Thune Statement on Confirmation of Gina Haspel for CIA Director

Thune Statement on Confirmation of Gina Haspel for CIA Director

“With more than 30 years of experience serving in posts overseas and in CIA leadership, Gina Haspel is an outstanding choice for CIA director.”

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) today issued the following statement regarding the Senate confirmation of Gina Haspel to be the director of the CIA:

“With more than 30 years of experience serving in posts overseas and in CIA leadership, Gina Haspel is an outstanding choice for CIA director. Her long and distinguished record of service speaks for itself. Her confirmation is also a historic moment for our country, as Haspel becomes the first woman to lead the CIA in its 70-year history.

It’s unfortunate that, at a time when our country faces a wide array of threats, Democrats chose to play unnecessary politics with this nomination. But now that the Republican-led Senate has confirmed her, I look forward to the good work she and the agency will continue to do to keep Americans safe.”


11 Replies to “Thune Statement on Confirmation of Gina Haspel for CIA Director”

  1. Anonymous

    Haspel is a horrible choice for CIA director. She ran a CIA black site on foreign soil that engaged in savagely cruel long-term physical, mental, and emotional torture, then helped to destroy evidence afterward. The only person ultimately jailed for this illegal CIA program was John Kiriakou, the CIA whistleblower who revealed it. He spent 30 months in prison, while the people who ran the program have continued to get promotions within the agency.

    With the exception of a few cherry-picked tidbits, Haspel has declassified practically nothing from her long and supposedly distinguished record of service.

    At a time when the transnational intelligence community has essentially unchecked power to conduct extrajudicial kidnapping, torture, and murder around the world, it’s laughable but predictable that the one of the most bitter partisans in the Senate would accuse Democrats of playing politics with the Haspel nomination.

    In reality it’s Thune and most of his fellow Republicans smearing lipstick onto a pig primarily because Haspel was nominated by our stripper-humping blowhard Republican president.

      1. Anonymous

        I’m not a Democrat, but if I were a betting man, I’d give 100-to-1 odds that you’re a Republican.

        Wake up, America. This is not sports. People are dying.

    1. KM

      You are upset that terrorists were emotionally and mentally tortured? Okay? Didn’t a veteran recently voluntarily participate in waterboarding for 45min proving it’s not as torturous as you might think?

      I’m not sure what your sources are, but here’s one you’re probably not going to like…

      On Feb. 22, 2017, ProPublica published a story that inaccurately described Gina Haspel’s role in the treatment of Abu Zubaydah, a suspected al-Qaida leader who was imprisoned by the CIA at a secret “black site” in Thailand in 2002.

      The story said that Haspel, a career CIA officer who President Trump has nominated to be the next director of central intelligence, oversaw the clandestine base where Zubaydah was subjected to waterboarding and other coercive interrogation methods that are widely seen as torture. The story also said she mocked the prisoner’s suffering in a private conversation. Neither of these assertions is correct and we retract them. It is now clear that Haspel did not take charge of the base until after the interrogation of Zubaydah ended.

      1. Anonymous

        Am I upset that terrorists were tortured? I’m upset that the CIA has never even explained how it decides who the “terrorists” are. In this case a “terrorist” seems to be anyone the CIA wants to torture. Torturing terrorists may sound great to someone with no moral code, until they label you a terrorist.

        The U.S. Constitution forbids any cruel and unusual punishment, and that includes punishment for refusing to reveal information.

        As for the ProPublica retraction, they showed the original story to the CIA before they ran it. The CIA obviously knew it referred to the agent who ran the Thailand black site prior to Haspel, but they intentionally allowed the inaccurate information to be published in an attempt to discredit the entire report.

        I’m not sure what your reference to 45 minutes of voluntary waterboarding is supposed to prove. Since you brought up Abu Zubaydah, let’s look at what happened to him. He was deprived of sleep and tortured for weeks on end, using tactics so brutal that some CIA personnel openly wept and requested transfers after sessions.

        Quoting from The Atlantic:

        At times Abu Zubaydah was described as “hysterical” and “distressed” to the level that he was unable to effectively communicate. Waterboarding sessions “resulted in immediate fluid intake and involuntary leg, chest and arm spasms” and “hysterical pleas.” In at least one waterboarding session, Abu Zubaydah “became completely unresponsive, with bubbles rising through his open, full mouth.” According to CIA records, Abu Zubaydah remained unresponsive until medical intervention, when he regained consciousness and expelled “copious amounts of liquid.”

        This experience with the waterboard was referenced in emails, but was not documented or otherwise noted in CIA cables. When two CIA Headquarters officers later compared the Abu Zubaydah interrogation videotapes to the cable record, neither commented on this session. A review of the catalog of videotapes, however, found that recordings of a 21-hour period, which included two waterboarding sessions, were missing…

        After the use of the enhanced interrogation techniques ended, CIA personnel at the detention site concluded that Abu Zubaydah had been truthful and that he did not possess any new terrorist threat information.

        It’s true that Haspel didn’t take over the Thailand torture site until after the events described above, but she continued to oversee torture there and eventually participated in the destruction of evidence. Contrary to what John Thune suggests in his press release, Haspel is a horrible choice for CIA director, and opposition to her nomination isn’t just partisan politics.

        Thune is making a mockery of his religion, and I believe he ought to clean house or resign.

  2. Anonymous

    How can this be -the Republicans appointing the first woman CIA director…the Democrats lie to us all the time about being the party of women/ Thank you Senators Thune and Rounds

  3. KM

    “The U.S. Constitution forbids any cruel and unusual punishment”…. Tell that to unborn babies who are ripped from the womb limb by limb and their skulls crushed so to fit through the vaginal canal or the babies Gosnell killed by using a scissors to cut into the back of their necks. Watch an abortion video and get back to me about cruel and unusual punishment.

    “He was deprived of sleep”… Tell that to mother’s and father’s with newborns or people who care for the sick that need medicine every 2hrs. I have no sympathy for terrorists, and I’m doubting Abu Zubaydah showed much compassion to his enemies.

    Referencing the veteran was to prove waterboarding isn’t as torturous as how you are describing it to be, that’s why he did it, a true patriot he is.

    It is very unlikely the CIA randomly picks people to torture. If you don’t trust the CIA, how can you trust their reporting? You and The Atlantic reference them several times… “According to CIA records”, “CIA personnel at the detention site”.

    …eventually participated in the destruction of evidence… so did Hillary. I want to know why she and her cronies haven’t been investigated. I want to know why the FBI has continued a 2yr long investigation into Trump/Russia collusion when there’s still no evidence.

    “Thune is making a mockery of his religion”… you don’t know what’s in his heart, but Jesus does. Thune’s made a lot of promises, one of them was not to make a career out of being a politician. I think we’re going on 20yrs now, yes he should resign… we have found some common ground;)

    As we disagree, I appreciate the dialogue.

    1. Anonymous

      Volunteering to be waterboarded for 45 minutes doesn’t remotely compare to being systematically deprived of sleep for weeks on end, involuntarily waterboarded multiple times per day, drowned unconscious, and generally subjected to psychological torment until one’s very ability to communicate is destroyed.

      Even if it did compare, it wouldn’t be patriotic. Defending the Constitution’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishments is patriotic. A CIA whistleblower spent 30 months in prison for telling us the intelligence community was spending countless millions of dollars of our money on elaborate secret torture camps. He’s patriotic.

      Regarding the CIA’s “reporting” on its own actions, no one can trust it. No matter how much evil their self-reporting reveals, we now have overwhelming evidence that there’s more they’ll never report.

      Some of your logic escapes me. “Cruel abortion is bad, so cruel psychological torment is okay”? “Hillary destroying evidence is bad, so Gina Haspel destroying evidence is okay”?

      I don’t know what’s in John Thune’s heart, but I know what’s in his voting record, and some of it stinks to high heaven.

      1. KM

        You talk to me like I have sympathy for terrorists, I do not. Do you know the crimes Abu Zubaydah committed against humanity? Did he rape, murder and torture others? Yes, I think he did. Didn’t his “torture” take place before Haspel arrived in Thailand? Yes, I think it did.

        If Haspel did in fact destroy evidence, why wasn’t she investigated and prosecuted? Oh, that’s right, she was. A special prosecutor and grand jury investigated those actions but ultimately chose not to prosecute. Haspel wrote a letter about her nomination you could take time to read it, it may clear up questions you have.

        Some of your logic escapes me too. Was Abu’s arms torn from his body? No. Was his skull crushed? No. He was given the chance to communicate, aborted babies aren’t given that chance. The Constitution protects against cruel and unusual punishment, why doesn’t this apply to the unborn? It works both ways, that’s all I’m saying.

        Again, I agree, Thune’s voting record is not something this Republican is all that excited about.


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