September 18th, 2009
02:25 PM ET
5 years ago

Former CIA chiefs call on Obama to stop interrogation probe

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Seven former CIA directors are urging President Barack Obama to stop the criminal investigation of people involved in the CIA's harsh interrogations of suspected terrorists.

In a letter sent to the president Friday, the former directors called on Obama to reverse Attorney General Eric Holder's decision last month to reopen an investigation that they say would put intelligence officers in "continuous jeopardy" and make them risk averse.

The letter was signed by former directors who served both Democratic and Republican presidents, including three who worked in the most recent Bush administration.


Filed under: CIA • President Obama
soundoff (130 Responses)
  1. Sandra,Atlanta

    For all of you folks that are clueless out there, let me pose these questions.
    1) Should the Justice Department be independent of the White House? Yes or No
    2) Who made the decision to investigate? Eric Holder or President Obama? According to Holder, it was him. Go back to question 1.
    3) Republicans and Democrats complained about the Justice Department being under the thumb of the Bush Administration instead of doing their jobs. Well except for those who wanted people investigated to help them politically! Remember that mess?
    So, do you want the White House dictating what the Justice Department does? Remember, that rule should apply to all Presidents then!

    Folks, you can't have it both ways. For myself, I want the Justice Department to be independent and not under the thumb of any President no matter who he is. Send your opinions to Eric Holder!

    September 18, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  2. A

    Who's keeping America safer? By this time in his first term, Bush already allowed 9/11 to happen. The dumb@$$ was asleep at the switch.

    September 18, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  3. welches, oregon

    It is the liberal way, demean, diminish and degrade anything that stands in their way

    What is wrong with you people?

    Did we not just see pics of YOUR President that YOU had at YOUR event with bones in his nose and monkey like dicptions?

    Good grief – You are describing yourselves when you say It is the way, demean, diminish and degrade anything that stands in the way.

    You are all (the "Christian Conservatives") just getting so laughable at this point, nobody is taking your seriously.
    .

    September 18, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  4. Obama VICTIM

    They totured people who deserved it. These same people destroyed American families and lives. You ass holes look for any reason to force your democratic ways on te good people. Maybe all the dems, low-lifes, scum buckets, etc should be sent away. Then we would have a zero crime rate, a great economy with positive hard-working people to call America home.

    September 18, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  5. DawnL,CA

    Go to the top. Cheney. He authorized torture. The CIA chiefs should be promoted from within the agency. No more political appointments who are a shill for the White House.(see Tenet)
    Our dirty laundry should not become propaganda for the terrorists to use to their own end.

    September 18, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  6. DJ

    We live in a free society and Obama endorses transparency. If they did nothing wrong why are they so paranoid?

    September 18, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  7. Ken in NC

    I wonder what all these naysayers would have to fall back on if President Obama's aganda works to bring this country back economically and if his aganda works to better protect us and works to put our country back in good standing with the world.

    Oh I don't need to concern myself with that because they will think of something.

    September 18, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  8. Chas in Iowa

    What do they have to hide?

    The American public is ashamed of the practises allowed by the former administration and this is how the American people tell the world it was wrong and will not be tolerated.

    Big Dick for head of block seven in Levenworth!

    September 18, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  9. sonny

    Nobody is above law… whether they hold very high positions or low positions they are bound to obey the law of the land. If not all should be punished equally. Some of those names in the list knew very well those boundaries. If they crossed it they must have to pay the price. It is that simple...

    September 18, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  10. The Veteran

    Nobody is immune to investigations. There are ways to do this, and still protect classified. Don’t be so gullible people. If they did something illegal, they should go to the joint.

    September 18, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  11. Angie in PA

    If they did no wrong why do they want the Investigating to stop Besides Obama has already said he wants to move forward!

    September 18, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  12. Obama worst president EVER

    This is nothing but Obama playing his usual games with national security. Is it 2012 yet?

    September 18, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  13. Tony In Largo, Fl

    This is a tricky one. For us to state that we are a society of the rule of law, requires that the law be applied to everyone. That includes the CIA when it interrogates terror suspects, especially if the suspects are US citizens. That is because they have a right to protection under the constitution.

    The CIA's realm is limited by law to operating only outside of the Umited States. To be effective, however, the CIA is supposed to be as secretive an agency as can be and that means that all of us have to do our part to keep it that way. So, the questions are: how do we protect ourselves from potential abuse, yet keep the Agency secret while we look into alleged abuses? What do we do if we find abuses?

    In my opinion, an independent secret investigation should be conducted. However, the results should be kept secret and out of the courts. Upon its conclusion,Policy and/or Procedural changes should be recommended, reviewed and implemnted by career government officials, with the Sitting President's approval. If panels think it is appropriate, they may recommend limited compensation for wages lost only, to victims. At the end of that, the case should be closed and labeled as Top Secret for 100 years minimum. I believe charges should not be levied against agency personnel, but the recommendations can and should include dismissal from the job if the charges merit such.

    This would not apply to charges of treason or fraud wherever commited if it was against the USA or for any operation within the confines of the territory of the USA.

    September 18, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  14. Mobster George [Independent]

    We were safe for almost 8 years under Bush. Obama keeps weakening our military and our intelligent gathering programs. Also the leaders of Afghanistan respected Bush and they don’t speak of respect for Obama. I hope they do not try to attack us; we will not have the CIA to help us know. They might get in trouble for protecting US citizens.

    September 18, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  15. Farrell in Houston

    If there is nothing to hide or nothing done wrong, I don't understand what continuous jeopardy could be done. On the other hand if there is something to hide there will be continued actions of the same.

    September 18, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  16. Peter

    What is the rule of the Law??

    September 18, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  17. Craig of LA

    Do we as a people and nation honor the Law and honor Justice? Are we all equal under Law or are some of us exempt? If we allow people to willfully break US and International Law with impunity, what message do we send to our posterity? What does this say to other nations? If the US tortures, then is it not then every nation's right to torture. Is this then not a march away from civilization and instead towards a return to the jungle and barbarism? Republicans have clearly lost moral clarity and Christian values. They have adopted moral relativism, something they condemned the Left of for years. This is the supreme hypocrisy.

    September 18, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  18. Bedtime for Obonzo

    And the Obama response will be - "Hey, I had nothing to do with it. It's Holder's baby."

    September 18, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  19. Joyce

    I do not believe AG Holder should not be allowed to continue this investigation. What is done, is done. Let's move on. AG Holder should issue clear instructions as to what is and what is not allowed in interrogations. Holder's investigation serves no real purpose except to hold the US up for shame in front of the entire world.

    September 18, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  20. victim of republican greed

    Aren't we all getting a little annoyed by the factually challenged wingnuts? Why are the right wingers afraid of the truth?

    September 18, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  21. Travis

    These people are only doing what they were told. Why do we always go after the little guy and not the ones who formed the policy? Same thing with Abu, the only punishment was handed to those following orders? Isn't it the fault of those who gave them the orders?

    September 18, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  22. BRIAN

    British Intelligence is charging one its own people for prisinor abuse and nobody there is crying about it and they are the masters of intelligence,but they also know what happens if you let things get out of hand.

    September 18, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  23. Len from RI

    It makes me sick to see this. Liberals in this country who are more concerned about the rights of ADMITTED TERRORISTs, then about innocent Americans! What about the rights of all the innocent people who were mudered on 9/11?! I hate to break it to Eric Holder and President Obama, and Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. But the evil murders who are in Gitmo aren't don't care about you. They are not going to say thank you for defending their "rights." Given the chance they would cut your throats and the throats of any American they can find and smile about it. Right now they and the rest of the terrorists in the world are laughing at you. The problem the liberals have with the
    CIA, the military and Bush and Cheney, is that they know these people were willing to get their hands dirty and do what it takes to protect our country. While Pelosi, Reid, and Obama don't have the stomach for it. God bless the CIA for keeping us safe!

    September 18, 2009 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  24. justasking

    Untie the hands of the CIA, unleash them and let them do their jobs!!!!

    September 18, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  25. Dani girl

    Don't want to be investigated – don't do things worthy of investigation. It's not Obama's call, it is Holder's.

    They should be afraid – they did something wrong. "They'll be afraid to do their jobs" my butt – these people went beyond what they were wrongly authorized to do. That's not doing your job – that's doing something that is unconscionable – there is a difference AND if there isn't, there should be.

    September 18, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
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