Former Vice President Dick Cheney said that he would reinstate the practice of waterboarding if he were president.
In the wake of last week's killing of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, Cheney said he would advocate lifting President Obama's ban on the enhanced interrogation tactic, which critics say is torture.
During Cheney's time as vice president, the U.S. permitted the use of waterboarding, as well as other enhanced interrogation tactics, against some high-value terrorists captured by the U.S.
Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, al Qaeda's No. 3 official, is said to have endured a number of waterboarding procedures.
"I'm still concerned that a lot of the techniques we used to keep the country safe for seven years have been taken off the table," Cheney said. "It's not clear to me today that we have an interrogation program that we could put a high-value terrorist through."
Asked about Cheney's comments, White House national security adviser Tom Donilon said the administration does not support using waterboarding.
"Our judgment is that it's not consistent with our values, not consistent and not necessary in terms of getting the kind of intelligence that we need," he said.
The former vice president has been a particularly strident critic of President Obama's handling of the war against terror. But Cheney said that Obama deserved credit for the killing of bin Laden, specifically the decision to authorize an elite team of Navy SEALs to lead an assault against the Pakistan compound where bin Laden had been hiding.
Cheney said he feared now, though, that bin Laden's killing would be used as a pretext to accelerate the planned U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, bin Laden's launching base before the September 11, 2001 attacks.
"I'm not sure that's wise at all," Cheney said.