Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) said Sunday that former Vice President Dick Cheney should give waterboarding a try himself if he doesn't believe the interrogation tactic qualifies as torture.
During a visit to American University in Washington, D.C. late last month, Cheney said he had no regrets over the controversial interrogation practices used by the Central Intelligence Agency during the Bush administration.
“Some people called it torture. It wasn’t torture," Cheney told ATV, the university's student-run television station, referring to the administration's use of waterboarding to gather information.
Appearing on MSNBC's "Up With Steve Kornacki," King said he "couldn't believe" Cheney's remarks.
"Frankly, I was stunned to hear that quote from Vice President Cheney just now," King said. "If he doesn't think that was torture, I would invite him anywhere in the United States to sit in a waterboard and go though what those people went through, one of them a hundred and plus odd times. That's ridiculous to make that claim."
King continued,"This was torture by anybody's definition. John McCain said it's torture, and I think he's in a better position to know that than Vice President Cheney. I was shocked at that statement that he just made and to say it was carefully managed and everybody knew what was going on, that's absolute nonsense."
King is a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which last week moved to declassify the executive summary of a report on the CIA's interrogation and torture practices during the Bush administration following 9/11.
"The report exposes brutality that stands in stark contrast to our values as a nation," committee chair Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said last week. "It chronicles a stain on our history that must never again be allowed to happen."
During the MSNBC appearance, King said the report illustrates how the CIA misrepresented the use of torture.
"I sat and reread the entire report last week, the entire executive summary," King said. "It's shocking."