Where does Donald Trump stand on the use of torture by US security agencies? During the presidential election campaign he notoriously recommended a return to waterboarding, the repeated near-drowning of detainees that was banned by President Obama in 2009. But last week The New York Times reported that in an interview with its senior staff, he said that he had changed his mind after talking with retired Marine Corps General James Mattis, who is a leading candidate to be the next secretary of defence.
Trump quoted Gen Mattis as saying that “I’ve never found it [waterboarding] to be useful”. He had found it more advantageous to gain the cooperation of terrorist suspects by other means: “Give me a pack of cigarettes and a couple of beers, and I’ll do better.” Trump recalled that he was very impressed by the answer, adding that torture is “not going to make the kind of difference that a lot of people are thinking”.