POLITICS
12/11/2014 05:20 pm ET Updated Dec 12, 2014

Here's A No-B.S. Translation Of John Brennan's Remarks On Torture

CIA Director John Brennan spoke Thursday for the first time since the Senate Intelligence Committee released a damning report Tuesday about his agency's post-9/11 interrogation techniques.

The report revealed horrifying details about the agency's torture program, including stories of detainees being subjected to "rectal rehydration," waterboarding, forced nudity and isolation, among other things.

But Brennan never called the techniques "torture," often referring to them instead as "EITs" -- shorthand for "enhanced interrogation techniques." To help those who might be confused about the lexicon of Brennan's torture explanation, we've created this guide to deciphering his remarks:

Brennan: "I'm not going to talk about any type of operational activity this agency is involved in currently. I'm just not going to do it."

What he's really saying: The CIA might still be torturing people, but you won't hear anything about that from me.

Brennan: "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."

What he's really saying: CIA officers tortured people, putting detainees through things like medically unnecessary forced rectal rehydration and rectal feedings.

Brennan: "While the agency has a traditional bias for action and a determined focus on achieving our mission, we take exceptional pride in providing truth to power."

What he's really saying: The agency leans toward taking action, like making men with broken feet and legs stand in stress positions.

Brennan: "I think there's more than enough transparency that has happened over the last couple of days, I think it's over the top."

What he's really saying: We never wanted you to find out about any of this at all.

Brennan: "The Department of Justice looked at this for many years and decided that there was no prosecutable crimes there."

What he's really saying: We tortured people and got away with it. Deal with it.

Brennan: "The use of these unmanned aerial vehicles that you refer to as 'drones' and the counterterrorism effort has done tremendous work to keep this country safe."

What he's really saying: We're totally using drones and we're totally not sorry about it.

Brennan: "One of the things I've learned in life, I guess, is to avoid being categorical."

What he's really saying: I'll keep being fuzzy on details for as long as I want, thanks.

Brennan: "There were instances where representations of the program, about the program, that were used or approved by agency officers were inaccurate, imprecise or fell short of our trade craft standards. We have acknowledged some mistakes."

What he's really saying: We lied about torturing people. Again, sorry we're not sorry.

Brennan: "Detainees who were subjected to EITs at some point during their confinement subsequently provided information that our experts found to be useful and valuable in our counterterrorism efforts, and the cause and effect relationship between the application of those EITs and the ultimate provision of the information is unknown and unknowable."

What he's really saying: We tortured people and we got information from people. We don't know if they're connected, but screw you for thinking they're not.

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