Why should Gina Haspel’s record running a torture site disqualify her from running the CIA? Torture is, after all, a CIA speciality. From Ray McGovern at consortiumnews.com:
Newly released declassified documents prove once and for all that CIA Director Gina Haspel oversaw torture in Thailand, which the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee knew all along, as Ray McGovern explains.
Newly released official documents obtained by the National Security Archive showing that CIA Director Gina Haspel directly supervised waterboarding at the first CIA “Black Site” simply confirm what Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Richard Burr (R-NC) already knew as he orchestrated the charade that was Haspel’s confirmation hearing. Burr allowed her to “classify” her own direct role in waterboarding and other torture techniques so that it could be kept from the public and secure her confirmation—-further proof that this Senate oversight committee has instead become an overlook committee.
That Haspel supervised the torture of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri at the first CIA “black site” for interrogation was already clear to those who had followed Haspel’s career, but she was able to do a song and dance when Sen. Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) asked her about it. Haspel declined to reply on grounds that the information was classified. It was of course because Haspel herself had classified it. All the senators knew that only too well. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) had strongly objected to this bizarre practice only minutes before.
Witnessing this charade from the audience prompted me to stand up, excuse myself for interrupting, and suggest that the committee members were entitled to an honest answer since this was a public hearing with thousands watching on TV. The American people were also entitled to know whether or not Haspel was directly involved in torture. As I was calmly pointing out that any Senate Intelligence Committee member who prepared for the hearing already knew the answer, I was “escorted out,” manhandled and charged with disrupting Congress and resisting arrest.
Jeremy Scahill later did a good job on Democracy Now! in putting needed context around the free pass and encouragement CIA torturers continue to enjoy at the hands of co-conspirators like Sen. Burr.
I have now had time to read through the documents obtained by the National Security Archive via Freedom of Information Act requests. Suffice it to say they are so sad and sickening that I had to stop reading.
To continue reading: Senator Richard Burr: a Longtime Fan of Torture