‘I’m not a coward:' Why waterboarding works on some, but not Tim Kennedy

Matt Saintsing
May 14, 2018 - 4:39 pm

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Tim Kennedy, a former UFC fighter and current U.S. Army Green Beret, posted a video of himself being waterboarded on Saturday in support of President Trump’s pick to head the CIA, to illustrate how he can endure such treatment and why it breaks our nation’s enemies.

Kennedy said in the video his intent was to show support of Gina Haspel, Mr. Trump's nominee to lead the CIA who has been criticized lately for her use of waterboarding, among other “enhanced interrogation techniques,” during her tenure at a CIA prison, also known as “black sites.”

A frustrated Kennedy finds what people are saying about Haspel “unnerving.”

 “Nobody understands what waterboarding is. Gina Haspel is a patriot and hero who understands what has to be done in order to protect this beautiful country,” he told Connecting Vets.

But the difference between waterboarding being successful, he says, comes down to the person lying on the table.

“It works because they’re cowards and have never been through anything tough,” he says.

Kennedy explains he’s been able to tolerate being waterboarded “for years and years,” and why terrorists “break in 15 seconds.”

“I’m not a coward. I’m not a little spineless piece of crap, and I’m not someone who is going to hold someone over my knee and slice their neck open on camera,” says Kennedy.

“That’s what a coward and a terrorist does. They’re weak mentally, they’re bullies who are only strong when they are in control.”

He stresses he could be imprisoned at a CIA site, strapped to a bed with water pouring down his face and “nothing is going to change because I’m the same man.”

He compares his experience with waterboarding to when he was first assigned pepper spray or a Taser.

“We were shown what waterboarding feels like, and in 15 years in special operations I’ve maybe had it done to me a dozen times,” says Kennedy who adds he would take waterboarding “a million times over” being attacked with pepper spray or a Taser.

During her confirmation hearing on May 9, Haspel offered her personal commitment saying “Clearly and without reservation that under my leadership, under my watch, CIA would not restart a detention and interrogation program.”

But for Kennedy, those remarks should be viewed in the context of the senate hearing.

“She’s sitting at a confirmation hearing for her to take over at the CIA. Of course she’s going to say that she can’t say anything else, there’s isn’t any other option,” he says.

“If I was director of CIA would I allow those (techniques) to be used? Yes, I think they’re effective.”