Trump’s CIA pick is career spymaster, oversaw secret prison

WASHINGTON — Gina Haspel’s colleagues describe her as a seasoned veteran who would lead the CIA with integrity. Human rights advocates see her as someone who supervised torture at a secret prison.

President Donald Trump’s pick to be the next — and first female — director of the clandestine agency has conflicting public reputations. If confirmed, the 61-year-old career spymaster will succeed Mike Pompeo, who is replacing ousted Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

“I am grateful to President Trump for the opportunity, and humbled by his confidence in me,” Haspel said in a statement.

Haspel didn’t have to face a Senate confirmation hearing when she became deputy director of the agency in February 2017. To be director, she’ll have to be confirmed by the Senate intelligence committee. That will likely mean questions about one of the darkest periods of the CIA’s history.

Trump said Haspel is an “outstanding person.” She’s well respected by intelligence professionals, who have called her a patriot and an exceptional leader who brings creativity, savvy and grit to her job every day.

Yet Haspel also had a front-row seat to the CIA’s use of harsh interrogation techniques against terror suspects. Between 2003 and 2005, she oversaw a secret CIA prison in Thailand where terror suspects Abu Zubayadah and Abd al Rahim al-Nashiri were waterboarded, current and former U.S. intelligence officials said. Waterboarding is a process that simulates drowning and is widely considered to be a form of torture.

Haspel, who joined the CIA in 1985, also helped carry out an order to destroy waterboarding videos. The order prompted a lengthy Justice Department investigation that ended without charges.

Sen. Richard Burr, the chairman of the Senate committee that will vote whether to confirm Haspel, said she has the “right skill set, experience and judgment” to lead the CIA.

But one fellow Republican, Sen. John McCain, …read more

Source:: Deseret News – U.S. & World News


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