April 26th, 2009
10:29 AM ET
9 years ago

There's nothing new in CIA memos, says Jarrett

The CIA memos are grabbing headlines – but they’re not news, says Jarrett.

The CIA memos are grabbing headlines – but they’re not news, says Jarrett.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - There’s nothing new in the interrogation memos whose release has stirred controversy, senior White House advisor Valerie Jarrett told CNN Sunday.

The CIA memos described waterboarding and other tough interrogation methods on alleged al Qaeda leader Abu Zubaydah.

Jarrett said the United States is “a nation of laws,” and the administration had a legal requirement to release the documents.

"The techniques that were being used by the prior administration were well known," she told John King on State of the Union. "When the president came in office, he said we're not going to use those techniques anymore. That's not who we are as a country."

“There’s nothing in these documents that Americans hadn't seen all over the news,” she said, adding that Obama said it was time to release them and “move forward.”

But the president is leaving any prosecution decisions up to the attorney general, she added.

Filed under: State of the Union • Valerie Jarrett
soundoff (55 Responses)
  1. Joe in Austin

    Telling the truth is a good thing

    April 26, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  2. Rose

    So, Obama dumps the decision on Holder, if he messes up Obama will say, he had nothing to do with it. This whole thing needs to just go away. Pelosi is the one that has been pushing for this and now claims she knew nothing about it. She admitted she was told they would use enhanced methods, wasn't it her job to find out what kind of methods. No one can convince me she did not know. She is the biggest problem in Washington, she is a wanna be president and acts like she already is.

    April 26, 2009 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  3. Deborah, Bronx

    For the past Abuse and Torture, No, I don't think Congress should push issue and open Pandora's box, HOWEVER, for all the HELL this country have been through with the PAST Administration over the past 8 yrs (esp. with Iraq Invasion, and our Image around the world in general), YES, the Four (4) Amigos (Bush, Condi, Chaney & Rummey, (maybe Rowe too)) should be sent STRAIGHT TO JAIL, with NO CHANCE of getting out, EVER!!! (They are the ones why our country is in the Mess it IS right now)!!

    April 26, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  4. SOLID C

    Don't fool yourselves people. We were torturing people long before 9/11. The only difference is that we had other countries doing it for us. B & C just took it to a whole new level, that's all. Who do you think thought all those other horrible techniques to these other countries that are notorious for torturing people. Only the white man can think up these things then they manipulate these other dim witted fools to follow along so they can achieve their agenda. This is why I don't believe in God and any form of religion because these are always the tools they use to justify their vile and vicious ways and also to keep the victims in line. Think about these two statements, "The meek shall inherit the earth", and "Turn the Other Cheek." Now you tell me, who do they benefit?

    April 26, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  5. phoenix86

    Nothing new in the memos, but they decided to release them anyway to provide Obama political cover as he fritters away at US national security. Another attack on America the the blood is exclusively on Obama's hands.

    April 26, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  6. Reason

    What is the difference between the mafia and the goverment?

    We have torture, blackmail, lying, and strong arm robbery.

    Congress are like the Dons with the CIA being the hitmen.

    Once your in, you can never leave.

    There is one difference. Congress votes in their own 17% raises every year.

    April 26, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  7. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Come on people, let's get our heads out of the sand so we can get out of this economic crisis. We can't say torture is OK when the International community is angry about it, and then we turn right around and ask to borrow money from them when they don't support what we've done. The war on torture and our economic survival are at odds with one another, so look further than just the word torture.

    April 26, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  8. Keith in Austin

    This entire ordeal is all about the political gains the Democrats think they can amass. Now, classified memos and shortly, photographs will be on the world stage thanks to Barry's caving to leftist extremists like George Soros. Our country is significantly weakened and for what? So those that despised Bush and Cheney can fill their pitiful egos in gaining vengeance. Pelosi, Reid et.al. were all briefed. God help them all if we're hit again

    April 26, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  9. Obama,Queen & The Cosmos Rocks!

    »WELL said,again,Valerie Jarrett. Indeed.

    April 26, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  10. Cynthia in FL

    Why were conservatives so concerned about being a nation of laws when Bill Clinton lied about sex, but don't seem troubled by the concept when justifying torture? If there was nothing wrong with those techniques then they should have been made legal. They weren't, and the administration knew it, and now they should pay the consequences for the their illegal actions.

    April 26, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  11. phoenix85

    as he fritters away at US national security, but nothing can compare to Bush reading to children with the deer in the head lights look as he realizes that the memos that have been sitting on his desk for 9 months telling him this was going to happen were more then something to sit his garlic fries on

    April 26, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  12. Jasmine in Germany

    The USA has broken dozens of INTERNATIONAL laws (during the Bush Administration) and they think they are respected as world leaders (setting positive examples)? Wow. The "modern GOP" is indeed seen as extreme right wing racist fascists by the rest of the democratic world. No wonder Iran, North Korea, and Russia, etc. have to build up to "defend themselves".

    April 26, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  13. dave

    We all new that the last admin was torturing people Dick said so and he would do it again. So why all of you seem so surprised.
    The question I have to ask all of you is, don't you think it's time for Clemency for the NCO guards at Abu Ghraib prison they were following orders just like the CIA?

    April 26, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  14. Brad, California

    Sean Hannity volunteered to be waterboarded "for charity." What a great idea. Let his lame a$$ be waterboarded 184 times in a month. Will he still come out smiling and calling himself a "real American."

    Wake up. Waterboarding has been a form of torture since the middle ages. And if Cheney/Bush had to cut it up into minutes and temperatures to make it legal, shame on us them and shame on us for even having to debate their actions.

    When government agencies can torture foreigners with impunity, it's only a matter of time before they can do it to Americans in America, and it's only a matter of time before foreign governments begin doing it to American servicemen and women if they're not aleady. And regardless of what the president says about agents acting with proper legal opinions in place, the agents know it is wrong.

    April 26, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  15. ron

    whats with all this moral values crap,

    in 1945 the then president of the united states didn't use torture to attain his freedom from oppresion, he used two atomic bombs killing over 200,000. people and maiming untold others. that ended the 2nd
    world war and allowed our soldiers to come home and give birth to the majority of your readers who are crying about the moral values of the usa.being compromised. unlike the terrorists the cia did not cut off anybody's head and send a video to brag about it, they did not tie bombs to a prisoner and send them into a cell block to blow anybody up ect. the enhanced tactics were very mild compared to what happens to prisoners of terrorists. if the democrats want to sound like they have superior methods to extract information, then the secretery of homeland security should start by finding out how the terrorist from 9-11 got into the usa. she is under the impression they came in from canada. if she read the report from the 9-11 commission she would know they all came from overseas and landed in the us with documentation obtained from the us government. so much for obaba's better security objective. how can you prevent another attack when you don't even know how the last one came about.

    April 26, 2009 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  16. SueB

    The biggest problem I see is the insistance on calling these techniques torture. Uncomfortable, scary, yes. Torture, no. Still waiting for CNN to do an article on the definition of torture and show how these techniques fall under that definition. Won't happen because they and all the politico's screaming know the techniques don't fit the definition of torture. Better to continue the myth and let he rapid Bush haters sound off.

    April 26, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  17. Chris

    The animals could smell the fresh paint on the board and noticed the words looked somehow different, but they did not understand why::

    "No Animal should torture.....without reason"

    "All water-boarding is bad, but some water-boarding is LESS bad than others"

    Look, lets torture if we MUST, but we have to drop the pretense that we are any better than Saddam Hussien!

    April 26, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  18. Qui-Tam Relator

    Man, were American are as dumb as a box of rocks ! Did we think that the CIA was going to release to the American People any information of substance. Hello their job is and always has been DISINFORMATION ! ****************************************************************

    April 26, 2009 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  19. flybyshoeing

    It is obvious by some of the comments that some Americans do not subscribe to the rule of Law. Your outrage over the release of the memos should be direct at the Judge who ruled on the case. The Bush Administration lost in court. The case wasn't brought last week. They appealed and lost again. You are so used to the previous Administration thumbing their noses at laws you are blinded. If any of you ever end up in court will you try the same tactic? " But Your Honor" can't we just move forward? Good Grief. Hypocrites all.

    April 26, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  20. bsmith171

    what did she tell michelle obama when she hired her at chicago city hall to be a "BAG LADY?".

    this was jarrett's job until she hired michelle to take her place.
    this when jarrett introduced michelle to REZKO and hence michelle turned REZKO over to obama.

    why didn't michelle renew her law license during this period?

    April 26, 2009 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  21. The Right Isn't

    Bill April 26th, 2009 11:33 am ET

    So, who says this is torture. A bunch of people that know nothing about it.

    Really? So why did the United States of America prosecute Japanase service men in 1947 for doing this exact same thing to some of our people.? Why did a sheriff in Texas get sentenced to 10 years in prison in 1983 for waterboarding prisoners in an attempt to obtain a confession? Why as far back as the Spanish American war were US soldiers court martialed for using waterboarding?

    April 26, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  22. Libs are idiots

    Once again if you are not in uniform and are a terroist Geneva Convention rights do not apply. Therefore, What law was broken? NONE If you libs are so concerned about being a nation of laws, when are you going to start rounding up all the illegal immigrants in this country? Why is breaking one law any more or less important than another. To release these memos for political gain is criminal but what else would you expect from an administration that doesnt care about national security. This whole thing is politcal postering and does no one any good because no one will ever be prosecuted.

    April 26, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  23. Melissa

    I'm so tired of the Republicans thinking we didn't have a right to know about this. Our enemies already knew. There are times when the government released those prisoners so did they really think they didn't know? Publicly broadcasting it when they already know doesn't endanger us in the least. We all knew about it. Now we just have proof of it. The US enemies have never needed proof of anything to use it as a reason to fight against the US.

    April 26, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  24. The Right Isn't

    Bill ~ Down on the Bayou April 26th, 2009 10:57 am ET

    So, if there is nothing new in the documents why not release all the documents rather than being selective.
    As to the choice of prosecuting or not prosecuting, and obama leaving that decision up to attorney general Holder. If Holder wants to keep his job as AG he will prosecute. He doesn't make decisions, he carries out orders.

    We just went through 8 years of an administration that tried to control the justice department. The Presidency and the Justice Department are separate branches of government. The decision is and should be Holder's, and it will be based on whether or not he finds grounds to prosecute, NOT on what Obama wants.

    April 26, 2009 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  25. Texas Teacher

    Cheney and his "mob" are war criminals and nothing less!

    If the local police department decided to use waterboarding as process to get criminals to confess their crimes, the whole country would be up in arms. Those officials would be tried and thrown in jail! It simply would not be an acceptable measure for getting information from anyone in the real world. And it should not be acceptable for the officials of this country. It is evil. And those who sancition it are evil.

    April 26, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
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