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Gina Haspel: Punished for Loyal Service

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CIA director nominee and acting CIA Director Gina Haspel is sworn in by U.S Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr to testify at her confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., May 9, 2018. Chip Somodevilla/Pool via REUTERS

Gina Haspel has been selected by President Trump as the new Director of the Central Intelligence Agency after serving the agency effectively for 32 years, under two Democratic and four Republican presidents.

But Democrats still oppose her confirmation because CIA policy after 9/11 called for enhanced interrogation techniques and she followed her orders in executing that policy. After Congress pressed to eliminate tactics like water-boarding, she accepted that decision too, and executed it without complaint.

For Democrats, in other words, it’s her loyal service to the agency, under both Republican and Democratic leadership, that disqualifies Haspel. If they oppose her confirmation, they are saying we can’t accept anyone with long and varied experience at the agency who has followed legal orders through the chain of command.

In fighting this patriotic, richly qualified nominee the Democrats are placing political gamesmanship ahead of national security.

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Comments (13)

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  1. Ty  •  May 10, 2018 at 5:15 pm

    And McCain too Michael. He does not want to support her. Turns out some people draw lines against support for torture and having the evidence destroyed.

  2. Rizzo  •  May 11, 2018 at 4:42 am

    Oh yes, and don’t forget how much the left just loves women. Promote all women. Put them in positions of power. Treat them with respect, and blah, blah, blah.
    #metoo are total hypocrites!

    And BTW, I am all for water boarding the shit out of these terrorist scumbags. That’s the least worst thing they deserve!

    • Nani Tavares  •  May 11, 2018 at 6:18 am

      Amen Rizzo! The Left probably believes we were wrong to end WWII with nukes and any action taken to defend ourselves. The funny thing is these are people who were probably bullied in school and/or refused to serve. They believed then and now that if you just kiss the butt of those trying to hurt you, you’d be ok. The part that has an instinct to fight back know what cowards they are and so they try to rewrite the narrative so that those who stand firm and are willing to fight are the bad guys.

      They’ve said it so often and so convincingly that many just accept it. I, like you, are for any means to break someone who would hurt this nation.

      • Ty  •  May 11, 2018 at 7:24 am

        Oh yes Nani, much better to Trust the judgment of President Bone Spurs over McCain that was actually tortured. You're so big and strong there playing chicken hawk. To elevate that woman with that blight on her record is not something to cheer for… unless you are just another supplicant for Party and Trump.

  3. Rizzo  •  May 11, 2018 at 8:52 am

    Ty… did you vote for McCain?
    No, no you didn’t. So quit upholding McCain
    like his word is golden.
    McCain was tortured, but I bet he would trade
    in a heartbeat what he endured for waterboarding.

    • Ty  •  May 11, 2018 at 2:10 pm

      I voted for McCain over Obama in 2008. That was when I was more of a neocon and bought into arguments of people like David Frum and Christopher Hitchens about the value of using military force to topple dictatorships and allow more freedom and democracy and self determination to spread. Turns out, that had the unintended consequence of unleashing a centuries long blood feud that was barely contained by the steel cleated boot of Sadaam. Now I am more wary of intervention, not because I think they are never justified, but because the aftermath weighs more heavily in my mind now.

      When you have people where there is little to no self reflection, you get people like John Bolton.

      • Rizzo  •  May 11, 2018 at 3:03 pm

        John Bolton, who has served 4 or 5 Presidents, has no self reflection.

        Ty… Do yourself a favor, think before you type.
        Otherwise, you come off as a person who has no "self reflection", and a real moron.

      • Rizzo  •  May 14, 2018 at 7:52 am

        You voted for McCain?
        Did you just happen to have what alcoholics refer to as a MOMENT OF CLARITY?

  4. Harvey Homan  •  May 11, 2018 at 1:42 pm

    McCain's a rhino hypocrite and has been for years. I'm truly sick of the man. He voted for CIA Director Brennan (Obama's pick), who was Ms. Haspel's boss during the waterboarding of the 9-11 mastermind. How soon we forget. Trump's had McCain's number for years. I suspect a lot of us do. Drain the swamp!

  5. Nani Tavares  •  May 11, 2018 at 5:28 pm

    Ty, I feel I must break this to you: most people aren't buying the Liberal moral high ground you and yours claim. Honestly, you've proven to be hypocritical so often that it's hard to swallow the bull. I can't get how you can say it with a straight face as if America never did what it must to protect herself, as if people weren't trying to destroy us, as if 9/11 never happened. I'll be the first to admit that I sat in my own bubble of unconcern of foreign affairs and had little or no time for self examination of motives and theories. 9/11 changed all that.

    It should have for you and all those who live in this nation. Honestly, the ingratitude is nauseating as is the flagellation of our nation. Enough Ty. We ain't buying.

    • Ty  •  May 11, 2018 at 5:33 pm

      No need to break anything to me Nani, I knew the bottom fell out of any moral ground for the base of modern conservatism years ago. Remember, I used to listen to a lot of talk radio and heard first hand how deep the rot had spread.

      • Rizzo  •  May 12, 2018 at 10:23 am

        Moral High Ground?
        Who is it that supports illegal aliens over US Citizens?
        Who is it that protects terrorists and their rights over the safety of US Citizens?
        Who is that supports stealing money from hardworking citizens and giving it to those who did not earn it?
        Who is that supports killing innocent babies and protecting criminals?

        Libtards should NEVER talk about "Moral High Ground". You people are lunatics.

  6. michael sanders  •  May 31, 2018 at 2:24 am

    She didn’t destroy the tapes. Jose Rodriguez made that unilateral call.

    John Durham and Eric holder conducted a 4 year investigation and found him to have had legal authority and so pursued no fruitless legal prosecution(s).

    Rodriguez received a slap on the wrist by way of a letter of reprimand which he had framed. Not only did he have legal authority but the moral fortitude to do what others bureaucratically procrastinated upon for 3 years.

    The tapes were never meant to be used as permanent records.

    CIA officer general counsel and an attorney general independently went through each tape to verify accuracy in the written record transcripts and found them to be complete and accurate.

    Haspel said she doesn’t think torture works; yet would not answer “yes” or “no” to Harris’ reframing of the question: “do you think these previous techniques were immoral?” The premise of the question is flawed and to answer would be like asking Harris: “Do you think killing unborn babies is immoral, ‘yes’ or ‘no’?”

    She says she will not take us back to the days of EITs and in hindsight thinks it was a mistake for the CIA to get into the detention and interrogation business. And also says they got results.

    There’s no contradictions.

    CIA was hesitant to start up a program when no infrastructure existed for it at the time. But they answered that call to duty. Congress was briefed over 40 times from 2002-2009. They were constantly reassured of having legal cover. Yet when the political winds shifted, felt like they were being thrown under the bus by some politicians after risking their lives on the pointy end of the spear. So much public outcry and distortions regarding the program. Why would they do it again?

    Since 2001-2, when the interrogation program was created at a time when we knew very little about Al Qaeda and there was a great amount of intell buzz regarding a second wave of attacks (KSM: “Soon you will know”), we’ve had a changing landscape. Haspel understands that we as a country are in a different place and have since seen legislations and court decisions such as the 2005 DTA, 2006 MCA, Rumsfeld v. Hamdan, 2015 NDAA (restricting all agencies to operate under the current Army FM- doesn’t actually “ban” torture). All this history makes it unlikely that we will return to the days of EITs.

    They were never meant to be in widespread usage. With the CIA RDI Program, it was supposed to be reserved for high value terrorists.

    119 HVD passed through the CIA program. Of these, only 33-38 had received one or more EIT. Of those, only 3 had been given CIA swim lessons. KSM was the last one in March or April of 2003. No one has been waterboarded ever since. Get that? For all the handwringing and moral consternation, no one has been waterboarded in 15 years! And we’re still talking about it! It was officially removed by Hayden from the menu of 13 DoJ-approved techniques along with one or two others he felt were no longer useful. EITs in general were less frequently used as time wore on.

    Why were they used at all? Because some of the jihadis had received interrogation resistance training at terror camps and knew how to defeat common interrogation methods (like the rapport-building techniques favored by the FBI for obtaining confessions for the purpose of pursuing criminal prosecutions- not for the purpose of timely, actionable intell to prevent future attacks and save innocent lives- this was the CIA’s mission). Other HVD did not engage because their goals with the martyrdom mindset are different than that of your common criminal. So social influence techniques weren’t always adequate.

    By 2006, over half of what we learned about Al Qaeda- it’s financing, operatives and key leaders, goals, future plots, courier system, training, etc.- was thanks to the CIA RDI Program (despite what the highly partisan, ideologically flawed and agenda-driven 2014 SSCI Study on the CIA RDI Program misleads the public to believe about the “torture” narrative.

    EITs should not be perceived as a euphemism for torture. The techniques did not function like that in the CIA Program, as created by James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen. It was more about the psychology and creating a smoke-and-mirrors “bluff”. Interrogators didn’t ask questions they didn’t already know the answers to during an EIT session- so the worn-out parroted strawman talking point about how torture doesn’t work because people will say anything you want to say to make the pain stop is meaningless drivel. Duh. It didn’t work that way. Information intell gathering occurred during debriefing, when the HVD was brought into a state of cooperation and SITs applied.

    Trump is wrong about bringing back torture and waterboarding “and worse”, btw. He basically had shared the same Jack Bauer belief and distorted narrative as the critics regarding how CIA interrogations worked. Only he is all for torturing terrorists and torture alarmists and critics are against. Both are wrong.

    This is why people like Haspel, Mike Morell, and Michael Hayden can appear to be walking talking contradictions and paradoxes by saying they don’t believe in torture or that the program should never have been started; and then in the next breath claim EITs did get results and defend aspects of the Program.

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