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May 17, 2018

Haspel Confirmed to Lead CIA Despite Role in Torture Program

Washington, D.C.—In response to today’s confirmation of Gina Haspel as CIA director, General Charles C. Krulak (ret.), former commandant of the Marine Corps, issued the following statement:

“As someone who has supported the Constitution my whole life, I recognize that Congress has fulfilled its advice and consent role and confirmed Gina Haspel to be the next CIA Director. I welcome Ms. Haspel’s comments that the CIA’s torture program harmed America’s interests and was a mistake that should have never been undertaken in the first place. I look forward to working with Ms. Haspel to fulfill her pledge that the CIA will never again become involved in or associated with torture. I want to personally thank Senator McCain for his heroic efforts to rebuild a durable consensus against torture in our country. Under his leadership, Congress has passed not one, but two anti-torture laws on an overwhelmingly bipartisan basis. John McCain is the conscience of our country on this and so many other critical issues. I couldn't be more grateful for his leadership, and wish him and his family well.”

Human Rights First’s Raha Wala added:

“It is unwise that the Senate has confirmed someone so deeply and directly involved in torture, and destruction of evidence, to lead the world's most powerful spy agency. Despite the signal Haspel’s confirmation sends, the Senate has nonetheless underscored the consensus that torture is illegal, immoral, and harmful to American interests. Haspel is being confirmed because she admitted that the CIA’s program was harmful and should have never existed, and because of her pledge never to reinstate a similar program in the future. Haspel has been put on notice that Congress and the American people will hold her to this pledge."

General Krulak leads a group of retired generals and admirals who speak out against torture and work to ensure that U.S. policy reflects a single standard of prisoner treatment consistent with the Geneva Conventions. The group worked closely with Senator McCain in 2005 to pass the Detainee Treatment Act, which banned cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment and limited military interrogation to techniques listed in the Army Field Manual. The group also supported Senators McCain and Feinstein in their effort to pass the anti-torture amendment to the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act, which reinforces the United States’ ban on the use of torture, including waterboarding and other so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques.”

For more information or to speak with General Krulak or Wala, contact Corinne Duffy at DuffyC@humanrightsfirst.org or 202-370-3319.