POLITICS
04/22/2013 09:25 am ET Updated Apr 22, 2013

Greg Ball, New York State Senator, Defends Tweet Advocating Torture For Bombing Suspect

A New York Republican is defending his call for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to be tortured during the interrogation process.

State Sen. Greg Ball (R-Carmel), a potential 2014 congressional candidate, said on "Fox and Friends" Monday morning that torture is necessary in this and other cases of terrorism to save lives. “If getting that information, including torture, would save one innocent life, including what we’ve seen children, would you use torture?" Ball said. "I would be first in line.”

After Tsarnaev was captured on Friday night, Ball drew criticism when he tweeted, "Who wouldn't use torture on this punk to save more lives?"

Ball, the chairman of the state Senate Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs Committee and an Air Force veteran, said he was voicing an opinion that many other Americans share. He described terrorists as playing by a "different set of rules" in a statement Sunday, and said, "playing paddy cake with mass murdering killers is not effective in my opinion." He reiterated that point Monday on Fox News.

The tweet drew instant feedback, mostly negative, on Twitter Friday night. Opponents described Ball as un-American, unfit for public office, unprofessional and as a "piece of shit scumbag." Several people tried to defend Ball, but they were largely drowned out by opponents.

Ball, a tea party favorite, has a history of making provocative statements and drawing criticism from fellow legislators for his stance. As a state assemblyman from 2007 to 2011, he was known for his largely anti-Albany statements and vocal opposition to unauthorized immigration. In 2009, Ball found a dead goat in his driveway with a note tied around its neck suggesting it was put there by a Central American gang in opposition to his immigration stance. Ball briefly ran for Congress in 2010 before switching his sights to the state Senate.

Ball said Monday that he plans to continue speaking his mind.

“A lot of politicians, honestly, are full of crap and are scared to share what they feel," he said. "I said what I believe a lot of red-blooded Americans feel.”

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