Washington, D.C. — President Donald Trump is considering an executive order that would order the nation’s national security officials to recommend whether the United States should bring back the use of torture and reinstate foreign “black sites” on which these tactics had previously been conducted. Center for American Progress Senior Fellow Ken Gude issued the following statement:
The Trump administration’s apparent attempt to revive the Bush administration torture program is a disaster for the United States that plays right into the hands of the Islamic State and makes Americans less safe. When the United States tortured prisoners during the Bush administration, it cost American lives. U.S. military interrogators reported that it drove recruiting of foreign fighters in Iraq who killed American soldiers. And an exhaustive study by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence concluded it did not lead to the disruption of a single terrorist attack on the United States. Furthermore, key U.S. allies will limit the intelligence information they share with us because their domestic law prohibits complicity in torture.
President Trump’s desire to commit war crimes faces significant barriers. His own top Cabinet officials are on the record opposing a return to torture, and even if they produce recommendations to resume it, Congress has the power to block it. Thankfully, this order will only create a review and does not allow for the United States to conduct torture. However, even the mere mention of interest in reinstating those illegal, immoral, and inhuman acts and the “black sites” where they were conducted will do real damage to American national security.
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