The United States tortured terror detainees in the years after 9/11, President Obama said at a press conference today. Obama was speaking about the CIA in the context of a soon-to-be-declassified Senate report about the agency’s interrogation program. His exact words, per the National Journal:
We tortured some folks. We did some things that were contrary to our values. I understand why it happened. I think it’s important when we look back to recall how afraid people were after the Twin Towers fell, and the Pentagon had been hit, and a plane in Pennsylvania had fallen and people did not know whether more attacks were imminent and there was enormous pressure on our law enforcement and our national security teams to try to deal with this. A lot of those folks were working hard and under enormous pressure, and are real patriots. But having said all that, we did some things that were wrong.
Obama has indirectly characterized some American behavior as torture in the past, including in 2011 when he told reporters that, contra some Republican presidential candidates, he believed waterboarding (a technique which American interrogators are known to have used) to be torture.