Loading...
BYH, I just saw footage of Trump saying "It's easy. I'd just drop a 25% tax on China". Would somebody please show me...

CIA nominee Gina Haspel should renounce torture

APTOPIX CIA Nominee Haspel

CIA nominee Gina Haspel testifies during a confirmation hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill Wednesday in Washington.

Loading…

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Gina Haspel has shown she has all the qualities to become the next director of the Central Intelligence Agency, except one.

For 33 years with the agency, Haspel has been on the front lines of America’s greatest security challenges, rising from station chief, to deputy director of the clandestine service, to deputy director of the agency. Former bosses and colleagues from both parties praise her leadership and professionalism.

What’s prevented her from being a shoo-in for the top job is her role at the center of one of the federal government’s most sickening and indefensible programs, a brutal interrogation regime that used torture against terrorism suspects after the Sept. 11 attacks. It wound down during President George W. Bush’s second term, then was banned by President Barack Obama after stirring domestic and international outrage.

In 2002, Haspel headed a CIA detention facility in Thailand where a suspect linked to Al Qaeda, accused of orchestrating the attack on the American destroyer Cole off the coast of Yemen, was waterboarded and brutalized in other ways. And in 2005, under her boss’s direction, she drafted a cable ordering the agency to destroy more than 90 videotapes of its interrogation of that man.

At Haspel’s confirmation hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee, she was pressed on how she now viewed torture and whether she would ever revive the program, even if President Trump ordered her to. That’s a vital concern since he’s spoken of bringing back waterboarding, in which a detained person is doused with buckets of water to the point of near-drowning.

“Having served in that tumultuous time,” she said, “I can offer you my personal commitment, clearly and without reservation, that under my leadership, CIA will not restart such a detention and interrogation program.”

But she did not declare, flat out, that torture is wrong and that she regretted her role in it. Instead, she defended the torture of terrorism suspects during a fraught time after the Sept. 11 attacks when the agency was focused on preventing more attacks. She said CIA officers should not be judged for their involvement in torture then.

Asked if she would stand up to Trump if he ordered her to resume an “enhanced” interrogation program, she first said, “I do not believe the president would ask me to do that,” then added, “I would not restart under any circumstances an interrogation program at CIA.”

Sen. Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat, asked her to define her “moral code.” Haspel said: “I would not allow CIA to undertake activity that I thought is immoral, even if it is technically legal. I would absolutely not permit it. I believe CIA must undertake activities that are consistent with American values.”

But she would not say that torture is immoral.

Sen. Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon, asked her whether she had called for the program to be continued or expanded in 2005-07 when the program was winding down. Haspel did not answer directly.

We are constrained in assessing Haspel because much about her record is not public. She controls what of her record can be declassified, and most details released so far have been flattering. She should recuse herself and allow Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, to make the call on declassifying more of her record.

It’s unlikely that anyone else Trump would pick would have Haspel’s experience, knowledge of the agency and intelligence. It is troubling, though, that someone deeply associated with actions so at odds with America’s values and international law should lead the agency. What signal would that send to the world?

Haspel no doubt fears she would be undercutting some of her colleagues by renouncing what she did. But the CIA needs a leader who can reckon openly with the past.

Unless Haspel takes that step, she will not have demonstrated the most important quality for any official, a strong moral compass. Until then, we cannot support her confirmation.

The New York Times

Loading…

Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

Editorials

August 20, 2018

Earlier this month, President Trump’s administration doubled down on his earlier proposal to create a Space Force as a new branch of the United States military. The suggestion, as before, was met with much eye-rolling and plenty of snarky remarks from the president’s critics.

We have…

Trump Space Force-4

August 18, 2018

In Tom Fetzer’s defense of his recent actions as a member of the UNC Board of Governors, he was right about one matter: Secrecy is not paramount in the search for a new chancellor at one of our state universities.

Fetzer, in a column published by The News & Observer, defended his…

1S7A6269-8

August 17, 2018

Even — or especially — among those who agree human-caused global warming is happening, the footnote has been the understanding that no individual weather event or catastrophe is caused by the overall temperature rise.

Until this summer in the Northern Hemisphere.

It’s not just hot…

Western Wildfires-7

August 16, 2018

Cooke Communications N.C. today joins newspapers across the nation writing in response to President Donald Trump’s regular attacks against journalism and the press.

Too many nights to count, journalists sit in nearly empty city council chambers, school board meeting rooms and county office…

press.jpg

August 15, 2018

The U.S. and North Korea are again publicly disagreeing about progress toward the North’s denuclearization, and that’s no surprise. This was likely to happen once President Trump agreed to “phased” progress and dropped demands that the North agree up front to reveal and…

Trump North Korea

August 14, 2018

The Trump administration has reportedly instructed its top diplomats to engage in direct talks with the Taliban. That’s a welcome and important step toward ending the wasteful war in Afghanistan.

A preliminary discussion was held last month in Qatar, the Washington Post reported, after The…

US Afghanistan

August 12, 2018

The numbers are troubling and on the edge of embarrassing — 2,386 North Carolina elementary school teachers have failed the math portion of their licensing exam since 2013. So says a report presented to the state Board of Education last week.

The failure rate on those math tests is getting…

Teacher Protests-13

August 11, 2018

It’s unexpectedly good news that Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina wants to lower some of its premium rates for 2019, as the Journal’s Richard Craver reported Wednesday. This is the first rate decrease in Blue Cross of North Carolina’s history since it entered the…

Health Care Overhaul What Now

August 10, 2018

The debate over 3D-printed guns blew up last week. Many people rightly see this issue as being about the Second Amendment right to bear arms, it’s also about the First Amendment and free speech.

The plans for a basic 3D-printed gun have been around for a couple of years, but the federal…

3D Guns Lawsuit

August 09, 2018

Does the constitutional right to armed self-defense extend outside the home? The Supreme Court didn't address that issue when it a decade ago issued a landmark ruling affirming an individual's right to keep firearms in the home for personal protection. Now, that question is on the front burner with…

Supreme Court Kavanaugh Roe v Wade
106 stories in Editorials. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 11
        Next Page»   Last Page»