CIA nominee John Brennan 'knew about use of waterboarding'

Fri, Feb 1, 2013, 00:00

John Brennan, President Obama’s nominee as head of the CIA and the son of Irish immigrants, knew in detail about the use of waterboarding and other “enhanced interrogation techniques” in his earlier days at the US spy agency, according to Reuters.

Brennan was a regular recipient of CIA messages about the controversial measures used in the agency’s counter-terrorism programme after the attacks on the US in September 2001, Reuters reported, citing “multiple sources familiar with official records”.

The president’s top counter-terrorism adviser is likely to face questions about his involvement in the programme and whether he objected to the contentious techniques when he comes before the Senate intelligence committee at the hearing to confirm his appointment as CIA head, which is scheduled to take place next Thursday.

Brennan, a 25-year veteran of the CIA, withdrew his name from consideration for the agency’s top job in 2008 as questions were asked about his connection to the widely-criticised interrogation techniques used during the administration of President George W Bush.This was despite Brennan denying that he was involved in the Bush administration’s criticised interrogation techniques.

He publicly renounced waterboarding, which simulates drowning, and other forms of torture used by the CIA after he left government service in 2005 for a short period of time.

If confirmed at the Senate hearing later in February Brennan will succeed David Petraeus, who resigned after admitting to an affair with his biographer.

The son of Roscommon parents, Brennan came to public prominence in 2011 over the crucial role he played in the planning of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. During his time in the CIA, Brennan, who is fluent in Arabic, served as the agency’s “station chief” in Saudi Arabia and in various roles, including deputy executive director, during the Bush administration.