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Monday, Sep 24, 2018
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Rubio suggests re-examination of waterboarding

Saying that the U.S. government "can learn from a successful operation like you can learn from a mistake," Sen. Marco Rubio said it is time to revisit the issue of waterboarding — an interrogation technique practiced during the George W. Bush administration and since banned. Florida's Republican senator, speaking by telephone Thursday, wasn't endorsing the technique, but he did say the success of the operation that killed Osama bin Laden provides a good opportunity to question how the intelligence was derived that made it happen. "We need to find out how this information was gathered," Rubio said. He was referring to whether waterboarding — or simulated drowning — and other "enhanced interrogation" techniques used during the Bush administration helped the CIA learn about the courier who led to bin Laden's hide-out in Pakistan. "Again, this is not for the purposes of saying we were right and you were wrong; it's for understanding what works and what doesn't," he said.
Rubio's comments on waterboarding came during a broad discussion about what effect, if any, the death of bin Laden will have on the missions of Tampa-based U.S. Special Operations Command and U.S. Central Command. Although bin Laden's death is a "confidence builder in terms of the war on terror," it won't change the missions of Socom and Centcom, Rubio said. The Navy SEALs who took out bin Laden at his hide-out in Pakistan will continue to play a key role in protecting the nation, he said. And the war in Afghanistan will go on as planned. "They are highly competent, well-trained individuals," Rubio said of the SEALs who report to the Joint Special Operations Command, a Socom subcommand. "This was very high-profile because of bin Laden, and it's good that people know about it, but these guys do this stuff almost every night against different high-value targets." As for Afghanistan, "the plan continues in place to provide a level of security so the Afghans can build their country," Rubio said. "We can't build their country for them." [email protected] (813) 259-7629
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