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CIA Chief: 'Unknowable' Whether Interrogation Tactics Revealed Critical Information

FILE - This March 11, 2014 file photo shows CIA Director John O. Brennan speaking in Washington. The CIA's insistence that it did not spy on its Senate overseers collapsed July 31 with the release of a stark report by the agency's internal watchdog documenting improper computer surveillance and obstructionist behavior by CIA officers. Those internal conclusions prompted Brennan to abandon months of defiance and defense of the agency and apologize to Senate intelligence committee leaders. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Did the CIA's harsh interrogation of terrorism suspects yield crucial information that could not have been obtained another way? CIA chief John Brennan says the answer cannot be known.

The Senate torture report this week asserted that none of the CIA's techniques used against captives provided critical, life-saving intelligence. Brennan told a news conference that valuable intelligence did come from the interrogations.

But he conceded that it is impossible to know whether the detainees provided that information because of the "enhanced interrogation techniques." He said the cause-and-effect relationship is "unknown and unknowable." In that respect, he stopped short of the claims of other defenders of the program who said the tough methods saved thousands of American lives.

Brennan would not say whether he considered some of the techniques torture.

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