Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) has chaired the Senate’s Intelligence Committee for five years. So when she suggested last month that investigators should make public a report on the U.S.’s interrogation techniques because it would “ensure that an un-American, brutal program of detention and interrogation will never again be considered or permitted,” one might have seen it as the strong words and fair assessment of a person who has deep experience on the issue.
But on Fox News Sunday this week, Bush-era National Security Agency and Central Intelligence Agency Director Michael Hayden suggested that Feinstein actually encouraged the public release of the interrogation techniques report because of her emotions.
Citing specifically Feinstein’s line about not using such techniques again, Hayden told Fox News Sunday host Chis Wallace, “Now that sentence that, motivation for the report, Chris, may show deep emotional feeling on part of the Senator. But I don’t think it leads you to an objective report.”
Wallace — who is far from a sympathizer for Senator Feinstein and her party — responded incredulously to the Director’s assertion that Sen. Feinstein’s emotions drove her to want a public report on the U.S.’s potential use of torture. “Forgive me because you and I both know Senator Feinstein,” Wallace said. “I have the highest regard for her. You’re saying you think she was emotional in these conclusions?”
Hayden did not respond specifically to Wallace’s question, but rather said simply that only portions of the report had been leaked but it did not tell the whole story.
Problematic language is often used to discuss women in power, and Hayden’s use of “emotional” seems to fit into this trend. The Women’s Media Center, which regularly issues guidance on avoiding sexism in the media, points specifically to the term “emotional” as one that is reserved for women in power, while men are often called “sensitive” or “caring” for the same behavior.