WATERBOARDING should have been used to force terror suspect Salah Abdeslam to talk, Donald Trump has controversially claimed.
The presidential candidate has blasted the soft-touch approach with Abdelsam in Europe who was a “mastermind” in the terror attacks which killed 130 in Paris in November, but dumped his suicide belt and fled.
Mr Trump also said the “liberal” attitude in Europe makes it difficult to counter terror attacks.
Islamic State (ISIS) jihadi Abdeslam was arrested in Belgium on Friday after four months in hiding, when armed commandos discovered him living in a flat laden with bomb making materials.
Days later 31 people were killed and 300 injured when a terror cell detonated bombs on the Metro line at Maalbeek and the Zaventem Airport.
Mr Trump argued in an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that Abdeslam would have talked “a lot faster with the torture” saying he believes the Brussels attacks were in retaliation for the arrest.
He said: “If he would’ve talked you might not have had the blow up – all these people dead and all these people wounded because he probably knew about it.
“We have to be smart. I mean it’s hard to believe. We can’t waterboard — listen, nothing’s nice about it, but it’s your minimal form of torture.
“Waterboarding would be fine. If they can expand the laws, I would do a lot more than waterboarding.
“You have to get the information from these people.”
Waterboarding is a form of torture in which a person has water poured on their face to simulate drowning.
It was used for many years on prisoners of war and terror suspects but the interrogation tactic, was banned by President Barack Obama days after he took office in 2009.
It has emerged since the attack in Brussels that Abdeslam was questioned for just TWO HOURS at Bruges despite being arrested four days before the attacks.
As more information surrounding his arrest comes to light, Abdeslam was interrogated for 60 minute sessions at Bruges prison where he is being held, but investigators took a chronological approach – beginning with Paris.
The interviews were short as Abdeslam was recovering from surgery on his leg, after he was shot during his arrest, a Belgium official said.
Mr Trump has argued that he would authorise waterboarding and “far worse” forms of torture against suspected terrorists if he was president.
He also said he would change laws which ban torture.
The Republican frontrunner said: ”We have to change our laws and we have to be able to fight on an almost equal basis.”
Critics have said he is advocating torture.
Former Bush-era Department of Justice lawyer John Yoo said Mr Trump does not understand the use of interrogation techniques.
He said: “To me, this is just another example of I think Trump exaggerating, overstating, playing to a crowd.