WASHINGTON (AFP) - Republican frontrunner Donald Trump called Sunday for the return of waterboarding, a near-drowning interrogation technique widely denounced as torture, saying it was "peanuts" compared to what ISIS (the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) is doing.
It was the latest in a series of inflammatory Trump responses to the threat of terrorism in the wake of the Paris attacks that appear to have bolstered his poll numbers.
A new Washington Post/ABC News national poll showed Trump leading the Republican presidential field with 32 percent, a 10 point lead over his nearest rival, Ben Carson.
Trump, who ignited controversy earlier this week by calling for a registry of all Muslims in the United States, stepped up the hardline rhetoric in an interview with ABC News in which he advocated the use of simulated drownings, known as waterboarding, in interrogations of terrorism suspects.
"I would bring it back. I think waterboarding is peanuts compared to what they'd do to us, what they're doing to us, what they did to James Foley when they chopped off his head.
"That's a whole different level and I would absolutely bring back interrogation and strong interrogation," he said.
Waterboarding, which was used by the CIA in interrogations of at least three 9/11 suspects, was banned by President Barack Obama shortly after assuming office in 2009.