Torture apologist Rep. Peter King wants us to stop picking on those poor downtrodden CIA officials who he claims were just doing their jobs when they ordered the torture that was recently exposed in Dianne Feinstein's report.
Former House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter King (R-N.Y.) said Sunday it will be difficult to reverse the damage done to the CIA’s reputation following the release of the enhanced interrogation report.
But the New York Republican said political leaders must “stop hating” CIA officials who are protecting the country from terror attacks.
“I think it’s important for people like myself and people in the media to speak out and say the people at the CIA did an excellent job, that the people of the CIA operated under the most extenuating circumstances, that they’re responsible for stopping attacks against the United States and that we have to stop this self-loathing,” King said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“To me, the burden is on us, the burden is on people of influence to stop hating ourselves, and to stop hating those asked to do the job.”
Full transcript via CNN:
CROWLEY: Critics of the Senate Intelligence Committee's report on torture say its release hinders the CIA's ability to do its job and gives ammunition to U.S. enemies.
Joining me is Congressman Peter King, a member of the House Intelligence and Homeland Security committees.
Congressman King, thank you for joining me.
I wanted to try to move this conversation forward a little bit and ask you a couple of questions about the future. If -- and we all fervently hope this won't happen -- a U.S. soldier is taken prisoner by a member of ISIS or a member of al Qaeda, do you think the U.S. has lost the high ground in what is acceptable behavior for people who capture our folks?
REP. PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: No, not at all.
First of all, what ISIS does is behead people. They carry out the most brutal type of attacks, rape, sex slaves, all of that. And for anyone to be comparing what the CIA did to what ISIS does, what al Qaeda does is just wrong.
I think we have caused tremendous damage to the U.S. reputation, but this is a self-inflicted wound with a very partisan, selective report, which I think does a terrible injustice to the men and women of the CIA.
CROWLEY: And regardless of how one feels about the report, I think, on both sides, there is an agreement that this does harm to the CIA, which is this -- good heavens, they do entire TV series around the brave men and women of the CIA.
So where does the CIA go to get its reputation back, whether you feel it's been unfairly taken away from them or not? How does it fix this?
KING: Well, it would be very helpful if people on the outside helped, if the president of the United States, if leaders in the House and the Senate came forward and gave the CIA credit for what it did.
It's going to be difficult to overcome the damage that was done by Senator Feinstein and her report. I think it's important for people like myself and people in the media to speak out and say that the CIA did an excellent job, that the CIA operated under the most extenuating circumstances, that they're responsible for stopping the attacks against the United States, and that we have to stop the self- loathing.
I mean, this is -- to me, the burden is on us. The burden is on people in positions of influence to stop hating ourselves and to stop hating those who we ask to do the job.
And so I -- listen, I feel for the men and women out there in the CIA who -- they're wondering, if they're doing today what they're told to do, five years from now what's going to happen.
For instance, with President Obama, I support his drone policy. Suppose five or 10 years from now, a Senate report comes out and says that he's guilty of human rights violations, he's guilty of war crimes because of all the innocent people that were killed by drone attacks? What happens to us then?
I mean, as Americans, we have always stood together. During World War II, many, many civilians were killed by American forces in Dresden, in Tokyo, other places. But, as a country, we didn't tear ourselves apart.
CROWLEY: But, Congressman...
KING: ...until (ph) we had the moral standing.
What I was going to ask you, the truth is, you know, perception whether in Washington or across the globe, sometimes can be more powerful certainly than the reality any of us see. So the report is out there, the feeling is that the CIA crossed the line, did some pretty horrific things. Going forward, I wonder if there is some way to right this ship.
And I want to read you something that was part of an op-ed that former senator Bob Kerry wrote. He was on the Intel committee.
CROWLEY: I'm sure you know him.
And he wrote, "Our intelligence personnel who are once again on the front lines fighting the Islamic state need recommended guidance from their board of governors, the U.S. Congress." How about that?
KING: Yes, and they got the guidance back in 2002. They were told what to do by the U.S. Congress back in 2002. They did it and now they're being attacked for it.
I think Senator Kerry also said, I give him tremendous credit for this, Senator Kerry also said he thought this is a very partisan report basically written by a very partisan staff. And I think it's important to point that out. And the Congress did tell the CIA what to do. The CIA told the Congress what they were doing and Congress, the people in positions of power, approved it and now they're turning on them. And I find that totally hypocritical.
CROWLEY: Congressman Peter King, we thank you so much for joining us on this Sunday morning. I appreciate it.
KING: Thank you, Candy. And good luck to you, Candy.
CROWLEY: Thank you so much. I appreciate that.
KING: Thank you.