Despite growing criticism, President Barack Obama took time Monday to defend the release of so-called torture memos, during his meeting with intelligence officials at CIA headquarters in Langley, Va.
"I acted primarily because of the exceptional circumstances that surrounded these memos," Obama said. "Particularly the fact that so much of the information was public--had been publicly acknowledged.
Republican lawmakers blasted the White House for the release of the memos, which outline techniques used against terrorism suspects. The top secret papers were released last week.
The Obama administration claims releasing the memos doesn't hurt national security. But the current head of the Central Intelligence Agency disagrees and so do four of his predecessors.
"You will have agency officers stepping back from the kinds of things that the nation expects them to do," said Gen. Mike Hayden, former agency director.
"The release of these memos is dangerous," explained House minority leader John Boehner R-OH.
"It was a profoundly, grotesquely irresponsible move," said former Texas congressman Richard Armey.
Obama's senior adviser defends the release of the papers, saying everything in the memos has already been reported.