Meet the Press | May 24, 2013
MR. RUSSERT: Let me turn to the whole issue of the apprehension of a terrorist -- or alleged terrorists and how they're treated. The -- as you know, several years ago the Army , in its manual, rewrote the sections about torture and interrogation."A new U.S. Army manual bans torture and degrading treatment of prisoners, for the first time specifically mentioning forced nakedness, hooding and other procedures that have become infamous since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks ....
"It also explicitly bans beating prisoners, sexually humiliating them, threatening them with dogs, depriving them of food or water, performing mock executions, shocking them with electricity, burning them, causing other pain and a technique called water torturing -- or ` waterboarding ' that
simulates drowning, said Lieutenant General John Kimmons , Army Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence . Officials said the revisions are based on lessons learned since the U.S. began taking prisoners in response to the September 11, 2001 attacks on the" U.S.
Now, that's the Army .
GEN. HAYDEN: Right.
MR. RUSSERT: Does not apply to the Central Intelligence Agency .
GEN. HAYDEN: Correct.
MR. RUSSERT: But John McCain , who will be the Republican nominee for president, a former POW, said this:"All I can say is that" waterboarding "was used in the Spanish Inquisition , it was used in Pol Pot 's genocide in Cambodia , and there are reports that it is being used against Buddhist monks today. ... It is torture ."
Do you believe that waterboarding 's torture ?
GEN. HAYDEN: What's more important is what the Department of Justice believes, and, frankly, the question of waterboarding , I've, I tried to point this out in as many ways as I can publicly, is an uninteresting question for the Central Intelligence Agency . We have not -- and I, I made this public last month -- we have not waterboarded anyone in now over five years, and only three people have been waterboarded in in the life of the CIA 's interrogation program.
The issue with the Army Field Manual is not the false dichotomy that, that some people want to create, that on the one hand you've got the Army field manual and on the other hand you've got the licensing of torture . That, that's not the choice at all. The Army has listed -- and by the way, the real debate, the real impact for us isn't on the list of things you've forbidden. That's fairly uninteresting to us. 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.
MR. RUSSERT: As you know, many in Congress disagree. They think the CIA should abide by...
GEN. HAYDEN: I know.
MR. RUSSERT: ...what's in the Army Field Manual .
GEN. HAYDEN: Right.
MR. RUSSERT: Because they don't want U.S. servicemen who are taken in captivity by others to be tortured.
GEN. HAYDEN: Right. Well, first of all, we're not talking about torture , all right? I mean, torture is a legal term. Now, there are some things that are illegal that are not, that are not torture . And so we cloud the debate when, when we throw the word torture out there, I think, in a far too casual way. But, but I understand the concerns of members of Congress . And I've said this to them personally, I've said it to them publicly and I've said it to them in closed hearing sessions, that 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.
MR. RUSSERT: Do you believe now that the Justice Department allows the CIA to engage in waterboarding ?
GEN. HAYDEN: I don't -- the real answer is -- I'm going to be very candid -- I have no idea. And do you know why? Because I've not asked. And, and I know that previous opinions may no longer be extant because there have been a series of changes in American law since those opinions were issued.
MR. RUSSERT: So anything the CIA would do would be approved and signed off by the Justice Department ?
GEN. HAYDEN: It would have to be approved and signed off as lawful, consistent with our Constitution and our international obligations.
MR. RUSSERT: Dick , Dick Cheney , the vice president, was on MEET THE PRESS five days after September 11th , and we had a conversation about intelligence operations, and he offered this assessment. Let's listen.
(Videotape, September 16, 2001 )
VICE PRES. DICK CHENEY: We also have to work, though, sort of the, the dark side , if you will. We've got to spend time in the shadows in, in the intelligence world. A lot of what needs to be done here will have to be done quietly, without any discussion, using sources and methods that are available to our intelligence agencies if we're going to be successful. That's the world these folks operate in. And so it's going to be vital for us to, to use any means at our disposable -- disposal, basically, to, to achieve our objective.
MR. RUSSERT: "The dark side ," "the shadows," "use any means at our disposal" -- has the CIA changed since September 11th , 2001 , in the way it conducts itself?
GEN. HAYDEN: Sure. We've learned a great deal. You know, we're, we're a learning organization . And I should add, you know, within the confines of American law , obviously. But, Tim , we're America 's secret intelligence service , and the wisdom of the republic for the last
years is that's a good thing for this nation to have. Right? So we are different. You, you come into our, you come into our main lobby, and off to the left is the gospel of John , "You should know the truth and it shall make you free." But if you walk up the stairs and you look to the left down towards our museum -- which some folks say it's the best museum you'll probably never see, right? -- there's a quote on the wall that says, "We are the nation's first line of defense. We go where others cannot go, and we accomplish what others cannot accomplish." This is a special and a unique rule -- role that is performed by the good men and women, law-abiding men and women, your friends and neighbors, but operating somewhat in that space that the vice president described.
MR. RUSSERT: "In the dark side , in the shadows."
GEN. HAYDEN: "In the shadows."