CIA nominee Haspel to vow not to restart torture program
Gina Haspel, President Donald Trump's nominee to lead the CIA, will pledge Wednesday to prevent the restart of the 2002-2005 interrogation program that saw detainees tortured.
The three-decade veteran of the Central Intelligence Agency's covert operations is facing opposition over her role at a secret CIA prison in Thailand in 2002 where Al-Qaeda detainees were waterboarded.
"I understand that what many people around the country want to know about are my views on CIA's former detention and interrogation program," she will say, according to prepared testimony for her hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee.
"I have views on this issue, and I want to be clear.
"Having served in that tumultuous time, I can offer you my personal commitment, clearly and without reservation, that under my leadership, CIA will not restart such a detention and interrogation program."
Haspel, who if approved would become the first woman to lead the premier US spy agency, is facing tough questioning over her involvement in the torture of Al-Qaeda detainees in her confirmation hearing before the powerful Senate panel.
Critics from rights groups, a significant number of retired general and admirals, and some from the intelligence community, have opposed the nomination over her ties to the secret detention and interrogation program that followed the September 11, 2001 attacks.
Under the program, major Al-Qaeda suspects Abu Zubaydah, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri and Khalid Shaikh Mohammed all went underwent brutal treatment, including waterboarding.
Former CIA officials say Haspel was present when Nashiri was tortured at the CIA's Bangkok "black site" in 2002.
According to her prepared testimony, released by the CIA, Haspel will commit herself to firm oversight by Congress, which in the early days of the torture program was not informed despite questions over its legality.
"Experience has taught us that CIA cannot be effective without the people's trust," the prepared remarks read.
"And we cannot hope to earn that trust without the accountability that comes with Congressional oversight. If we can't share aspects of our secret work with the public, we should do so with their elected representatives."
© 2018 AFP