U.S. President Donald Trump says he thinks waterboarding and other interrogation techniques widely seen as torture "absolutely" work but that he will defer to his CIA and Pentagon chiefs on whether to reinstate them.
In an interview with ABC News broadcast on January 25, Trump said the United States had to "fight fire with fire" in the face of the beheadings of Americans and other atrocities committed by Islamic State (IS) militants.
"When they're chopping off the heads of our people, and other people...when [IS] is doing things that nobody has ever heard of since medieval times, would I feel strongly about waterboarding? As far as I'm concerned, we have to fight fire with fire," he said.
But he said he would rely on the advice of Pentagon chief James Mattis and Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo.
"I'm going to go with what they say," Trump told ABC. "And if they don't want to do [it], that's fine. If they do want to do it, then I will work toward that end. I want to do everything within the bounds of what you're allowed to do legally."
"But do I feel it works? Absolutely, I feel it works," he said.
In November, after meeting with Mattis, Trump told the press that the general had told him that he believes waterboarding is not effective.