Outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta made news last Sunday when he once again claimed that enhanced interrogation techniques aka torture led to the United States assassinating Osama bin Laden.
During his confirmation hearing Thursday, CIA Director nominee John Brennan appeared to dodge a question from Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) about this claiming he didn’t have enough information to comment on whether Panetta was right or wrong.
SAXBY CHAMBLISS (R-GEORGIA): This weekend, Secretary Panetta confirmed that information that led to bin Laden came from detainees in the CIA’s EIT program. His account comports with information we were provided immediately after the raid and months to follow from the CIA analysts who actually tracked down bin Laden. These analysts told us it was detainee information that was key to them finding the courier and ultimately bin Laden. Now, were you briefed by any of the analysts who tracked down bin Laden?
JOHN BRENNAN, CIA DIRECTOR NOMINEE: Before the operation?
BRENNAN: Oh, absolutely I was engaged with them.
CHAMBLISS: Okay, is that the information that was given to you, that it came from interrogation of detainees on whom EITs had been used?
BRENNAN: I don’t recall if I was given that information specifically. They talked about the chain of, of sort of collection that took place that was related to some of the information that came from the detainees. Yes, so there was some there.
CHAMBLISS: Do you agree with Secretary Panetta’s comments?
BRENNAN: That there was some information that came out from there?
CHAMBLISS: Yes, that led to the courier.
BRENNAN: Senator, I now, again, looking at this, this document from SSCI, this report, I don’t know what the facts are or the truth is. So, I really need to look at that carefully and see what CIA’s response is because the SSCI report calls into question whether or not any of that information was unique and led to it.