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Watch: Cruz Says He Wouldn’t Waterboard In a ‘Widespread’ Way, After Pause Says It’s Needed In Some Cases


Texas Senator and Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz argued that while waterboarding isn’t torture, he wouldn’t “bring it back in any sort of widespread use,” and, after a pause, added that “if it were necessary to, say, prevent a city from facing an imminent terrorist attack” he would use “whatever enhanced interrogation methods we could” during Saturday’s GOP presidential debate on ABC.

Cruz said, in response to a question on whether waterboarding is torture, “Well, under the definition of torture, no, it’s not. Under the law, torture is excruciating pain that is equivalent to losing organs and systems, so, under the definition of torture, it is not. It is enhanced interrogation, it is vigorous interrogation, but it does not meet the generally recognized definition of torture.”

When asked if he would bring it back, Cruz stated, “I would not bring it back in any sort of widespread use, and indeed –.”

After a pause, he continued, “I joined with Senator [John] McCain (R-AZ) in legislation that would prohibit line officers from employing it, because I think bad things happen when enhanced interrogation is employed at lower levels, but, when it comes to keeping this country safe, the commander-in-chief has inherent constitutional authority to keep this country safe, and so, if it were necessary to, say, prevent a city from facing an imminent terrorist attack, you can rest assured that as commander-in-chief, I would use whatever enhanced interrogation methods we could to keep this country safe.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett

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