Armitage says waterboarding is torture

A former No. 2 State Department official in the Bush administration says he hopes he would have had the courage to resign if he had known the CIA was subjecting terrorism suspects to waterboarding, an interrogation technique that simulates drowning.

Richard L. Armitage, the former deputy secretary of State, told Al Jazeera English television in an interview airing Wednesday that waterboarding is torture.

However, he said he does not believe CIA officials who engaged in waterboarding and other forms of harsh interrogation should be prosecuted.

The CIA has acknowledged using waterboarding on three high-level terrorism detainees in 2002 and 2003, with the permission of the White House and the Justice Department.

"I hope, had I known about it at the time I was serving, I would've had the courage to resign. But I don't know. It's in hindsight now," Armitage said in the interview.

Armitage left the Bush administration after President George W. Bush was re-elected in November 2004.

[Source: Chicago Tribune, Washington, 16Apr09]

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