Gina Haspel, Trump’s nominee to be director of the CIA, was responsible for overseeing a CIA torture site that broke US and international law, and then ordered evidence of the torture destroyed. UPDATE: Haspel has been confirmed.
Update 5/17: Haspel has been confirmed.
During the Bush administration, Gina Haspel was in charge of a secret prison in Thailand where the US tortured prisoners, which is illegal under American and international law and effectively makes her a war criminal. In addition, she helped ensure videotapes of torture sessions were destroyed. Haspel has spent her entire career in clandestine operations, so almost nothing is known of her career. The little that is known shows a willingness to employ torture and lie about it. Confirming Haspel to this critical role would harm our international alliances, since the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights has already indicated that it will push for her arrest on war crimes charges if she sets foot in Europe. She will not face an easy confirmation hearing. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has announced that he will not support her, and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has indicated serious reservations. The CIA has received five letters from committee members asking for more information on Haspel, but the CIA has ignored all requests. Sen. Susan Collins has said that while Haspel is likely to face questions about past actions, she will withhold judgment until the confirmation hearings. Angus King has expressed concern about Haspel’s role in torture and extraordinary rendition and will be looking for answers in the hearings. Both senators sit on the Intelligence Committee, which will be conducting the hearings and initial vote. Late last week, Haspel announced she was considering withdrawing her name from consideration, although senior White House aides have since convinced her to stay. Also on Friday, the ACLU filed a Freedom of Information Act request for access to CIA records detailing Haspel’s role in torturing prisoners and other documents that the agency has withheld from the public and the Senate.
UPDATE: Following her confirmation hearing, Susan Collins announced that she would support her confirmation, while Angus King plans to oppose her. Let them know how you feel about their choices.
Sen. Angus King, Jr. (I): (202) 224-5344
Sen. Susan Collins (R): (202) 224-2523