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President Obama visited the CIA yesterday and gave a pep talk to the employees demoralized by Obama’s decision to release formerly classified legal memoranda detailing the legal limits of interrogation techniques.
Obama’s pep talk was too little too late.
Obama was given a bipartisan warning not to release these documents. Four former heads of the CIA, two Appointed by President Clinton and two appointed by President Bush, all said that Obama’s release would risk national security. Former CIA Director Michael Hayden says even Leon Panetta, Obama’s head of the CIA, agreed with the bipartisan group.
Hayden talked about the Obama release on Fox News Sunday:
Hayden made many important points during the interview. The two points I found most poignant were what we have provided the enemy and the effect on our CIA officers:
Video of the entire Hayden interview is available at Fox News.
The U.S. press has been supportive of the Obama release. But the British Press is more critical.
The Sunday Times reports that CIA officers still fear prosecution, even though Obama says they will not face criminal prosecution. According to the Times the documents Obama released represent just the tip of the iceberg.
Con Coughlin, in the Telegraph, writes that “Mr. Obama has traveled far afield to imbue both allies and enemies with a new sense of well-being, the feeling that the world is a better and safer place now that the abhorrent Bush administration is no longer in office.” Coughlin warns Obama that the effect of his unnecessary release of previously classified legal opinions on interrogation techniques will be to weaken the CIA.
This is starting to remind me of the mindset we put the CIA and FBI in before the 9/11 terror attacks. The agencies were too engaged in CYA to effectively connect the dots. I hope we don’t regress to that as Obama swings the pendulum more and more left.