Torture report's release might risk American lives overseas – ex-CIA chief

Torture report's release might risk American lives overseas – ex-CIA chief
Making public the Senate’s comprehensive review of the CIA’s controversial post-9/11 interrogation and rendition program could endanger the lives of Americans working overseas, warned former CIA director Michael Hayden.

Noting that the report – also known as the “torture report” – may be released sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas, Hayden said that government buildings operating in foreign countries are already preparing for the worst.

“American embassies and other installations around the world have been warned to take defensive action in anticipation of this report being released,” he said during an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program. “That is somewhat troubling.”

READ MORE:CIA refuses to make torture report readable, blames Senate for delay

This isn’t the first time government officials have warned that releasing the torture report would have consequences. When the Senate Intelligence Committee voted 11-3 in April to release the review’s executive summary, Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and James Risch (R-Idaho) objected. The two lawmakers said the State Department had sent letters noting that declassifying the findings could hurt relationships with other countries and potentially risk lives.

“The Senate Intelligence Committee today voted to send a one-sided, partisan report to the CIA and White House for declassification despite warnings from the State Department and our allies indicating that declassification of this report could endanger the lives of American diplomats and citizens overseas and jeopardize U.S. relations with other countries,” Rubio and Risch said, according to the Daily Beast. “Therefore, we could not support declassification of this product at this time.”

AFP Photo/Saul Loeb

On Monday, Hayden – who was CIA director from 2006 to 2009 – went a step further and defended the CIA’s interrogation methods, which included waterboarding.

“These tactics, techniques and procedures actually worked in gaining valuable information,” he said. “Whether or not they succeeded, that’s historical fact. That’s not opinion."

He also said that while the agency should probably have detailed its operation to more lawmakers than it did, “the leadership of Congress was briefed [on the CIA’s techniques] in accordance with American law.”

However, Hayden’s assertion that the CIA obtained important information through its interrogations is reportedly at odds with the findings of the torture report. According to leaks, the report is believed to be highly critical of the agency, stating that no significant counter-terror information was gained through its techniques. It is also believed that the report states the CIA claimed greater, more beneficial results than the evidence supports.

READ MORE:CIA torture far exceeded waterboarding, brought suspects 'to point of death'

In a leaked White House email that surfaced this summer, it was said that the report also calls the tactics “torture by a common definition.”

Whether or not the report’s summary is released at all still remains in the air. Senators are still fighting the CIA and the White House over the amount of redactions to make. Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), has already complained that both are withholding “key facts” in the version they want to publish, and she is holding out until she gets a more readable version. The CIA denies that this is the case, arguing the summary is 85 percent unredacted.