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Retired generals, admirals question Haspel nomination

Retired generals, admirals question Haspel nomination
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Dozens of retired U.S. military generals and officers on Monday issued a letter urging senators to reject President TrumpDonald TrumpEx-Trump lawyer Cohen to pen forward for impeachment book Murkowski says it would be 'appropriate' to bar Trump from holding office again Man known as 'QAnon Shaman' asks Trump for pardon after storming Capitol MORE’s nominee for CIA director.

In a letter posted on Human Rights First's website, the retired officials expressed concerns over Gina Haspel’s involvement in "enhanced interrogation" programs under the Bush administration. Those programs and the techniques used are now widely considered torture.

“We do not accept efforts to excuse her actions relating to torture and other unlawful abuse of detainees by offering that she was ‘just following orders,’ or that shock from the 9/11 terrorist attacks should excuse illegal and unethical conduct,” the officials wrote.

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Haspel is Trump's pick to replace current CIA Director Mike PompeoMike PompeoVoice of America journalists demand director's resignation over Pompeo event UN officials: Houthis terror designation is 'death sentence' for Yemen civilians The Hill's Morning Report - Trump impeached again; now what? MORE, who has been nominated to serve as the next secretary of State. Haspel is currently the deputy director of the CIA.

In 2005, Haspel reportedly played a role in a decision to destroy videotapes documenting interrogations. The destruction of the tapes was ordered by Jose Rodriguez, then head of the agency’s clandestine service, and Haspel, at the time his chief of staff, was reportedly a strong advocate for the choice.

The Justice Department investigated the destruction of the tapes, but ultimately no charges were filed.

The generals and military officers on Monday suggested senators ask for a full declassification, with necessary redactions, of information related to Haspel's involvement in the program. 

“If the record shows that Ms. Haspel played any role in carrying out, supervising, or directing any form of torture or detainee abuse, or the destruction of evidence relating to these activities, we urge you to reject her nomination,” the retired generals wrote.

The CIA declassified a new memo  late last week and concluded Haspel “acted appropriately” in carrying out orders to destroy videotapes of the interrogations.

A number of senators from both parties have expressed concerns about Haspel's involvement in the torture program. Her confirmation hearing is expected to take place next month.