McCain says CIA torture probe 'a mistake'

Aug. 30, 2009 at 2:14 PM

WASHINGTON, Aug. 30 (UPI) -- U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., says that although he opposes harsh interrogation tactics, a Justice Department probe of CIA torture allegations is a mistake.

The former Republican presidential nominee, speaking Sunday on CBS's "Face the Nation," said he vehemently opposed the "enhanced" interrogation techniques used by the Bush administration on captured terrorism suspects. But McCain also said a move by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate whether they amounted to illegal torture was "a serious mistake."

"I was radically opposed to (harsh interrogations)," he said. "I think it harmed us. I think torturing harmed us. I have a number of anecdotes that could substantiate that. And I think it harmed our image in the world, but for us now to go back, I think would be a serious mistake."

McCain asserted that President Barack Obama, instead of focusing on the actions of his predecessor, "ought to go forward and not back. I worry about the morale and effectiveness of the CIA. I worry about this thing getting out of control and us harming our ability to carry on the struggle that we're in with radical Islamic extremism."

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