Torture is a blight on the US

Howard TerryMay 14, 2018

Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly announced on Saturday that he would support Gina Haspel as CIA Director, becoming the second Democrat to offer his approval and all but ensuring that she will be confirmed.

Haspel, a career CIA agent with more than 30 years at the agency, will have to answer questions about her involvement in the destruction of 92 CIA videotapes that showed prisoners being waterboarded - a technique that simulates drowning. While some senators still have not publicly declared their position, Donnelly's backing is likely to give Haspel enough support to win at least 50 votes, the bare minimum for confirmation. Donnelly and Manchin are up for re-election in November, and Trump appeared at a political rally Thursday in IN, in which he singled out Donnelly and called on voters to support the Republican nominee, Mike Braun.

Our friend Rick Manning of Americans for Limited Government may have said it best: "While she may have honorably served under now Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Haspel's testimony putting her judgment about legal orders above that of the Commander and Chief makes her unfit to serve as CIA Director, and President Trump should do the nation a service and withdraw her, already controversial, nomination from further consideration". But more than 90 former US ambassadors and diplomats and more than 100 retired generals and admirals have signed letters, raising concerns about her nomination and the extent of her role in "enhanced" interrogation techniques, including waterboarding, as well as destroying evidence of the activities many call torture.

Donnelly said in his statement that he had a "tough, frank, and extensive discussion with Ms. Haspel on a wide range of topics, including her vision for the agency and how she would approach the job, as well as issues of detention and interrogation".

Whether or not she becomes Central Intelligence Agency director, Ms. Haspel's record on torture has lastingly compromised her, just as the practice of torture has lastingly tainted the ideals of our great nation.

Many Democrats have said they will oppose Haspel, with only Donnelly and Joe Manchin of West Virginia breaking ranks, though more may follow.

However, that forbearance was turned into active opposition by Haspel's performance at her confirmation hearing.

Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee, who have read the classified material about Haspel but can't divulge what they've read, are frustrated. "Haspel expressed to me her commitment to be responsive to congressional oversight and to provide her unvarnished assessment - both to members of Congress and the president".

Donnelly announced his decision after meeting with Haspel, he said.

It's now come to light that waterboarding and other torture techniques were used during the interrogation of terror suspects who were held at the base. Rand Paul, R-KY., and also Arizona Sen. He believes she has learned from her past in a way that will help her lead the agency into the future.

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