Sunday, December 14, 2014

let's not forget this pioneering angel-faced campfire girl...., (now a secretive investment banker)



NYTimes |  The last time George Tenet was asked about torture on television, he sounded defiant and jabbed his finger in the air. The year was 2007, and Mr. Tenet, the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, was promoting his memoir when a question about waterboarding came up while he was being interviewed on CBS’ “60 Minutes.”

“You know, the image that’s been portrayed is we sat around the campfire and said, ‘Oh boy, now we go get to torture people,’ ” Mr. Tenet said, growing angry as the newsman Scott Pelley challenged him on how the agency interrogated terrorism suspects. “We don’t torture people. Let me say that again to you, we don’t torture people. O.K.?”

This week the Senate Intelligence Committee issued a long-awaited report detailing the gruesome interrogation techniques employed by the C.I.A. on Mr. Tenet’s watch as well as the false claims the agency made about their effectiveness. But Mr. Tenet, now a managing director of a secretive New York investment bank, has been nowhere in public view, leaving it to one of his successors — Michael V. Hayden, who was much less involved with the brutal interrogation program — to serve as the C.I.A.’s most vocal defender.

While Mr. Hayden has been all over television this week, Mr. Tenet has responded only in writing. But they are working in concert; their disparate approaches are part of an orchestrated campaign by the two former directors — and a third, Porter J. Goss — to defend the agency they all worked for by attacking the report’s credibility.

Other former Bush administration officials — notably former Vice President Dick Cheney — have also defended the C.I.A., but Mr. Hayden, who served as C.I.A. director from 2006 to 2009 and whose folksy manner makes for lively quotes, has emerged as their smoothest — and most willing — spokesman.

“He’s always been a great communicator, he has a way of turning a phrase, he’s very energetic and willing to engage and we’re lucky to have him on our team,” said Bill Harlow, a former C.I.A. official who is acting as the spokesman for Mr. Tenet and helping coordinate the response effort. “When it comes to TV it’s hard to match him.”