Dick Cheney Suggests Restarting Torture Interrogation Program

Former Vice President Dick Cheney on Thursday expressed strong support for restarting the torture interrogation program he helped launch in the wake of 9/11.

In an appearance on Fox Business to discuss Gina Haspel’s confirmation hearing to become CIA director, Cheney said he “wholeheartedly” supports the so-called enhanced interrogation program, which includes torture techniques such as waterboarding, despite Congress having banned it in 2015.

“If it were my call I would not discontinue those programs,” he said, adding that he does not consider the methods included in them to be torture. “I’d have them active and ready to go, and I’d go back and study them and learn.” 

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Cheney’s comments come as Haspel, President Donald Trump’s pick to replace  Mike Pompeo, faces increased scrutiny for her stance on torture as an interrogation technique. Though she said during her hearing Wednesday that she would not restart the defunct program if confirmed to head the CIA, she refused to weigh in on the morality of the methods.

Most Democrats are expected to oppose her confirmation due to her role overseeing torture interrogations at a CIA black site and because of her part in destroying videotapes that documented the interrogations.

With Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) also saying they will vote against her, Haspel will have to rely on a razor-thin margin to be confirmed.