Torture ‘Absolutely’ Works, Says US President in First Television Interview

United States (Tasnim) – US president Donald Trump said he believes torture works as his administration readied a sweeping review that could lead to resumption of banned practices including waterboarding and reopening CIA-run “black site” prisons outside the United States.

In his first television interview as president, Trump told ABC news he would wage war against Daesh terrorists with the singular goal of keeping the US safe. Asked specifically about the simulated drowning technique known as waterboarding, Trump cited the extremist group’s atrocities against Christians and others and said: “We have to fight fire with fire.”

Trump said he would consult with new Defense Secretary James Mattis and CIA Director Mike Pompeo before authorizing any new policy. But he said he had asked top intelligence officials in the past day: “Does torture work?”

“And the answer was yes, absolutely,” Trump said, the Guardian reported.

He added that he wants to do “everything within the bounds of what you’re allowed to do legally.”

A clip of Trump’s interview was released after a draft executive order being circulated within his administration emerged that also instructed the Pentagon to send newly captured “enemy combatants” to Guantanamo Bay instead of closing the detention facility as Barack Obama had wanted.

Trump spokesman Sean Spicer, questioned about the draft order, said it was “not a White House document” but would not comment further.

A senior adviser to the FBI-led team that interrogates terrorist suspects warned the executive order would represent as a dangerous and ignorant potential return to torture.

Steve Kleinman, a retired air force colonel and chairman of the research advisory committee to the High Value Detainee Interrogation Group (HIG), warned that weakening US prohibitions against torture carried significant consequences for national security.

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“If the US was to make it once again the policy of the country to coerce, and to detain at length in an extrajudicial fashion, the costs would be beyond substantial – they’d be potentially existential. We’ve seen how [torture] promotes violent extremism, how it degrades alliances. We’ve seen how it only serves to provide information that policymakers want to support [desired policies], not what they need,” Kleinman said.

This report prepared by Tasnim News Agency.