by Jim Miklaszewski, NBC News Chief Pentagon Correspondent
U.S. officials tell NBC News the Pentagon and military are preparing to release as many as 2,000 photos from more than 400 separate cases involving alleged prisoner abuse at U.S. military prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan, and for the first time may include prisoner abuse photos from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The photos are being released in response to a federal lawsuit filed by the ACLU.
One U.S. official said the photos are "not as bad as those from Abu Ghraib," the prison where U.S. military guards stripped prisoners naked and threatened them with guard dogs, but "they're not good."
Descriptions of some of the prisoner abuse photos include:
* A prisoner shoved up against a wall as military guards or interrogators appear to threaten to sexually assault him with a broomstick.
* Female soldiers posing with hooded, shackled prisoners who were stripped naked.
* Hooded prisoners on transport planes with Playboy magazines opened to pictures of nude women on their laps.
Most of the 2,000 photos are those that were confiscated in more than 400 military investigations into prisoner abuse between 2001 and 2005.
The military at first was prepared to limit their response and release only 21 photos sought by the ACLU in a federal lawsuit, but Centcom Commander David Petraeus ordered that all 2,000 photos be released at once to keep from "dragging this issue out forever."
As of now the photos are expected to be released May 28.
Critics are already claiming the still unreleased photos will provide proof that prisoner abuse was not the result of "a few bad apples" but was widesrpead and sanctioned by top Bush administration officials.