(Hayden leaves for Army Basic Training in 2 Weeks. This letter was written last April long before the Obama Justice Department elicited an even more strident and spontaneous protest by every living former CIA director from both parties.)
Dear Hayden, 4/20/09
This is a very difficult letter for me to write. Ever since you announced your intent to become a Marine your Mom and I have been supportive of your decision despite our protective instincts. After all, how could any parent be anything but proud of a son (or daughter) who volunteers to defend our nation? That said, I must tell you that I have new concerns about your decision and while I will continue to support you regardless of what you do, I must advise you to not enter the military at this time.
Last week, President Obama ignored the advice of four former CIA Directors and the current Director (his own appointee) and de-classified top-secret material pertaining to the interrogations of terrorists in captivity. It is my belief that President Obama has willfully made this country less safe by providing top-secret intelligence to our enemies and apparently five CIA directors agree. I can not and will not try to explain the President’s motivation, and it is certainly within his power to determine the classified status of any information. All I can do is warn you that our country and its military are now in greater danger as a result of these actions.
I’ll never forget going mountain biking with you on 9/12/2001 when we thought the fresh air would do us good only to find that the dark plume of smoke from ground zero was clearly visible whenever we looked up. One of the big lessons we learned from 9/11 was that our failure to prevent those attacks was in large part due to self-imposed restrictions on the sharing of intelligence between federal agencies. Will we look back on the exposure of top-secret interrogation information with the same regrets? Five CIA Directors think the risk was not worth taking and I am not qualified to disagree with them.
I consider the military’s relationship with our civilian government one of the founders great achievements. Throughout our history, the military has kept up its end of the bargain and honorably served the Commander in Chief regardless of political considerations. Likewise, most Presidents have gotten high marks for keeping up their end of the bargain. In my judgment, President Obama’s actions show that his interests lie elsewhere and I don’t want you entering the Marines with a Commander who is not looking out for you. Once you put on that uniform you will be defending us against deadly enemies and the last thing you need is a Commander aiding them!
Hayden, you are an adult and can make your own decisions about whether to volunteer or not. But I know you are busy graduating from college and don’t always have the time to keep up with the constant flood of information today. All I can do is what parents always do; inform their sons and daughters, and equip them to make good decisions.
My advice? Stay out of the Military until we have a Commander in Chief who will protect and defend this country and do everything in his power to not dull the “point-of-the-spear” that defends us all.