President Barack Obama defended the release of a new report outlining Bush-era CIA interrogation tactics
Obama was interviewed by Telemundo, which was aired simultaneously on Univision
President Barack Obama defended the Senate Intelligence Committee’s decision Tuesday to release a controversial torture report, arguing that while there was never a “perfect” time to release the report, it’s important to publicly admit that the country made mistakes.
“One of the things that sets us apart from other countries is when we make mistakes, we admit them,” Obama said in an interview with “Telemundo” on Tuesday that aired simultaneously on Univision.
“We did some things that violated who we are as a people,” he added.
The report, which details the CIA’s extreme interrogation techniques used on terrorists after the September 11th attacks, was released by the Senate Intelligence Committee despite a last-minute pleas from Secretary of State John Kerry and members of Congress not to release the information to the public at this time, fearing that its release could spark global attacks against Americans.
While the President acknowledged those concerns, he said his administration has taken precautionary measures around the world to prepare for any type of global reaction.
Earlier Tuesday, the CIA Director John Brennan defended the techniques outlined in the report, saying that the interrogations “did produce intelligence that helped thwart attack plans, capture terrorists and save lives.”
But Obama contested their reasoning to Univision’s Jorge Ramos arguing, “The information we get isn’t necessarily better than doing things the right way.”
Under his administration, Obama wouldn’t say if any types of torturous interrogation techniques have been used on detainees, but he asserted that if they were, they would not be tolerated and that perpetrators would be ‘held into account’ for breaking the law.
Moving forward, Obama says he will effort ways to hold the CIA accountable for the way it treats detainees, in order to ensure that some of the techniques outlined in the report aren’t used again.
“The lines of accountability that needed to be set up weren’t always in place,” the President told Diaz-Balart.
In a hypothetical situation – where the U.S. was attacked in a similar way as it was on September 11th – the President said that he still would not condone the types of torture techniques described in the report, and that he is trying to put accountability systems in place now, should that become a problem in the future.