Vice President Joe Biden said Thursday that the Bush administration’s detention and interrogation policies “gave al-Qaida a powerful recruiting tool,” according to a report in the New York Times.
Biden made the statement while visiting the Central Intelligence Agency to swear in Leon E. Panetta as the agency’s new director.
At the venue, Biden noted that under the new leadership of President Barack Obama, the C.I.A. was now required to use only the same non-coercive interrogation methods as the military.
Biden added that the latest Obama executive orders “reverse the policies that in my view and the view of many in this agency caused America to fall short of its founding principles and which gave al-Qaida a powerful recruiting tool.”
Speaking to a warm and cheering crowd of CIA employees and officers, Biden lauded the work of the nation’s premier intelligence gatherer.
“This agency remains America’s premier national security agency, and we deeply appreciate the risks and the sacrifices that so many in the past and in the present continue to take for this country,” Biden said.
Panetta, a former White House chief of staff and intelligence community novice, made an oblique reference to the Saddam Hussein-Iraq WMD debacle – saying the agency would “provide the very best intelligence, independent judgments, not influenced by the politics of the situation but truly real, objective information that can be presented to the president and the policy makers of this country.”
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