John Brennan on “enhanced interrogation techniques”

At this event today at Brookings, CIA Director John Brennan reiterated what he has said before:

— “you cannot establish cause and effect between the [CIA’s] application of the[] EITs and any reliable or credible information provided by [the individuals subjected to them]”;

— use of such EITs is neither necessary nor advisable; and

— even if this or a future President were to change the executive orders or covert action findings, and authorize or require the CIA to once again use EITs such as waterboarding, Brennan would not do it, “irrespective of what the President says”; “he’d have to find another Director.”

Nothing especially new here. Even so, in a time when the presidential candidate of a major party gleefully lauds and admires autocrats such as Saddam Hussain and Kim Jong Un because they treated enemies brutally and without regard to legal constraints, and when that same candidate repeatedly says — apparently without serious objection or repercussions within his party — that “I like [waterboarding] a lot” and “I don’t think it’s tough enough,” it’s very important that public officials such as Brennan, who are actually responsible for protection the national security, regularly offer a sober and unequivocal corrective. 

About the Author(s)

Marty Lederman

Professor at the Georgetown University Law Center Follow him on Twitter (@marty_lederman).