The head of the US spy agency CIA has defended his agency from accusations in a Senate report that it carried out tortures on terrorism suspects with no security benefits to the country.
John Brennan said on Thursday that while his agency “fell short of holding accountable some officers” who went beyond the legal limits on interrogation, he asserted that the CIA “did a lot of things right” in a time when there were “no easy answers”.
On Tuesday, a US Senate report condemned the CIA for brutality and deception. The “enhanced interrogation techniques [EITs]” were “authorised” by the administration of George W Bush after the September 11, 2001 attack on US.
Summary: Key findings in CIA torture probe
Brennan also said that it was “unknowable” if those techniques – widely condemned by American and international critics as torture – led to the capture and death of Osama bin Laden.
“It was our job to carry it out,” he said, referring to the order of the Bush administration to interrogate suspects in the wake of attacks on the World Trade Centre twin towers.
He conceded that unauthorised and in some cases “abhorrent” methods were used against captives.
‘Far more brutal’
The heavily redacted 480-page report covered the treatment of around 100 suspects rounded up by US operatives between 2001 and 2009 on terrorism charges.
Senate Intelligence Committee chair Dianne Feinstein said the techniques used by the CIA were “far more brutal than people were led to believe” and that “coercive techniques regularly resulted in fabricated information” from detainees.
As Brennan spelled out his objections to the report, the office of Feinstein unleashed a barrage of tweets challenging him. One said that “every fact” in the committee’s report was based on CIA records, cables or other evidence.
Another Feinstein tweet reads, “No evidence that terror attacks were stopped, terrorists captured or lives saved through use of EITs.” Al Jazeera