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What the Senate Needs to Ask Gina Haspel

Gina Haspel (Photo: Central Intelligence Agency)

A confirmation hearing for President Donald Trump’s pick to lead the CIA, Gina Haspel, is likely to be scheduled soon. Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and Ron Wyden (D-OR), and a coalition of civil society groups have called on the CIA to declassify Haspel’s role in the rendition, detention, and interrogation program before her confirmation hearing. So far, the CIA has disregarded these calls. Instead, it has disclosed the fact that Haspel is a fan of the Kentucky Wildcats and that her office contains “a five-foot-tall poster of Johnny Cash as a symbol of American individualism,” along with some vague details about her CIA career.

Without full declassification of her involvement in American torture and rendition programs during the George W. Bush administration, Haspel’s confirmation hearing will be a farce. The public record about her role is as disturbing as it is limited—and without official acknowledgement by the CIA, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) will not even be able to meaningfully question her about what’s been reported in the press.

See the full post in Just Security for additional background on Haspel, and suggested questions for her confirmation.