"If this languages becomes law, the Congress will have given us the clarity and the support that we need," Gen. Hayden said in a message to employees late this afternoon.
CIA officials said it was impossible to proceed with the agency's harsh interrogation techniques without a law that made it clear CIA officers would not one day face prosecution.
THE BLOTTER RECOMMENDS
As reported on the Blotter on ABCNews.com, in questioning certain high-value terror suspects, the CIA has used a series of six increasingly harsh interrogation techniques that begin with a slap to the face and end with a procedure called water boarding, in which a prisoner is made to feel he is drowning.
President Bush and the CIA have repeatedly maintained the procedures are not torture and have saved American lives.
Human rights groups maintain the procedures constitute a form of torture, and the United States military has banned its personnel from using water boarding.
Today's congressional deal, if signed into law, would allow the CIA to continue the six techniques and to continue to run secret prisons overseas for select terror suspects.
Gen. Hayden said the measure "allows us to continue to defend the homeland, attack al Qaeda and protect American and Allied lives."