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Quick take

McCain: Haspel's refusal to acknowledge torture's immorality is disqualifying

U.S. Sen. John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, released the following statement Wednesday on the nomination of Gina Haspel to be director of the CIA:

Today, Gina Haspel testified before the Senate and to the country about her qualifications to lead the CIA. This occasion provided an opportunity to provide details about her experience in the CIA, explain her involvement in the so-called enhanced interrogation program during the Bush Administration, and account for the mistakes the country made in torturing detainees held in U.S. custody after the September 11th attacks. Unfortunately, the testimony the American people heard from Ms. Haspel today failed to address these concerns.

Like many Americans, I understand the urgency that drove the decision to resort to so-called enhanced interrogation methods after our country was attacked. I know that those who used enhanced interrogation methods and those who approved them wanted to protect Americans from harm. I appreciate their dilemma and the strain of their duty. But as I have argued many times, the methods we employ to keep our nation safe must be as right and just as the values we aspire to live up to and promote in the world.

I believe Gina Haspel is a patriot who loves our country and has devoted her professional life to its service and defense. However, Ms. Haspel's role in overseeing the use of torture by Americans is disturbing. Her refusal to acknowledge torture's immorality is disqualifying. I believe the Senate should exercise its duty of advice and consent and reject this nomination.

John McCain is a Republican Senator from Arizona.

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1 comment on this story

May 10, 2018, 10:47 am
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I disagree with McCain’s reasoning in this case.  Gina Haspel was serving her country and following legal orders during the very difficult period after 9-11.  I don’t know her total involvement in the enhanced interrogation methods that were used on a limited number of the terrorist responsible for the 9-11 attacks, but at that time in history she and other CIA employees were following legal procedures.  To now assert that Haspel is unfit to lead the CIA because she followed laws in the past that have now been changed is unreasonable and illegitimate and I believe more likely than not an excuse to reject a Trump nominee because of McCain’s well known hatred of Trump.

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