US Republican Senator Paul opposes Pompeo, Haspel nominations

Ms Haspel is generally held in high regard at the Central Intelligence Agency, working as deputy director under Mike Pompeo, who Mr Trump picked to be the next secretary of state after firing Rex Tillerson from the post. Haspel nearly certainly played a vital part in the torture of an accused top al-Qaida leader, Abu Zubaydah, in a Thailand prison in 2002: "As the CIA's video cameras rolled, security guards shackled Abu Zubaydah to a gurney, and interrogators poured water over his mouth and nose until he began to suffocate". It was at this facility that the agency's brutal tactics were first tested. Abu Zubaydah was hardly ideal, but he turned out not to be a leader or even a member of al-Qaida.

In addition to waterboarding, for 19 days Zubaydah was repeatedly slammed into walls, kept for hours at a time in painful stress positions, denied sleep, beaten, starved, and locked for hours in coffin-like confinement boxes.

Throughout this horror, Haspel reported to CIA headquarters on progress - including the failure to get any meaningful intelligence.

Another GOP senator who is a leading critic of waterboarding, John McCain of Arizona, said in a statement Tuesday that he would demand to hear more from Haspel on torture because her "career with the agency has intersected with the program of so-called "enhanced interrogation techniques" on a number of occasions". "I'm going to do everything I can to block them". I'm nearly buying it.

Yet the Trump administration maintains that Haspel's role in the torture program is an official secret. The Senate can not credibly carry out its constitutional role to "advise and consent" on her nomination without full access to that information - which must be made public.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he expected a speedy confirmation of Ms Haspel and Mr Pompeo.

Senator McCain, who was himself tortured as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, said: "The torture of detainees in United States custody during the last decade was one of the darkest chapters in American history".

Three years later, Ms Haspel carried out an order to destroy videotapes of the waterboarding, which simulates drowning and is considered a form of torture.

Some US intelligence officials have said reports of Ms Haspel's alleged involvement in interrogations involving torture were false. The cable left nothing to chance. "They were to use an industrial-strength shredder to do the deed". The general counsel of the 9/11 Commission has stated that the destruction of the videos may have amounted to obstruction of justice.

Rising through the ranks, she earned the job of deputy director of the National Clandestine Service, and was finally named to be service director in 2013. She will be reporting to a president who has soft-pedalled the threat from Moscow and scorns intelligence that it interfered in the U.S. elections. Instead, she will become a shining example of the agency's impunity and recklessness.

In her current post, she worked with Pompeo to manage intelligence collection, analysis, covert action, counterintelligence and cooperation with the CIA's foreign counterparts. Paul said Wednesday that he had supported Trump because he thought he would break with the tradition of past Republican presidents and correct "the foreign policy mistakes of the last two administrations". With this nomination, Trump forces the CIA's shameful past yet again into the present.

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