Former Vice President Dick Cheney supports the revival of enhanced interrogation programs that allowed the use of torture in the wake of the Sept. 11th attacks.
Cheney, who played a key role in instituting the program, told Fox Business, “If it were my call I would not discontinue those programs. I’d have them active and ready to go, and I’d go back and study them and learn.”
The debate over the use of interrogation techniques including waterboarding and sleep deprivation has resurfaced after President Trump nominated Gina Haspel to replace Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as CIA director.
Haspel, who in 2002 ran a black site prison in Thailand where an Al Qaeda militant was tortured, tried to reassure her critics during an appearance before the Senate intelligence committee on Wednesday.
She told Senators she would not follow through on the President’s orders if she found them morally objectionable, and said, “I don’t believe that torture works.”
But when pressed on whether she thought torture was immoral, Haspel dodged the question and said, “I’m not going to sit here with the benefit of hindsight and judge the very good people who made hard decisions, who were running the agency, in very extraordinary circumstances at the time.”
Her comments drew the ire of Sen. John McCain, who was tortured as a POW during the Vietnam War until he agreed to write a confession to crimes against the North Vietnamese.
While McCain acknowledged Haspel’s patriotism and service, he said, “Ms. Haspel’s role in overseeing the use of torture by Americans is disturbing. Her refusal to acknowledge torture’s immorality is disqualifying.”
Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Tom McInerney had a different take when he appeared on Fox Business on Tuesday.
He justified the use of torture “to save a million American lives” and told Charles Payne, “The fact is…it worked on John [McCain.] That’s why they call him ‘Songbird John.'”
Payne later apologized to McCain on Twitter for failing to confront McInerney.
“This morning on a show I was hosting, a guest made a very false and derogatory remark about Senator John McCain. At the time, I had the control room in my ear telling me to wrap the segment, and did not hear the comment,” Payne wrote.
“I regret I did not catch this remark, as it should have been challenged. As a proud military veteran and son of a Vietnam Vet these words neither reflect my or the network’s feelings about Senator McCain, or his remarkable service and sacrifice to this country.”
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