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Pompeo promises to defy Trump if he orders torture

President-elect Donald Trump's nominee for the director of the CIA, Rep. Mike Pompeo attends his confirmation hearing before the Senate Select Intelligence Committee on Jan. 12, 2017 in Washington, D.C. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kansas, whom President-elect Donald Trump has nominated to become the next CIA director, says he will "absolutely not" resort to torture — even if directed to do so.

"If you were asked by the president to restart the CIA's use of enhanced interrogation techniques that fall outside of the Army field manual, would you comply?" Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., asked Pompeo Thursday during the first day of his confirmation hearing.

"Absolutely not," the Kansas congressman replied. “Moreover, I can’t imagine that I would be asked that by the president-elect or then-president."

Pompeo noted that while serving in the House of Representatives, he voted for the law that made it illegal for U.S. intelligence officials to use enhanced interrogation methods against America's enemies. That measure was part of the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act, which was approved by both the House and Senate, but originally vetoed by President Barack Obama.

The amended bill, which Obama eventually signed, approved the Department of Defense's 2015 budget and also included updates to the military's "Law of War Manual," which states that the U.S. adheres to the United Nations Convention Against Torture, an international rule effectively banning the use of enhanced interrogation tactics like waterboarding.

However, Pompeo hasn't always spoken out against the use of torture.

According to the Associated Press, Pompeo said in 2014 that members of the U.S. military and intelligence community who carried out torture in the wake of 9/11 are "not torturers, they are patriots." That viewpoint seems more in line with Trump, who throughout the presidential campaign advocated for the U.S. to bring back waterboarding and "a hell of a lot worse."

"Don't tell me it doesn't work. Torture works, OK folks?" Trump said.

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