Christopher Anders, ACLU: Gina Haspel was a central figure in one of the most illegal, shameful chapters in modern American history

WASHINGTON, March 13, 2018 – Following his selection of Mike Pompeo as the new secretary of state, President Trump today nominated Gina Haspel to succeed Pompeo as director of the CIA. Both positions require confirmation by the Senate.

Christopher Anders, deputy director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Washington Legislative Office, had the following reaction:

Gina Haspel was a central figure in one of the most illegal and shameful chapters in modern American history. She was up to her eyeballs in torture, both in running a secret torture prison in Thailand and carrying out an order to cover up torture crimes by destroying videotapes. One man held at the secret prison she ran was waterboarded 83 times, slammed against walls, sleep deprived, and locked in a coffin-like box. After she was promoted to a position back at CIA headquarters, she worked to destroy evidence of the torture crimes committed at the prison she ran. The CIA must declassify and release every aspect of Haspel’s torture record before considering the nomination.

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An additional concern that the Senate must address is whether Haspel has the independence needed for a CIA director, since she has never left the agency. This question is even more pressing as the House Intelligence Committee has made clear that it no longer takes its oversight responsibility seriously.