Donald Trump is having so many problems hiring qualified staff that he’s started using wacky members from President Bush’s horrible administration. His first bad choice was bringing John Bolton out of mothballs as his pick for National Security Advisor, and now he’s nominated Gina Haspel to head the CIA. Neither one of them did a good job for President Bush, so one has to wonder why Trump thinks they’ll do any better working for him.
Monday, 109 retired generals and admirals wrote a letter urging senators to reject Haspel for the CIA post. The letter expressed their concern over Haspel’s involvement in “enhanced interrogation” programs under the Bush administration. Those programs and the techniques used are now widely considered torture. In part their letter said,
‘We urge you to examine closely the full extent of Ms. Haspel’s involvement in the rendition, detention, and interrogation program, and should you find that she played any role in carrying out, supervising, or directing the torture or abuse of people in U.S. custody, or the destruction of evidence relating to these activities, we urge you to reject her nomination. We are deeply troubled by the prospect of someone who appears to have been intimately involved in torture being elevated to one of the most important positions of leadership in the intelligence community.’
Not only has Haspel been accused of overseeing the torture of suspects, but in 2005 she was accused of destroying video tape evidence of tortuous interrogations at a black site prison in Thailand. The destruction of the tapes was ordered by Jose Rodriguez, then head of the agency’s clandestine service, and Haspel who was his chief of staff at the time, was reportedly a strong advocate for their destruction. The Justice Department ran an investigation into the destruction of the tapes, but no charges were ever filed in the matter.
Trump’s newest attempt to bring back some of the worst members of President Bush’s administration will do nothing to save his failing presidency. These people didn’t work out the first time around, so there’s no reason to think they’ll work out the second time around either.
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