President Barack Obama acknowledged Friday that US intelligence operatives had "tortured some folks" in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks, but urged they not be judged too harshly.
The US administration is expected to release a declassified Senate report in the coming days that will detail abuses by intelligence agents targeting the Islamist extremist group Al-Qaeda, according to AFP.
"Even before I came into office, I was very clear that in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, we did some things that were wrong," Obama told reporters.
"We did a whole lot of things that were right, but we tortured some folks. We did some things that were contrary to our values.
"When we engaged in some of these enhanced interrogation techniques, techniques that I believe and I think any fair-minded person would believe were torture, we crossed a line."
Apparently preparing the ground for the report, which lawmakers say they expect to be made public within days, Obama said intelligence personnel had been under extreme pressure in 2001 and after.
Meanwhile, defending his administration's foreign policy in view of the ongoing crisis in Ukraine and the Gaza conflict, Obama has said that the US does not control everything that happens across the globe despite being the most powerful country.
"Apparently people have forgotten that America, as the most powerful country on Earth, still does not control everything around the world," Obama told White House reporters at a news conference, reported TNN.
"So our diplomatic efforts often take time. They often will see progress and then a step backwards. That's been true in the Middle East. That's been true in Europe. That's been true in Asia. That's the nature of world affairs. It's not neat, and it's not smooth," he said when asked if the United States has lost its influence in the world.
"But if you look at, for example, Ukraine, we have made progress in delivering on what we said we would do. We can't control how (Vladimir) Putin thinks.
"But what we can do is say to Putin, if you continue on the path of arming separatists with heavy armaments that violates international law and undermines the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine, then you're going to face consequences that will hurt your country," he said.
Obama said in the 20th century and the early part of this century, there are a lot of conflicts that America did not resolve.
"That's always been true. That doesn't mean we stop trying. It is not a measure of American influence on any given day or at any given moment that there are conflicts around the world that are difficult," he said.