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May 01, 2014

Letter from Retired Military Leaders Urging Obama to Declassify Senate Torture Report

May 1, 2014

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500


Dear President Obama:

We appreciate your commitment to declassify the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s (SSCI) study of the post-9/11 CIA rendition, detention, and interrogation program.  We write to urge you to fulfill that commitment by directing your staff in the White House to take the lead in the declassification process.

As retired flag officers of the United States Armed Forces, we believe that our nation is on its strongest footing when our defense and security policies adhere to our values and obligations under domestic and international law. After taking office, you showed decisive leadership by issuing an executive order banning torture and other forms of abusive interrogation.  However, because there has been little accountability or public transparency regarding the use of torture, many former government officials—including the former Deputy Director of the CIA from your administration—continue to advocate in favor of the effectiveness of so-called “enhanced interrogation,” laying the foundation for a future president to rescind your executive order and bring torture back.

The best chance of avoiding this outcome is for the Intelligence Committee’s report—which calls into question the morality, legality, and effectiveness of the CIA program—to be made public with minimal redactions.  However, there is a clear conflict of interest in allowing the CIA to redact a report that alleges that officials at the agency—some of whom still work there—authorized brutal interrogation methods and systematically misled the White House, Congress, Department of Justice, and American people about the facts and consequences of using those methods.

We therefore urge you to direct your staff at the White House to oversee declassification of the committee’s report to ensure the process moves forward in a fair and impartial manner.

Thank you for your continued attention to this critical issue.



General Joseph P. Hoar, USMC (Ret.)

General Charles C. Krulak, USMC (Ret.)     

General David M. Maddox, USA (Ret.)

Lieutenant General Robert G. Gard, Jr., USA

Lieutenant General Arlen D. Jameson, USAF (Ret.)

Lieutenant General Charles Otstott, USA (Ret.)      

Lieutenant General Harry E. Soyster, USA (Ret.)

Lieutenant General Keith J. Stalder, USMC (Ret.)

Major General Paul D. Eaton, USA (Ret.)    

Major General Eugene Fox, USA (Ret.)

Rear Admiral Donald Guter, JAGC, USN (Ret.)

Rear Admiral John D. Hutson, JAGC, USN (Ret.)

Major General Michael R. Lehnert, USMC (Ret.)    

Major General Melvyn S. Montano, USAF (Ret.)

Major General William L. Nash, USA (Ret.)

Major General Thomas J. Romig, USA (Ret.)

Major General Walter L. Stewart, Jr., USA (Ret.)    

Brigadier General John Adams, USA (Ret.)  

Brigadier General David M. Brahms, USMC (Ret.)

Brigadier General James P. Cullen, USA (Ret.)

Brigadier General Evelyn P. Foote, USA (Ret.)

Brigadier General Alan K. Fry, USA (Ret.)

Brigadier General Gerald E. Galloway, USA (Ret.)

Brigadier General Dennis P. Geoghan, USA (Ret.)

Brigadier General Leif H. Hendrickson, USMC (Ret.)

Brigadier General David R. Irvine, USA (Ret.)

Brigadier General Richard O’Meara, USA (Ret.)

Brigadier General Murray G. Sagsveen, USA (Ret.)

Brigadier General Anthony Verrengia, USAF (Ret.)

Brigadier General Stephen N. Xenakis, USA (Ret.)