Ah, spring: the season of allergies, flowers, and of course, the notorious spring cleaning. President Trump has gotten a jump start on the spring cleaning, changing the staff of his administration yet again.
Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson has been fired and will be replaced with CIA Chief Pompeo — a controversial character with a history of Islamophobia, enhanced interrogation techniques, and strong opposition to Obama and Clinton. However, this begs the question: who is going to fill Pomeo’s big shoes once he moves from the CIA house to the White House?
The answer presents itself in the form of Gina Haspel, veteran in the intelligence field and highly respected among her colleagues. If her nomination is confirmed, she could be first female director of the CIA — a great step in female empowerment, right? Just after International Women’s Day too!
Well, unfortunately, there is more about Gina Haspel.
Gina Haspel has spent 30 years in the CIA; during this time, she was closely involved in the secret CIA program known known as RDI: rendition, detention, and interrogation. In this program, the CIA not only tortured suspects but also kidnapped them from different countries and brought them to third-party countries to torture them further.
As a senior official, she oversaw top-secret CIA programs that performed horrific interrogation techniques on dozens of suspected terrorists including, but not limited to: depriving them of sleep, squeezing them into coffins, and forcing water down their throats.
In fact, Haspel was among the CIA officials present during the agency’s infamous interrogation of Abu Zubaydah, an Al Qaeda suspect who was brutally tortured, both psychologically and physically. He was subjected to waterboarding 83 times in one month and repeatedly slammed into walls. She was also present during the torture of another another suspect, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri. Furthermore, in 2005, she ordered the destruction of 92 torture and interrogation tapes held in a safe (although the CIA defended Haspel by stating that her boss, Jose Rodrigues, made the call to destroy the tapes).
The torture of detainees in US custody during the last decade was one of the darkest chapters in American history, and Haspel played a major role in ensuring these programs continued running.
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