Trump defends CIA chief pick amid questions about torture role

8 May 2018

Trump defends CIA chief pick amid questions about torture role

Image credit: Central Intelligence Agency

US President Donald Trump has defended his nominee for Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) chief, Gina Haspel, despite concerns over her involvement in a post-9/11 torture program.

Mr Trump tweeted on Monday:

The response from the President comes after Ms Haspel offered to withdraw her nomination on Friday due to concerns of her role in the brutal interrogations of Al-Qaeda suspects, a program that the CIA has since disavowed.

Ms Haspel oversaw the program in Thailand in 2002, where suspects were placed in secret prisons and were subjected to torture methods such as waterboarding, sleep deprivation, and confinement in boxes.

Opposition has remained prevalent since her nomination became public, with over 100 top US army generals and admirals signing a letter that urged senators to reject Ms Haspel.

“It would send a terrible signal to confirm as the next director of the CIA someone who was so intimately involved in this dark chapter of our nation’s history”, they wrote.

Ms Haspel, who has spent three decades working within the US spy agency, was ultimately convinced not to withdraw her name and is expected to face questioning on Wednesday in a confirmation hearing at the Senate Intelligence Committee.