Gina Haspel, proposal to lead the CIA, in its confirmation hearing before a committee of the US Senate, on May 9, 2018 in Washington
Gina Haspel, chosen by Donald Trump to head the CIA, faces on Wednesday her trial by fire in the US Senate, before which she will promise not to relive the torture programs applied by the agency after the September 11 attacks.
Haspel, 61, who for three decades conducted undercover operations at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) – where he currently serves as deputy director – led at least part of 2002 a secret prison in Thailand, where detainees suspected of belonging Al Qaeda were frequently tortured.
During the torture program – effective between 2002 and 2005 – the CIA took the detainees to secret locations around the world and subjected some to beatings, torture with a drowning simulation technique and high levels of stress.
Later, as the CIA’s top official, Haspel is also accused of destroying videos showing those practices.
„I understand that many people throughout the country want to know my opinion about the CIA’s old program of arrests and interrogations,“ the official said, according to excerpts from testimony she will give this Wednesday during a confirmation hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee. .
„Having served in that convulsive time, I can offer my personal commitment, clear and without reservation, that under my leadership in the CIA will not be restored such detention program and interrogations,“ he should say.
– „It lasts with the terrorists“ –
Haspel has the full support of Donald Trump.
„My very respected CIA director, Gina Haspel, has been criticized because she was too harsh on terrorists,“ Trump tweeted this week.
But among the 13 members of the Senate committee (seven Republicans, 6 Democrats), several are skeptical.
Four Democrats (Kamala Harris, Dianne Feinstein, Ron Wyden and Martin Heinrich) have asked Dan Coats, the head of national intelligence, to make public all classified documents regarding Haspel’s role in the CIA’s interrogation programs.
Feinstein is concerned to „promote a person who has been involved in the torture program at the head of the CIA, the agency responsible for one of the darkest chapters in our history.“
Since 2016, Trump has made contradictory statements about torture. He defends her in his personal capacity, but has left it to the judgment of his Secretary of Defense, Jim Mattis, to use it and he is opposed to doing so.
Haspel’s confirmation hearing starts at 09:30 local time (13:30 GMT) and part of the debates should be public.
The result will be announced later and should influence the vote on the nomination in the upper house of Congress, which Republicans expect to happen from here to the end of May. The president’s party has a majority of 51 there compared to 49.
In the middle of the controversy that has generated its postulation by Trump, the candidate even proposed to resign to the position, according to informed the American press, but was convinced by advisers of the White House to follow ahead.
– Mysterious life –
The chairman of the commission, Republican Richard Burr, has said he is confident that Haspel will be confirmed, noting that there is almost consensus on his ability to lead the CIA.
He also ruled out the possibility of declassification of classified acts documents.
Haspel’s life, apparently a mostly smiling woman, is surrounded by much mystery because he spent much of his career in the secret services of the CIA.
His short biography mentions that he joined the intelligence agency in 1985, with which he has worked in Africa, Europe and Asia, as well as in the CIA’s anti-terrorist center, which he joined after the attacks of September 11, 2001 that left more than 3,000 dead in the country.
Eleven years later, she was appointed deputy director of secret operations worldwide, and later deputy director of the CIA in 2017. She is now called to succeed Mike Pompeo, named secretary of state.
He speaks Spanish, French, Russian and Turkish; and is a fan of country singer Johnny Cash.