The Intercept reveals that Mike Pompeo, Trump’s Islamophobic head of the Central Intelligence Agency, just promoted a former covert operative into the spy agency’s number two position. The new hire’s appalling service record should be enough to give any American pause.
Glenn Greenwald reports that a Senate report described Deputy Director Gina Haspel as having an “extensive role” in the torture of high-profile detainee Abu Zubaydah.
Gina Haspel is now slated to become the second-most powerful official at the CIA despite – or because of – the central, aggressive, sustained role she played in many of the most grotesque and shameful abuses of the War on Terror.
In May, 2013, the Washington Post’s Greg Miller reported that the head of the CIA’s clandestine service was being shifted out of that position as a result of “a management shake-up” by then-Director John Brennan. As Miller documented, this official – whom the paper did not name because she was a covert agent at the time – was centrally involved in the worst abuses of the CIA’s Bush-era torture regime.
That original Washington Post report noted plainly that the reporter knew the identity of Haspel as the CIA operative and singled out her extensive activities in a Thailand black-site prison:
She had run a secret prison in Thailand where two detainees were subjected to waterboarding and other harsh techniques. She later helped order the destruction of videotapes of those interrogation sessions. After running the “black site” in Thailand, the female officer returned to headquarters for a senior job at the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center. Former colleagues said she lobbied for several years to have the videotapes taken in Thailand destroyed.
The 2005 destruction of the tapes, which went against White House lawyers’ warnings, prompted a criminal investigation, but no charges were filed.
Less than two weeks into the Trump regime and already they’re working feverishly to fill America’s national security organs with known torturers and their enablers. Not only is torture illegal and immoral; it’s a war crime that nobody in America should rationally plan to commit.
However, as we saw on the campaign trail, people should take literally every word that Donald Trump says seriously. The Republican campaigned on the promise of bringing back the failed Bush Administration’s policies, and here we are watching the resurrection of those failures.
The Bush Administration committed a slew of inexcusable and soul-wrenching war crimes. At CIA black sites around the world, detainees were subjected to absolutely barbaric torture methods which included waterboarding, severe beatings, starvation, extreme temperature conditions, sleep deprivation, and other horrific punishments.
Now President Trump and his merry band of nihilists are openly preparing to drag our nation down to the level of monsters like Daesh (ISIS/ISIL) and al-Qaeda.
Donald Trump’s insistence on filling his administration with radical ideologues and the extremist dregs of the intelligence community are making both America’s reputation worse and rapidly setting the scene for the radicalization of a new generation of aggrieved people.
Grant Stern is an Editor-At-Large for OccupyDemocrats and published author. His new Meet the Candidates 2020 book series is distributed by Simon and Schuster. He's also mortgage broker, community activist and radio personality in Miami, Florida., as well as the producer of the Dworkin Report podcast. Grant is also an occasional contributor to Raw Story, Alternet, and the DC Report, and a senior advisor to the Democratic Coalition