Haspel & Pompeo

The first encounters pushback and suspicion while the second secures his rise to power.

Haspel gears up for her confirmation hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee while Pompeo was sworn in as Secretary of State Thursday after receiving a confirmation vote in the Senate of 57 to 42.

Though the two have been steadily climbing the ladder of power ever since Rex Tillerson’s less-than-gracious dismissal started a chain reaction of vacancies to fill, it’s beginning to appear that Haspel’s climb will prove to be more difficult than Pompeo’s, and for good reason.

Pompeo has had the distinction of shaking North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s hand during a secret political liaison, and now looks forward to his official visits to Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan.

Haspel, meanwhile, continues to suffer the shame of her skeleton’s being dragged out of the closet as George Washington University’s National Security Archive has published additional documents relating to her involvement in the torture of detainees at a CIA black-site in Thailand and her instructions to destroy videotape evidence of a prisoner’s waterboarding.

The document is appropriately titled, “Gina Haspel’s CIA Torture File.”

Haspel, to her credit, is reported to have told multiple senators that she would never reauthorize a torture program.

Her attempts to distance herself from such abhorrent activities would be understandable if there weren’t already so much evidence weighing against her.

Keep in mind, we hardly know anything about the woman’s professional or private life because of her career in the clandestine services, but what we have managed to find out all indicates that she is a talented, long-time torturer who has on at least one occasion ordered the destruction of the evidence implicating her.

That doesn’t really stack up well against her promises.

Not to mention, there is an entire Senate report that is available to the public that details the CIA torture program Haspel oversaw.

Here’s a look at what Haspel’s agents did to Abu Zubaydah, a prisoner whose extensive torture, according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), eventually became a template for the program moving forward.

“Further, as previously described, during at least one waterboard session, Abu Zubaydah “became completely unresponsive, with bubbles rising through his open, full mouth.” He remained unresponsive after the waterboard was rotated upwards. Upon medical intervention, he regained consciousness and expelled “copious amounts of liquid.”

Haspel’s confirmation hearing is set to take place on May 9. If you feel that a known torturer and destroyer of evidence should not be given control over our country’s Central Intelligence Agency, consider contacting your senators and urging them to speak out against her confirmation.


For an awesome, in-depth discussion of Haspel’s nomination, as well as the history of accountability (or lack thereof) for CIA torturers, listen to Tommy Vietor’s interview with ACLU Political Director Faiz Shakir on his weekly show Pod Save the World.

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