Haspel says CIA should not have conducted interrogation program

Gina Haspel, President Donald Trump's ...

Posted: May 15, 2018 3:06 PM
Updated: May 15, 2018 3:06 PM

Gina Haspel, President Donald Trump's pick to be the next CIA director, says in a new letter that the CIA should not have conducted then-President George W. Bush's interrogation and detention program where waterboarding and other brutal interrogation tactics were used on detainees.

In the letter to Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Haspel takes a position she wasn't willing to state publicly last week, writing that the interrogation program "is not one the CIA should have undertaken."

"While I won't condemn those that made these hard calls, and I have noted the valuable intelligence collected, the program ultimately did damage to our officers and our standing in the world," Haspel wrote in the letter, which was obtained by CNN. "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."

RELATED: How Gina Haspel is trying to overcome her past to become the next CIA director

Haspel's written comments go further than the statements she made during her public confirmation hearing last week. At the hearing, she said she would not permit the CIA to resume an interrogation program, but she also would not condemn the CIA's post-9/11 interrogation program beyond saying she supported the "stricter moral standard" that is now the law.

Haspel has been more forthcoming with senators in their private meetings and in the classified hearing she held with the Senate Intelligence Committee last week. A source with knowledge of the classified session told CNN that Haspel told senators she did believe torture is immoral, but she did not want to be seen as publicly criticizing her colleagues at the CIA.

Haspel also told Warner that it "was a mistake not to brief the entire committee at the beginning" of the interrogation program.

"CIA needs to have consensus from members of the oversight committees who make decisions on behalf of the American people as their elected representatives on activities that can't be made public," she wrote.

Haspel's confirmation has been a difficult fight because of her role in the interrogation program, which critics say amounted to torture. Haspel is facing criticism for her supervision of a black site in Thailand where harsh interrogations were conducted along with her role in the destruction of CIA interrogation tapes.

In the letter, Haspel said she would "refuse to undertake any proposed activity that is contrary to my moral and ethical values."

"As I was able to describe in detail during the classified session, in my role as Deputy and now Acting Director, every operation I review must not only meet those high standards, the activity must also be consistent with CIA's mission, expertise and the law," Haspel wrote. "I do not and would not hesitate to reject a proposal that fails to meet this threshold."

Haspel's letter comes ahead of a committee vote on her nomination on Wednesday - in which Warner is one of the Democrats still undecided - and appears to be an effort to persuade Democrats still on the fence.

Haspel is likely to clear the committee vote with the support of Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin. A Senate floor vote is likely next week, where Manchin and Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly are the two Democrats who have publicly said they will back her nomination.

Two Republicans, Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and John McCain of Arizona, say they are opposed to Haspel's confirmation, although McCain is unlikely to be in Washington for the vote while he battles brain cancer. There are still numerous undecided Democrats, many of whom are up for reelection in states that Trump won in 2016.

Republican Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona is also still undecided. Flake said he has spoken to McCain, who was tortured as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, about the nomination last week, and is still weighing Haspel's nomination.

"His voice means more than anybody else on this," Flake said of McCain. "But my vote is my own and I'll continue to consider it."

Flake has asked the Justice Department to make available to all senators a classified Justice Department report from John Durham, the special prosecutor who investigated the tapes destruction but did not press any charges. The report summary was made available to the Senate Intelligence Committee members, but not the full Senate.

"I'd like to see the summary, but I understand them not wanting to provide it too, I do understand their arguments there," Flake said Monday.

Several Democrats say the Trump administration has failed to properly provide senators and the public with a full accounting of Haspel's record, including the Durham report and other CIA records.

Asked about the Durham report, Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon said Tuesday there are "holes" in her account that senators need to see before voting on her nomination.

But Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr, a North Carolina Republican, rejected those calls Monday. "No, no," he said when asked about making the report available to the full Senate, before walking into the Senate chamber.

Warner would not say Monday whether he thought the report should be provided to the full Senate, beyond saying that he "would like as much transparency as possible."

"This is an area where the Justice Department has never shared this kind of information in the past," Warner said.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 660071

Reported Deaths: 12531
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion904161633
Lake48298874
Allen35720633
Hamilton31970396
St. Joseph29796510
Elkhart25331412
Vanderburgh21192377
Tippecanoe19927199
Johnson16312356
Porter15917269
Hendricks15785300
Clark11913180
Madison11717315
Vigo11562229
Monroe10300159
Delaware9824179
LaPorte9739196
Howard9038195
Kosciusko8539108
Bartholomew7424147
Hancock7399130
Warrick7399150
Floyd7180167
Wayne6622191
Grant6413157
Boone606888
Morgan6066124
Dubois5890111
Dearborn544466
Cass542899
Marshall5414104
Henry541392
Noble508476
Jackson464165
Shelby459890
Lawrence4174111
Gibson400981
Harrison397863
Clinton394453
Montgomery385083
DeKalb384378
Knox356285
Miami356163
Whitley348435
Huntington341876
Steuben337455
Wabash330576
Putnam328259
Ripley326461
Adams322149
Jasper314843
White297152
Jefferson293773
Daviess285096
Fayette271156
Decatur270188
Greene260780
Posey260431
Wells257174
Scott250050
LaGrange240770
Clay240344
Randolph225376
Spencer216930
Jennings214344
Washington209927
Sullivan202939
Fountain201042
Starke187250
Owen181953
Fulton177937
Jay177528
Carroll176218
Perry173335
Orange170950
Rush164322
Vermillion160141
Franklin159135
Tipton145941
Parke138615
Pike127432
Blackford120527
Pulaski106544
Newton96531
Brown94839
Benton91713
Crawford90313
Martin80114
Warren75312
Switzerland7527
Union66910
Ohio52911
Unassigned0433

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 964380

Reported Deaths: 17183
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1114961198
Cuyahoga950781723
Hamilton72988958
Montgomery47128883
Summit39949954
Butler35292468
Lucas35069761
Stark29218837
Warren22294272
Lorain21904389
Mahoning19348540
Lake18307304
Clermont18271210
Delaware16347135
Licking14893199
Fairfield14449157
Trumbull14239460
Greene13520212
Medina13290219
Clark12194335
Wood11460193
Portage10928155
Allen10742233
Richland10226205
Miami9984187
Muskingum8125129
Columbiana8086182
Tuscarawas8003235
Pickaway800199
Marion7963137
Wayne7837218
Erie6826184
Ross6104136
Geauga6030129
Hancock5965112
Ashtabula5917144
Scioto5906104
Lawrence521874
Union508852
Darke5021123
Belmont488388
Huron4761117
Jefferson4756107
Sandusky474494
Seneca4640103
Athens460931
Washington458787
Mercer4577101
Auglaize454698
Shelby440368
Knox400486
Putnam3976101
Madison390947
Fulton377364
Ashland377195
Defiance3699102
Brown368342
Crawford356096
Logan352459
Preble351771
Clinton338564
Highland326255
Ottawa320867
Williams301077
Jackson288556
Guernsey285034
Champaign284445
Fayette267644
Perry266743
Morrow258624
Henry244865
Hardin243256
Holmes2428104
Coshocton232847
Van Wert228549
Gallia220746
Adams215132
Pike213627
Wyandot208752
Hocking193248
Carroll179828
Paulding159223
Meigs134636
Noble128442
Monroe115636
Morgan100434
Harrison100132
Vinton76615
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Partly Cloudy
42° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 37°
Angola
Partly Cloudy
45° wxIcon
Hi: 44° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 40°
Huntington
Cloudy
42° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 38°
Fort Wayne
Partly Cloudy
42° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 37°
Lima
Partly Cloudy
46° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 42°
Partly sunny Saturday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events