Obama: 'We tortured some folks'

President Obama said Friday that some CIA officials who interrogated suspects after the 9/11 attacks "crossed a line" into torture.

"We did a whole lot of things that were right, but we tortured some folks," Obama said while discussing a forthcoming Senate report on enhanced interrogation techniques. "We did some things that were contrary to our values."

During a brief news conference, Obama also criticized congressional Republicans for adjourning without agreement on a border bill and indicated he would soon take executive action to address the influx of migrant children from Central America.

"While they're out on vacation, I'm going to have to make some tough choices to meet the challenge, with or without Congress," Obama said.

Obama also told reporters:

•He has "full confidence" in CIA Director John Brennan, despite the admission that his agency improperly accessed Senate computers during an investigation of disputed interrogation techniques.

Obama has condemned those techniques as torture before, but his administration has not sought prosecution of possible offenders. The president said Friday that people should remember alll the fear and pressure put on national security teams after 9/11, and "it's important for us not to feel too sanctimonious in retrospect about the tough job that those folks had."

•There will be an effective federal response to any threat from the Ebola virus, and that precautions are being taken ahead of next week's U.S.-African Leaders Summit in Washington, D.C.

•The United States will work to restore a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas that ended shortly after it began Friday, but "trying to put that back together is going to be challenging" at best.

"There's a lot of anger and there's a lot of despair ... it's a volatile mix," Obama said. "But we have to keep trying."

He demanded that Palestinians release an Israeli soldier kidnapped during fighting Friday.

•He disputes the notion he is losing influence on world affairs. Obama said that although the United States remains the world's most powerful nation, it "does not control everything around the world." Foreign policy, he said, is "not neat" and "not smooth."

Obama defended Secretary of State John Kerry in his Middle East efforts.

•A new labor report says the economy has created more than 200,000 jobs for six straight months for the first time since 1997.

"The good news is that the economy is clearly getting stronger," though things would be even better if Congress acted on more of his proposals, Obama said.

The immigration issue gave Obama another chance to mock House Republicans for plans to sue him over executive order changes he has made to the health care bill.

Though Republicans want to take him to court over executive actions, Obama noted that some GOP members also want him to take executive action with regard to dealing with the increase of migrants from Central America.

Michael Steel, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said Obama "has been completely AWOL" when it comes to working with Republicans on an immigration compromise plan.

"Senate Democrats have left town without acting on his request for a border supplemental," Steel said. "Right now, House Republicans are the only ones still working to address this crisis."

Obama said he would oppose any attempt to roll back a 2012 order that deferred deportations of young people who have been brought into the country illegally as children.

House Republicans "are not even trying to solve the problem," Obama said, blasting them for proposals that would never pass the Democratic Senate.

Last month, Obama proposed a $3.7 billion budget supplement to address problems on the border. The Senate debated a plan before adjourning shortly before Obama's news conference. The GOP-led House debated a less costly plan as Obama spoke.

House Republicans have even argued among themselves about a border strategy, Obama said: "They can't even pass their own version of the bill."


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