WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — US President-elect Donald Trump is likely to find that the nation’s intelligence officers and federal judges will not allow him to authorize the torture of terrorist suspects, CIA whistleblower and former counterterrorism officer John Kiriakou told Sputnik.
“I think the federal courts would agree that these methods are a war crime,” Kiriakou said. “I cannot imagine a CIA officer carrying out the president's order to torture when that officer knows that he would face justice upon his return to the US.”
Trump would also face major legal obstacles under US and international law if he tried to push ahead with authorizing torture or so-called advanced interrogation techniques against suspects captured in US military campaigns against international Islamist groups, Kiriakou asserted.
“I don't think it's possible for him to implement them,” he said, referring to the possibility of torture-use authorizations.
The United States has enacted legislation and rules prohibiting torture, Kiriakou pointed out.
The ex-CIA officer, whose postings included Syria, explained that what President George W. Bush’s administration termed “advanced interrogation techniques” are banned under federal law, the United Nations Convention Against Torture and the 2015 McCain-Feinstein amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act.
US media have cited former and current intelligence officials as expressing worry over Trump’s unpredictability. During the presidential campaign, Trump made a number of controversial statements about intelligence matters, including terrorism and the torture of terror suspects.
Kiriakou gained renown as the only person imprisoned by the US government in connection with the Bush administration's torture program. After revealing classified information to ABC News in 2007, Kiriakou served a nearly two-year prison term, gaining his release in February 2015.