The Army is probing claims that its own investigators coerced witnesses and targeted only blacks - including the service's former top enlisted man - for sexual misconduct prosecution, a newspaper said.

Acting Army Secretary Robert M. Walker this week ordered the Army's inspector general, Lt. Gen. Larry R. Jordan, to conduct the investigation, The Sun reported.The Sun said Walker ordered Jordan to determine whether Army agents used "inappropriate techniques and procedures, knowingly pursued racially motivated allegations and were themselves racially biased while investigating allegations of sex offenses."

The Army's Criminal Investigation Command denied racial bias or coercion and defended its investigation as fair and thorough.

Spokesman Paul Boyce told the newspaper the investigation command "welcomes the inspector general review of its procedures and is cooperating fully with the independent investigation to ensure that any remaining allegations are examined thoroughly."