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Deploying 'Tough on Terrorists' Euphemism, Trump Backs Haspel With Open Embrace of CIA Torture

"The President is defending his CIA Director nominee *because* she participated in illegal, immoral torture. That's a true danger in these times."

"Withdrawing is the minimum of what we should expect," wrote head of the National Lawyers Guild regarding Gina Haspel. "Prosecution should be next."

The most familiar and widely-used euphemism for the CIA's torture of human beings—misleadingly deployed by human rights violators, lawmakers, and many uncritical journalists over recent years—has been "enhanced interrogation techniques."

"Being responsible for torture doesn't make you tough on terrorism. It makes you guilty of crimes against humanity."

But early Monday morning, in order to defend his troublesome pick to lead the CIA Gina Haspel—who played a key role in the agency's post-9/11 torture program—President Donald Trump simply described Haspel as someone who was "tough on terrorists" to explain the reason she is "under fire" by human rights defenders, lawmakers, and the voting public who oppose her nomination.

Clearly, coming from a president whose capacity for lying and ignoring facts remains rather unparalleled in modern times, it was a statement so distant from reality—and divorced from human decency—that critics quickly fired back:

With Haspel facing a scheduled confirmation hearing in the Senate on Wednesday, critics of her nomination are ramping up their campaign to make sure every senator is under pressure to oppose approving someone so intimately involved in the CIA's mistreatment and abuse of the people it detained:

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