Entries in Waterboarding (3)


McCain ‘Very Disappointed’ in GOP Candidates Supporting Waterboarding

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Former prisoner of war Sen. John McCain, R-AZ., said Monday that he is “very disappointed” that two of the Republican presidential candidates at Saturday’s debate defended the practice of waterboarding.

“Very disappointed by statements at South Carolina’s GOP debate supporting waterboarding,” McCain tweeted Monday morning. “Waterboarding is torture.”

On Saturday night, Herman Cain said that if elected he would revive the practice.

“I don’t see it as torture,” Cain said, “I see it as an enhanced interrogation technique.”

Michele Bachmann agreed, saying that President Obama was “clearly wrong” to ban the practice.

“If I were president, I would be willing to use waterboarding,” Bachmann said Saturday night, “I think it was very effective.”

It is an issue that McCain and President Obama, competitors in the 2008 presidential race, can agree on. In Hawaii on Sunday President Obama, who banned the practice in 2009, said the Republican candidates are wrong to say that waterboarding is not torture.

“Anybody who has actually read about and understands the practice of waterboarding would say that that is torture,” Obama said yesterday, “And that's not something we do -- period.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama: GOP Candidates Are Wrong, Waterboarding is ‘Torture’

Kevin Lamarque-Pool/Getty Images(HONOLULU) -- President Obama said on Sunday that Republican presidential candidates are “wrong” to defend the practice of waterboarding, which he said is torture.

“Waterboarding is torture.  It’s contrary to America’s traditions, it’s contrary to our ideals, it’s not who we are, it’s not how we operate,” Obama told reporters at a press conference.

The enhanced interrogation technique simulates the sensation of drowning and was used by U.S. personnel in an effort to force cooperation of detainees.

Republican presidential candidates Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain said in a debate Saturday night that they would support the renewed use of waterboarding.

“They’re wrong,” Obama said on Sunday.  “We did the right thing by ending that practice.”

“We don’t need it in order to prosecute the war on terrorism,” Obama explained.  “If we want to lead around the world part of our leadership is setting a good example.  And anybody who has actually read about and understands the practice of waterboarding would say that that is torture and that’s not something we do. Period.”

Supporters of the practice, like Republican Rep. Peter King, Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, point out that waterboarding was used sparingly, against al-Qeada leaders like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Abu Zubaydah, and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri -- and intelligence gleaned from them saved lives by thwarting  mass terror attacks.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Did Waterboarding Provide Tip That Led to Bin Laden?

CNN via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Top current and former government officials may have finally answered the question of whether intelligence gained from the use of waterboarding played a role in the discovery of Osama bin Laden's whereabouts.

It could all boil down to a war of words.

The controversy began on May 12 when Sen. John McCain, a former POW who was tortured at the hands of Vietnamese captors, took to the Senate floor to criticize those who claimed that intelligence gleaned from enhanced interrogation techniques used against high value detainees such as Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was used to find bin Laden.

McCain specifically criticized comments made by Michael Mukasey, a U.S. attorney general under the Bush administration, who had claimed in an op-ed on May 6 that the trail to bin Laden "began with a disclosure from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM)" made after he had been subject to waterboarding.  Mukasey said that KSM had revealed "the nickname of a trusted courier of bin Laden."

Mukasey's op-ed infuriated McCain.  In his speech, McCain said he had taken up the matter with CIA Director Leon Panetta, who had told him that KSM had not provided the name of the courier.

On Monday, as first reported by the Washington Post, excerpts from a letter from Panetta to McCain dated May 9 were released.  In the letter, Panetta reiterates what he has said publicly -- that bin Laden was found after 10 years of intensive intelligence from "multiple streams" and "painstaking collection and analysis."

In the letter, which was verified by a spokesperson at the CIA, Panetta says: "We first learned about the facilitator/courier's nom de guerre from a detainee not in CIA custody in 2002."  He said that some detainees who had been subject to enhanced interrogation techniques attempted to provide false information about the courier.

The statement leaves open the possibility that both Mukasey and Panetta are correct.  Panetta refers to the "full true name" of the courier, while Mukasey, in an appearance Monday at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, said KSM disclosed "the nickname" in the course of the questioning that took place after the enhanced interrogation techniques.

Mukasey said that while it wasn't the first time a detainee had mentioned the name, it only became significant "when it came out of [KSM'S] mouth."  And he indicated he believes the controversy is more than just a war of words regarding the courier's nickname or his true name.

"I'm not accusing anybody of being misleading and I'm certainly not here to play word games," he said.  "I know what I said to be true, and you can read into that [Panetta's] letter what you want to."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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