Jose Rodriguez: For the first time in our history, we had an enemy come into our homeland and kill 3,000 people. I mean, that was a huge deal. People jumping from the towers to their death. The people running away from the cloud of dust, terrified out of their mind. This was a threat. And we had to throw everything at it.
Which is why Jose Rodriguez says that when he ran the CIA's Counterterrorist Center, he came up with the idea of employing harsh interrogation techniques. And 10 years later, he feels he still has to justify their use.
Lesley Stahl: You had no qualms? We used to consider some of them war crimes.
Jose Rodriguez: We made some al Qaeda terrorists with American blood on their hands uncomfortable for a few days. But we did the right thing for the right reason. And the right reason was to protect the homeland and to protect American lives. So yes, I had no qualms.
Rodriguez spent 31 years in the CIA's Clandestine Service where spies are revered as "fighter jocks". He rose thru the ranks, eventually running covert operations as head of the Latin America division. When al Qaeda struck on 9/11, he'd had no experience in counterterrorism or the Middle East. But he wanted "in" on the war on terror, and went to the CIA's Counterterrorist Center, where the main objective was to stop another attack on the U.S. homeland.
And he went all in, folks. Do Watch the whole thing. These guys? Crazier than a warthog on fire. Imagine what will happen when they take us to war with Iran for another decade, and what we'll justify after the fact when we round up whomever for even more indefinite detention? And yeah, I'm aware of the fact we're still holding plenty of folks now under the Obama administration, but for the most part those programs have been dismantled. Do you think that will be the case if Romney's elected?
As for the Big Boy Pants crack, well, that's from Rodriguez himself:
Jose Rodriguez: We needed to get everybody in government to put their big boy pants on and provide the authorities that we needed.
Lesley Stahl: Their big boy pants on--
Jose Rodriguez: Big boy pants. Let me tell you, I had had a lot of experience in the agency where we had been left to hold the bag. And I was not about to let that happen for the people that work for me.
All about the pants, man. All about the pants.