You’ve probably heard the awful news that the full Senate just confirmed Gina Haspel as CIA Director. None of us wanted this nomination to unfold as it did and I know you join me and people of conscience everywhere who are appalled that the United States has promoted a woman who oversaw torture and sought to destroy the evidence of it.
But while the outcome is not at all what we fought for, I believe we can view the process in a somewhat more positive light. The human rights community and all of us who support torture survivors on their road to recovery vigorously raised our voices against Haspel’s nomination and in doing so, put the U.S. government on notice that we will be watching and respond with one unified voice to any evidence that the CIA may return to its immoral and unethical program of post-9/11 torture.
Further, I think we can all take some measure of satisfaction in the fact that Haspel sent a letter to Senator Mark Warner of the Intelligence Committee in which she admitted that the torture program damaged the CIA and the U.S. standing in the world.
She is on the record admitting the program was a mistake, even if she refused to give full-throated rejection to torture itself.
I doubt she would have written those words had it not been for the vigorous opposition her nomination generated thanks to all of you.
So while it remains to be seen whether Haspel’s words amount to an empty assurance, all of us who spoke against her should understand that she was pushed to make this assertion.
The press will be watching her and we will too.
All of us together will continue to speak out and hold Haspel and others responsible for torture accountable.
I thank you for everything you do to support a world free from torture.