Reyes to Obama: Keep Bush intelligence chiefs and maintain some alternative interrogation
by Sito Negron
Posted on December 11, 2008
Reyes made the remarks in an interview with Congress Daily. [link]
Part of the story dealt with interrogation techniques:
Regarding the CIA's alternative interrogation program, Reyes indicated that his recommendations concerned finding a balance so the agency does not use torture but can get valuable information from suspected terrorists or other detainees.
"There are those that believe that this particular issue has to be dealt with very carefully because there are beliefs that there are some options that need to be available," Reyes said.
"We don't want to be known for torturing people. At the same time we don't want to limit our ability to get information that's vital and critical to our national security," he added. "That's where the new administration is going to have to decide what those parameters are, what those limitations are."
Those remarks lit up the "blogosphere."
In Salon, columnist Glenn Greenwald wrote:
First Amendment lawyers will tell you that anyone who says: "The First Amendment is important, but . . ." does not actually believe in free speech. Analogously, someone who says: "We don't want to be known for torturing, but . . ." is not someone who believes in ending torture. And note the consummately Cheneyite dichotomy Reyes has adopted between banning torture and staying safe. [link]
Following a request by NPT for a comment, Reyes' spokesman Vince Perez sent this statement via e-mail: "The Chairman’s position is simple – if there’s a need for Director Hayden or Director McConnell to stay for the transition, the Chairman would not object. There’s value in stability. At the same time, the Chairman will support the nominee of the President-elect. There’s value in change, too.
“The Chairman looks forward to working with whomever the President-elect nominates, and will lend his full support."
Reyes issued a fuller statement Friday, which did not address the issue of interrogation: “Recent media reports have suggested that I believe Directors McConnell and Hayden must be retained in their posts rather than appointing new leadership in the Intelligence Community. That is not accurate.
“In fact, what I stated to Congress Daily and to President-elect Obama is that if the President-elect decides to keep Director McConnell or Director Hayden for a transition period, in order to provide continuity of management of our intelligence operations, I would fully support that decision. It is for the President-elect to determine the best course of action to ensure a smooth transition of our intelligence operations.
“When I met with the President-elect’s transition team, I was asked for advice on this matter and for recommendations on new leaders should the President-elect choose to name a new intelligence team. The advice I provided and the recommendations I made were my own and did not necessarily reflect the positions of other Members of the Committee or of the House of Representatives.”
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