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Iran Press TV

Obama defends John Brennan despite calls for his resignation

Iran Press TV

Sat Aug 2, 2014 12:20PM GMT

US President Barack Obama says he has "full confidence" in CIA Director John Brennan, as calls grow for his resignation over a damning report that found his agency spied on the Senate.

"I have full confidence in John Brennan," Obama said in a White House press conference on Friday. "I think he has acknowledged — and directly apologized to [Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman] Sen. [Dianne] Feinstein— that CIA personnel did not properly handle an investigation into how certain documents that were not authorized to be release to the Senate staff got somehow into the hands of the Senate staff."

"It's clear from the report that some very poor judgment was shown in terms of how that was handled," Obama added. "Keep in mind, though, that John Brennan was the person who called for the [inspector general] report, and he's already stood up a task force to make sure that lessons are learned and mistakes are resolved"

According to a CIA Inspector General's Office report, agency employees in 2009 hacked Senate computers being used to compile a report on the CIA's controversial detention and interrogation techniques such as waterboarding.

A number of US senators, including Mark Udall (D-Colo.) and Martin Heinrich (D-NM), are now calling on Brennan to step aside following the CIA's admission that it spied on the Senate investigation.

"After being briefed on the CIA Inspector General report today, I have no choice but to call for the resignation of CIA Director John Brennan," said Sen. Udall in a statement on Thursday.

At a news conference Friday, Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said they viewed the CIA's conduct as "worse than criminal."

The CIA's so-called "enhanced interrogation" techniques are considered by many to be torture.

President Obama admitted Friday that the United States "crossed a line" into torture in its treatment of terrorism suspects in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks.

"I was very clear that, in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, we did some things that were wrong," Obama said while discussing the forthcoming Senate report. "We did a whole lot of things that were right, but we tortured some folks. We did some things that were contrary to our values."

"And when we engaged in some of these enhanced interrogation techniques, techniques that I believe and I think any fair-minded person would believe were torture, we crossed a line," the president said.

Brennan has overseen the massive proliferation of US drone warfare and other "counterterrorism" programs.


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