Seven ex-CIA chiefs urge Obama not to reopen torture cases against CIA employees

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Washington, Sep 19 (ANI): Seven former CIA directors have urged President Barack Obama not to let the US Justice Department reopen judicial probes against CIA employees who may have tortured detainees during the Bush administration.

The Washington Times quoted ex-chiefs as saying that further investigations would not only demoralize current CIA officers, but may also suspend cooperation with the US allies because of the disclose of joint operations.

Last month, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. 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 9/11 attacks.

"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," the former directors of the CIA wrote in a letter released Friday.

"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," it added.

The cases involve harsh interrogation techniques approved between 2001 and 2004 by the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel.

President Obama ordered the release of memos and a CIA inspector general's report on the program, which the Bush administration called "enhanced interrogation."

Apart from the morale factor, the opening of cases could inadvertently disclose the cooperation of foreign intelligence services that the U.S. government had promised would remain secret, the ex CIA chiefs pointed out.

"The United States promised these foreign countries that their cooperation would never be disclosed. As a result of the zeal on the part of some to uncover every action taken in the post-9/11 period, many countries may decide that they can no longer safely share intelligence or cooperate with us on future counter-terrorist operations," the letter said. (ANI)

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