Gina Haspel: CIA Should Not Have Carried Out 'Enhanced Interrogation'

Elias Hubbard
May 16, 2018

The Senate Intelligence Committee voted Wednesday to advance the nomination of Gina Haspel to be CIA director, setting up a confirmation vote in the full Senate that Haspel is poised to win.

At her hearing before the Senate intelligence committee last Wednesday, Haspel said she would not initiate any new detention and interrogation program as CIA director.

With a positive committee vote, the full Senate could vote on Haspel's confirmation as early as Thursday, according to Senate aides, although that would require cooperation from senators to waive the chamber's procedural hurdles for a quick vote.

Of the 100 U.S. Senators, 51 are Republicans and 49 are Democrats; while two Republicans said they would not vote for Haspel, five Democrats have indicated they would support her nomination. But by the time he released the statement, two key swing votes on the committee, Manchin and GOP moderate Senator Susan Collins of ME, had already announced they would vote for Haspel.

Haspel has been criticized for supervising a Central Intelligence Agency black site in Thailand where detainees were brutally interrogated, as well as for her role in the destruction of Central Intelligence Agency interrogation tapes.

The CIA's post-9/11 enhanced interrogation program that Haspel was involved with, as well as torture methods and waterboarding, have been contentious topics generally split along party lines.

Haspel had already picked up Democratic support and appears on a path to confirmation. "Her refusal to acknowledge torture's immorality is disqualifying".

The CIA declassified a review that found "no fault with the performance" of Haspel in the destruction of the videotape evidence, which could help clear the air for senators who are troubled by her involvement in the matter. There is a legal and moral responsibility that comes with operating in secrecy. Some of Ms. Haspel's past actions and beliefs did not meet that standard.

"I believe she is someone who can and will stand up to the President if ordered to do something illegal or immoral - like a return to torture", Warner said in explaining his decision to vote for her.

Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., will support Haspel as well, his office said.

Haspel has pledged not to implement an interrogation program of that kind again.

Trump himself has said the country should consider resuming the use of harsh interrogation techniques. Rand Paul of Kentucky is likely to vote against her and GOP Sen. Afterward, he committed to voting for her.

A letter from more than 100 former US ambassadors said Haspel's confirmation would undermine diplomatic efforts to discourage torture by tyrants in other countries.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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