Obama Emphasizes Values in Speech to FBI
By Michael D. Shear
President Obama squarely confronted critics of his decision to prohibit torture, telling members of the Federal Bureau of Investigations that the country is stronger when it upholds its values.
Speaking to employees after meeting privately with FBI Director Robert Mueller, the president said the United States can be protected without sacrificing what its people stand for.
"We are always stronger when we act in concert with our most deeply held values," he said. "What makes the us so special is precisely the fact that we are willing to uphold our values and our ideals, not just when it's easy, but when it's hard."
Obama did not directly mention the controversy over enhanced interrogations. His decision to ban the practice on his first full day in office exploded into public debate after he released Bush-era memos detailing the authorization of the harsh techniques.
But his comments to the FBI made clear that he gives no quarter to the critics, including former vice president Dick Cheney, who claim his decisions have made the country less safe.
He said the country does not have to become like the terrorists America is fighting in order to be safe.
"That is why America is unique, because of that fundamental belief," he said.
Posted at 12:09 PM ET on Apr 28, 2009
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