Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who was tortured as a prisoner during the Vietnam War, condemned President Trump’s decision to nominate Gina Haspel to become the director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Tuesday, saying she was involved in “one of darkest chapters in American history.”
“The torture of detainees in U.S. custody during the last decade was one of the darkest chapters in American history,” McCain said. “Ms. Haspel needs to explain the nature and extent of her involvement in the CIA’s interrogation program during the confirmation process.”
McCain said the Bush administration “squandered precious moral authority” to get intelligence after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
The Hill added:
Haspel joined the CIA in 1985 and faced scrutiny for her role surrounding waterboarding and other interrogation techniques used on detainees at a secret CIA prison in Thailand in 2002.
Haspel was nominated to the top CIA position on Tuesday after Trump announced on Twitter that he was ousting Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and tapping Pompeo to take his post. If confirmed, Haspel will be the first woman to hold the position.
The American Civil Liberties Union said Haspel was “up to her eyeballs in torture, both in running a secret torture prison in Thailand and carrying out an order to cover up torture crimes by destroying videotapes.”
“Any nominee for Director of the CIA must pledge without reservation to uphold this prohibition, which has helped us regain our position of leadership in the struggle for universal human rights,” McCain said Tuesday.
“I know from personal experience that the abuse of prisoners will produce more bad than good,” McCain said in 2014.
While on the campaign trail in 2016, Trump pledged to kill the families of terrorists as part of his efforts to fight the Islamic State and other extremist groups. He had also promised to bring back torture.
“The other thing with the terrorists is you have to take out their families, when you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families. They care about their lives, don’t kid yourself. When they say they don’t care about their lives, you have to take out their families,” Trump said.