March 28, 2018

Ari Melber covered a topic that would be getting national attention, were it not for the frenetic 24/7 news cycle coming out of the Trump administration.

Just after Mike Pompeo stepped down from CIA, Trump declared that he was promoting Gina Haspel to run the CIA, touting her as a great choice. Well, many Americans have a different opinion. Both Democrats and Republicans have reservations leading back to Haspel's past history as the person who had oversight over a CIA "black site" in Thailand. While an open investigation into torture was underway, evidence was destroyed. Haspel claims to not have given the order for tapes to be destroyed, though.

Ari Melber discussed this in an extensive segment on his nightly show, The Beat, on Tuesday night. It was hard hitting, deep dive into what Haspel's confirmation could mean for our country, as well as how we would be viewed by the world.

Here is a bit of what Ari had to say:

Even hardened CIA officials were reduced to tears after seeing what was done at the base that Haspel ran and claiming that "torture is not torture, it was enhanced interrogation". There was even a conservative radio host who famously touted a plan to undergo waterboarding, to say that it wasn't torture, and that didn't go as planned when he lasted about 10 seconds.

Barack Obama ran against torture in 2008, he reissued the bans against the techniques that bush used on his first day in office.

(Obama clip) We have to be clear and unequivocal, we do not torture. period. That will be my position as President.

President Obama signed a second order banning aggressive interrogation techniques, such as waterboarding, which many consider torture...Obama stopped torture as policy and then those recent Bush administration torture allegations were investigated. Bush officials still denying those sessions were torture and then it turned out there were tapes of some of those sessions, Over 90 of them, and investigators wanted the tapes to review what happened. But in the middle of that open probe, the CIA destroyed 92 of these tapes, including tapes of a detainee at Haspel's site. And the order to destroy the tapes came from official Rodriguez. Officials probed whether others were involved, including Haspel, his top aid. Other CIA officials say she was a strong advocate for getting rid of the tapes. The agency's top lawyer says she persistently pressed for tape destruction, but officials argued that she was just carrying out an order, it was her supervisor who insisted that the tapes go away.

There's no evidence that she was protesting against torture, there's every evidence she was covering it up.

Covering it up. That is a big problem. As it is, the CIA has incredible power. Intelligence, interrogation, investigations. We cannot have someone leading it who feels that torture is ok and that covering up any violations of our constitution is ok. That is not what our country is about. That is not American ideals. We need to do whatever can to ensure that this woman is not confirmed.

Ari ended with:

It doesn't matter if torture works, it's barred by our law and our constitution and the President is bound to uphold that. And it also doesn't matter much what Trump says about this, it's what he does, he's promoting Haspel, handing the keys to the interrogation room to a person who's committed torture and covered eded up torture. and given what we know now, should this person be promoted to -- on the rule of law or accountability if this kind of record were recorded right now. It's become common in this Trump era to say nothing really matters. If you think about it, that's actually what the people who get away with things want you to believe. This matters and the end of this story has not yet been written. The Senate has opposed Haspel before, many say they will oppose this pick. ..and libertarian Rand Paul says he's already against her. So her nomination and our country's view of for torture right now in 2018, in the balance right now.

We need more segments like this, especially on this topic.

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