Defense Secretary James Mattis has final word on enhanced interrogation: Donald Trump

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Washington | Published: January 28, 2017 7:22:19 AM

US President Donald Trump has said that he has authorised Defense Secretary Gen (rtd) James Mattis to take final call on enhanced interrogation techniques, an issue on which the two men disagree.

Mattis has stated publicly that he does not necessarily believe in torture or waterboarding or enhanced interrogation techniques, Trump told reporters at a joint news conference with the visiting British Prime Minister Theresa May. (Reuters) Mattis has stated publicly that he does not necessarily believe in torture or waterboarding or enhanced interrogation techniques, Trump told reporters at a joint news conference with the visiting British Prime Minister Theresa May. (Reuters)

US President Donald Trump has said that he has authorised Defense Secretary Gen (rtd) James Mattis to take final call on enhanced interrogation techniques, an issue on which the two men disagree.

Mattis has stated publicly that he does not necessarily believe in torture or waterboarding or enhanced interrogation techniques, Trump told reporters at a joint news conference with the visiting British Prime Minister Theresa May.

“I don’t necessarily agree, but I would tell you that he will override because I’m giving him that power,” Trump said.

“He’s an expert. He’s highly respected. He’s the general’s general. Got through the Senate very, very quickly, which in this country is not easy, I will tell you. So I’m going to rely on him,” May said in response to a question.

“I happen to feel that it (waterboarding) does work. I’ve been open about that for a long period of time. But I am going with our leaders. And we’re going to — we’re going to win with or without, but I do disagree,” Trump said.

Top Senators John McCain and Lindsay Graham welcomed the move.

“We are pleased by President Trump’s statement that he will defer to Secretary of Defense James Mattis’ view that torture, including waterboarding, is not an effective tool for obtaining information,” they said in a statement.

“In response to written questions from the Senate Armed Services Committee, Secretary Mattis said he supports using the Army Field Manual as the single standard for all US military interrogations.

“We believe this is now a settled issue,” McCain and Graham said.

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