President Obama acknowledged Friday that the U.S. “tortured some folks” in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, highlighting CIA shortcomings ahead of the release of a Senate report on the agency's interrogation techniques.
"In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, we did some things that were wrong. We did a whole lot of things that were right, but we tortured some folks. We did things that were contrary to our values," Obama said in a hastily arranged press conference Friday.
The president also expressed “full confidence” in CIA Director John Brennan, who Thursday admitted that the agency spied on Senate staffers putting together a report on the George W. Bush-era tactics.
Some Democrats have called for Brennan’s resignation, but Obama made clear that the White House was standing behind a senior member of his national security team.
Obama said Brennan acknowledged that CIA officials “did not properly handle an investigation into how certain documents … got into the hands of Senate staff.”
“Keep in mind, though, that John Brennan was the person who called for the IG report,” Obama added of the new revelations.
The Senate Intelligence Committee is expected to release the report in coming weeks.
Early in his first term, Obama restricted many of the interrogation techniques he decried as a presidential candidate. The president Friday tried to take the focus away from Brennan, preferring to discuss the broader issue of torture.
“We did some things that were wrong,” Obama said. “And that’s what that report reflects.”