Nation & world briefs, Aug. 2
Obama: ‘We tortured some folks’ after 9/11
The United States tortured al-Qaida detainees captured after the 9/11 attacks, President Obama said yesterday, in some of his most expansive comments to date about a controversial set of CIA practices that he banned after taking office.
“We tortured some folks,” Obama said at a televised news conference at the White House. “We did some things that were contrary to our values.”
Addressing the impending release of a Senate report that criticizes CIA treatment of detainees, Obama said he believed the mistreatment stemmed from the pressure national security officials felt to forestall another attack. He said Americans should not be too “sanctimonious,” about passing judgment through the lens of a seemingly safer present day.
That view, which he expressed as a candidate for national office in 2008 and early in his presidency, explains why Obama did not push to pursue criminal charges against the Bush era officials who carried out the CIA program. To this day, many of those officials insist that what they did was not torture, which is a felony under U.S. law.
The president’s comments are a blow to those former officials, as well as an estimated 200 people currently working at the CIA who played some role in the interrogation program.
Aid workers sick with Ebola traveling to U.S.
Two American aid workers seriously ill with Ebola will be brought from West Africa to Atlanta for treatment in one of the most tightly sealed isolation units in the country, officials said yesterday.
One is expected to arrive today, and the other a few days later, according to Atlanta’s Emory University Hospital, where they will be treated. They are due to arrive in a private jet outfitted with a special, portable tent designed for transporting patients with highly infectious diseases.
It will be the first time anyone infected with the disease is brought into the country. U.S. officials are confident the patients can be treated without putting the public in any danger.
Ebola is spread through direct contact with blood or other bodily fluids from an infected person, not through the air.
The two Americans – Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol – worked for U.S. missionary groups in Liberia at a hospital that treated Ebola patients.