SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – Top Democrats are voicing outrage to comments made by former CIA chief Michael Hayden during an appearance on Fox News Sunday where he questioned Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s objectivity in a spying probe based on her “emotional feeling.”
This weekend, Hayden, George W. Bush’s CIA director from 2006 to 2009, said in the Fox appearance that a classified torture report “may show deep emotional feeling on the part of the senator, but I don’t think it leads you to an objective report.”
That assertion has led to claims of sexism from columnists and fellow politicians.
Sen. Mark Udall, a Democrat who serves alongside Feinstein on the Senate Intelligence Committee, called the reference to Feinstein’s emotions a “baseless smear” that Hayden wouldn’t make against a man.
“Does this sound like a person or party that respects women?” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said on the senate floor.
Feinstein and other committee members voted 11-3 last week to declassify about 500 pages of the report. The CIA is reviewing those sections. The process coincides with a bitter, related dispute between Feinstein’s committee and the agency over dueling allegations of illegal snooping and competing criminal referrals.
The San Francisco Democrat, who heads the Intelligence Committee, accused the CIA last month of criminal activity in improperly searching a computer network set up for lawmakers investigating allegations that the agency used torture in terror investigations during the Bush administration. In an extraordinary speech on the Senate floor at the time, she publicly aired an intense but formerly quiet dispute between Congress and the spy agency. She said a the time that the matter has been referred to the Justice Department for further investigation.
Feinstein, D-Calif., said in a statement that declassifying the review of CIA’s detention and interrogation program after the Sept. 11 attacks “would ensure nothing like it happens again.” She called Hayden’s reference to her emotions “nonsense.”
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