Amy Goodman Questions Ex-CIA Director Porter Goss about Torture at George W. Bush Conference

March 27, 2015
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Porter Goss

former CIA director.

When questioned by Democracy Now! host and executive producer Amy Goodman, former CIA Director Peter Goss said the bipartisan Senate Committee Report on the CIA’s Use of Torture was "not the full truth" and criticized Sen. John McCain for defending it.

Both Goodman and Goss spoke Tuesday during a conference at Hofstra University that assessed the George W. Bush presidency.

As Newsday reports:

Goss criticized the committee’s report as a "partisan political study" because it was called for by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who serves as vice chairwoman of the committee.

Goodman countered that Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), once a prisoner of war in Vietnam, had defended the report, saying the use of torture "damaged our security interests, as well as our reputation as a force for good in the world."

Watch the exchange in the video above.

Former national intelligence director and U.S. ambassador to Iraq, John Negroponte, also spoke at the event, and later said, "Boy, I need a stiff drink after that one." See more here.

Watch Amy Goodman’s full remarks at the conference here.

See all of Democracy Now!’s reports on CIA torture.

PORTER GOSS: In the interests of fairness, would respond a little bit on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence study on rendition, detention and interrogation—was a partisan political study. It was not two-sided. And there are further facts that need to come out from those who are able to, I think, correct some of the misstatements in the Senate study. That has not happened yet. I hope it will happen, because I do believe the American public needs to know the truth of all of this. The Senate study is not the full truth.

AMY GOODMAN: Was there any truth in it?

MODERATOR: Could you say again?


AMY GOODMAN: Was there any truth in it?

PORTER GOSS: Of course there was some truth in it. It was a cherry-picked, selective presentation of information to support a narrative that was made before this report actually even was started. The announced purpose of the report, of the study, if I’m correcting Chairman Feinstein—if I’m quoting Chairman Feinstein properly, was to make sure this never happens again. I’m not sure what the "this" was, or neither are a lot of people. But apparently, as you go through the report, as you go through this study, there are a series of observations that involved information that the decision makers could have provided to the people doing the report and would have given a fairer and more complete understanding of what happened and why. If you want to know why something happened, it’s a good idea to go back to the people who made the decision and ask them. They calculatedly and determinedly avoided going back to anybody that they thought might spoil their narrative. So, consequently, yes, there is some information that is cherry-picked, some out of context and some actually factually correct, as far as I know. I have not read a word of the report. I have not read a word of any of this stuff, because, to me, it is purely partisan political. And a politicization of intelligence in this country is going to hurt only one person, and that’s every citizen in the United States.

AMY GOODMAN: I just wanted to quote Senator McCain, who—

PORTER GOSS: I love Senator McCain, and I would certainly agree with you that Senator McCain is the icon of prisoner of war conduct. He has suffered greatly for our country and made great sacrifices and deserves to be listened to. But he does not have all of the information either.

AMY GOODMAN: He said, "It is a thorough and thoughtful study of practices that I believe not only failed their purpose—to secure actionable intelligence to prevent further attacks on the U.S. and our allies—but actually damaged our security interests, as well as our reputation as a force for good in the world."

PORTER GOSS: He is welcome to his opinion. I doubt he’s read the report. And in any event, he has certainly not asked the people who were involved in this activity what they think, because they have all indicated that he has not asked them. So, even he is dealing with less than a full deck.

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