CIA chief defends agency, but admits 'abhorrent' abuses

Director of Central Intelligence Agency John Brennan takes questions from reporters during a press conference at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, December 11, 2014US spymaster John Brennan admitted Thursday that some CIA interrogators had used unauthorized and “abhorrent” tactics in the past decade and said he believes torture tends to lead to false intelligence. In an extraordinary news conference, broadcast live from the agency’s Langley headquarters in what is believed to be a first in CIA history, Brennan mounted a stout defense of his officers, saying the vast majority of them did not mistreat prisoners. Brennan said the torture came amid fear of another wave of violence from Al-Qaeda after the September 11, 2001 attacks, as the Central Intelligence Agency scrambled to take on a task it had virtually no experience with. “We were not prepared,” he said, describing how then president George W. Bush had approved the so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” now denounced as torture.

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