President Obama today said the United States tortured people in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, saying that while he understood the emotion that drove the practice, it was nevertheless unequivocally wrong.
Obama spoke today during an impromptu press conference at the White House. “We tortured some folks,” Obama said during a long answer to a question not directly concerning the response to 9/11.
Obama has previously referred to water boarding, which was practiced following 9/11, as torture. And in May 2013 he said that “I believe” that the United States “compromised our basic values — by using torture to interrogate our enemies.”
But it is not clear he has made the charge as directly and unequivocally as he did today. Obama did not this time say specifically which practice he was referring to.
Bush administration officials have acknowledged that the practices were harsh, but say they stopped short of torture.