By a vote of 54-45, the Senate just confirmed a war criminal to lead the CIA.
Gina Haspel personally helped torture detainees in a secret CIA-run prison during the Bush administration. She then made sure the video evidence was destroyed.
Torture is illegal in all circumstances, without exception. It was illegal then and it’s illegal now. Gina Haspel carried out crimes but, instead of punishment, she’s getting a promotion. This was a winnable fight. Three Republicans opposed Haspel (Rand Paul, Jeff Flake, and John McCain who was unable to be present for the vote). That means, that all Democrats had to do was vote together, and she would have been blocked.
Ultimately, six Democrats joined most of the Republicans to confirm Haspel:
- Joe Donnelly (IN)
- Heidi Heitkamp (ND)
- Joe Manchin (WV)
- Bill Nelson (FL)
- Jeanne Shaheen (NH)
- Mark Warner (VA)
Here's why Gina Haspel is so dangerous
Gina Haspel was in charge of a secret prison in Thailand during the Bush administration. The prison was one of the now-infamous CIA “black sites” that held men who were kidnapped, secretly detained, interrogated and tortured.
It was a crumbling, decrepit makeshift facility abandoned after the Vietnam war, on the edge of the jungle and infested by snakes.
There’s still a lot we don’t know - the CIA continues to hide key details about its secret detention and torture program. But we know enough to conclude that Gina Haspel is a torturer, destroyed the evidence, and is unfit to lead the CIA.
The CIA torture program was so much more cruel than the public was led to believe. Beyond waterboarding (a practice that simulates drowning), detainees were sexually assaulted, beaten, isolated and starved. They faced mock executions, threats to their families, and psychological experimentation. Haspel was the only person with the authority to stop interrogations at the Thailand site. She never exercised that authority.
The fact that Gina Haspel personally committed war crimes is enough to oppose her nomination. But it’s even worse than that: she also tried to cover up the evidence.
Despite orders to the contrary, Haspel wrote a cable instructing that all video evidence be destroyed. She even included instructions for using industrial-strength shredders.
Tell Your Senators What You Think About Their Vote
If your senators voted for Haspel, tell them that their vote was unacceptable. If they opposed her, make sure they know you support them.
If Senator voted “yes”
Caller: Hi, My name is [name] and I’m a constituent from [part of state] calling about Gina Haspel’s confirmation as head of the CIA. I am appalled that Senator [name] voted to confirm her. Gina Haspel carried out torture and destroyed the evidence. She is completely unqualified to lead the CIA.
Staffer: Thank you for calling. The Senator felt satisfied that Ms. Haspel is committed not to re-start the torture program, and felt it was important that a career professional serve in this role.
Caller: There are thousands of career professionals who have never tortured people. And, she never even admitted her role in the torture program or expressed remorse. Further, we don’t know what Trump will ask her to do in the future. It might not be torture.
Staffer: I will relay those concerns to my boss.
Caller: Yes, please do. I want the Senator to know that constituents are watching and find this vote unacceptable.
If Senator voted “no”
Caller: Hi, My name is [name] and I’m a constituent from [part of state] calling about Gina Haspel’s confirmation as head of the CIA. I want to thank Senator [name] for voting against her. Gina Haspel carried out torture and destroyed the evidence. She is completely unqualified to lead the CIA.
Staffer: Thank you for calling. I’ll pass that message to the senator.
Caller: Yes, please do. I want the Senator to know that constituents support [his/her] vote on this.