Opposition to Trumps nominee to head the CIA continues to build. Today, over 100 retired generals and flag officers of the US armed forces sent a letter to the Senate today expressing concern about Haspel’s role in the torture program and destruction of evidence of the program. The letter concluded:
It would send a terrible signal to confirm as the next Director of the CIA someone who was so intimately involved in this dark chapter of our nation’s history.
The letter was organized by Human Rights First and is available here.
Senator Schumer (D-NY) and members of the Democratic caucus of the Senate also received another letter today, this one from 50 civil liberties, peace, and social justice organizations urging them to “reject the confirmations of Haspel and Pompeo, oppose them at every step, and do everything in your power to prevent their nominations from moving forward.” Defending Rights & Dissent signed on to this letters. DRAD, like most of the other groups signing the letter, is non-partisan.
The letter raises concerns about both Haspel and Pompeo, but argues that, taken together along with the addition of John Bolton to Trump’s inner circle, they would create a “War Cabinet” that could spell disaster for our country and the world.
The confirmation of Haspel or Pompeo would normalize torture, jeopardize human rights, increase the likelihood of war — and of war crimes, and empower the worst impulses of Trump and Bolton. We already know Trump is a danger to our democracy; we should not heighten that danger by giving him willing tools who have demonstrated a disregard for the rule of law and all that we hold dear.
Pompeo’s unsuitability as the nation’s top diplomat is self-evident. During his tenure in the House of Representatives, Pompeo evangelized for torture. He has claimed all Muslims are “potentially complicit” in terrorism. Pompeo pushed for war over diplomacy with Iran and, despite promises to the contrary during his confirmation hearing to be CIA director, has used his perch to undermine the Iran nuclear deal as well as to promote Haspel to Deputy CIA Director even with her notorious reputation arising from her involvement in overseeing torture. Moreover, having the nation’s top former spymaster run its diplomatic arm will discredit the work of the foreign service.
Haspel’s actions should disqualify her to head the CIA or serve in any position of public trust. In 2002, during her time as a CIA clandestine officer, Haspel oversaw a secret prison in Thailand where the CIA tortured detainees. As a senior person overseeing at least one interrogation involving repeated waterboarding—which is, in essence, deliberately causing a person to drown—as well as other forms of torture, she demonstrated astonishingly poor judgment. Haspel also regularly lobbied for the CIA to destroy videotapes of torture that were visual proof of the CIA’s crimes, and, without approval from senior White House officials, wrote the order implementing their destruction. Suspiciously, the tape’s destruction occurred immediately after publication of a Washington Post story on secret sites in eastern Europe that was expected to trigger a Congressional investigation, and likely uncover the activities she helped oversee.
John Bolton epitomizes philosopher Thomas Hobbes’ characterization of humanity as “nasty, brutish, and short.” Bolton was an architect of the Iraq War, and pines for its continuation, having said “Iraq today suffers not from the 2003 invasion, but from the 2011 withdrawal of all US combat forces.” He shows little awareness of how Iraq suffers from his bad policy positions. Bolton’s nomination to serve as Ambassador to the United Nations was rejected by the Senate, and President George W. Bush, who had nominated him, later said he did not consider Bolton credible. In Strangelovian fashion, Bolton has repeatedly called for military attacks on Iran and North Korea. While Bolton does not need confirmation to serve as advisor to Trump, he has demonstrated a lack of judgment, temperament, and humility to be a public servant, as those who have had the misfortune to serve with him attest. When the age of humanity draws to a close, Bolton will still be at war with East Asia.
The following organizations urge Sen. Schumer and Senate Democrats to do all they can to stop the Pompeo and Haspel nominations. Read the full letter here.
18 Million Rising
About Face: Veterans Against the War
Advocacy for Principled Action in Government
American Family Voices
American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee
Campaign for America’s Future
Center for Biological Diversity
Center for Popular Democracy
Climate Hawks Vote
Council on American-Islamic Relations
Defending Rights & Dissent
Demand Progress Action
Democracy for America
Fight for the Future
Friends of the Earth U.S.
Free Press Action Fund
Just Foreign Policy
New York Communities for Change
No More Guantánamos
Oil Change International
The Other 98%
People Demanding Action
Progressive Congress Action Fund
Restore the 4th
Revolving Door Project
STAND: The Student-Led Movement to End Mass Atrocities
The Yemen Peace Project
Working Families Party
Win Without War
World Beyond War