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Trump reportedly considers review of terror interrogations, drawing McCain rebuke

President Trump reportedly is preparing an executive order that would seek a review of whether to change interrogation policies for terror suspects and whether to reopen controversial CIA-run “black site” prisons – drawing a rebuke from Sen. John McCain. A draft order obtained by the Associated Press reportedly instructs senior national security officers to “recommend to the president whether to reinitiate a program of interrogation of high-value alien terrorists to be operated outside the United States and whether such program should include the use of detention facilities operated by the Central Intelligence Agency.”

The document says U.S. laws should be obeyed at all times and explicitly rejects “torture.” It would also continue America’s use of the detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. But its reconsideration of harsh interrogation techniques banned by President Obama and Congress is sure to inflame passions in the United States and abroad. While some former government leaders insist the program was effective in obtaining critical intelligence, many others blame it for abuses in the “war on terror” after the Sept.

11, 2001, attacks. The New York Times, which first reported on the Trump document, said the draft does not direct the reopening of the CIA prisons or the revival of any particular interrogation practices, but would set up a review process. This would include a review of interrogation policies outlined in the Army Field Manual, according to the Times.

McCain, himself a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War, pushed back on any such review in a statement Wednesday morning. “The President can sign whatever executive orders he likes. But the law is the law.

We are not bringing back torture in the United States of America,” said McCain, R-Ariz., chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. He noted Congress already has limited interrogation techniques to those in the Army Field Manual, which for now would exclude “waterboarding or other forms of enhanced interrogation.” McCain cited his own conversations with newly confirmed CIA Director Mike Pompeo, saying Pompeo “repeatedly committed to me that he will comply with the law that applies the Army Field Manual’s interrogation requirements to all U.S. agencies, including the CIA.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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