This post has been updated.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said that torture is “unambiguously” wrong but blamed Democrats for highlighting the tactics used by CIA after 9/11.
Breitbart’s Charlie Spiering asked Cruz about the Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture.
“Do you think that what occurred after 9/11 hurt our moral authority?” Spiering asked.
Cruz reponded by criticizing the release of the report as political and condemning the harsh interrogation tactics CIA agents used on detainees.
“We saw the release of a partisan report from Democrats in the Senate, 6000 pages, that presented a biased view of what our intelligence officers did in the aftermath of 9/11. And that weakened our nation. It endangered Americans across the globe and the risk of retaliation of violence is real,” Cruz said after a Heritage Foundation speech.
“But even more broadly it demonstrates an approach that has characterized this administration for 6 years, which is everything, everything, everything is George W. Bush’s fault. Enough already with blaming George W. Bush for every failure of this administration,” he continued.
But then Cruz clarified that he does not support the tactics used by the CIA described in the report.
“And let me be clear, torture is wrong, unambiguously. Period. The end. Civilized nations do not engage in torture and Congress has rightly acted to make absolutely clear that the United States will not engage in torture,” he said.
Conservatives typically avoid calling harsh interrogation methods “torture.” The CIA describes them as “enhanced interrogation techniques.”
In condemning the report on Thursday, multiple conservatives referred just to “detention and interrogation” program or policy. While criticizing the release of the report, Sen. Saxby Chambliss referred to the tactics as “enhanced interrogation techniques,” as did the Republican minority report on the investigation.
Correction: This post originally said Cruz called the CIA’s tactics “torture,” but upon further review it’s not entirely clear if he connected the actions depicted in the report to what he condemned as “torture.”