Ex-CIA chief Michael Hayden would like you to know that he is not a crook or a liar

What gets me about this excuse, in addition to what you mention about the torture justification, is: even in the incredibly unlikely hypothetical “ticking time bomb scenario”, the only reason it’s supposed to at all justify torture is that there’s an immediate, defined threat that can only be resolved in one way.

The moment you slap “daily” onto that, you’ve lost most of what makes up even that incredibly slim hypothetical moral justification.


Many people need to be in jail. I absolutely believe in starting at the bottom. I think too many people wring their hands about it being “fair” and making sure the most responsible people are the most punished. That’s not the world we live in. Hayden will not see the inside of a jail cell, except maybe in a photo since he helped build a few.

The Executive Branch and its current and former administrators have become thoroughly immunized by the political process, even if there are legal mechanisms to prosecute them. At this point, I am content to go after every low-level asshole who carried out the torture. I want the message to go out: Even if the people who told you to do it get off scot-free, you won’t. That’s good enough. It’s hardly justice, but it’s good enough.

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and the war of perception continues

Hayden has little credibility since botching the handling of intelligence NSA already possessed on the hijackers before 9/11. Back then his stovepipe practices insured failure. Afterward, the intelligence agencies sought out the needles by making more haystacks, 4th amendment be damned.

See James Bamford’s “The Shadow Factory” for the lowdown on that and the subsequent overreaching by Hayden, Alexander, et al. This was among the best investigative works until Snowden came along to show it was even worse.


I regard Michael Hayden to be an amoral, dishonest, disingenuous individual, devoid of ethical integrity (beyond that of an “honor among thieves” strain, perhaps) who displays pronounced sociopathic tendencies.* None-the-less, this quote strikes me as completely over the top & expressly out of character from the demeanor Hayden typically has on public display.

Web searches return your post on Boing Boing as the only reference found.

Please provide a citation of the source.

  • Note: I am not a Psych-Professional in any capacity

The CIA is like a violent psychopath that will take care of the government’s business.

“Do you have any idea what I’ve done for God and country? Some pretty FUCKING HORRIBLE things!”

– Mitch Leary (John Malkovich), In the Line of Fire.

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Please forgive my long, tedious rant. I had to get it out before I exploded. I hope I have made it informative for the few that make it to the end…

My mind boggles at the horror.

It is not just the torture. I am aghast at all the people who seem to concur that THIS is the direction they want our nation to go. They look at the torture, the lies and the soul destroying justifications and say that this is the world they want for themselves and their children. They are willing to discard the rule of law. They don’t care about ethics. They take no thought for the long term consequences. Where do they think they are going to live?

Our nation has gotten through equally difficult problems in the past. Hopefully, today enough of us will remember that our noble goals are:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it…

It is not about whether torture is hard to justify. It is not about whether torture is effective. Arguing about these points is substituting false judgement for true judgement. The reason we don’t torture our fellow man is because we believe that we are created equal. And we believe that we all have certain inalienable rights.

When a part of our government systematically violates our inalienable rights. Then engages in a prolonged battle to conceal the truth about their actions, it severs itself from any claim to have ‘Just Powers.’

It is now our Right, and our Duty to alter or abolish the destructive part of Government.

At least we know the root of the problem and have some idea of what works and what doesn’t.

The problem is, our nation does not currently have a good way to handle secret knowledge. When secret knowledge drives government action, it isolates government and corrupts it from it’s intended purposes.

We have proved that the following approaches do not limit government corruption:

  • Allowing our government representatives to act on secret knowledge corrupts them from their intended purpose. They substitute their agendas for our agenda. The corruption occurs faster if their actions are hidden from the public.
  • Adding an isolated layer of oversight that can partake of the secrets (but can't expose the secrets) slightly slows, but does not stop, the corrupting process. The FISA court was [captured][4] and corrupted by the Intelligence community. The [House Intelligence Committee][5] appears to be captured and corrupted. The Senate Intelligence Committee appears be complicit in the NSA corruption, even while acting against the CIA corruption.
  • Leaving corruption alone makes it worse.
  • Secret processes don't reduce corruption. They are are much more likely to be co-opted and increase the corruption.
  • Allowing the same government entity to create secrets, protect secrets, and act on those secrets speeds the corrupting process.
  • The [Espionage Act][6] appears to be severely broken. It denied the whistle-blowers [Kiriakou][7] and [Manning][8] the ability to present a Public Interest defense. The Act has eliminated and suppressed many opportunities to evaluate and prevent the corruption of government.
  • Allowing Government to avoid trial and suppress evidence by claiming National Security appears to be an extremely bad idea. Our government has repeatedly used this claim to avoid evaluation by independent, judges. This has also eliminated many opportunities to prevent the corruption of government.

The following solutions have worked to limit or reduce government corruption:

  • Exposing the secrets exposes the corruption. Once the corruption has grown sufficiently ripe, it is always better to expose the secrets than endure the corruption. Oddly enough, history seems to indicate that it takes our Intelligence community about 40 years to go from full exposure to ripe secret corruption.
  • Even if the secrets are kept, corruption can be greatly reduced if it is publicly exposed, uprooted, punished and replaced. Skipping one of these steps leaves the corruption intact.
  • Whistle-blowing and public disclosure by informed, ethical insiders works to expose and limit corruption.
  • Allowing Oversight groups to freely disclose secrets if they feel it is in the Public Interest greatly slows the corruption.
  • Distributing the processes of creation of secrets, protecting secrets, and acting on secrets to different parts of government appears to greatly slow the corrupting process.

All branches of our Government have proven susceptible to the corrupting power of secrets:

  • The Legislative branch almost never keeps secrets. When it does, it grows corrupt.
  • The Judicial branch keeps secrets. They are usually resistant to corruption when keeping others secrets. The Judicial branch will rapidly corrupt when their own knowledge, laws and actions are kept secret.
  • The Executive branch creates, preserves and acts on secrets all the time. Sometimes, parts of it exhibit non-corrupt behavior. However, we have two exceptional cases: The Military has historically been a little more resistant to the corrupting power of secrets. The Intelligence community has historically been highly susceptible to the corrupting power of secrets.

God help us if we don’t act to stem the current tide of government corruption. We will lose ourselves and probably take the rest of the world with us.


A demonstration of the epistemic agility that the CIA brings to bear to protect you and your family from today’s terrifying global threatscape?

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The quote is imaginary, and was intended as parody. As you say, it is ‘over the top’, and my intent was that the sheer absurdity would tip readers off to the fact that it was a joke. I should probably have remembered that these days absurdity is not a reliable clue as to whether something is real or not. Apologies.


As per the Supreme Court torture is forbidden under the Eighth Amendment.

Torture committed outside the United States by a U.S. national is punishable under 18 U.S.C. § 2340.

The argument that we need to break the law in order to get information is disgusting and supporting such idea should have gotten Hayden tossed in jail for violation of both his oath and US law.

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What? Apologize for this?


Isn’t this the same guy that said he ran interference for Cheney to allow the CIA to wiretap everyone? I guess he lied about that too?

“When the President does it, that means that it is not illegal.”

I consider myself to usually be pretty tuned-in to sarcastic satire & have been known to employ the same myself. If I ever question the interpretive abilities of others, at the end I’ll typically include a simple : \

And you’re correct; as society devolves to the point where what is “reasonably” realistic & believable mutates toward that which would once be considered a preposterous dystopian surreality, well … distinguishing between the two becomes evermore problematic.

Or maybe I’m just naively optimistic. Maybe every man, woman & child in the U.S. really should be viewed 1st & foremost as a legitimate terrorist threat, determined to & capable of unleashing horrifically unconscionable acts upon “the homeland”.

Perhaps it’s only in post-paranoia that we then are deserving of consideration as, you know, humans or something. Who knows, maybe we could even be seen as “citizens” endowed with a litany of unalienable rights.

: \

The committee certainly has given us a one-sided study - one that allowed the CIA to redact and whitewash large parts of it, instead of telling the public the depths of what they’d done.

Fuck me, there are actually 8 of the Endless?

Dream, Death, Delirium, Destruction, Desire, Despair, Destiny, and Disingenuity?

You learn something new every day.


You were being facetious, but during his 60 Minutes interview, Hayden did display a massive “poker tell”: his left eye would periodically wince like Herbert Lom in The Pink Panther. All that was needed to complete the picture was flop sweat on his upper lip and underarms.

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Sitting down here on the other side of an ocean, wondering when The Revolution actually gonna happen? :smirk:

Seriously, this isn’t the first time the US has pulled some seriously bad shit on the rest of the world and it’s unlikely to be the last. But instead of anything useful happening it’ll be “Whoops, we’re a little bit sorry but we’re just so awesome and better than you that you’re all going to put up with it …” :angry:

The world is losing patience and the American Century is in its dying days. The time remaining for you to fix this is limited. You don’t want to be the citizen of a pariah state when her time as a global superpower is over …

Just ask any Russian citizen… :expressionless:

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