Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FASHION

Who's next in Paris, an event with international ready-to-wear and fashion accessories collections

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Is there such thing as 'telegenic' victims of war?

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

2014-07-22 07:21 IN THE FRENCH PRESS

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Michel Sidibé, UNAIDS Executive Director

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

Dalia Grybauskaite, President of the Republic of Lithuania

Read more

WEB NEWS

Online scammers exploit MH17 crash

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Too many graphic images from Gaza ?

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Gaza: online reactions

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Rise of the Robots

Read more

  • Hollande says French warship delivery will ‘depend on Russia’s attitude’

    Read more

  • Israeli soldier missing in Gaza, say media reports

    Read more

  • Ukraine rebels release bodies, black boxes from flight MH17

    Read more

  • A call for harmony in riot-hit ‘Little Jerusalem’ Paris suburb

    Read more

  • Widodo poised to become Indonesian president

    Read more

  • An ‘explosion of violence’: French press reacts to Gaza protests

    Read more

  • Notorious ‘VIP’ prison in Paris closed for renovations

    Read more

  • Christians in Iraq's Mosul face execution or exodus

    Read more

  • Scores killed as Libyan militias fight over airport

    Read more

  • Ukraine football players refuse to return home after friendly in France

    Read more

  • China steps up communist education to guard against ‘moral decline’

    Read more

  • French rugby stars attacked with machetes and swords

    Read more

  • Hollande announces new military operation in West Africa

    Read more

  • Kristoff wins Tour’s flat Stage 15

    Read more

Americas

Obama vows support for CIA after interrogation memos release

Video by Claire PRYDE

Latest update : 2009-04-22

Days after releasing Bush-era memos on interrogation techniques, US President Barack Obama told CIA staffers the agency is critical in the US fight against terrorism during a visit to the agency’s Langley, Virginia headquarters.

REUTERS - U.S. President Barack Obama and his CIA chief buried differences on Monday over the release of classified documents on waterboarding, even as former Vice President Dick Cheney kept the debate alive.

 

Obama visited CIA headquarters and told agency employees that a fight against al Qaeda and other challenges, and foreign policy changes he is pursuing, make their expertise vital. He pledged his full support.

 

"We live in dangerous times. I am going to need you more than ever," Obama said. He counseled the employees not to be discouraged by public discussion of "mistakes."

 

Shortly after Obama's visit, Cheney said he had asked the CIA to release documents showing the "success" of the widely condemned harsh-interrogation program launched by former President George W. Bush after the Sept. 11 attacks.

 

The visit represented a swift bid by Obama to shore up CIA morale after he released last week classified Bush-era legal memos detailing the interrogation program.

 

"I know that the last few days have been difficult," he said. His arrival, however, was met by enthusiastic cheers from the audience of about 1,000 CIA staff.

 

CIA Director Leon Panetta told Obama he had the CIA's support and loyalty.

 

WATERBOARDING STATISTICS

 

The interrogation program included "waterboarding," a form of simulated drowning widely considered torture. It came to symbolize U.S. excesses in fighting terrorism after the Sept. 11 attacks.

 

One memo said waterboarding had been used a total of 266 times on two of the three al Qaeda suspects the CIA acknowledges were waterboarded.

 

Obama said the memos were released because had become the subject of a burdensome court fight and their covert nature had already been compromised.

 

Panetta vowed to respect a ban on harsh interrogations that Obama issued in January. He had opposed releasing the memos, joining former CIA directors concerned that their release could expose agents to retribution.

 

Cheney said in a "Fox News" interview with Sean Hannity that he found it disturbing that Obama did not also release memos that Cheney said documented the effectiveness of the interrogations -- a point contested by some experts.

 

The CIA declined to comment on Cheney's remarks.

 

Republican Kit Bond, vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said the release of the memos was a signal to CIA employees that "our government is not going to stand behind you."

 

Obama pledged to employees Monday that he would be "vigorous" in protecting them.

 

Obama also drew anger from human rights groups, by saying last week he would not prosecute CIA interrogators who had relied on the Bush-era legal guidelines.

 

The Democratic head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Dianne Feinstein, urged him to withhold judgment on prosecutions, pending a closed-door review by her committee of the interrogation program.

 

Obama also acknowledged that CIA senior leaders in recent conversations had demonstrated "anxiety and concern" over his limits on interrogation techniques.
 

Date created : 2009-04-21

COMMENT(S)