ISIS militants reportedly used waterboard torture techniques on James Foley and other captives in Iraq as a kind of payback for the CIA’s treatment of detainees, sources have said.
Foley, who was beheaded by ISIS militants in a video released last week, was reportedly subjected to the same aggressive interrogation techniques that the CIA has been using on terrorism suspects after the September 11, 2001, attacks.
Waterboarding involves strapping a person to a table and pouring could water over a cloth covering their face, creating a drowning sensation. Many people — including President Obama — have called waterboarding torture.
“They knew exactly how it was done,” a source familiar with how ISIS treats hostages told the Washington Post.
Another source said that ISIS militants tortured James Foley throughout his nearly two-year time as a hostage.
“Yes, that is part of the information that bubbled up, and Jim was subject to it,” the person said. “I believe he suffered a lot of physical abuse.”
In a recently released letter that James Foley sent to his family, the American journalist hinted at a difficult time in captivity.
I have had weak and strong days. We are so grateful when anyone is freed; but of course, yearn for our own freedom. We try to encourage each other and share strength. We are being fed better now and daily. We have tea, occasional coffee. I have regained most of my weight lost last year.
Some American officials opposed to waterboarding had predicted that American use of the technique could eventually come back to hurt them.
“Waterboarding dates to the Spanish Inquisition and has been a favorite of dictators through the ages, including Pol Pot and the regime in Burma,” Democratic Sens. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.) said in an op-ed in 2008. “Condoning torture opens the door for our enemies to do the same to captured American troops in the future.”
But U.S. officials were quick to deny reports that CIA treatment of terrorism suspects played any role in ISIS’s treatment of Western hostages.
“ISIL is a group that routinely crucifies and beheads people,” said a U.S. official, using another acronyms for the group now known as Islamic State. “To suggest that there is any correlation between ISIL’s brutality and past U.S. actions is ridiculous and feeds into their twisted propaganda.”
The parents of James Foley said they never informed that ISIS had used waterboarding techniques on their son.