McCain on Trump torture stance: 'The law is the law'

Posted January 26, 2017

Trump said that he believes "torture works", and that, if it didn't, the detainees "deserve it anyway".

While on the campaign trail, eradicating and preventing terrorism was a common stump speech talking point for Trump and last February he praised the use of torture, like acts of waterboarding.

The draft order, first obtained by the New York Times, prompted alarm among leading Republicans and Democrats that Mr Trump is looking to re-introduce more aggressive interrogation techniques.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

"The reopening of black sites, the reexamination of whether we ought to go back to EITs - all of this I think is deeply disparaging to the country", Rep.

But in a series of written answers to the Senate Intelligence Committee, Pompeo said that he would consult with CIA experts to determine whether the methods in the field manual are sufficient - and work with experts to offer recommendations to make changes if they aren't. But another section of the draft states "no person in the custody of the United States shall at any time be subjected to torture, or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, as described by USA or worldwide law".

"I have spoken as recently as 24 hours ago with people at the highest level of intelligence and I asked them the question: Does it work?"

Various mainstream media outlets, including the New York Times (NYT) and the Washington Post (WaPo), published the contents of this document, suggesting it was a legitimate draft from White House officials.

A former chief of staff to former CIA Director Leon Panetta, Jeremy Bash, said few operatives support a return to the use of torture.

The document is just one of several national security orders that Trump intends to sign in the coming days, including naming the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organisation and ordering the construction of the Mexican border wall.

Today, the White House press secretary denied any affiliation with the document.

If Trump signed the order, it would reinstate Bush's 2007 legislation.

McCain said Defense Secretary James Mattis said likewise in response to a query in writing.

The "black sites" were secret prisons run by the Central Intelligence Agency to detain terrorism suspects during the "War on Terror" led by President George W. Bush as a response to the 9/11 attacks. He noted Congress already has limited interrogation techniques to those in the Army Field Manual, which for now would exclude "waterboarding or other forms of enhanced interrogation".