Waterboarding Is Torture: US Intelligence Chief

Can't imagine 'how painful,' says McConnell
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 13, 2008 7:03 AM CST
National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell listens as President Bush, not shown, speaks to reporters at the National Security Agency in Fort Meade, Md., in this Sept. 19, 2007 file photo. In a magazine...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – US Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell said it "would be torture" if he were subjected to the controversial interrogation technique of waterboarding. "If I had water draining into my nose, God, I just can't imagine how painful!" McConnell told the New Yorker. "For me, it would be torture." McConnell said there will be a "huge penalty" for use of the technique if it's ever officially determined to be torture.

McConnell indicated that anything so "excruciating that it forces" someone to talk should be considered torture. Waterboarding involves placing an interrogation subject on his back, covering his mouth with cloth or plastic, and pouring water over his face, triggering a violent gag reaction. A bill banning the CIA from using waterboarding passed the House in December, but President Bush has threatened to veto the bill.