President Trump’s new pick to lead the CIA previously ran a secret prison and human rights groups have pushed for her to face criminal charges.
Trump said Deputy Director Gina Haspel would replace incumbent Mike Pompeo, who the President tapped to be his new secretary of state Tuesday after axing Rex Tillerson.
She’ll be the first woman to head the clandestine agency if the Senate confirms her nomination.
Haspel oversaw the CIA’s prison in Thailand, where detainees Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri were tortured in 2002, according to a February 2017 report in the New York Times.
Over just one month, Zubaydah was waterboarded 83 times, and his videotaped interrogations were destroyed in 2005.
Haspel, by that point working out of the CIA’s headquarters in Langley, Va., was named on the order to get rid of the recordings.
President Obama ordered all of the so-called “black sites,” or secret prisons, closed when he took office in 2009. No one was ever charged over the tape destructions.
Haspel, a career CIA agent who joined the service in 1985, was highly criticized when nominated to become deputy director last winter.
She was reportedly passed over to lead the agency in 2013, when Director John Brennan got the job. But sources within the CIA told the Washington Post last year it didn’t have to do with her time leading the Thailand black site.
The Berlin-based European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights group called on Haspel to be arrested last June for her “role in the torture of detainees.”
“Those who commit, order or allow torture should be brought before a court – this is especially true for senior officials from powerful nations,” the advocacy group’s general secretary, Wolfgang Kaleck, said at the time.
|New York Daily News