Trump Nominees’ Troubling History on Torture

Representative Mike Pompeo (R-KS) testifies before a Senate Intelligence hearing on his nomination to head the CIA on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 12, 2017.


© 2017 Reuters

(Washington, DC) – In response to President Donald Trump’s nomination of Mike Pompeo to be Secretary of State and Gina Haspel as CIA Director please find the following response from Sarah Margon, Washington Director at Human Rights Watch:

“US President Donald Trump’s decision to nominate Mike Pompeo to be Secretary of State and Gina Haspel to succeed him as CIA Director is deeply troubling because of their past endorsements of torture.

“During his CIA confirmation hearing on January 12, 2017, Pompeo failed to unequivocally disavow the US government’s use of torture and mass surveillance. In a January 2018 speech on interrogation methods, Pompeo again missed an opportunity to reject torture and suggested coercive methods were acceptable. If Pompeo is confirmed to be the global face of the US government, his views on torture would harm the standing of the US abroad.

“Haspel is credibly reported to have run a CIA “black site” in Thailand as part of a US program that used torture after the 9/11 attacks. She later served as chief of staff to Jose Rodriguez, who led the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center from approximately 2002 to 2004. In these positions she would have been directly involved in the CIA’s notorious and unlawful rendition, detention, and interrogation program. The government should investigate Haspel for past violations, not nominate her for higher office.

“Given their histories, the potential for Pompeo and Haspel to endorse abusive practices and lend support for their use abroad should convince the Senate to reject both nominations.”


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Author: Human Rights Watch