Top 3 Takeaways from Gina Haspel's Confirmation Hearings
1. It appears that Gina Haspel made several misrepresentations to Congress about her role in the destruction of the tapes of brutal interrogations. Haspel denied knowing that her former boss – Jose Rodriguez – planned to destroy the tapes without approval from CIA leadership. But Rodriguez said in a recent interview that he told Haspel directly that he intended to send the cable to destroy the tapes with or without legal permission. She also claimed she was not aware of Congress' attempts to investigate the interrogation program, yet her boss was part of the internal team pushing back on the Washington Post's November 2, 2005 investigation into the Thailand black site. Rodriguez recently said the story inspired the drafting of the cable to destroy the tapes two days later.
2. Gina Haspel signaled she won’t stand up to Trump on torture. When asked, “if the President gave you a direct order to waterboard that suspect, what would you do?” she said, “I do not believe the President would ask me to do that, um, but, um ..." followed by a long pause. Trump has repeatedly promised to bring back waterboarding, and “much worse.” She didn't stand up against torture before, so, after today, what makes us believe she'd stand up to Trump now?
Gina Haspel repeatedly declined to answer Sen. Kamala Harris' question on if she believes the CIA's previous interrogation techniques were immoral. pic.twitter.com/V2h3lWCj2a— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) May 9, 2018
3. Gina Haspel still does not believe torture is immoral, which was made clear after Sen. Kamala Harris asked her four times whether CIA interrogation techniques were immoral, and Haspel refused to say yes, and instead saying, “I support the higher moral standard we have decided to hold ourselves to.” Sen. Wyden made it quite clear that she continued to champion the RDI program even after 2005.