US President Barack Obama has assured CIA agents involved in tough terror interrogations they will not be prosecuted as he released graphic memos detailing methods approved by the Bush White House.
In documents published Thursday, George W. Bush-era legal officials argued that the tactics such as simulated drowning, face slapping, the use of insects to scare prisoners and sleep deprivation did not amount to torture.
“This is a time for reflection, not retribution,” Obama said.
“We have been through a dark and painful chapter in our history. But at a time of great challenges and disturbing disunity, nothing will be gained by spending our time and energy laying blame for the past.”
The four memos offered a stunning glimpse inside the covert interrogation program introduced after the September 11 attacks in 2001, which critics say amounted to torture, and Obama said undermined America’s moral authority.
The documents argued that a long list of coercive techniques did not equal torture since they did not inflict severe mental or physical pain.