Washington, US | May 15
A mid an intensifying public debate on torture, President Donald Trump’s pick to head the CIA on Tuesday said the harsh interrogation program the agency ran at black sites after the Sept. 11 attacks should not have been undertaken.
Gina Haspel’s letter to the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee appeared aimed at shoring up support for her Senate confirmation.
“I have learned the hard lessons since 9/11,” Haspel wrote. “With the benefit of hindsight and my experience as a senior Agency leader, the enhanced interrogation program is not one the CIA should have undertaken.”
Haspel said she would “refuse to undertake any proposed activity that is contrary to my moral and ethical values.”
Haspel’s letter was requested by Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., who is among key Democrats whose votes will be crucial in the narrowly divided GOP Senate, especially after Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona urged colleagues to reject the nominee over her past role in CIA interrogations.
McCain’s comments sparked a fresh debate over now-banned torture techniques ahead of Senate voting. Trump has said the country should consider using the socalled enhanced interrogation techniques. And Former Vice President Dick Cheney, who was integral to the post-Sept. 11, 2001 strategy, said last week if it were up to him, “I’d do it again.” Haspel testified at a Senate hearing that torture does not work as an interrogation technique and that as director her strong “moral compass” would ensure she did not carry out any administrative directive she found objectionable.