CIA nominee Gina Haspel stepped up to her confirmation hearing knowing full well what the focus would be. After all, she ran a CIA black site in Thailand wherein prisoners were tortured, and she was involved in the destruction of video evidence of CIA torture, and even there she couldn’t keep her story consistent with CIA records.  Though she stated at the hearing that she would not restart a torture program at the CIA, none of her answers adequately addressed the fact that we tortured people and that it was wrong. Moral compass aside, Haspel expressed contradictory positions, stating both that torture doesn’t work and that it can and has retrieve valuable information from people. When Senator Collins (R-ME) asked if Haspel would comply with an order from Trump to use torture, she stated, “I do not believe the president would ask me to do that.” There were audible laughs in the room. Trump has repeatedly supported the use of torture, once stating in a debate, “I would bring back waterboarding, and I would bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding.” In a concerning exchange with Senator Harris (D-CA), Haspel refused to say that torture is immoral. The vote on Haspel won’t be strictly partisan, as notably Senator Paul (R-KY) will vote against her (and yes, we typed that with a smile reflecting on his vote FOR Pompeo), and Senator Manchin (D-WV) will vote for her. Senator McCain (R-AZ), a victim of torture himself, called on the Senate to oppose Haspel, though he will not be able to cast a vote himself, due to illness. Stay tuned.

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