Former CIA chief Michael Hayden slams senators, torture report response
(CNN) — Former CIA Director Michael Hayden, whose tenure over the agency was skewered in the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on torture, fired back at the report’s findings, saying in an interview that he was taken out of context and was “upset” about the process.
“I think the conclusions they drew were analytically offensive and almost street-like in their simplistic language and conclusions,” he told Politico Magazine.
The new report says the CIA misled the public on its enhanced interrogation program for post-9/11 detainees during the George W. Bush era. It details brutal scenes of torture, harsher than what the CIA had disclosed in the past.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who steered the Senate investigation, blasted Hayden in her Senate floor speech Tuesday for providing deceptive testimony about the program to the committee.
But Hayden, who ran the CIA from 2006 to 2009, insisted he was treated unfairly and disproportionately in the report, stressing that he became CIA director late in the game.
“Everything here happened before I got there [to the CIA], and I’m the one she [Sen. Feinstein] condemns on the floor of the Senate? Gee, how’d that happen?” he said.
“I’m the dumb son of a b—- who went down and tried to lay out this program in great detail to them,” he continued. “I’m mentioned twice as much in there as [former CIA Director] George Tenet — but George and [former CIA Director] Porter Goss had 97 detainees during their tenure, while I had two.”
He said statements he made about the program’s later days — when the interrogation system was better regulated and more finely tuned — were applied to the earlier days of the program when he wasn’t in charge.
“It misrepresents what I said,” he said.
“I would never lie to the committee,” he also said in the interview. “I did not lie.”
Republicans on the Senate committee also defended the CIA, releasing a rebuttal Tuesday that questioned the methodology of the Senate five-year-long probe.
Their statement said the report created the “false impression that the CIA was actively misleading policy makers and impeding the counterterrorism efforts of other federal government agencies during the Program’s operation.”