September 18th, 2009
02:25 PM ET
13 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. JimL

    Isn't the issue that the Justice Department is SUPPOSED to be non-political? Their charge should not be subject to the power of the executive branch - either under Bush (as was done) or under Obama.

    September 18, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  2. Mark in Atlanta

    Sorry bub. No dice. A war crime is a war crime, even if we committ it. The people who gave the orders should bare the brunt of criminal prosecutions, but we must be a nation of laws and accountability if we are to keep our place as the leader of the free world. And if prosecutions make CIA agents reluctant to torture people again the next time we have a pschotic administration? Good!

    September 18, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  3. Dean

    Oh its OK to commit a crime if your with the governent. Anyway it's not the guys at the bottom we want it's Dick Cheney.

    September 18, 2009 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  4. Nothing 'Stand Up' about Sen. John Ensign (R-NV)

    These former CIA chiefs are worried that the probe will make intelligence officers risk averse?

    Oh, of course! What a great argument. I never thought of it that way before.

    Let's just stop thinking of the United States as a nation of laws, while we're at it. Let's just start enforcing the ones we feel like enforcing and even then only when we feel like enforcing them.



    Frankly, I think the people – at all levels of our society – who are given so much authority to enforce our laws have forgotten that they have an even greater responsibility to act with restraint than the rest of us (that's right, Officer Crowley, I'm talking about you!).

    Besides, real intelligence officers know that torture is effective only in getting prisoners to lie for propaganda, but that it is ineffective in getting reliable information.

    September 18, 2009 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  5. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    And these former directors were where when the actions being probed were happening?!

    September 18, 2009 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  6. Spirit of America

    If there is no investigation of these criminal acts, then democracy will have been fatally wounded and torture becomes the law of the land.

    September 18, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  7. Karen - Missouri

    They may have served both Democratic and Republican presidents, the REAL question...are all of them Republicans themselves??? Your wording makes me wonder at their motives. And of course Republicans would not want a bad light shed on Bush and Cheney now would they?

    September 18, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  8. Terry from West Texas

    I want to know what the American government has been up to. I'd rather have our enemies AND the American people learn our secrets than for Americans not to know.

    We voters cannot control our government if we don't know what our government is doing. I personally believe that most classified data is being kept secret from Americans, not foreign enemies.

    September 18, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  9. Terrance Lewis

    If you break the law you pay the price. Following illegal orders is no excuse. We can not have one set of rules for ourselves and one for everone else. We need to go after those who tortured, committed war crimes etc.

    September 18, 2009 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  10. JiimmyZ

    Thin line. Problem seems to be accountability and the greater good. If they were seen as self policing effectively (and maybe they are) it would not be an issue, and if it was it would, as it seems, be politically motivated. Who's laws do you follow? Where does it take place. I doubt this issue is anything even approximating black and white.

    September 18, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  11. Carlos

    Let me guess, he will give about as much consideration to this as he is giving to the farmers in Fresno Co. that the federal goverment is putting out of business right now. I hope you liberals enjoy eating those two inch fish your so worried about saving right now.

    September 18, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  12. GGG

    Obama that would be the right thing to do!!! stop putting our country at risk.... Why won't you go on Fox network... are you afraid of the tough and real questions??? Let's see if this makes it through.

    September 18, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  13. indi

    What would result if some CIA agents are found guilty? I guess Bin Ladin would be the happiest man.

    September 18, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  14. Deuce

    A letter to the Gremlin..

    September 18, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  15. JPHN

    f them there covering things up tooo

    September 18, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  16. Chris from NC

    Oh, let me guess!!!! Either they or someone they worked with closely at the Agency is caught up in this stuff - but, of course, they DON't want to admit it!!!!

    September 18, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  17. Meka

    Do we have anything to hide?

    September 18, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  18. Ray Lawson from Danville, VA

    I'm sure Obama won't listen to 7 former CIA Directors. He and Holder have their own agenda. They have no concern about possible terrorist attacks around the world.

    September 18, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  19. Lay down Mr. Prez....

    Lay down Mr. President

    Look over there.

    Justice is a joke under these black hoods..

    Let darkness reign, Since the the day John was corrected, loud and clear, it aint your show, it aint the peoples show.

    Just keep smilin, Cause we told you too.

    September 18, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  20. vic nashville , Tn

    I am Obama supporter

    We don’t need a investigation

    politicians some time misuse the CIA

    Let it go Obama we know the truth Bush administration misuse the CIA

    September 18, 2009 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  21. A Democrat of 51 years who has finally got smart to their follishness.

    This is ridiculous for Obama to have the CIA investigated. The CIA are our first line of defense. Destroy them then you open the door for ISLAM. Just what you want isn't it, OBAMA? Why don't you have the NAACP investigated. RACIST.

    September 18, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  22. j

    Sounds like they are afraid they are going to be exposed !!?? And if they try to testify in their own defense, they will die from ---"natural causes".

    September 18, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  23. joe

    The witch hunt has to stop. At times torture, I am sure has saved numerous American lives and yet the liberal left wants to turn this country into a bunch of wimps. Those who feel we are safe are sadly mistaken. It is not a matter of 'if' a 9/11 type incident will happen again, but a matter of 'when'. When it happens and it will, there will be a loud outcry of 'why didnot we know? Well you could blame it on this happenning and not be allowed to extract information that could possibly stop this from happening. Wish all you liberals well. Maybe if you are the ones who die or your relatives, then yuo can say it is allright to expose this country for it secrets and it interrogation methods....

    September 18, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  24. kaleto

    Caving in to North Korea...appeasing Russia...investigating the CIA...sounds like this administration is doing all it can to weaken us in the international arena.

    September 18, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  25. B

    This investigation needs to go forward for the people of this country. We need to get to the bottom of this and let the chips fall where they may, even all the way to the top !!

    September 18, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
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