Obama: 'We Tortured Some Folks'

President Barack Obama speaks in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, Aug. 1, 2014. The president spoke on various topics including the economy, immigration, Ukraine and the Middle East.

Gone are the days of "enhanced interrogation techniques."
Forget the careful language around America's treatment of detainees after the 9/11 attacks.
On Friday, President Barack Obama made the blunt — and seemingly casual — statement that "we tortured some folks."
During an otherwise sleepy news conference about immigration and the economy, the president answered a question about the impending release of a Senate report that criticizes the CIA's treatment of detainees after 9/11. "We did some things that were wrong," Obama said. "We tortured some folks. We crossed the line and that needs to be understood."
Obama said he believed the mistreatment happened because national security officials felt pressure to forestall another attack. He said Americans should not be too "sanctimonious" about passing judgment through the lens of a seemingly safer present day.
That posture, which he expressed as a candidate for national office in 2008 and early in his presidency, explains why Obama did not push to pursue criminal charges against the Bush-era officials who carried out the CIA program. To this day, many of those officials insist that what they did was not torture, which is a felony under U.S. law.
This isn't the first time the president got into the debate about whether "waterboarding" and other so-called "enhanced interrogation techniques" actually constituted torture.
In 2009, at a press conference marking his first 100 days in office, Obama said, "I believe that waterboarding was torture and, whatever legal rationals were used, it was a mistake."
He also used the T-word at the National Defense University at Fort McNair last year: "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."
But it was the president's seemingly casual admission of torture that surprised many watching the press conference.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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