Intelligence Veterans Back Torture Probe


FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

SUBJECT: Accountability for Torture

write you, Mr. President, as former intelligence professionals to voice
strong support for Attorney General Eric Holder's authorization of a
wider investigation into CIA interrogation. We respectfully disagree
with the direct appeal to you by seven former CIA directors to quash
that wider investigation.

signatories of this Memorandum are former intelligence officers and
analysts who have worked with CIA directors going back as far as Allen
Dulles. Our cumulative experience totals more than 200 years.

are encouraged by your own support for Attorney General Holder's
decision to have federal prosecutor John Durham investigate possible
criminal activity by individuals engaging in torture and other
violations of international agreements on the treatment of detainees.

From our own experience in intelligence, both as field operators and as
senior analysts, we know that personal accountability is vital to
maintaining an effective intelligence service that reflects our best
traditions and the rule of law.

Among the former CIA directors who, by letter of September 18, asked
you to "reverse" the attorney general's decision are some who were
cognizant of and involved in decisions that led to the abuses in
question. We find that troubling.

Clearly, the role of CIA directors in issuing orders that led to
inappropriate behavior, and their failure to hold officers accountable,
helped create the environment in which abuses occurred - the ones
detailed in the Special Review of the CIA Inspector General, for example.

No analytical leap is required to conclude that those particular CIA
directors might have understandable interest in blocking investigation
of their own complicity. They include, first and foremost, George Tenet
- many of whose misdeeds are already a matter of public record. To
mention just a few:

was the chief enabler of torture. He also oversaw widespread
kidnapping ("extraordinary rendition"), which in some cases led to

-Our sources tell us
that Tenet knew about the overstepping of the guidelines approved by
the lawyers and that he knew the people doing it. Rather than restrain
them, he pushed them still harder, in an attempt to please his masters.

We strongly believe that investigations of possible wrongdoing cannot,
in all fairness, be limited to the proverbial "bad apples at the bottom
of the barrel." Rather, in our view, such investigations must be
allowed to go wherever the evidence leads.

The inquiry last year by the Senate Armed Services Committee provides a
good model for doing precisely that. The main conclusion of the
committee's "Inquiry Into the Treatment of Detainees in U.S. Custody,"
approved last fall without dissent, was captured in its first subhead: "Presidential Order Opens the Door to Considering Aggressive Techniques."

The Hollywood version of the CIA portrays amoral spies willing to do
anything without regard to ethics or human rights. Our own long
experience persuades us that the intelligence community has an
abundance of men and women of outstanding character, who are committed
to the rule of law, and whose primary desire is to serve the nation and
protect the American people.

much former CIA directors and other people at risk might wish to derail
an investigation into possible war crimes, we believe the moral
standing of our nation requires that we apply the same standards to
offenses by U.S. officials as we would to accusations of war crimes by
those in other countries.

all these reasons, we strongly endorse efforts by the Department of
Justice to investigate allegations of torture and human rights abuses
by any Americans - CIA officers and contractors included.

Please regard this Memorandum as follow up to the more extensive
comments on torture in the VIPS review prepared for you in late April. A copy of that Memorandum was eventually posted at (see

Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity
Steering Group

Ray Close, National Clandestine Service (CIA), Princeton, NJ
Phil Giraldi, National Clandestine Service (CIA), Purcellville, VA
Melvin A. Goodman, US Army, CIA, Dept. of State, Dept. of Defense, Bethesda, MD
Larry Johnson, CIA & Department of State, Bethesda, MD
Pat Lang, US Army (Special Forces), DIA, Alexandria, VA
David MacMichael, National Intelligence Council, Linden, VA

Tom Maertens, Department of State, Mankato, MN
Ray McGovern, US Army, CIA, Arlington, VA
Sam Provance, US Army (Abu Ghraib), Greenville, SC
Coleen Rowley, FBI, Apple Valley, MN
Greg Thielmann, Dept. of State, Sen. Intelligence Committee Staff, Arlington, VA
Ann Wright, US Army, Department of State, Honolulu, HI

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