Brennan confessed he was ‘disturbed’ by findings in the Senate report on the CIA’s detention & interrogation program

White House Counter-terrorism Adviser and nominee for CIA Director John Brennan testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Feb. 7, 2013. SOURCE:

John Brennan, President Barack Obama’s top counter-terrorism adviser and nominee for Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, confessed that he was concerned and disturbed by the findings detailed in a Senate report on the CIA’s “black site” prisons and harsh interrogation techniques.

While Brennan said he is withholding judgement until the CIA and the White House complete their review and response to the Senate report, he acknowledged that the findings were rather “damning”.

“There clearly were a number of things – many things – that I read in that report that were very concerning and disturbing to me,” Brennan said.

The 6,000-page report, finalized by the Senate Intelligence Committee in December 2012, compiled details of “each detainee in CIA custody, the conditions under which they were detained, how they were interrogated, the intelligence they actually provided, and the accuracy – or inaccuracy – of CIA descriptions about the program to the White House, Department of Justice, Congress and others.”

“This report uncovers startling details about the CIA’s detention and interrogation program and raises critical questions about intelligence operations and oversight,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) in announcing the completion of the currently-classified report last year. “I strongly believe that the creation of long-term, clandestine ‘black sites” and the use of so-called ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ were terrible mistakes.”

The controversies surrounding the CIA’s “black site” prisons and widely-reported abuses of detainees prompted President Obama to ban the agency from operating detention facilities in 2009.

Feinstein’s statements hinted that the CIA’s practice of torturing detainees did not elicit accurate or useful information on terrorists or plots against the United States and that, in fact, the coercive interrogation practices used were ineffective. Feinstein also suggested that CIA officials during the Bush administration misrepresented the efficacy of “enhanced interrogation techniques” – widely considered torture by human rights advocates – in obtaining information critical to tracking down Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden.

Brennan told lawmaker during his confirmation hearing on Feb. 7, 2013 that one of his top priorities would be to address the systemic problems that led to the CIA’s mismanagement of its detention and interrogation program.

“What I’m most interested in is finding out what went wrong if the report is, as stated, accurate. What went wrong in the system where there was systemic failure, where there was mismanagement or inaccurate information that as put forward because there are covert action activities that are taking place, you know, today under the direction and management of the CIA,” said Brennan. “This report raises serious questions about whether or not there are serious systemic issues that are at play here. I would need to get my arms around that, and that would be one of my highest priorities if I were to go to the agency.”


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  1. Pingback: Contract psychologists with no interrogation experience designed & carried out CIA's torture program | What The Folly?!

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