Read time: 3 minutes

CIA Chief Nominee Gina Haspel Can't Say Whether Torture Is Immoral

During her Senate confirmation hearing, Senator Kamala Harris pressed Gina Haspel on the morality of torture. Haspel ducked and dodged, filibustering to the end.
Views:

All of the Senators in today's confirmation hearing for Gina Haspel used the euphemism "interrogation techniques" when referring to the torture they inflicted on prisoners during the Bush administration, today, but those of us who lived through the Bush years remember it for what it is: Naked, brutal torture, and Gina Haspel was right in the thick of it.

Kamala Harris was the most pointed in her questioning, flatly asking Haspel whether she believed the interrogations were immoral. Here is the exchange:

HARRIS: One question i have not heard you answer is do you believe that the previous interrogation techniques were immoral?

HASPEL: Senator, i believe that CIA officers to whom you referred --

HARRIS: It's a yes or no answer. Do you believe the previous interrogation techniques were immoral? I'm not asking do you believe they were legal. I'm asking do you believe they were immoral?

HASPEL: Senator, i believe that CIA did extraordinary work to prevent another attack on this country given the legal tools that we were authorized to use.

HARRIS: Answer yes or no. do you believe in hindsight those techniques were immoral?

HASPEL: What i believe sitting here today is i support the higher moral standard we decided to hold ourselves to.

HARRIS: Will you please answer the question?

HASPEL: Senator, i think I've answered the question.

HARRIS: You've not. Do you believe the previous techniques now armed with hindsight, do you believe they were immoral? Yes or no?

HASPEL: Senator, i believe that we should hold ourselves to the moral standard outlined in the army field manual.

HARRIS: Okay. so i understand that you have not answered the question, but I'm going to move on.

There was some back and forth about whether she should have recused herself from the review of her record to declassify information for the hearing, something which absolutely should have happened. Talk about sanitizing the resumé!

Finally, they came to the end, where Harris flatly asked Haspel if she agrees with Trump's assertion that torture works.

"Senator, I don't believe that torture works," Haspel replied. But, and there's always a Big BUT, right? "I believe as many people, directors who have sat in this chair before me that valuable information was obtained from senior Al Qaeda operatives that allowed us to defend this country and prevent another attack."

Oh. So she's splitting that hair three ways, basically claiming that it wasn't torture at all ,but just some cool, approved interrogation techniques that disgorged "valuable information." Sure.

Harris pounced. "Is that a yes?"

Haspel danced. "No, it's not a yes. We got valuable information from debriefing of Al Qaeda detainees, and I don't think it's knowable whether interrogation techniques played a role in that."

Slick gavotte there, Gina. But no dice. Torture did not do anything but stain the moral character of this country.

Trump has said over and over again that he would not only reinstitute torture, but make it even harsher and more immoral. It sounds like he's got the perfect partner in Haspel.

Can you help us out?

For 16 years we have been exposing Washington lies and untangling media deceit. We work 7 days a week, 16 hours a day for our labor of love, but with rising hosting and associated costs, we need your help! Could you donate $20 for 2020? Please consider a one time or recurring donation of whatever amount you can spare, or consider subscribing for an ad-free experience. It will be greatly appreciated and help us continue our mission of exposing the real FAKE NEWS!

More C&L Coverage

Discussion

New Commenting System

Our comments are now powered by Insticator. In order to comment you will need to create an Insticator account. The process is quick and simple. Please note that the ability to comment with a C&L site account is no longer available.

We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Any comments that are sexist or in any other way deemed hateful by our staff will be deleted and constitute grounds for a ban from posting on the site. Please refer to our Terms of Service (revised 3/17/2016) for information on our posting policy.

Please Do Not Use the Login Link at the Top of the Site.

In order to comment you must use an Insticator account. To register an account, enter your comment and click the post button. A dialog will then appear allowing you create your account.

We will be retiring our Crooks and Liars user account system in January, 2021.

Thank you.
C&L Team