Press Statement: Haspel’s Past and Lack of Candor with Congress Disqualify Her from Leading the CIA

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May 16, 2018

Today, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence voted by a margin of 10 to 5 in favor of advancing Gina Haspel’s nomination to become the next head of the CIA. The Project On Government Oversight has raised many concerns over her involvement in the CIA’s torture program and the illegal destruction of evidence, and her refusal to declassify meaningful information about her record.

Katherine Hawkins, POGO investigator and leading expert on the CIA’s torture program, released the following statement:

We are extremely disappointed by today’s vote to move Gina Haspel’s nomination forward out of committee. Haspel’s involvement with the illegal CIA torture program and the effort to destroy and cover up the evidence of that program should disqualify her from leading the CIA.

Haspel’s assurances that she will always act ethically and follow the law in the future ring hollow, given her failure to take responsibility for her role in the torture program and the cover-up. She impeded an honest Senate debate by refusing to declassify basic information about her own record and giving evasive answers at her confirmation hearing. On top of that, the full Senate is still being denied access to crucial documents about Haspel’s role in the destruction of videos of torture. This abuse of the CIA’s classification powers should have stopped her confirmation process in its tracks. We expect our senators to take their oversight responsibilities seriously, but today’s vote shows that that’s not the case.

Katherine also served as the investigator for The Constitution Project Task Force on Detainee Treatment’s groundbreaking 2013 report analyzing treatment of terrorism suspects by the United States.

Sarah Turberville, director of The Constitution Project at POGO, made the following statement:

The Senate must exercise its constitutional responsibility to “advise and consent” and vote no on Haspel’s nomination. The country can’t move beyond the stain of torture if we continue to put the people responsible for those abuses in positions of power.

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Founded in 1981, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is a nonpartisan independent watchdog that champions good government reforms. POGO’s investigations into corruption, misconduct, and conflicts of interest achieve a more effective, accountable, open, and ethical federal government.

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