Trump’s CIA Nominee Claims US Never Should Have Used “Enhanced Interrogation”

President Trump’s nominee to lead the C.I.A., Gina Haspel, is now likely to be confirmed. One of the reasons is that she declared that the agency should not have undertaken its interrogation program. In that program, Qaeda detainees were tortured after the 9/11 attacks. Haspel did not condemn the practice of torture at her confirmation hearing last week.

Haspel wrote in a letter to Senator Mark Warner of Virginia that one of the “hard lessons since 9/11” was the costs of the agency’s use of torture, which she called “enhanced interrogation.” Warner is the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee. 

“While I won’t condemn those that made these hard calls, and I have noted the valuable intelligence collected, the program ultimately did damage to our officers and our standing in the world,” she wrote. “With the benefit of hindsight and my experience as a senior agency leader, the enhanced interrogation program is not one the C.I.A. should have undertaken. The United States must be an example to the rest of the world, and I support that.”

Warner announced on Tuesday that he would support her nomination after receiving her letter. Similarly, minutes later, Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, said she, too, would vote for Ms. Haspel.

Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, said the full Senate would vote on her confirmation at the end of the week, which is earlier than expected. 


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Meanwhile, two Republican senators, John McCain of Arizona and Rand Paul of Kentucky, have expressed opposition to her confirmation. But two other Democrats, Senators Joe Manchin III of West Virginia and Joe Donnelly of Indiana, have said they will vote for her.

Do you think Haspel is now on her way to being confirmed as the new leader of the C.I.A.? Should she have distanced herself from “enhanced interrogation?”

Credit: NY Times