The Center for Justice and Accountability (CJA) released the following statement after Gina Haspel’s testimony today in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee regarding her nomination as the next Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
San Francisco, May 9, 2018
“For 20 years CJA has worked with torture survivors from Cambodia to El Salvador. We’ve seen how the legacy of torture remains a dark spot in a country’s history, often leading to a culture of violence and distrust. The intelligence committee must wake up to the fact that Ms. Haspel’s acknowledged involvement in torture is reason enough to disqualify her from consideration for the position of CIA Director,” said C. Dixon Osburn, Executive Director of the Center for Justice and Accountability.
“It is well-documented that in addition to supporting torture, including waterboarding, Ms. Haspel participated in the destruction of videotapes showing the torture of U.S. prisoners,” Osburn continued. “Torture is against the law and the United States cannot reward anyone involved in torture. Period. If the American public cannot trust its representatives to exercise sound judgment on a matter clearly banned by the Geneva Conventions, how can we trust the official to carry out any responsibilities with the duty of care such posts require? The Senate must oppose her nomination and make a statement to the world that the book on torture is closed.”
At today’s hearing, Gina Haspel revealed further concerning facts about her role and perspective related to the torture of detainees following 9/11 including:
- Admission that she drafted the cable authorizing the destruction of the torture videotapes and acknowledgement that her boss, Jose Rodriguez, did not inform superiors of his decision, an act of insubordination.
- Acknowledgement that while there was significant opposition to the torture tape destruction by superiors, she did not copy them or other lawyers on the cable she drafted authorizing their destruction.
- When asked why the torture tapes were not digitized, and the identities of CIA operatives weren’t masked in order to preserve the evidence rather than having it destroyed, she replied, “I’m not a technical person.” Senator Heinrich responded, “This is not complicated.”
- Haspel stated that there was no equivalency between identical acts of torture committed by CIA operatives and terrorists.
- Haspel did not deny that she advocated for the continuation of the detention and interrogation program even after the Bush Administration had suspended the water boarding program.
- Haspel said “We followed the law then. We follow the law now.” The law then and now is that torture, including water boarding, is prohibited under the Geneva Conventions, convention Against Torture, and US law.