Fox News reported on September 18 that seven former CIA heads had written to ask him to stop an investigation by the Attorney General on interrogations. They argued in the letter:

“The post-September 11 interrogations for which the attorney general is opening an inquiry were investigated four years ago by career prosecutors. The CIA, at its own initiative, forwarded fewer than 20 instances where agency officers appeared to have acted beyond their existing legal authorities.

Career prosecutors under the supervision of the US Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia determined that one prosecution (of a CIA contractor) was warranted. A conviction was later obtained. They determined that prosecutions were not warranted in the other cases. In a number of these cases the CIA subsequently took administrative disciplinary steps against the individuals involved.

Attorney General Holder’s decision to re-open the criminal investigation creates an atmosphere of continuous jeopardy for those whose cases the Department of Justice had previously declined to prosecute. Moreover, there is no reason to expect that the re-opened criminal investigation will remain narrowly focused.”

The chiefs also warned that disclosures can only help Al Qaeda to plan future operations. The diclosures will only make it harder for operatives to maintain the momemtum of operations that have saved lives and helped protect America from further attacks.

“Finally, another certain result of these reopened investigations is the serious damage done to our intelligence community’s ability to obtain the cooperation of foreign intelligence agencies. Foreign services are already greatly concerned about the United States’ inability to maintain any secrets. They rightly fear that, through these additional investigations and the court proceedings that could follow, terrorists may learn how other countries came to our assistance in a time of peril. “
The letter was signed by Michael Hayden, Porter Goss, George Tenet, John Deutch, R. James Woolsey, William Webster and James R. Schlesinger.

In the Philadelphia Inquirer law Professor John Yoo in a column on September 13 concluded that “persecuting the CIA risks another surprise attack or major intelligence failure”. If an operative is risking persecution or being fired for doing something, Professor Yoo added, the safest thing for him or her is to do nothing.

The Democratic administration 1992 to 1999 led to grave setbacks due to the decimation of U.S. intelligence capabilities. Intelligence agencies failed to stop the 9/11 attacks and appear not to have penetrated the al-Qaeda’s leadership. The estimates on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction were almost totally mistaken, wrote Yoo.

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