CIA Director Nominee Haspel Says Wouldn't Allow Return of Enhanced Interrogation Program
President Trump's CIA Director nominee, acting Director Gina Haspel, said in testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee yesterday that she doesn't believe torture works to get information, and that she wouldn't allow the CIA to restart the harsh enhanced interrogation and detention program it carried out after the 9/11 attacks. Haspel's nomination is controversial because she was chief of base of a secret detention site in Thailand where terror suspects were waterboarded.
When asked how she would respond if Trump, who has said he supports interrogation techniques like waterboarding, ordered her to do something she found morally objectionable, the 33-year CIA veteran said, "I would not allow CIA to undertake activity that I thought was immoral, even if it was technically legal." But she added she doesn't think Trump would tell the CIA to return to waterboarding.
Republican Senator John McCain, who has steadfastly opposed harsh interrogation, in part because of his experience as a Vietnam-era prisoner of war, issued a statement in which he urged his fellow senators not to confirm Haspel. McCain, who is home in Arizona battling brain cancer, said, "I believe Gina Haspel is a patriot who loves our country and has devoted her professional life to its service and defense. However, Ms. Haspel’s role in overseeing the use of torture by Americans is disturbing. Her refusal to acknowledge torture’s immorality is disqualifying."