Bush's CIA Director Michael Hayden Denies Lying To Congress About Torture


General Michael Hayden served as President Bush's CIA director from 2006 to 2009, he is mentioned specifically by name in the Senate Intelligence Committee's report on CIA abuses of detainees during the war on terror for misleading Congressional investigations into the CIA's activities. The report also says that similar "misleading" reports were sent to the White House and the National Security Council.

GEN. MICHAEL HAYDEN, FMR. C.I.A. DIRECTOR: I don't know if [the American people] have the right to be appalled. It's probably a good thing that Americans get to know with some accuracy about what the Central Intelligence Agency did on their behalf. I don't know that the report that was released yesterday is that historically accurate report. It reads like a prosecutorial screed rather than an historical document...

I disagree with the fact that you're claiming it to be news. These topics and subjects were all out there. The Gul Rahman death was widely known, the death of another detainee, who was just given to us in Iraq from special forces also known.

By the way, neither of those deaths were in this program, in the program we're talking about of high-valued detainees that President Bush was talking about in that film clip you just saw...

Everyone knows what waterboarding does, it prompts the anti-drowning reflex in an individual. And I'm sure it's horrible, but it was also horrible for tens of thousands of American airmen whom we used it against for their training...

I didn't lie and I didn't mislead Congress.

Give me a minute here. I know you've got a lot of questions. But let's describe this spring of 2007 conversation I had with both chambers, with both the House and the Senate. I was the first director of CIA to go down and actually convince the White House that we needed to expand knowledge of this program beyond the narrow gang of four or gang of eight. I actually argued within the administration that we needed to tell all of the members of the committee, and that going forward, we needed to devise a plan that wasn't strictly based on just raw presidential authority, but had political support from the other political branch so that going forward this would no longer be identified as George Bush's program, but would be America's program.

So my purpose going down there was to put my arms around the other political branch and try to decide a way forward. I was straightforward and honest and gave information as I knew it to be and as the Agency knew it to be. An the Agency's rebuttal to this report broadly supports the outlines, the testimony I gave in 2007. Look, my objective here was to get these people to be part of the game. They spent most of the time yelling at me. So, it was a real opportunity lost....

Absolutely. Look, the way the nation speaks to us is the president authorizes something, we inform the Congress, the attorney general says it's legal, and the director of CIA says, "I think this is going to be effective. It's worth the gamble." At that point you think you have a social contract with the American people, not with a particular administration. So, what's happening now, these folks having the rug pulled out from under them, people who thought they were doing what we wanted them to do, that's unprecedented.

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