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tv   Charlie Rose  PBS  December 16, 2014 12:00am-1:01am EST

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tonight, a conversation with mike morell, former acting director and deputy director of the central intelligence agency. >> the morality question is actually quite difficult much on the one hand, the question is, how could you possibly do the stuff at the far end, right, to another human being. particularly done by a country that stands for human dignity and stands for human rights. how could you possibly do that, right? i understand that. resonate with me to some extent as it does to a lot of people. but then you look at the other side of the morality coin. how could you possibly not to those things when you believe that you need to do them in order to stop plots and save americans from being killed. >> rose: mike morell for the
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hour, next. >> rose: funding for "charlie rose" has been provided by the following: >> rose: additional funding has been provided by: >> and by bloomberg, a provider of news and multimedia information world wide. captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> rose: mike morell is here. he's a cbs news national security contributor. he served as the deputy acting director under president obama. he was involved in preparing the agency's response last year to the senate intelligence committee report on the cia's
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enhanced interrogation program. the senate study was made public last week. it claim the c.i.a. misled the whitehouse and congress about the effectiveness and brutality of its interrogation methods. director john brennan responded to the allegations last week in a rare press conference. >> i have already stated that our reviews indicate that the detention and interrogation program produced useful intelligence that's helped the united states thwart, attack plans, capture terrorists and save lives. but let me be clear. we have not concluded that it was the use of eits within that program that allowed us to obtain useful information from detainees subjected to them. the cause and affect relationships between the use of eits and useful information subsequently provided by the detainee is in my view unknowable. >> rose: though directly involved in creating and running the program, have also come
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forward in defense of the agency, i'm pleased to have mike morell back at this table. because we want to have here within the time that we have a conversation about it. he comes down on this with a point of view and he'll explain that to us. but we also want to ask ourselves as a country, what do we learn from all of this, how do we go forward and what is the conversation we ought to have. but at the same time because this has been driven by a report from democrats on the intelligence committee with the republicans disagreeing and with the c.i.a. and it's former directors pushing back it seemed to me a time for a conversation that says what have we learned so far. >> i was given this report, sat in my office, read it. >> rose: how many pages? >> you know, it was 6,000 pages at that point. the summary and findings and conclusions were several hundred pages. i read the summary findings and conclusions very closely and i÷b
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skimmed the 6,000 pages. i did not read every word. one of the things that struck me when i read the report was how much of a story that was missing. and the pieces of the story that were missing were c.i.a.'s interactions with the rest of the executive branch. at the time this program was put together and at the time it was carried out. and c.i.a. interactions with the congress that were intertaken and done while the program was carried out. that was missing. and so i asked our historians at c.i.a. to put that story together. and they produced a report in my final weeks as deputy director. and that's the report you and i discussed. >> rose: what did it say in that report? >> what it said in that report, what it says in that report,
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which is on the c.i.a. saved lives website, some of the former directors and deputy directors have put together. what it shows is that the cia had extensive conversations with the rest of the executive branch about the program, about its legality and it's absolutely clear that the rest of the executive branch approved of this program. this was not a rogue operation that you get the sense that it was when you read the senate report. so conversations across the executive branch with the whitehouse, president bush approved this program. you won't see that anywhere in the senate democrat report. no discussions with our discussions with the whitehouse and approval with the whitehouse that's not there. >> rose: and justice. >> and justice and state
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department and department of defense, okay. the other things it shows there were detailed briefings, multiple briefings of the senate community leadership. detailed briefings on the program, detailed briefings on the enhanced interrogation techniques, technique by technique. detailed briefings on the legal basis for conducting those techniques. very clear in this report i'm talking about that those conversations took place. also very clear that no one who was briefed in congress opposed the program. said words of support, and on a couple of cases when we had to stop the program because the law had changed, the legal landscape had changed. we stopped the program -- >> rose: when. >> that was in 2004, 2005 when we stopped the program to make
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sure that its legal basis was sound. there were those in congress including democrats who urged us to continue the program. one of the senators actually said you were being risk averse. i don't want you being risk averse. >> rose: one of the democrats who supported the release of this. >> yes. >> rose: wanted you to do more. >> didn't want us to stop the program. wanted us to continue the program. >> rose: so it was all legal in your judgment at that time? >> yes. >> rose: would you define what you would do and what the cia was doing at the time as torture. >> let me talk about this a little built because this is important. torture in the context we're discussion is a legal term. so it doesn't make any difference what you think is torture or what i think is torture, it's what the lawyers
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at the office of legal counsel of the department of justice thinks is torture or not and what the courts ultimately think is torture or not. this is a legal standard. and the department of justice on multiple occasions not just once but multiple occasions said that these techniques are not torture. they do not rise to the legal standard of torture as defined in the torture act in the united states or as defined in our treaty obligations that the united states has signed up to. so the department of justice at the time said this is not torture. this is as you know from our other discussions on this, this is one of the thing that drive me crazy and people say this is torture. because, and the reason it drives me crazy is because the justice department said it wasn't. but more importantly when somebody calls it torture, even the president of the united states calls it torture, it says that my officers who carried out
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these operations at the direction of the president and being told by the department of justice were legal are torturers, that upsets me to have people call them torturers. they are not torturers, it was legal at the time. >> rose: they say two things a it wasn't effective and b it's not what we want to do. we stand for something different. >> right. i think there are actually three big issues who are. one is the legal issue we just talked about. one is the effectiveness issue. the other is the morality issue. you have to separate the effectiveness from the morality issue so let's do that here. so the effectiveness issue. it's interesting. what the committee, what the democrats on the committee said in their report is not that the techniques were not effective, they didn't make a judgment on that. what they said was you didn't need the information you got
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from detainees after they were subjected to eit. >> rose: because it was available elsewhere. >> because you already had it, because you already happened it. and what they did in their report was to try to show in 20 case that we said look at how effective this program was. look at the difference it made. they looked at the 20 cases where we had said that and they purport to show that in each of the 20 cases, we already have the information that we got from people after they were subjected to eits. so the cia responds, right. what i oversaw when i was acting director and then deputy director, the cia responds, doesn't say that as john says the cia responds doesn't say that eits were effective or not. what the cia responses is that look you're wrong that that information was already available. that information was not already available, right. the information that came from
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detainees after being subjected to eits were new, critical information that was necessary to capture other senior leaders and to save lives ask stop plots. let me give you an example. people talk about this in the abstract. >> rose: let me ask you a question before we do that. do you believe that you would have found the leader of this who you captured in pakistan without using enhanced interrogation from earlier detainees who had been captured? >> so let me first say this, charlie. so what i just told you are the views of the senate democrat report and the views of the cia rebuttal. now left me tell you my own view. i was not part of this program early on. i was many even aware of this program until july of 2006 when
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i became number three at the agency. 4upb> rose: why were you on there. >> i was overseas for three years. and i was the number three on the analytic side of the agency. i was operational. i didn't have a need to know. when i took on the responsibility of reviewing our response, i dug into this, i dug into this issue in a very significant way. and when i looked at all the evidence, one of the things i looked at is what information did a detainee give us prior to being subjected to eits. and then what information did we get after. i actually had a chart prepared that actually showed that,s@bñ information provided before. the eits they were subjected to and the information that we got after. and i can tell you that my view, my personal view is that there
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is a significant difference between the information provided before and the information provided after. that difference is the information provided before, not full answers to questions. they, not specific, not actionable. information provided after. specific. full answers to questions. actionable. you can see a big difference between the information provided before and after. now, to your specific question on bin laden. detainees who were not subjected to enhanced interrogation techniques told us about this guy, right. >> rose: detainees. >> were not subjected to eits or detainees who were subjected to eits before before they were subjected to them, told us about a game named abu akhmed
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gave us very specific information about awe by akhmed. >> rose: what you knew beforehand and what you found out after. >> yes. the one individual told us he is one of, he is one of bin laden's careers. that was the most specific information that we had on this guy named abu akmed. >> rose: this was after an enhanced interrogation. >> after enhanced interrogation. >> rose: all you knew before was -- >> abu akmed is this important guy both before 9/11 and after 9/11. and he's hanging out with the master mind of 9/11 and he's somehow associated with bin laden. the information was he was bin laden's career. now here's the question. the question is in we never got that information after eits the
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specific information, would we have still followed the abu akmed trail? probably probably. i say yes. my guys when i talk to them about this, the very specific information we got from the two detainees who had been subjected to eits that specific information led us to take this particular lead. remember there's hundreds of leads out there. to take this particular lead to the top of the list. >> rose: is it also said because you're listening to these detainees when they went back to their cells that once you began to ask specific questions about the courier that they got very nervous and especially mohammed. he began to say don't talk about the courier. >> great point. so there are two detainees who by the time we're asking questions about abu akmed have already been subjected to eits
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and already are fully compliant. they are answering our questions with great specificity and answering the vast majority of the questions we put to them. so then we go in and one of them is mohammed. we go in and ask about abu akmed because people are telling us about him. the man who conceptualized it. he told us bin laden left a long time ago. >> rose: let me interrupt this one second. keep the thought. at that moment, what was the level of cooperation he was giving you and what was the level of information that you trusted, and what was the level of information at that time about other things that was actionable. >> full. full and complete. >> rose: he was totally
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cooperating. >> yes. >> rose: and you think that was because of what, he was being water boarded hundreds of times. >> my officers who conducted these interrogations, and this is said in the agency response although it's hidden. my officers who conducted these interrogations believe that they were necessary, skip to the necessary question. believe that they were necessary to get detainees to provide actionable information. >> rose: water boarding. >> yes. specifically mohammed and -- the two hardest cases. my officer believed that was necessary. now, back to the bin laden story. >> rose: they helped you get -- >> that's what we say. the committee says no, right. so ksm says look this guy used
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to work for al-qaeda he doesn't work for allege kied anymore, long gone. the other guy says i never even heard of him, right. and the other guy very senior too says i never even heard of him. ksm then, so two guys who were being fully cooperative with us, lied to us about abu actmed. that tells us that he's really important, right. and then ksm goes back to his cell and we're monitoring the conversations and ksm tells everybody he can reach don't talk about the courier. >> rose: denies his existence. >> again, tells the importance of abu akmed and the importance of the detention program here. now i just said something really really important about the necessity argument. i just made an argument that eits make a difference and my officers who actually conducted the interrogation actually believe eits make a
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difference. now we get to the necessity. was it necessary, right? and c.i.a. has for some time director panetta said it, i said it as acting director, the c.i.a. continues to say it, that we'll never know whether these techniques were necessary to get the information. in my view, charlie, after having thought about this for a long time, is that that is a bit of a cop out. that you can say that about almost anything unpleasant in the history of the united states. for example, you can ask the question was it necessary for abraham lincoln to suspend habeas corpus in order to win the civil war. we'll never know the answer to the question. was it necessary for the united states to drop atomic bombs on japan in order to force japan's surrender. we'll never know the answer to that question. so of course, it's unknowable.
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but the people on the ground believe it was necessary. >> rose: john brennan thinks it's unknowable because of the reasons you just said. >> i think it's politically convenient to say it's unknowable. >> rose: we talk much now especially people from the c.i.a. you have to understand the context. the word they used is context the word you've used is context. give us a sense of the context. because my cadence is going around saying if in fact we hadn't done these things and there had been a successful attack later, six months later, it will be hell to pay. >> right. >> rose: and people said why didn't you know this. >> right. so this gets -- >> rose: what's the context. >> the context is very important. >> rose: who is pushing and who is demanding. >> let me tell you exactly how this played out, okay. the context is very important and i was there for part of this context. so in 2001, i was president
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bush's daily intelligence briefer. george tenant and i would go to the oval office every morning. so post 9/11 i was personally aware of the context and the feeling in the room, okay. >> rose: you knew what brennan. >> i knew because i told him. the context is number one, 3,000 people had just been killed. number two, there was credible intelligence of a second, that there would be a second wave of attacks against the united states of america. credible intelligence. >> rose: what was it, what did you know would be the question. the attack on new york was discussed. >> it was less specific. it was more like going into 9/11 than some of the more specific threats. so it was reporting from multiple sources saying that al-qaeda had in place the resources to conduct a satisfy
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wave of attack. this is not fourth hand, these are our people picking this up. third credible intelligence that turned out to be true that bin laden was meeting with pakistani nuclear scientists in order tooñ get his hands on nuclear weapons. intelligence that we didn't know whether it was credible or not at the time. turned out not to be true. but there was intelligence that al-qaeda was trying to get a nuclear weapon into new york city. so that's the context, right. that's the context in which the president of the united states -- >> rose: the cia was worried to death the idea there was possibility of a nuclear weapon. they seriously believed there was an effort to do that. >> and i have never seen pile of intelligence about threats to this country that i saw post 911.
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and to make it very personal, george tenant and i would meet in his office in the old executive office building across the street from the west wing before we would go across the street to the oval office. and after 911, with this pile of intelligence growing and growing and growing, and with the context that i talked about. we would say to each other as we walked from the old executive office building to the oval office, is the day we're going to get hit again. and we were serious with each other. is today the day that we're going to get hit again. so in that context here's what happened. in that context, we capture abu zepeda. >> rose: how do you capture him. >> in pakistan with the help of the pakistanis. and he's injured. >> rose: he was shot on the roof or something. >> he was shot in the fire fight, right, that leads to his capture.
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and he talks at first and then shuts up. right. and our people, at c.i.a. our counterterrorists and officers at c.i.a. with this context we're worried to death about a second attack, worried to death about a nuclear weapon in the united states. come to george tenant and they say we are not getting information from this guy. we think he has information about additional plots. we need to try something different. here's what we need to try, and we're afraid if we don't do this, that americans may die. george tenant had that same conversation with the whitehouse. >> rose: does that include the president. >> no, not initially. the conversation was with the national security advisor who then had a conversation with the president.
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>> rose: condoleezza rice. you know she would tell the president. wouldn't be professional not to. >> she came back saying i told the president. the president in his memoirs said i was told. >> rose: there were ten things when if i remember, these were okay but not these two. who were the two. >> i don't know. i've asked yet myself. i don't know. but he took two off the table or one. charlie i've heard one i heard two. i don't know exactly what it is. i don't know what they were. >> rose: what did he accept. >> he accepted the list, right. >> rose: water boarding. >> they kind of ranged from -- i have them here in my pocket. so you know kind of the least was grabbing somebody by the lapels to get their attention if they're not paying attention all wait to water boarding, right. sleep deprivation. coming near the far end there. sleep deprivation one of the most effective. water boarding, very effective. so they ranged, right.
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but he approved them. he approved the specific techniques. he said so in thinks book, right. now here's where you get to the morality question. so legal and effective, and certainly thought to be effective at the time, right. so the morality question is not easy. i think some people make it sound really easy, right. why would you ever do this. the morality question is actually quite difficult. on the one hand, the question is, how could you possibly do the stuff at the far end, right, to another human being. particularly done by a country that stands for human dignity and stands for human rights. how could you possibly do that, right. i understand that. resonate with me to some extent as it does to a lot of people, right. but then you look at the other side of the morality company. how can you possibly not do
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those things when you believe that you need to do them in order to stop plots and save americans from being killed. >> rose: let me just put two questions, and these you can't easily determine. one is, you got to believe that this person has information that is goes right to the point of some threat to the united states. you accept that. this person has information because you can't just go out and torture a bunch of people and one may know something so we'll torture everybody. >> usually the torture is bothering but i'll go with you on this. >> rose: the interrogation. >> i got you. >> rose: there are people today in interrogation because we're having this big conversation in this country in part, not as sort of rounded as we are having here who say the way to get information is to befriend the person. >> yes. >> rose: that's what the
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f.b.i. says. >> it's a great question. it's a great question charlie. so there's about in the whole history of c.i.a. detention program there's about a hundred people who were in c.i.a. detention at one time or another. i forget the exact number, somewhere around a hundred. about only a third of those were ever subjected to any kind of enhanced interrogation and only three were subjected to water boarding. so the first point is that there's a whole bunch of people that you either judge are talking to without having to resort to enhanced interrogation techniques or aren't important enough, don't have the information that you need to probe for, correct. so first of all there's a whole bunch of people we never had to go there with. there was a whole bunch of people that some of the less harsh techniques worked on and got them to talk so you never had to get to the really harsh
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technique water boarding, right. that's very important. now, why did our officers call to george tannent suggesting these techniques. >> rose: let me ask you this question. were these counterterrorism experts within the cia or are they hired talents that you are paying. >> that's where i'm going. the officers who came to george were our officers, okay. why did we think these techniques would work? these two contractors that have been discussed now in the media, these two contractors who by the way the senate committee says has no experience as interrogators, right. absolutely true. but they have a lot of experience with interrogation. these two guys worked for the
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u.s. military and they were training for years u.s. soldiers how to resist these techniques. that was their job for years. their company trained u.s. soldiers how to resist water boarding. what they saw in the training of u.s. soldiers was that these techniques worked. so that's why they suggested them to the cia. >> rose: but you're still not speaking to, was this information available in any other way through any other tactics, could you have somehow used some other techniques. why was this the only thing that seemed available? and that's the question. >> i can say two things. one is this didn't happen the way that people typically think of torture, right. so people weren't being asked questions while they were under going enhance the interrogation techniques. >> rose: so the enhanced
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interrogation was -- >> to get them to a compliance state, okay. the other thing i would say is it worked in my view and in the view of the officers it worked. it made them compliant, and we got information that we didn't have. >> rose: it made them complaint -- compliant because it was so bad and once they stopped and had a chance, maybe they talked because they didn't want to go back and endure this thing again. >> that's what i think. that's what i think. abu zepeds would tell you it freed him to talk. because what he would tell you is that i had to, i had to resist telling you important information to as much as i possibly could. and because you -- >> rose: only because -- why did he have to say that. why did he say i have to resist. >> this was his way -- >> rose: his own self-esteem.
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>> this is his way of explaining why he went from non-compliant to compliant. >> rose: he wanted to say to his god look i resisted as much as i possibly could. >> and because i couldn't resist anymore i'm not free to talk. it was his psychology. >> rose: i repeat my question. i'm not sure there's an answer to this. was there any other way to get this information. could you have been smarter. >> yes. don't know. if somebody walks into your office and you're the director of the c.i.a. or president of the united states and say we need to do this now or people are going to die. it puts it in a different context. particularly given the context of the times. >> rose: so are you saying that the moral thingh1to use thl thing to do. >> so now you're asking another great question charlie. i've asked myself a lot because people ask me and i've asked
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myself what would i have done had i been put in george's shoes. i don't know. i'm glad i didn't have to make that decision because i don't know. where i come down at the end of the day is i don't think there's anybody who can really tell you what they would have done if they were put in george tenant's shoes or in president bush's shoes. maybe john mccain. maybe given what happened to senator mccain, maybe i believe him what he says if i were president i never would have done this. but i think for the vast majority of people. >> rose: you have to believe. >> i think so. the vast majority of people i don't think they can tell you what they would have done because the circumstances were so unique. >> rose: i'm told that people who were having to make this decision in the c.i.a. knew
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exactly what they were being asked to do. you on the one hand what was at stake and they agonized it. >> yes. so i will tell you that there was agonizing over this inside cia at the leadership level to the point where the cia leadership at the time said to itself, after they made the decision, said to itself, we know that this is going to come back to haunt us some day. but we're going to do it anyway because we think it's the right thing to do. >> rose: wasn't dick cheney agonized over this. >> i think he would do it again' over it but i do know in the executive branch there was agonizing over this. how do i know this because of the history i asked to be written right, which is now available to the public. and in that history you will see that there is a meeting of the senior national security team talking about this. and one of the things that is said to them by the senior cia lawyer at the time is hey guys,
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just want to make sure that everybody understands that there seems to be a contradiction here between what we're actually doing and the statement by the united states that we are treating all detainees humanely. >> rose: because we are. >> because you know, we are. and everybody in that room said we understand what you're saying, we want the c.i.a. program to continue. so that agonizing -- >> rose: everybody in the room. nobody rose and not one voice stepped forward and -- >> i wasn't there charlie but my understanding is nobody. >> rose: in the room are the national security staff of the president. >> so one of the interesting things about this history that i asked to be written, and that i asked several weeks ago the cia to declassify for me -- >> rose: any objection to declassifying that. >> there wasn't any objection
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but they moved pretty slowly in my view. >> rose: the c.i.a. did. >> you will see when you look at it there are large blocks of text taken out. most of those revolve around discussions in the executive branch. >> rose: so protect been somebody. >> no no no, because you have to, in order to release that information you have to go to that agency and say is this okay. because that information belongs to them as well as c.i.a. so you have to go ask them. so that information i've asked for that. they tell me it's coming. so the specifics on who was in the room is hidden in that text. i've asked for that to be released. >> rose: so why would they hide it. >> it's not that they're hyping it, it's that it has to go through a different kind of process. >> rose: legalism and process, is that what you think it is. >> yes. >> rose: you say you didn't write this. so who wrote it. >> the historians at the c.i.a. they actually wrote it. >> rose: what was your role. >> my role was in overseeing the
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entire process of cia putting together its response to the senate democratic report. that was my role. both as acting director and then as deputy director when john brennan showed up. as part of that i asked for the history. >> rose: is there something called the panetta review. >> yes. >> rose: what is that. >> i don't know i never seen it but here's my understanding of it. so it was director panetta who agreed to senator feinstein's request that she be given unprecedented access to agency materials to do this report. he put a condition on that which was that you had to look at this stuff in cia spaces. you couldn't take it back to senate spaces. because she was, because we were giving them millions and millions of documents to look at, he asked for an inventory to be done of those documents. and so a group of officers
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undertook the task of inventorying that information and summarizing that information. the panetta review i'm told is just that, an inventory and a summary of the information that the committee had access to. i never seen it, i don't know what it says. so i can't go much further than that. >> rose: there is the report with internal cia memo from july 2003 with instructions from the whitehouse to hide the program from colin powell because he would, quote, blow his stack. >> the only thing i can tell you that is the colin powell was briefed. >> rose: at the time on everything -- >> i don't know the exact time line when he was briefed but i can tell you in 2004 at least by 2003-2004 he was briefed. >> rose: july of 2003.
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>> right. >> rose: why would they want to keep him, that's what i don't understand. why wouldn't somebody in the white house not want the secretary of state to know this. >> so i don't know the answer to that. but let me just say this charlie. >> rose: they might object to it. >> no because he didn't object tend of the day. this is a very compartmented program. >> rose: if he were to be briefed on what's been being on. >> one of the things that happens in the democratic report is they take e-mails and they pull sentences, sentence fragments, sentences, a couple sentences out of these e-mails and say look right and you lose the context of the entire e-mail. or just think about, think about if somebody had grabbed all your e-mails for the last four years and went through them and threw a few sentences on the table, okay. you see where i'm heading here. the other thing i would say is that, you know, the cia operation i know the best, the
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bin laden operation the secretary of state was not briefed on the bin laden operation until a month before. the secretary of homeland security, the f.b.i. director and the attorney general were not briefed on the bin laden operation until the day before or the day of. so in some c.i.a. conversations you keep things very very tight. >> rose: who knew. >> i don't know who knew because i'm waiting for my history to be fullly declassified. >> rose: when might that hatch and who prevents it from being declassified, cia. >> they're telling me a couple week. >> rose: would you suggest there's a committee to do this. >> no. i want a group of historians, i want historians to dig into this and i want them to come to what they believe the truth to be. that's the first thing, right. and i believe, charlie that history's going to be very very unkind to this report, very unkind to this report. the second reason i'm here charlie, talking to you about
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this, is that for the vast majority of my officers, they followed the rules, they did what they were directed to do by the president of the united states and they were told by the department of justice at the time it was legal. there were some people who went beyond that. we heard about that drilled to the head waving a gun around the head. >> rose: what happened to this, what should happen to this. >> in every case they were reported to the department of justice for prosecution. the bush in every case, the bush department of justice declined prosecution and the obama many looked at them and declined prosecution because there wasn't enough evidence and they couldn't make the case. why the department of justice declines prosecutions in these situations they don't tell you,
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okay. but my passion about this, my passion about this charlie is for my officers who followed the rules, did what they were told by the president, told it was legal. i am going to defend them to my last breath. they did not do anything wrong. >> rose: i think john brennan sñ3x this there were certain things that were done the president did not know about. >> i get asked this question all the time. >> rose: which question. >> the question about do people do things they shouldn't have done all right. and who knew about it and who didn't. >> rose: my question is knew they could do legally but did not tell the president. >> there was nothing that was not authorized by the department of justice that the president didn't know about. there wasn't anything that wasn't authorized by the department of justice that congress didn't know about. and there wasn't anything that was done wrong that congress wasn't told about. so all they things that you hear about when those few cases, right, where people go beyond
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what they should have done, congress was briefed on every one of those cases as well. one of things, charlie, is people hear all these things, right, from sleep deprivation to water boarding. >> rose: rectal feeding, confinement in coffin-like boxes for many days, threats to slit throats of a detainee's mother and kill a detainee with an electric charge. >> you hear all of these things, right. they fall into one of three boxes. the first box is things that were authorized and were briefed to the whitehouse and approved by the whitehouse, briefed to congress and approved by the congress, okay. that's the first box. sleep deprivation is in there, water boarding is in there. the second box are those interrogation techniques that people on rare occasions did that were inconsistent with what
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was authorized. what falls in that box. drill to the head. waving a gun around, etcetera, all right. that second box that gets all reported to the department of justice and they make a decision about with a they want to do about it. the third box, the third box are things that aren't interrogation techniques. so rectal hydration, rectal feeding. not done for interrogation purposes, done to make sure somebody doesn't die of dehydration or make sure that somebody gets nutrients they need. because people were pulling out, pulling out iv's, people were pulling out nasal feeding tubes. so those were done for medical purposes, right. >> rose: so they didn't die. >> so they didn't die. >> rose: if jose rodriguez had asked should he destroy the tapes, what would the answer have been.
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>> so charlie, at the time, at the time jose destroyed the tapes. >> rose: what did he do? >> he sent, he ordered that a cable be written to the field ordering that destruction of the tapes. and at the time the director of c.i.a. was opposed to the destruction of the tapes. at the time the dni -- was opposed to the destruction of the tapes. at the time the whitehouse council harry meyers was opposed to the destruction of the tapes. jose, who i had great admiration for, great admiration for, great officer knew that, knew that his superiors dci, dni were opposed and knew white house counsel were opposed but jose did it anyway. >> rose: should he have been
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prosecuted for that, fare destroying relevant material. >> so that was one of the questions that john durham. so the attorney general eric holder asked that john durham look into the cia detention and interrogation program. and so for a number of years john durham special prosecutor looks into every single interaction that a c.i.a. officer has with a detainee. and decides that there's only about a hundred cases that are interesting, looks at all of those, decides to only do a full investigation in two cases. and in no case does he decide to bring charges. he also looks into jose's decision to destroy the tapes and decides not to bring charges because jose had been told by the lawyers of the c.i.a. that
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he had the legal thord to order detail struction. whether the tapes were destroyed or not is a policy call not a legal call. >> rose: looking forward, you said look what we really need here is to find out what the truth is and not just believe the senate report of the democrats on that senate douglas committee was the republicans were opposed, the cia was opposed to the release of that report or for a better report. >> i will tell you that i was, i was originally opposed to the release because now we're going to start talking about consequences in a second, right. and there are consequences both to a release of the report, whatever the roar says and there are consequences to how bad the report is, right. differing consequence. i was originally opposed to the release. but once the committee started leaking out its findings, it happened, that happened in the
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spring of 2013. the findings, the main findings ineffective, like to congress, c.i.a. lying to congress. we haven't even talked about that. once things started leaking out then i was for getting everything out, including the durham report get it all out there. >> rose: what consequences does this have for the people who worked for the c.i.a. and they worried i'm not sure what authority i have to do and it might change. >> there are a set of things i worry about in terms of consequences. let's take your consequence first because it may be at the end of the day be the most important. i don't worry about, i don't worry about cia officers questioning their orders not following through having doubts,
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right. i don't, c.i.a. officers do what they think, they do what they're told. they follow orders. it's future cia leaders and current cia leaders that i'm worried about. can the current c.i.a. leadership or future c.i.a. leader'yip in good conscious order their officers to do something that might be close to the edge, that they believe might get overturned or questioned or the rug pulled out from under them ten years from now. can the c.i.a. leader in good conscious ask their people to do that. that's a tough question, that's a tough question, right. there are some thing that c.i.a. is doing today, i'm not going to talk about them. there are some things the c.i.a. is doing today i'm worried down the road somebody might say hey was there a legal justification for that right. was that the right thing to do. was that moral. and so you know, i worry about
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some of things cia's doing today, somebody pulling the rug out from the c.i.a. in the future. >> rose: we haven't talked about this. some people i'm not sure where you are on this, some people say as part of the push backs say we're now talking about this other enhanced interrogation techniques, which some people believe now even if it was legal then, it was torture. the majority of the people believe it was torture. >> some of them. >> rose: absolutely. there are those who say you know, yes it's a terrible thing for a country to do. it's also a terrible thing for a country to do to take drones and fly them over where they think there are people and be prepared to take out people not knowing who is in the car, not knowing who is in the house because they believe there's one person who
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is a terrorist, an enemy to america's national security. and that happens the same morality considerations as what was done here. >> so i'm not going to talk about specifics, right. i am a huge supporter of the drone program. huge supporter of the drone program. i believe that it's prevented another 9/11-style attack in the united states. >> rose: because. >> because of the leadership and the people that have been taken off the battle field. and i believe the claims of collateral damage are highly exaggerated and largely highly exaggerated by people who want them to stop. both al-qaeda and some governments. but that would be the type of program that i was talking about when i say i worry about the future. >> rose: okay.
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so what's the lesson here and what ought to be other than finding truth. the hard questions that we need to understand and try to find answers to in a transparent and informed debate. >> so i believe, charlie, i believe that the real issue that we should be talking about, the real issue we should be talking about in this case is the moral they debate. that is a legitimate debate. was this the right thing to do or the wrong thing to do. senator feinstein believes deep in her heart this is the wrong thing to do. john mccain believes deeply this was the wrong thing to do. i respect that, all right. there's other people on the other side, president bush, vice president cheney who believe that this absolutely was the right thing to do. >> rose: and mike morell. >> mike morell doesn't really know where he is because he
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wasn't involved in it, right. >> rose: well john mccain wasn't involved in it. >> i have people, right, who say to me, look i know you well enough if you had been put in that situation you would have done this. i have people say to me i know you well enough and if you were put in that situation you would have taken some of, some of the techniques off the table. i don't know what i would have done, okay. but i've had both people say different things to me, people who know me really really well. that's the debate we should be having right or wrong. it's an interesting debate. i respect people on both sides of it. >> rose: do you think we're being heard around the world because of this. >> yes. in particular there were foreign governments, foreign leaders, leaders of governments and leaders of foreign intelligence services who cooperated with us in this program. they are now at legal jeopardy as a result of this report and
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as a result of the president of the united states calling this torture. >> rose: president obama. >> president obama calling this torture. which has legal consequences. so i worry very much about them and i worry about the impact that has on other foreign leaders and other heads of foreign intelligence leaders cooperating with us on important intelligence operations. >> rose: mike, thank you for coming today. >> thank you charlie. >> rose: this is obviously a huge question the country's been talking about the release of this report and even before that. and as he suggested, there's still a lot that we need to know, a lot that we need to compare and a lot that we need to understand as we go forward as a country. thank you for joining us. see you next time. for more about this program and early episodes, visit us on-line at pbs.org and charlierose.com.
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