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Dear Mr. President:

    We have served as Directors of Central Intelligence or Directors of the CIA for Presidents reaching back over 35 years. We respectfully urge you to exercise your authority to reverse Attorney General Holder's August 24 decision to re-open the criminal investigation of CIA interrogations that took place following the attacks of September 11.

~snip~

    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.

bold and italic added by diarist

     The last line is especially important in my opinion, as it proves Special Prosecutor John Durham and Attorney General Eric Holder may be taking this investigation all the way to the top, as they are required to do under the Constitution and International Law.

     The full letter to the President plus analysis below the fold.

    Thankfully, long gone are the days when the CIA could lie with impunity and the DoJ was not independant, but a political tool of the Executive branch. I guess the CIA misses the good ole days of Bush/Cheney.

     Good thing those days are not coming back any time soon.  

    The letter was signed by former CIA directors Michael Hayden and Porter Goss, who worked for President George W. Bush; John Deutch and James Woolsey, who served during the Clinton administration; George Tenet, who worked for both President George W. Bush and President Clinton; William Webster, who served under President George H.W. Bush; and James Schlesinger, who headed the agency during the Nixon administration.
   
   CBSnews.com

     The only names of living CIA heads who have not signed are Ex President George H.W. Bush and current Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.

     I'd say that it's safe to say that when Clinton and George W. Bush appointees oppose this investigation it can't be considered a witch hunt. I'd also say that it is safe to say that when the head of the CIA under Nixon opposes something, you are doing the right thing.

    Here is the full letter to President Obama for those who would like to read it word for word.

September 18, 2009

The President
The White House
Washington, D.C.

Dear Mr. President:

We have served as Directors of Central Intelligence or Directors of the CIA for Presidents reaching back over 35 years. We respectfully urge you to exercise your authority to reverse Attorney General Holder's August 24 decision to re-open the criminal investigation of CIA interrogations that took place following the attacks of September 11.

Our reasons for making this recommendation are as follows.

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.

If criminal investigations closed by career prosecutors during one administration can so easily be reopened at the direction of political appointees in the next, declinations of prosecution will be rendered meaningless. Those men and women who undertake difficult intelligence assignments in the aftermath of an attack such as September 11 must believe there is permanence in the legal rules that govern their actions. They must be free, as the Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, Senator Lieberman, has put it: "to do their dangerous and critical jobs without worrying that years from now a future Attorney General will authorize a criminal investigation of them for behavior that a previous Attorney General concluded was authorized and legal." Similar deference needs to be shown to fact-based decisions made by career prosecutors years ago.

Not only will some members of the intelligence community be subjected to costly financial and other burdens from what amounts to endless criminal investigations, but this approach will seriously damage the willingness of many other intelligence officers to take risks to protect the country. In our judgment such risk-taking is vital to success in the long and difficult fight against the terrorists who continue to threaten us.

Success in intelligence often depends on surprise and deception and on creating uncertainty in the mind of an enemy. As President you have the authority to make decisions restricting substantive interrogation or any other intelligence collection method, based on legal analyses and policy recommendations. But, the administration must be mindful that public disclosure about past intelligence operations can only help Al Qaeda elude US intelligence and plan future operations. Disclosures about CIA collection operations have and will continue to make it harder for intelligence officers to maintain the momentum 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 United States promised these foreign countries that their cooperation would never be disclosed. As a result of the zeal on the part of some to uncover every action taken in the post-9/11 period, many countries may decide that they can no longer safely share intelligence or cooperate with us on future counter-terrorist operations. They simply cannot rely on our promises of secrecy.

We support your stated commitment, Mr. President, to look to the future regarding these important issues. In our judgment the only way that is possible is if the criminal investigation of these interrogations that Attorney General Holder has re-opened is now re-closed.

Sincerely,

Michael Hayden
Porter Goss
George Tenet
John Deutch
R. James Woolsey
William Webster
James R. Schlesinger

RawStory.com

    The short version might as well read as

Dear Mr. President,

     Please cover up the CIA's war crimes by abusing your office and becoming a war criminal yourself. Otherwise the terrorists win.

     Pretty, pretty please

                                      yours truly,

                                         30 years of CIA War Criminals

    Of course, the claims that CIA agents may have their morale harmed (feelings hurt) or that an investigation makes us less safe (to invade countries on false evidence derived by torture) is patently absurd, as evidenced by DoJ spokesman's Matthew Miller's statement below.

    Justice Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said Holder works closely with the intelligence community to keep people safe, and he does not believe their commitment to conduct that important work will waver in any way.

CBSnews.com

    I'd also say that when Sen. Joe Lieberman (Chair of the Senate Homeland Security Committee) opposes something, it is in America's interests, President Obama's interests and the Democratic Party's interests to do the opposite.

    The President and his Administration has repeatedly stated their opinion that the Attorney General and the Department of Justice should operate independantly of the White House and the Executive branch, as the founding fathers intended it. Further, we know that torture is a war crime and is a crime under American law. Even if the investigation by AG Holder and SP Durham is only limited to a narrow scope, it is impossible for that investigation not to run up against the OLC's rulings under Yoo and Bybee, and that leads straight to Vice President Dick Cheney. It seems as though there is only one path for this to take if it is going to go anywhere at all, and that is to the top. The 9 Senators that asked AG Holder to play nice on War Crimes and VP Cheney's previous and numerous statements clearly prove that the criminals within the previous Bush/Cheney Administration and the Republican party as a whole has much to fear from a thorough investigation, and judging from Holder and Durham's records, that is what they are going to get.

     Of course, that is lost upon the CIA and the Republican party, who seems to think that they are entirely above the law that they are supposed to defend. It's a good thing for law abiding Americans who respect the rule of law that President Obama is NOT President George W. Bush, and in Attorney General Eric Holder there truly is a new sherrif in town.

     Or so we all hope.

     Because it is obvious to everybody who is not a die hard Republican, Sen. Lieberman or a raving dittohead that torture is Un-American and against the law. It is also obvious that Iraq was a bullshit war of aggression and there were no WMD's or substantial proof of WMD's, other than the evidence that was gained by torture. Truly, Iraq WAS a war crime, from top to bottom, and, until we address that, we run the risk of the next President going to war with Australia of they feel like it, or torturing American citizens, or worse.

      Unlike the 7 CIA Chiefs who have asked President Obama to be a war criminal and cover up the crimes of the CIA, the Republican party and the Bush/Cheney Administration, I DO NOT want to "look forward". I want to clean up the mess lefover by the Bushies. Until then, we are doomed to repeat the crimes made in our names, or worse. And that would be the greatest crime of all.

     So, my confidence is growing that AG Holder and SP Durham will do the right thing with respect to the rule of law. The fact that the CIA and Republican leaders are running scared only gives me greater hope that justice is on the way.

Crossposted at The Progressive Electorate.com and Docudharma.com

Originally posted to MinistryOfTruth on Sun Sep 20, 2009 at 05:43 AM PDT.

Poll

What is the CIA really asking President Obama to do?

5%6 votes
5%6 votes
10%12 votes
4%5 votes
70%85 votes
5%6 votes

| 120 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

    •  President Kennedy threatened to break the CIA (5+ / 0-)

      into a million pieces too and he was eliminated and we were none the wiser..If Oswald did it he was patsy

      "All Animals are equal but some Animals are more equal than others"

      by ShrunkenHead on Sun Sep 20, 2009 at 06:26:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Your best ever (8+ / 0-)

      Highly recommended for the news and analysis, plus each of these three quotes would be worth the rec button on their own:

      Dear Mr. President,

          Please cover up the CIA's war crimes by abusing your office and becoming a war criminal yourself. Otherwise the terrorists win.

          Pretty, pretty please

                                           yours truly,

                                              30 years of CIA War Criminals

      I literally laughed out loud at that one.

      I'd also say that when Sen. Joe Lieberman (Chair of the Senate Homeland Security Committee) opposes something, it is in America's interests, President Obama's interests and the Democratic Party's interests to do the opposite.

      Standing ovation from a CT resident who registered as a Democrat in the first place just for the pleasure of embarassing that fucker with a primary loss.

      Because it is obvious to everybody who is not a die hard Republican, Sen. Lieberman or a raving dittohead that torture is Un-American and against the law. It is also obvious that Iraq was a bullshit war of aggression and there were no WMD's or substantial proof of WMD's, other than the evidence that was gained by torture. Truly, Iraq WAS a war crime, from top to bottom, and, until we address that, we run the risk of the next President going to war with Australia of they feel like it, or torturing American citizens, or worse.

      77% of voters support a public option, Congress.

      by ShadowSD on Sun Sep 20, 2009 at 06:30:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Pardons (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MinistryOfTruth

      for the 3rd Reich criminals also. It'd be only fair, that is where the Bush clan made some of their grub stake.

    •  Thank you for this, MoT! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      snakelass, dibsa

      Gee, why do I instantly think of someone?

      I can just see Cheney gettin' "da boys" together and telling them softly to write Obama "da letter."

      I guess Cheney still thinks he can somehow subvert the law(s). Whether Obama is for investigations or against investigations, it matters not. The Attorney General (Holder) has an official duty to see to it that the laws are upheld, albeit the Department of Justice has been a sham for a very long time now and then, too, there are many Republicans still in the DoJ fighting against any and all efforts of accountability of any nature whatsoever.

      We need to REMIND Obama softly not to buckle to this pressure or, I would go further to not even respond. Afterall, how many countless times did Bush or any of them IGNORE anything and everything that was asked of them?

      "There is nothing to fear but fear itself." Franklin D. Roosevelt

      by tahoebasha2 on Sun Sep 20, 2009 at 09:42:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Why is it never mentioned that Alberto Gonzales (9+ / 0-)

    Who headed the DOJ during this time was forced to resign in disgrace because of his terrible policys .
    Any report put out during his term must be seen as suspect. No Democrat has remind the public and the Pundits of the shenanigans during this playing of political games under orders from the WH.

    "The Dream Lives On", Sen. Teddy Kennedy

    by SmileySam on Sun Sep 20, 2009 at 05:50:04 AM PDT

    •  Totally agreed. Gonzalez was a clown, and a (7+ / 0-)

      perfect example of the clownishness and lawlessness that was rampant under Bush/Cheney.

      I'll go one step further, and ask how it is Bush/Cheney could fuck up for 8 straight years, and yet people really do blame Obama for all those fuck ups.

      Selective memory and outrage, indeed.

      How about a little classical this early, courtesy of the Alberto Gonzalez Cantalta

      "I Can't Recall"

      "This is not about Alberto Gonzalez"

      Cheers

      The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?' - 1984

      by MinistryOfTruth on Sun Sep 20, 2009 at 05:59:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  hilarious (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        snakelass, MinistryOfTruth

        have I mentioned how much I hate this fucken little weasel today?

        (concerned folks, spare me the pearl-clutching "um....I don't have it in me to hate you shouldn't say that..."  Ummm, I have PLENTY of room to hate these vile oozing used condoms, they've killed a shit-load of people, they've crippled thousands of veterans, they're the front-men, swindlers, flim-flam men for the genuinely vile rich-fucks pulling strings from behind the scene with their money-can you say Scaife, boys and girls?  The same vile oozing used condoms that enabled Hitler and Mussolini in the 30's while attempting to overthrow FDR, the same vile scumbags who had their bought and paid for congressmen and senators vote almost unanimously against the New Deal, Social Security, Medicare, Voting Rights act, on and on and on. UnFuck Them!)

        "Ronald Reagan is DEAD! His policies live on but we're doing something about THAT!"

        by leftykook on Sun Sep 20, 2009 at 08:10:50 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  What a bunch of crock in that letter. (7+ / 0-)

    "Terrorists may learn how other countries came to our assistance in a time of peril."  Say what?  Not only that, they are basically saying the AG is so independent of the President after all?  That is a mighty weak ass letter.  Why are they doing it.  Probably more like "the country may learn how fucked we really are".

    "Peace cannot be achieved by force. It can only be achieved by understanding" Albert Einstein

    by BigAlinWashSt on Sun Sep 20, 2009 at 06:00:50 AM PDT

    •  "not so independent" I meant. (3+ / 0-)

      First cup of jo on the west coast here, still kicking in.

      "Peace cannot be achieved by force. It can only be achieved by understanding" Albert Einstein

      by BigAlinWashSt on Sun Sep 20, 2009 at 06:02:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Such a crock, the CIA thinks the POTUS is as dumb (7+ / 0-)

        as FOX viewers if they think he's gonna buy that.

        Like I said above, they might as well have written him

        Dear Mr. President,

            Please cover up the CIA's war crimes by abusing your office and becoming a war criminal yourself. Otherwise the terrorists win.

            Pretty, pretty please

                                             yours truly,

                                                30 years of CIA War Criminals

        Hey! I got a great idea Mr. President! How do you feel about being a war criminal? Doesn't that sound fun?

        Frakkin idiots! It's about tim the CIA was held accountable!

        The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?' - 1984

        by MinistryOfTruth on Sun Sep 20, 2009 at 06:06:29 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Every one of those signer probably tortured (8+ / 0-)

      or ordered it sometime during their career. The School of the Americas, funded by us taught torture methods to our allys. Reagan, Bush 1, used that school and the allys to control other countries political futures. Even Ford and Carter may have done questionable things or they were done by others under them, unknown to them.

      "The Dream Lives On", Sen. Teddy Kennedy

      by SmileySam on Sun Sep 20, 2009 at 06:08:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Exactly. Which is why I've been saying from the (4+ / 0-)

        start of Obama's administration, torture prosecutions can't happen for just the Bush admin since we've been doing it since the 50's.  I guess in a way this letter is encouraging since they felt the need to write it.  

        "Peace cannot be achieved by force. It can only be achieved by understanding" Albert Einstein

        by BigAlinWashSt on Sun Sep 20, 2009 at 06:12:36 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  agreed, but I suspect the staute of limitations (4+ / 0-)

          is going to get in the way of full accountability, but at least by drawing a line in the sand with this CIA we can set precedent going forward that the CIA is NOT above the law.

          At the same time, I don't see how Holder ad Durham can do anything with this investigation without getting into Yoo and Bybee at the OLC, and that leads them straight to Addington and Cheney.

          So, here's hoping that the CIA and those 9 Senators are afriad for a reason. I think they are, otherwise why would they go on record and put their necks on the line?

          The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?' - 1984

          by MinistryOfTruth on Sun Sep 20, 2009 at 06:18:31 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Limitations on the Limitations (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            snakelass, Neon Mama

            ....isn't there no time limit on a number of serious crimes?  Perhaps some of that pertains here....Didn't some of the policies lead to unlawful homicides ?, ...like, there's supposed to be over a hundred deaths in custody during the WoT-generated interrogations/incarcerations?
            Gotta be some capital charge hiding in there somewhere!

            "Ronald Reagan is DEAD! His policies live on but we're doing something about THAT!"

            by leftykook on Sun Sep 20, 2009 at 08:19:48 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  In my book (5+ / 0-)

    here'e everythng you need to know about the Bush White House-

     title=

    On political conservatives: "I was so shocked I nearly dropped the Bible I was using to help me masturbate into my gun." Bill Maher

    by lyvwyr101 on Sun Sep 20, 2009 at 06:06:45 AM PDT

  •  The president doesn't have the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    snakelass, MinistryOfTruth

    authority to reversed the AG's decision to investigate.  He can let him know, and I believe he already has, that he is against it, but he has no place at that table.

    Is this a thinly veiled threat to Obama's security?  


    The religious fanatics didn't buy the republican party because it was virtuous, they bought it because it was for sale

    by nupstateny on Sun Sep 20, 2009 at 06:32:13 AM PDT

  •  so (6+ / 0-)

    Those men and women who undertake difficult intelligence assignments in the aftermath of an attack such as September 11 must believe there is permanence in the legal rules that govern their actions. They must be free, as the Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, Senator Lieberman, has put it: "to do their dangerous and critical jobs without worrying that years from now a future Attorney General will authorize a criminal investigation of them for behavior that a previous Attorney General concluded was authorized and legal."

    What these CIA directors are essentially saying is that the CIA is filled with amoral fucks who don't know right from wrong and must be 'free' to be amoral and essentially psychopathic since the rules were changed after 9/11 which were permanent for many decades prior to 9/11.  Okay, so is the CIA okay with that?  If so, maybe the entire organization should really just be renditioned to the annals of history and never morphed over into some other bullshit organization.

    If their 'morale' is hosed up because they don't know right from wrong and need to be told what is right or wrong by political whim, then I don't want them to ever receive a paycheck with taxpayer dollars as long as they live.   Its real simple.

    Hope for American workers isn't Wall Street's agenda.

    by FreeTradeIsYourEpitaph on Sun Sep 20, 2009 at 07:05:40 AM PDT

  •  the cycle of wrong has to be broken (4+ / 0-)

    good diary

  •  rec'd and tipped / this needs to be on rec list (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hound Dog, MinistryOfTruth

    thanks for another good one

  •  MOT you're on FIRE! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    snakelass, MinistryOfTruth

    Enfuego you publishied this puppy too early.  This is some funny shit but I can't actually laugh.  These people are saying this the entire letter should be snark but only the closing signatures are.  

    On a side note, I wonder when the Porter Goss wing of these spooks were talking all the mad crap about Obama did they think they would be begging to him later.  You would think they would have shut the fuck up as there carping almost made Holder do it.  Oh well if Republicans were actually smart we'd all be fucked so viva la ignorance.

    Fox is America's Radio Rwanda.

    by Adept2u on Sun Sep 20, 2009 at 07:35:08 AM PDT

  •  "Don't Do The Crime If You Can't Do The Time" (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    snakelass, Neon Mama, MinistryOfTruth

    Holder and Obama have NO prosecutorial discretion in war crimes cases--criminal prosecution is mandatory under the Geneva Conventions and U.S. War Crimes Act for this very reason, and if Obama and Holder freely choose to become war criminals for covering up Bush/Cheney war crimes, then they deserve their fates.

    Just because a few Bush/Cheney shyster lawyers like John Yoo, David Addington, Alberto Gonzales, et. al. threw common sense out of the window and legalized torture didn't make it legal.

    •  Do you feel lucky? (0+ / 0-)

      The issue with the Jack Bauer(sp) defense for police brutality, torture etc is that if you are very, very lucky and do locate the ticking bomb fine, we'll over look it , but we'll never forget, and never really forgive. That is what confessionals are for.

      If you don't, then there is no legal defense.

  •  And so far it looks like Obama's response to (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    snakelass, esquimaux, MinistryOfTruth

    Dear Mr. President,

        Please cover up the CIA's war crimes by abusing your office and becoming a war criminal yourself. Otherwise the terrorists win.

        Pretty, pretty please

                                         yours truly,

                                            30 years of CIA War Criminals

    is "Oooh, twist my arms, will you? (*wink*)"

  •  I think the reason there were the number of (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    snakelass

    of signers is that they all have something to hide. Secrets of the CIA have been protected since the 50's. This letter in addition to being total horseshit in the name of citizens, is basically saying that the deparment of justice is always influenced by the white house. These "leaders" of spooks still don't get that law is above the president, vice president and the mighty cia. The doj is the enforcer of the LAW. The cia, the president (present or former), nor the vice president (certainly not former) gets to dictate when the law applies and when it does not. Our country is based on the idea that we ALL AGREE to adhere to these laws. If we don't ALL AGREE to these laws, then our country is founded on bullshit. I can smoke as much feelgood as I want, my neighbor can screw his cat, the mayor of my town can take the budget money to spend on the ponies. What does it matter when the laws don't mean anything and we can just apply them willy-nilly. It's a friggin free-for-all! It's anarchy in the streets! That's the only logical conclusion of this letter...

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