After President Trump fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in a tweet, Director of the CIA Mike Pompeo, took his place. That left an opening for a new director. Trump has chosen to nominate Deputy Director Gina Haspel. Although the White House is touting Haspel's nomination as "the first woman" to hold the position, more information is coming out about her past and the question has arisen — is she the right woman?
In 2002, Haspel oversaw interrogations of two suspects Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri that included slamming their heads against walls and excessive waterboarding up to 83 times in one month. One of the victims, Zubaydah, lost sight in one of his eyes due to the torture.
There is also questions around the torture sessions being video tapped and Haspel playing a part in destroying those tapes. President Barack Obama signed an executive order ending the torture of suspects by the United States in 2009.
Senator Ron Wyden has already spoken out against the nomination or Haspel, saying:
Ms. Haspel’s background makes her unsuitable to serve as CIA director. Her nomination must include total transparency about this background, which I called for more than a year ago when she was appointed deputy director. If Ms. Haspel seeks to serve at the highest levels of U.S. intelligence, the government can no longer cover up disturbing facts from her past.
A report by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in 2014 concluded that torture is ineffective in gathering information since victims will simply lie to end the torture. The report stated:
The CIA’s use of its enhanced interrogation techniques was not an effective means of acquiring intelligence or gaining cooperation from detainees. [Detainees] fabricated information, resulting in faulty intelligence.
Trump had promised during his campaign he would bring torture back. It looks like he is on his way with this nomination of Haspel.
People are definitely worried about Haspel's nomination.
Erased video tapes -- hmm she will be a perfect fit in the Trump crime syndicate she has skills— W B (@IronMike131) March 13, 2018
She was in the CIA program & Trump loves torture - so why not? As the USA abandons the rule of law, democratic principles and cohesive governance - we should have no expectations that human rights, constitutional rights or any semblance of basic human decency will be respected.— David Olson (@David_P_Olson) March 13, 2018
If We don't get rid if Trump ASAP, The NYT, like the rest of America will be a cloud of nerve gas. Really. We need someone to stop this madness. Read history people.— Alabama Jane Brown (@alabamaauthor) March 13, 2018
There was also lots of sarcasm.
Super-hawks, mad Fox Evangelicanism and NRA gun-slingers ... awesome prospects for the world!— Jeanette (@samedikt) March 13, 2018
Former Central Intelligence Agency employee and whistle blower, Edward Snowden, weighed in.
This is the price of Nationalism. We should not expect any level headed or calm leadership anywhere in Authoritarian regimes like Trumpism. Utilize democracy and VOTE THEM OUT.— LamaLens (@LamaLens) March 13, 2018
Great. So now we have a Bush era war criminal heading CIA.— Ernest A. Canning (@cann4ing) March 13, 2018
People are questioning the timing of Tillerson's firing that started this.
Yesterday Rex Tillerson condemned Russia for poisoning a man in the UK, going against the WH who wouldn't do so.— Ed Krassenstein 💎 (@EdKrassen) March 13, 2018
Today Trump FIRES Tillerson and replaces him w/ CIA Director Mike Pompeo.
Gina Haspel, a woman accused of torture takes the reigns of the CIA
Eyes should be on the timing of Tillerson's firing (we knew it was coming) and Gina Haspel being nominated to head the CIA.— Patrick deHahn (@patrickdehahn) March 13, 2018
And people couldn't be excited about the first woman nominated.
Gina Haspel oversaw torture operation in the Bush/Cheney CIA and helped destroy footage to cover it up.— Adam Best (@adamcbest) March 13, 2018
We’d be psyched about our first female CIA Director, but in order to be female you first must be human.
Do not confirm her, Dems. Reject torture by rejecting her and Pompeo.
Gina Haspel led a now-banned CIA torture program in 2002, personally overseeing the torture of two terrorism suspects & later destroying videotapes documenting their brutal interrogations.— Kaz Weida (@kazweida) March 13, 2018
I'm for more women in leadership, but for Haspel & Team Torture, I'll make an exception.