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CIA Director: I'd Quit Before I'd Ever Order Waterboarding

Even if the president ordered him to, John Brennan says

(Newser) - Donald Trump has expressed his enthusiasm for waterboarding , and CIA Director John Brennan has responded that he would absolutely refuse to carry out orders to do so. But during a Q&A Wednesday at the Brookings Institution, Brennan issued his strongest statement yet, noting he would step down as head... More »

CIA Chief: I'd Refuse Orders to Waterboard

Even if they come from the president

(Newser) - If Donald Trump wins the presidency, he'll need a new CIA chief. In an interview with NBC News , John Brennan says he would defy presidential orders to waterboard prisoners. "Absolutely," he said. "I would not agree to having any CIA officer carrying out waterboarding again."... More »

Ex-CIA Chief: US Troops Could Ignore President Trump

Hayden says if he ordered waterboarding once in White House, troops obligated to not obey

(Newser) - If a President Trump ever got serious about bringing back waterboarding or some of his more dire policies, he's got at least one former director of the CIA saying he'd have a hard time doing it, reports Politico . "I would be incredibly concerned if a President Trump... More »

Woman Gets 78 Years for Waterboarding Kids

Missouri children subjected to 'systematic torture'

(Newser) - A St. Louis woman's brutal mistreatment of her three children went far beyond the legal definition of child abuse to become systematic torture, prosecutors say. Lakechia Schonta Stanley, 34, has been sentenced to 78 years in prison for the abuse, which included whippings with electrical cords, beatings with blunt... More »

For ISIS Hostages, a Litany of Horror Before Death

Americans, Brits bore brunt of excruciating abuse for months

(Newser) - When James Foley was forced to his knees in the sands outside Raqqa, stared straight into a camera, and met his unimaginably horrifying and public death at the hands of the Islamic State, the world recoiled at the brutality. But Foley's execution—and those that followed—was the culmination... More »

ISIS Waterboarded Hostages

American James Foley was among them, reports Washington Post

(Newser) - James Foley and at least three other hostages held by the Islamic State were waterboarded multiple times during captivity, reports the Washington Post . The newspaper quotes anonymous sources for the scoop, and says the ISIS militants "appeared to model" the infamous technique —labeled as torture by President Obama—... More »

Cheney Cracks Joke About Waterboarding

Interrogation technique a punchline for Cheney, Rumsfeld at roast

(Newser) - Hey, did you hear the one about strapping people down and forcing them to inhale water so they feel like they're drowning? Waterboarding was just one of the questionable punchlines at a recent roast of Dick Cheney, according to attendees. Cheney told a joke—which he attributed to Jay... More »

Brennan's Likely Pick for Top Spy Job Has Torture Ties

CIA's mystery woman highly qualified, tainted

(Newser) - A woman who helped run the CIA's detention and interrogation program after 9/11 and green-lighted the destruction of interrogation videos is in line to become the new chief of the CIA’s National Clandestine Service, the Washington Post reports. The woman, who is undercover and thus not named, is... More »

Brennan: Always Better to Capture, Not Kill, Terrorists

Dianne Feinstein has to clear the room as CIA nominee testifies on drones

(Newser) - John Brennan, President Obama's nominee to run the CIA, went to Capitol Hill today and defended the US drone strategy he helped engineer as Obama's top counterterror adviser. The drone strikes are necessary, he testified, because the US remains "at war" with al-Qaeda and other terrorists bent... More »

Ex-CIA Man Kiriakou Gets 2.5 Years for Leaks

Judge says she would have given him worse sentence if not for plea deal

(Newser) - Former CIA officer John Kiriakou was sentenced today to more than two years in prison by a federal judge who rejected arguments that he was acting as a whistleblower when he leaked a covert officer's name to a reporter . A plea deal required the judge to impose a sentence... More »

The CIA's Hypocrisy on Secrets

Author Ted Gup says the agency's only secretive when it wants to be

(Newser) - On Thursday, ex-CIA deputy director Jose Rodriguez publicly protested that agents had only used water bottles when waterboarding detainees, not the buckets shown in Zero Dark Thirty. Disclosures like that must chafe John Kiriakou , the ex-agent facing 30 months in prison for passing info to a reporter. "The contrast... More »

Senators Take Zero Dark Thirty Gripes to Sony CEO

Feinstein, McCain, Levin send letter to Sony CEO

(Newser) - Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn Bigelow's film about the Osama bin Laden raid, was already quite controversial , and it just got more so. Three senators sent a letter to the chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment yesterday accusing the fictionalized film of being "grossly inaccurate and misleading in... More »

Claim: CIA Waterboarded Gadhafi's 'Enemies'

And delivered them to him 'on a silver platter': Human Rights Watch

(Newser) - Human Rights Watch has uncovered evidence that waterboarding—and other severe abuse of detainees—was practiced more widely during the Bush administration than has been acknowledged, according to an investigation by the organization. The newly discovered incidents expose close cooperation between Washington and Libya's late dictator Moammar Gadhafi in... More »

Holder: We Won't Prosecute Harsh Interrogations

Attorney general closes last two cases from Afghan, Pakistan

(Newser) - It's official: The US won't level any criminal charges over harsh interrogation techniques. Attorney General Eric Holder yesterday closed the final two cases involving the deaths of prisoners in Afghanistan and Pakistan in 2002 and 2003, the New York Times reports. The move brings a three-year Justice department... More »

Pediatrician Accused of Waterboarding Daughter

Girl, 11, tells police of alleged abuse

(Newser) - The 11-year-old daughter of a pediatrician in Delaware tells police that her father routinely waterboarded her as a form of punishment, reports the local News Journal . Melvin Morse and his wife, Pauline, face several child abuse and endangerment charges and have temporarily lost custody of the girl and her younger... More »

Waterboarding, Paris Hilton Liked More Than Congress

Just 10% approve of work on Hill, according to latest Gallup poll

(Newser) - A Gallup poll released Wednesday finds that Americans' approval of Congress has hit yet another record low: 10%. There aren't many institutions Americans have liked less over the last 50-or-so years, according to Gallup: Only Fidel Castro, Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden, and OJ Simpson detective Mark Fuhrman have... More »

Feds Charge Ex-CIA Man With Leaking Terror Secret

John Kiriakou allegedly talked about an agent who used waterboarding

(Newser) - The federal government charged a former CIA agent today with leaking secrets related to waterboarding, the AP reports. Authorities say John Kiriakou, 47, told a New York Times journalist about a covert agent who had helped interrogate al-Qaeda financier Abu Zubaydah 10 years ago. Asked by FBI agents last week... More »

Obama Re-Affirms: Waterboarding Is Torture

That torture is still being debated is Obama's fault, says Andrew Cohen

(Newser) - Just a day after Herman Cain and Michele Bachmann said they supported waterboarding , President Obama re-affirmed that the procedure is torture and "contrary to America's traditions," reports the AP . Obama and his administration have said that waterboarding is torture and illegal since taking office, but after several... More »

USS Cole Terrorist Faces Capital Charges Again

Original charges were dropped because suspect was tortured

(Newser) - One of the "high-value" detainees imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay has been charged with planning the 2000 terrorist attack on the USS Cole in Yemen that killed 17 US sailors, reports the LA Times . Abd al Rahim al Nashiri, a Saudi of Yemeni descent, faces the death penalty if convicted... More »

Prosecute Bush, Cronies: Human Rights Watch

Group wants torture allegations investigated

(Newser) - Human Rights Watch wants George W. Bush and his top officials prosecuted for war crimes and criminal conspiracy, the Guardian reports. In a new report, the US group calls for foreign governments to move forward with the prosecution if the Obama administration does not investigate. In addition to allegations of... More »

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