- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 12, 2017

President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee to head the CIA said Thursday that he won’t push for the agency to use so-called “enhanced interrogation” techniques, such as waterboarding, against terror suspects.

During a hearing on his nomination before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Rep. Mike Pompeo said he wouldn’t do it even if Mr. Trump ordered the use of such techniques, which the CIA had employed in the post-9/11 era under a since-halted secret program.

Human rights activists have assailed waterboarding and other enhanced interrogation techniques as “torture.” Mr. Trump made headlines during last year’s presidential campaign by claiming the techniques work to get information out of terror suspects.

“Torture works. OK, folks? Believe me, it works. OK? And waterboarding is your minor form,” he told an audience last February. “But we should go much stronger than waterboarding,” he said.

Several lawmakers raised the issue Thursday, including Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who headed a lengthy investigation during recent years into the CIA’s now defunct enhanced interrogation program.

A 2014 report by Mrs. Feinstein and other Democrats on the committee said the CIA had misled Congress and the White House about the scope and effectiveness of the program after 9/11, and that the harsh treatment of terrorism suspects had produced no key evidence in the hunt for al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

“If you were ordered by the president to restart the CIA’s use of enhanced interrogation techniques that fall outside of the Army field manual, would you comply?” Mrs. Feinstein asked Mr. Pompeo during Thursday’s hearing.

“Absolutely not,” Mr. Pompeo responded.

Despite Mr. Trump’s campaign trail statements on torture, Mr. Pompeo said he “can’t imagine that I would be asked that by the president-elect or then president.”

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