Fmr. CIA Chief Explains the 'Major Problems' of Senate Dems Report on Interrogations after 9/11

December 9, 2014

Former CIA Director John McLaughlin said the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on post-9/11 interrogation techniques is ‘flawed’ in its methodology, objecting to ‘cherry-picking’ information to make a case to fit Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.)’s narrative.

"I think what they have done here is go through 6 million pages of do you means and find the things that support the case they want to make," McLaughlin told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell on Tuesday.

"They never interviewed any of us who had anything to do with this program. I know the chairman cited transcripts, but they had an opportunity to talk to people who upon ran the program. Many were not under investigation by the department. They passed that up. No serious reporter or historian would do that."

Furthermore, McLaughlin pointed out that the members of the committee "don’t know how analysis works"—a crucial understanding when determining whether or not the CIA’s interrogation techniques were effective and led to actionable intelligence.

"They will take a case and say all you learned from this detainee was a name of someone. It turns out that that's what you need, that's the piece of information that fits with something else that creates a picture and allows you to take down an operation," McLaughlin said.

When Mitchell claimed that "the same dots could have been connected" without the CIA’s interrogation techniques (which she called "torture"), McLaughlin refuted the Democratic talking point.

"For example, take the second wave attack on the United States that we think we prevented. They’ll find a report that said--and this is a case from the report—they’ll say ‘well, at some point a foreign intelligence service told you, a small one, that there’s going to be a second wave attack on the United States after 9/11, so what else did you need?’" McLaughlin said.

"That's all we had. We had to find out, what does that mean? Who’s responsible for it? So we went to the detainees, a Southeast Asian terrorist named Hambali, and I can take you through the details, but the short version would be: he said ‘yes, there is such a plot and since I’m in captivity, I can't run it but I know who would, It’s a fellow named Gunawan who is in Pakistan.’ We go find that guy and indeed he’s training 17 people to come here in an operation. So, we didn't know any of that until we talked to the detainees, so their mistake here is to think that it’s simpler than it is."