Current and former heads of U.S. spy agencies are criticizing a Senate report’s claim that the CIA tortured detainees and misled the public about its "enhanced interrogation" techniques.
In separate statements on Tuesday, multiple current and former intelligence agency officials defended the work of the agency during the George W. Bush administration and said that agents were doing their best while defending the nation.
George Tenet, who was CIA director through much of the Bush administration, said the report is "biased, inaccurate, and destructive" and said it "does damage to U.S. national security, to the men and women of the Central Intelligence Agency, and most of all to the truth."
"It is indeed a dark day for congressional oversight," Tenet added.
CIA Director John Brennan said the agency “made mistakes” in the years after 9/11, but he rebutted the Senate Intelligence Committee’s conclusion that officials routinely misled officials in Washington.
“While we made mistakes, the record does not support the study’s inference that the agency systematically and intentionally misled each of these audiences on the effectiveness of the program,” he said.
Brennan accused lawmakers and congressional staffers, who have spent years on the analysis, of painting “an incomplete and selective picture of what occurred" by compiling the report solely from communications records and not conducting interviews.
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper declined to point out faults in the report but said that rebuttal from Republicans on the Intelligence Committee offers “one example of strong alternative views” on the program.
Ahead of the report’s release, former CIA officials have been speaking out about the interrogation program, which they have described as legal, useful and necessary to protect the nation.
A number of former officials with "hundreds of years of combined service” launched a website to push back on the report, which they described as “marred by errors of facts and interpretation and is completely at odds with the reality that the leaders and officers of the Central Intelligence Agency lived through.”
“It represents the single worst example of congressional oversight in our many years of government service,” they said.