Daily Revolt

January 18, 2008

Former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge Says Waterboarding is Torture

King George is unmoved:
The first secretary of the Homeland Security Department says waterboarding is torture.

"There's just no doubt in my mind -- under any set of rules -- waterboarding is torture," Tom Ridge said Friday in an interview with the Associated Press. Ridge had offered the same opinion earlier in the day to members of the American Bar Association at a homeland security conference.

"One of America's greatest strengths is the soft power of our value system and how we treat prisoners of war, and we don't torture," Ridge said in the interview. Ridge was secretary of the Homeland Security Department between 2003 and 2005. "And I believe, unlike others in the administration, that waterboarding was, is -- and will always be -- torture. That's a simple statement."

Waterboarding is a harsh interrogation tactic that was used by CIA officers in 2002 and 2003 on three alleged al-Qaida terrorists. The tactic gives the subject the sensation of drowning.

The CIA has not used the technique since 2003, and CIA Director Michael Hayden prohibited it in 2006, according to U.S. officials. The debate was recently revived when the CIA revealed it had destroyed videotapes showing the interrogations of two alleged terrorists, both of whom were waterboarded.

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