Earlier this week, Gina Haspel, President Donald Trump’s pick to head the CIA, appeared before the Senate Intelligence Committee. Many Democrat senators were against Haspel’s appointment as she failed to answer questions pertaining to the enhanced interrogation program during the Bush administration. Surprisingly, Republican Senator John McCain too said that she was not the right fit to head the CIA.
Issuing a press release on Thursday, he said that the Senate Intelligence Hearing offered Haspel an opportunity to provide details about her experience in the agency, her involvement in the so-called enhanced interrogation program, and account for the mistakes the United States made in torturing detainees held in custody after the September 11 attacks. “Unfortunately, the testimony the American people heard from Haspel failed to address these concerns,” said McCain.
McCain said that while he understands the urgency that drove the decision to resort to the so-called enhanced interrogation methods to keep the nation safe, it is also important that the methods used by the CIA “must be as right and just as the values we aspire to live up to and promote in the world.” McCain acknowledged that Haspel is a patriot who has devoted her life to serving the country, but he pointed out that her role in overseeing the use of torture by Americans is “disturbing.”
“Her refusal to acknowledge torture’s immorality is disqualifying,” he said. He suggested that the Senate should exercise its duty of advice and consent and reject this nomination.
Senators Elizabeth Warren and Dianne Feinstein seconded his opinion. The duo said that they would vote against her confirmation.
The torture program was illegal at the time based on international treaties the U.S. is a signatory to, including the Convention Against Torture and Geneva Convention, but no one has ever been held accountable.
“Gina Haspel was intimately involved and should not lead the agency,” she said.
Senator Warren, who took to Twitter to express her views, said that Haspel’s involvement in the U.S.’s discredited torture program makes her unfit to lead the CIA. “Torture doesn’t just violate our values, it jeopardizes our national security and puts our military at risk,” she said.