President Obama believes former Vice President Dick Cheney’s defense of the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation” program is “wrong,” press secretary Josh Earnest said Monday.

Earnest could not say whether Obama had seen the former vice president’s appearance on “Meet the Press” over the weekend, in which Cheney said he would order up the CIA program again “in a minute.”

Cheney said CIA “very carefully avoided” torture, argued that the rectal feeding of detainees was “done for medical reasons” and said he was not concerned about the harsh treatment of foreign nationals who were later revealed to be innocent.

{mosads}Earnest said, “I can say unequivocally that the president certainly believes that the former vice president’s assessment is wrong.”

Debate over the interrogation practices has been renewed after the release last week of a Senate Intelligence Committee report detailing the interrogation program. The document, citing CIA records, revealed new information about the techniques that were used on prisoners and accused the agency of misleading the public and Congress about them.

Obama has said that he believed the practices did amount to torture and that they were a mistake, although has not said whether he thinks they provided useful intelligence or whether he believes the officials responsible should face criminal prosecution.

Earnest repeated Monday that the program had damaged the nation’s international standing, and said he guessed that even Cheney would probably agree that “our moral credibility around the globe is an important tool in our arsenal for advancing and promoting America’s interests around the world.” 


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