Brennan won’t directly refute claims that information collected from torturing detainees brought down Bin Laden

President Barack Obama’s nominee for Director of the Central Intelligence Agency John Brennan would not directly refute misleading claims by former CIA and Bush administration officials that information elicited by torturing detainees played an instrumental role in tracking down Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden.

According to Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, those claims were made by former CIA Director Michael Hayden, former CIA Deputy Director for Operations Jose Rodriguez, and former Attorney General Michael Mukasey – all of whom served under the Bush administration – to justify the CIA’s use of “enhanced interrogation techniques”, such as waterboarding and other acts that human rights advocates consider torture, on detainees taken into custody after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

When Levin asked whether Brennan had any information or intelligence that support the claims made by Rodriguez, Hayden, and Muskasey linking intelligence obtained from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who was waterboarded repeatedly, to the 2011 Abbottabad raid that killed Bin Laden, Brennan responded “I have not reviewed the intelligence thoroughly, but I am not aware of any.”

Brennan also wouldn’t confirm or directly refute a recent statement made by former CIA Director Leon Panetta acknowledging that some of the intelligence that helped the U.S. tracked down Bin Laden came from “interrogation tactics that were used” during the Bush administration.

“Looking at this document from [Senate Intelligence Committee] – this report, I don’t know what the facts are, what the truth is. So I really need to look at that carefully and see what CIA’s response is because the [Senate] report calls into question whether or not that information was unique and led to it,” said Brennan.

Citing again the Senate’s classified 6,000-page report on the CIA’s detention and interrogation program, Brennan backtracked from his 2007 statement that CIA’s interrogation program helped “save lives”.

“My impression earlier on was that there was information that was provided that was useful and valuable,” said Brennan. “That report raises serious questions about whether any worthwhile intelligence came from these individuals.”

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