November 21, 2016

Gen. Michael Hayden was a foreign policy advocate against Donald Trump during the election, but also ran the NSA and then the CIA under George Bush while the torture program was implemented.

Hayden joined ABC's Martha Raddatz to discuss Trump's national security team.

He was asked to give his opinion on Trump's new choice to be the Director of the CIA, Rep. Mike Pompeo.

Raddatz asked, "Does he have enough experience for the job?"

Hayden responded that he was "heartened by that pick" because he is viewed as a very capable and serious guy.

He continued, "As someone who does look for data, who does look for facts."

Being a person who looks for facts seems to be an outstanding qualification now that Donald Trump is the president-elect.

Raddatz then read Pompeo's defense of the CIA and their detention and torture program. Martha reminded her viewers that Hayden was there while these despicable practices were in effect and that Trump wants to bring back waterboarding.

Raddatz asked, "Should that be brought back?"

Hayden then lied to America and said, "Well, number one, what the Congressman said is correct, this was done within the law, done by people who did it reluctantly, not out of enthusiasm and it produced good intelligence for America. Bringing it back is a separate question."

No, it did not.

Here's what it did do: Senate Intelligence Committee Study on CIA Detention and Interrogation Program

The study’s 20 findings and conclusions can be grouped into four central themes, each of which is supported extensively in the Executive Summary:

  1. The CIA’s “enhanced interrogation techniques” were not effective.
  2. The CIA provided extensive inaccurate information about the operation of the program and its effectiveness to policymakers and the public.
  3. The CIA’s management of the program was inadequate and deeply flawed.
  4. The CIA program was far more brutal than the CIA represented to policymakers and the American public.

In a nutshell, the CIA lied about the program. Torture was not an effective technique for good intelligence and they were far more brutal than they led their superiors to believe.

Just because a former foreign policy expert was against Trump doesn't mean they are one of the good guys and their opinions can always be trusted.

It's sad that we have to have another debate on the merits of torture.

Nothing has changed since America rejected it.

However, it is up to TV news anchors to hold former Bush operatives accountable for their past actions and not allow them to whitewash their egregious behavior.


Gen. Michael Hayden was vilified in the Senate Intelligence Report on Torture.

In 2007, then-CIA Director Hayden testified in a closed-door session with the Senate panel that “in the history of the program, we’ve had 97 detainees.” In reality, the number was 119, according to the report, including 39 who had been subjected to harsh interrogation methods.

Two years later, when Hayden was preparing to deliver an early intelligence briefing for senior aides to newly elected President Obama, a subordinate noted that the actual count was significantly higher. Hayden “instructed me to keep the detainee number at 98,” the employee wrote to himself in an e-mail, “pick whatever date i needed to make that happen but the number is 98.”

Hayden comes under particularly pointed scrutiny in the report, which includes a 38-page table comparing his statements to often conflicting agency documents. The section is listed as an “example of inaccurate CIA testimony.”

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