President Barack Obama directly said the CIA engaged in torture and slammed the practice during a Tuesday night interview.
“I recognise that there’s controversies in terms of some of the details, but what’s not controversial is the fact that we did some things that violated who we are as a people,” Obama told Univision anchor Jorge Ramos.
Earlier in the day, the Senate released the results of its investigation into CIA interrogation practices after 9/11. Many of the details were shocking, including the use of “rectal feeding,” insects, diapers, and mock executions. Additionally, the report found the CIA repeatedly misled both the public and other government agencies about the efficacy of its interrogation program.
Obama labelled these actions “terrible mistakes.” He banned the CIA’s so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” shortly after taking office in 2009.
“I think that any fair-minded person looking at this would say that some terrible mistakes were made in allowing these kinds of practices to take place, in part because I think study after study has shown that when people are tortured … oftentimes they’re willing say anything,” he said. “So the information we get isn’t necessarily better than doing things the right way.”
Ramos pressed Obama on whether he would “categorically” say his own administration never engaged in torture. The president demurred but pointed to his “edict” outlawing the practice.
“I can categorically say anybody who engaged in any behaviour like this would be directly violating my executive orders, and my policies as president of the United States, and would be held into account, and would be breaking the law,” he said.
Watch the full interview below.
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