"It is our considered view that the detainees who were subjected to enhanced interrogation techniques provided information that was useful and was used in the ultimate operation to go against bin Laden," Brennan said at the first CIA press conference, following the release of a Senate report on CIA interrogation techniques.
Brennan said the CIA's interrogation methods led to both useful and false intelligence, but that it is "unknowable" whether that information could have been obtained without the harsh interrogation tactics.
On Tuesday, the US Senate Select Intelligence Committee released a 500-page executive summary of a report, detailing their investigation into CIA interrogation techniques, used on alleged al-Qaeda agents after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
The full report contains 6,300 pages, describing the interrogation techniques, including waterboarding, threats of sexual assault, forced nudity, prolonged sleep deprivation, use of stress positions, mock executions, threats against children and family, use of power drills and many other torture practices that the CIA carried out in detention centers worldwide.
Certain CIA Interrogation Techniques ‘Abhorrent’
"There were times when CIA officers exceeded the policy guidance that was given and the authorized techniques that were approved and determined to be lawful," Brennan said at the first CIA press conference.
"They were harsh and in some instances I consider them abhorrent."
Brennan abstained from calling the breach in the legal authority to conduct enhanced interrogation techniques "torture. "
"I will leave to others how they might want to label those activities," Brennan said, noting it was "regrettable."
The White House and Department of Justice under the administration of former president George Bush authorized the CIA to use enhanced interrogation techniques. That guidance provided the legal and policy justification for the CIA to use harsh interrogation methods against suspected terrorists.