LANGLEY, Va. — CIA Director John Brennan said on Thursday that some agency officers used “abhorrent” interrogation techniques and said it was “unknowable” whether so-called enhanced interrogation techniques managed to get useful intelligence out of terrorism suspects.
“I have already stated that our reviews indicate that the detention and interrogation program produced useful intelligence that helped the United States thwart attack plans, capture terrorists and save lives,” Brennan told a news conference at the agency’s Virginia headquarters.
“But let me be clear. We have not concluded that it was the use of EITs (enhanced interrogation techniques) within that program that allowed us to obtain useful information from detainees subjected to them. The cause-and-effect relationship between the use of EITs and useful information subsequently provided by the detainee is, in my view, unknowable.”
Brennan’s news conference came two days after the release of a U.S. Senate report that found that the CIA misled the White House and the public about its torture of detainees after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks and acted more brutally and pervasively than it acknowledged.
“In a limited number of cases, agency officers used interrogation techniques that had not been authorized, were abhorrent and rightly should be repudiated by all. And we fell short when it came to holding some officers accountable for their mistakes,” Brennan said.
But the CIA chief said that the “overwhelming majority of officers involved in the program at CIA carried out their responsibilities faithfully and in accordance with the legal and policy guidance they were provided.”
Brennan also said the CIA did not intentionally deceive the president and the public. Brennan said the CIA believes that information gained from detainees who were subjected to “enhanced” interrogation helped locate al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, who was killed in a U.S. raid in Pakistan in 2011.