Gina Haspel’s Nomination for CIA Director is Suspect Given her Apparent Willingness to Implement Torture Tactics in the Past

Gina Haspel, Center

President Trump’s nomination of Gina Haspel to lead the C.I.A. has raised some serious questions about her fitness, mainly where torture of detainees are concerned. She is likely to face tough questions at her Confirmation hearing tomorrow.

Because of closely held secrets contained within CIA files, Haspel’s work at the agency is murky at best. One detainee, Fatima Boudchar, suggests that Haspel “ran a black-site prison in Thailand in late 2002. She was pregnant at the time of her detention. Her description of her captivity, the Times reports, includes contentions that she “had no idea how long she was in the Thai secret prison because no one would let me sleep. The cell was white and stark, with nothing in it but a camera and hooks on the wall. The masked abductors were waiting. I was terrified. They chained me to the hooks. Because I was midway through my pregnancy, I could barely move or sit.

Some of what they did to me in that prison was so awful I can’t talk about it. They hit me in the abdomen just where the baby was. To move me, they bound me to a stretcher from head to toe, like a mummy. I was sure I would shortly be killed,” the New York Times reports.


As we stated details about Haspel’s alleged involvement in torture tactics, including waterboarding, and conduct by CIA agents or contractors, should be carefully examined by members of the Senate. If such allegations ring true, she does not deserve the nomination even if she expresses a willingness to abandon such methods in the future. Torture is wrong under all circumstances.  Also, we note that Haspel’s testimony is likely to be clothed in secrecy– a methodology often used by the CIA– transparency is essential.

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