‘My father doesn’t need torture explained to him…’
(Newsweek) President Donald Trump’s choice to lead the CIA has spurred a feud between the daughters of Republican Senator John McCain and former Vice President Dick Cheney, who take opposing views on appointee Gina Haspel’s track record with torture tactics.
Not long after the Tuesday announcement, John McCain—who spent more than five years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam—released a statement, calling the period when the United States allegedly “tortured” detainees “one of the darkest chapters in American history,” and insisting that the Senate take a critical eye to Haspel’s involvement in the program during confirmation hearings.
Soon after, Wyoming Representative Liz Cheney retweeted the senator, adding her own commentary defending the Enhanced Interrogation Program’s “techniques,” which she said had prevented acts of terrorism, saved lives and aided the capture of Osama bin Laden.
“No one should slander the brave men and women who carried out this crucial program,” she wrote Tuesday.
Cheney’s apparent dismissal of John McCain didn’t sit well with his daughter, The View co-host Meghan McCain, who retorted:
My father doesn’t need torture explained to him. https://t.co/ajrtr7Vn5A
— Meghan McCain (@MeghanMcCain) March 15, 2018
Haspel’s resume includes time she spent between 2003 and 2005 overseeing the CIA’s Rendition, Detention and Interrogation Program, which involved agents detaining dozens of terror suspects.
The Obama administration alleged that those detained were beaten, deprived of sleep and forced into coffins in an attempt to get information from them.
However, former CIA officials with knowledge of the program rebut those allegations on the Web site CIASavedLives.com. Among their defenses:
The recently released Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) Majority report on the CIA’s Rendition, Detention, and Interrogation Program is marred by errors of facts and interpretation and is completely at odds with the reality that the leaders and officers of the Central Intelligence Agency lived through. It represents the single worst example of Congressional oversight in our many years of government service.
Astonishingly, the SSCI Majority staff interviewed no CIA officers responsible for establishing, implementing, or evaluating the program’s effectiveness. Let us repeat, no one at the CIA was interviewed.
Worse, the Committee selectively used documents to try to substantiate a point of view where ample and contrary evidence existed. Over 5 years and at a cost of $40 million, the staff “cherry picked” through 6 million pages of documents to produce an answer they knew the Majority wanted. In the intelligence profession, that is called politicization.
Liberal nonprofit news Web site Pro Publica reported in 2017 that Haspel was involved in the interrogation of Al-Qaeda suspect Abu Zubaydah, which involved waterboarding, but retracted the story after it was found to be false.
Afterward, Haspel signed off on an order from her superior to destroy the tapes documenting his interrogation.
Trump’s appointment of Haspel has raised red flags with many, especially given the president’s own statements on tactics like waterboarding.
“When ISIS is doing things that no one has ever heard of, since medieval times, would I feel strongly about waterboarding?” Trump told ABC News in January. “As far as I’m concerned, we have to fight fire with fire.”
At the time, Trump said he’d take his cues on the issue from former CIA Director Mike Pompeo, who is now set to step into the Secretary of State role, and Defense Secretary James Mattis.
“If they don’t want to do [it], that’s fine.” Trump said. “And if they do want to…I will work toward that end.”
But even if Haspel makes it her mission to bring back the interrogation program, she and the Trump administration will run into some obstacles, according to experts.
“The Obama executive order forbidding the CIA from maintaining detention facilities remains in place, and, even were it revoked by President Trump, I can’t see Congress funding the construction of new [secret interrogation] sites, or any foreign country agreeing to allow one to be built on its soil,” Robert Eatinger, a former CIA lawyer, said Tuesday.
Republished with permission from Newsweek via iCopyright license. Liberty Headlines editor Paul Chesser contributed.