Gina Haspel is to be questioned by senators over alleged CIA war crimes
The woman President Donald Trump has nominated to lead the CIA is to be questioned by US senators regarding the use of illegal interrogation methods, which she supposedly endorsed and then covered up. Alleged Gina Haspel war crimes apparently include the torture of prisoners in secret black sites in Thailand in 2002, at the height of the war on terror.
The Senate Intelligence Committee will grill the 61-year-old, who has worked for the agency for 33 years, over her involvement in the destruction of 92 CIA videotapes, which supposedly showed prisoners being waterboarded, sleep deprived, suspended from hooks and forced to lie in coffins for several hours.
In April, the CIA made public a memo dated 2011, which stated that Deputy Director Michael Morell cleared Haspel of any wrongdoing in the destruction of the torture tapes, stating that Haspel "acted appropriately," on the orders of her direct superiors.
In a formal statement, Haspel said: "I understand that what many people around the country want to know about are my views on CIA's former detention and interrogation program. I have views on this issue, and I want to be clear. Having served in that tumultuous time, I can offer you my personal commitment, clearly and without reservation, that under my leadership CIA will not restart such a detention and interrogation program."
Trump's selection of Haspel for the position of the head of the agency in March has been contentious, and her nomination was quickly opposed by Democrats, human rights groups and other activists. Criticising the selective nature of the declassified documents, Democrat Senator Dianne Feinstein stated: "It’s completely unacceptable for the CIA to declassify only material that’s favourable to Gina Haspel, while at the same time stonewalling our efforts to declassify all documents related to her involvement in the torture program. Senators and the public need to know more about her record." However, many believe that Haspel's experience means that she's still sure to get the job.