- The Washington Times - Monday, December 15, 2014

A new poll shows that seven in 10 Americans think waterboarding is torture, but 49 percent say such “aggressive” interrogation tactics are sometimes justified, compared to 36 percent who say they are never justified.

The CBS News poll comes on the heels of the release of a Senate report on the CIA’s post-9/11 techniques of interrogating terrorism suspects that includes details on some of the methods used, like waterboarding, where interrogators create a sensation of drowning by pouring water over a cloth that covers a prisoner’s mouth and nose.

The report, released by Senate Democrats, said the tactics were not effective in securing valuable information from terror suspects, but 57 percent think such tactics provide reliable information that helps prevent terrorist attacks at least some of the time.

Fifty-two percent think the release of information about the techniques poses a threat to U.S. security, as the CIA program’s defenders have charged, and a third doesn’t think it will have an impact.

Those who have heard or read a lot about the report are more likely than Americans overall to say the tactics are justified.

Most Americans consider to be torture other outlined techniques reportedly used by the CIA to interrogate terror suspects:

• Threaten to sexually abuse prisoner’s mother (73 percent).

• Forced to stay awake up to 180 hours (70 percent).

• Waterboarding (69 percent).

• Forced ice water bath (57 percent).

Fifty-seven percent think those tactics provide reliable information that help prevent attacks at least some of the time, including 23 percent who think it happens often. Twenty-four percent think that rarely happens and 8 percent think the tactics never provide reliable information, according to the poll.

Though President Obama banned the use of waterboarding and other interrogation techniques after taking office, 57 percent of Americans think waterboarding and other “aggressive” interrogation techniques are still being used by the CIA.

The poll of 1,003 adults was taken from Dec. 11-14 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

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