John Brennan: 'Detention And Interrogation Program Produced Useful Intelligence'

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The director of the Central Intelligence Agency held an unusual news conference on Thursday, reacting to a report that blasted the agency over allegations of torture.

While calling some actions “abhorrent,” John Brennan also defended his organization, CBS2’s Dick Brennan reported.

“There were no easy answers,” John Brennan said.

The CIA director reacted to a scathing Senate report that accused the agency of brutal interrogations after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. Brennan insisted the overwhelming majority of agents did, as he put it, a lot of things right.

“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 said.

But what about the controversial “enhanced interrogation techniques,” did they produce results? Brennan said he’s not sure.

“The cause-and-effect relationship between the use of EITs and useful information subsequently provided by the detainee is, in my view, unknowable,” Brennan said.

However, Brennan said the CIA believes that information gained from detainees subjected to EITs did help locate Osama bin Laden.

In the wake of the Senate report, Colorado Democrat Mark Udall accused the White House and the CIA of trying to a cover up a legacy of torture. He pressed President Barack Obama to clean house at the CIA, beginning with Brennan.

“The president needs to purge his administration of high-level officials who were instrumental to the development and running of this program. For Director Brennan, that means resigning,” Sen. Udall said.

But former Vice President Dick Cheney said the Senate report is deeply flawed.

“We did exactly what needed to be done in order to catch those who were guilty on 9/11 and prevent a further attack,” Cheney said in a recent television interview.

The Senate report does not urge prosecutions, and the Department of Justice said the federal prosecutors who looked into the program won’t launch a new investigation based on the report, CBS2’s Brennan reported.

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