On Friday, Gina Haspel, the current acting director of the CIA and nominee to become the full-director, offered to withdraw her nomination in light of the deep resistance to her appointment from congress.
By Saturday, however, she was announcing that she would not withdraw, and her hearing has been set for Wednesday. If the senators present at the hearing can muster the courage to ask her, it may be the first time Haspel ever speaks publicly about her involvement in CIA torture programs.
We’ve been following Haspel’s nomination for some time now, and would be lying if we said we weren’t disappointed that she decided not to withdraw.
But, it will be interesting to see how her hearing goes and whether or not the senate will be able to gather the nerve to ask Haspel about her record and her involvement in CIA torture.
The White House has resorted to framing this issue as one of women’s rights, with White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders issuing the following statement on Saturday via Twitter:
True feminism, however, is not just about the advancement of women alone, and it certainly is not about the advancement of women regardless of their personal ethics.
Real feminism, which incorporates the theory of intersectionality, is about the advancement of all people to the point of equity — lifting everyone up simultaneously so that no one gets left behind, man or woman.
To put someone like Gina Haspel in power simply because she would be the first woman to hold the position despite her ethical shortcomings is akin to putting a man with a known record of kidnapping in charge of a daycare center simply because he’d be the first man to be its director.
This is a woman with a verified record of torture as well as a woman who is known to have personally ordered the destruction of evidence that links her to torture.
Here’s what the man who blew the whistle on her torture programs had to say about Haspel during an interview in March with DemocracyNow!:
“We did call her Bloody Gina. Gina was always very quick and very willing to use force. You know, there was a group of officers in the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center, when I was—when I was serving there, who—I hate to even make the accusation out loud, but I’m going to say it: who enjoyed using force. Yeah, everybody knew that torture didn’t work. That’s not even the issue. Lots of different things work. Was it moral, and was it ethical, and was it legal? I think the answers to those questions are very clearly no. But Gina and people like Gina did it, I think, because they enjoyed doing it. They tortured just for the sake of torture, not for the sake of gathering information.” – John Kiriakou
The CIA is an organization that interacts with nearly every nation in the world — is Haspel really the most appropriate person to be coordinating with those countries, with countries whose citizens she maimed and tortured?
We’ll see what the senate thinks this Wednesday.
Stay tuned for further coverage of this story.