Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel responded to critics of the President
Obama's decision to release torture memos by saying that the
information was already public and that former President George W. Bush
had already "allowed a lot of this information out."
"So if they're saying that you basically have exposed something, it's
been written," said Emanuel. "Go get the New York Review of Books. It's
Emanuel was referring to the story written by Mark Danner, based on a "confidential" Red Cross document he came into possession of which enumerated the interrogations of 14 detainees.
Emanuel said the rough interrogation techniques, now banned, have been "one of the key tools Al Qaida has used for recruitment.
"There has been a net cost to America," he said. " By changing the way
America is seen in the world, which means banning this technique and
practice, we have actually stopped them and prevented them from using
it as a rallying cry."
Asked if Obama believes that those who devised the policies should be prosecuted, Emanuel said "no":
"Yes, but those who devised policy, he believes that they were --
should not be prosecuted either, and that's not the place that we go --
as he said in that letter, and I would really recommend people look at
the full statement -- not the letter, the statement --in that second
paragraph, "this is not a time for retribution." It's time for
reflection. It's not a time to use our energy and our time in looking
back and any sense of anger and retribution.
We have a lot to do to protect America. What people need to know, this
practice and technique, we don't use anymore. He banned it."