The Trump administration is looking into bringing back torture, according to a draft order published by the The New York Times and the The Washington Post on Wednesday. The draft order would also open up the detention camp at Gitmo for new detainees, rescind an Obama-era directives confining interrogations to techniques in the Army Field Manual and giving the Red Cross access to all detainees held by the United States.
The draft order, in which words like “jihadist,” “terrorist,” and “nation” are crossed out and replaced with “radical Islamism” and “homeland” respectively, directs national security officials to “recommend to the president whether to reinitiate a program of interrogation of high-value alien terrorists to be operated outside the United States.”
Torture was a key part of Trump’s national-security platform as a candidate. He publicly defended torture on the trail, proclaiming that “torture works” and “only a stupid person would say it doesn’t work.” Even if it didn’t work, Trump concluded, “they deserve it anyway, for what they’re doing.”
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s careful non-disavowal during the daily press briefing Wendesday was that the memo “is not a White House document” and that he has “no idea where it came from.” Both of those things can be true without the document itself being illegitimate––the document could be the product of another executive agency or entity and Spicer himself could be unaware of its existence.