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CIA Response to Feb. 19 Baltimore Sun Editorial

February 27, 2008

The following letter to the editor, published in the February 24 edition of The Baltimore Sun, responds to a February 19 editorial:


To the Editor:

The Sun's editorial "Standing against torture" (Feb. 19) cites Gen. Michael V. Hayden, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, as saying that he believes waterboarding is torture.

First, the CIA neither conducts nor condones torture.

Second, General Hayden did not make the statement attributed to him in the editorial.

General Hayden did say in congressional testimony this month that waterboarding was used on three hardened terrorists in the CIA's detention and interrogation program.

The tactic, which has not been employed since 2003, was deemed legal by the Department of Justice when it was used.

Before the Senate and the House, General Hayden emphasized that the agency's detention and interrogation program has operated within a strict legal framework, subject to review and oversight. It has disrupted terrorist operations and saved innocent lives.

The agency's decision to employ waterboarding in the wake of the 9/11 attacks not only was lawful, but it also reflected the circumstances of the time.

General Hayden has made clear that waterboarding is not part of CIA's current program.

He also has shared with Congress his view of changes in the legal landscape over the past five years, and the need to take those changes into account should any interrogation measure not currently in use be considered.


Mark Mansfield
Director of Public Affairs
Central Intelligence Agency

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Posted: Feb 27, 2008 09:45 AM
Last Updated: Mar 11, 2009 11:05 AM