Rep. Allen West: 'Demi Moore was waterboarded' in movie 'G.I. Jane'

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Republican Rep. Allen West (Fla.) cited the movie “G.I. Jane” while defending the use of waterboarding as a military tactic Monday, saying the controversial practice has yielded useful intelligence.

"The president is the benefactor of a lot of information that came from waterboarding," said West on Fox News. "Furthermore, in the movie ‘G.I. Jane,’ Demi Moore was waterboarded and we do that in military training; in survival, escape and resistance training."


The congressman, who served in the military for more than two decades, rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel, told Fox News that he believes there is precedent for treating non-state, non-uniformed combatants differently than state actors in wartime.

During the interview, West acknowledged his own personal experience with the use of controversial tactics.

He told Fox News that while in the military he was investigated for an incident in which he fired a pistol over a detainee's head as a "psychological intimidation tactic."

"It kept my men safe," West insisted.

West’s statements were in response to President Obama's comments calling waterboarding unnecessary, made during a press conference Sunday in Hawaii. 

"It's contrary to our traditions. It's contrary to our ideals. It's not who we are. That's not how we operate. We don't need it in order to prosecute the war on terrorism," Obama said after some Republican presidential candidates said they would consider reinstating the interrogation method during their CBS News/National Journal foreign policy debate on Saturday.

“If I were president, I would be willing to use waterboarding. I think it was very effective. It gained information for our country,” Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) had said during the debate, knocking Obama for being too soft on terrorism suspects. 

“Today, under Barack Obama, he has allowed the ACLU to run the CIA,” she added.

Businessman Herman Cain said during the debate that while he did not support the use of torture, he would allow military leaders to determine if waterboarding constituted torture. 

However, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman said the use of waterboarding — which he called torture — diminished the country’s ability to project its values overseas. And Rep. Ron Paul (Texas), whose libertarian mindset most frequently puts him in hot water with Republican voters on foreign policy issues, said there was no reason to pursue it as a tactic. 

“It's illegal under international law and under our law,” Paul said. “It's also immoral, and it's also very impractical. There's no evidence that you really get reliable evidence,” he added. 

Obama has banned the practice, and the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), has also criticized it as torture.

On Monday morning, Bachmann responded to Obama’s comments by doubling down on her support of waterboarding, saying the president was “clearly wrong” to ban the practice. 

"No one died from the use of waterboarding. Is it uncomfortable? Yes, it's uncomfortable. But our worry should not be the comfort level of terrorists," Bachmann said Monday on Fox News. 

—Josh Lederman contributed to this story.