Former CIA Director Michael Hayden Acknowledges 'Human Toll' on Interrogators
Former CIA Director Gen. Michael Hayden today acknowledged the "human toll" taken on by CIA interrogators who participated in the use of so-called "enhanced interrogation techniques" in the years following 9/11.
"I would be very, very disappointed if this did not take a human toll on our CIA interrogators, because after all, although that person across the table from you was a terrorist, he's also a human being," Hayden told ABC's Martha Raddatz today on "This Week." "I would not want people in the room doing this who were not affected by this."
Hayden's comments came in response to an op-ed by former contract interrogator Eric Fair, who participated in torture at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, and wrote in The New York Times: "Abu Ghraib dominates every minute of every day for me… I still hear the sounds. I still see the men we called detainees."
This week, Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee released a lengthy and detailed report about the use of controversial interrogation techniques, including waterboarding, by the CIA in the years following the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, D.C., on Sept. 11, 2001.
Hayden, who led the CIA from 2006 to 2009, told Raddatz he thought the use of EITs was successful.
"They were successful. That's historical fact," Hayden said. "Do I support them? With regard to waterboarding, I've made it very clear that I thank God I didn't have to make that decision. I had easier circumstances when I was director."
More complicated, he said, was whether he would have supported the use of waterboarding.
"I don't know," he said. "It depends on the totality of circumstances at the time."
Asked if there were certain interrogation methods he wouldn't support, Hayden said: "There are certain things that are always off the table."
"There are certain things that are clearly permissible, and then there are a bunch of things in the middle - and I would admit that waterboarding's near the edge of that window - I would admit that are gray and would demand very compelling circumstances for anyone to picture themselves doing," Hayden said.