Trump CIA pick: The real 'tragedy' of torture was people criticizing it


Gina Haspel has a twisted set of priorities.

Gina Haspel, Trump's pick to lead the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), may have shown her true colors Wednesday morning, when she lashed out during her confirmation hearing after being faced with concerns about the Bush-era torture program.

Haspel opened the hearing with the hollow promise not to reinstate the Bush-era torture program that she helped oversee and cover up, but repeatedly refused to say she believed it was wrong.

When Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) pressed her on reports that she supported expanding the torture program when it was being wound down, Haspel lashed out.


Wyden said he was "troubled" by Haspel's apparent confirmation that she supported expanding the program, and Haspel responded by boasting that she wasn't "on the sidelines" after 9/11.

"I think we did extraordinary work," Haspel said. "To me, the tragedy is that the controversy surrounding the interrogation program — as I've already indicated to Senator Warner, I fully understand that — but it has cast a shadow over what has been a major contribution to protecting this country."

Haspel is saying that the "tragedy" of the torture program she supported — and wanted to expand — is that it became a "controversy," not that the world watched as America did this: "round-the-clock torture of two detainees who were kept naked, placed in painful positions, deprived of sleep and subjected to waterboarding and other horrific acts."

That's a description by former Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller, based on a congressional report on the program.

Despite her meager and lawyerly attempts to convince Americans that she's had some change of heart about following morally repugnant orders of dubious legality, Haspel demonstrates that the only thing she's taken to heart from the torture program is not to get caught.