Trump says waterboarding ‘absolutely’ works in interrogation

Washington, Jan 26 (IANS) US President Donald Trump said he “absolutely” thought that waterboarding works and would consider reinstating it as an interrogation technique, depending on the advice of Defense Secretary James Mattis and CIA Director Mike Pompeo, the media reported.

“I will rely on Pompeo and Mattis and my group. And if they don’t want to do, that’s fine. If they do wanna do, then I will work toward that end. I want to do everything within the bounds of what you’re allowed to do legally,” Trump exclusively told the ABC News on Wednesday during an interview at the White House.

“But do I feel it works? Absolutely, I feel it works.”

Trump explained that it was important to reconsider the use of waterboarding as an interrogation technique because, he said, “we’re not playing on an even field”.

“When they’re chopping off the heads of our people and other people, when they’re chopping off the heads of people because they happen to be a Christian in the Middle East, when IS (Islamic State) is doing things that nobody has ever heard of since medieval times, would I feel strongly about waterboarding? As far as I’m concerned, we have to fight fire with fire,” he said.

“I’m going to go with what they say,” Trump said of Mattis and Pompeo. “But I have spoken as recently as 24 hours ago with people at the highest level of intelligence, and I asked them the question ‘Does it work? Does torture work?’ And the answer was ‘Yes, absolutely’.”

During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump vowed to bring back the use of waterboarding and other enhanced techniques of interrogation.

But Trump’s position on the use of waterboarding seems to differ from some of his Cabinet picks’.

In an interview with the New York Times last year, Trump said he was “impressed” by a recommendation from Mattis, who at the time was under consideration for Defense Secretary.

During his confirmation hearing to become CIA director, Pompeo was asked whether he would comply if Trump issued a presidential order calling for the reinstatement of enhanced interrogation techniques that fall outside the Army Field Manual.

“Absolutely not. Moreover, I can’t imagine I would be asked that by the President-elect,” Pompeo said. “There is no doubt in my mind about the limitations placed not only on the DOD but on the intelligence agency, and I’ll always comply with the law.”

Trump’s comments on Wednesday came amid reports of an administration draft order indicating that he was considering a review of terrorism interrogations and the potential reopening of CIA black site prisons outside the US.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters on Wednesday that the draft order was “not a White House document” but would not provide further comment.

In 2015, the US Senate voted overwhelming to ban torture across the country, codifying a ban President Barack Obama issued by executive order shortly after he was sworn-in in 2009, CNN reported.

Obama then signed the updated defence authorisation bill into law.

–IANS

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