President Trump said Wednesday that he believes torture achieves its purpose and that in the fight against ISIS, it may be necessary.
In an interview with ABC News, Trump talked about the terror group’s savagery and said as far as he’s concerned, “we have to fight with fire.”
As for reviving the use of waterboarding, the president didn’t rule it out but said he’d defer to CIA Director Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary James Mattis.
“When they’re shooting, when they’re chopping off the heads of our people, and other people … because they happen to be a Christian in the Middle East. When ISIS is doing things that nobody has ever heard of since medieval times, would I feel strongly about waterboarding? As far as I’m concerned, we have to fight fire with fire.”
But if Pompeo and Mattis are against the use of waterboarding, he said he’s fine with that decision.
“If they don’t want to do, that’s fine,” he said. “If they do want to do, then 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.”
And as for whether torture works, Trump said he consulted with senior intelligence officials and the resounding response was “yes, absolutely.”
But Pompeo told lawmakers during his confirmation hearing that he would “absolutely not” comply with an order to resume advanced interrogation techniques like waterboarding. As for Mattis, a former senior George W. Bush official testified that he believes the general would disobey Trump if he wanted waterboarding to be reinstated.
Trump’s comments come on the heels of a draft executive order that was leaked to the press showing the administration raising the prospect of reviving the CIA”s use of ‘black site’ prisons. Mattis and Pompeo were reportedly "stunned" by the draft order.