Krauthammer ignored former CIA directors Bush, Turner to claim only Obama officials failed to sign letter against investigation

››› ››› JOCELYN FONG

Appearing on Fox News, Charles Krauthammer falsely asserted that a letter from seven former CIA directors calling on President Obama to "reverse Attorney General Holder's August 24 decision to re-open the criminal investigation of CIA interrogations" was signed "by every living CIA director" except Defense Secretary Robert Gates and current CIA director Leon Panetta, whom Krauthammer noted were "in the Obama Cabinet." In fact, former CIA directors George H.W. Bush and Stansfield Turner also did not sign the letter.

Krauthammer claimed only 2 living CIA directors did not sign letter

From the September 21 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Bret Baier:

BRET BAIER (host): Well, two days after seven former CIA directors asked the president to kill a potential investigation into alleged interrogation abuse by interrogators, he declined. And now Attorney General Eric Holder is moving forward, and the president is not stepping in.

[...]

KRAUTHAMMER: Look, this letter was signed by every living CIA director, with one exception, Gates, who is now in the Cabinet, so he couldn't sign it. And one other exception, Leon Panetta, who we know opposes these prosecutions and is in the Obama Cabinet. So what you have in total is eight, of whom half were appointed by Democrats, and they all oppose it.

Letter not signed by four living CIA directors

Bush, Turner join Gates and Panetta in not signing letter. In addition to Gates and Panetta, former CIA directors George H.W. Bush and Adm. Stansfield Turner did not sign the September 18 letter to Obama. President Gerald Ford appointed Bush as CIA director, where he served from January 1976 until January 1977. President Jimmy Carter appointed Turner as CIA director, where he served from March 1977 until January 1981.

Transcript

From the September 21 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Bret Baier:

BAIER: Well, two days after seven former CIA directors asked the president to kill a potential investigation into alleged interrogation abuse by interrogators, he declined. And now Attorney General Eric Holder is moving forward, and the president is not stepping in.

We're back with the panel. Fred, what about this?

FRED BARNES (Fox News contributor): You notice they -- those seven -- they didn't ask the attorney general to back down. They asked the president to back down, because this is so obviously a presidential decision.

I mean, this decision is, basically, are you going to prosecute the prior administration for one of the central policies of its national security policy, and that was strong interrogation of Al Qaeda's -- Al Qaeda terrorists who were captured to find out other plans they had. And they were successful.

I mean, this is already -- I mean, the president's excuse was, I don't want to second guess prosecutors. Well, we have already had prosecutors look into this case and found that it shouldn't be prosecuted. That was back under the Bush administration.

But, I mean, this is so fundamentally a presidential decision. You know, there is a piece by David Petraeus in a London paper last week where he said he was talking about Afghanistan, saying, you know, it's hard in Afghanistan what we're doing, and it's hard all the time.

Well, that's what the presidency is like. It's hard, and it's hard all the time, but the president has to step forward and make tough decisions like this, or he's abdicating his responsibility.

BAIER: You know, Mara, the president said he doesn't want to overstep -- step into this and overstep prosecutors. However, the attorney general did just that when he decided to move forward, as Fred mentioned, over the -- what the Eastern District prosecutors decided not to move forward.

Now there's a story that Attorney General Holder didn't personally read the declinations, as they're called, of these lawyers who decided not to move forward with the prosecution.

MARA LIASSON (Fox News contributor): You know what? I think even if he had read them he would have moved forward with this.

And I think that it's important for this administration to have its own prosecutors look at this independently, freshly. And I think the best political outcome would be for them to come to the same conclusions that the Bush prosecutors.

The base of the Democratic Party wanted an investigation of this. I think that they're going to get that. I think the big question is will this prosecutor do what other prosecutors have in the past and kind of follow this wherever it leads him, or will he stay confined into this very narrow set of cases that he is looking at and come to the same conclusion that his predecessors did -- that, no, prosecutions are not warranted.

And I think that would be the best thing, and that would -- that would comport with the president's vow to look forward, not backwards.

BAIER: But that rarely happens with special prosecutors.

LIASSON: Well, it hasn't happened in the past, yeah.

KRAUTHAMMER: I agree with Mara that it is a decision meant to placate the left wing of his party, so it's political. It's not about national security or about justice. Look, this letter was signed by every living CIA director, with one exception, Gates, who is now in the Cabinet, so he couldn't sign it. And one other exception, Leon Panetta, who we know opposes these prosecutions and is in the Obama Cabinet. So what you have in total is eight, of whom half were appointed by Democrats, and they all oppose it.

Posted In
Government, Cabinet & Agencies
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Charles Krauthammer
Show/Publication
Special Report with Bret Baier
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