Interrogation

Dianne Feinstein Responds to Director Brennan

By Benjamin Wittes
Thursday, December 11, 2014, 9:45 PM

The text is here:

Washington—Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today released the following statement after CIA Director John Brennan spoke about the CIA’s detention and interrogation program:

“CIA Director Brennan’s comments were not what I expected. They showed that CIA leadership is prepared to prevent this from ever happening again—which is all-important.

“I watched today’s press conference closely and agree with many of the things Director Brennan said. He discussed the context of the detention and interrogation program that started shortly after the horrific attacks on 9/11, as well as the vital work being done by the CIA workforce. He is right on both counts.

“Director Brennan also acknowledged that the CIA was not prepared to effectively manage this program when it started and that many mistakes were made as it was implemented. I believe that the Intelligence Committee’s report demonstrates these facts beyond dispute, and I am pleased the director announced some of the reforms that have been and will be implemented at the CIA.

“Perhaps most importantly, Director Brennan stated that the CIA has ‘not concluded that it was the use of EITs within that program that allowed us to obtain useful information from detainees subjected to them.’ This is a welcome change from the CIA’s position in the past that information was obtained as a direct result of EITs.

“I disagree that it is ‘unknowable’ whether information needed to stop terrorist attacks could be obtained from other sources. The report shows that such information in fact was obtained through other means, both traditional CIA human intelligence and from other agencies. Nonetheless, it is an important development that Director Brennan does not attribute counterterrorism successes to coercive interrogations.

“Finally, I agree with Director Brennan that the CIA must ‘speak truth to power.’ The president, Congress and other policymakers must get the facts and intelligence assessments without them being colored by policy views or an effort to hide embarrassing facts.

“As one who received CIA briefings in 2006 and 2007 about the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques, I know that the CIA did not ‘speak truth to power,’ and that the descriptions of interrogations that were finally provided to the committee did not accurately reflect reality (see pages 446-450 of the executive summary). The report describes numerous examples of inaccurate information being presented within the CIA and to the White House, the Department of Justice, Congress and the public.

“The vast majority of CIA’s employees are dedicated and skilled professionals who had nothing to do with detention and interrogation. For them, I am pleased that Director Brennan is attempting to acknowledge past mistakes by the agency in order to focus on current and future missions and make sure that a program like this is never considered again.”