- The Washington Times - Friday, September 18, 2009

Seven of the 10 living former CIA chiefs Friday urged President Obama to overrule his attorney general and not reopen investigations into CIA employees who may have abused detainees during the Bush administration.

On Aug. 24, Attorney General Eric Holder appointed a federal prosecutor, John Durham, to review cases against CIA officers suspected of exceeding Justice Department guidelines for interrogations of terrorist suspects following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The decision to reopen the cases was controversial in part because the Justice Department had already considered the charges and declined to prosecute the officers.

In a letter released Friday, the former directors of the CIA, who included both Democrats and Republican appointees, wrote: “If criminal investigations closed by career prosecutors during one administration can so easily be reopened at the direction of political appointees in the next, declinations of prosecution will be rendered meaningless. Those men and women who undertake difficult intelligence assignments in the aftermath of an attack such as September 11 must believe there is permanence in the legal rules that govern their actions.”

Click here to view the letter to President Obama from former DCIs and DCIAs. (PDF)

The former CIA directors who signed the letter are: Michael Hayden, Porter Goss, George Tenet, John Deutch, R. James Woolsey, William Webster and James R. Schlesinger. The only living CIA directors who did not sign the letter are former president George H.W. Bush; the current defense secretary, Robert Gates; and President Carter’s CIA director, Stansfield Turner.

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