Former Spy Chief: Interrogation Takes 'Human Toll'

Former CIA Director Gen. Michael Hayden defends interrogation methods, but says harsh techniques should trouble any human being asked to administer them.
5:11 | 12/14/14

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Transcript for Former Spy Chief: Interrogation Takes 'Human Toll'
Michael Hayden, the former cia director. Retook what brad just said, you correct more terrorists. I'm not sure that applies to the cia program, it may now, after all of these details having been put out by the senate democrats, many of which the agency contests. No one seems to have read the agency rebuttal on what the cia did. Actually, Martha, what we found is what created terrorists. Used for Jihadi recruitment. Has been Abu ghraib and to a certain extent, guantanamo. Let me talk about Abu ghraib, there was an op ed written by an interrogator at Abu ghraib, he said, I tortured and I can't be forgiven. Examples in the report released by the senate of cia interrogators who said they couldn't take it anymore, they were near tears. What does that tell you? First of all, this young man was scheduled to be on but couldn't be because of illness. This man is clearly carrying a burden, perhaps that all of us have put on him by putting in that situation. An unfair burden? Well, Abu ghraib, yes, because it was indeed criminal activity, I think it's really important to distinguish Abu ghraib and what happened at the cia detention facilities. It was investigated. Trials were held. Yes, and it's very different. I'm talking about the interrogators. You put cia interrogators in that position as well. Yes, I would be very, very disappointed if this didn't take a human toll on our cia interrogators. Because after all, although that person across the table from you is a terrorist, they're also a human being. I would not want people in the room doing this who were not affected by this. You support all of this. You supported those enhanced interrogation techniques, like waterboarding. Only other things in the report as well? Well, actually -- You support them all and think they're successful. They were successful. That's a historical fact. Do I support them? With regard to waterboarding, I have made it very clear, I thank god that I didn't have to make that decision. I had easier circumstances when I was director. By the way, Martha -- Would you have made that decision? I don't know. That's a way to not say I fully support or not support -- It depends on the totality of circumstances at the time and by the way -- It doesn't depend on how a nation thinks about torture, as critics of this are saying, this defines a nation or who you are. It shouldn't depend on that? Three out of the last four attorneys general have defined this as not being torture. Let's get the legal definition off the table. Now, we're talking about a broader perhaps national conscience. Here we're making a choice between two very bad choices. If we haven't done this, and a subsequent attack would have taken place, what kind of conversation would take place now. I want personally and morally, is this something that you wouldn't do? Well, yeah, there are many things that I wouldn't do. Would you waterboard? I don't know. It would depend on the totality of circumstances. You haven't defined torture in your mind. Certain things are always off the table. Certain things are clearly permissible and then there are a bunch of things in the middle. Waterboarding is near the edge of that window. That are gray and demand very compelling circumstances for anyone. Let me talk about one of client, 26 of 119, 1 in 5 were wrongfully imprisoned. What is your definition of wrongfully -- They didn't meet the legal standard -- That's right. Not that they weren't members of Al Qaeda, they didn't meet the high legal bar -- She had a client in jail, who was thrown in there because he had passport issues for 19 months, how do you hold someone for 19 months? I don't know the details of that case. I would suggest based upon the history that we just laid out this morning, a lot that falls on the Jordanians. And what they told us about this individual. The senate report, says 26. The month before I arrived at the agency, the agency took their own look at the 97 people they held up to that point, and concluded that, of the 97, 5 didn't meet the high standard that was required to go into this program. Not that they weren't dangers or they were not members of Al Qaeda. Thank you very much for joining us, general Hayden. You have had a long week. A very busy week. Thanks, again,

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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