Former CIA chief launches blitz to oppose Senate report

Former CIA head Michael Hayden is launching a media blitz to undermine the Senate Intelligence Committee’s claim that his spy agency tortured detainees and misled its Washington overseers.

In interviews on Tuesday, Hayden echoed concerns of other former and current CIA officials who dismissed the panel’s findings.   

“I think the conclusions they drew were analytically offensive and almost street-like in their simplistic language and conclusions,” Hayden, who led the CIA during former President George W. Bush’s final years in the White House, told Politico on Tuesday.

“I’m emotional about it,” he added, while indicating that he felt singled out by the report.  

“What the committee does is to take what I said out of context,” he added. “It misrepresents what I said.”

In a separate interview with NBC News, Hayden maintained that he wasn’t talking about “defending torture.”

“I'm here talking to you about defending history,” he said. “What we really could have used is a really nonpolitical look at the CIA program.”

Hayden was named more than 200 times in the Intelligence Committee's report. In many of those references, the Senate report attempts to show that the former CIA chief made a number of inaccurate statements to Congress while in office.

For instance, in 2007 Hayden told lawmakers that interrogators' threats of sodomy and sexual violence of harm against a detainee’s family “have never been and would never been authorized.”

The Senate committee report, however, found multiple instances in which interrogators threatened detainees’ families and in which detainees were force fed through their rectum.

Speaking with the conservative website Newsmax, Hayden said that he would never lie to Congress. 

“First of all, it’s a felony,” he said.