PARIS (AFP) – French far-right leader Marine Le Pen on Wednesday denied she had defended the use of torture, after controversial remarks that there were times when it was “useful to make someone talk.”
Responding to questions on a damning report released in Washington over brutal techniques used by intelligence agents to extract information, Le Pen told BFM television earlier: “I don’t personally disapprove.”
“On these subjects it is rather easy to come into a television studio and say ‘ooh la la that is bad!’,” she said.
“I personally believe the people who deal with terrorists and also getting information out of them to save civilian lives are responsible people,” the leader of the far-right National Front party added.
“So has there been abuse? Maybe, and the US needs to determine this.
“Allow me to say this: There can be cases, for example when a bomb is ticking, tick tock, tick tock, tick tock, and will explode in an hour or two and could cause 200 or 300 civilian victims when it is useful to get someone to talk.”
Asked whether torture could be used to do so she said: “With the means at your disposal.”
However in later comments on Twitter, Le Pen slammed a “malicious” interpretation of her remarks, saying she had meant “legal means, obviously not torture.”
A graphic report released by the US Senate on Tuesday revealed CIA torture of al-Qaeda suspects was far more brutal than acknowledged, and did not produce useful intelligence.