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Obama and King Abdullah Press Conference

KING ABDULLAH: I couldn’t have said it better myself, Mr. President. I think we’re looking now at the — at the positives and not the negatives and seeing how we can sequence events over the next couple of months that allows Israelis and Palestinians and Israelis and Arabs to sit around the table and move this process forward.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Now, did I already — are one of you Nadia?

Q That was me.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: That was you. Okay. Nadia, I was going to call on you anyway. The —

Q Mr. President —

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Jake, you always get questions, so I’m going to try some —

Q Mr. President —

PRESIDENT OBAMA: I’d better give an American — since, you know, so that we’re going back and forth. And Sheryl, you always get in, so —

Q I do not always — (laughter.)

PRESIDENT OBAMA: I’m just trying to see if there’s anybody — all right, you know what, I’ll go back to Jennifer, since she had her hand up before Sheryl or Jake.

Q I appreciate it. I want to ask you about the interrogation memos that you released last week; two questions. You were clear about not wanting to prosecute those who carried out the instructions under this legal advice. Can you be that clear about those who devised the policy? And then quickly on a second matter, how do you feel about investigations, whether special — a special commission or something of that nature on the Hill to go back and really look at the issue?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, the — look, as I said before, this has been a difficult chapter in our history, and one of the tougher decisions that I’ve had to make as President. On the one hand, we have very real enemies out there. And we rely on some very courageous people, not just in our military but also in the Central Intelligence Agency, to help protect the American people. And they have to make some very difficult decisions because, as I mentioned yesterday, they are confronted with an enemy that doesn’t have scruples, that isn’t constrained by constitutions, aren’t constrained by legal niceties.

Having said that, the OLC memos that were released reflected, in my view, us losing our moral bearings. That’s why I’ve discontinued those enhanced interrogation programs.

For those who carried out some of these operations within the four corners of legal opinions or guidance that had been provided from the White House, I do not think it’s appropriate for them to be prosecuted.

With respect to those who formulated those legal decisions, I would say that that is going to be more of a decision for the Attorney General within the parameters of various laws, and I don’t want to prejudge that. I think that there are a host of very complicated issues involved there.


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