Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has decided to still oppose CIA Deputy Director Gina Haspel as director of the spy agency despite the fact ProPublica retracted a report that claimed she supervised and participated in torture in 2002.

From Politico:

But one of Paul’s top aides said on Friday that the Kentucky Republican will still oppose Haspel, a move that could tank her nomination in the closely divided Senate.

“Senator Rand Paul was quoting a Pulitzer-Prize winning reporter. Regardless of the retraction of one anecdote, the fact remains that Gina Haspel was instrumental in running a place where people were tortured. According to multiple published, undisputed accounts, she oversaw a black site and she further destroyed evidence of torture. This should preclude her from ever running the CIA,” said Doug Stafford, Paul’s chief strategist.

The original ProPublica report came out in February 2017 when Trump nominated Haspel as deputy director. Editor-in-chief Stephen Engelberg wrote yesterday:

On Feb. 22, 2017, ProPublica published a story that inaccurately described Gina Haspel’s role in the treatment of Abu Zubaydah, a suspected al-Qaida leader who was imprisoned by the CIA at a secret “black site” in Thailand in 2002.

The story said that Haspel, a career CIA officer who President Trump has nominated to be the next director of central intelligence, oversaw the clandestine base where Zubaydah was subjected to waterboarding and other coercive interrogation methods that are widely seen as torture. The story also said she mocked the prisoner’s suffering in a private conversation. Neither of these assertions is correct and we retract them. It is now clear that Haspel did not take charge of the base until after the interrogation of Zubaydah ended.

Engelberg acknowledged that the part of the report about her ordering the destruction of tapes from the prison. These tapes came out to the public in 2009 in a letter from federal prosecutors who investigated the destruction of said tapes:

The criminal investigation, begun in January 2008, is being led by John H. Durham, a career prosecutor from Connecticut with long experience trying organized-crime cases.

The order to destroy the tapes was given by Jose A. Rodriguez Jr., who at the time was the head of the spy agency’s clandestine service. Prosecutors have spent months trying to piece together whether anyone besides Mr. Rodriguez authorized the destruction and to decide whether anyone should be indicted in the matter.

The tapes were destroyed as Congress and the courts were intensifying their scrutiny of the agency’s detention and interrogation program.

The cables of those “destruction orders” had Haspel’s name on them.

The GOP has a one seat majority in the Senate and without Paul, Vice President Mike Pence can break the tie. If more join him (and assuming all Democrats vote no) she won’t receive confirmation. Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) has not decided how he will vote and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) remains absent due to cancer treatment.


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