Image 01 Image 03

Trump’s CIA Director Pick Gina Haspel Will Likely Face Questions About Role in Torture

Trump’s CIA Director Pick Gina Haspel Will Likely Face Questions About Role in Torture

Haspel ran secret CIA prison in Thailand that used “enhanced” interrogation methods.

President Donald Trump fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson this morning and nominated CIA Director Mike Pompeo to take over that role. He also nominated CIA Deputy Director Gina Haspel to lead the spy agency.

If confirmed, Haspel will become the first woman CIA director. However, she may face a rocky road to confirmation due to her role in torture sessions at a secret prison in Thailand.

The Republicans have a one seat majority in the Senate. That incredibly slim lead may dissolve with Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) who has always been one of the leading voices against these “enhanced” interrogation techniques the government has used.

Haspel’s Work in Thailand

In February 2017, The New York Times published an article about Haspel’s work after her promotion to deputy director. It noted that Pompeo does not consider waterboarding and other techniques as torture and praised the “patriots” who used these different methods in the early 2000s against al-Qaeda:

Ms. Haspel, who has spent most of her career undercover, would certainly fall within Mr. Pompeo’s description. She played a direct role in the C.I.A.’s “extraordinary rendition program,” under which captured militants were handed to foreign governments and held at secret facilities, where they were tortured by agency personnel.

The C.I.A.’s first overseas detention site was in Thailand. It was run by Ms. Haspel, who oversaw the brutal interrogations of two detainees, Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri.

Reports revealed that the agency waterboarded Zubaydah 83 times in one month and “repeatedly slammed” his head into walls. The interrogators eventually admitted he did not have any “useful information” for them.

The interrogators videotaped these sessions and stored them at a CIA station. Officials ordered destruction of the videotapes in 2005 while Haspel worked at CIA headquarters. The cables of those “destructions orders” had her name.

The 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.

Former CIA counterterrorism officer John Kiriakou said that Haspel “oversaw the staff,” which included the two psychologists. Kiriaku claimed those two men “designed the torture techniques” and “actually carried out torture on the prisoners.”

Complications Within the Senate

I do not know for sure how Paul will vote, but we all know he does not approve of torture. In January 2017, Paul appeared on CNN with Jake Tapper to refute Trump’s claim that torture works (emphasis mine):

Paul took the opposite view, telling CNN’s Jake Tapper that “it’s currently against the law and I hope it will remain against the law.”

He pointed out that incoming Defense Secretary James Mattis is also against torture and believes that it doesn’t work. He also argued that U.S. intelligence officials have previously detained the wrong people, casting additional doubt on the idea that enhanced interrogation methods were justified.

“The CIA detained 119 people, 39 of them were tortured, and the conclusion of the Senate committee’s report was that it didn’t work, but there was also something very alarming,” said Paul. “Of the 119 people that the CIA detained around the world, 26 of them were mistakenly identified, sometimes with people who had similar names, but they detained the wrong people. I think most Americans would be alarmed if 22 percent of the people we picked up and tortured were the wrong people.”

Paul went on to say that Mike Pompeo’s support for torture was one of the reasons he voted against his confirmation as CIA director.

SO! How will he vote for Haspel? I emailed Paul’s office and inquired about his thoughts on Haspel. But if he didn’t choose Pompeo because of the latter’s support of torture I don’t see how he can vote yes on Haspel.

If he votes no and the votes fall to 50-50, then Vice President Mike Pence will cast his tie-breaking vote.

The Senate confirmed Pompeo 66-32. Paul was the only Republican who voted no, but as you can tell from that vote, some Democrats voted yes (I emphasized the surprising ones):

  • Joe Donnelly of Indiana
  • Dianne Feinstein of California
  • Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire
  • Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota
  • Tim Kaine of Virginia
  • Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota
  • Joe Manchin of West Virginia
  • Claire McCaskill of Missouri
  • Jack Reed of Rhode Island
  • Brian Schatz of Hawaii
  • Chuck Schumer of New York
  • Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire
  • Mark Warner of Virginia
  • Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island


Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.


Here come the Dims with their War on Wymin™ again.

    notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to Paul. | March 13, 2018 at 5:12 pm

    I thought the Dims were all for Women beating people up……

      They wholeheartedly support waterboarding men (i.e. warlock trials) until they confess and babies who invade women’s wombs. They also support elective wars, opening abortion fields, gun running (e.g. “fast and furious” loophole, Libya-ISIS affair), and accurate recreations of the “trail of tears” a.k.a. refugee crises from Libya to Syria to Ukraine.

As I said in a previous thread, Haspel is an interesting choice for DCI

Her rendition activities will be problematic for Dems, and other libs. However, she appears to be a Clandestine Services dinosaur who is not afraid to use brass knuckle tactics to protect this country. such a person might be just what the CIA and the country need, in an era where Russia is flexing its muscles, including those of its intel services; where the Chinese are currently hiding their public face behind the panda mask; where Iran is still running Hezbollah and other terrorist agents and where we might have to take clandestine action in North Korea.

I think that I will just set back and watch how this plays out.

    Milhouse in reply to Mac45. | March 14, 2018 at 4:23 am

    I’m sure she’s ruthless, but that’s not necessarily good. Dems can be ruthless too. Had Hillary Clinton been president in 2001, can you imagine her being squeamish about how terrorists were treated? No, she’d revel in the chance to act out her violent fantasies. AlGore too. These people only turn peacenik when they’re in opposition.

    The fact remains that she’s career CIA, and that almost certainly means a Dem.

      Whitewall in reply to Milhouse. | March 14, 2018 at 7:26 am

      “The fact remains that she’s career CIA, and that almost certainly means a Dem.”
      Quite so. I’m betting she has been at it long enough to harken back to the days when Dem or Rep didn’t matter. They all could be patriots first.

      Mac45 in reply to Milhouse. | March 14, 2018 at 10:56 am

      I’m unclear on your objections, here. Are you concerned that Haspel may be too ruthless? Or are you simply jumping to the conclusion that because she is already in the CIA that she is a Democrat who will make decisions based wholly upon party ideology?

      Milhouse in reply to Milhouse. | March 14, 2018 at 5:11 pm

      I’m worried that her loyalty is to her fellow CIA members rather than to the president, that she’s of the same CIA culture that tries to undermine every R administration, that whatever efforts Pompeo made to clean up that swamp wetland have been defeated, just like those of Porter Goss before him.

I wish they would talk to me about how Chucky, Shiffy, McStain, Maxie Pad and Nancy Puke torture me.

4th armored div | March 13, 2018 at 7:00 pm

i recently watched zero dark thirty –

i don’t know how accurate this film is, gives you an idea how and why mistakes in names happen and how hard it is to get info
on taqiyah spouting Muslims behave.

if we play ‘nice’ then we have NO hope of unraveling the terrorist networks (even with people inside).
Dr. Ben Carson got it right when he said that taqiyya “allows, and even encourages, you to lie to achieve your goals.” The prophet makes that clear.

johnnycab23513 | March 13, 2018 at 7:31 pm

I wonder if anyone will ask her to estimate the American lives saved by making a few terrorists uncomfortable.

Be intetesting to see how the dems attack her wont it. Then again we shouldnt be surprised by the dems as the dont consider conservatives to be human and worthy of respect to start with.

Perhaps she could show the FBI how to “interview” Hillary.

Ms. Haspel’s response to hostile Dem questioning: “Senator, are you against my confirmation because…I’m a woman?”

Hopefully she wiped the tapes – like, with a cloth – or had her associates use sledgehammers on them. Then it will be OK.

Wait, why are we playing into the left’s hands by calling enhanced interrogation “torture”? Seriously, this makes no sense.

Enhanced interrogation included slapping prisoners and playing loud music they didn’t like. Annoying, maybe, but “torture”?

Of the enhanced interrogation techniques we know about (, the worst by far is water-boarding. A technique used on very few detainees (though likely more than the three Dick Cheney claims) and on our own special ops guys for training purposes.

I have no idea what Haspell’s role was, but this is a million miles from a disqualifying line on her resume. We’re talking CIA here.

    Milhouse in reply to Fuzzy Slippers. | March 14, 2018 at 9:12 am

    Enhanced interrogation included slapping prisoners and playing loud music they didn’t like. Annoying, maybe, but “torture”?

    How about slamming heads into walls?

    September 11, 2001 marked the most overt attack upon the United States by semi-organized international Islamic armed forces. The US was at war. We were not facing a criminal enterprise which was engaged in criminal operation for the purpose of making money. The attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon were not simply collateral damage. These were specific attacks designed solely to harm the United States of America and her people. We were at WAR. And you can not fight a war as you would investigate a criminal conspiracy.

    During WWII, the US firebombed many cities [Dresden and Tokyo for example] largely for the purpose of terrorizing the inhabitants. There were no specific military facilities targeted, only civilian population areas. The use of nuclear munitions in Japan, was not directed at any military targets, but civilian population areas. These are war crimes. But, no one ever called them that. No one was ever held accountable for them. Why? Because they were seen as being a viable means of ending the war and protecting the people of the US and the world. Fast forward to the US-Islam war of late 20th Century. In this conflict, many people in leadership positions in the US refused to entertain the notion that the US was at war with anyone. They attempted, and are continuing to attempt, to convince themselves and others that the attacks upon the US were simply the result of a small group of religious zealots. They refuse to acknowledge that this “small group of religious zealots” has the support of hundreds of millions of Muslims around the globe as well as several recognized nations. They refuse to believe that there is a war in progress for the continued existence of the United States and Western Civilization.

    But, whether people want to believe it or not, such a war exists. It is a war of extinction of Western culture. And, in order to win a war of this magnitude, almost anything is allowed, including “enhanced interrogation techniques”. And, such techniques are a heck of less destructive than bombing entire towns and cities or rounding up all the Muslims in the Us and either interring them or deporting them. Are violent interrogation techniques unpleasant? Yes. Is losing over 3000 people and having the skyline of a major US city altered by a violent attack unpleasant? Incredibly more so. And incredibly more expensive.

    Remember the George Orwell quote:

    “We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence upon those who would do us harm”.

    Not a pleasant thought. But sometimes necessary.

Fuzzy had her coffee early this morn. She’s right, enhanced interrogation, like simulated drowning, may approach the boundry lines of actual torture but they are not the same thing.

And I always find this debate so hypocritical. The no-torture crowd racks up cheap Virtue Points by betting the odds that in the ticking Time Bomb scenario it will be SOMEONE ELSE’S city at risk, SOMEONE ELSE’S loved ones incinerated. When we know damn well that have Rand Paul’s grandkids were the blast radius he would be peeling back Achmed’s fingernails.

I do not like to hear about enhanced interrogation techniques being called “torture”…when it can be successfully used on our own special forces to show them how to withstand the techniques if captured…How soon we forget about the innocent people who were slowly baked to death in the heat or were burned alive on 9/11…and.I personally knew 8 of them.

The “Snow flakes” who object to enhanced interrogation techniques that would save the lives of Americans and many others, sleep with their heads in the sand…and no real appreciation for the human life that could be saved by making someone “uncomfortable” by E.I.T.

buckeyeminuteman | March 14, 2018 at 1:05 pm

The US was not charged with war crimes for the fire-bombing of Dresden, Hamburg and Tokyo because we were on the winning side. If you haven’t seen the docu-drama “The Fog of War” with Robert McNamara you should. He was a statistics officer in the Army. The cost of the war, the number of lives lost and the cost of the bombs dropped versus the number of lives saved justified the fire-bombings and the atom bombs. And water boarding a dozen (or multiple dozens) of terrorists justified keeping another 9/11 attack from happening. As awful as water-boarding may be, the collapse of the WTC with thousands of people inside is exponentially worse. Sure I don’t like it that my government “tortured” people, but we don’t live in a black and white world.

    I would agree except that I do like it and am very happy that my government chose waterboarding to prevent westerners and innocents from dying.

She can waterboard me anytime she wants.

I am optimistic that she’s a good candidate.

Sounds like she has more balls than most men in Washington. I’m voting to confirm.

In replete “Buckeye” and others who do not understand real history because our education system and the media only show the loss of civilians and never show the facts about why Cities had to be “bombed”….My father was in WW2 and worked on the Manhattan Project, so our family grew up understanding the facts about what and why things happened. The following is only the Hiroshima military information…the same information is available for Nagasaki, Dresden…etc…etc:

Hiroshima during World War II

At the time of its bombing, Hiroshima was a city of both industrial and military significance. A number of military units were located nearby, the most important of which was the headquarters of Field Marshal Shunroku Hata’s Second General Army, which commanded the defense of all of southern Japan,[111] and was located in Hiroshima Castle. Hata’s command consisted of some 400,000 men, most of whom were on Kyushu where an Allied invasion was correctly anticipated.[112] Also present in Hiroshima were the headquarters of the 59th Army, the 5th Division and the 224th Division, a recently formed mobile unit.[113] The city was defended by five batteries of 7-cm and 8-cm (2.8 and 3.1 inch) anti-aircraft guns of the 3rd Anti-Aircraft Division, including units from the 121st and 122nd Anti-Aircraft Regiments and the 22nd and 45th Separate Anti-Aircraft Battalions. In total, an estimated 40,000 Japanese military personnel were stationed in the city.[114]

Hiroshima was a supply and logistics base for the Japanese military.[115] The city was a communications center, a key port for shipping, and an assembly area for troops.[77] It was a beehive of war industry, manufacturing parts for planes and boats, for bombs, rifles, and handguns.[1

Loss of civilian human life is always a Tragedy…but if non-lethal and E.I.T. is used to avoid any loss it is worth it.
Society today has been brain washed about the U.S. bombings in WW2…because that is what was reported and the loss of civilian life was high. But what is not reported is that both Germany & Japan put military facilities in and around large cities with the civilians were the work force in war time production…

Here is what is NOT reported about Dresden..purposely omitted from history books, etc.

‘Dresden was one of the greatest commercial and transportation centers (sic) of Germany…It was, however, because of its geographical location and topography and as a primary communications center that Dresden assumed major significance as a military target in February 1945, as the Allies moved eastward and the Russian armies moved westwards.’ ‘Dresden was the junction of three great trunk routes in the German railway system: (1) Berlin-Prague-Vienna, (2) Munich-Breslau, and (3) Hamburg-Leipsig-Prague.’ ‘Dresden was, in February 1945, known to contain at least 110 factories and industrial enterprises that were legitimate military targets, and were reported to have employed 50,000 workers in arms plants alone. Among those were dispersed aircraft components factories; a poison gas factory (Chemische Fabric Goye and Company); an anti-aircraft and field gun factory (Lehman); the great Zeiss Ikon A.G., Germany’s most important optical goods manufactury; and, among others, factories engaged in the production of electrical and X-ray apparatus (Koch and Stersel A.G.), small arms (Seidel u. Numan), moulds and metal packings (Anton Reiche A.G.), gears and differentials (Saxoniswerke), and electric gauges (Gebruder Basslar).

To say we never torture is to say we never torture no matter what consequence. Pretty dumb thing to say — unless that truly is the thing you hold most dear. In that case, get a life. Paul is being naive or grandstanding.

inspectorudy | March 14, 2018 at 7:02 pm

There is an excellent Netflix series called “The Assets” about the CIA trying to catch the mole, Aldrich Ames. It shows the hurdles that the rank and file must overcome to make a dent in the bureaucrats and politics on the “Seventh” floor. It is a true story and shows how hard it is for them to get anything done. But there is an old girl in it that was called back to the agency to help find the mole. She appears to be a Gina Haspel counterpart.

Terrorists are subhuman. Bachelor head into walls all you like, I’m more concerned with how cattle are taken to slaughter.

To quote Fitz from West Wing, ” we judge success on whether the mission was successful and how few innocent lives were lost. They judge success on how many”

Bash their heads not bachelor lol

What a load. The D’rats are pulling the same tactic they used in 2016, with the loud claim that Russia “hacked” the election.

The charge is utterly meaningless.

It’s meaningless because “hacked” means nothing in this context. Like “rape” when used by a feminist or “racist” when used by a Democrat, it is meaningless and so can’t be refuted or even denied. But it still sounds vaguely “bad” and so sets the stage for people who don’t think about things too seriously … i.e., reporters and too many voters.

Now, the word “torture” means nothing, just as it meant nothing when George W was attacked with it.

There is a historical definition of “torture” which is not meaningless. At one time “torture” excluded anything which could be patched up with a couple of decent meals, a bath, and a good night’s sleep. In other words, if it didn’t show later, it wasn’t “torture”.

Pulling out fingernails was torture. Beating with truncheons was torture. Forcing someone to swallow a live snake (don’t ask) was torture, even though that wouldn’t show, exactly.

Sleep deprivation, verbal threats, proximity to someone else who definitely was being tortured, or confinement in a cell kept uncomfortably hot or cold or too small to stand upright or even sit down, though maddening (figuratively), were not torture.

More useful are some modern repetitive techniques similar to the famous Chinese water “torture” which are very effective (by reputation … I’ve never tried them myself) but take a little time to work; usually less than a day, but they’re certainly not the thing for instant gratification, like tracking down a bomb due to go off in a few hours. By the historical definition, these aren’t “torture”. They don’t even leave a bruise, though I’m sure they leave unpleasant memories.

The modern fad is to talk about “torture” as if it includes absolutely anything more severe than one would experience in a job interview. And this is hardly a useful concept. But it’s not meant to be useful; it’s meant to be sophistry—”Hey, have you stopped torturing your wife yet?”