WASHINGTON ― President Donald Trump and his choice to be the next secretary of state, CIA Director Mike Pompeo, have both said it might be time for the U.S. to begin using torture methods like waterboarding again.
At least one of them might be forced to answer for that view on Thursday morning, when Pompeo appears before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for his confirmation hearing. And Pompeo’s response might reveal how the Trump administration has not just praised torture in theory but dealt with a real U.S.-linked application of it ― thousands of miles away, in the poorest country in the Arab world and the home of al Qaeda’s most potent branch.
Neither Pompeo nor Trump has ever commented publicly on the growing mountain of evidence that the United Arab Emirates, the chief American partner in the battle against Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), has tortured significant numbers of detainees in Yemen in the name of fighting terror. The evidence raises serious questions about the administration’s counterterror-focused foreign policy and the prospect of once again embroiling the U.S. in human rights violations reminiscent of the worst moments in the post-9/11 War on Terror.
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