Obama admits US tortured suspects after 9/11

Obama admits US tortured suspects after 9/11
Sat Aug 2, 2014 08:30:49

US President Barack Obama has made a rare acknowledgment about the official use of the so-called 'enhanced interrogation tactics' or torture by American authorities in the wake of the suspicious September 11, 2001 terrorist incidents near Washington and New York.

“In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, we did some things that were wrong. We did a whole lot of things that were right, but we tortured some folks. We did things that were contrary to our values,” Obama said on Friday near the end of a nearly an hour-long press briefing at the White House in Washington, DC.

The US commander-in-chief made the remarks as he fielded a question concerning John Brennan, the director of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), in-between queries from journalists regarding the situations in Gaza, Ukraine and West Africa.

Earlier this week, Brennan admitted that CIA employees had, as alleged, spied on the computer usage of Senate Intelligence Committee staffers while they worked on a report concerning the agency’s use of contentious interrogation tactics (torture). The report, a 6,000-page study, is yet to be made public, but Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California), the chairperson of the intelligence panel, said it is “chilling” and will show “far more systematic and widespread [use of troture] than we thought.”

After acknowledging that the US had “tortured some folks” during Friday’s briefing, Obama added: “That’s what that report reflects.”

Obama further added, “The character of our country has to be measured in part not by what we do when things are easy but what we do when things are hard.”

The word “torture” to describe the tactics used by the CIA is rarely used by US government officials, but Obama has indeed condemned the agency’s past abuses before. During an address last year at the National Defense University, Obama stated that, in some cases, “I believe we compromised our basic values -- by using torture to interrogate our enemies, and detaining individuals in a way that ran counter to the rule of law.”

“So after I took office, we stepped up the war against Al-Qaeda but we also sought to change its course. We relentlessly targeted Al-Qaeda’s leadership. We ended the war in Iraq, and brought nearly 150,000 troops home. We pursued a new strategy in Afghanistan, and increased our training of Afghan forces. We unequivocally banned torture, affirmed our commitment to civilian courts, worked to align our policies with the rule of law and expanded our consultations with Congress,” Obama said in that address from last May.


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