Former CIA Director Michael Hayden on Sunday questioned the objectivity of a forthcoming report on the agency’s detention and interrogation programs, saying California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who ordered the probe, might have let her feelings about the issue get in the way.
Hayden zeroed in on Feinstein recently saying that declassifying the report would "ensure that an un-American, brutal program of detention and interrogation will never again be considered or permitted."
Hayden told “Fox News Sunday”: “That sentence, that motivation for the report, may show deep, emotional feeling on the part of the senator. But I don't think it leads you to an objective report."
Feinstein, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which led the probe, responded sharply to Hayden’s remarks, saying the report is “objective, based on fact, thoroughly footnoted.”
“I am certain it will stand on its own merits," she said, according to The Washington Post.
On Thursday, the committee voted 11-to-3 in favor of declassify the report’s 480-page executive summary and other related findings, the results of Senate Democrats’ five-year probe of the Bush-era CIA programs.
The programs were in operation before Hayden began running the CIA in 2006. President Obama effectively ordered the end of them in 2009.
The material is now being sent to Obama for declassification review and public release, said Feinstein. She also said the president has indicated his support of the declassification and that CIA Director John Brennan has said it will happen “expeditiously.”
The full 6,200-page report will for now remain classified.
Hayden, a Bush administration appointed and former NSA director, also said Sunday that it would be “very hard” for him to make a judgment about the report since he has not seen it, nor has anybody responsible for it “spoken a word” about its content.
Hayden also defended the CIA interrogation program against the argument the agency had information about 9/11 terrorist Usama bin Laden’s whereabouts without having to use severe interrogation techniques on a detainee.
He told Fox News the interrogations helped the United States track bin Laden and that “simply learning a fact is not the same thing as learning the importance of that fact.”
The Senate report purportedly states the CIA misled the government and the American people about the value of interrogation techniques, which Hayden said is a “false” accusation.