With the release of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s torture report imminent, a quartet of former CIA directors were dispatched to the media to downplay the whole thing and call it inaccurate. Michael Hayden was chief among them. But the report itself shows exactly why Hayden can’t be trusted. Indeed, the last 30 pages or so of the executive summary is a chart of statements made by Hayden (and a few others) in sworn testimony, contrasted with the evidence showing he was lying.
For years, as the 480-page executive summary of the report documents in meticulous detail, these officials lied to the Senate, the Justice Department, the White House, to the American public and to the world. They prevented CIA officers involved from being disciplined. They investigated and marginalizedthose who were investigating them. They happily leaked classified information to journalists – much of it false – without worry of consequence.
For the past few days, we have seen many of the same resentful politicians andformer CIA leaders in charge of the torture-denial regime being handed virtual royalty status by the American media to respond to pre-emptively respond to the report without much of any pushback. Dick Cheney basically got to write his own interview in the New York Times, while Michael Hayden, the former NSA and CIA director in charge of lying to the Senate for years, was handed softball after softball by Bob Schieffer of CBS News to make his case. It is borderline propaganda.As Schieffer innocently asked Hayden a few days ago: “Do you know of anybody from the CIA, in your view, who lied to Congress about what was going on there?” Hayden’s name appears in the torture report more than 200 times, and most of the references document the various times he knowingly misled one government body or another. As media organizations continue turning to Hayden for comment time and again, they should understand the Senate report indicates that basically every time he’s opened his mouth about “enhanced interrogation” over the past decade, he’s has been lying.
Even if it’s not Hayden, you can bet over the next few days that in almost every newspaper article and on every cable-news network, there will be a former intelligence official – trying to defend the indefensible, refusing “to use the word ‘torture’”. Already, this op-ed published at the Wall Street Journal, where all the complicit former CIA directors in an attempt muddy the waters, gives you a good idea of what they’ll be saying.
Go read it for yourself, starting on page 488. It’s page after page of statements from Hayden and the evidence that he was lying. As Trevor Timm noted above, every time Hayden testified about interrogations, he can be proven to be lying. And now he wants us to believe him. Hayden should be in prison.