Ex-CIA chiefs seek halt to interrogations probe
Seven former CIA directors asked President Barack Obama on Friday to quash a criminal probe of harsh interrogations of terror suspects during the Bush administration.
The CIA directors, who served both Democratic and Republican presidents and include three who worked under President George W. Bush, made their request in a letter Friday to the White House.
George Tenet, who served as CIA director under George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, has urged President Barack Obama to reverse a decision to reopen the investigation of interrogations following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Attorney General Eric Holder announced last month that he was appointing an independent counsel to investigate possible incidents of abuse by CIA personnel during interrogations that went beyond guidelines imposed by the Bush administration.
The incidents were referred by the CIA inspector general to the Justice Department during the Bush administration, but Justice officials at the time prosecuted only one case.
"If criminal investigations closed by career prosecutors during one administration can so easily be reopened at the direction of political appointees in the next, declinations of prosecution will be rendered meaningless," wrote the former directors.
The Washington Post reported on its Web site Friday night that the Justice Department will focus on only two or three cases for possible indictment.
One of them, said the newspaper, involved an Afghan prisoner who died after being beaten and chained on a cold night to a concrete floor without blankets. The report cited unidentified officials.
The seven former CIA directors included Michael Hayden, Porter Goss and George Tenet, who served under Bush; John Deutch and James Woolsey, who worked for President Bill Clinton; William Webster, who served under President George H.W. Bush; and James Schlesinger, who ran the agency under President Richard Nixon. Tenet also served under Clinton.
They urged Obama to reverse Holder's Aug. 24 decision to reopen the investigation of interrogations following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
CIA spokesman Paul Gimigliano said the agency is cooperating with the Justice Department review "in part to see that they move as expeditiously as possible."
"The director has stood up for those who followed legal guidance on interrogation, and he will continue to do so," said Gimigliano.
In their letter, the former directors warned that the investigations could discourage CIA officers from doing the kind of aggressive intelligence work needed to counter terrorism and may inhibit foreign governments from working with the United States.
Matthew Miller, Holder's spokesman, said Holder does not believe his probe will affect CIA employees' commitment to their work.
"The attorney general's decision to order a preliminary review into this matter was made in line with his duty to examine the facts and to follow the law. As he has made clear, the Department of Justice will not prosecute anyone who acted in good faith and within the scope of the legal guidance given by the Office of Legal Counsel regarding the interrogation of detainees," Miller said in a written statement.
The former CIA directors also warned that foreign governments may be hesitant to cooperate with the United States if the probe continues.
"As a result of the zeal on the part of some to uncover every action taken in the post-9/11 period, many countries may decide that they can no longer safely share intelligence or cooperate with us on future counter-terrorist operations. They simply cannot rely on our promises of secrecy," the letter says.
The letter said the CIA referred fewer than 20 incidents to Bush administration prosecutors, including the case of CIA contractor David Passaro. Passaro was prosecuted, convicted and sentenced to eight years for beating an Afghan detainee in 2007. The detainee later died.
One former CIA official familiar with the cases now under review said that Bush-era Justice lawyers declined to prosecute either because they were not certain they could win conviction or because some of the CIA personnel involved had already been disciplined by the agency. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the cases.
Though not a signatory to the letter, current CIA Director Leon Panetta also opposed Holder's investigation.
"I think the reason I felt the way I did is because I don't believe there's a basis there for any kind of additional action," Panetta said.
"My concern is ... that we don't get trapped by the past. My feeling is ultimately, we're going to be able to move on," he told reporters this week after a speech in Michigan.
Article from: MSNBC.msn.com
Cheney, McCain fuel national security feud (Video)
CIA interrogators got little training
Read the CIA inspector general report
Cheney: "Politics driving CIA terror probe"
Report: Detainees to Be Treated Like Animals
Red Cross: What Did U.S. Do With Terror Suspects?
CIA report details litany of abuses (Video)
McGovern: JFK Was Assassinated by the CIA, and Obama May Fear the Same
Rape, child murder: US probes CIA threats
Judge rules CIA committed fraud in court
CIA Admits It Misled Congress in Past, Lawmakers Say
CIA Director says Dick Cheney "almost wishing for attack"
Obama May Let CIA Torturers Walk
Latest News from our Front Page
Amid Russia tensions, US nuclear bombers to conduct military drills in Sweden
The Pentagon is planning to send nuclear bombers to Sweden for a military exercise next month amid growing tensions with Russia over the Ukraine crisis.
The warplanes, the B-52 Stratofortress, will participate in a naval exercise on June 13, Swedish general Karl Engelbrektson said.
They are set to fly from the United States nonstop and simulate a drop of anti-ship mines near ...
'Netanyahu to US: Give 50% more money, we'll shut up'
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is asking the United States to provide Tel Aviv 50 percent more money for weapons and “we’ll shut up” on Iran nuclear talks, an author and investigative journalist in Philadelphia says.
Dave Lindorff made the remarks in a phone interview with Press TV on Wednesday while commenting on a report which says Israel has asked Washington ...
Britain To Outlaw "Hate" and "Extremism"
UK home secretary Theresa May : "But what we're talking about is they key values that underline our society and are being undermined by the extremists. Values like democracy, a belief in democracy, a belief in the rule of law. A belief in tolerance ...eh... for other people. Equality and acceptance for other people's faith and religions.
One of the great ...
Killer robots will leave humans 'utterly defenceless' warns professor
Robots, called LAWS – lethal autonomous weapons systems – will be able to kill without human intervention.
Killer robots which are being developed by the US military ‘will leave humans utterly defenceless‘, an academic has warned.
Two programmes commissioned by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) are seeking to create drones which can track and kill targets even when ...
Here's how much corporations paid US senators to fast-track the TPP bill
Critics of the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership are unlikely to be silenced by an analysis of the flood of money it took to push the pact over its latest hurdle.
A decade in the making, the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is reaching its climax and as Congress hotly debates the biggest trade deal in a generation, its backers have turned on the ...
|More News » |