Former CIA Director Michael Hayden fired back on Wednesday following the release of the Senate Intelligence Committee's report claiming the spy agency misled the White House and the public about the efficacy and brutality of its interrogation program.
"My response is that I didn't lie and I didn't mislead Congress,'' Hayden told Savannah Guthrie when asked about his congressional testimony in 2007, which is cited in the report. "My purpose going down there was to put my arms around the other political branch and try to decide a way forward. I was straightforward and honest and gave information as I knew it to be and as the agency knew it to be."
More from Hayden:
- On the nature of the report: "I don't know that the report that was released yesterday is that historically accurate,'' he said. "It reads like a prosecutorial screed rather than a historical document."
- On the report making headlines: "I disagree with the fact that you're claiming it to be news. These topics and subjects were all out there."
- On the claim that the CIA's interrogation techniques were harsher than previously disclosed: "It may be more slightly layered in the details, but everyone knows what waterboarding does,'' Hayden said. "It prompts the anti-drowning reflex in an individual. I'm sure it's horrible, but it was also horrible for tens of thousands of American airmen whom we used it against for their training."
- On CIA officers believing they were carrying out the nation's will: "What's happening now, these folks having the rug pulled out from under them, people who thought they were doing what we wanted them to do — that's unprecedented."