Ex-Director of CIA Interrogations Condemns Senate Report

Monday, 07 Apr 2014 08:08 PM

By Jason Devaney

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Jose A. Rodriguez Jr., former director of the National Clandestine Service, has slammed a Senate report on CIA interrogation methods in an op-ed piece for the Washington Post.

In his column, Rodriguez condemns the Senate Intelligence Committee's decision to declassify and release hundreds of pages of a secret report that looks into CIA interrogations in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Last week, the panel voted 11-3 to release 500 pages of the 6,300-page report that called waterboarding and other "enhanced interrogation methods" cruel and ineffective.

"People might think it is wrong for me to condemn a report I haven’t read. But since the report condemns a program I ran, I think I have justification," Rodriguez wrote at the beginning of his piece.

"Certain senators have proclaimed how devastating the findings are, saying the CIA's program was unproductive, badly managed, and misleadingly sold. Unlike the committee's staff, I don’t have to examine the program through a rearview mirror. I was responsible for administering it, and I know that it produced critical intelligence that helped decimate al-Qaida and save American lives."

Rodriguez headed the NCS from 2004 until his retirement from the spy agency in 2007. He spent 31 years working for the CIA, many as a case officer in Latin America.

The Senate report investigated the CIA's covert actions as it tried to identify and locate those responsible for the 9/11 attacks and stop future attacks.

"Neither I nor anyone else at the agency who had knowledge was interviewed," Rodriguez wrote last week."They don't want to hear anyone else's narrative. It's an attempt to rewrite history."

In the op-ed, Rodriguez emphasized three factors he asked the public to consider when portions of the report were released: context, effectiveness, and authority.

"The detention and interrogation program was not built in a vacuum," Rodriguez wrote. "It was created in the months after Sept. 11, 2001, when nearly 3,000 men, women and children were murdered.

"It was constructed shortly after Richard Reid narrowly missed bringing down an airliner with explosives hidden in his shoes. It continued while U.S. intelligence learned that rogue Pakistani scientists had met with Osama bin Laden to discuss the possibility of creating crude nuclear devices.

"When we captured high-ranking al-Qaida operative Abu Zubaydah in 2002, we knew he could help us track down other terrorists and might provide information to allow us to stop another attack. Those who suggest we should have questioned him more gently have never felt the burden of protecting innocent lives," Rodriguez wrote.

Zubaydah was purportedly subjected to numerous interrogations consisting of water-boarding and other techniques after his 2002 capture in Pakistan.

Rodriguez added that under his watch the program delivered results. He said Senate investigators did not produce an accurate report of how the program was truly run because they were not there and did not witness how everything worked.

"Intelligence work is like doing a thousand-piece jigsaw puzzle without the picture on the box top and with millions of extra pieces," Rodriguez wrote. "The committee staff started with the box top, the pieces in place, and pronounced the puzzle a snap."

Rodriguez closed by saying the sentry government program "was approved at the highest levels of the government, judged legal by the Justice Department and regularly briefed to the leaders of our congressional oversight committees. There was never any effort to mislead the administration or Congress about the program."

"In 2006, then-CIA Director Michael Hayden expanded those fully briefed on the program to include all members of the intelligence oversight committees. It is a travesty that these efforts at transparency are now branded insufficient and misleading."

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