Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney would rescind President Obama’s executive order barring torture and use waterboarding in addition to enhanced interrogation techniques banned by the U.S. Army, according to published reports.
“We’ll use enhanced interrogation techniques which go beyond those that are in the military handbook right now,” Romney was quoted as saying during a townhall meeting last December by the New York Times.
The paper goes on to note that when asked at the meeting about waterboarding, Romney said that while he would not “authorize torture,” he would “do what is essential to protect the lives of the American people” while refusing to tell “our enemies around the world” what techniques would be used.
When pressed by a reporter afterwards if he felt waterboarding is torture, Romney replied, “I don’t.”
The Times also got hold of a 5-page document from the Romney campaign that outlines a policy on interrogation techniques, written mostly by veterans from the George W. Bush administration.
The policy paper sharply criticizes President Obama for issuing an executive order forbidding techniques “that we should feel, as a nation, that we have a right to use against our enemies,” which has “hampered (or will hamper) the fight against terrorism.”
While President Obama has ended all enhanced interrogation techniques, he has embraced and even ratcheted up more hawkish aspects of the war on terror, including drones strikes, the Patriot Act, indefinite detentions and military commissions.