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Trump's views on waterboarding cause stir

US President at odds with cabinet over matter

CNN  — 

US President Donald Trump ignited a row over the use of waterboarding Wednesday after claiming intelligence professionals told him it “absolutely works.”

In an interview with ABC News, he said the US must “fight fire with fire” when dealing with terrorists in comments which reverberated around the world.

And while he did concede he would follow the lead of his Secretary of Defense James Mattis and his CIA director Mike Pompeo, Trump’s remarks started a worldwide debate over the use of Torture.

READ: Waterboarding isn’t torture? Try it

What did Trump say?

The Senate voted overwhelming to ban torture across the US government in 2015, codifying a ban President Barack Obama issued by executive order shortly after he was sworn in in 2009. Obama then signed the updated defense authorization bill into law – but Trump has suggested he’s not against reversing such a position.

He says that the US is “not allowed to do anything” while ISIS posts video online of executions carried out by beheading.

Trump ABC interview

“I’ve spoken as recently as twenty-four hours ago, with people at the highest level of intelligence, and I asked them the question,” Trump said.

“Does it work? Does torture work? And the answer was yes. Absolutely.

Trump also stated if Pompeo and Mattis did not want to go down the route of Torture then “that’s fine.”

He added: “If they do want to do it, I will work toward that end. 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.”

Does torture work?

In 2014, the US Senate Select Committee published a report on the CIA’s detention and interrogation program, offering a scathing analysis.

The report said that the “use of the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques was not an effective means of obtaining accurate information or gaining detainee cooperation.”


  • According to the United Nations Convention against Torture, the term “torture” is defined as follows.
  • “Any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.”
  • According to Amnesty International, 156 countries have signed the UN Convention against Torture.

    The 525-report, a brief summary of the 6,700 page document, was the result of a five-year investigation into detention and “enhanced interrogation techniques” used by the CIA against suspected terrorists in secret sites around the world.

    It condemned the tactics as “deeply flawed” and often resulting to “fabricated information.”

    “Anyone who understands interrogation knows that more than 99% of interrogations are very successful even wit