shook his hand afterward.[7]


On May 7, 2004, Darby was profiled as the "Person of the Week" by anchor Peter Jennings on ABC's World News Tonight, and in December 2004, he was selected as one of three ABC News "People of the Year". He was profiled and interviewed by Anderson Cooper on the December 10, 2006, broadcast of 60 Minutes (the segment was aired again on June 24, 2007).

Darby received a John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award on May 16, 2005, in recognition of his courage in exposing the abuses at Abu Ghraib.[3][8]

Darby also received a personal letter from Donald Rumsfeld, asking him to stop talking about how his identity had been disclosed by Rumsfeld despite receiving assurances of anonymity from military command.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "One Soldier's Unlikely Act; Family Fears for Man Who Reported Iraqi Prisoner Abuse" Washington Post. May 6, 2004.
  2. ^ a b c Am I a Torturer? (Mother Jones)
  3. ^ a b c "When Joseph Comes Marching Home". The Washington Post. May 17, 2004. Retrieved May 6, 2010.
  4. ^ » Thank You, Joseph Darby
  5. ^ Reality check - ABC News, 16 August 2004
  6. ^ "Praise For Iraq Whistleblower". CBS News. May 10, 2004.
  7. ^ Dawn Bryan (August 5, 2007). "The Abu Ghraib whistleblower's ordeal". BBC News. Retrieved August 5, 2007.
  8. ^ "Joseph Darby - JFK Presidential Library & Museum". Retrieved April 17, 2012.

External links[edit]

News clips