WASHINGTON — The director of the CIA says his spy agency will not engage in waterboarding or other so-called enhanced interrogation techniques even if ordered to by a future president, though the position is a presidential appointment and has no set term, so a future president could nominate a different chief.
CIA chief John Brennan tells NBC News that he will not agree to carry out such techniques because “this institution needs to endure.”
President Barack Obama banned waterboarding shortly after taking office in 2009.
Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and Ted Cruz have suggested they would not continue Obama’s ban. Trump has gone as far as to say that he would bring back waterboarding and “worse” tactics to get information.
During a debate last month, Donald Trump was asked about torture techniques like waterboarding. He said, “We have to obey the laws, but we have to expand those laws” — without explaining how he’d like to see them expanded.
Earlier in the month, Trump said the U.S. should use waterboarding and worse in interrogations.
U.S. military and intelligence officials, some who’ve said they will not engage in such activity, are “not going to refuse me,” Trump said. “If I say do it, they are going to do it.”
The CIA used such interrogation techniques after the Sept. 11 attacks. Brennan told NBC News in an interview released Sunday that he would not agree to CIA officers carrying out waterboarding again.
In a December 2014 report about the CIA’s use of torture during the George W. Bush presidency, the Senate said that the CIA’s harsh interrogation tactics against terrorist detainees didn’t work or provide “ticking time bomb” information, and were more brutal than previously reported to the public. The techniques, according to excerpts of the report, were “deeply flawed” and often resulted in “fabricated” information. At the time, the CIA disputed the report, saying the methods were in fact “effective” and helped decipher al Qaeda’s tactical operations and goals.
With additional reporting by CNN.