Call Your Senators · Ethics · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms

Call Your Senators to Oppose the Nomination of Gina Haspel as CIA Director

Call your senators to oppose the nomination of Gina Haspel as director of the CIA.


When Trump nominated CIA Director Mike Pompeo to replace Rex Tillerson as secretary of state, he also nominated Haspel to replace Pompeo. The choice raised alarms immediately.


Haspel’s three-decade career at the CIA overlaps the period in the first decade of the 21st century, when the agency was using intense interrogation techniques, including torture, on detainees. She has supervised at least one so-called “black site” prison, or secret prison, and she was involved in a 2005 decision to destroy tapes of waterboarding sessions in direct defiance of Congress.


Important note: A February 2017 ProPublica story gave details of Haspel’s involvement with CIA interrogations and torture of suspects during the George W. Bush administration. After Haspel emerged as Trump’s choice for CIA director, ProPublica revisited the story and made significant corrections. Scroll down for a link.


A commentary from Just Security that appeared after the ProPublica correction lays out why Haspel’s nomination is still problematic and should be opposed. It says in part:


The years after 9/11 marked a dark and difficult time, but Gina Haspel did not have to do what she did. She could have asked to be reassigned. She could have sought another job. Others faced with similar choices chose differently. Based on what we currently know, a vote for Haspel is therefore ultimately a vote to erode U.S. credibility as an opponent of torture at a time when that credibility has already been seriously tested. For those in the Senate and beyond who believe this is an issue that goes to the core of what the United States stands for, or should stand for, her confirmation stands as a stark moment of truth.


Haspel’s past is endangering her nomination, and it should, for the reasons that Just Security cites. Senator Rand Paul has said he won’t vote for her. Senator John McCain has not said anything yet, but given his long, firm, fierce opposition to torture, he’s not likely to support her, either. The GOP has an extremely narrow majority in the Senate as it is. If the Democrats and Independents all join Paul in voting no, and McCain is well enough to join them, Haspel is doomed.


Calling to voice your opposition to Haspel will make the choice easier for your senators.


Sample script: “Dear Senator [Lastname], I am [Firstname Lastname from town, state]. I am calling to ask you to oppose the nomination of Gina Haspel as director of the CIA. Her history of involvement with the agency’s darkest acts should be enough to disqualify her, but she also defied Congress in 2005 by destroying tapes of waterboarding sessions after your colleagues and predecessors demanded they be saved. Choosing Haspel to lead the CIA would send the wrong message to the rest of the world at the worst possible time. Please vote no on her nomination. Thank you.”






Read ProPublica‘s correction of its February 2017 story on Haspel and the CIA:


ProPublica made a comprehensive and thorough correction to its Haspel story. That’s exactly what they should have done, but it’s never a bad idea to reward a news organization that does the right thing without whining or having to be hounded or shamed. You can donate to ProPublica through this link:!/donation/checkout



Read the March 2018 Just Security piece on Haspel and the ProPublica correction:



Donate to Just Security:



Read an amended March 2018 Slate story on senators who are skeptical about the Haspel nomination:



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Read additional stories about the Haspel nomination: