April 20th, 2009
02:10 PM ET
11 years ago

Obama visiting CIA after memos' release

President Obama will speak Monday with the workforce at the CIA headquarters.

President Obama will speak Monday with the workforce at the CIA headquarters.

(CNN) - President Obama on Monday will visit CIA headquarters amid criticism from an ex-CIA chief that he compromised national security last week by releasing Bush-era memos on interrogation tactics.

The president will meet with CIA Director Leon Panetta, Deputy Director Stephen Kappes and other officials as well as talk to employees about the importance of the agency's mission to national security.

Obama's visit comes a day after former CIA Director Michael Hayden said the decision to release the four memos undermined the work the agency is doing.

Hayden, President Bush's CIA director from 2006 to 2009, said the release of the memos emboldens terrorist groups such as al Qaeda.

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Filed under: CIA • President Obama
soundoff (59 Responses)
  1. Dave

    Like he is going to do something! Bwahahahahaha!!!

    April 20, 2009 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  2. Bob from Pittsburgh

    “”Director Michael Hayden said the decision to release the four memos undermined the work the agency is doing””

    Michael Hayden forgets that was all well known. He also forgets that the many Kids that were torture in Guantamo, and then release for luck of evidence reported all of that to the Red Cross, and is also well documented by Amnesty International.

    So how is the president putting the country in danger?

    Is the CIA still torturing people? Or do they still have secret jails?

    The President is a smart man and he doing the right thing..

    April 20, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  3. Veteran in Kansas

    I find the comments of General Hayden to be more in his self interest of justifying why he did not resist the administrations decisions on interrogation tactics rather than an undermining of national security as General Hayden has stated. What I find most amazing is the revolation that at least two of the individuals were subjected to water boarding in excess of 150 times each. It does not take a rocket scientist to draw the conclusion that after 150 water boards the individuals were not telling anyone what they knew but rather what the questioners wanted to hear. I know of no one that would accept information gathered under these conditions as reliable and useful.

    I would say if you want to know what undermined our nations security it was information gained through these means. I would have to question its validility and value. But I can assure all that the information reinforced any ideas and conceptions that we had drawn previous, not because any were correct, but because that is what we wanted to hear.

    April 20, 2009 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  4. SA

    He has put the CIA and the country at risk , because of
    his inexperience . This is not popularity contest, and if it is Obama
    won. Now we need someone to protect the country.

    April 20, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  5. Baze

    Although I disagree with this move, it complies with Obama's commitment to transparency, and dispels the outlandish myths that extremists use to recruit.

    April 20, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  6. Robin

    He is going to tell them to be nice to terrorists who want to kill us.

    Such as Al-Qaeda's 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

    So what if we waterboarded him of all people? Waterboarding leaves no damage to the victim what so ever. I'm sure if the 3000 plus people he had a part in killing had a choice, they would have taken waterboarding over burning to death or jumping 100 stories to their deaths.

    9/11 terrorists are not under the protection of the Geneva Convention. How fast liberals forget they killed over 3000 civilians at at time we were not at war. I'm worried what the next attack will bring.

    April 20, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  7. Casey

    To the EX-CIA Chief.... Dude, that's why you are the EX-Chief. You should take your theories and torture skills ELSE WHERE, like over to Russia or something.

    For all who talk about Bush "keeping us safe" -- BS. 9/11 was on HIS watch, as were other events. For all the GOP surrogates who decry that Bush "was only in office for a couple of months" let's remember that from Jan 20th to September 11th is 8 MONTHS, not "a couple" AND he was warned repeatedly and chose to ignore those warnings.

    To President Obama: KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK... let the light of day expose the MISTAKES of the last 8 years.. and then, if we ever can stop focusing on this economy, prosecute the war criminals, staring with Dick "Darth Vader" Cheney, George "Village Idiot" Bush, and that ex-CIA chief.

    Americans do not need torture or more imperialistic wars over oil. Let's focus on getting this country running from the bottom up, investing in alternative energy so that we don't NEED that oil.

    And why do the GOP send out loud mouth blondes to do their dirty work? Sherry the Shrew.

    April 20, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  8. eanmd

    'National Security' and the safety of our captured troops were both put at risk when the actions in these memos were undertaken. The increased risk and damage was assured when Bushs' justice department bonified these activities. At some level the CIA knew these tactics were out of line – that is why they asked for 'CYA' clarification from the Justice department prior to proceeding fully with these tactics.

    At least now with a full disclosure of these memos – the Obama administration & future administrations will not be able to use these tactics.

    April 20, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  9. big papa

    President Obama received a raucus and warm welcome...

    ...from a grateful, patriotic CIA...

    ...so much for the relevance of michael Hayden, Newt Gingrich...

    ...and the other irrelevant, unemployed conservative Obama-haters...

    April 20, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  10. Jackwatch

    Publishing the memos does not make us less safe. Military people understand: When the enemy know that they will be treated humanely, they surrender easier, rather than fighting fanatically to the last soldier and killing more of ours.

    April 20, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  11. GO AWAY!

    More irrelevant negative remarks from Bush followers. If your strategy was so successful, Mr. Former CIA Director, then I ask where is Bin Laden?

    Stop attacking President Obama Republican losers!

    April 20, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  12. Demetrius Brown

    There are some methods and procedures used by the C.I.A. and other U.S. agencies that should be discontinued, such as the current interrogation practices, but I also believe we do need some degree of serious discomfort for those terrorist and extremist who are not willing to accept a passive form of questioning.

    April 20, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  13. Albert

    I can't believe your republican rep is so blind. She's like a donkey with blinders on. She just doesn't want to here the truth.

    April 20, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  14. proud army navy mom

    watched the president. he did a terrific job as usual. repugs eat your heart out.

    April 20, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  15. tedious898

    I wish our President success. He is trying very hard to clean up the mess. I'm not going to blame GWB for what's wrong today. The only thing is will the GOP get over themselves and take responsibility for the failures of 9/11 instead of taking credit for "zero sum" (no attacks afterwards).

    How do intelligent people take credit for "zero sum"? Oh that's right, we're talking about republicans.

    April 20, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  16. Larry

    Former CIA Director Michael Hayden forgot to add, "Much like the news of the torture and mass murder in the Nazi concentration camps emboldened the Allied forces".

    April 20, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  17. Freed_From_W

    If anything, the release of those memos not only help our position by having some evidence against what we promise we will no longer do to captives – kind of that, "See? Right here. This is what they did, and we find it appalling and will not resort to such barbarisms" – but it also strengthens the case for War Crimes against the Bush Regime by giving us PROOF.

    Hayden is an imperialist blowhard. He can belch out his propaganda all day – He was still Bush's CIA appointee, and that instantly rules out 99% of his credibility.

    April 20, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  18. big papa

    Why aren't ANY of you so-called "experts' and pundits at CNN and elesewhere...

    ...getting the President's message on these CIA memos?

    ...The Obama administration has to get on with the business of governing...

    ...ALL of the media is attempting to have us believe that those critics on the left are now disenchanted with the President's unwillingness...

    ...to take on the prosecution issue of Bush officials responsible for the torture policy...

    ...What NO ONE is saying is the fact that the Obama administration is putting the memos in the public sphere...

    ...it's now up to Congress and ethical journalists to make the case for prosecution...

    ...Woodward and bernstein set the stage for Nixon's downfall through tough journalistic hard work...

    ...the so-called journalists today are too lazy to go after the Bush junta!

    April 20, 2009 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  19. tedious898

    What's amazing is believing that circumventing the historical values of this country for the short sightedness of allowing torture is a good thing for this country.

    What makes us any different from rogue nations (absent the rule of law) if we allow cruel and inhuman treatment of people.

    Don't get me wrong, These terrorists are the scourge of the earth and should be stopped. But we must not forget what this country stands for in the first place. Otherwise, let's join the terrorists and kill everything moving

    April 20, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  20. Jason

    There's really nothing in the memo's that the public didn't already know. Republicans will criticize anything the Obama administration does.

    April 20, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  21. eric in texas

    Does the conversation start with "hi guys. listen, like it or not, I drop dimes like crazy and I send everything to CNN. So please, do what I want or else"

    April 20, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  22. LYNETTE IN CA

    It doesn't embolden terrorists. It just shows all of us how lame Hayden and the previous administration was. Basically, Hayden is embarrassed and should be.

    April 20, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  23. Mel of Alexandria

    Was Michael Hayden the one who worked with Chaney to falsify the report on WMD in Iraq? He has an ass in the race and would like folks to believe that his ass can run against thorough-bred horses and win.

    Impeach Judge Jay Bybee.

    April 20, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  24. Matthew

    It's shameful, the way the former CIA director is acting. His assertation the releasing these memos somehow put the country at risk is absurd. It's about time that America took the moral high ground that has been ours historically and announce to the world that we will abide by the laws and adhere to the moral standards that we expect of other countries in the treatment of prisoners.

    Waterboarding someone 186 times in one month? Are you kidding me that an act like that isn't touture? We've stopped short of apologizing for these actions, but at least we have a president who will now come forward and be transparent in how we deal with suspected terrorists. I disagree with Hayden that we shouldn't let the limits of our interrogation methods be known. They should be clearly defined for the rest of the world through the Geneva Convention and the treaties we have entered into over the years. We are not above the law, nor should we be...

    April 20, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  25. anita

    if we assume the release of these tactics "shines a light" for the public and international good: then release the info/ intel that was gleaned from these pursuits?
    What ? No Info? Or no guts?

    April 20, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
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