Michael Hayden, the former head of the Central Intelligence Agency, recommends Donald Trump bring his own bucket if he wants to engage in enhanced interrogation methods, such as waterboarding, against enemy combatants.
Trump, the frontrunner for the Republican ticket, endorses waterboarding as an appropriate method to get information from detainees. Last week, he announced that “torture works” at a campaign stop in South Carolina, pledging to bring “much stronger” interrogation methods if he is elected.
But Hayden has faced constant legal threats since his Bush-era CIA engaged in activities that the Obama administration later outlawed. The intelligence community would never again use such methods in intelligence gathering operations, because of the potential legal repercussions, he says.
“Multiple investigations, grand juries, presidential condemnations, and congressional star chambers have a way of doing that to you,” Hayden told NBC on Monday. “If you want somebody to waterboard, bring your own damn bucket,” he added.
Trump has insisted that torture works as a way to gather intelligence.
“Believe me, it works,” he said at the campaign stop. “And waterboarding is your minor form.”
Some experts disagree, insisting that torture may have a negative effect, lead to faulty intelligence, and prove the negative perceptions that the enemy had of the U.S., hardening the individual as a devoted combatant against America.
John Rizzo, an attorney for the agency, said that CIA officers may refuse to carry out torture methods should Trump become resident.
“And now, under a Trump administration, many of these same CIA career officers would be ordered to go down — perhaps double down — on that perilous path again,” Rizzo said. “Who could blame for them for refusing to expose themselves and their families to a reprise someday of the ordeal they have had to endure? I hope and trust no CIA director — or its lawyer — would countenance such an order.”
Torture is prohibited as a standard for international law. Several articles in the Geneva Conventions explicitly rule out torture as an acceptable method to treat wartime prisoners.