US President Barack Obama will visit CIA headquarters on Monday amid charges he undermined the US intelligence community by unveiling details of its controversial interrogation methods.
The US leader, who last week released “Top Secret” memos on interrogation techniques widely condemned as torture, will go to the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, for private meetings with personnel and to deliver a public message “about the importance of the CIA’s mission” to US national security.
Obama is set to reassure CIA officers of his promise not to seek prosecution of CIA agents or former officials under his predecessor George W. Bush who authorized or carried out the harsh techniques the government now condemns.
“This is a time for reflection, not retribution,” Obama said Thursday after releasing the documents.
Former head of the US Central Intelligence Agency, Michael Hayden, however, warned Sunday that the release could still leave agents vulnerable to civil lawsuits or congressional probes targetting CIA agents who relied on the Bush-era memos to carry out harsh interrogations.
“There will be more revelations. There will be more commissions. There will be more investigations,” he told the TV program “Fox News Sunday.”
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This is an agency, he added, “that is at war and is on the frontlines of defending America.”
The harsh interrogation techniques, Hayden insisted, had succeeded in battling Al-Qaeda and saving American lives, something he characterized as “an inconvenient truth.”