White House Responds to GOP Criticism: Releasing Memos on Enhanced Interrogation Policies Doesn’t Make Us Less Safe — the Policies Do

Apr 16, 2009 8:33pm

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO — Earlier today, the ranking Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee criticized President Obama’s decision to release Bush-era Justice Department memos which approved enhanced interrogation techniques like waterboarding.

Sen. Kit Bond, R-Mo., told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos that Al Qaeda will use the information in the memos not only to train their followers to resist interrogation, but that it will provide "propaganda for Al Qaeda’s media machine."

The release will "make us less safe" and "heighten anger" in parts of the world "where we’re trying to make friends," Bond said.

I asked White House press secretary Robert Gibbs about Bond’s charge. Gibbs said that when making the decision as to what he should do with the memos – which human rights groups were seeking through the Freedom of Information Act — President Obama "wrestled with a number of issues related to national security, related to the rule of law, and related to national security."

"I don’t think and the president doesn’t believe it’s the existence of enhanced interrogation techniques in memos that has made us less safe," Gibbs said. "It’s the use of those techniques in the view of the world that has made us less safe. And that’s precisely why the president moved swiftly to end" their use on the second day of his presidency.

- jpt

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