CIA pick avoids calling waterboarding torture

Last Updated: Thu, Feb 07, 2013 22:00 hrs

The White House's pick for CIA chief says the harsh interrogation technique known as waterboarding is reprehensible and should not be used on terror suspects — but he is refusing to call it a form of torture.

John Brennan says waterboarding should have never been legal and will never be used under his watch if he is confirmed as the Central Intelligence Agency director.

But he stopped short several times of calling it torture despite pointed questioning Thursday by Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan.

Waterboarding simulates drowning, and critics call it a form of torture. It was used in at least three cases against terror suspects during the administration of President George W. Bush.

President Barack Obama ordered it banned shortly after taking office in 2009.

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