In his first TV interview since becoming president, Donald Trump has said he wants to ‘fight fire with fire’ when it comes to stopping terrorism.
The 45th President of the United States said he ‘absolutely’ believes torture works and would ‘absolutely’ bring back banned interrogation methods like waterboarding.
Speaking in an interview with ABC News, Trump said he was considering reopening the CIA’s ‘black site’ prisons, international secret facilities that were used to detain suspects in George W Bush’s ‘war on terror’ before they were formally shut down by Barack Obama.
Trump’s argument was that ISIS is beheading people and posting the videos online, but that the United States is ‘not allowed to do anything’.
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?
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?
We’re not playing on an even field. I want to do everything within the bounds of what you’re allowed to do legally. But do I feel it works? Absolutely, I feel it works.
In 2015, the Senate voted overwhelmingly to ban torture in the United States.
By reinstating enhanced interrogation, Trump would violate a U.S. law ratified by the Senate and go against the view of Defense Secretary James Mattis. The president also risks damaging ties to liberal Western allies.
And unlike some of his other more conservative policies, the move is unpopular among many senior Republican congressmen.
Senator John McCain, a Republican who underwent torture as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, said: “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.”
Ex-CIA director Leon Panetta also said it would be a ‘serious mistake to take a backward step’ on torture.