The Central Intelligence Agency(WASHINGTON) — Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan addressed the revelations contained in a comprehensive report released this week about the agency’s use of enhanced interrogation methods from 2002 to 2009, in an unusual live press conference Thursday.
The report, written over five years by the Democratic members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, accused the CIA of using unauthorized interrogation techniques to extract information from detainees, including using power drills, mock executions, forced-feeding and threats against their families.
In his opening remarks, Brennan said that the United States looked to the CIA to provide guidance on how to deal with al Qaeda in the chaotic days after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
“There were no easy answers. And whatever your views are on EITs, our nation and in particular this agency did a lot of things right during this difficult time to keep this country strong and secure,” he said.
The study also asserted that the torture methods did not yield information from detainees that could not have been acquired in other ways, and that the CIA misled the Bush administration about what exactly the enhanced interrogation program was.
Most of the Republican members of the Senate Intelligence Committee signed on to a minority report that disputed many of the majority’s conclusions, saying that enhanced interrogation techniques did lead to actionable intelligence in key terrorism cases like the capture of the mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.
Brennan’s defense Thursday was a reversal from comments he made at his confirmation hearing in 2013 after reading a version of the report that had not yet been released to the public. At the time, he questioned the efficacy of the CIA’s torture methods.
“Reading this report from the Committee raises serious questions about the information that I was given at the time, and the impression I had at the time,” he said. “Now I have to determine, based on that information, as well as what CIA says, what the truth is.”
Now, in defending the CIA’s interrogation program, Brennan joined former CIA directors George Tenet, Porter Goss and Michael Hayden, who wrote a 2,500-word rebuttal in the Wall Street Journal this week.
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