Ex-CIA official: CIA torture report will 'cost American lives'

Senate Intelligence Chairwoman Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Major space launch today; Trump feuds with Twitter Justice Department closing stock investigations into Loeffler, Inhofe, Feinstein Let's support and ensure the safety of workers risking so much for us MORE’s decision to release the CIA torture report will “cost American lives,” a former top CIA official said in a radio interview that aired Sunday morning.  

“You are going to hand ISIS and the al-Nusra Front [terrorist groups] a massive information and operations victory … This is going in the end to cost American lives,” former CIA Officer and Station Chief Gary Berntsen said when asked what he would have warned Feinstein about making the report public.

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Berntsen helped lead the CIA’s response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. He made his remarks on The Cats Roundtable, host John Catsimatidis’s radio show on AM 970 in New York, and they echo similar comments from CIA veterans like former Director Michael Hayden.

“It’s a devastating report in that it puts out on the table the dirty laundry of the agency … there wasn’t a balanced approach to the report,” Berntsen said. “And this is going to damage our relationships with foreign intelligence services around the world.”

The Senate Intelligence Committee report was released by Feinstein, a California Democrat, just weeks before her party hands over control of the upper chamber to Republicans. The report detailed “enhanced interrogation techniques” including waterboarding and rectal hydration, and critics including Berntsen have called the document partisan.

He also accused lawmakers who claimed they were not briefed by the CIA of being “liars.”

“Members of the Senate and the House were briefed. Many of them are lying right now about not having been briefed … Nancy Pelosi was briefed in detail … She is a liar,” Berntsen said.

“This is a gigantic pity party by the Democratic Party and those that oppose the agency. They oppose the fact that the United States has a clandestine service.”