On This Day — CIA Director John Brennan Defends Torture Methods (December 11 2014) [2020]

“Torture has perhaps saved some at the expense of honor, by uncovering thirty bombs, but at the same time it has created fifty new terrorists who, operating in some other way and in another place would cause the death of even more innocent people.”

Albert Camus

Former CIA Director John Brennan

December 11 2020 — On December 11 2014, speaking at CIA headquarters, John Brennan conceded that some CIA officers used “abhorrent” interrogation techniques. Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY

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“In a limited number of cases, agency officers used interrogation techniques that had not been authorized, were abhorrent and rightly should be repudiated by all.”

CIA Director John Brennan (December 11 2014)

UPDATE (December 11 2020) — “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Perhaps the CIA could have learned quite a bit from the French experience in Algeria…

British journalist Edward Behr once concluded that “The Battle of Algiers could not have been won by General Massu without the use of torture.”

French Military Intelligence experts simply do not agree with this nonsense.

First, the resort to torture was not a guarantee of obtaining the precious intelligence. And second, as beautifully pointed out by Albert Camus, it was counterproductive.

A large majority of the detainees had actually no clue about what was going to happen and most of the tortured victims, desperate to stop the agony, eventually gave plenty of false information.

Moreover, torture led to radicalization and polarization of the population as it drove into the insurgent camp undecided and moderate Muslims.

As the French writer and Algiers native Albert Camus concluded: “torture has perhaps saved some at the expense of honor, by uncovering thirty bombs, but at the same time it has created fifty new terrorists who, operating in some other way and in another place would cause the death of even more innocent people.”

After the war, Yves Godard – Massu’s éminence grise – explained that from his perspective, “there was no need to torture.”

Recalling to a certain extent the French traditional doctrine of association, he mainly tried to transform insurgents into associates.

As a former chief of the SDECE – the French secret service, he was inclined to share Colonel Lacheroy’s focus on psychological warfare.

If admittedly a pro-FLN population proves to be the insurgency “dynamic” source of power, the overuse of strength by loyalist forces consolidates the links between insurgents and population.

Using torture eventually reinforced the enemy Center of Gravity by increasing the rebellion’s popular support.

Alas, at the expense of honor, the CIA decided to repeat these French mistakes. Nothing good ever came out of it.

These “abhorrent” interrogation techniques produced ZERO intelligence. But they sure created new terrorists far more quickly than the CIA could detain them.

On October 16 2003, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld asked a good question.

“Today we lack metrics to know if we are winning or losing the global war on terror .

Are we capturing, killing or deterring and dissuading more terrorists every day than the madrassas and the radical clerics are recruiting, training and deploying against us?”

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

And Rumsfeld has no excuse. At the very least, the Defense Secretary could have learned that much from Vietnam.

END of UPDATE

Director Brennan argued that it was “unknowable” whether the agency needed to torture at least 39 detainees from 2002 to 2007 to obtain necessary counterterrorism intelligence.

“I have already stated that 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.

But let me be clear. We have not concluded that it was the use of EITs (enhanced interrogation techniques) within that program that allowed us to obtain useful information from detainees subjected to them.

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

We are not contemplating at all getting back into the detention program, using any of those EITs, so I defer to the policymakers in future times when there is going to be the need to ensure that this country stays safe if we face a similar type of crisis.”

“No evidence that terror attacks were stopped, terrorists captured or lives saved through use of EITs”

Senator Diane Feinstein — Tweet (Dec. 11 2014)

Controversy over Iraq Intelligence

On the same day, John Brennan sent a letter to a retiring senior senator, Michigan Democrat Carl Levin, seeking to resolve a controversy over intelligence ahead of the Iraq war.

Bush administration officials claimed that 9/11 hijacker Mohammed Atta met in Prague with one of Saddam Hussein’s intelligence agents.

These officials used reports of that meeting — whose authenticity has long been under dispute — to argue Saddam’s Iraq was complicit in the 9/11 attacks, and to justify the 2003 US invasion.

On December 11 2014, CIA Director John Brennan revealed a March 13 2003 analysis from CIA field agents concluding:

“There is not one USG or FBI expert that … has said they have evidence or ‘know’ that [Mohamed Atta] was indeed in Prague. In fact, the analysis has been the opposite.”

The US invaded Iraq six days later.

CIA director defends post 9/11 tactics exposed in U.S. Senate report

REFERENCES

CIA director John Brennan defends agency in wake of torture report — The Guardian

GATHERING OF HUMAN INTELLIGENCE IN COUNTER-INSURGENCY WARFARE: THE FRENCH EXPERIENCE DURING THE BATTLE OF ALGIERS (JANUARY – OCTOBER 1957) — Major Hervé PIERRE

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On This Day — CIA Director John Brennan Defends Torture Methods (December 11 2014)

On This Day — CIA Director John Brennan Defends Torture Methods (December 11 2014) [2019]

On This Day — CIA Director John Brennan Defends Torture Methods (December 11 2014) [2020]

This entry was posted in CIA, Iraq War, John Brennan, Torture and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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