The President Donald Trump said he believed that “torture works”, and that he would “absolutely” bring back banned interrogation methods like waterboarding to tackle Islamic terrorists. Mr Trump was asked by ABC News about his campaign trail promises to bring back waterboarding “and tougher” in the battle to defeat Isis. Mr Trump cited the group’s atrocities against Christians and said “we have to fight fire with fire”.
“When they’re shooting, 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 Isis is doing things that nobody has ever heard of since Medieval times, would I feel strongly about waterboarding?” he said.
The President said his administration was reviewing how the US conducts itself in the fight against militant organisations around the world.In his first sit-down television interview in office, Mr Trump told ABC he would rely on the advice of CIA Director Mike Pompeo and U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis, among others, about using the illegal technique.
“And if they don’t want to do it, that’s fine.
“If they do want to do it then I will work toward that end.
“I want to do everything within the bounds of what we’re allowed to do if it’s legal … Do I feel it works? Absolutely I feel it works.”
“As far as I’m concerned we have to fight fire with fire.
“They chop them off and they put them on camera and send them all over the world. So we have that and we’re not allowed to do anything?”
He said that while the terror group was beheading people and sharing gruesome videos online, the US was “not allowed to do anything”.
The US Senate overwhelmingly passed a torture ban in 2015 and Barack Obama signed an executive order banning “Enhanced Interrogation Techniques” – including waterboarding – in 2009. Obama then signed the updated defense authorization bill into law.
Sen. John McCain, who was tortured as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, said the law is clear on the practice despite what Trump were to order. “The President can sign whatever executive orders he likes. But the law is the law. We are not bringing back torture in the United States of America,” the Arizona senator said in a statement.
Sen. John Thune, a South Dakota Republican, echoed that sentiment, saying the use of torture is “settled law” and that “Congress has spoken.”
The Senate intelligence committee produced a nearly 7,000-page classified report on torture, detention and interrogation after the George W. Bush administration brought back the practice. The authors of the report found the practice was ineffective and did not produce actionable intelligence.
“Reconstituting this appalling program would compromise our values, our morals and our standing as a world leader — this cannot happen,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat, said in a statement on Wednesday. “We can’t base national security policies on what works on television — policies must be grounded in reality.”