The former head of the CIA's Clandestine Service has said he has no regrets about using controversial 'enhanced interrogation techniques' on al Qaeda detainees after the September 11 attacks.
While human rights campaigners have condemned them as tantamount to torture, Jose Rodriguez insisted methods such as waterboarding are 'legal and effective'.
He told 60 Minutes Sunday he was comfortable with the agency's treatment of top-tier terrorists such as 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed and suspected Bin Laden lieutenant Abu Zubaydah, saying: 'We made some al Qaeda terrorists with American blood on their hands uncomfortable for a few days.
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'Legal and effective': The former head of the CIA's Clandestine Service, Jose Rodriguez, defended its controversial interrogation tactics in an interview for 60 Minutes
Mr Rodriguez, who has written a book called 'Hard Measures' about the CIA's interrogations, compared waterboarding to the Obama-era practice of targeting terrorists through drone strikes, insisting his methods were less harsh than those in force now.
'We don't capture anyone anymore ... the default option of this administration has been to kill all prisoners. Take no prisoners,' he told interviewer Lesley Stahl.
'How could it be more ethical to kill people rather than capture them?'
Explaining the rationale behind the CIA's interrogation programme, which includes stress positions, forced nudity and 'insult slaps,' Mr Rodriguez said it was 'about instilling a sense of hopelessness...despair...so that he [the detainee] would conclude on his own that he was better off cooperating with us.'
He cited Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the architect of 9/11, as a prime example of this.
An offer they can't refuse: The former spy chief said methods such as waterboarding and sleep deprivation generally persuaded terror suspects it was better to co-operate
Mr Rodriguez believes the cumulative effect of the enhanced techniques was instrumental in ensuring the terrorist gave up information.
Further, he told Ms Stahl the intelligence gained from this and other high-level interrogations had helped to thwart at least 10 other planned terrorist attacks.
'The toughest detainee we had': Suspected Bin Laden lieutenant Abu Zubaydah gave up a vital map to the CIA after interrogation
'We don't know ... if, for example, al Qaeda would have been able to continue on with their anthrax program or nuclear program ... or sleeper agents ... working with Khalid Sheik Mohammed to take down the Brooklyn Bridge, for example,' he said.
The interview will air on 60 Minutes Sunday on April 29 at 7 p.m. ET/PT
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