January 18, 2017

Wyden, Feinstein Ask CIA Director Brennan to Correct or Clarify Testimony About Accountability for CIA Torture Program

Washington, D.C. – Senators Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., requested that Central Intelligence Agency Director John Brennan publicly correct or clarify his testimony during the June 16, 2016 Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, in a letter released today.

Read the full letter here.

Sen. Feinstein was vice chair of the committee during the hearing, and Sen. Wyden is a senior Intelligence Committee member.

The following exchange occurred during that hearing:


Mr. Director, I want to talk about accountability at the CIA. The agency's 2013 response to the very important report on torture stated that the agency agreed that there were, and I quote here, "significant shortcomings in CIA's handling of accountability for problems in the conduct and management of CIA activities."

The document goes on to state that, and I quote here, "The CIA must ensure that accountability adequately extends to those responsible for any broader systemic or management failures."

It has now been three years since the CIA said that. Is it still the case that no one has been held accountable for the systemic failures that the agency has acknowledged?


[clipping unrelated comments]

The agency over the course of the last several years took actions to address the shortcomings that we have fully acknowledged in the detention and interrogation program. There was individual accountability that was taken, as well as accountability for some of those management and systemic failures. And I'd be happy to address in a different setting the details of those accountability steps that I think the committee is aware of.


I want to make sure I heard that right. I believe you said that individuals have been held accountable for systemic failures. If that's the case, I certainly think that's constructive. I will say we will await your classified response so we have more details on that.

But I heard you say there has been individual accountability, and I'd like to see the details on that.


Right. Any type of systemic failure is going to be related to the individual's failure to either provide the type of management and oversight or the performance. And so there is a combination of factors that contribute to systemic shortcomings.


Were individuals held accountable? It's a yes or no answer.