John McCain Slams Trump Decision: “One of Darkest Chapters in American History”

March 13, 2018Mar 13, 2018

John McCain isn't happy with Trump's recent decision to nominate Gina Haspel to be the director of the CIA. He claims that she was involved in one of the "darkest chapters in American history" and therefore isn't happy that she will be promoted.

According to the Hill, McCain expressed confidence in current CIA Director Mike Pompeo's ability to serve as secretary of State. At the same time, however, the Arizona senator believes that Haspel needs to explain her stance on torture. 

McCain, a longtime critic of torture, is troubled that Trump's latest pick has publicly defended the use of torture.

“The torture of detainees in U.S. custody during the last decade was one of the darkest chapters in American history,” McCain said, according to The Hill. “Ms. Haspel needs to explain the nature and extent of her involvement in the CIA’s interrogation program during the confirmation process.”

The Bush administration, according to McCain, "squandered precious moral authority" by torturing in order to receive intelligence.

Haspel joined the CIA in 1985 and faced scrutiny for her role in implementing waterboarding and other interrogation techniques used on detainees at a CIA prison in Thailand in 2002. 

The Washington Post reports that Haspel, 61, would become the first woman to lead the CIA. If she is confirmed to succeed outgoing director Mike Pompeo, who has been chosen to serve as secretary of state, then this will certainly be a historic appointment. 

But Haspel selection faces serious opposition from lawmakers and human rights group for the same reason voiced by John McCain: people are worried about Haspel's continued defense and use of torture as a means of attaining intelligence. 

According to the Washington Post, when those methods were exposed and their legality came under question several years ago, Haspel was among a group within the CIA to destroy videotapes of interrogation sessions, some of which left detainees on the brink of physical collapse. 

Jameel Jaffer, who is formerly the deputy legal director of the ACLU, wrote that Haspel is "quite literally a war criminal." 

Haspel has spent 33 years at the CIA on undercover assignments overseas and at the CIA headquarters. 

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