The nation’s intelligence services have said they received valuable information by using the techniques, but the White House would not comment on that assertion.
Mr. Obama halted the enhanced interrogation techniques earlier in his young administration, and on Tuesday he said the memos allowing those tactics “reflected, in my view, us losing our moral bearings.”
Those who had pushed the president for prosecutions considered his change in position a victory.
“Today’s response does indicate that he’s sensitive to pressure,” said Faiz Shakir, research director at the Center for American Progress and founder of the liberal think tank’s blog, ThinkProgress.org. “The reason why those of us who did press the president are satisfied with what he said is because he indicated his inclination to do what is right rather than box himself into a corner and stick to his guns like President Bush would have done.”
Mrs. Feinstein said her committee is conducting a bipartisan review of detention and interrogation, and that it will be completed in six to eight months. “Then, I think, as people look at this classified report, they can make up their own mind,” she said.
Republicans on Capitol Hill said Mr. Obama is breaking his vow not to pursue recrimination against Mr. Bush and his team.
“The president made a big deal after coming to office about looking forward and not backward. And I wish there was as much focus in this administration on policies that will keep us safe here in the United States,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican. “I think it’s important to remember, from 9/11 until the end of the Bush administration, not another single attack on the U.S. homeland. We were obviously doing something right.”
• Jon Ward contributed to this report.