Sen. Dianne Feinstein is one of the bigger cheerleaders for the government's massive surveillance programs. Michael Hayden, former director of both the National Security Agency (NSA) and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), is usually an ideological bosom buddy to her. Yesterday, though, he accused her of being too emotional for questioning the CIA's detention and interrogation activities.
Feinstein is the chair of the Senate select committee, which recently voted to declassify a 500-page portion of a 6,300-page study that indicates CIA torture has been an ineffective tool in the war on terror. Intelligence officials aren't happy this information is going public. So Hayden took a shot at Feinstein on Chris Wallace's Fox News show:
WALLACE: But the report says that more prisoners were abused than we had previously known and that the enhanced interrogation produced little intelligence of significance.
HAYDEN: Yes. I read an article by David Ignatius earlier this week. And he said –
WALLACE: He's a columnist for The Washington Post.
HAYDEN: Right. He said that Senator Feinstein wanted a report so scathing that it would ensure that an un-American brutal program of detention interrogation would never again be considered or permitted.
Now, that sentence, that motivation for the report, Chris, may show deep emotional feeling on part of the senator. But I don't think it leads you to an objective report.
WALLACE: I mean, forgive me, because you and I both know Senator Feinstein. I have the highest regard for her. You're saying you think she was emotional in these conclusions?
HAYDEN: What I'm saying is—first of all, Chris, you're asking me about a report. I have no idea of its content. No one responsible for that report has spoken a word of this to me, to George Tenet, to Porter Goss, to anyone else that is involved in these events. But it's very hard for me to make a judgment.
Techdirt's Mike Masnick, no apologist for Feinstein, argues that the former CIA director misconstrues the senator's motivation. "Rather than being emotionally motivated to create the report (as Hayden falsely claims), Feinstein realized that the report was so damning that it needed to be made public to stop future CIA torture and abuse." If nothing else, she may want to get back at the agency for allegedly spying on her office.