CVT Statement on D/CIA Nominee John Brennan’s Waterboarding Evasion

Thursday, February 7, 2013

CVT Statement on D/CIA Nominee John Brennan’s Waterboarding Evasion

St. Paul, MN –
The Center for Victims of Torture™ (CVT) issued the following statement in response to CIA Director nominee John Brennan’s testimony during his confirmation hearing today:

“CVT is astounded that Mr. Brennan would not state for the record that waterboarding is torture,” said Curt Goering, executive director of CVT. “We know from our experience treating torture survivors that waterboarding is a method of torture that goes beyond the fear of suffocation. It is tantamount to a mock execution that can result in the survivor suffering psychological trauma for years.”

“We encourage Mr. Brennan to clarify his position and follow the lead of President Obama who said in a November 2011 press conference, ‘Waterboarding is torture. It’s contrary to America’s traditions. It’s contrary to our ideals. That’s not who we are. That’s not how we operate. We don’t need it in order to prosecute the war on terrorism. And we did the right thing by ending that practice.’”[1]

“While Mr. Brennan reaffirmed his statement from 2007 that waterboarding subjects an individual to severe pain and suffering – the classic definition of torture – he claimed that,  unless he was a legal scholar, he could not make an unequivocal statement that these techniques are, in fact and law, torture.  With that failure, Mr. Brennan missed a unique opportunity to clarify what is obvious to the rest of the world,” said Goering.

NOTE: CVT has created a handout briefly describing the known scientific, medical and clinical effects of the specific methods of abuse, including waterboarding, authorized after September 11, 2001. The information is based on the expertise of CVT and other torture rehabilitation professionals who are familiar with the physical and psychological trauma caused by these interrogation methods—methods commonly used worldwide by repressive regimes.


[1] The White House. (2011) President Obama Holds a Press Conference at the APEC Summit. Retrieved from



Brad Robideau
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