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Former Homeland Security chief calls waterboarding torture

[JURIST] Former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge [official profile] told the Associated Press Friday that he has "no doubt" that the controversial interrogation technique waterboarding [JURIST news archive] should be considered torture. Ridge noted that he didn't have specific information about interrogation techniques used by intelligence agents while he served as head of the Department of Homeland Security, but stressed that "waterboarding was, is - and will always be - torture."

Earlier this month, US Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell [official profile] stated in an article published in the New Yorker that waterboarding was torture as far as he was concerned [JURIST report]. The question of whether waterboarding is in fact illegal torture dogged now-Attorney General Michael Mukasey in his recent confirmation hearings, and he ultimately refused to take a definitive stand [JURIST report] on the matter. In December 2007, former CIA agent John Kiriakou confirmed the use of waterboarding [JURIST report] during interrogations of terror suspects. In response to the controversy over waterboarding, the US House of Representatives voted 222-199 [roll call] in December to pass an intelligence funding bill [HR 2082 materials] that would restrict CIA interrogators to using only those interrogation techniques explicitly authorized by the 2006 Army Field Manual. The bill is currently stalled in the Senate due to GOP resistance [JURIST report]. AP has more.

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