CIA Chief Agrees Some Methods Were ‘Abhorrent,’ but Defends Agency

12/12/14
 
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from The Wall Street Journal,
12/10/14:

John Brennan Says Links Between Interrogation Tactics, Intelligence Are ‘Unknowable’.

Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan staunchly defended his agency Thursday, but distanced himself from the disputed interrogation techniques used against detainees and from claims about their effectiveness.

Mr. Brennan, in a rare news conference at the CIA’s headquarters here, walked a tightrope by supporting his workforce while criticizing “enhanced interrogation techniques,” which included waterboarding and confinement in a coffin-like box.

Mr. Brennan said detainees subjected to the interrogation methods had provided useful intelligence, but that it was impossible to know whether the techniques themselves had elicited such information.

That nuanced position set him apart from Senate Democrats who argued in a committee report this week that the techniques didn’t work; from Senate Republicans and some former top CIA officials, who say they did; and the White House, which hasn’t taken a position on effectiveness, but condemns the techniques as “torture.”

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