Washington: US President Donald Trump said he believes that harsh interrogation techniques considered to be torture and currently illegal but used in the past in the fight against terrorism “work”.
In an interview with ABC News, Trump said that this week he had asked top US intelligence officials: “Does torture work?”
“And the answer was yes, absolutely,” the president said, adding that he wants to do “everything within the bounds of what you’re allowed to do legally” to “fight fire with fire” in fighting the Islamic State (IS), Efe news reported on Wednesday.
Consequently, he did not rule out using techniques deemed to be torture and halted by former President Barack Obama when he took office in 2009.
Trump said that he will listen to members of his Cabinet, especially Defense Secretary James Mattis and CIA Director Mike Pompeo when it comes to determining whether or not to resume using torture on terrorism suspects.
During the election campaign, Trump was much more direct, saying that he supported using “waterboarding” and “much worse” techniques to extract information from terrorists or terrorism suspects.
Waterboarding, or simulated drowning, sleep deprivation, the use of aggressive dogs, shouting, beatings and humiliation were some of the techniques employed at the direction of the George W. Bush administration on terrorism suspects after the September 11, 2001, attacks.
Obama signed two executive orders in 2009, however, to end those practices, and the Senate made those methods illegal in 2015.
During his Senate confirmation hearing, Pompeo said that he did not support returning to “harsh interrogations,” but later he said he would be open to reviewing whether current restrictions are an “impediment to gathering vital intelligence to protect the country or whether any rewrite of the Army Field Manual is needed.”
Meanwhile, Republican Sen. John McCain, a firm opponent of torture, said Wednesday that “The president can sign whatever executive orders he likes. But the law is the law. We are not bringing back torture in the US.”
McCain was tortured in a North Vietnamese prison camp as a POW during the Vietnam War.