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. MCD, SF, CA

    This is not President Obama's call. Plain and simple.

    September 18, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  2. Robin

    T'SAH from Virginia September 18th, 2009 2:41 pm ET


    What really happened that forces these FORMER CIA directors to NOT want an investigation to take place???

    Um, because our National Security is at stake?

    September 18, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  3. paul g

    i am not a gw bush fan at all. and i don't agree with many of his policies. having said that- i am very disappointed that obama and his administration are going down this road. if there is to be an investigation of this behavior it should start from top down. the cia folks who will feel the sting of this investigation were following the "legal" instructions of their supervisors. and this is not a nuremburg defense. they were given the legal ok and to change the rules years later is just so very wrong!

    September 18, 2009 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  4. Proud Member..Party of No

    Three words for Obama......Worst President Ever.

    September 18, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  5. OneWiseGuy

    I call on you to continue and deepen the probe. There must be consequences in order to prevent such things from ever happening again. Nobody is above the law and the GOP and its puppets need to learn that.

    September 18, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    Why do you people think they should be prosecuted? American families and worker's lifes were destroyed on 911 and dems want these people prosecuted for torture. BS, torture the democrats! They are ruining America so I guess they should be prosecuted, tried and destroyed.

    September 18, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  7. Lisa in Shelton

    Make them "risk averse"? WEAK – we only hope the investigation makes them want to be CRIME averse.

    September 18, 2009 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  8. AndyBlue

    The law is the law. We will never regain so much clout we had before the torture issue unless those WHO BROKE THE LAW are brought to justice.

    Does the rest of the world have to hold us resonsible because we cant or wont do it ourselves?

    Such hypocracy. We say we are spreading freedom while loking up people without charges and torturing them??

    By the way, Raping children in front of their parents is infact a crime against humanity and it happened alot more than anyone in America wants the rest of the world to know.

    Ie: the infamous photos and recordings of those children crying in pain while their parents watched in horror.

    There is a reason Lynndsay Graham said these are the most shocking, sadistoc and disgusting photos I have ever seen before working so hard to make sure Obama halted their release.

    Dont forget, America paraded Germans through the concentration camps and took photos to publish for the world to see. We also executed Japanese for waterboarding our Soldiers because it was a crime against humanity.

    Lets not be hypocrites now. Even though the rest of the world has woken up to our disgusting acts of cruelty under Bush.

    September 18, 2009 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  9. annie s

    It is not the President's call. And while I don't want to see anyone who just took orders punished in any way, the people that gave those orders – starting with Dick Cheney – should be held accountable.

    September 18, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  10. American Racist

    the democratic party will destroy America. Obama will see to it. Just watch.

    September 18, 2009 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  11. Robert Meyagii

    I think that before any launches an investigation of any of our agencies employed to protect our citizens, whatever it takes, they need to ask a question of themselves: Was it right and just for the victims of 9/11 who were murdered at the World Trade Center to have to make a choice of burning to death or jumping to their death? CIA personnel are puting themselves in harms way to protect us so that our people will not be faced with making such choices again.

    God bless and protect them, always!

    September 18, 2009 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  12. DonnaLee

    All these guys are correct in their request. For good or bad, the intelligent officers doing our difficult work should be praised for their hard work.

    Although ... The "I was just following orders" defense at the Nuremberg Trials didn't work well either.

    If you don't want a guilty conscience ... don't do the crime. No matter who gives the orders.

    September 18, 2009 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  13. June Whitney

    I am adding my comment to those of other people because
    according to the Constitution of the United States, 8th Amendment
    torture is not allowed. In as much as these people violated that
    very same amendment....not to mention the Geneva Conventions,
    I think they should be tired by the Supreme Court of the very
    country they denigrated.

    September 18, 2009 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  14. QACoach

    I urge President Obama to STEP UP the investigations of CIA personnel or contractors suspected of illegal treatment of internees!

    September 18, 2009 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  15. David S. Robins

    President Obama and Attorney General Holder will do the right thing and ignore this letter from right wing Republican hacks and stooges of the Bush administrations. It's particularly offensive to know that George Tenet had the gall to sign the letter. He should be serving time in prison for war crimes and abuse of Americans' constitutional rights instead.

    September 18, 2009 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  16. hankers

    "Risk adverse"??? I would hope that they would stop to think about whether they are torturing or not. This is the point after all.

    September 18, 2009 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  17. Joshua College Station Texas

    Don't stop it. Don't stop the probe. If purge we must, then purge we will. Everyone in this country, including the CIA and all its spies, are accountable to to the rule of law and the Constitution. We must hold them accountable.

    September 18, 2009 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  18. dfg

    Seems we should not be doing things to people that we don't want done to our sons and daughters. We are the United States and should be above torture. We are better than that or should be. We know there are terrible people in the world that hate everyone and would hurt anyone, but I am not sure this is the answer. Our country was better for using the golden rule. It worked for a long time. Now we look just as bad as the countries we are opposed to in the first place. Why not let this information come out somewhat. We don't need to know the names of the agents, as they were acting under orders, but the ones in charge should have to take some responsibility for encouraging this behaviour. They know better and torture is just that, whether you call it by another name or not.

    September 18, 2009 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  19. John from California

    Perhaps it's these Directors that should be investigated along with our Ex-Vice President Cheney. The troops just follow orders, the leaders are responsible if laws were broken.

    September 18, 2009 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  20. JonDie

    The only way to go is to try Bush and Cheney; they were the intellectual authors of the murder and mayhem that became the norm at the CIA.

    September 18, 2009 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  21. Jackie in Dallas

    Regardless of what their mission is, the CIA, like all federal organizations, is required to abide by the law. Torture is not permitted, and we have some pretty strict definitions about what constitutes torture (which, by the way, includes waterboarding). I do not want the investigation to go after the agents on the ground - they should have known better, but that is another topic altogether.

    I do, however, want to find out who authorized our blatant disregard for both American laws, and our international laws and agreements. They should be punished in accordance to what we would expect of other countries to do if caught torturing Americans.

    September 18, 2009 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  22. D. Tree

    Of course the "Former" CIA Chief doesn't want an investigation – He's just trying to protect himself from being implicated in breaking the law!

    September 18, 2009 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  23. shirleyralph

    I am so sick of the GOP and their rabid comments. They fight the
    President on everything he tries ro do and lie. The jerk thet yelled at
    him during the speech about health reform had not even read the bill. President Obama took on the worst disaster since the great depression and he is doing a great job. The rep's don't want to lose thei enormous. money they are getting from insurance companies & etc are giving them. There is not one member of the GOP that cares what happens to our country or the poor and middle income.. Even the poor Republicans revel in the shenangians by the rich, They will collect their welfare chesks and curse the democrats all the way home..

    September 18, 2009 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  24. anonymous

    Criminals don't want crimes investigated...shocking.

    September 18, 2009 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  25. David from WI

    "'"The law is the law.""

    So you WOULD be OK with rounding up all illegal aliens and throwing them in jail for breaking immigration laws. What about CA flaunting federal drug laws.

    Yes? No?

    The law is the law after all.

    September 18, 2009 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
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