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Thursday, December 11, 2014

CIA Chief: Results Of Harsh Interrogation Unknown

John Brennan speaks on Jan. 7, 2013, after President Barack Obama announced his nomination as CIA Director. Brennan is current Deputy National Security Adviser for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism. (Charles Dharapak/AP)

John Brennan speaks on Jan. 7, 2013, after President Barack Obama announced his nomination as CIA Director. (Charles Dharapak/AP)

Did the CIA’s harsh interrogation of terrorism suspects yield crucial information that could not have been obtained another way? CIA chief John Brennan says the answer cannot be known.

The Senate torture report this week asserted that none of the CIA’s techniques used against captives provided critical, life-saving intelligence. Brennan told a news conference that valuable intelligence did come from the interrogations.

But he conceded that it is impossible to know whether the detainees provided that information because of the “enhanced interrogation techniques.” He said the cause-and-effect relationship is “unknown and unknowable.” In that respect, he stopped short of the claims of other defenders of the program who said the tough methods saved thousands of American lives.

Brennan would not say whether he considered some of the techniques torture.

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