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Ex-CIA official defends waterboarding

April 30, 2012 at 9:50 AM   |   Comments

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NEW YORK, April 30 (UPI) -- A former CIA official says he has no regrets about the interrogation techniques once used on suspected high-level al-Qaida members.

In an interview Sunday on the CBS News program "60 Minutes," Jose Rodriguez said waterboarding and other interrogation methods now banned by the Obama Administration were essential to fighting terrorism after Sept. 11, 2001.

Rodriguez, who retired from the CIA in January 2008, denies claims the harsh methods caused detainees to provide false information.

Rodriguez has written a book, "Hard Measures," defending the methods he authorized while heading the CIA's Counterterrorist Center.

"We made some al-Qaida terrorists with American blood on their hands uncomfortable for a few days," he said. "But we did the right thing for the right reason. And the right reason was to protect the homeland and to protect American lives. So yes, I had no qualms."

Rodriguez said he developed the interrogation techniques with the assistance of a former military psychologist who had helped train American soldiers on how to resist torture if they were captured. The "enhanced interrogation techniques" were based on methods used by Cold War adversaries.

He said about six interrogators were given a two-week training course under his supervision and that his superiors signed off on the techniques.

Rodriguez said 75 detainees were subjected to the harsh interrogation techniques, including three who endured waterboarding.

Rodriguez said the information obtained by the techniques helped stop at least 10 major terrorist attacks. He said President Obama's cancellation of the interrogation program has tied the government's hands in the war on terror, CBS News reported.

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