(Posted with permission from the Charlie Rose Show
watch the interview at www.charlierose.com/home
[external link disclaimer])
October 24, 2007
Director of the Central Intelligence Agency,
General Michael V. Hayden, appeared on the Charlie Rose show on October
22, 2007. Below is the transcript of their conversation.
CHARLIE ROSE (Host):
General Michael Hayden is here. He
is the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. He was the first ever Deputy Director of National Intelligence. He was the Director of the National
Security Agency from 1999 to 2005. He
has overseen some of the most controversial national security programs--the
NSA's warrantless eavesdropping on US citizens and the CIA's rendition and
enhanced interrogation programs. He
has said he wants to use a full authority allowed by law and that his spikes
will have chalk on them. I am
pleased to have General Hayden at this table to talk about his sense of what
the CIA's mission is, and how he puts that within the framework of the
constitutional framework of the United
States, and the challenge he sees from the
rest of the world. So I say welcome,
D/CIA: Thank you. Thanks for the opportunity to be here.
ROSE: Tell me
what you think the CIA's mission is.
general, it's to defend the Republic, and you need to understand the Republic
in the broadest sense. It's to
defend the security, the safety, the physical safety of the American people. It's to defend the interests of the United States of America,
and it's to defend a value system that this nation represents.
ROSE: You have
also said that it has to protect America and it has to help
policymakers understand the world around them.
D/CIA: Yes. Intelligence in any form, but
particularly from my agency. If you know, Charlie, we've got the largest group
of analysts in the Intelligence Community, and the only group of analysts
that's not attached to some Cabinet-level department. So that autonomy gives us great opportunity, but also creates some
burdens for us as well in terms of the requirement for us to be absolutely
objective. And what I tried to
describe--and I do this with our analysts--is that intelligence exists in that
nexus between the world as it is and the world as we want it to be. And it's in that nexus that policy is
formed. And the challenge for
intelligence--but particularly for the analysts of the CIA--is to be in that
nexus, to be relevant to the policymakers' questions, while at the same time
not being captured by the policymakers' preferences. That's really demanding. It's
hard to do, but that's the space where we've got to work.
ROSE: That's one
of the questions that has arisen within this Administration with the Vice
President and his office--whether intelligence has been captured.
How do you mean captured?
captured, whether the Vice President has his own intelligence and whether the
Vice President, you know, is a different figure in terms of--and you've seen
this up close, because you were the deputy to John Negroponte when he was the
Director of National Intelligence.
D/CIA: Right. No. I mean all policymakers come to the creation of policy with their
own personal histories, with their own view of man, with their own view of the
world, with their own view of the best possible approaches that the Republic
could have. We're part of that mix. We bring a view of the world into
that--into that conversation.
ROSE: The CIA
brings a view of the world into that conversation.
D/CIA: We have to
be policy relevant. Otherwise we're spending an awful lot of your tax dollars
just to be interesting. What we need
to be is relevant, so we've got to answer the questions that policymakers put
to us. And frankly, we've got to answer a few questions that they don't think
to put to us as well. But the fact
that a policymaker disagrees with us--or more frequently, a policymaker
challenges us--makes us stand by our assumptions, makes us stand by our conclusions. That's the cost of doing business, and
if you're a really good analyst, you actually welcome that. That's not something that should put you off.
ROSE: So if you
see a policymaker question your view or your analyst with great enthusiasm, you
D/CIA: We do.
ROSE: Because you
want to know whether you're doing the right thing.
right. And that actually is one
metric, one measure, of the relevance of what it is we're saying to the
policymakers' formulation of policy.
ROSE: Here's the
flip side of that.
Policymakers have made a decision about a certain policy, and they're just
looking--they are out there looking for some intelligence that you'll give them
that will support a point of view that they already have. That's the danger that some people worry about.
D/CIA: Of course.
That exists in any human endeavor. That,
you know, human nature being what it is.
Anyone can go into a question, particularly a complex question with a
preconceived point of view. And one
can go through--there's massive amounts of data out there now. Let me step back and give you an
example from people in my community. It's
going to sound a little defensive, but, you know, in our conversation before we
started, you said you wanted this to be a candid conversation. All right? It's
pretty easy looking back after 9/11, looking into that vast ocean of data that
existed prior to 9/11, and pick out the threads that show you how one could
have arrived at a conclusion that the attacks were imminent, that the attacks
would be of this nature, that they would happen at this time, and so on. So there is so much data out there
that the human mind has to come at that data with at least some hypotheses.
ROSE: Okay, but--
D/CIA: A policymaker
can do that. But so can we, and
their hypotheses and ours can legitimately bump up against one another.
ROSE: Do you
accept all the conclusions of the 9/11 Commission?
ROSE: That's a
case where they looked at everything and made certain--
Conclusions in terms of the recommendations--
made to our community. And by and
large, almost all those recommendations have been enacted.
ROSE: When you
look at this statement, "America
needs something that arguably goes against our grain, a truly great
intelligence service that can be operated powerfully, invisibly,
actually states quite clearly and simply starkly the dilemma of a secret
intelligence service inside of a free society. But a free society needs a secret intelligence service as much as,
if not more than, other forms of government around the world. And that presents us with great
challenges--not us as an Agency, but it presents us as a people with these
kinds of great challenges.
ROSE: Do we have
a great intelligence service?
D/CIA: I believe
we do have a great intelligence service.
Is it good enough in all circumstances?
Of course not. We live in the human
condition. We try to make it better
each day. But one of the messages I
feel compelled to give to the American public is that the CIA and the American
Intelligence Community writ large is in a class by its own. If we were comparing our intelligence services to the intelligence
services around the world, and we were grading on a curve, we'd have to give
ourselves an A-plus.
ROSE: All right. Let me just--
D/CIA: But life
and the American people don't grade on the curve. It's an absolute scale. And
that demands that we be better at everything we do.
ROSE: So you are
saying to us, "I don't know of any nation that has a better intelligence
service, and I've seen many of them, because it is my job to have relationships
with many of them."
D/CIA: It would
be unfair of me to endorse precisely what you just said. But when you think of the scale of intelligence that our nation
must have, and to give you that mix of both global coverage, which no one--no
other nation--currently has, and excellence, you can see where the bar is for
the American Intelligence Community. It's
ROSE: When you
came there, people said the following things. They said he's there to calm a
troubled agency, to restore the luster and restore the professionalism. Have you done that? Have you had to do that? Have you had
to change a culture over there?
D/CIA: What you
say roughly captures some of the things that we had to take on when I came
there with Steve Kappes and Michael Morell.
ROSE: Who had
right--who had left about 16 months ago.
All right, the first thing we had to do, and I said this in my confirmation
hearings, was to get the Agency out of the news as source or subject. There is no worse place for an
intelligence service like CIA to be than on Page 1, above the fold in your
daily newspaper. That's a
distraction to the kind of work that the Agency has to do. So the first thing we wanted to do--this is really very simple. And Steve and Michael and I, my first
message to the workforce was simply this: let's just go back to work. Let's
just go what it is, go back and do what it is we know we have to do to defend America,
to defend the Republic the way I described it a few minutes ago.
ROSE: Have you
reached a point now where you think it's important to communicate something
about the CIA? We asked you to come here, and it was not the first invitation.
You appeared at the Council of Foreign Relations.
ROSE: You made a
speech, which was a candid and forceful speech about how you saw the CIA. Have
you reached a point where you think it's important to communicate?
D/CIA: It is.
ROSE: Because you
are bothered by something?
D/CIA: I am. And
let me try to describe the narrative--
perhaps has gotten me, gotten the Agency to this point. As I said in my
confirmation hearing, out of the press as source or subject. Settle down. Back
to work. Do our mission. And I think we've been somewhat successful in doing
But there are other dynamics at work here as well. Many of
the things this agency does on behalf of the American people have become
controversial, have become controversial in a way that affects the workforce. I
mean, these aren't people separated from the American political culture who
come to work at Langley
and our activities around the world. These people are fully, completely
Americans. They are affected by what goes on in the broader political culture
when it's discussing the kind of work that they do. I think that public
discourse has not been well informed. And so I am here. I was at the Council on
Foreign Relations last month to give our perspective on some of these critical
questions about the Agency that are now out there in the public forum.
ROSE: All right.
Let's talk about the idea that you cited in the Council on Foreign Relations,
just to give you some sense of information and how you see the battle and what
techniques and means that you use in the battle.
ROSE: You have
said the United States
is at war. There is a state of armed conflict, and that the CIA is a vital
element of that war. Tell me about the war and what you think the challenge is,
because you say that everybody--that there's a real danger, more so than any
time since the Civil War.
ROSE: And that
everybody in America
who lives in a major city is a possible target.
right. And that statement, you know, as I believe I put it, we believe we are
in a state of armed conflict with al-Qaeda and its affiliates, that this
conflict is global in scope, and that the only way we can win that war and to
defend the Republic is to take that war to the enemy wherever he may be.
recognize that I said it so starkly. I recognize that that is not a universally
held view globally. And much to my disappointment, it is not a universally held
view domestically. We had a meeting at--
ROSE: That we
were at war or the nature of the enemy?
D/CIA: No, no.
That this is a war.
D/CIA: And that
we must consider it a war, that it isn't a law enforcement problem or some
other kind of approach to this particular problem that we're facing today, that
this is an armed conflict. After the attacks on September 11th, we all learned
lessons. You asked me about the 9/11 Commission and so on. One of the ones that
I internalized personally because of my experience at that time as the Director
of the National Security Agency was that this was not, in its essence,
primarily a law enforcement issue. This was an armed conflict.
That is, again, not universally accepted by other
governments in the world. And in March, I was invited to talk. The German
ambassador asked me to come to his residence. Germany at that time was in the
chair of the European Union. And he had this every-other-week meeting with the
ambassadors to the United
States from the countries of the European
Union. And I went there at lunch to speak. It was a very good exchange of
ideas. But I made that point precisely the way I said it: "We are in a
state of armed conflict." And that's a view that I know is not held by
many of the governments that are represented in that room.
ROSE: Well, it is
said that the British have been successful because they believed it is a police
effort, that that's why they've been able to roll up some of those people that
they have in Britain.
D/CIA: Right. And
the British are wonderful partners. And we share information with them
intimately. And their success is our success and vice versa. Rolling up people
on the verge of an attack in Great
Britain is not a comforting measure of
success in this war. You know, if we try to defeat this enemy at the moment of
attack, and it may be just that. It may be the moment of attack.
D/CIA: We may not
be able to defeat him on the battlefield he has chosen, but that moment of
attack has a trail. That trail goes back--it goes back in time. It goes back in
space. It goes back in actors. And if we can attack back there against those
people who are plotting, against those people who are planning, against those
facilitators, I'd rather bet the safety of the Republic and the safety of our
allies on that kind of an approach rather than--if you want to use a sports metaphor--playing
a little offense rather than having a perpetual first down and goal on the
three-yard line in the homeland.
ROSE: I mean, is
there anybody that doesn't think that this is a serious challenge to America's
national security and we ought to take the battle to them and we ought to
use--and be vigorous in our effort--to find out where the leadership is, what
their targets are, what their means are, and whether they have the possibility
in the United States, which you say you don't know--
ROSE: --to do
damage to the United States
in the homeland.
D/CIA: To clarify
the last points that you made, what we don't know is whether or not they have
operatives in the homeland. The other preconditions for attack we've stated
pretty clearly. We think exist. But take your question and take it out of the
abstract, and let's move it to the very practical, all right?
When I was at the Council on Foreign Relations, I said, you
know, I have to act. I'm the head of the CIA. And I can't simply admire the
problem or relish in its complexities. If I pick up someone who will do harm to
if we're able to somehow get our hands on someone like that, I think I
realistically have three options: I can detain him under the authorities the
President has given us if he meets certain criteria. I can conduct a rendition.
That is, taking that person to some other country, a third country. Or I can
send that person to Guantanamo.
And I said that very starkly at the Council on Foreign Relations to say those are
the options that I have. Now I later learned, someone else had commented, well
you could put him into a judicial process. That's the question that I see an
awful lot on friction on.
ROSE: Okay, let
me just tell you who argues the judicial process--Colin Powell. Colin Powell
says we have nothing to fear from putting them in a judicial process.
don't think we have anything to fear by putting them into a judicial process,
if that is possible, but that cannot be our only approach to this problem.
There are many people about whom I have more than sufficient intelligence to
know that they intend to do great harm to the United States, but it's the kind
of information that may not be admissible in a court of law, or it may be the
kind of information that I cannot submit to a judicial process because of the
threat it would impose to sources and methods. Back to the premise, this is a
war, this is not a law enforcement activity.
ROSE: You think
that's true about Khalid Sheikh Mohammed?
D/CIA: It was
true for a while.
you--before you captured him or after you captured?
ROSE: That you
didn't have the evidence to put him on trial?
D/CIA: No, no.
Remembering that the premise here is that this is a war.
D/CIA: That the
safety of the nation for a period of time was better served by keeping him in a
dentition facility with the Central Intelligence Agency where our access to him
had no filter, had no interruption, so that we could develop from him all the
information that we did develop from him that prevented future attacks. At some
point, and I realize, a captured al-Qaeda senior like Khalid Sheikh
Mohammed--his intelligence value never bleeds off to zero. But at some point,
at some point, the intelligence value has to be measured against the other
tools that the nation has at its disposal, and in this case, the summer of last
year and the summer of 2006, the decision was made for KSM and for the 13 other
people who were in custody at that time that the intelligence value had aged
off to such a point that they could be moved to the next step of the process
and that they can be prosecuted. Now the difficulty of prosecution--and that's
not in my inbox. You read the press
and the coverage as closely as I, and you can see all the complications that we
have to work through as a society to prosecute.
separate two things. One, General
Powell I think was talking about Guantanamo
primarily. Now, are you making the
same distinction? I mean KSM is now
ROSE: So should
he have judicial process now, or do you think that as long as you think he is
an asset that might tell you something, you should not give him and put him
into some recognized judicial process?
D/CIA: We have
made the judgment that the intelligence value of those individuals, the 14 that
we moved there last September and the one additional person that we moved there
this past year, Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi, that the intelligence value of those
people have degraded to a point that these other needs now take dominance. And we can't put them through a
ROSE: I think
what most Americans--
D/CIA: And I
should add, okay, we are not the nation's jailers. We are the nation's intelligence service. We hold these people because they have intelligence value, and
when they don't have intelligence value, other agencies, other arms of the US government
have to step up. It could be a legal process. It could be indefinite detention as a combatant at Guantanamo.
ROSE: I want to
get to torture and all that and interrogation in just a moment, but let me just
stay with the argument where you are: rendition. Rendition is where you take somebody and you transport them to
ROSE: How many
people have you done this to?
two figures since September 11, 2001. A
pace somewhat behind the number of renditions conducted in the 1990s.
ROSE: Who was
renditioned in the 1990s?
D/CIA: There were
a whole variety of people that were moved between countries.
ROSE: Are we
talking about a hundred people since 9/11?
mid-range, two figures.
figures. So 50, 60. Whatever. Doesn't matter. Have
been renditioned to somewhere.
ROSE: When you
take them there, what happens? Who is in charge of the interrogation? What role does the CIA play? How much can the CIA do or does the
CIA want to look the other way, is the impression of many people, as you know.
D/CIA: No, I
understand. And that's--you've asked
me, why did I want to come on the show now?
It's these kind of impressions that need to be corrected. Let me scale this. I'm sorry. This maybe a
slightly longer answer than you--
ROSE: Go ahead.
--bargained for. All right. The total number of people detained by
the CIA is fewer than a hundred. In
the life of the program, since the capture of Abu Zubaydah in March of 2002. Of these people detained, the number
against whom we have used any kind of enhanced interrogation techniques is
fewer than a third of the fewer than a hundred.
D/CIA: All right.
Beyond those people, okay, that we've actually detained, there is another group
of people, as you've described, on whom we've conducted renditions. We have moved them from one country to
ROSE: Why do you
do that? Why is that necessary?
D/CIA: In order
to take them off the battlefield. Now
you ask me why don't I just detain them?
The reason is that under the authorities--the authorities under which we
operate have clear criteria for people to be detained by the Central
Intelligence Agency, and it's not run-of-the-mill al-Qaeda. For people who want to do us harm, who may not meet the criteria
of detention, but whom everyone would agree have to be taken off the
ROSE: And you say
under--without equivocation, that you do not go turn them over to foreign
intelligence services because they have means and methods that you would be
uncomfortable using. That is a fact?
D/CIA: That is a
fact. And that is US law. Let me talk just for a moment about
the requirements that we have to meet when we conduct a rendition. We have to believe that mistreatment
of that individual is less rather than more likely, and we talked about this at
the Council in Foreign Relations as you've described--
ROSE: That's the
D/CIA: And the
overall history of the receiving government is obviously something that we have
to take into account. But the law
requires us to make an independent judgment on this individual. And the criteria that exists in the
legislative history of our treaty ratification that creates this requirement
for us is less rather than more likely. Now
you may argue, and some have, that's a relatively low bar. And I've said in other audiences, we're not looking to do this
49/51. When we seek assurances from
the receiving nation, we want assurances, we want them to mean those assurances
and we have a responsibility, we, plural--the United
States government, including its intelligence
services--that the United
States government as a whole, to do our very
best to ensure that the receiving government lives up to those promises.
ROSE: Is there a
CIA person always there in terms of interrogation?
D/CIA: No, of
ROSE: So you
don't know. You just have a promise
from that government, from the leadership of that government that that's what
they're going to do?
D/CIA: We have a
promise and a commitment from that government. Clearly, in most instances, you
would assume, I think, that we have a relationship with that government and
with that service. For them to do
something beyond their promised behavior for us is not something they would
take lightly. We rely on that and
all the tools at our disposal to ensure that they've lived up to their
have--I'll come back to this later. You
have said there are two things. There
is a close battle and a deep battle.
ROSE: The close
battle is what we have been talking about.
The deep battle is trying to influence hearts and minds--
ROSE: --trying to
prevent people or provide an alternative so they don't go joining groups that
wish us harm. Do you also agree that
how you do the close battle may very well influence, so if, in fact, you're
absolutely. I agree.
ROSE: And--or if
your reputation is doing things, then you're in trouble, because it hurts your
effort, and there are many people today that believe, around the world, that
that's the reality, and they're saying America is not what it represents itself
ROSE: I'm not
telling you anything--
D/CIA: And let me
agree as strongly as I humanly can that the close battle and how we fight it is
connected to the deep battle. The
close battle being taking off the battlefield those who would kill or harm America or its
allies. And the deep battle being that long-term war of ideas in which that
which seems to motivate those folks we now have a problem with in the close
fight, that which seems to motivate them is muted and changed--a change in
belief or an attitude or in the causes. The underlying causes that create those
who seem to want to act against us. They
are absolutely connected. But one of
the reasons we're talking here today, one of the reasons I talked to the
Council on Foreign Relations, is to try to describe, to the best of our
ability--and it's really hard for a secret intelligence service to talk about
things that are secret--but to describe to the best of our ability what it is
we are really doing, rather than the phrase you used a minute ago, the
appearance or the assumption or some other word that describes--what's the
right word, Charlie? Propaganda, of
what it is my agency is actually trying to do. When I tell audiences that want to be thoughtful, that in the life
of this program it's fewer than a hundred, with regard to interrogation
techniques it's fewer than a third, and the number of renditions is actually
smaller than that, mid-range, two figures.
Now we can begin to have something of a reasonable conversation about
reality rather than image.
ROSE: I need some
help with terms here. What does
enhanced technique mean? The President has come back and said enhanced
technique executive order, okay. You
have changed--you have added to that, I think, or maybe the President did, that
there can be no enhanced technique that you haven't approved.
ROSE: All right. What is enhanced technique? What are we talking about here?
ROSE: Is it
something close to torture?
D/CIA: No. First of all, as you know, I'm not
going to talk about any specific techniques.
D/CIA: All right?
it's waterboarding or anything else, you can't qualify it as an enhanced
technique or not.
correct. And I can't comment on--
D/CIA: And I
can't comment on any of the techniques we may or may not have used. That's right. All right?
ROSE: But you
can't tell me whether those are acceptable or whether those are enhanced
techniques? In other words, a lot of us want to know, what's your definition of
torture, and how does it differ from what might be a conventional definition of
torture? Is sleep deprivation
torture, you know, is waterboarding torture? What is torture, regardless of whether you've used it or not?
that you've asked me for a personal opinion.
D/CIA: All right. And let me put that up on the table
and then move beyond it. My personal
opinion isn't of great value to this conversation. What matters is US
law. But before leaving personal
opinion, let me tell you that the actions I've asked our officers to do, in my
time as Director, my personal conscience is very content with what it is I've
asked them to do. Okay--
ROSE: Whether it
had to do with--KSM, or even the people who have plotted 9/11?
ROSE: And they
were the ones who plotted 9/11, two of them.
D/CIA: Right. I'm talking about--
conscience is clear--
D/CIA: In terms
of my conscience--
conscience clear as to whatever was done to those people during your time as
Director of the CIA.
ROSE: What about
D/CIA: Well, let
me get to the earlier question you asked. You said what are enhanced techniques?
D/CIA: And I'm
going to have to work backwards a little bit from this, all right? But the
other document that's out there, all right, the other document that people
point to and say, why can't you follow this document?
D/CIA: Is the
Army Field Manual. And what I will describe for you is that enhanced
techniques, all right, are in that range between the Army Field Manual, okay,
and the limits of what US
law and US treaty obligations allow. No one has ever claimed that the Army
Field Manual exhausts all the lawful interrogation techniques that the American Republic can use to defend itself.
ROSE: Just for
the benefit of--the Army Field Manual is what the military and the Department
of Defense uses as its standard.
correct. And I think it's a powerful document for America's Army and for the
Department of Defense.
ROSE: What's at
the other end, so I can understand what's in between? What is it that American
Constitution and the American law allow?
D/CIA: Well, now
we're getting into--talk much longer, we'll be getting into very specific
techniques. Let me build from the Army Field Manual forward to give you some
sense as to what that range might be between the limits of the Field Manual and
the limits of US law and US treaty
obligation. The Army Field Manual was written to develop and describe a set of
techniques that the US
Department of Defense--and by the way, that's a friendly institution for me.
That's where I have my roots.
That America's Army is confident that you can teach 20, 21, 22-year-old
interrogators to do, in battlefield circumstances, in fast-moving situations,
sometimes with minimal supervision in order to get tactically relevant
information from captured enemy combatants in almost all cases who will be
lawful combatants under the Geneva Convention. Why anyone would think a
document that meets that description should be the document that controls the
activities of the Central Intelligence Agency, I don't understand. There are
other things that are perfectly lawful that are within the limits of our treaty
obligations--the Convention Against Torture, Common Article 3 of the Geneva
ROSE: Why can't
anybody define to me what's lawful, though, between the Army Field Manual and
the American Constitution? Just define for me what's lawful.
Because--because--and this point, if you were in my office at Langley, and we were talking, I'd probably
hit a button and have three or four lawyers come down and back-stop me.
D/CIA: But for
the GI director of Central Intelligence Agency, I am familiar enough with US
law to know that that limit up here is tied into beyond the Army Field Manual,
a limit beyond which CIA cannot go. It's tied into a body of US law, a body of US precedent. It's tied to how we
have articulated domestically our requirements under the 5th, 8th, and 14th
Amendments to the US Constitution. And my lawyers tell me that the sum total of
law tied to those constitutional amendments is summarized by the standard of
"shock the conscience." And shock the conscience--
ROSE: If you
shock the conscience, it's illegal.
D/CIA: It would
be a violation of--depending on how badly it's shocked the conscience, one
could consider it torture. One could also consider it to be cruel, inhuman, and
degrading activity, all of which are equally forbidden inside of US law.
ROSE: What do you
say to somebody who says, if you captured somebody that planned, let's say you
captured Osama Bin Laden tomorrow, who may very well know what plans there are.
All--whatever is necessary, do. What do you say to those Americans who say the
reverse? I'm not worried about the Constitution.
ROSE: I'm worried
ROSE: And this
person may know things that will kill Americans. Go to it, General.
D/CIA: There are
absolute standards. Those standards are embodied in our law. They're in the
Military Commissions Act, for example. They're in how we ratify the Convention
Against Torture. They're in domestic US law that forbid different
aspects of torture. Some things are just absolutely forbidden. Some things are
just wrong. And they're mentioned very specifically.
ROSE: It would
shock the conscience.
shock the conscience.
it's--and they would shock the conscience to such a degree, okay, that American
jurisprudence cannot imagine circumstances when they would not shock the
conscious, all right? But then are a whole bunch other activities. I read an
interesting piece in today's Wall Street Journal, and I'm paraphrasing here,
and I probably won't get it perfectly right. But they were talking about the
shock the conscience standard, all right? And they pointed out that if they
took you and me, all right, people of our age, and put us, you and me, through
what Marine Corps recruits go through at Paris Island
and forced us to do that, that would probably shock the conscience. But it's
not illegal to do it to Marine Corps recruits, all right? That same behavior is
not absolutely wrong--
ROSE: Are you
talking about things like sleep deprivation, cold and extreme, and--
D/CIA: All the
things, all the stresses that we put these recruits through, all right? But we
don't think that's torture or cruel, inhuman, and degrading--
ROSE: But I don't
think when people think about torture that's what they're talking about. You
know? This leads to another--
that's a wonderful point because maybe that is what I'm talking about.
ROSE: So we're
saying we do--do that it's torture. If we do that, it's not torture, that's
what you're saying?
D/CIA: Again, I'm
not going to talk about--
ROSE: I know
that, but what you just said to me. But there is--I mean, if--I--you would say
to me, clearly the United
States does not torture.
President said that. The United
States does not torture.
ROSE: And under
no circumstance would we do it because no information is worth violating our
DNA. Is that what you'd say?
actually talked about conducting this war in a way that does not change our DNA
as a people. That's a phrase I've actually used. That's right.
ROSE: What do we
know about interrogations? What do we know about what works because I read a
range of people say that those people who think beating someone up is the way
to get them to talk have gotten it wrong.
ROSE: The way
time after time it's proven that you get information is over process that has
more to do with psychology than it does with force.
ROSE: Is that
right or wrong?
first of all, just a footnote in our conversation. We don't beat anybody up.
ROSE: All right.
D/CIA: Let's move
on from that.
ROSE: No matter
what they've done?
right. I mean, again, I said earlier, we're not the nation's jailers.
D/CIA: And we're
not out there to punish either. We're out there to learn. We're out there--
ROSE: And get
D/CIA: We're out
there to get information. That's right. We have found universally, and I can
say this without qualification the most powerful tool we have in gaining
information from a captured detainee is our knowledge. We had one instance
where we had a detainee. We took him into our custody. We told him who we were
and we also told him who he was.
ROSE: Show him
you knew a lot about him?
correct. And in that case, proved to be sufficient.
What was at work?
D/CIA: Well, what
was at work was that we knew more about him than he expected. In many ways, we
knew more about him than he knew himself.
ROSE: So he had
assumed he had no reason not to disclose?
D/CIA: Well, we
were, again, the purpose of this is to get information from him. And if you can
challenge his misleading stories, if you can deconstruct his cover story, those
things allow us to take information and to gain that information. Now you
talked earlier-- and I need to come back to this--because the belief out there
is that torture does not work. All right?
D/CIA: I believe
that. All right? And let me turn that syllogism on its head. Right? This does
work. These fewer than a hundred detainees that we've had have created just
under nine thousand intelligence reports. They comprise some of the most
critical information we've ever gained on al-Qaeda. If you accept the premise
that torture doesn't work, then you have to accept the fact that this did work.
It provided us with very reliable, massive amounts of information.
ROSE: Okay, let
me just ask this, just for the benefit of this. You have learned important
things from those people who were in rendition, very important things that have
enabled you to do better in the fight against terrorism, al-Qaeda, whatever you
might perceive to be the enemy.
ROSE: And you're
saying I'd be happy for anybody to know what techniques we used in order to get
them to give us this vital information? I would have no problem if being on the
front page of the New York
Times what techniques we used because we don't torture, because I don't believe
torture works. What works is psychology, what works is giving them information
that we know about them, what works is--
D/CIA: I am
unable to tell a quarter billion Americans what it is we're doing on their
that information would become available to our enemies, and would become the
table of contents of their training manual against us. Having said that, I wish I could tell a quarter billion Americans
what we're doing on their behalf. I believe
the vast majority of the American people would be quite comfortable with what
their secret intelligence service is doing.
ROSE: And that's
ROSE: When you
look at the information, just help me understand how valuable the information
has been from people like KSM, Abu Zubaydah--
D/CIA: Right. Detainees writ large. Those al-Qaeda members we have
captured have been historically the single greatest source of information we've
had on al-Qaeda. To use a metaphor
that may explain what we're about, intelligence is often described as putting
the pieces of a puzzle together. In
almost all circumstances, our analysts have pieces of the puzzle incomplete,
never all the pieces. And they've
never seen the picture on the top of the box. A detainee very frequently has a lot of pieces, and the detainee
has seen the picture on the top of the box.
That kind of information is invaluable.
The people we have in our program are not run-of-the-mill
al-Qaeda. These are high value detainees.
There are criteria which I unfortunately cannot describe. There are criteria which must be met
before people can be detained in this program by the Central Intelligence
Agency. So we are talking about
people whom we have every expectation, have seen the tops of quite a few puzzle
ROSE: It is said
that the CIA is studying the effectiveness and retaining a jettison techniques
on a sliding scale. Now I assume
what that means is that if you're getting a lot of information with a certain
technique, that it becomes a much more valuable technique. Can you help me understand this?
D/CIA: Yeah. There is kind of a myth out there, and
I'm going to be too flippant, maybe irreverent in describing it. That somehow, you know, it's Tuesday,
we go in, meet the detainee, and say it's Tuesday, let's use number 12 or
number 6. I mean that's not what
this is about. We work very hard to
get into a relationship with this detainee that CIA, the United States Army, or
any other interrogator would describe as "debriefing." A conversation with someone who is now
sitting there talking to you about the things you're interested in. So that's,
I think, the first thing I need to point out. Secondly, the way you phrased your question, Charlie, accused us
of being a learning organization. Guilty.
D/CIA: We are a
learning organization. And clearly,
we have developed experience over the years in which this program has--
ROSE: Tell me
what's the most important thing you've learned.
D/CIA: I don't
mean to dodge the question, but I'm going to tell you what I think the most
important thing we've learned is this. And
we have adjusted the program based upon these realities. It was our belief last summer, if you recall, we had the detainee
treatment Act. We had the Hamdan
decision. We had these 14
individuals in CIA custody, even though we had a belief--and some of them in
our custody for years. Even though
we had a belief that we were not the nation's jailers. And that we had to move on.
We had to move forward. We
believed this program, you can probably tell from some of my comments, we
believe this program was appropriate, lawful and effective. But we needed it to move forward inside the broader American
political culture. So we made a
conscious decision inside CIA, and we worked this decision, this belief inside
the Administration, that this program, if it were to go forward, had to go
forward on something more than just a definition of its lawfulness. That it had
to go forward with not just a definition of its lawfulness, but it had to have
I guess what I'd call both policy and political legs. So that this was not the CIA's program, that this was America's
program. And so what we did,
beginning last September, was actually the day the president spoke in the White
House announcing that the 14 had been brought to Guantanamo. I began to dialogue with Congress. I briefed all members of both of our oversight committees on all
aspects of the detention and interrogation program, sought their thoughts on
techniques that we may want to use going forward, and only after we had had
that dialogue--now, to be fair, so that no one misunderstands here, we didn't
ask the committees to vote on anything. But
we laid out what it was we were doing. We
had pretty rich dialogue. Their
views informed my judgment, and that at the end of the day, and actually in
2007, we went forward to the President, to the Department of Justice, with a
program. I can't describe that
program to you, but I would suggest to you that it would be wrong to assume that the
program of the past is necessarily the program moving forward into the future.
ROSE: There is
also this. It would seem to me you
would less and less need it as you go forward. And I still don't understand, and I hear you but I don't
understand why it's necessary to take it to foreign countries where nobody can
see, nobody knows anything, but, again, you say that's because you have nowhere
else to bring them.
D/CIA: My choices
D/CIA: All right?
ROSE: But you
have nowhere else you can take them, other than to some foreign country where
you turn it over to some foreign government.
D/CIA: Well, I'm
open to ideas. I can keep them. That's detention. I can move them to a foreign government. That's rendition. We
can move them to Guantanamo.
ROSE: I think
most Americans would prefer detention or Guantanamo, I think, because you're
putting people in the hands of other people and you're just going on just a
D/CIA: It's more
than just a promise. I told you that
the care we're required to take, and in many cases, these people are actually
criminals, wanted, in their--
ROSE: In their
D/CIA: In their
ROSE: And that's
why the regions you choose--I know that argument. Here is another argument that you make. There is this thing called a space that you say, the space is to
give the CIA space to do what it needs to do, because it's engaged in a war,
and in this space, it's been given it by the Constitution. You believe that certain kinds of things happening in our country,
or in part of what's happening, one is media, influenced and tighten the space. You believe that press coverage in
some ways limits your maneuverability and restricts your space. Right?
tempted to say yes, but I'm reluctant to, because I know the importance of a
free press. I know what it means to
me as a citizen. I know what it
means to CIA officers because they're all American citizens as well. I guess what I'm looking for--what
puzzles me is not that we're the subject of many stories. I'd rather we weren't the subject of so many, but that happens. What puzzles me is to why there seems
to be this temptation--almost irresistible--temptation to take any story about
us and move it into the darkest corner of the room.
ROSE: Tell me
what you mean by that. You've said
D/CIA: Let me
give you an example.
ROSE: What's the
darkest corner of the room?
D/CIA: There was
a story about 10 days ago from a rather large newspaper up the street.
ROSE: Right. This would be the New York Times.
D/CIA: It would
be. That talked about--they claimed
that there had been a Department of Justice opinion in the spring of 2005, that
--and if you read the article, you would seem to get the impression that it
expanded the authorities of CIA, or expanded the number of techniques that
would be used. And all of us at the
Agency looked at the story and maybe this is our narrow perspective. I mean we all kind of have a point of
view depending on what it is we do day in and day out. We were looking at the story, something of a narrative disbelief. Number one, and I can't get too far in
detail about this, which I truly do regret.
The opinion that Justice gave the CIA in the spring of 2005 was the result
of a request from our Agency for greater clarity on the program, legal clarity,
on a program that was already existing. That's
one fact. Number two, that's history. Since
the time of the decision that the New York Times reported on in the spring of
2005, we had the Detainee Treatment Act in December of 2005, we had the Hamdan
decision in the summer of 2006, we had the Military Commissions Act in the fall
of 2006. They have all changed the legal landscape under which CIA's program is
ROSE: Made it
D/CIA: It changed
the legal framework and so--that to look at an opinion Justice offered in the
spring of 2005--that simply has no relevance to the lawfulness or the legal
opinion under which CIA is operating in the fall of 2007.
ROSE: Okay. But
you also mean that, for example, there was reporting by the New York Times,
too, about Swiss bank accounts. I've forgotten exactly the details. But Bill
Keller, the editor, they went ahead with the story.
D/CIA: This is a
ROSE: Did you
know beforehand the story was coming?
D/CIA: Yes. And--
ROSE: Was there
any effort by anybody to talk to Bill Keller of the New York Times and say,
"This will do damage to us if you run this story?"
D/CIA: This is
largely handled by the Department of Treasury because it's more in their lane
than in ours.
D/CIA: And the
answer is yes, we viewed this story that it would do damage. And I--
ROSE: And they
listened and then went ahead with printing because they believed you were
wrong, or somebody--they believed that it did not damage national security and
that there were other means to find out, or whatever their rationalization was,
or whatever their decision making was.
ROSE: Okay. You
also believe that, in fact, if somebody within the CIA leaks a story, and a
mainstream publication, in this case, publishes it, they are, in a sense,
D/CIA: The CIA officer?
ROSE: No. No. You
know, that--that's not even a question, right.
ROSE: Culpable in
the sense that he may violate some CIA regulation or something. But if the
mainstream media publishes it, they are, too. They have some--
D/CIA: Yes. Let
me choose my words carefully, all right? And give me a minute or two to talk
about this because this is very important because I don't want, me personally
or my agency especially, okay, to be characterized as having a view against the
free press. All right? That's simply not true. What I have said in the past,
that someone who willingly breaks the trust we have given them in terms of
their oath of office with regard to protecting classified information.
ROSE: People who
leak to the press.
correct. They are guilty of a crime, all right? But I've also said those who
pursue that information, those who decide to print that information are not
without their responsibilities, right? I never said it was a crime, okay? I
never said, in all cases, they must not print. But I did say there are real
responsibilities here. It can erode the ability of the nation to defend itself.
And so in the case of the Swift program, it does have an impact on what it is
we can do.
ROSE: How would
you solve this issue?
D/CIA: That's a
very difficult question. And you know this may not be a problem to be solved.
This may be a condition that we have to manage.
ROSE: But you do
believe it reduces your space. You just said as much.
D/CIA: I did.
ROSE: That in as
much in the Council on Foreign Relations Speech.
D/CIA: It does,
all right? And therefore, it's my role in this debate to point that out, okay?
I did not say in my Council on Foreign Relations speech, any action should be
taken against the press.
ROSE: But you did
simply said it damages our efforts to--
D/CIA: It does.
ROSE: --do our
D/CIA: What I was
trying to do--
ROSE: --is what
D/CIA: What I was
trying to do was to call the attention of the press and folks like yourself and
others to this issue. This is not a free ride. America is made less safe when
these kinds of stories are made public. Now, there may be--there may be other
ROSE: Would you
accept the idea that there are people--reasonable people can disagree over
D/CIA: I can. But
let me add, all right? We haven't talked about it. But I was going to say, but
I was at NSA when we began and continued with the president identified later as
the Terrorist Surveillance Program.
ROSE: Right, right.
D/CIA: All right?
Even I--by the way, very comfortable with the lawfulness of the program and
incredibly comfortable with the scrupulousness with which it was carried
out--even I can see that there is a civil liberties issue there.
D/CIA: What is
the civil liberties issue with the Swift program?
ROSE: I don't
know that there's a civil liberties issue there.
D/CIA: So, so,
what would be--
ROSE: In other
D/CIA: What was
the major compelling public--
the question you would ask is whose civil liberties are we damaging, you know,
D/CIA: By this
ROSE: By this
you're using to get information about the flow of funds.
D/CIA: Right. Which
was briefed to Congress. Which did have external oversight.
D/CIA: All the
things, all the sins that were alleged in the NSA program.
ROSE: All right.
Let me just to a couple of other things. Recently there was information about
the al-Qaeda web site. Was that a big deal?
D/CIA: I don't
know enough specifically to give you a judgment. I really don't know. I'm going
to dodge the question.
ROSE: They fear
that that got out in the public and they shut it down.
familiar with the narrative, I've read the press accounts with it, but I just
don't know enough about it internally to give you a judgment.
ROSE: All right.
Let me go to wiretapping for a second. I mean, you were at the NSA before you
came over here. I've heard people who work within NSA and work with the CIA say
to friends of mine, not to me, but to say to people who cover those agencies, a
lot of very good people, strong, patriotic people, believe that wiretapping
gave them information that was important in fighting the battle against
America's enemies. However, each of them said, I would have just felt better if
we'd gotten a warrant. I just felt better and it didn't seem to me that that is
the issue, you know, with a program for getting a warrant. That that's what
ought to have happened and when that was violated, then you got into problems.
D/CIA: All right.
Getting out of my current lane.
ROSE: Yeah, but
your previous lane.
history--two jobs back, as a matter of fact, in the literal meaning of that
word, okay? Based on the facts of the case, until the story broke in the New
York Times in December of 2005, no one who was asked to be part of this program
inside the National Security Agency expressed any reservations about being part
of this program. After the story broke, people who were not part of the program
quite understandably concerned about what might be going on, they then had went
to the NSA IG to ask questions about it. No one in the history of the program
pushed back on participating in it. They believed very strongly that what they
were doing was both lawful and effective and appropriate.
ROSE: They might
have had objections, but not said it.
D/CIA: Well, now
you have to understand, NSA is actually a very conservative culture. In fact,
the core of NSA is--
ROSE: With a
bigger budget than CIA.
D/CIA: I can't
talk about that. NSA is a very conservative culture legally. Our lawyers at NSA
were notorious for their conservatism up through the morning of September 11th,
2001. The single most consistent criticism of the NSA legal office by our
congressional oversight committee was that our legal office was too
conservative. Now you've talked about warrants and why didn't you go get a
warrant and so on, and it's a long issue. It's one that I wish we could lay out
in great detail, but let me tell you what I said to anyone who'd care to listen
during the life of this program when I briefed them on this program. And I made
dozens of briefings on this program prior to the December 2005 story in the New
York Times. Simple version that I gave is that FISA as currently crafted--
ROSE: Where you
go to get the warrant?
correct. FISA, as currently crafted and implemented, could not give the nation
the same degree of protection that was afforded by operating under the
President's Article II authorities, which was what we were doing.
questions that come up about the CIA. Your inspector general had an inquiry as
to things that had happened.
D/CIA: Inquiry is
the big and wrong word.
ROSE: Okay, what
should it be?
ROSE: It is said,
you weren't happy with that because he suggested or at least was considering
the idea there might have been some criminal conduct--
D/CIA: No, no,
ROSE: Not true?
D/CIA: No, no,
ROSE: Not true.
So were you unhappy with the results of his investigation or management review?
D/CIA: No. This
ROSE: Then why
did we appoint somebody to look into the review? Mr. Deitz [inaudible]
D/CIA: The CIA
IG, according to law--
under the overall direction of the Director of the CIA.
ROSE: That'd be
D/CIA: That's me.
I am as responsible for the effective functioning of the IG's office as I am
with any other office in the Central Intelligence Agency--
ROSE: And you
weren't happy with it?
D/CIA: There are
questions. There are questions about
everything we do. We started this
hour, yes, we do have a great intelligence service. I said yeah, we do, but we got to do a lot of things better. Well there are some things that I had
questions about with regard with the IG, in terms--I had a couple reports on my
desk, I looked at, said, these raise some questions in my mind. So I kept this as low key as I
possibly could. I went to Bob Deitz,
who was my general counsel at NSA who I brought into CIA, not as general
counsel, but as a special advisor. All
right? We didn't make this a federal
case, almost in the literal meaning of the word. I asked Bob to organize a small team, and it was. He's got three people on it, okay. And to work with our Inspector
General, John Helgerson, and to look at some of these questions that had been
raised by the reports that I had in front of me. None of them were pushing back on the findings of the reports.
ROSE: That's the
point--in no case--
D/CIA: In each
case I acted on the findings in the report.
But I wanted Bob to look at these questions and to work with John, John
Helgerson, the Inspector General, to see if there was any merit in some of my
concerns, and if there were, what we could do to improve the functioning of the
IG, just like we want to improve the functioning of the DI, or have our
National Clandestine Service or anything else. This was designed to be low key and it was low key for about five
months. Bob has been doing this
since April. He's doing a report out
in the next week or so, not just to me, but to the IG.
conversation began with the great war that we're in, and we have to fight that
war, and you want it clear, because it would hinder your effectiveness if there
was misunderstanding about the CIA.
ROSE: That was
part of the conversation at the beginning of this. With respect to the war, and with respect to al-Qaeda, what
is--what is your--what can you tell us about al-Qaeda in Iraq and al-Qaeda outside of Iraq?
to borrow a phrase from my British friends, is at least on its back foot--
ROSE: Back foot. Wielding--
D/CIA: And may be
back on another part of his body. All
right? Now I don't want to overstate
that, and I don't want to say it's irreversible. And I don't want to say this battle is won. We need to move on. I
don't want to say any of those things. But
we have had remarkable success against al-Qaeda in Iraq
over the past six to twelve months, and has a telling effect on the
battlefield, an effect that is statistically recognizable in what's being
reported out of MNFI, General Petraeus' headquarters in Baghdad.
ROSE: How about
al-Qaeda outside of Iraq?
outside of Iraq
is a learning, adaptive organization. It is a very difficult--
Regenerating is the term you used.
D/CIA: It is. And it's a term I'd share with you
now. All right? It's been advantaged by a couple of things. Okay? The most is its
ability to use that [inaudible] border region between Afghanistan and Pakistan as a safe haven to
regenerate. Our National
Intelligence Estimate from about three months ago said that they had
leadership, a safe haven, and what we call operational lieutenants, the kind of
operational leadership that were present in the FATA, in the federally
administered tribal area. So that
has allowed them, in some measure, to regenerate, yes. That's true.
in these tribal areas which is a bafflement to a lot of people, but
nevertheless, we understand the nature of that terrain.
D/CIA: Exactly. The terrain, the culture, the fact
that no central government has exercised control over--
ROSE: There is
also this. If al-Qaeda would leave Iraq tomorrow,
all of them, by some means, would we still have an Iraqi war?
D/CIA: It would
violence, Shia versus Sunni, because there's not a government in Baghdad that can control
it or is willing to control it?
D/CIA: I wouldn't
simplify it to that degree, all right? Al-Qaeda
has been a pernicious accelerant to the conflict. There and the fact that we have been able to put them on their
back foot or somewhere else has had a remarkable effect on the level of
violence throughout the country. Because
we have been able to do that, because the Sunni tribes have looked into the
future and they don't like it, with an al-Qaeda dominated Islamic state there.
Because they have done what they have done in terms of forming alliance with us
and growingly, with the government in Baghdad,
we have begun to see political relationships, sectarian, inter-sectarian
relationships at the local level that we probably thought were impossible.
talking about Anbar
Province and places like
ROSE: But it's
now moving beyond--
ROSE: --but it
doesn't say anything, because as you know, Bob Woodward reported in his book
that you were in a meeting in which others who were there have, in a sense,
confirmed to Bob Woodward, accordingly, that you had a very, very negative
assessment of the government and their ability, certainly over the short term,
to govern, to engage in any kind of political reconciliation. No confidence. The head of the CIA.
actually characterize my remarks better than the story in the Washington Post
did. Two observations, all right? Number one, we talked about the press
and responsibility and so on. I was
promised confidentiality in my remarks in front of that commission. Okay? It has a chilling effect on good government when someone who is
promised confidentiality has that confidentiality broken. That's fact one--put that aside. Now, let's talk about what it was I said. And I think Bob, whom I actually have talked to in the past and
consider a friend, Bob quoted a metaphor that I had used in the book which was
running a marathon.
D/CIA: And what
he said was I saw no break in the future that would cause this thing to
self-correct. This is a danger in
relying on someone else's notes apparently for a meeting. What I said was there were no natural breaks in the future that I
could see that would cause this to self-correct. Like if you recall, in the preceding years we were saying if we
could just get to the Constitution, if we could just get to the national
elections. It will cause a change in
the political circumstances and we can expect things to get better. I said there were no longer any
natural breaks. And I actually
compared it--I used a lengthy metaphor at the time. I actually compared it to running the Pittsburgh marathon. It's my hometown. I ran
it a couple years back. It's a hilly city.
D/CIA: And I went
out and drove the course the day before the race. And I noticed that at about mile 22, you had a mile and a half
downhill. You get--
ROSE: If you got
it there, you'd finish the race.
D/CIA: If I got
it there and got to the bottom, I had three miles left of the finish, and I've
run that before church on Sunday.
ROSE: But you're
saying at that time when you--
D/CIA: That's a
ROSE: But at that
time, you said you don't see the natural break, and you don't see a way to the
finish at that time.
said there was no natural break. What
ROSE: Exactly my
D/CIA: We have
created a national break with the injection of more American forces, five
additional brigades into the combat equation there.
ROSE: You believe
D/CIA: I believe
it. It is cause and effect. Now, you know, the plan that the
president came up with, the plan that General Petraeus suggested was informed
by the intelligence we had, all right? And
we were part and parcel of the development of this strategy that led--that led
to the surge. If you want to extend
my marathon metaphor, just for one more round, it's as if we had a Gatorade
station at Mile 22 rather than a hill. We've
injected something from the outside into the process. And although we have not gotten some of the things we've talked
about in the benchmarks, the oil wall, the debaath--change in the
debaathification procedures and so on, there are other things happening, particularly
at the local level, we discussed a few minutes ago.
and things like that.
D/CIA: Exactly. At the national level, we are actually
seeing some capacity growth inside the central government.
ROSE: I could go
on and on and on, but I'm out of my time and your time as well. I thank you very much. I hope we can do this again, and this
table is here for these kinds of conversations with you and your colleagues.
D/CIA: Thank you,
thanks for the opportunity. These
are serious questions. And I know
that honest men can differ about some of the policies that we judge appropriate
for the nation to have in the global war on terrorism, but they have to be
reasoned discussions with as many facts on the table as possible.
ROSE: I would
only add to that that it's important, I think, for policymakers and people who
are in charge of the destiny of this country to engage in a dialogue with the
country, and I encourage others to do what you have done, whether it's with me
or someone else. It's an important
part of the process, to understand beyond just policy statements and beyond
just speeches, to see people, you know, because in a sense, I believe that, you
know, there are a lot of people that you can disagree with, but they see and
operate on the facts as they see them, and we don't necessarily have to, in all
cases, question their motivation.
ROSE: But I thank
you very much for coming.
D/CIA: Thank you.
Hayden, Director of the CIA. He's had a long and distinguished career in the
military. He has served as head of NSA and then was the number two person next
to John Negroponte as the Director of National Intelligence and now runs the
CIA. Thank you for joining us. See you next time.