During the confirmation hearing for Donald Trump’s CIA Director nominee Gina Haspel, a common theme reared its ugly head, and was quickly agreed to and accepted as fact by those interviewing her, as well as those reporting on her statements. The theme was, “We don’t face the same threats as we did 17 years ago.” As such, certain questions were asked and never fully answered or further scrutinized.
For example, when discussing her role in the use of torture during the aftermath of September 11, 2001, Gina said the practice was legal and everyone was following the law, unlike terrorists who operate outside of the law. She added that we gained a lot of useful information as a result of the practice and refused to say if she personally believed that the use of torture is moral. Also, as someone wanting to lead the Central Intelligence Agency, Gina claimed that she didn’t know about former FBI director James Comeys’ claims that “President” Trump demanded a loyalty pledge prior to his subsequent termination.
It’s been said that despite having access to the largest defense budget on earth, there was “a failure of the imagination” on behalf of US intelligence agencies that lead to terrorists being able to attack us on September 11, 2001, and then again in the 2016 election.
Gina Haspel wants everyone to believe that her eyes are wide open and that we don’t face the same threats we did 17 years ago, there’s no threat of Trump asking for a loyalty pledge, and torture is okay if it’s legal. Haspel’s failure to imagine that Trump would ask for a loyalty pledge, combined with her inability to discuss humane ways to conduct “enhanced interrogations,” shows that she is unqualified to imagine how to morally handle the worst case scenarios that someone as the head of the CIA would be tasked at imagining and protecting us from.
Virginia is a lifelong contributor to and supporter of the First Amendment.