“We have to fight fire with fire”
Trump applauds torture in CIA interrogations
26 January 2017
In an interview with ABC News broadcast Wednesday night, President Donald Trump enthusiastically endorsed waterboarding in interrogating prisoners, and said he would consider seeking to repeal the current legal ban on torture if his top national security officials recommended it.
The interview was conducted the same day that the Washington Post made public a draft memorandum discussing possible reopening of CIA secret prisons overseas, where individuals seized by the US military-intelligence apparatus were taken to be tortured. The prisons were opened by the CIA after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, and closed by the Bush administration after the horrific methods being used were made public in leaks to the media.
Referring to Defense Secretary James Mattis, a retired general who commanded troops in Iraq, and CIA Director Mike Pompeo, Trump told ABC, “I will rely on Pompeo and Mattis and my group. And if they don’t want to do [torture], 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.”
Both Mattis and Pompeo opposed waterboarding during their Senate confirmation hearings, Mattis emphatically. Pompeo seemed to leave the door open in responses to written questions, after initially disavowing it in his testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Asked by David Muir of ABC whether he personally advocated waterboarding, Trump replied, “But do I feel it works? Absolutely, I feel it works.” He added, “I have spoken as recently as 24 hours ago with people at the highest level of intelligence and I asked them the question. ‘Does…