In recent weeks, there has been rampant media speculation that President Barack Obama would back off his campaign pledges to end torture.
The Wall Street Journal recently wrote, “President-elect Barack Obama is unlikely to radically overhaul controversial Bush administration intelligence policies.” In addition, some in the blogosphere have raised concerns about the fact that a key intelligence adviser to Obama has supported the Bush administration’s enhanced interrogation techniques.
CBS: There are a number of different things you can do early on pertaining to executive orders.
CBS: One of them is to shut down Guantanamo Bay. Another is to change interrogation methods that are used by U.S. troops. Are those things that you plan to take early action on?
OBAMA: Yes. I have said repeatedly that I intend to close Guantanamo, and I will follow through on that. I have said repeatedly that America doesn’t torture, and I’m going to make sure that we don’t torture. Those are part and parcel of an effort to regain America’s moral stature in the world.
Obama also emphasized that “capturing or killing” Osama bin Laden is a critical aspect of his national security strategy of stamping out al Qaeda. “He is not just a symbol, he is also the operational leader of an organization that is planning attacks against U.S. targets,” Obama said of bin Laden.