The CIA’s Operation Deception

CIA director John Brennan, having failed to block the release of the Senate intelligence committee’s report on torture and abuse, is now abetting the efforts of former CIA directors and deputy directors to rebut the report’s conclusions that the interrogation techniques amounted to sadism and that senior CIA officials lied to the White House, the Congress, and the Department of Justice about the effectiveness of the enhanced interrogation program.

Former CIA directors George Tenet and Michael Hayden and deputy directors John McLaughlin and Steve Kappes, who were guilty of past deceit on sensitive issues, have threatened to make documents available to undermine the findings of the Senate committee. The senior operations officer who ran the CIA’s torture and abuse program, Jose Rodriquez, has been permitted to write a book and a long essay in the Washington Post that argue the interrogation techniques were legal and effective. Their charges are completely spurious and their credibility is non-existent.

CIA directors Tenet and Hayden, who signed off on the enhanced interrogation program, were involved in numerous efforts to politicize the work of the CIA. In addition to deceiving the White House on the efficacy of the torture program, Tenet provided misinformation to the White House on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

His role on Iraqi WMD has been comprehensively and authoritatively documented in the reports of the Robb-Silberman Committee, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. In response to President George W. Bush’s demand for intelligence to make the case for war in Iraq, Tenet responded that it would be a “slam dunk” to do so. He resigned from the CIA in 2004 in order to avoid testifying to a series of congressional committees about his perfidy.

General Hayden’s record is similarly flawed. Even before taking over the CIA in 2006, Hayden was the director of the National Security Agency’s warrantless eavesdropping program that began after 9/11. This program violated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 and the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution that prohibits unlawful seizures and searches.

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