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Outgoing CIA director defends use of controversial interrogation techniques

[JURIST] Outgoing Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) [official website] director Michael Hayden [official profile] during a Thursday press conference defended the controversial interrogation techniques used to gather information in the "war on terror." Hayden strongly defended [AP report] the CIA-termed "enhanced interrogation techniques," including waterboarding [JURIST archive], a practice Hayden banned from use in 2006. While admitting these interrogation tactics were harsh and coercive, Hayden promoted their effectiveness, stating that the CIA was able to obtain valuable information because of their use. Hayden also stressed the legality of the CIA's actions [US News and World Report], reiterating previous assertions that the CIA did not engage in any tactics that were illegal [JURIST report].

Hayden's press conference was held in the midst of a week of increased scrutiny over controversial tactics employed by the US government in the war on terror. The chairman of the US House Judiciary Committee [official website] on Tuesday published a report [text, PDF] urging Obama to open a criminal investigation [JURIST report] into the alleged abuses that have occurred at Guantanamo Bay throughout the Bush administration. On Wednesday, the Military commissions overseer stated that the US military used torture tactics in interrogating a suspect in the 9/11 attacks. On Thursday, Attorney General nominee Eric Holder [JURIST archive] stated in his Senate confirmation hearing [JURIST report] that he believed waterboarding was tantamount to torture.

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