CIA torture undermines US moral authority, White House says

2014-12-11 06:52

Washington – The torture of terrorism suspects by the CIA undermined the United States’ moral authority and the release of a report describing the brutal interrogation techniques is an important step in regaining that authority, the White House has said.

“One of the most powerful tools in our arsenal to protect and advance our interests around the globe is the moral authority of the United States of America,” spokesperson Josh Earnest said yesterday.

“And the commander in chief concluded that the use of the techniques that are described in this report significantly undermines the moral authority of the United States of America.”

Obama’s ban of the interrogation techniques when he took office illustrates his commitment to rebuilding that moral authority, Earnest said.

“It’s important for people to understand that the United States is willing to face up to its shortcomings and is willing to be honest about those shortcomings and is willing to be as candid as possible about our commitment to ensuring those shortcomings don’t occur again,” he said.

A review released by the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday found brutal interrogation methods used after the September 11 2001 terrorist attacks amounted to torture but failed to extract key intelligence from terrorism suspects.

The committee released a declassified summary of its more than 6 000-page report on CIA detentions and interrogations, detailing the torture of terrorism suspects.

From 2001 to 2009, the Central Intelligence Agency detained at least 119 individuals at secret facilities, subjecting about one-third of them to harsh interrogation methods that sometimes amounted to torture, the Intelligence Committee stated in the report on its five-year investigation.

Important intelligence was not gained from the so-called enhanced interrogation methods, the report said. The US intelligence community insisted that the methods were helpful.

The White House maintains, however, that regardless of whether the interrogations resulted in intelligence that they were not justified.

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