Source: Huffington Post
WASHINGTON — Gina Haspel, President Donald Trump’s pick to lead the CIA, told lawmakers on Wednesday that she would not restart the agency’s defunct torture program if confirmed to head the CIA — but she refused to weigh in on the morality of the program.
Asked several times whether she thought the so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” used by the CIA on terrorism suspects in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks were moral, Haspel dodged the question. She claimed the CIA’s interrogation program was legal at the time, and said she now supports limiting interrogation techniques to the ones outlined in the U.S. Army Field Manuals.
“I support the higher moral standard we have decided to hold ourselves to,” Haspel said, pointing to anti-torture legislation passed by Congress years after the CIA shut down its interrogation program. (Torture was already illegal under the Geneva Conventions when the CIA began interrogating detainees using techniques like waterboarding.) The CIA should focus on intelligence collection and analysis and leave interrogations to the Pentagon and the FBI, Haspel said.
Haspel, who oversaw a black site where at least two detainees were waterboarded (one of them before Haspel arrived at the prison), faces a contentious confirmation process. Most Democrats are expected to oppose her confirmation because of her involvement in the interrogation program and her subsequent role in destroying videotapes that documented the interrogations. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has also said he will vote against her.