CIA Proposed Waterboarding Before OK

Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair confirmed a story reported in the New York Times that he informed Obama in a private memo that the harsh interrogation tactics did indeed yield valuable information from terror suspects, but said they were unnecessary.

In a statement released Tuesday night, Blair said that while he did recommend to the president that the administration release these memos, he also made clear that the CIA should not be punished for carrying out legal orders.

"We do not need these techniques to keep America safe," he continued. "The information gained from these techniques was valuable in some instances, but there is no way of knowing whether the same information could have been obtained through other means."

The White House has also suggested that any public investigation of interrogation policy should be like the 9/11 Commission.

"There needs to be a further accounting of what took place during this period, I think, for Congress to examine ways that it can be done in a bipartisan fashion, outside of the typical hearing process that can sometimes break down and break it entirely along party lines, to the extent that there are independent participants who are above reproach and have credibility, that would probably be a more sensible approach to take," Obama said.

Gibbs added that the president would see the 9/11 Commission as a model of how an investigation into the torture memo matter should be carried out.

Obama is concerned that such an investigation "could become overly politicized," Gibbs said. On the 9/11 Commission, however, the members -- regardless of whether they were Democrats or Republicans -- "put their party identification away in order to answer some very serious questions," he said.

ABC News' Jake Tapper, Z. Byron Wolf, Ariane de Vogue, Jonathan Karl and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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