WASHINGTON (CNN) – President Barack Obama said Wednesday he is "very comfortable" with his decision to ban interrogation techniques like waterboarding, which he called torture.
The president called the practice a recruiting tool for terrorist groups like al Qaeda, citing World War II-era British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who also rejected such "enhanced interrogation" techniques.
"Churchill understood that if you start taking shortcuts, over time that corrodes what's best in a people," Obama said. It corrodes the character of a country."
Obama said U.S. intelligence agents could have gotten valuable information from terror suspects without the techniques, which were approved under Bush.
Asked about the previous administration, he said, "I think that whatever legal rationale were used, it was a mistake."