Several weeks ago, Congress passed a bill that would have prevented the CIA from engaging in torture by applying the Army Field Manual standards of interrogation to all government agencies. A majority of both houses of Congress agreed with 43 retired military leaders that the current situation where the military operates under a clear set of interrogation standards while the CIA operates under a secret set of rules is unwise and impractical. Yesterday, on Meet the Press, General Hayden made it clear that he disagrees. Here are the follow-up questions we wish Tim Russert had asked him
Gen. Hayden argues that the CIA faces different circumstances than the military: ”What’s critical for the Army Field Manual, were it to be applied to CIA, is what’s authorized and limiting the CIA only to what’s authorized. No one claims that that list of authorized techniques in the Army Field Manual exhausts the universe of lawful interrogation techniques that the republic can draw on to defend itself. And so the issue for us is, is, is not torture or licensing torture or licensing waterboarding. And to the best of my ability I’ve made it very clear that we don’t do that. But to limit us to what America’s Army thinks they can train young soldiers to do under minimal supervision against lawful combatants in a transient battlefield situation, when our circumstances are completely different, means we’re undercutting our ability to defend the nation . . . .if you want to limit what CIA does, we’ll live inside whatever box you create. But to simply arbitrarily take a manual created for one population and one purpose and to just drop it on another organization with a different population of interrogators, a different population of detainees in completely different purposes flies in the face of logic.” (Meet the Press, 3/30/08)
Questions for General Hayden:
- Why should the CIA be guided by “rules” that have in the past clearly allowed it to torture?
- Do you agree with General David Petraeus, who stated in a May 10, 2007 open letter to the troops: “Certainly, extreme physical action can make someone ‘talk;’ however, what the individual says may be of questionable value. In fact, our experience in applying the interrogation standards laid out in the Army Field Manual (2-22.3) on Human Intelligence Collector Operations that was published last year shows that the techniques in the manual work effectively and humanely in eliciting information from detainees”? If not, why not?