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Tuesday, December 5, 2023

‘Bloody Gina’, the new CIA chief, will obey her moral compass, not President Trump!

News Analysis |

Answering to US Senator Mark R. Warner’s question to define her moral code as far as CIA’s notorious interrogation techniques are concerned, Gina Haspel said that she has very high moral standards. “I would obey my moral compass, not President Trump”, to-be spymaster of United States of America went on the state on the question of whether she would comply if any of such commands were given by President himself. She was being questioned by Senate Intelligence Committee prior to her formal appointment as the chief of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

Gina Haspel is preceded by current US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who was appointed at the key diplomatic position after Trump replaced Rex Tillerson. Both US president and former secretary of state shared the difference of opinion on multiple avenues which resulted in the resignation of latter. Trump decided to appoint, then, CIA chief Mike Pompeo to lead the diplomatic services. Pompeo is known for his rigid discourse and deep knowledge of political paradigm which he is helping him steer current Korean peace process. He is believed to be one of the closest aids of Donald Trump, and President gives due leverage to his opinion.

Haspel took charge in 2002 of a secret CIA detention facility in Thailand where an al-Qaeda suspect was waterboarded, ordering the destruction of dozens of videotapes of the interrogation sessions.

During the entire confirmation hearing of Intelligence committee, the senators wanted Haspel to clearly state that whether the interrogation techniques which CIA employed in the past were nothing but inhuman torture in her opinion. She seemed vague in her approach, opposite to what senators were looking for. The reason so much focus was being given to CIA’s infamous interrogation program was because Gina Haspel had been the part of it during Bush Jr.’s administration. The techniques involved torture methods, such as waterboarding to make a person feel as if he is drowning, which gave the detainees a near-death experience before making them to reveal the intel they had.

Read more: CIA nominee Gina Haspel vows spy agency will not reinstate torture

Haspel took charge in 2002 of a secret CIA detention facility in Thailand where an al-Qaeda suspect was waterboarded, ordering the destruction of dozens of videotapes of the interrogation sessions.

Haspel, Trump’s nominee for CIA director, faced questions over role in interrogations of terror suspects at secret detention site

She told senators Wednesday that she had “absolutely” supported the destruction of 92 tapes, all depicting one detainee being interrogated, over concerns “about the security risk that was posed to our officers.” She noted that CIA lawyers at the time had determined there was no legal obligation to retain them, despite lawmakers and government officials have raised questions about the interrogations only days before their destruction was ordered.

She expressed her endorsement to current lawful means of interrogation which CIA employs along with admitting the fact that CIA was taken by surprise by the asymmetrical war against terror. As it was the different sort of borderless enemy they were dealing with, the agency was not sure how to tackle the scenario in the domain of interrogation and intel gathering, she added. She also said that the CIA learned “tough lessons” during “that tumultuous time” and that experience reinforced her “personal commitment, clearly and without reservation,” not to restart the CIA’s detention and interrogation program.

Read more: The truth about torture: CIA chief can’t lead without facing her…

Senator to Haspel: Where was your moral compass?

“I would not allow CIA to undertake activity that I thought was immoral, even if it was technically legal. I would absolutely not permit it.”

It may sound progressive but mere words are not enough when it is the basic human rights which are pivoting point of the whole discussion. It is evident to the pragmatic understanding that spy agencies do not go by the book. The clandestine activities and techniques continue to the hallmark of the demeanor which operatives conduct on and off the record.

Read more: How the US destroyed Afghanistan

There were reports of severe human rights violations in Guantanamo Bay and Abu Garib where alleged terrorist detainees, who were not given the right of the free and fair trial, were subjected to heart reckoning and specially engineered mode of torture. It was the reason why senators were not willing to take the word of proposed next CIA chief as is. “No one should get credit for simply agreeing to follow the law. That’s the least we should expect from any nominee and certainly the director of the CIA,” Senator Warner told Haspel.

The underlying problem is that not all Republican senators have pledged to support her nomination. Being a career spy for 30 years, Gina Haspel is certainly a highly suitable option for the position but her past relating to the interrogation program at the agency followed by her orders which lead to the destroying of interrogation tapes might prove to be the final hurdle in her approval.