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 John TrumpTrump orders US troops back to active duty for coronavirus response Trump asserts power to decide info inspector general for stimulus gives Congress Fighting a virus with the wrong tools 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 PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoHillicon Valley: Apple rolls out coronavirus screening app, website | Pompeo urged to crack down on coronavirus misinformation from China | Senators push FTC on price gouging | Instacart workers threaten strike COVID-19 intensifies the case for blacklisting Khalifa Haftar  House Republican urges Pompeo to take steps to limit misinformation from China on coronavirus 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.