Warner: America is not going back to using torture

Sen. Mark Warner Democrats CIA Torture Letter Newday_00011305
Sen. Mark Warner Democrats CIA Torture Letter Newday_00011305

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  • Mark Warner wrote using torture could damage our national security
  • Trump regularly campaigned on reintroducing waterboarding

(CNN)Sen. Mark Warner said Friday he and other top Senate Democrats expressed concerns to Trump administration officials about the President considering implementing water-boarding and other war unacceptable methods.

"We want to make sure that the views of (Defense secretary James Mattis) in particular who said torture doesn't work and that American law prohibits torture because we have to follow the Army field manual," he told CNN's Alisyn Camerota Friday on "New Day." "We want to make sure that they share the view."
The Virginia Democrat and other ranking members from his party on the Senate Intelligence, Armed Services, Foreign Relations, Judiciary and Appropriations Committees sent a letter Thursday to Mattis and CIA Director Mike Pompeo about their concerns that President Donald Trump could sign an executive order that would revoke existing bans on CIA "black site" detention facilities and interrogation techniques not in accordance with the US Army Field Manual.
    "We are deeply concerned by reports that the Administration is considering an Executive Order to review resuming CIA 'black site' detention and prohibited interrogation activities (potentially including, among other practices, waterboarding), making changes to the Army Field Manual on Interrogation, as well as sending additional detainees to the detention facility at Guantanamo. Those reports, as well as comments by the President, have created alarm that this administration may be preparing a return to policies and practices that are ineffective, contrary to our national values, and damaging to our national security," wrote the Senators.
    The letter was also signed by Sen. Jack Reed, Ben Cardin, Dianne Feinstein and Patrick Leahy, all Democrats.
    "We want to make sure that all of the top officials realize that America is not going back to the time when we were using torture as a means to try to extract information," Warner told CNN Friday.
    Warner also outlined concerns about Pompeo's selection of Gina Haspel to be the deputy director.
    "We just want to make sure that she will give us on the committee the same assurances that Mike Pompeo gave me publicly and privately that she will follow the law as regards to torture and extreme interrogation procedures," Warner said.
    Trump said in January that "people at the highest level of intelligence" told him that torture can work - something that multiple military experts have refuted.
    But the President said he would listen to his Cabinet secretaries' views on the issue.
    "I'm always concerned and this is part of my job in terms of oversight but you have to take somebody at their word until they prove otherwise and so far I think we're building a strong relationship," Warner said.