Ex-CIA Chief: ‘American Armed Forces Would Refuse to Act’ If Trump Ordered Torture

I would be incredibly concerned if a President Trump governed in a way that was consistent with the language [on military tactics] that candidate Trump expressed during the campaign,” said former National Security Agency and Central Intelligence Agency director Michael Hayden.

In the above-embedded clip from Friday’s episode of Real Time with Bill Maher, Hayden specifically pointed to Trump’s advocacy of the use of enhanced interrogation techniques that he described as “worse than waterboarding” and the killing of terror suspect’s families as examples of policies that would violate international norms and drive American soldiers and intelligence agents to refuse orders.

Look, we did tough stuff,” said Hayden. However, he said that extremes like killing terrorists’ non-combatant family members were not options that even crossed his mind as an intelligence chief.

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If he were to order that once in government, the American armed forces would refuse to act,” he said.

Hayden concluded, “[U.S. military personnel] are not required — in fact you are required not to follow an unlawful order. That would be in violation of all the international laws of armed conflict.

In an interview with CNN, Hayden said of Trump’s military tactics rhetoric and Ted Cruz’s advocacy of carpet bombing to deal with ISIS, “We have taken … very complicated, serious issues and we’ve pushed them down to the level of bumper stickers. That scares me and I’m sure it scares a lot of the rest of the world.

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Ex-CIA attorney John Rizzo said that intelligence agents who participated in enhanced interrogation techniques have turned against using them after feeling the backlash of a shift in public opinion.

Rizzo told NBC News, “The political winds changed, they were vilified as ‘torturers’ and ‘war criminals,’ — just for doing their thankless and dangerous jobs to keep the country safe. And now, under a Trump administration, many of these same CIA career officers would be ordered to go down — perhaps double down — on that perilous path again? Who could blame for them for refusing to expose themselves and their families to a reprise someday of the ordeal they have had to endure? I hope and trust no CIA director — or its lawyer — would countenance such an order.”

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