With the sudden ouster of former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and CIA director Mike Pompeo taking over the post, a new CIA director needs to be appointed – and Pompeo chose veteran Gina Haspel, his deputy at the agency, who happens to have had a prominent role in torture and in erasing all proof of it.
Last February, when Haspel became deputy director of the agency, The New York Times reported that she oversaw the torture of two detainees in Thailand, one of whom was waterboarded 83 times in one month.
Per the Times:
She played a direct role in the C.I.A.’s “extraordinary rendition program,” under which captured militants were handed to foreign governments and held at secret facilities, where they were tortured by agency personnel.
The C.I.A.’s first overseas detention site was in Thailand. It was run by Ms. Haspel, who oversaw the brutal interrogations of two detainees, Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri.
In 2005, the footage documenting that and dozens of other torture incidents was destroyed — on the order of Haspel, who by then was working at CIA headquarters.
Her role in both the torture and the destruction of evidence would come back to haunt Haspel. When the CIA wanted her to run clandestine operations, California Sen. Dianne Feinstein blocked the promotion over her involvement in covering up the torture and carrying it out to begin with.
Torture is currently against the law, but these new developments in the government – Pompeo and Haspel in high-ranking positions, plus and a Republican-controlled Congress – may herald its return. President Donald Trump has said he’d like to bring it back .
This is one issue on which this author hopes the president will stick to character — and not keep his word.
[image via screengrab]