Gina Haspel Likely to Be Confirmed as C.I.A. Chief After Repudiating Torture

After refusing at her confirmation hearing to condemn the C.I.A.’s use of torture after 9/11, she wrote in a letter that the agency should not have undertaken that program.


Comments: 186

  1. Under the Geneva Conventions and all other human rights treaties, the US is obligated to prosecute and punish torturers. Instead, we're promoting them. Some moral leadership of the world, that's for sure.

  2. Maybe she should never travel outside of the United States, what with the Hague and all, and that whole torture trials thingie.

  3. "... she would “stand up” to Mr. Trump if he ordered her to do something illegal or immoral."

    She's already failed that test in the most obvious and public way possible. Torture was illegal under international law, specifically the Geneva Conventions, when she was overseeing its use. And it was as immoral then as it's ever been. Just ask John McCain.

    Then there's the cover-up. There's no reason faces couldn't have been pixelated to preserve the anonymity of the torturers before releasing the tapes. This was a complete red herring to rationalize their destruction.

    She's completely unfit for this position, whatever other experiential and intellectual qualifications she may have.


  4. People that should have been prosecuted for war crimes under Bush, when Obama was in office, are now being promoted. Just like the no bankers went to jail for the crash. Now Democrats are even on board with a torturer that destroyed the evidence, what have we become. No accountability.

  5. Thank you for your comment. I was mostly on-board with Obama as a good president until he let the statute of limitations run out on the bankers’ crimes. That Obama sat on his hands and did nothing to prosecute leadership of the CIA and other agencies involved in “enhanced interrogation methods” is equally disturbing.

  6. You write "...what have we become." I think you and millions of others throughout 'the civilized world' know what we have become. They saw it yesterday, in Jerusalem.

  7. Kind of a hollow gesture of appeasement. Given the current president's open enthusiasm for torture, Gina Haspel's days of overseeing torturing programs may not be over.

  8. Do you want to bet?

  9. The President, who'll be her direct boss if she's confirmed, has repeatedly endorsed waterboarding and other forms of torture. She didn't say she'd resist his direct order to torture. It's sad that a meaningless verbal pivot has won her support from Warner, Heitkamp and Manchin.

  10. Being re-elected clearly rates higher in their collective books than the morality of their country.

  11. I'd like to read a follow up on Durham's decision not to prosecute. The Obama administration's decision to just move on has baffled me, especially since they got zero political support from the Republicans for it.

  12. She may “stand up to Trump” if he orders her to renew the torture program but she won’t last long in the position.

    He will simply fire her. Can’t seem to get past her willful destruction of the torture tapes. That was the time for her to “stand up” in my humble opinion.

  13. That's a very odd thing for Senator Warner to have done.

  14. The time to be against torture was—and IS—immediately before a final decision is made regarding these barbaric actions.

    Haspel is the farthest thing from a true patriot.

    And I, for one, place no stock (¿stockade?) in her revisionist view of what SHOULD have been the chosen course of action.

    She is wholly unqualified for this very demanding office.

  15. The other issue is the destruction of interrogation tapes. From what I've read, she hasn't satisfactorily addressed why she wanted the tapes destroyed.

    Even with her backtracking on torture, she has not addressed this second issue. If I were in the Senate, I would vote against her confirmation. I hope my senators, Patty Murray (who is on the Veterans Committee) and Maria Cantwell, do so.

  16. Democrats keep saying that Republicans wouldn't let them do anything. Now they keep saying they can't stop Trump from doing anything.
    What's wrong here?

  17. Nice backbone... Clearly a letter she was forced to make shows that she has changed.

  18. "...the program ultimately did damage to our officers and our standing in the world."

    Does this make Ms. Haspel eligible for some sort of recognition for understatement? The world still convulses from the Iraq invasion predicated on lies and the ineptness of GWB and his phalanx of chicken-hawks. It is a maximum travesty that those responsible will not be held accountable.

  19. Is anyone really not surprised that this latest bottom feeder picked by Trump, well be approved to lead the CIA? Trump finds the worst, and a complacent Republican Congress goes right along with it. The swamp is over running its banks. The pollution spreads more and more with each passing day.

  20. Her past indicates that she will do as ordered without question. Her insistence to protect those that went above the law to torture in the past raises doubt about her claim that she will stand up to Trump if ordered to do something illegal ring hollow.

  21. There is really only one question to be asked of Haspel and her fellow torturers -- and let's not call it something as absurdly transparent as "enhanced interrogation" -- and I have yet to hear it asked:

    "If you truly believed that your decisions and actions were legal, why did you not bring those prisoners to the continental United States and use 'enhanced interrogation' methods here?"

  22. Her answers about torture were not satisfactory and I do not believe that she will stand up to Trump. While I appaud the idea of a women heading the CIA, just not her.

  23. We all must vote Democrat to stop Trump’s agenda! (Terms and conditions apply. Not valid for use in torture-related instances.)

  24. Talk about the swamp! She never uses the word "torture" and never says that the "enhanced interrogation techniques" are immoral. Otherwise she repeats what she said about the CIA not being in the interrogation business. But your headline says she repudiated CIA torture which clearly, and explicitly, she did not. Warner says she satisfied his concerns. Private assurances over drinks at the Palm? Maybe a little groping under the table? It's all good.

  25. So, the American people, as well as the rest of the world, know that we have tortured, and will again if we feel it is necessary, with no consequences at all. But of course we condemn torture.

  26. Obama is the most disappointing to me. He should have known better, and in his heart and mind I believe he did.

  27. Bernie Sanders was asked by Jake Tapper how he could oppose Gina Haspel when he supported John Brennan.

    Clearly, the nation went astray, but if you do something wrong once, does that mean you have to keep doing it wrong or that you can’t acknowledge your past mistakes? Haspel has said she would not institute a program of torture under any circumstances, but she refused to condemn it as immoral and wrong when she facilitated it. The obvious question if she does not think it was wrong then, why should she think it is wrong now and why should she would disobey a commander in chief who ordered her to do it.

    Trump has said he would waterboard “and worse.” He also said he would go after the wives and children of suspected terrorists in order to extract information.

    Maybe he can even get another lawyer like Mr. Yoo at Boalt Hall to concoct a legal opinion saying it’s OK.

    Are Gina Haspel’s credentials and experience as a CIA operative that essential? Aren’t there equally qualified people who have a sufficient moral compass to testify why they wouldn’t re-institute a torture program, i.e., because it is immoral and a violation of international law. People who actually know why they wouldn’t do it.

  28. It was nice to hear that a woman now heads the CIA. Awaiting her up-vote was just torture.

  29. The hypocrisy surrounding the nomination of this superb career CIA officer is rather stunning. The vote to approve John Brennan to lead the agency sailed through. 63 voting to confirm with lavish praise, including Feinstein, Warner, Wyden, Reed, Heinrich...despite the fact that he was #4 in CIA leadership when the Enhanced Interrogation program was stood up and operated until 2007. He bore far more responsibility in that leadership post than Haspel did. No one repudiated the 8 members of the Senate/House Intell committees who were briefed on the program 35/30 times.

  30. Lesson learned : NO more videotapes. SAD.

  31. It can all be posted on YouTube

  32. Rosemary Woods 'merely' erased a few minutes of an audio tape. Haspel destroyed 92 video tapes.

    Guess that's why Haspel will be annoited the head of a major US agency while Woods died a mere secretary

  33. I am amazed by how fast a civilization can slip into superstition, lawlessness and barbarity.

  34. Don't be. Look at what happened to the pre-1930's Weimar Republic (Germany)...

  35. Imagine President Hillary Clinton nominating Gina Haspel to be Director of the CIA. How would @GOP be responding? What would they be saying?

  36. If Leon Panetta endorses her, that’s good enough for me.

  37. Until George W. Bush and Dick Cheney's PR campaign to make torture acceptable, no mainstream politician in the U.S. advocated its use. But the Republican Party, Fox News, and shows like 24 did their part and now a large segment of the population enjoys the thought of torture and supports politicians who pledge to use it. The U.S. is an outlaw nation breeding generations of torture loving fanatics, supporting torturers like Haspel.

  38. She should belong in jail.

    But by all means, the same handful of “moderate” — a meaningless term these days — Democrats support her as the head of a powerful agency.

    They are all on the wrong side of history and should be ashamed.

  39. The United States no longer exists

  40. Repudiation in a letter ... that alright then.

  41. For many years, I was a registered Democrat.

    I left the party shortly after the election of President Obama (for whom I voted twice) because of the party's embrace of Joe Lieberman - who had campaigned against Obama.

    What is the point of voting for Democrats when, as in the earlier betrayal, they are so easily bought and sold? Principles be damned...Mark Warner was swayed by a carefully crafted, lawyerly letter.

    A pox on all their houses.

    NOT my president

  42. Yes, Lieberman. who gave the majority to the Democrats, if they counted him. Well, he could hardly be counted on. And, the Democrats never really had the majority, with that good friend of the, "lie us into war," Bush W.

    What was his oddball motivations, other then money? Clearly, he would have voted for Haspel.

    Oh, and Nancy Pelosi, is hardly better. Against single payer, votes for, "more defense," at every chance.

  43. Sure, a pox on both their houses, but if the Democrats don't win at least one house, they will hold no committee chairs, and the Trump administration will not be held accountable on any front. We all had better hope the Democrats win, and hope that investigations and accountability, in some fashion, will follow. The Haspel nomination is a dark moment, but it isn't the only thing we have to worry about. At least under Obama there was no practice of torture -- Trump and Haspel, without oversight -- we can't be sure.

  44. I so wish she'd been more explicit about obeying "legal" orders.

  45. Great! The woman who oversaw waterboarding, which the Army Field Manual currently defines as torture, is going to be confirmed.

    In his little plot in Arlington Cemetery, my father, who won a Bronze Star in the Pacific in the Second World War, is spinning in his grave. This is no longer the country he fought for.

    I am sick with the shame of it.

  46. Stop romanticizing the past. During WWII, the country your father was fighting for ran Japanese internment camps, had a segregated military, routinely bombed civilians, including with nuclear weapons, and so forth. The fact that you are sick with shame about the present U.S.A., the best country on earth by far, says more about you than about it.

  47. DRS, Japan attacked the USA without warning. Japan chose to ally itself with the Nazis.

    The USA and Japan were at war. The Japanese tortured, raped, mutilated and murdered POWs, and civilian men, women and children – Chinese, Koreans, Australians, Kiwis, Canadians, British, Americans and the Dutch.

    The Japanese deserved everything they got. So Japanese Americans were interned. Big deal. They were not murdered, tortured, or experimented on.

  48. She may even actually disagree with torture, but ... What does it matter? She did it anyway. I'm not sure if its better or worse if she didn't really agree with the grizzly project she oversaw.

  49. She was just following orders.
    History does repeat itself.

  50. Please watch this video of John Kiriakou who actually witnessed Haspel's behavior. Kiriakou was a CIA analyst who in 2006 called water boarding torture. He was sentenced to 30 months in a Federal prison; while Haspel gets elevated to the top job at the CIA.

    She comes to her nickname based on her true attitude toward torture.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fdeW7j2bQ70

  51. Haspel said what she calculated was necessary to get confirmation for the job. So she has now taken contrary positions. How do we know which one she really meant? Why was it so hard for her to say that torture is wrong? Did she not expect the questions that were asked? She must have. So her carefully prepared answers were: that was then, this is now. That is baloney. Torture was always illegal. She wanted to avoid opening herself to liability by admitting she knowingly committed illegal acts. No integrity. Republicans destroy our integrity by insisting that we commit wrongs and then denying that the acts committed were wrong. They force the country into an untenable position. Read the memo that justified torture: the twisted reasoning required to reach the foregone and desired conclusion demonstrates the authors didn't believe it

  52. if progressives want government to function, their obstructionism is remarkable. They complain incessantly about every breath Trump makes, then block any and all appointments so government grinds to a halt - all so they can complain about seats not filled and ineffective government.

    all the more ironic, since its da Dems that seem to always wish for big government.

  53. So let's put a known torturer who destroyed evidence of her torturing in charge. Brilliant

  54. You really should get away from Faux news a little more often. The Republican Party has created more government interference than the Dems ever have.

  55. What kind of administration would nominate someone who had actually been directly involved in torture? Even if she renounced it, even though the acts she OK'd are now illegal, she should not get a pass.

    We just say no in cases like this, even if the person is the best one in the room. No former slaveholder ever became president after the civil war. there are boundaries.

  56. There were boundaries; once upon a time in America.

  57. torture was and is illegal (constitution forbids cruel and unusual punishment-this is one of many legal prohibitions that existed at the time of the CIA torture program)
    torture does not obtain reliable information-a person who is tortured will say whatever s/he thinks the torturer wants to hear
    even if torture worked, the price of freedom is: do not torture. we should not have sacrificed our integrity and morality. we did so to get revenge and to deter others from attempting to repeat the acts of 9/11. these do not justify torture. nothing justifies torture.
    when we torture others, WE TORTURE OURSELVES: by giving license to others to torture. U.S. citizens become targets for kidnapping and torture.

  58. The Constitution does not apply to foreigners overseas. Read up.

  59. What about MKUltra from the Vietnam Era?

  60. But we know in her heart he doesn't feel that way and most likely won't make decisions to act that way even if she manages to hid it.

  61. Wow - what a country we are - claiming all sorts of feel-good attributes, but all the while winking and nodding at torture (and of course--actually torturing) as the powers that be confirm another nominee of Trumps - only the best. I feel as if I've fallen down the hole in Alice's nightmare.

  62. I am done with Democrats. I’m changing my registration to independent forever. They have to earn and beg for my vote. And this doesn’t merit my vote, ever. Warner, any other Dem voting for Haspel will never get any support from me. I’m outta Democrats after 50 years.

  63. I made that decision 10 years ago. Both parties are self interested and have forgotten they serve the people. I wish I knew what a viable third party was, but for now I will stay NPA. It helps my conscience at least.

  64. “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,”...

    So, why bother with the charade of a Senate hearing? The useless exercise is an embarrassment to all who participate and a greater embarrassment to Americans.

  65. Congressional cave-ins. Portraits of political cowardice.

  66. Another victory for our two party system in Congress. The Republican Party reaching across the aisle to join with the Fascist party. Bravo.

  67. They found the missing videos?

  68. You, go girl! Break the glass ceiling.

  69. Democrats disappoint yet again. She said she’ll stand up to Trump and never do it again. That’s it? She breaks the late, evades questions & gets rewarded. Justice dies another death.

  70. And how different is Ms. Haspil from the captured Nazi generals whose excuse was that they were only following orders? Yet, her only punishment would be to NOT get the promotion.

  71. And continue to receiver her $187,000 annual salary as Deputy Director of the CIA - plus a full benefit package.

    Nice work if you can get it .......

  72. Thanks for the letter.

    How do you sleep at night?

  73. My guess is she sleeps quite well.

    The banality of evil.

  74. Don't like this CIA nominee. Served in Thailand in 1966 never heard of CIA prisons. I knew the CIA had operations going on in Laos along Ho Chi Minh trail. This woman doesn't pass the smell test with me.

  75. Things would be the same 36 years later?

  76. Far better ways to pry information out of belligerents these days...

    First, have the FBI execute a no-knock raid on their cell, taking their toothpaste and clean T-shirts or whatever...

    Then - interview them a couple of times and face them down (metaphorically, of course) with the discrepancies in their sneering silence from one session to the next...

    Before long - they'll sing like choirboys...

    Yeah - it's always boys...

    Of course, if Clinton had prevailed - we could just drone the guys...

    Times has changed...

    .....

    Go get 'em, Gina...

  77. Seriously, I think the method used to break Manuel Noriega could work better: relentless discussions with Jesuits, day and night...

  78. this letter says a lot while saying nothing. Haspel does not recant any testimony, concede error in action or word. She insists that it is only with the benefit of hindsight that she recognizes that the torture program should not have been undertaken. I guarantee you no jail or prison head (except maybe Joe Arpaio) would have condoned waterboarding for any of its most heinous offenders. This tells you waterboarding was always beyond the pale, morally and legally. We don't need "hindsight" to recognize that. Our military knew at the time that torture elicits unreliable information because the goal of the torture victim is to stop the torture by saying what the torturer wants to hear, not by stating the truth. Haspel's letter only reinforces the conclusion that she believes torture was fine at the time (because she did not have the benefit of hindsight). This shows she lacks foresight and good judgment and will go along to get along. That's not what we need with a president who actively promotes waterboarding "and a whole lot worse" (yes, Donald Trump said that).

  79. Black ops has many shades of grey. The letter itself should have disqualified her to lead the agency.

    She says the information was valuable but not worth the damage to our officers or standing in the world.

    In hindsight had it been worth the information to damage both the officers and our standing in the world should we have done it?

    We are putting someone in charge who needs the judgement and foresight to know the difference and make the right call.

  80. "I was only following orders" used to be an unacceptable excuse. Make America Great Again, indeed.

  81. give her credit for being loyal to the agents of the CIA. how could she lead the organization if she had thrown the agents under the bus who conducted torture under the direction and assurance of legality by their superiors. I admire her for taking the heat.

    she has said she would not go against the new law prohibiting torture and would not have follow orders to do so.

    the question we all should ask ourselves is what will we say is acceptable interrogation tactics should another 9/11 happen. Will we give unspoken consent to torture in our mindless fear.

  82. "Taking the heat"? In what way? This has cost her nothing.

  83. Haspel's confirmation just did - gave "unspoken consent to torture in our mindless fear".

  84. This administration has thumbed its nose at the emoluments clause and enriched itself at the taxpayer's expense, and continues to do so unabated.

    This administration has tried to reverse every single thing the last administration and Democratic President achieved for the good of the country, while nary caring for the consequences to 100's of millions of people.

    This administration has put into place of powers and in the cabinet people that have been woefully inadequate or inexperienced, while they have lived grand on the taxpayer's dime/taxes.

    This administration is now going to tell the world that torture is alright and not a war crime, by putting forth a candidate that symbolizes exactly that.

    The republican controlled Congress should show a conscious and vote NO on this candidate, but they will rubber stamp it, just as much as they sit on their hands while the President goes to war all over the globe without their approval. ( THEIR EXCLUSIVE JOB laid out in the Constitution )

    The country and its Democratic institutions are broken.

  85. So a mea culpa letter, nebulous half-truths and fuzzy details, are the incentives needed to get the Democrats to change their votes?! And then they wonder why so far they aren't gaining any serious traction in this electoral season!

    They just helped confirm as the new director of the CIA a person who has a murky past at best, compromised integrity and a proven track record at breaking all kinds of national and international laws, rules and regulations...good choice!

  86. DRS of New York:
    I refer you generally to https://www.hrw.org/news/2003/03/11/legal-prohibition-against-torture#laws
    1 excerpt:
    Neither international nor domestic law conditions the right not to be subjected to torture on citizenship or nationality. No detainee held by U.S. authorities—regardless of nationality, regardless of whether held in the U.S. or in another country, and regardless of whether the person is deemed a combatant or civilian—may be tortured. All applicable international law applies to U.S. officials operating abroad, including the Convention against Torture [ratified by the U.S. in 1994] and the Geneva Conventions.

  87. I’m thrilled to see this. People can change and the fact that Gina Haspel renounced institutional torture is a welcome sign that she has profited from the groundswell of thoughtful opposition against her former position!

  88. I hope you are being sarcastic. She
    is not trustworthy. Why did she destroy
    those tapes? She knew they could land
    her in prison. She broke the law
    with her torturing, and broke the law
    destroying those tapes. I do not trust her.
    Is it in writing somewhere, this new leaf?
    I doubt it and what ever nefarious things
    she craves to do, you may be sure she will
    get rid of the evidence. She is already above
    the law, like Trump. I have a hard time
    believing either of them.

  89. We are not talking about Gina's eternal soul. We are talking about whether she should be head of the CIA. She is a walking-talking jihadi recruitment poster. "Maybe she learned something," is not going to make headlines across the world. "Woman who tortured and destroyed evidence," will. Approving her appointment is a stupid, stupid move.

  90. Call me a cynic, but I find it more than a little suspicious that Haspel has her epiphany only after her nomination is in jeopardy. She had 15 years to reconsider her cruelty and never regretted torturing human beings. Disgusting.

  91. Yay a war criminal for the head of the CIA. If I were a undercover CIA agent I'd be stocking up in cyanide pills in case I get caught. Torture is on the table.

  92. The new head of the CIA - Bloody Gina. What a country.

  93. Here is whistle blower John Kiriakou talking about Haspel. Remember: He saw her in action.

    Kiriakou was a CIA analyst who blew the whistle on torture in 2007. He was sentenced to 30 months in a high security Federal prison for telling the truth: waterboarding IS torture.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fdeW7j2bQ70

  94. I do not care what party you are a member of, if you vote to put this War Criminal in at the CIA you are contemptible.
    You are also rewarding an evil person who hid behind the legal fictions of War Criminals John Yoo and David Addington who should lose their law licenses.

  95. The Supreme Court should issue a bench warrant for Haspel.

  96. Does anyone really think she wrote that letter? It is so carefully worded. Looks to me like the wording was negotiated so that a few Dems could now affirm her.

  97. I didn't read her quotes as repudiating torture. I didn't even read her calling it that.

  98. Mark Warner needs to have a strong primary challenger in 2020.

  99. Based on Ms Haspel's testimony and behavior, it is clear that she is okay with torturing people suspected of <whatever>, so long as she doesn't personally face any consequences from her role in it.

  100. Gee whiz. All Mr. Al-Nashiri had to do was to say that in hindsight, he saw the bombing of the USS Cole as a bad thing. His conviction would have been vacated!

  101. Those of us who dream that the Democratic party will one day re-discover a set of principles upon which to stand need look no further than this moment for a rude awakening. They can't even stand in unison against a war criminal of the highest order, of the most unapologetic and inhuman variety, and will meekly and disjointedly allow this torture queen to be lifted to a position of monumental importance. No leadership. No unity. No spine. No anything. Just losers, content to continue losing, because standing for something is just too darn hard.
    This was an easy one. There weren't even corporate campaign donations at risk. The Democratic party of my father no longer exists. They are bankrupt and destined for the trash heap of history. They couldn't even stand against torture.
    Obama is to blame, if we are honest, for refusing to hold anyone accountable for the war crimes committed in our name. He looked forward, not back. Haspel- a torturer who destroyed the evidence- was the future he refused to see.

  102. the party is fine, its these 3 or 4 people desperate to woo conservatives that will never vote for them. Manchin and Heitkamp in particular have been the necessary democratic votes in almost every case, they need to go.

  103. She could be arrested overseas for crimes against humanity. Talk about international incidents!

  104. I hope there is a judge in a EU country drawing up indictments for her now. That would be justice.

  105. Hind site is always 20/20.

  106. Here's one of those great women that will make everything better because she's a woman. That's the way it works, right?

  107. She still doesn't get it. She won't call it torture, she can't see the absolute moral wrong of one human being inflicting tortuous pain on another human being, and her moral compass doesn't reach outside her own institution. She's made it clear: her first priority is the CIA, her second is USA "interests." Humanity rates a distant third. To say she is unfit is too kind.

  108. Is Gina Haspel the only capable person in a country of 320 million? Did her credentials as torturer lead to Trump's nomination of her? And the Intelligence Committee is going to confirm her. Frankly, I'm more disgusted with the Intelligence Committee. They are responsible for vetting the candidate. Just because she swore with her hand up not to conduct inhumane torture post 9/11 into the future does not mean she will not. Trump is who he is but the intelligent in the intelligence committee? Scrap this committee for not doing their jobs. Why do we need a horse and pony show? They are putting a fox to guard the chicken coup.

  109. That's Great! A soulless automaton to lead the CIA! What could be better than that?

  110. Can we put a stake in the wisdom of electing Democrats to the Senate in red States.

  111. "Gina Haspel Likely to Be Confirmed as C.I.A. Chief." Why? Because she's intelligent and qualified? Or because she's also a proven reliable yes-man?

  112. We need to choose people based on their record, not their promise to not do something again. We have seen promises during confirmation from Supreme Court nominees to cabinet nominees promise one thing only to go back on the promise. With our politicians all a nominee has to do is say I'm sorry I'll never do that again, and that is enough.

    Time for a change!

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

    There's a lesson here - if the parties were reversed in this situation, not a single Republican would vote for her and they probably wouldn't even have scheduled the hearing or met with her.

    That said, even putting aside that she ordered the destruction of official records and apparently lied about the torture program, it bothers me a lot that she oversaw - and, I would guess, probably was sometimes in the room during sessions of - torture. I hope the Democrats who will vote for her know what they're doing. They're assuming that her post-hearing written backpedaling is honest and, going forward, reliable. But what does it say about a person's basic moral compass if that person is capable of directly overseeing torture? Or is moral compass not a key prerequisite for heading the CIA?

  114. It is a spy agency. Of course its leaders might oversee or condone or otherwise be amenable to advocating or authorizing torture. She may be one of the worst, morally speaking, but she does have agency credentials, Trump could appoint somebody a lot worse in the Bolton mold, and this is a public letter, so that may be a good cudgel to use if she goes back to her old ways

    Assuming the GOP cares, but I’m not sure about that, apart from Sen McCain!!!

  115. Ms. Haspel has worked her way through the ranks of the CIA for decades and is well liked and respected within the organization. Regarding her participation in torture - this was in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. I would be furious to learn that in the days after 9/11 our Government and its agents were not doing absolutely everything they could to protect the Country. We had no idea what was going on, who was involved, who was already within our borders and how to stop these numerous ongoing plots. The fact that Kalid Sheikh Mohammad is so afraid of her promotion to the head job only makes me like her more.

    Ms. Haspel has indicated strongly that she does not support torture and that it does not work as a regular means of intelligence gathering. In the days after 9/11 when we had higher ups who knew of active plots and the structure of Al Qaeda I don't blame anybody for doing what you had to.

  116. Torture was not necessary to protect the country. As experts have said, torture, in addition to being morally repugnant, is not an effective method of interrogation. Given that, having "higher ups" who knew of anything isn't a justification of it.

  117. Of course she is a terrible choice. But is there any reason to assume that anyone else Trump nominated wouldn't be even worse.

  118. “The United States must be an example to the rest of the world, and I support that.”

    Me too; send her (As well as Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice and G.W. to The Hague for prosecution.

  119. Just another case of a person saying what they think needs to be heard by others in order to obtain power, where they can continue to be the monster they have already shown they are. Is it just me, or is a large majority of our population incredibly dense and gullible?

  120. This is wonderful news for American security. And it means that future CIA operatives will be able to think up new ways of enhanced interrogation in order to save innocent people from terrorist crimes.

  121. Pssst ... It also means OUR people will be tortured.

  122. That Democrats like Mark Warner would throw the moral consideration of supporting a relatively unrepentant admitted torturer to head the CIA is why I fear for them in the coming mid-term elections. In the age of Donald Trump, a supporter of torture and a destroyer of principle, I'd hope that Democrats would be the party of morality. But, once again, they just don't seem to get it. To support Gina Haspel is an abandonment of such principle and an acceptance of the low immoral standard that Donald Trump has brought to Washington. This is outrageous and I, as a lifelong Democrat, will not vote this November for those who support Ms. Haspel.

  123. Does anyone remember Nurse Ratched from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest? Haspel is perfect for this role!

  124. My fellow old-fashioned liberals (not much different from modern "progressives" and certainly not "neoliberals").

    She was going to be confirmed, with or without us. We won a small victory; she, a lifetime professional, has acknowledged that torture is wrong.

    It might not seem like much, but to me this is enough.

    Let's accept this and all move on.

  125. And ...

    VOTE!!! Get all your friends to vote. No more circular firing squads, please.

  126. The world is a dangerous place. Glad we’ll now have someone running the CIA who understands that.

  127. Torturing makes the world more dangerous.

    Torturing innocents (which we did) makes the world more dangerous and is morally repugnant.

    But hey, Home of the Brave and all that. At least the song says it. ‘Cause torture is the act of a coward.

  128. Trump keeps trotting out the same people who made the mistakes that brought the country down before, rationalizing their failures, rewriting the record, and preparing us to do it all over.

  129. So I guess she was just following orders? Where have historians heard that before?

  130. What's new? None of the torture enablers have been charged with anything. bush's lawyers created new phony laws legalizing torture. Condoleeza Rice Rice approved the torture. Lock Rice up. Lock Cheney up.

  131. So despite the fact that Haspel ran CIA torture chambers, Warner will still vote for her confirmation. And he somehow believes that she will "stand up" to Trump if he ordered her to do so again?

    Given that I don't think Warner is this stupefyingly naive, I imagine his decision is down to moral corruption or immense cynicism.

    Couple Warner's decision with Schumer's praise of Trump for the Jerusalem embassy move yesterday - and his silence on the massacre of Palestinians.

    Is it any wonder that so many would-be Democrats are so disillusioned with the Democratic party? Spineless, immoral, cynical people, the lot of them.

  132. “Gina Haspel Likely to Be Confirmed“

    Confirmation of a torturer. I guess bullying works. So much for #BeBest.

  133. Beyond appalling. The head of the CIA a confirmed torturer. What happens to our US troops when they are interrogated abroad?

    This sets America on such an extraordinary dangerous path and puts so many of our American patriots at risk. Men and women enlistees will be routinely tortured because America has sanctioned torture.

    What happened to Nuremberg? The principles that evolved after the atrocity known as WWII?

    "Simply "Gone With the Wind".

  134. While I do not agree with torturing a human, I do not think for one moment that an adversary would treat American prisoners one way or another based on our policies.

    Also, does anyone honestly believe that the U.S. does not torture prisoners daily at Gitmo? There is no other reason for the facility to remain in use other than torture prisoners outside the U.S.

  135. But, but, but she got rid of evidence about torture......

  136. Democrats they cave in so easy. So guess Nelson lost my vote

  137. Virginia senators roll over like puppies.

    Have you ever heard them suggesting that we phase out Endless War?

  138. And that is the sad reality.

  139. Another step in total dictatorship as this fool hearty administration marches on. Will child labor laws be the next to go and seven year olds be forced to work. This is totally disgusting.

  140. She will say anything to get a new job in the ruling class. Once she has the job, she can do anything she wants like other Trump best picks, De Vos, Carson, Zinke, Pruitt.

  141. Of course she will be confirmed. She favors torture and ignores the US Constitution. She is ideal for the Republican/Trump mafia.

  142. I think we knew all along that Haspel, torture, assassination and bloodshed were coming to head the CIA all along. That's what they're there for...you know...

    She's like a deadly grandma from Michigan that cannot wait for more murder and mayhem in her barn.

    A beautiful appointment and confirmation by a great American Congress.

  143. Go Gina ! Torture early and often. Show the terrorists who the real boss lady is.

  144. We are monsters.

  145. No moral compass? Check
    Knows to destroy the evidence? Check

    Gina Haspel will have a cabinet post within months.

  146. “No moral compass? Check
    Knows to destroy the evidence? Check”

    Sounds like Hillary’s campaign platform.

  147. It's beyond belief that the country has become so PC that a nominee for CIA has to pretend to reject the use of torture.
    What in the world is wrong with bleeding heart snowflakes? Michael Savage is correct. Liberalism is a mental affliction. Radical Islamists want to destroy the US / west and snowflakes are worried about waterboarding?

    Well thank goodness it's just public posturing by the CIA and other law enforcement agencies. The snowflakes should look at videos of 911 and see the people in the twin towers who had to make the choice to suffocate, or to be burned alive or to jump hundreds of feet to their deaths.

  148. We have all seen the videos of 9-11, including, of course, people jumping from the towers. We still don't all approve of torture. For heaven's sake.

  149. We "snowflakes" recognize a jihadi recruitment opportunity when we see it. And that is exactly what Haspel's advancement will mean.

  150. We all repudiate torture. Water boarding is not torture. Every CIA operative is water boarded. It is called training. Torture is when you are forced to watch your wife and under aged daughter gang aped and decapitated with a rusty dull knife as you hear their curdling screaming. These are the tactics that radical muslims embrace. Our congress and media whine about a couple of terrorists who get their faces wet. It is a disgrace.

  151. And Gina Haspel's advancement announces to the rest of the world that we are not a nation of any higher principles than our enemies.

  152. @Steve
    You're making the false assumption that people tell the truth under torture. They don't. It's a wonderful fiction popularized in TV shows like 24 and movies.

    When he was tortured John McCain deceived his captors with the names of Green Bay Packers' offensive line. He wasn't the only one.

    I suggest you watch "The Big Sleep," an interesting movie from 1946 as it was just after WWII. The Harry Jones character has a gun to his head knowing he's about to be poisoned, and yet he lies to protect Agnes. Harry wasn't unique.

  153. Enough with the asinine training parallels. If you are in training, you are aware that it is an exercise, that people are looking out for you, and at the end of the day, all will be well. Psychologically, it is a complete different experience.

  154. The torture program is a stain on our country and values. Those involved in its planning, implementation and subsequent coverup should be prosecuted, not promoted.

  155. liberal democrats prove again that they think voters are stupid

  156. Also shows that both parties need to go. I am starting to have equal disdain for the Democratic Party too.

  157. American voters settled that question in 2016.

  158. Haspel is a liar. She is trained to be so and is effective. Warner is weak and a coward who has no capacity to stand up for what is right. She will not "stand up to Trump," nobody does that is clear. Warner didn't, she will not. America has no standing so why should she or he.

    As for the rest of the Democrats on the committee, will they also cave? The venerated McCain is against her so why doesn't everyone who praises his every breath fall into line?

    "Higher Standards?" "Hard lessons?!" Life is tough Gina. It sure is. Now you can get back to work and everyone will cheer and fall into line. And when Trump insults you and threatens to fire you, you will grovel and "turn up the volts Mr. President? Buzz, buzz, Mr. Pompeo?"

  159. in a perfect world she would be in a jail cell along with the other war criminals of that period -

  160. It wouldn't even have to be perfect, but just.

  161. "Enhanced interrogation" aside, Mr. Warner's statement that Gina Haspel "would “stand up” to Mr. Trump if he ordered her to do something illegal or immoral" is misguided. Removing evidence often indicates that something illegal or immoral happened, which is being covered up. Was Ms. Haspel standing up for morals when tapes of interrogations were being destroyed?

  162. Sure seems to me that Ms. Haspel has done just about everything to get this job. She almost seems desperate. Kind of like Jeff Sessions. She jumped hoops, talked to people, wrote letters and had people speak up for her. What happened to standing on her own merits rather than kowtowing.

  163. Democratic votes are from Senators who are more fearful of losing their coveted Senate seats rather than having the courage to do what is right. This is why the a Democratic Party will not win back Congress. No principles.

  164. How disgusting that someone who aided and abetted, covered up, and may have even participated in torture gets a promotion and a pat on the back instead of a jail sentence.

    How empty of morals our country has become when an empty promise to not do it again is sufficient to support this woman’s rise to the top.

    Republicans I expect little of. But I still held out hope for Democrats and even The NY Times Editorial Board. In vain, it appears.

  165. The best thing about calamity of Trump and the Torturer Haspel is that it is showing the true face of America.

    After decades of endless wars, renditions, targeted killings all over the global, black torture sites and thousands of innocent civilians killed in drone strikes, does anyone still believe we are the 'Good Guys'?

    And please don't do the "Well Russia and China are worse" act when we have a much higher proportion of our people incarcerated than either of those countries.

    Sad to say, America has completely lost its way and any claim to moral, ethical or political superiority.

  166. This moral paragon "repudiates torture" AFTER supervising a site at which torture took place and also AFTER destroying evidence about what had been done?

    Would this sort of post-facto "repudiation" have worked in the Nuremberg trails?

    A sad day for the US and it's claims to moral values, or even the values of human decency!

    Morality is another "casualty of war"?

  167. Please tell us all how any "Morality" is not a "casualty of war"? It seems to me that all of this self righteous indignation ignores the fact that in EVERY war regardless of the Geneva Convention atrocities occur. People that scream about people being tortured seem to have no qualms about people killed in a "humane" way.

  168. Haspell's confirmation after refusing to disavow that she oversaw torture will greenlight similar tactics by any government that chooses to employ ithem. The surrender of moral principles begun by Nixon and followed by Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld et. al. is now complete. America has surrendered any claim it may have once had to the moral high ground.

  169. Don't forget Obama, with his drone bombing and whistle blower persecution. In fact, one CIA officer blew the whistle on the CIA for torture.

    He went to jail, and the head torturer is made the head of the CIA. America, hope you are proud.

  170. I wonder if she would support the water boarding torture of Donald Trump in the Mueller probe?

    Let's fill the lungs of Trump, Cohen, Pruitt, Pence, Ryan, McConnell...with choking water and see what they have to say about Putin, Russia, lobbyists and women Trump has paid off to stay silent.

    Trump, up to it?

  171. I'd pay to watch that on cable

  172. The moral preening of certain senators has been a disgusting sight for the past several weeks. Glad to see Ms. Haspel smash the glass ceiling.

  173. "Moral preening," is that what we call opposition to torture? Some of us would call it common decency and pragmatic wisdom.

  174. How can this administration/Congress go?

  175. "...I have noted the valuable intelligence collected..."

    More testimony, to add to Leon Panetta's and others', that enhanced interrogation yielded actionable intelligence.

    Let the self-righteous Monday morning quarterbacks whine. God bless Haspel and the others like her who protected us after 9/11.

  176. "...after 9/11..." OH how I love that spin. Who was on watch Jeff when that happened? Wait...I meant who was asleep on watch when that happened? Oh how some of us forget.

  177. Torturers don’t protect us, they endanger us.

  178. Congratulations, America. This is a new low.
    It's one thing to not prosecute a whole lot of high-ranking government officials for war crimes (a De-Cheney-fication so to speak), but electing to put Bloody "I was just following orders" Gina, a mixture of Reinhard Heydrich and Nurse Ratched, at the head of the CIA is really utterly appalling.

  179. At least she has a spine and doesn't let her country get overrun by the enemy like Berlin.

    Don't worry, you don't have to come here, we certainly won't go there.

  180. Overrun by the “enemy”?
    Which enemy?

  181. I hope Gina Haspel is confirmed to be the next CIA Director. Her confirmation will be a major step in the women's liberation movement. As the first female CIA Director, she will go down in history as the first. Few get the opportunity to the be first, but Gina Haspel will.

    She has significant experience. It can't be denied. She will bring years of experience to the job, more than any previous man. Above all, Haspel has worked in the shadows, protecting America from evil. I like that. I like Americans who have protected the nation from evil. I will feel significantly comfortable with her in charge. I believe that the CIA should work in the shadows. People don't need to know what they do, because what they do is find out who is bad and who is good, and deal with them accordingly.

    People in the CIA, like Gina Haspel, are probably the most trusted people in the world because they undergo routine polygraph tests. Not all Americans undergo such scrutiny, but those in the CIA do, that makes them the most trusted. Trusted to protect America from evil. America must be protected from evil.

    Her confirmation will be yet another triumph for President Trump. How many have there been? Thank you, President Trump for nominating Gina Haspel for this job. I support the President. I support Trump. Thank you.

  182. Only one problem, who protects the world from our evil?

  183. Talk is cheap. Actions speak louder than words.

  184. I suppose it doesn't matter. Every CIA nominee, including Haspel, says, in effect: "On my watch we will not engage in torture. But when we do (and we will), we won't tell you that so you can maintain your precious deniability."

  185. I have been patiently waiting for all of that "intel" we gathered by torturing prisoners. Rinse, lather, repeat. We will reap what we have sown.

  186. Good intel stays classified, so get ready wait a long time.