WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama said Tuesday the CIA’s torture of Al-Qaeda suspects, as documented in a damning Senate report, had been counterproductive and contrary to American values.
“The report documents a troubling program involving enhanced interrogation techniques on terrorism suspects in secret facilities outside the United States,” Obama said.
“It reinforces my long-held view that these harsh methods were not only inconsistent with our values as nation, they did not serve our broader counterterrorism efforts or our national security interests.
“Moreover, these techniques did significant damage to America’s standing in the world and made it harder to pursue our interests with allies and partners,” he added, in statement.
“That is why I will continue to use my authority as president to make sure we never resort to those methods again.”
“That is why I unequivocally banned torture when I took office, because one of our most effective tools in fighting terrorism and keeping Americans safe is staying true to our ideals.”
In August, Obama had already candidly regretted that, in the years after the September 11, 2001 attacks on US cities, American interrogators “tortured some folks.”
Responding to Tuesday’s release of the report, which his own administration had attempted to delay, Obama promised that the fight against Al-Qaeda would continue without recourse to torture.
“We will rely on all elements of our national power, including the power and example of our founding ideals,” he said.
“No nation is perfect. But one of the strengths that makes America exceptional is our willingness to openly confront our past, face our imperfections, make changes and do better.”