GOP presidential candidate and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina defended the torture tactics used by the CIA in the aftermath of 9/11 and revealed her direct involvement in aiding the NSA’s bulk collection of Americans’ data.
In an interview with Yahoo News published on Monday, Fiorina insisted that the methods of torture used by the CIA to attempt to extract information from suspected Al-Qaeda operatives after 9/11, such as waterboarding, helped “keep our nation safe.”
“I believe that all of the evidence is very clear — that waterboarding was used in a very small handful of cases [and] was supervised by medical personnel in every one of those cases,” Fiorina said. “And I also believe that waterboarding was used when there was no other way to get information that was necessary.”
A heavily redacted summary of the Senate report on the torture methods, or “enhanced interrogation tactics,” was released in December 2014, and found that the program was abused and mishandled by the CIA.
The report claimed that the CIA misled government officials on the level of brutality being used in its torture program, and the effectiveness of the techniques used.
Fiorina also said that she had received a phone call from former NSA director Michael Hayden shortly after Sept. 11, 2001, asking her to “quickly provide his agency with HP computer servers for expanded surveillance.”
Hayden told Yahoo News that he used the HP servers to implement Stellar Wind, “the controversial warrantless wiretapping program, including the bulk collection of American citizens’ phone records and emails, that had been secretly ordered by the Bush White House.”
“I felt it was my duty to help, and so we did,” said Fiorina, confirming that she redirected a truck of HP servers from retail stores to the NSA’s headquarters.
“They were ramping up a whole set of programs and needed a lot of data crunching capability to try and monitor a whole set of threats,” Fiorina said. “What I knew at the time was our nation had been attacked.”
Fiorina also said that she has advised the NSA and the CIA to be “transparent as possible about as much as possible,” and that while she supports checks and balances, she is “not aware of circumstances” in which NSA surveillance “went too far” in its collection of Americans’ data.
Fiorina noted that she had once made a recommendation that former CIA Counterterrorism Center chief Jose Rodriguez, who was subjected to a criminal investigation after directing the destruction of videotapes showing waterboarding of detainees, should become a spokesman for the CIA. According to Yahoo News, Rodriguez was “very impressed with her then — and now.”