December 12, 2014

Brennan Admits Mistakes but Defends CIA

CIA Director John Brennan responded to Senate Democrats’ “torture” report in a rare Langley press conference Thursday, defending the agency but also admitting serious mistakes. “In many respects the program was uncharted territory for the CIA, and we were unprepared,” Brennan said. “But the president authorized the program six days after 9/11, and it was our job to carry it out.” He acknowledged that some techniques the CIA employed were “abhorrent and should be repudiated by all” involved, adding, “None of these lapses should be excused, downplayed or denied.” Brennan also conceded it is “unknown and unknowable” if information gleaned from enhanced interrogation techniques (EITs) could have been obtained otherwise, and he supports “the president’s decision to prohibit the use of EITs” (because he likes his job and wants to keep it). But he insisted, contrary to the Democrats’ report, “The detention and interrogation program produced useful intelligence that helped the United States thwart attack plans, capture terrorists and save lives.” That included information leading to Osama bin Laden. Furthermore, “[F]or someone to say that there was no intelligence of value … that came from those detainees once they were subjected to EITs, I think … lacks any foundation at all.” More…

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