Home / Entretenimiento / CIA Director Defends Use of Interrogation Tactics, Avoiding Issue of Torture – New York Times

CIA Director Defends Use of Interrogation Tactics, Avoiding Issue of Torture – New York Times

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C.I.A. Director Responds to Report

C.I.A. Director Responds to Report

John O. Brennan, the C.I.A. director, commented on the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on the agency’s detention and interrogation program during the Bush administration.

Video by AP on Publish Date December 11, 2014. Photo by Jim Watson/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images.

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Brennan on Tactics and Finding Bin Laden

Brennan on Tactics and Finding Bin Laden

John O. Brennan, the C.I.A. director, said that information obtained from detainees that were subjected to enhanced interrogation techniques was useful to the operation that took down Osama bin Laden.

Video by AP on Publish Date December 11, 2014. Photo by Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Associated Press.

WASHINGTON — John O. Brennan, the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, defended the agency’s use of waterboarding and other brutal interrogation tactics on Thursday, sidestepping questions about whether agency operatives tortured anyone.

Mr. Brennan, responding to an excoriating Senate report detailing years of brutal interrogation tactics in secret C.I.A. prisons, criticized only those officers who he said went “outside the bounds” of the guidelines established by the Justice Department. Those guidelines allowed for waterboarding, a week of sleep deprivation, shackling prisoners in painful positions, dousing them with water, and locking them in coffin-like boxes.

“I will leave to others how they might want to label those activities,” Mr. Brennan said.

President Obama has called some of the C.I.A.’s techniques torture, and Mr. Brennan’s comments Thursday stood in contrast to those he made years earlier as the president’s counterterrorism adviser. In 2009, Mr. Brennan criticized the agency’s techniques for having “led us to stray from our ideals as a nation.” He added, “Tactics such as waterboarding were not in keeping with our values as Americans.”

Mr. Brennan, a career C.I.A. analyst who served as a high-ranking agency official under President George W. Bush, said that after the Sept. 11 attacks, agency officers were summoned to perform a difficult task at a frightening time. He acknowledged that the C.I.A. was unprepared, but he offered no apologies for the decisions that led the country to embrace tactics it had previously regarded as torture.

“My fervent hope is that we can put aside this debate and move forward,” Mr. Brennan said.

Though he said the C.I.A. was out of the interrogation business, he offered no assurances that anything prevented the government from authorizing the same techniques in the face of another crisis. “I defer to the policy makers in future times,” he said.

“This is a feature, I think, of our past” he added, “one that we have to come to terms with and deal with.”

The renewed debate over torture and interrogation put Mr. Brennan in a difficult position. Though most of the architects of the program have since retired, the agency’s counterterrorism unit is still filled with many officers who took part in it. The debate also renewed questions about whether Mr. Brennan objected to the techniques used in the program. Mr. Brennan would not address that Thursday. “I was not in the chain of command,” he said.

The Senate Intelligence Committee report concluded that so-called enhanced interrogation tactics produced no vital information that thwarted terrorist plots. Mr. Brennan said that prisoners did produce useful information after being subjected to those tactics.

While Mr. Brennan was speaking, Senator Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, offered a running commentary on Twitter. “’Useful information’ was not the legal policy standard for EITs,’” Ms. Feinstein wrote.

Mr. Brennan strongly disagreed with the Senate report’s conclusion that the techniques were not valuable in the hunt for Osama bin Laden.

“It is our considered view that the detainees who were subjected to enhanced interrogation techniques provided information that was useful — and was used — in the operation to go against bin Laden,” Mr. Brennan said.

He reiterated, however, that it was “unknowable” whether that information could have been elicited otherwise.

Graphic: A History of the C.I.A.’s Secret Interrogation Program

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