Carly Fiorina is defending waterboarding, saying the controversial interrogation technique helped “keep our nation safe” following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
“I believe that all of the evidence is very clear — that waterboarding was used in a very small handful of cases [and] was supervised by medical personnel in every one of those cases,” the GOP presidential contender told Yahoo News in an interview published Monday.
“And I also believe that waterboarding was used when there was no other way to get information that was necessary,” she added.
Fiorina dismissed a Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report from last year concluding that waterboarding was a “brutal and mismanaged” CIA program.
“[It] undermined the morale of a whole lot of people who dedicated their lives to keeping the country safe,” she said of the Senate report, calling it “disingenuous" and "a shame.”
Waterboarding involves pouring water over a suspect's face to simulate the effects of drowning. Critics have called the practice torture.
Fiorina, a former Hewlett-Packard CEO, also said the tech company helped the National Security Agency (NSA) during her tenure.
“I felt it was my duty to help, and so we did,” she said. “They were ramping up a whole set of programs and needed a lot of data crunching capability to try and monitor a whole set of threats.”
Fiorina also said she urged the CIA and the NSA to be more transparent about their surveillance practices.
“One of the things that I advised the NSA and the CIA to do is to be as transparent as possible about as much as possible,” she said.
“Intelligence agencies that engage in covert activity need to be very creative about how they can be transparent while not jeopardizing our personnel and sources and methods."
Fiorina said civilian agencies are every bit as intrusive on Americans’ privacy as the intelligence community.
“The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is sweeping up hundreds of millions of credit records and mortgage applications on ordinary American citizens,” she said.
“They are a bunch of bureaucrats [and] are accountable to no one,” Fiorina continued. “I tell you — that worries me a lot.
“I wish somebody would start talking about the kinds of information that government has in civilian agencies, whether it’s your healthcare records that the government has through ObamaCare or it’s mortgage applications," she added.
Fiorina is third in RealClearPolitics' average of polls for the GOP nomination, with 11.6 percent support.