The head of the CIA reiterated on Wednesday that he would not allow his agency to carry out brutal interrogations like those called for by Donald Trump, and appeared to suggest he would step down if a future president demanded him to do so.
In remarks at the Brookings Institution, John Brennan expanded on his previous opposition to waterboarding and other extreme interrogation techniques, which President Obama and others call torture.
“I’m not going to be the director of CIA that gives that order. I think they’re going to need to find another director,” Brennan said.
The remarks on Wednesday were an intensification of the CIA head’s opposition to Trump’s call to employ waterboarding and methods “a hell of a lot worse” in response to the brutality of extremist groups such as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The presumptive Republican presidential nominee has described the tactics as torture, but insisted that they are necessary to defeat ISIS.
Brennan on Wednesday defended the use of the Bush-era techniques, which had thrust his agency into one of its greatest periods of tumult in recent memory.
“The agencies’ detention and interrogation program, I believe, was instrumental in keeping this country safe in the aftermath of 9/11,” he said. “There were individuals that were subjected to these [enhanced interrogation techniques] that subsequent to that provided information that was in fact credible and worthwhile for pursuit.”