Janis Leigh Karpinski (born May 25, 1953, Rahway, New Jersey) is a central figure in the Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse scandal.
Karpinski retired as a colonel in the US Army Reserve. She was demoted from Brigadier General in the aftermath of the Abu Ghraib scandal for dereliction of duty, making a material misrepresentation to investigators, and failure to obey a lawful order. She was the commander of three large US- and British-led prisons in Iraq in 2003, eight battalions, and 3,400 soldiers from the U.S. Army Reserve. Karpinski claims that she was made a scapegoat in order to protect higher ranking military personnel from the scandal.
In June 2003, during the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq, Karpinski was given command of the 800 Military Police Brigade, putting her in charge of the 15 detention facilities in southern and central Iraq run by Coalition forces. Karpinski was also given command of the National Guard and Army reserve units in the Iraqi city of Mosul. In January 2004, Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez formally suspended Karpinski and 16 other soldiers with undisclosed reprimands. An investigation was started into the abuse, and Karpinski left Iraq for reasons that were explained at the time as part of "routine troop rotations."