Obama Visits CIA to Defend Memo Release

By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 20, 2009 6:35 PM CDT
President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the Central Intelligence Agency in Langley, Va., Monday, April 20, 2009. At left is CIA Director Leon Panetta and right is Deputy Director Steve Kappes.    (Gerald Herbert)
camera-icon View 3 more images

(Newser) – Days after releasing top-secret memos that detailed the CIA's use of simulated drowning while interrogating terror suspects, President Obama went to the spy agency's Virginia headquarters today to defend his decision and bolster the morale of its employees. "I acted primarily because of the exceptional circumstances that surrounded these memos, particularly the fact that so much of the information was public," Obama said.

A round of cheers erupted when CIA Director Leon Panetta introduced Obama, who quickly reassured them that they had his backing. "I know the last few days have been difficult," he said. "You need to know you've got my full support." Acknowledging that former CIA directors and several senior agency officials opposed the release of the memos, Obama said,
"You don't get credit when things go good, but you sure get some blame when things don't."