ABC’s Jake Tapper just asked Obama if he thought that the Bush administration “sanctioned torture” in its use of waterboarding and Obama, after a moment’s hesitation, said “Waterboarding violates our ideals and our values. I do believe that it’s torture.”
In his opening statement he also said that his administration put an end to torture, and there’s no reason to say that unless you think torture was happening. But it’s probably the most direct admission to date and, given recent events, it comes at noteworthy time.
After making that acknowledgment, Obama reiterated many of the points he made when he addressed the CIA after greenlighting the release of the Bush-era torture memoranda–that torture makes the country less safe, is untrue to American values, and less effective than humane interrogation techniques.