April 23rd, 2009
01:30 PM ET
5 years ago

Gates reluctantly supports release of interrogation memos

 Gates said he realized the documents would inevitably be released.
Gates said he realized the documents would inevitably be released.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Defense Secretary Robert Gates Thursday reluctantly supported the release of the government documents regarding interrogation techniques.

Gates, who used to be CIA director, said he realized that despite his and others' concerns about protecting the CIA agents involved, the documents would inevitably be released.

"The things that I was concerned about was first and foremost the protection of the CIA officers who were involved in the interrogations and who performed their duties in accordance with the legal guidance that they had been given by the Justice Department. I wanted to make sure, I felt strongly, the importance that they be protected," Gates told reporters during a tour of Camp Lejeune in North Carolina where he was watching Marines prepare for deployment to Afghanistan.

Gates said he was also concerned with the "potential backlash" in the Middle East and in the war zones. He said the release might have a negative impact on the troops.

But Gates said with all the congressional investigations being released and lawsuits, the release of the memos was going to happen.

"There is a certain inevitability that much of this will eventually come out," Gates said. "Pretending that we could hold all this and keep it all a secret, even if we wanted to, I think was probably unrealistic."


Filed under: CIA • Robert Gates
soundoff (60 Responses)
  1. The Broker.

    Gates! Wants the Door Opened. So do it or lose, even more Security.
    You need this guy. you don't need Obama..

    April 23, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  2. Bill in Austin

    Finally, a sensible Republican decision without all the fiery rhetoric. Now if we can get only some of those outside the Cabinet to act and speak responsibly.......?

    April 23, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  3. Veteran in Kansas

    Now we are faced with a problem, what to do with individuals who were following the legal advice and policies of the central government. After all they were following orders right? Part of my oath of office was , " to support and degend the Consitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic", and to "obey the "lawful" orders of those appointed over me." Now is where we have the prolblem, lawful orders, the president has been set, individuals are expected not to follow orders/policies that are not lawful regardless of who gives them. THis was established as no defense during the trials after WWII. What to do..........does create a slight problem do you not think.

    April 23, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  4. Paul Dobro

    What about the soldiers in Abu Ghraib prison? Do these memos not prove that they were doing their jobs? Doing what was called LEGAL?

    How could they be prosecuted and called "bad apples" while this proves they were acting one orders?

    April 23, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  5. Mari( maybe one of my comments will be posted)

    I bet he is reluctant. We, the People, demand to know what horrors were done in our name by the Bush/Cheney administration.

    Release ALL documents, SO that we know. Our Nation IS diminished, tarnished by these war crimes.

    America has long stood for Freedom and Justice, when we defy our Constitution and the Geneva Convention we fought hard to legalize, we are hurting our Democracy!

    April 23, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  6. Dave NYC

    We probably saved a lot of taxpayer money by just releasing these memos, instead of endless government hearings when they would come out anyway.

    April 23, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  7. Ian

    If he was concerned about backlash maybe that's a good indication that we shouldn't have tortured people.

    April 23, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  8. Martin Schroeder

    What do you mean, Sec Gates, that the US can't keep Top Secret information locked up?

    April 23, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  9. Luke Brown

    Are we a nation of laws or what?

    I was once a public official and there was never any suggestion that if I broke the law I would not be held accountable by our legal system.

    April 23, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  10. Tony Aquiningoc

    At this point and time, I can't believe what I am reading sometimes on the negativity of some people on the disclosure of the Interrogation Documents. We as Americans are about the only people on earth that follow the humane process of treatment and punishment on our prisoners of Terror, and or of War. We do not show decaptations of prisoners or of inhumane treatment of our prisoners. Yes, there are some that crossed the thin lines of some of the interrogation techniques, but they were dealt with accordingly, and it wasn't that severe that the prisoners died of such treatment. Please let the professionals do their jobs and let us stick with the business that we are suppose to be doing. Like the old saying goes. Mind your own business. The Interrogators that were doing their jobs should be commended, instead of being repremanded, and along with all of the people above them that gave them the authority to do so in the first place. I am a firm believer that a job should be conducted to the best of your abilities and if you succeed then you know in your heart that you did the best you can and succeeded in doing so. And that is defeat the ENEMY in everyway possible, even if you know that you might be jeopardizing your own life, and protecting the lives of others, but mostly that it will keep FREEDOM in our country for all of our fellow citizens. GOD bless those that do the work that some people do not have the heart to do. " Life has a special flavor that the protected will never know." " De Oppreso Liber! "

    April 23, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
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