115 former US ambassadors write Senate opposing Gina Haspel

115 former US ambassadors write Senate opposing Gina Haspel
© Getty Images

More than 100 former U.S. ambassadors sent a letter to the Senate on Wednesday to voice their opposition to Gina Haspel, President TrumpDonald TrumpOhio Republican who voted to impeach Trump says he won't seek reelection Youngkin breaks with Trump on whether Democrats will cheat in the Virginia governor's race Trump endorses challenger in Michigan AG race MORE’s pick for CIA director.

The ambassadors’ concerns are focused on Haspel’s work at a CIA black site prison tied to an enhanced interrogation program while she worked under the George W. Bush administration. Many of the techniques used in that program are now widely regarded as torture.

“We have no reason to question Ms. Haspel’s credentials as both a leader and an experienced intelligence professional,” the 115 ambassadors wrote. “Yet she is also emblematic of choices made by certain American officials in the wake of the attacks of September 11, 2001 that dispensed with our ideals and international commitments to the ultimate detriment of our national security.”


The letter was sent by the nonprofit Human Rights First on the same day Haspel is set to appear before senators for her confirmation hearing.

The ambassadors argue in the letter that Haspel “should be disqualified from holding Cabinet rank” because of reports that she was involved in the interrogation program and the subsequent destruction of tapes that documented interrogations at a CIA black site.

The ambassadors said they are concerned that if Haspel is confirmed, authoritarian leaders around the world will use her past ties to torture to justify their own behavior.  

"We urge you to scrutinize Ms. Haspel’s record with the utmost care. If that record demonstrates that Ms. Haspel played a role in torture or other forms of detainee abuse, or the destruction of evidence relating to such activities, we urge you to reject her nomination," they wrote.

The letter is signed by former Ambassadors Thomas Pickering, Robert Ford and Princeton Lyman, among others. Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha PowerSamantha PowerHow Trump broke the system that offers protection to Afghan allies Aid airlift underway to earthquake-striken Haiti With Haiti in chaos, we must rewrite the script on disaster aid MORE also signed the letter.

Haspel's connection to the so-called enhanced interrogation program has dogged her confirmation process since she was first nominated. Several Democrats have already said they will oppose her nomination.

The White House all but confirmed a report that she offered to withdraw her nomination over the weekend in the face of growing scrutiny over her ties to the program.

However, the White House said Haspel is “100 percent committed to going through this confirmation process."