On Capitol Hill Wednesday, President Trump’s nominee to head the CIA, Gina Haspel, announced she would not restart the CIA’s interrogation program. But she repeatedly refused to call the CIA’s post-9/11 treatment of prisoners “torture,” and declined to state whether she believes torture is immoral. Haspel’s comments came in testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee, as she made her case to become the first woman to head the agency. Haspel is a 33-year CIA veteran who was responsible for running a secret CIA black site in Thailand in 2002, where one prisoner was waterboarded and tortured in other ways. Haspel also oversaw the destruction of videotapes showing torture at the black site. At least two Republican senators have come out against her—Rand Paul and John McCain, who said her “role in overseeing the use of torture is disturbing & her refusal to acknowledge torture’s immorality is disqualifying.” But Haspel may still be confirmed with the help of Democratic lawmakers. Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia has already announced he will back Haspel. We speak with Jeremy Scahill, co-founder of The Intercept and host of the weekly podcast “Intercepted.”
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