Obama’s CIA director nominee had detailed knowledge of harsh interrogation techniques

Barack Obama and John Brennan (Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)
Barack Obama and John Brennan (Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)
Barack Obama and John Brennan (Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)

CIA Chief-in-Waiting John Brennan had detailed knowledge of “enhanced interrogation techniques” used by the agency against suspected terrorists, including waterboarding and other painful torture techniques.

Brennan is expected to be confirmed by the Senate Intelligence Committee on Feb. 7, but he will likely face tough questions about the extent of his knowledge about the CIA’s controversial use of torture. Brennan publicly condemned such interrogation techniques when he temporarily left the government in 2005. He claims to have forcefully opposed torture methods while working for the CIA after 9/11, but lawmakers will likely question him to see if he did in fact take a stand against it, Reuters reports.

Brennan regularly received classified CIA reports about the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques”. Unnamed sources told Reuters that according to official records, Brennan expressed no opposition to the torture methods at the time. Other former officials said they don’t recall hearing any objections from him. Some say Brennan was uncomfortable about the use of physically coercive tactics, but that he did little more than privately express his concern with a few of his colleagues.

“I have many questions and concerns about his nomination to be director of the Central Intelligence Agency, especially what role he played in the so-called enhanced interrogation programs while serving at the CIA during the last administration,” said Senator John McCain, who himself was tortured while in captivity in North Vietnam.

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