If Trump wants waterboarding, this could be why

Throughout his campaign and in the weeks following his victory, President-elect Donald Trump has made it clear that the question of whether America should torture suspected terrorists in its custody could – and should – be rekindled.

Upon taking the oath of office eight years ago, President Obama banned waterboarding as a form of torture. Mr. Trump has said repeatedly that he would like to bring it back, along with techniques that are “much stronger” and “so much worse.”

“Don’t tell me it doesn’t work – torture works,” Trump told the Sun City retirement community in South Carolina last February. “Believe me, it works. OK, folks?”

A 2014 ABC NEWS/Washington Post poll found that 58 percent say that torture of suspected terrorists is sometimes or often justified, and 19 percent say that it can be justified, albeit rarely. One fifth rule it out entirely.

“There was so much false and fabricated information coming out of these interrogations – though I hesitate to call them interrogations because it discredits professional interrogators – that we wasted time and resources, and the threat level kept going up and up because of fabricated information,” says Mark Fallon, an interrogator and former deputy assistant director for counterterrorism at the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.

“People died in CIA custody – we killed people. Atrocities were committed,” Fallon says. “We need to talk about that.”

Event Date
Christian Science Monitor

If Trump Wants Waterboarding, This Could Be Why

The usefulness of rapport-building techniques is precisely the point, says Mr. Fallon, the Naval investigator who also served as chairman of the High-Value Research Group that Mr. Obama established in 2009 to study the effectiveness of interrogation approaches.

The value of rapport-building techniques is borne out in the past decade of research, as well as in his own practical experience, says Fallon, author of the forthcoming book, “Unjustifiable Means: The Inside Story of How the CIA, Pentagon, and US Government Conspired to Torture.”

“We’ve gotten good information with tea and cookies, with French fries and food, by allowing detainees to make a call home,” Fallon says. “If you started a conversation yelling at me, how likely am I going to be to respond?”

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Christian Science Monitor

IACP Conference and IMPACT Workshops

Sunday, October 16: 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM

IACP IMPACT Workshop: The Evolution of Research of Investigative Interviewing to Detect Deception and How Evidence-Based Research is Being Implemented in Law Enforcement and National Security Training Programs


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International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP)
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