CIA Officials would rather resign than obey Donald Trump’s orders to resume using torture techniques like waterboarding “and worse”.
Republican front-runner Donald Trump has repeatedly told voters that he would order the CIA to return to waterboarding and “worse”, but a top CIA lawyer told Newsweek that officials would rather resign than go back to enhanced interrogation techniques.
Jeff Stein reported in Newsweek :
John Rizzo, who was a top CIA lawyer during the time the agency used “enhanced interrogation techniques,” or EITs, on prisoners, predicts CIA officials would rather resign than obey orders to revert to “hard measures” like waterboarding and beatings.
“I think certainly many of those who were connected to the EIT program over its six years’ span—and hundreds are still there—would resign or retire rather than have to go down that perilous road again,” Rizzo tells Newsweek. “Who could blame them?”
Then the money quote, “I pity the poor SOB who is President Trump’s CIA director and gets the order to do interrogation techniques ‘worse’ than waterboarding,” Rizzo told Newsweek, “not to mention the CIA general counsel or Justice Department attorney general who has the legal issue dropped in his or her lap.”
Newsweek quoted other officials who agreed with Rizzo’s basic premise that no one at the CIA wants to go down this road again. The Bush Administration’s enhanced interrogation program included “waterboarding, stress positions, sleep deprivation and humiliation.”
So when Donald Trump vows to return to “waterboarding or worse,” it raises questions about just what kind of torture he is referring to.
Trump has said he would “approve more than that,” as he criticized President Obama for discontinuing the discredited tactics. That’s okay, Trump doesn’t care if they work. “Would I approve waterboarding? You bet your ass I would — in a heartbeat… And I would approve more than that. Don’t kid yourself, folks. It works, okay? It works. Only a stupid person would say it doesn’t work.”
It’s not about it working for Trump; it’s about punishing prisoners. This makes his reasoning even worse than the Bush administration. At least, they claimed, incorrectly, that it was useful. “Believe me, it works,” Trump said. “And you know what? If it doesn’t work, they deserve it anyway, for what they’re doing. It works.”
Trump doesn’t care or understand that the use of torture was found by a Senate Intelligence Committee report to jeopardize national security. The report also found that the use of torture doesn’t work in terms of getting reliable information. So it’s good for nothing but as a way to recruit more members for ISIL.
That is to say, Trump is campaigning on putting the people of the United States at higher risk of terrorism. His torture “policies” – if we can call them that – would actually invite terrorism.
We all know facts don’t matter with the Trump supporters. They don’t care that he can’t deliver on his dubious promises, doesn’t understand how government works and is a proud bigot and sexist bully. These are actually resume builders for the angry white crowd that follows him.
So they won’t care that the CIA would refuse to carry out Donald Trump’s orders to waterboard and “worse”. But it should matter to the rest of the country that the front-running Republican candidate for president is so ignorant of facts that he is vowing to return to a dangerous, destabilizing program of torture just to get his revenge jollies. It’s all Bushian knee-jerk feelings and petulant revenge, except it’s being delivered by someone who makes George W Bush look erudite and self-reflective.
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.