CIA PICK is ca­reer spy­mas­ter.

Af­ter 9/11, she over­saw se­cret lo­ca­tion of what crit­ics say was tor­ture

The Dallas Morning News - - Front Page - Adam Gold­man, The New York Times

WASH­ING­TON — Just over a year af­ter the Sept. 11 at­tacks, the CIA dis­patched vet­eran clandestine of­fi­cer Gina Haspel to over­see a se­cret prison in Thai­land. Shortly af­ter, agency con­trac­tors in the hunt for the con­spir­a­tors wa­ter­boarded an al-qaeda sus­pect three times and sub­jected him to bru­tal in­ter­ro­ga­tion tech­niques.

Haspel’s time run­ning the prison, code-named Cat’s Eye, be­gan her deep in­volve­ment in the CIA’S coun­tert­er­ror­ism op­er­a­tions and showed her will­ing­ness to take part in the agency’s ren­di­tion, de­ten­tion and in­ter­ro­ga­tion pro­gram, which shaped her ca­reer. She was a ris­ing star un­til that dark chap­ter in CIA his­tory be­gan to emerge pub­licly.

But un­der Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, her for­tunes changed, and on Tues­day he said he in­tended to name her di­rec­tor of the CIA.

With his el­e­va­tion of Haspel, now the agency’s deputy di­rec­tor, Trump dis­played a will­ing­ness to ig­nore the wide­spread de­nun­ci­a­tions of wa­ter­board­ing, sleep de­pri­va­tion, con­fine­ments in boxes and other in­ter­ro­ga­tion tech­niques that were used by the CIA more than a decade ago.

Her nom­i­na­tion is cer­tain to reignite the de­bate over their use and the re­sult­ing psy­cho­log­i­cal dam­age for ter­ror­ism sus­pects. Although law­mak­ers, hu­man rights ac­tivists and oth­ers even­tu­ally con­demned the in­ter­ro­ga­tion meth­ods as tor­ture, the pro­gram had de­fend­ers. Among them was Trump, who vowed dur­ing his cam­paign to bring back wa­ter­board­ing and once said “tor­ture works,” although he later backed off that dec­la­ra­tion.

Haspel, 61, would be the first woman to run the CIA if con­firmed by the Se­nate.

“She is an out­stand­ing per­son who also I have got­ten to know very well,” Trump said Tues­day.

Dur­ing her Se­nate con­fir­ma­tion hear­ings, Haspel will be forced to an­swer ques­tions about wa­ter­board­ing and her in­ter­ac­tions with de­tainees. She will prob­a­bly have to an­swer whether she would agree to re­in­state wa­ter­board­ing as the pres­i­dent has sug­gested and whether she thinks tor­ture is an ef­fec­tive way to ex­tract in­for­ma­tion from ter­ror­ism sus­pects.

“I don’t envy her try­ing to get through con­fir­ma­tion,” said Robert Eatinger, the former top lawyer in the CIA’S Coun­tert­er­ror­ism Cen­ter. “It’s go­ing to be the first chance for senators to have some­one in­ti­mately in­volved in the pro­gram in front of them to an­swer ques­tions. I think they’ll take full ad­van­tage of that op­por­tu­nity.”

Sen. Dianne Fe­in­stein, Dcalif., the former chair of the In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee, over­saw its probe of the pro­gram.

“She has been, I be­lieve, a good deputy di­rec­tor,” Fe­in­stein said. “She seems to have the con­fi­dence of the agency.”

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