A small group of Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee are hell-bent on releasing a graphic report that suggests the CIA misled President George W. Bush about torture techniques used on suspected al-Qaida detainees held in secret facilities in Europe and Asia following 9/11, former CIA and NSA Director Michael Hayden said Monday on "America's Forum."
The release will damage the United States' relationship with allies and risk the safety of overseas personnel, he told the Newsmax TV
"No good reason" exists to explain the partisan politics of the push for the report's release, said Hayden, who maintains the CIA did nothing illegal and always kept the administration in the loop.
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"The [Obama] administration is fighting tooth and nail in court to prevent the release of videos showing forced feedings of prisoners at Guantanamo, and that's actually a humanitarian action," he said.
"The current administration has gone to court to prevent the release of the photos of the dead body of Osama bin Laden, and yet we're going to put these very graphic descriptions of enhanced interrogation techniques
out there and someone thinks that won't have an impact? That's really hard to imagine."
has reported that both a State Department and an intelligence official have confirmed that overseas U.S. personnel have been put on alert to "reassess security measures," and House Intelligence Chairman Mike Rogers told CNN
that the report will incite "violence and deaths."
The Democrats' report, according to Hayden, "is probably the classic definition of political."
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The collateral damage will be U.S. allies and members of the CIA, he said.
"We do a lot of things with friends. A lot of these things are edgy, not illegal, but they have a pretty high political risk quotient attached," Hayden said. "When you get into a relationship with a partner and you ask them to do something on your behalf or to cooperate with you, you're giving them a really powerful commitment of your discretion.
"Now, this report is going to come out and although it is not going to name the countries that were involved with us in this program, there are those people who think they know what countries were involved that will then use the data in this report you and I have already discussed is not accurate, but they will treat it as accurate, treat it as the historical record and cause great problems for countries who are friends of the U.S."
"What CIA officer in the future, after this and after having been indicted and convicted in abstentia, is going to raise his hand in the future and say, 'This is an odd idea, might be a little edgy, but I've been thinking...'
"The final outcome of this report is going to be an American espionage service that is timid and friendless and that really is a danger to the U.S.," Hayden said.
He said he recommended in 2006 that the U.S. reduce the number of interrogation techniques in order to build political cohesion and to ensure continuity from one administration to the next.
According to officials who have read the report, it says the U.S. engaged in sleep deprivation, confining detainees in small spaces, humiliation, and waterboarding.
"Now, what I did in 2006, with a strong support I should add of President Bush, who was trying to get his emergency measures started after 9/11 on a more sound political footing — political, not legal, political footing — so that he could hand them off to his successor, whomever that might be," Hayden said.
"We were quite willing, in order to get political consensus, to pull back from some techniques that some people may have objected to, not in any way suggesting they were previously illegal, but simply to get the political buy-in so that we could have a program that wouldn't have an on/off switch with every off-year election."
A federal prosecutor investigated the agency's interaction with 101 detainees and declined to prosecute, Hayden said.
Reuters reported that on Friday Secretary of State John Kerry
asked Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, to "consider the timing of the expected release of a report on the CIA's harsh interrogation techniques," but that the administration has not wavered in its support for the report's release.
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