A series of officials who served with President Bush have come out and blasted it, including the former homeland security secretary Michael Chertoff, the former CIA director Michael Hayden. Here's what they had to say.
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FORMER SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY MICHAEL CHERTOFF: One is that you're giving terrorists insights into the things they need to prepare for, and they do prepare. And the second thing is you're sending a message to our allies that we are not reliable in terms of safeguarding confidential information.
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STEPHANOPOULOS: Mr. Hayden added that fully half of the information the government has gotten about Al Qaida came from these interrogations. They say that the president's decision has put the United States at risk.
EMANUEL: A couple things, George. First of all, we've banned these techniques and practices -- banned them. Because we didn't think they were consistent with America's security...
STEPHANOPOULOS: So you don't believe we got this information that Michael Hayden believes we got?
EMANUEL: First let me address the question, OK? Second is, we've enhanced America's image abroad. These were tools used by terrorists, propaganda tools, to recruit new terrorists. And the fact is, having changed America's image does have an impact on our security and safety and makes us stronger.
STEPHANOPOULOS: How do you answer the argument, though, that (inaudible) that this gives them a roadmap to how to resist?
EMANUEL: It's kind of a -- let me say this. One of the reasons the president was willing to let this information out was that already the information was out. So if they're saying that you basically have exposed something, it's been written. Go get the New York Review of Books. It's there.
So the notion that somehow, we're exposing something -- it's already been out. In fact, President Bush let -- allowed -- let it -- allowed a lot of this information out. So the notion that somehow this all of a sudden is a game changer doesn't take cognizance of the fact that it's already in the system and in the public domain. Therefore, it's not new. So the notion that that is something we've built in -- it's already been there.
Number two, it's one of the key tools Al Qaida has used for recruitment. There has been a net cost to America. By changing the way America is seen in the world, which means banning this technique and practice, we have actually stopped them and prevented them from using it as a rallying cry.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Final quick question. The president has ruled out prosecutions for CIA officials who believed they were following the law. Does he believe that the officials who devised the policies should be immune from prosecution?
EMANUEL: What he believes is, look, as you saw in that statement he wrote, and I would just take a step back. He came up with this and he worked on this for about four weeks, wrote that statement Wednesday night, after he made his decision, and dictated what he wanted to see. And Thursday morning, I saw him in the office, he was still editing it.
He believes that people in good faith were operating with the guidance they were provided. They shouldn't be prosecuted.
STEPHANOPOULOS: What about those who devised policy?