A Controversial Record of Torture, But Maybe Not a Deal-Breaker for Democrats

By Natasha Bertrand

A key domino effect of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s dismissal on Tuesday was the nomination of Deputy CIA Director Gina Haspel—a career officer who has been sharply criticized for the role she played in the CIA’s now-banned torture programs and the tape recordings of which she helped to destroy. Haspel oversaw a CIA black site in Thailand where two terrorism suspects were tortured, and her name was on the cable that ordered the videotapes of their interrogations to be destroyed in 2005.

But Haspel will walk into her Senate confirmation hearings with one trait that could win over skeptical Democrats: She is not a Trump loyalist.

Democrats don’t appear to be drawing a line in the sand on Haspel’s impending confirmation hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee. Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, for instance, does not appear to be ruling out Haspel’s eventual appointment, despite having blocked a promotion for Haspel years ago over her role in the interrogation program and the destruction of the tapes.

“I look forward to speaking again with Gina Haspel about the role she would play and how she would run the CIA,” the California senator, who sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said in a statement on Tuesday. “It’s no secret I’ve had concerns in the past with her connection to the CIA torture program and have spent time with her discussing this. To the best of my knowledge she has been a good deputy director and I look forward to the opportunity to speak with her again.”

Haspel, a career intelligence officer who joined the agency in 1985, served as CIA Director Mike Pompeo’s deputy for just over a year before Pompeo was nominated by Trump to replace Tillerson as secretary of state. The dramatic cabinet shakeup was widely anticipated. Trump …read more

Via:: The Atlantic


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