Central Intelligence Director (CIA) Director John Brennan is pushing back hard against the wave of criticism of harsh interrogation tactics employed by intelligence community people against terrorism detainees. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP) A majority of Americans think that the harsh interrogation techniques used on terrorism suspects after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks were justified, even as about half of the public says the treatment amounted to torture, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. By a margin of almost 2 to 1 — 59 percent to 31 percent — those interviewed said that they support the CIA’s brutal methods, with the vast majority of supporters saying that they produced valuable intelligence. In general, 58 percent say the torture of suspected terrorists can be justified “often” or “sometimes.” The new poll comes on the heels of the scathing Senate Intelligence Committee investigation into the CIA’s detention and interrogation program, which President Obama ended in 2009. The report last week concluded that severe interrogation techniques — including waterboarding detainees, placing them in stress positions and keeping them inside confinement boxes — were not an effective means of acquiring intelligence. The report also found that more than two dozen detainees were wrongly held, that the program was poorly managed and that the CIA misled top U.S. officials about the effectiveness of the program.