President Trump ousted Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday, announcing he plans to replace Tillerson with CIA Director Mike Pompeo. Trump chose Pompeo’s current deputy, Gina Haspel, to be the next director of the CIA, touting Haspel as the first woman to fill this role.
Mike Pompeo, Director of the CIA, will become our new Secretary of State. He will do a fantastic job! Thank you to Rex Tillerson for his service! Gina Haspel will become the new Director of the CIA, and the first woman so chosen. Congratulations to all!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 13, 2018
Long before Haspel became the #2 official at America’s premiere intelligence agency, however, she played a significant role in the Bush administration’s attempts to extract information from detainees through torture.
As the New York Times reported last year, “as a clandestine officer at the Central Intelligence Agency in 2002, Gina Haspel oversaw the torture of two terrorism suspects and later took part in an order to destroy videotapes documenting their brutal interrogations at a secret prison in Thailand.”
Torture is not an effective method of obtaining information and often leads to individuals making false claims in order to end the torture. As a 2014 report by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence concluded, “the CIA’s use of its enhanced interrogation techniques was not an effective means of acquiring intelligence or gaining cooperation from detainees.” Multiple detainees, according to the report, “fabricated information, resulting in faulty intelligence.”
Nevertheless, Haspel reportedly ran an overseas detention site in Thailand, where two men were tortured. According to the New York Times, one detainee, Abu Zubaydah, was “waterboarded 83 times in a single month, had his head repeatedly slammed into walls and endured other harsh methods before interrogators decided he had no useful information to provide.”