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.”