Trump urges waterboarding after Brussels attacks

  • 23/03/2016
Trump urges waterboarding after Brussels attacks

Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump says the US should use waterboarding and other harsh methods when questioning terror suspects, and he's renewed his call for tougher border security after the attacks in Brussels.

The billionaire businessman told  NBC's “Today” program that  authorities “should be able to do whatever they have to do” to gain information in an effort to thwart future attacks.

“Waterboarding would be fine. If they can expand the laws, I would do a lot more than waterboarding,”Mr Trump said, adding he believed torture could spark useful leads for officials. “You have to get the information from these people.”

Waterboarding, the practice of pouring water over someone's face to simulate drowning as an interrogation tactic, was banned by President Barack Obama days after he took office in 2009.

Critics call it torture.

“I am in the camp where you have to get the information, and you have to get it rapidly,” Mr Trump said, adding “liberal” laws in Europe had made it hard to counter potential attacks.

Mr Trump, who has called for a temporary ban on Muslims entering the country, also reiterated the need for tougher measures to stop the flow of illegal immigrants, particularly Syrian refugees, across the border.

“As president... I would be very, very tough on the borders, and I would be not allowing certain people to come into this country without absolute perfect documentation,” said Mr Trump.

Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the suicide bomb attacks on Brussels airport and a rush-hour metro train in the Belgian capital which killed at least 30 people.

Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton acknowledged Americans have a right to be frightened after a spate of recent attacks but said military leaders have found techniques like waterboarding are not effective.

“We've got to work this through consistent with our values,” she said on NBC, adding officials “do not need to resort to torture, but they are going to need more help”.

Mr Trump's top Republican rival, Senator Ted Cruz, has renewed his call for an immediate halt to Mr Obama's plan to admit thousands of Syrian refugees to the United States and suggested heightened police scrutiny of neighbourhoods with large Muslim populations.

“We need to empower law enforcement to patrol and secure Muslim neighbourhoods before they become radicalised,” he said in a statement.

Republican rival John Kasich, the governor of Ohio, struck a more diplomatic tone after the attacks, pledging to “redouble our efforts with our allies” and saying the US “must strengthen our alliances” in the face of acts of terror.

Mr Trump looks to take another step toward winning the Republican presidential nomination in contests in Arizona and Utah on Tuesday, aiming to deal another setback to the party establishment's flagging stop-Trump movement.

In addition to the temporary ban on Muslims entering the country, Mr Trump has called for the building of a wall on the US-Mexican border to halt illegal immigration.