President Bush's weekend veto of the intelligence authorization bill will not change the way the CIA operates its interrogation programs, which CIA Director Michael Hayden says is lawful and consistent with the Geneva Conventions.
Addressing employees after the Saturday veto, Hayden said that he fully expects that the administration and Congress will continue to "exchange ideas" on the legal framework governing interrogations. "Whatever the result, our agency's position is absolutely clear: CIA will continue to operate within the law, strictly abiding by the decisions of the republic we protect." The legislation had pushed for a ban on waterboarding as it made the Army Field Manual the interrogation law of the land.
Hayden said that the debate over interrogation methods has "misrepresented the terms of the current debate, implying that only two outcomes are possible—a blanket application of the Army Field Manual or the legalization of torture. As I have said in congressional testimony, the Army Field Manual does not exhaust the universe of lawful interrogation techniques. There are methods in CIA's program that have been briefed to our oversight committees, are fully consistent with the Geneva Convention and current U.S. law, and are most certainly not torture."