Reporter to Earnest: Polls Show Americans Don’t Oppose CIA Techniques

‘the polls I looked at over the last, I don’t know six years, don’t really show a majority of Americans opposing these kinds of techniques when questioning terrorists’

Reporter to Earnest: Polls Show Americans Don't Oppose CIA Techniques (RealClearPolitics)

KNOX: “I confess, I haven’t seen recent polls, but the polls I looked at over the last, I don’t know, six years, don’t actually show a majority of Americans opposing these kinds of techniques when questioning terrorists, and I’m wondering really, what’s the value of that public opinion as a bulwark against these practices returning to — into the government’s arsenal.”

EARNEST: “Well, Olivier, I think that's one of the reasons that there is a -- that we benefit from having a public debate, that other Americans that may have had a loosely formed opinion or maybe no opinion at all, have now, at least for the last two or three days now, been tuned into what has been a pretty robust public debate. We’ve had forceful good people on both sides of this debate, in which we’ve had an extensive discussion about whether the use of these techniques was worth it. And the president clearly believes that it was not, that the hit to our moral authority was significant. And we are continuing to take the kinds of steps that are needed to try to rebuild it. And the reason for that is that our moral authority does strengthen the national security interests of the United States and of the American people and the moral authority of the United States is something that's worth protecting. Again, I think people on both sides of this debate could acknowledge that and I think would agree with that, not just acknowledge it, but actually agree with. I would acknowledge that not everybody is going to sort of come down the same way that the president has in terms of banning these techniques. But the president, I think, has a pretty persuasive case to make about how that is clearly in the national security interest of the United States and how -- why he believes that future presidents should reach the same conclusion.”

KNOX: “And finally, has the president ever sought a formal assessment from the intelligence community about whether the drone program is a net asset, either because of our moral authority, or in terms of creating more enemies than it takes off the battlefield?”

EARNEST: “Well, I --I’m not aware of any intelligence assessment like this. You can certainly check with office of the director of the national intelligence to see if they're aware of anything like this that they could talk to you about.”

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