President Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the CIA, Gina Haspel, refused to say if torture was “immoral” when asked by Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris of California during her Senate confirmation hearing.
Haspel was involved in torture when she was stationed at a “black site” in Thailand in 2002; she also supported destroying video evidence of the torture, noted Democracy Now.
Harris, a former prosecutor, asked Haspel:
So one question I have not heard you answer is, “do you believe that the previous interrogation techniques were immoral?” It’s a “yes” or no” answer.
Haspel dodged the question by praising the CIA’s use of torture, which she falsely claimed was “legal” at the time:
Senator, I believe that CIA did extraordinary work to prevent another attack on this country giving the legal tools we were authorized to use.
Haspel failed to mention President Reagan banned torture back in 1984, reported The Atlantic.
Harris asked Haspel the question again:
Please answer yes or no. Do you believe in hindsight that those techniques were immoral?
Haspel dodged the question by claiming to support a higher moral standard:
Senator, what I believe sitting here today is that I support the higher moral standard we have decided to hold ourselves to.
Harris asked Haspel the question a third time:
Can you please answer the question?
Haspel falsely claimed that she answered the question:
Senator, I think I’ve answered the question.
Harris fact-checked Haspel on the spot:
No, you have not. Do you believe the previous techniques — now armed with hindsight — do you believe they were immoral? Yes or no?