Faith and Human Rights Organizations Call for Senate to Oppose Gina Haspel

By the Web Editors 5-09-2018
Acting CIA Director Gina Haspel is sworn in prior to testifying at her Senate Intelligence Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., May 9, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Faith and human rights organizations across the U.S. have sent letters to senators asking them to oppose Trump’s e nomination of Gina Haspel to lead the Central Intelligence Agency, citing her role in the CIA torture program.

Faith leaders from the National Council of Churches, Catholic advocacy organizations, and more than 2,000 rabbis banded together to write three letters asking for a ‘no’ vote.

During her May 9 hearing, Haspel declined to say whether torture techniques were immoral.

“Ms. Haspel has conflated law with morality and seems to have a moral compass that is spinning in circles,” said Rev. Ron Stief, Executive Director of the National Religious Campaign Against Torture in a news release. “Being unable to say that torture is immoral shows that she lacks the character necessary to stand up to the President and be an independent, moral CIA Director."

The Center for Constitutional Rights and retired general and flag officers of the U.S. military also wrote to express their concern about Haspel’s nomination.

Haspel reportedly led a secret black site in Thailand where torture techniques were used on detainees. She also played a role in destroying videos documenting the torture of detainees, specifically ones tied to the 9/11 attacks.

Faith and human rights leaders asked for transparency, saying it is crucial for government officials to release all details of Haspel’s involvement with torture.

National Catholic advocacy organizations wrote:

Ms. Haspel’s undisputed role supervising torture should be reason enough for Senators to vote against her nomination. Additionally, though, the CIA’s decision to selectively declassify no more than a handful of pages from her more than three decade career makes it impossible for the American people to fairly evaluate someone who has been nominated for a Cabinet-level position.

On Wednesday, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) became the first Democrat to say publicly that he’ll vote for Haspel’s nomination. CNN is running an up-to-date list on the vote count here.

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