ResourcesPress Release

Haspel’s 11th-Hour Regrets About CIA Torture Program Grossly Inadequate

For Immediate Release

A letter, penned by CIA Director Nominee Gina Haspel to Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chair Senator Mark Warner, is inadequate to address grave concerns about her controversial nomination and involvement in the CIA torture program.

The following statement is attributable to Sarah Dougherty, Senior Fellow, Physicians for Human Rights:

“Gina Haspel's letter indicates one thing: she regrets people knowing anything about the CIA torture program. This is evident from her 15-year campaign to cover up what happened, which continues as we speak with escalating intensity. To date, Haspel has refused to acknowledge her role in managing the program, which includes supervising a torture black site, overseeing waterboarding, and helping to destroy evidence.

“In her letter, Haspel refuses to acknowledge that torture is wrong, which the Senate must read as moral endorsement. Under intense pressure over her nomination, she has reluctantly admitted that the torture program hurt the CIA’s reputation, but she does not acknowledge her own role. Her statement is beyond inadequate. In refusing to denounce torture, Haspel is effectively signaling she does not recognize the constraints of the law, which prohibits waterboarding and other forms of cruelty. CIA torture was designed to break human beings. Nothing speaks louder than Haspel’s secrecy and silence on torture, destruction of evidence, and her role in both.

“Torture should not get a free pass. President Trump has promised to engage in ‘waterboarding and worse,’ and nothing shows more openness to this agenda than appointing someone with a history of giving and following illegal orders regarding torture. The Senate must reject Haspel’s confirmation.”

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is a New York-based advocacy organization that uses science and medicine to prevent mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. Learn more here.

Media Contact

Kevin Short

Deputy Director, Media & Communications1.917.679.0110

Get Updates from PHR