Obama policy on torture difficult to roll back: White House
Washington, Dec 12 (PTI) In the wake of growing public debate over CIA’s detention and interrogation programme, it would be difficult for future American leadership to roll back the policy on torture enforced by US President Barack Obama, the White House has said.
“I do think that by being so transparent and encouraging and fostering this kind of public debate it will be very difficult if any future commander-in-chief chose to do so to try to roll back this ban that the president’s put in place on torture.
“I think that will be very, very difficult for any future president to do,” the White House Press Secretary, Josh Earnest, told reporters here yesterday.
At the same time he conceded that there is no guarantee about what a future commander-in-chief may decide.
“But I think the precedent that’s been set here, and the public debate that’s been set here, makes very clear about the commitment of the people of this country and the government of this country to uphold the values that we hold quite dear, not just because that’s the right thing to do, but also because we believe that makes us safer,” Earnest said.
Meanwhile the US continued with its outreach with other countries after the release of the CIA report on torture.
“I have spoken to many of my foreign counterparts over the past week to allow them opportunity to prepare for the release of this document in the event that there was going to be any implications for them as a result of either information that was contained in this document and then could be correlated with other information that is out there and which leads the speculation about what their countries, their governments, their services might have done,” the CIA Director John Brennan told reporters in a rare news conference.
“I’ve spoken to many of them, and there was strong concern. There are things that we do with our partner services under our authorities and we have covert action authorities, and covert is something that they were hoping that was going to remain such,” he said.
“But what I’ve told them is that it’s important for our partnership to move forward and to strengthen in the years ahead because of the nature of the national security challenges we face, and so I am interested in making sure that we’re able to do that,” Brennan said.
The White House said Obama has full confidence in Brennan as the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) chief.
“Yes,” Earnest said when asked about it.
“John Brennan is a dedicated professional who has dedicated his time in public service to protecting the United States of America.
“That makes him a patriot, and it makes him someone who has the full confidence of the President of the United States.
“And the president wakes up every morning pleased to know that John Brennan and the men and women of the CIA are at work, using their skills and expertise to protect the American people,” he said.
“The president is pleased to count him as one of the people who has been a senior member of his national security team since the very beginning of his tenure in office, and the president continues to rely on his advice to this day,” Earnest said.