What is Waterboarding

Discover the controversial practice of waterboarding – a form of torture used in interrogations that simulates drowning. Learn about its history, technique, controversy, examples, case studies, and statistics.


Waterboarding is a controversial form of torture that has been used in interrogations by various governments and organizations. It involves simulating drowning by pouring water over a cloth covering a person’s face and breathing passages.


Waterboarding has been used throughout history as a method of extracting information from prisoners. It gained widespread attention during the War on Terror when it was revealed that the United States was using waterboarding on suspected terrorists.


The person being waterboarded is typically immobilized on a board with their head lower than their feet. A cloth is placed over their face and water is poured over it, creating a sensation of drowning. The process can cause extreme distress, panic, and psychological trauma.


Waterboarding is widely considered to be a form of torture and is prohibited by international law. Many human rights organizations and governments have condemned its use, citing its inhumane and degrading nature.


  • In 2002, the CIA used waterboarding on suspected Al-Qaeda operative Abu Zubaydah, reportedly leading to false confessions.
  • In 2009, former Vice President Dick Cheney defended the use of waterboarding as a necessary interrogation technique.

Case Studies

In 2014, the Senate Intelligence Committee released a report detailing the CIA’s use of waterboarding and other enhanced interrogation techniques. The report concluded that the methods were not effective in gathering reliable intelligence.


According to the report, the CIA waterboarded at least three detainees, with one being subjected to the technique 83 times. Despite the frequency of use, little valuable information was obtained.


Waterboarding remains a highly controversial practice that raises important ethical and legal questions. Its use has sparked debates about the limits of interrogation techniques and the protection of human rights.

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