Outgoing CIA Director Michael Hayden is going around town telling folks he has warned President-elect Barack Obama "personally and forcefully" that if Obama authorizes an investigation into controversial activities like water boarding, "no one in Langley will ever take a risk again."
It is not only a bit cheeky, but more than a little disingenuous that Hayden should think to advise Obama "personally and forcefully" against investigating illegal activities authorized by president George W. Bush, since Hayden himself can already be described as an unindicted co-conspirator based on publicly available information. He has bragged loudly about the crimes in which he was directly involved, and has defended others, like what he has called "high-end" interrogation techniques—water boarding, for example.
Could it be clearer? "Water boarding is torture," said President-elect Obama last Sunday to George Stephanopoulos. Torture is a crime. Obama added, twice, that no one is "above the law," although also citing his "belief that we need to look forward as opposed to looking backward."
Despite the President-elect's equivocations, it seems that President Bush and the current CIA director have a problem. And apparently Hayden's palms are sweaty enough to warrant, in his view, a thinly veiled threat.
In the outrage category, that threat/warning goes well beyond chutzpah. What an insult to my former colleagues at the CIA to suggest that they lack the integrity to fulfill their important duties in consonance with the law; to suggest that they would treat the incoming president like a substitute teacher!
Note to the CIA: If by 'taking risks', AF weenie Hayden means 'breaking the law and wiping yer ass with the Constitution and the Geneva Convention for political purposes because someone told you to', well, don't. You know that. Just do your job.
Note to Bush: You better get to buildin' some guest quarters down there in Paraguay. Your accomplices are runnin' scared. Sounds like you're going to have a lot of company.
Note to Bush & Cheney's accomplices: From my vast storehouse of legal expertise garnered by watching countless Law & Order reruns, the first one to roll over gets the best deal.
Note to Hayden: I hope you end your AF career with slick sleeves and a rag in your hand, wipin' the wings of O-1 Bird Dogs.
Threaten my President, willya?!!