- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 10, 2016

Even if a President Trump were to order the CIA to torture terror suspects, the agency would refuse, Director John Brennan said.

In an interview with NBC News set to air Monday, Mr. Brennan said that enhanced interrogation techniques would not be worth the damage to the agency.

“I will not agree to carry out some of these tactics and techniques I’ve heard bandied about because this institution needs to endure,” he said.

Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas also has said he’d be open to reinstituting some of the “enhanced interrogation techniques” that were approved under the Bush administration, arguing that they are not “torture.”

President Obama, however, banned those techniques shortly after assuming office on precisely that ground.

Tycoon Donald Trump has been far more emphatic, saying he’d bring back “a hell of a lot worse” than waterboarding. He also responded to remarks by Michael Hayden, a previous CIA director, that the agency might refuse to commit war crimes, that he’d make the CIA do it regardless.

“They won’t refuse. They’re not going to refuse me,” he said. “If I say do it, they’re going to do it,” he bragged at a debate in March.

But Mr. Brennan, the current director, said he’d do the same thing Mr. Hayden suggested, potentially precipitating a constitutional crisis.

“Absolutely, I would not agree to having any CIA officer carrying out waterboarding again,” he said, according to an NBC news report posted Sunday evening.

The U.S. military, following international law established at the post-war Nuremberg trials, has been trained for a decades that an order to commit a war crime is not an legal order and thus must not be obeyed.

• Victor Morton can be reached at vmorton@washingtontimes.com.

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