Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Statement by George J. Tenet on the Release of the SSCI Report on CIA Rendition, Detention and Interrogation

December 9, 2014

The report released today by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) does damage to U.S. national security, to the men and women of the Central Intelligence Agency, and most of all to the truth.

No one should blindly accept the Committee's assertions without a careful reading of the rebuttals by the SSCI Minority, the current CIA leadership, and other documents that are being released in conjunction with the publication of the Majority's deeply flawed report. 

These documents show, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the detention and interrogation program operated by the CIA in the aftermath of 9/11 was directed by the President, with the oversight of the National Security Council, and the legal authorization of the Attorney General and Department of Justice. These approvals were given not just once but on multiple occasions. The documents also show that the Congressional leadership was regularly and accurately briefed on the program. 

The documents will demonstrate that at a time of grave threat to the United States the program was effective in saving American and allied lives and in preventing another mass casualty attack on American soil. 

It is regrettable that the Committee consciously chose to denigrate the integrity and performance of men and women who gave their all to protect the country without interviewing any of them, or holding a single congressional hearing. Rather, they chose to indict them in absentia solely on the basis of a selective and faulty interpretation of documents. This is not the way dedicated public servants should be treated. Our nation would have been better served if the committee had asked or listened to them. It is indeed a dark day for Congressional oversight.

The Committee leadership say the report will ensure this never happens again. My hope is that a report like this—biased, inaccurate, and destructive will never happen again.

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