Gina Haspel has been named the deputy director of the CIA — and like most of President Donald Trump’s picks, has a very controversial past.
Haspel, who according to Glenn Greenwald, “was centrally involved in the worst abuses of the CIA’s Bush-era torture regime,” will be second in command behind Mike Pompeo, the director of the CIA.
The spymaster, who spent much of her career undercover (in fact, not a single photo of her can be found on the internet, even now), joined the Central Intelligence Agency in 1985 and since then, she has largely been involved in highly controversial practices.
Take a look:
She’s A Proponent of Using “Enhanced” Interrogation Techniques:
Haspel was named acting head of CIA National Clandestine Service in 2013 but she was shifted from her position in a very short time because of her worrisome direct role in post-Sept. 11 interrogation operations, which included many methods of torture — such as Trump’s favorite waterboarding.
She Ran A Secret Torture Prison In Thailand:
In 2002, as a clandestine officer, Haspel ran a secret Thai torture prison where two al-Qaida suspects, Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, were subjected to waterboarding and other inhumane techniques.
Zubaydah alone was waterboarded 83 times in just one month, had his head slammed repeatedly into a wall and was stuffed into a tiny box where he was unable to move his limbs at all — before the interrogators realized he did not have any useful information to impart.
She Destroyed CIA Videotapes:
The spymaster was also involved in the 2005 destruction of CIA videotapes, which featured several detainees in Thailand being tortured, including Zubaydah and al-Nashiri. The intelligence agency to this day maintains they were destroyed by Jose Rodriguez, Haspel’s boss at the time, despite the fact it was her name that was on the cable carrying the record destruction order.
The concealment of the interrogation tapes violated multiple court orders as well as the advice of White House attorneys. The 9/11 Commission chairs, Lee Hamilton and Thomas Keane, also accused the CIA of impeding their inquiry and an investigation was held. However, the special prosecutor and grand jury ultimately chose not to prosecute.
After Trump’s appointment, critics slammed his choice of the deputy director.
Pompeo “must explain to the American people how his promotion of someone allegedly involved in running a torture site squares with his own sworn promises to Congress that he will reject all forms of torture and abuse,” said Christopher Anders, the deputy director of the ACLU office in Washington.
Former President Barack Obama banned the use of torture during his first term as president and not many in the CIA want to see it returned. However, Trump has asserted, time and again, that nothing works like torture and his CIA chief Pompeo stated waterboarding and other techniques don’t even constitute torture.
The appointment of Haspel once again highlights how, under Trump, America will be led by officials who prefer much harsher (and illegal) policies than their predecessors.
Banner/Thumbnail Credit: Reuters