Scarborough: '90% of Americans' would approve waterboarding
David Edwards and Jason Rhyne
Published: Friday October 19, 2007
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MSNBC host Joe Scarborough says that the controversial interrogation tactic known as waterboarding -- a method of simulated drowning used by interrogators to extract information from subjects -- is an effective practice that most Americans would overwhelmingly approve of if asked.

In a discussion about US Attorney General nominee Michael Mukasey's refusal to rule out waterboarding as a method of gathering intelligence during confirmation hearings this week, Scarborough said the technique had achieved proven results.

"For those who don't know, waterboarding is what we did to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who is the Al Qaeda number two guy that planned 9/11. And he talked," said Scarborough. "A lot of people say torture doesn't work, torture doesn't work. And I'm not here saying that we need to torture. I'm just saying, for the record it is a matter of historical record, that when we water boarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, he started talking, and he kept talking."

"If you ask Americans whether they think it's okay for us to waterboard in a controlled environment," the host said later, "the New York Times editorial board will not like the results of those polls because 90% of Americans will say 'yes.'"

Asked later if he thought waterboarding qualified as torture, Scarborough wasn't so sure.

"You know, that's the debate. Is waterboarding torture?" he asked. "I don't want the United States to engage in the type of torture that [Senator]John McCain had to endure."

Scarborough said that even though McCain was a staunch opponent of torture, he pointed out that that torture had in fact "worked" on the senator.

When co-host Willie Geist mentioned that waterboarding was "not a new phenomenon" and that it had "been pinned on the Bush administration for years and years," Scarborough made light of the subject.

"They did it at a fraternity on hell night," he said.

The following video is from MSNBC's Morning Joe, broadcast on October 19, 2007.