Former CIA and FBI official Philip Mudd shot down Donald Trump’s idea that he could re-establish waterboarding in an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Thursday, Media Matters reported.
“In the midst of a political season, let’s have a reality check,” Mudd said. “In August of 2002, the Department of Justice authorized waterboarding and nine other procedures we called ‘interrogation techniques.’ The White House was aware, the Senate was briefed. 15 years later, a president says that’s torture, a Department of Justice says we won’t do it, and the Senate issues a report that says you violated American values. If any president, Democrat or Republican, wants to return to waterboarding, I got a couple questions. Number one, you’d better find a CIA office who will do it, cause I don’t know any.”
“Really?” Cooper asked.
“I do not know any,” Mudd repeated. “Not because they think what we did was wrong, but because there ain’t no learning the second kick of the mule. We’re not doing it again. Number two, you better find an Attorney General who will once again, after one president called this torture, determine that it is legal, and then go out to the American people and say ‘Once again, we’re going to try it,’ while the CIA says ‘We ain’t doing it.'”
As Cooper’s network reported earlier in the day, Trump once again called for the US to use waterboarding in response to the suicide bombing at Istanbul Ataturk Airport, which killed 36 people and injured nearly 150 others, saying it was time for the US to “fight fire with fire.”
Mudd, a former CIA analyst who also served as senior intelligence advisor for the FBI, said in a panel discussion that it’s common after attacks of that nature for people to want to “harden” potential “soft targets” like airports.
“Let’s multiply that out by 1,000 times,” he said. “What have we seen in 15 years? Transport — not just airports, that’s subway, that’s buses. Every time you take the metro, a subway, an Uber, a taxi, a private vehicle to an airport, a subway, or a train … I want you to multiply out what happened in Istanbul if you want to harden that to all those facilities.”
He also pointed out to Cooper that two months ago, heavy lines at Transportation Security Administration checkpoints were a cause for concern.
“What do you want, safety or freedom to move?” he asked. “We got a choice to make.”
Watch footage from the discussion, as posted by Media Matters on Wednesday, below.