Gina Haspel, President Donald Trump’s pick to head the CIA, claimed during her Senate confirmation hearing on Wednesday that she would not restart the torture program that harmed America’s reputation around the globe after the September 11th attacks.
Trump nominated Haspel to the position after he chose Mike Pompeo as his new Secretary of State and has been defending her this week in the run-up to her congressional hearing.
On Monday, Trump whined that Haspel is being attacked because she was “tough on terror.”
My highly respected nominee for CIA Director, Gina Haspel, has come under fire because she was too tough on Terrorists. Think of that, in these very dangerous times, we have the most qualified person, a woman, who Democrats want OUT because she is too tough on terror. Win Gina!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 7, 2018
Trump doubled down on his praise of Haspel Tuesday.
Gina Haspel, my highly respected nominee to lead the CIA, is being praised for the fact that she has been, and alway will be, TOUGH ON TERROR! This is a woman who has been a leader wherever she has gone. The CIA wants her to lead them into America’s bright and glorious future!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 8, 2018
But what he failed to mention is that Haspel oversaw the torture of a detainee at a secret CIA black site in Thailand back in 2002 and ordered the destruction of video evidence of it.
Torture, of course, is a war crime under the Geneva and United Nations conventions, both of which were signed by the United States. Torture is also a violation of U.S. law and is forbidden under the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
During her opening statement at the hearing on Wednesday, Haspel claimed that she would not re-institute the torture program.
“CIA has learned some tough lessons from that experience. We were asked to tackle a mission that fell outside our expertise. For me, there is no better example of implementing lessons learned than what the agency took away from that program. In retrospect, it is clear, as the majority report concluded, that CIA was not prepared to conduct a detention and interrogation program. Today, the U.S. Government has a clear, legal and policy framework that governs detentions and interrogations. Specifically, the law provides that no individual in U.S. custody may be subjected to any interrogation, technique, or approach that is not authorized by and listed in the army field manual. I fully support the detainee treatment required by law and just as importantly, I will keep CIA focused on analysis missions that can best leverage the expertise we have at the agency.”
“Having served in that tumultuous time, I can offer you my personal commitment, clearly and without reservation, that under my leadership CIA will not restart such a detention and interrogation program,” she added.
However, Haspel did not mention her role in overseeing torture, and implied that she thinks torture is “technically legal.”
“I would not allow CIA to undertake activity that I thought was immoral – even if it was technically legal,” she said.
Here’s the video via YouTube:
Haspel is an experienced CIA employee. And under different circumstances, she would be easily confirmed and qualified for the director’s chair. But she supervised a war crime and ordered a cover-up of that crime, and for that, she should be automatically rejected by Congress. Frankly, she should never have even been allowed to remain in the CIA.
Trump has shown that he cares nothing about ethics and the rule of law. He thinks torture is simply being “tough on terrorists” even though torture is a WAR CRIME.
It is not a leap to believe that Haspel would restart the CIA torture program again if Trump ordered her to do so. This country simply can’t take that risk based solely on her word.
Featured Image: YouTube screenshot