May 16, 2018
After the Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday advancedGina Haspel's nomination to direct the CIA despite the key role she played in agency's post-9/11 torture program, the full chamber is poised to offer its final approval--with the large majority of Republicans and at least five Democrats pledging to vote in favor--which critics are calling "an affront to human rights."
The ACLU, in a series of tweets, shared the details about Haspel's history that are publicly known, and said the committee had "voted to reward a dark, criminal chapter of our country's history when it shouldn't have agreed to a vote until Haspel's full torture record was made public." Calling Wednesday's 10-5 vote "an embarrassment to our democracy," the group urged other members of the Senate to "do the job the committee failed to."
Two Republicans--Sens. John McCain (Ariz.) Rand Paul (Ky.)--are openly opposing Haspel. However, in a move that's been called "beyond shameful," five Democrats--Sens. Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Joe Donnelly, (Ind.), Mark Warner (Va.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), and Bill Nelson (Fla.)--have said they plan join with the rest of the GOP and vote for Haspel, which makes it likely her nomination will clear the full Senate.
\u201cReminder: CIA director nominee Gina Haspel oversaw torture methods based on 1960s-era experiments on dogs. \n\nThis is what @MarkWarner, @HeidiHeitkamp, @JoeManchinWV and others are supporting:\u201d— ACLU (@ACLU) 1526422020
\u201cTorture Gina Haspel helped oversee:\n\n\u2022 Chaining detainees to ceiling for days, naked or in diapers\n\u2022 Slamming them into walls\n\u2022 Simulated drowning \n\u2022 Deprivation of food and sleep\n\nThis is the record @MarkWarner, @JoeManchinWV, and @HeidiHeitkamp are supporting.\u201d— ACLU (@ACLU) 1526431560
Responding to the committee's vote on Wednesday, Daphne Eviatar of Amnesty International USA said, "Due to the overwhelming public evidence suggesting Haspel's participation and compliance with crimes including torture, enforced disappearance, and obstruction of justice, Haspel's nomination is an affront to human rights."
The United States, Eviatar added, "has not held any officials accountable for the use of torture, so it's even more outrageous that the government is considering someone to the chief intelligence position in spite of her alleged participation in that clearly illegal and immoral activity."
The controversy surrounding Haspel's nomination has led to renewed calls for the Justice Department to publicly release the Durham report, which details a probe launched in 2008, after Haspel and her colleagues destroyed 92 video tapes that showed CIA agents torturing detainees, and later expanded to assess "alleged CIA mistreatment of detainees" and "whether federal laws were violated in connection with the interrogation of specific detainees at overseas locations."
While an executive summary of the report was provided to members of the Senate Intelligence Committee during their deliberations on whether to advance Haspel's nomination, the full report remains classified. Democratic lawmakers and other opponents of Haspel have turned to Twitter to demand its release with the hashtag #UnlockDurhamReport.
\u201cNo senator can consider Haspel\u2019s nomination in good conscience without first reviewing the deeply troubling Durham Report. #UnlockDurhamReport\u201d— Martin Heinrich (@Martin Heinrich) 1526321171
\u201cThe Justice Department must #UnlockDurhamReport before Gina Haspel's nomination faces a floor vote in the Senate.\nhttps://t.co/S3Ib7KDjLF\u201d— ACLU People Power (@ACLU People Power) 1526483781
And while the Justice Department would have to declassify that particular report, as Win Without War pointed out Wednesday, Haspel, as the CIA's acting director, has the power to declassify other records that would shed light on her history with the agency.
\u201cGina #Haspel has the power to declassify all records of her history with the #CIA & disprove her accusations of being a torturer. And yet, nothing substantial's been released. This should be enough to cause the Senate to reject her nomination. #BlockHaspel https://t.co/nJXVttGkbi\u201d— Win Without War (@Win Without War) 1526487185
Although Haspel's confirmation now seems imminent--with a full Senate vote expected as early as this week--human rights advocates continue to raise alarm about what is known of her torture record and strongly condemn the Democrats who are expected make her ascension to the top of the CIA possible.
In a series of tweets, Indivisible's foreign policy manager Elizabeth Beavers called out each Democrat who has said they will vote for Haspel and highlighted some particularly gruesome details from the CIA torture program Haspel helped impose. Beavers has said she will also compose tweets to call out Republican senators, because "torture is not a partisan issue."
\u201cA favored tactic of the CIA was to tell detainees they would kill their children or rape their mothers in front of them. (pp.4, 70, 487) This happened in the site Haspel oversaw.\n\n@Sen_JoeManchin was the first Dem to support Haspel: https://t.co/5wshCZ1OEM\u201d— Elizabeth Beavers (@Elizabeth Beavers) 1526418142
\u201cThe CIA had this black site called the Salt Pit/COBALT which was "a dungeon." (p 50). No lights, constant loud music, only buckets for bathrooms.\n\n@SenDonnelly was the 2nd Dem to announce support for Haspel. https://t.co/igu9hWhDSm\u201d— Elizabeth Beavers (@Elizabeth Beavers) 1526418142
\u201cThis one's difficult. A man named Gul Rahman was was beaten, stripped naked and chained to a concrete floor by the CIA.\n\nThey found him dead in his cell hours later, from hypothermia. (p. 54)\n\nToday, @MarkWarner announced his support for Haspel: https://t.co/S06TuV0Fq8\u201d— Elizabeth Beavers (@Elizabeth Beavers) 1526418142
\u201cMany were shackled to a bar over their head, unable to sit/sleep. One interrogator found a man in that standing position who had been chained there 17 days "as far as we could determine" (p. 50)\n\n@SenatorHeitkamp announced her support for Haspel today: https://t.co/qQ2itwFel6\u201d— Elizabeth Beavers (@Elizabeth Beavers) 1526418142
\u201cThe CIA also sexually assaulted detainees. They called it "rectal feeding" or "rectal exams conducted with excessive force" and it left one man, Mustafa al-Hawsawi, with a torn rectum. (p. 100)\n\n@SenBillNelson became the 5th Dem to back Haspel today: https://t.co/7i4q17IMSz\u201d— Elizabeth Beavers (@Elizabeth Beavers) 1526418142
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