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Tailoring the CIA chief's comments

September 12, 2007

Re "It feels 'like Sept. 10,' CIA director says," Sept. 8

This story states that CIA Director Michael V. Hayden "lashed out at the media" when discussing the terrorist threat in a speech last week to the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.

The article did not mention that Hayden said he has "a very deep respect for journalists and their profession" or that many journalists -- especially since 9/11 -- have given their lives in the act of keeping our citizens informed. Or that journalists and intelligence officers "each have an important role to play in the defense of the republic."

Referring to those who leak classified information to the media that puts Americans at risk, Hayden said, "Those entrusted with America's secrets and [who] break that trust by divulging those secrets are guilty of a crime." He then added: "But those who seek such information and then choose to publish it are not without responsibilities."

In the world we live in, there are times when life-and-death issues are at stake when intelligence activities are the subject of news reports. Saying that the media are "not without responsibilities" hardly qualifies as lashing out at; it's a reasonable, thoughtful and carefully considered statement.

Mark Mansfield

Director of Public Affairs

Central Intelligence Agency

Langley, Va.

*

Hayden is on a PR campaign, arguing that imposing the stricter anti-torture rules of the U.S. military on the CIA would hamper the CIA's efforts. "We're not in the Department of Defense," he says, wearing his Air Force uniform. Either the Air Force needs to prosecute him for violating military anti-torture rules, or Hayden needs to stop wearing the uniform while claiming military rules don't apply to him.

Mike Kindle

Los Angeles

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