NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – New York State Sen. Greg Ball continues to defend his controversial comments on torture.
The Hudson Valley Republican sent a tweet on Friday shortly after Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was taken into custody by law enforcement officials. Ball’s message posed a question asking who wouldn’t use torture to stop future terror attacks.
Since then, Ball has made national headlines for his comments and for defending his position on the use of torture.
“I made it pretty clear and have stood by my comments that if I could save innocent American lives or if we could save innocent American lives – men, women and children, as we’ve seen in Boston and of course the atrocity on 9/11 – if we could avoid a similar instance, I would use every means at my disposal. And I stand by that and, quite honestly, I understand it’s created a controversy but I think most people, while they may not say it, feel the same way,” Ball told WCBS 880’s Steve Scott.
Ball, a former Air Force officer, said the use of so-called enhanced interrogation should be available to authorities if there is an imminent risk to American security.
“My position is clear that if it can save innocent American lives, we have to at the highest levels keep complete flexibility because terrorists play by a different set of rules. This isn’t your typical traffic stop or rear-ending in a traffic situation in California or New York,” Ball told Scott. “We’re dealing with people who play by a different set of rules and we have to take the fight to them in a very serious way. And in the war against terror, information can save lives.”
Ball said he thinks it is important to leave all options on the table to prevent future terrorism. He said he does not view the use of torture as stooping to the terrorists’ level, as some opponents have argued.
“To those who say they would take the most extreme measures off the table, I sure as hell wouldn’t want you to be President of the United States because I want to make sure that those people in decision-making power are going to do everything they can to protect us even if that means intense means, going toe-to-toe with terrorists,” said Ball.
Ball told Scott he is surprised by the national attention he’s gotten from his tweet.
“I think it shows how much time has elapsed since 9/11 and how disconnected many of us have the luxury of being from the fight against terror,” Ball told Scott.
What do you think – should the use of torture be on the table? Sound off in the comments section below…