After running a secret prison in Thailand and overseeing the torture of at least two terror suspects, the woman responsible for drafting the order to destroy 92 torture videotapes was recently promoted to CIA Deputy Director. Although former President Obama issued an executive order effectively ending the use of torture, President Donald Trump appointed a new CIA Director who criticized Obama for shutting down black sites and adhering to international anti-torture laws.
On Thursday, the CIA released a statement that said, “CIA Director Mike Pompeo today announced that President Trump has selected Gina Haspel to be the new Deputy Director of CIA.
“Ms. Haspel is a career intelligence officer, having joined the CIA in 1985. She has extensive overseas experience and served as Chief of Station in several of her assignments.
“In Washington, she has held numerous senior leadership positions at CIA, including as Deputy Director of the National Clandestine Service, Deputy Director of the National Clandestine Service for Foreign Intelligence and Covert Action, Chief of Staff for the Director of the National Clandestine Service, and in the Counterterrorist Center.”
According to The Washington Post, Haspel ran a CIA black site in Thailand codenamed “Cat’s Eye” while supervising the harsh interrogations of Abu Zubaydah and ’Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri. Shot and captured during a raid in Pakistan in 2002, Zubaydah had been recovering in a hospital when he began providing information to FBI agents regarding Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM).
Insisting that Zubaydah was withholding more information, CIA interrogators waterboarded him at least 83 times in a single month. Although Zubaydah had given up the information about KSM weeks before being tortured, the CIA still credits this human rights violation as a success, and his enhanced interrogation became a template for future atrocities.
While serving as chief of staff to Jose Rodriguez Jr. in 2005, Haspel was ordered to draft a cable demanding the destruction of the 92 videotapes that recorded the incessant torture of Abu Zubaydah and ’Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri. In response to the destruction of those tapes, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence voted to review the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation program on March 5, 2009, and later released the Senate torture report in 2014.
According to the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report, harsh interrogation techniques are not effective means of acquiring intelligence. Under duress, prisoners will say anything they believe the interrogator wants to hear in order to end the torment. Although the CIA claims information acquired through enhanced interrogation has saved lives and led to the death of Osama bin Laden, the Committee discovered these claims are patently false.
Before assuming office as CIA Director on January 23, Pompeo criticized Obama’s decisions to close black sites and abide by anti-torture laws. Pompeo has also claimed that waterboarding and other forms of enhanced interrogation do not legally constitute as torture.
During an interview with “Fox and Friends” in December 2015, Trump stated, “When you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families.”
On January 29, the Joint Special Operations Command carried out a clandestine raid in Yemen ordered by Trump that resulted in numerous deaths, including Chief Petty Officer William “Ryan” Owens and an eight-year-old girl named Nawar al-Awlaki. In September 2011, the CIA killed Nawar’s father, Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S. citizen from New Mexico, without due process. In October 2011, the CIA killed Anwar’s innocent 16-year-old son and Nawar’s half-brother, Abdulrahman, as he attended a barbeque with his friends and cousins.