Gina Haspel is set to be the first woman to lead the Central Intelligence Agency if she is confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Her nomination is being held up by Democrats who are concerned over her possible role in rendition and torture during the George W. Bush administration.
Senator Mark Warner, the leading Democrat on the intelligence committee, demanded that more be declassified on Haspel history at the CIA. In his formal request, he accused the agency of only releasing information that was favorable to Haspel.
Warner specifically wants documents relating to her history running a CIA black site in Thailand after the September 11 attacks. CIA black sites are secret bases in third-party countries, such as Romania and Thailand, that were used to detain and “interrogate” suspected terrorists without formal charges.
Most of the detainees were shipped from Afghanistan and Middle Eastern countries, a process known as “extraordinary rendition.” (Washington Post). CIA black sites were also known to facilitate techniques deemed as torture, by the International Red Cross (Wall Street Journal), often referred to as “enhanced interrogation” by the U.S. government.
The CIA says that the rendition, detention and interrogation program ended under the direction of President Barack Obama in 2009, and U.S Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis has publicly opposed torture prior to assuming his cabinet position (The Hill). Reuters reports that Haspel has promised the Senate Intelligence Committee that she will never return to these practices if nominated to head the agency.
President Donald J. Trump adamantly defends Haspel, tweeting that her nomination is being delayed because “she was too tough on Terrorists.” Trump supports using waterboarding, and said he believes the technique “works” in a televised interview in 2017.
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!
This WikiTribune story is dedicated to gathering information on Gina Haspel, and her tenure at the CIA. All sources must be cited.
- Haspel ran a CIA black site in Thailand, code-named Cat’s Eye, over a year after September 11 2011 terrorist attacks (New York Times).
- ProPublica incorrectly reported that Haspel oversaw the waterboarding of Abu Zubaydah. Zubaydah’s interrogation happened before Haspel assumed control of the black site, as ProPublica’s retraction stated.
- Haspel oversaw the destruction of videotapes of Zubaydah’s interrogation, which captured him becoming “completely unresponsive” after he was waterboarded 83 times (PBS). According to a memo, Haspel drafted a cable directing the destruction of more than 90 interrogation tapes on the orders of her then supervisor, CIA clandestine supervisor Jose Rodriguez. (Politico).
- The New York Times is reporting that on the eve of Haspel’s confirmation hearing, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the planner of the September 11, 2001 attacks, has asked a military judge to share information about Haspel with the Senate Intelligence Committee.