CIA Director John Brennan told NBC News in an exclusive interview that his agency will not engage in harsh “enhanced interrogation” practices, including waterboarding, which critics call torture — even if ordered to by a future president.
“I will not agree to carry out some of these tactics and techniques I’ve heard bandied about because this institution needs to endure,” Brennan said.
Two of the remaining Republican candidates for president have said that they are open to use of the technique, which was banned in 2009.
Donald Trump has gone as far as saying said he’d definitely bring back waterboarding and “a hell of a lot worse” to extract information from potential terrorists.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has said he does not consider waterboarding to be torture under the strict definition of the law. He said he would “not bring it back in any sort of widespread use” by rank and file soldiers and agents, but as commander-in-chief he would “use whatever enhanced interrogation methods to keep this country safe.”
The CIA used waterboarding and other techniques on terrorist suspects after the 9/11 attacks. But, in January 2009, President Obama banned the practices in his first few days in office with an executive order.
When asked specifically about waterboarding Brennan could not have been clearer.
“Absolutely, I would not agree to having any CIA officer carrying out waterboarding again,” he said.
More of the NBC NEWS exclusive interview with CIA Director John Brennan will be broadcast on NBC Nightly News Monday.
This article originally appeared on NBCNews.com.