“My moral compass is strong, I would not allow CIA to undertake activity that I thought was immoral even if it was technically legal — I would absolutely not permit it.”
Gina Haspel, when asked at her Senate confirmation hearing yesterday about President Trump’s previously stated idea that torture “absolutely works,”: “I don’t believe that torture works.”
Later, Kamala Harris used her opportunity to question Haspel with a bit of grandstanding and moral posturing:
“One question I’ve not heard you previously answer”? Well….In one sense Haspel did answer it when the question was framed as “torture”; but Harris was smart enough to reframe it as “the previous interrogation techniques were immoral”? For so many of the torture alarmists, they see the two as one and the same thing and that “enhanced interrogation technique” is a euphemism for “torture”. Like Bush, Rumsfeld, James Mitchell and the CIA interrogators, they don’t condone torture. EITs however?
Good on Haspel for not falling for the “yes” or “no” trap. It’s deceptive and dishonest. If Kamala Harris had framed her question, “Do you believe torture is immoral?”, Haspel would have answered “yes”. How do we know this? Because earlier in the Hearing, she already stated it.
Perhaps one day Harris will be put into a position where she will have to answer a “yes” or “no” question like: “Do you find it immoral to kill unborn babies, ‘yes’ or ‘no’?” See the inherent problem in this? So Kamala Harris is against torture- or more accurately enhanced interrogation techniques applied to terrorists; yet has no qualms about supporting late term abortions? There’s a moral disconnect somewhere in there.
How is the moral compass of Democrats who confirmed John Brennan (the #4 “spy” at the Agency when EITs were called up, and so in a position much higher up the totem pole than Haspel at the time) under President Obama? Yet were already raising political manure over her nomination, before the hearing? I suppose one difference is the attention President Trump has drawn to this with his past statements on waterboarding and torture. If he hadn’t, then only the Code Pink clowns would have shown their consistency colors by showing up for vocal opposition to Haspel’s nomination.
If giving CIA swim lessons could have prevented 3,000 innocent lives from perishing horrible, painful deaths, how is refusing to do so a morally superior position? Which way is the moral compass pointing in that scenario?
“You know, some day your government is going to turn on you.”
-Khalid Sheikh Mohammed
Senator Diane Feinstein, architect of the 2014 SSCI highly partisan, ideologically-agenda-driven “torture report”:
On May 26, 2002, Feinstein was quoted in the New York Times saying that the attacks of 9/11 were a real awakening and that it would no longer be “business as usual.” The attacks, she said, let us know “that the threat is profound” and “that we have to do some things that historically we have not wanted to do to protect ourselves.”
Senator John Rockefeller:
After extraordinary CIA efforts, aided by information obtained through the enhanced-interrogation program, Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the self-proclaimed architect of the 9/11 attacks, was captured in Pakistan. Shortly afterward, Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), then the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, appeared on CNN’s “Late Edition” on March 2, 2003. Rockefeller, who had been extensively briefed about the CIA’s efforts, told Wolf Blitzer that “happily, we don’t know where [KSM] is,” adding: “He’s in safekeeping, under American protection. He’ll be grilled by us. I’m sure we’ll be proper with him, but I’m sure we’ll be very, very tough with him.”
When Blitzer asked about how KSM would be interrogated, Rockefeller assured him that “there are presidential memorandums that prescribe and allow certain measures to be taken, but we have to be careful.” Then he added: “On the other hand, he does have the information. Getting that information will save American lives. We have no business not getting that information.”
And that’s not all. Blitzer asked if the United States should turn over KSM to a friendly country with no restrictions against torture. Rockefeller, laughing, said he wouldn’t rule it out: “I wouldn’t take anything off the table where he is concerned, because this is the man who has killed hundreds and hundreds of Americans over the last 10 years.”
Let’s not forget Nancy Pelosi and her complicity.
Senator McCain has been fairly consistent in regards to his position on “torture”; but in one respect, he caught flak from the Left and that was when he voted against a bill that would have placed restrictions upon the CIA where interrogations were concerned.
Rand Paul and John McCain:
In a break with President Trump, McCain urged his Senate colleagues to vote against Haspel, charging that “her refusal to acknowledge torture’s immorality is disqualifying.”
No, Senator McCain. She hadn’t. What she avoided was an entrapment question that would have her throw under the bus CIA interrogators who had employed enhanced interrogation techniques. Not “torture”.
“Like many Americans, I understand the urgency that drove the decision to resort to so-called enhanced interrogation methods after our country was attacked. I know that those who used enhanced interrogation methods and those who approved them wanted to protect Americans from harm. I appreciate their dilemma and the strain of their duty,” McCain said in a statement Wednesday.
“But as I have argued many times, the methods we employ to keep our nation safe must be as right and just as the values we aspire to live up to and promote in the world.”
McCain said that he believes Haspel “is a patriot who loves our country and has devoted her professional life to its service and defense.”
“However, Ms. Haspel’s role in overseeing the use of torture by Americans is disturbing. Her refusal to acknowledge torture’s immorality is disqualifying,” he continued. “I believe the Senate should exercise its duty of advice and consent and reject this nomination.”
John McCain is a great American and patriot. Lousy Senator. And terrible Republican.
Paraphrasing and updating what I had previously written:
John McCain is intimately familiar with torture, having endured it at the hands of his Vietnamese captors during his years as a POW.
But he was never waterboarded. Not by the Spanish Inquisition. Not by the Japanese military. Not by the restrictive nature of the program as run by our CIA. And to be clear, he was tortured not to extract information that might save lives; he was tortured out of cruelty for torture’s sake; and he was tortured to elicit a false confession for propaganda purposes. EITs are not used to obtain either confessions or information.
Nor was McCain ever an interrogator. Not in the FBI. Not in the CIA. Not in the military.
Yet McCain, like “Matthew Alexander” (i.e, Anthony Camarino), commands “authority” and respect on the topic matter because of their respective experiences.
Well, what happened to John McCain wasn’t the same thing that happened to 119 HVD in the CIA program (of which only 33-38 had received one or more EITs at any point in their detention and interrogation).
EITs weren’t meant to work in the same manner as “torture“. It wasn’t the same purpose as torture techniques. Questions weren’t asked during EIT sessions that the interrogator didn’t already know the answers to. Their purpose was to induce a state of hopelessness and cooperation so that information-gathering could occur during debriefing.
No question that some of the EITs were harsh. Why were they called up at all? Because for a third of these HVD, SITs were insufficient. Some of these jihadis had received interrogation resistance training and knew how to defeat common methods, like the rapport-building techniques favored by Ali Soufan and the FBI to achieve confessions for the sake of criminal prosecutions- not for the purpose of timely, actionable intell-gathering. So at a time when there was a great deal of intell buzz regarding a second wave of attacks (KSM: “Soon you will know”), EITs were called up by the CIA (others were approved of for military usage; but waterboarding wasn’t one of them). James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen favor social influence techniques in 99% of cases. Mitchell believes some techniques used by others (by military interrogators and some CIA interrogators who were actually not a part of the RDI program setup by Mitchell and Jessen) were never approved; and were wrongfully applied to mid-level and low-level terrorists/detainees.
Btw, for those who like to cite McCain as the moral authority on torture because he experienced REAL torture: McCain was never waterboarded by the CIA. CIA waterboarding sessions (only 3 HVD were ever waterboarded, with KSM being the last one in March or April of 2003), in purpose and in execution, were vastly different than the water torture often alluded to by those Japanese officers who were prosecuted in WWII for a host of crimes.
I believe the fact that McCain was brutally tortured has distorted his ability to objectively and rationally see the CIA program for what it is and not for how it’s imagined to be- which was not a rogue, out-of-control operation that wantonly “tortured“. McCain is seeing it with his emotions; not his head, imo. BECAUSE of his nightmarish experience at the hands of his Viet Cong captors. The fact that he suffered REAL, bone-shattering types of torture for more than 5 years as a POW may be a detriment and not an asset in his subjective opinion on CIA EITs. Certainly his opinion carries with it great weight, as it should; but it could also be clouding his ability to see the program for what it actually was and not for the hysteria and hyperbole and false narrative and distortions that it became.
Someone who doesn’t share his opinion on CIA waterboarding but whom you will not find cited by the critics is Leo Thorsness, who recently passed.
George Everett Day, Leo Thorsness, Jeremiah Denton are highly decorated war veterans and former POWs who experienced REAL torture at the hands of their Viet Cong captors. They scoff at the notion that what the CIA subjected 33-38 HVD to amounts to the definition of “torture“.
There is some honest arguments on whether or not EITs arise to a definition of “torture“. However, it’s a far cry from “real” torture like pulling off fingernails, beating, breaking bones, drilling holes, etc. And if one is going to cite McCain as backup to the torture narrative, then it’s only fair to mention POWs like him who disagree with him.
McCain’s personal connection is precisely what makes him a uniquely unreliable witness rather than expert witness when it comes to characterizing the CIA RDI program with any level of accuracy and honest perspective.
The totality of Gina Haspel’s 33-year CIA history and selfless service to this country is impressive.
Without Rand Paul’s vote or McCain’s (due to his health, it doesn’t appear he will be present to vote), I believe Haspel will need all other Republican votes and one Democrat vote to be confirmed.
Let’s hope their moral compass is working.
A former fetus, the “wordsmith from nantucket” was born in Phoenix, Arizona in 1968. Adopted at birth, wordsmith grew up a military brat. He achieved his B.A. in English from the University of California, Los Angeles (graduating in the top 97% of his class), where he also competed rings for the UCLA mens gymnastics team. The events of 9/11 woke him from his political slumber and malaise. Currently a personal trainer and gymnastics coach.
The wordsmith has never been to Nantucket.
The left’s morality is based on their ideology and the magnetic north of their compass wanders in relation to the political necessity. Like their gun control campaign, their focus is not to prevent attacks but to be prepared to use any that occur for political purpose.
Highly relevant since:
Iraqi agents seized one of them – top lieutenant Ismail al-Eithawi – in February
Used Eithawi’s cell to reach four commanders with the Telegram messaging app
Now, why is this better than simply killing them?
Only if we can get info out of them that we couldn’t get otherwise.
How we gonna do that?
Wordsmith, excellent piece.
It is sad that egos battling for prominence are too often either lacking clarity on their own moral centres, or are quite prepared to twist their own principles if they have any. And when it is for political advancement, is becomes truly disgusting.
The example you use of K. Harris’ profane promotion of the abortion of mature unborn babies seems to not present a conflict in the neo-Marxist minds. If this isn’t stepping into dark abyss of outright genocide, what is?
I’ve also wondered how weak their reasoning skills could possibly have been that made it perfectly OK for Obama and Jarrett to sit in the White House, controlling the vaporization of whole families and neighbourhoods with powerful bombs dropped from drones, such as they did in Yemen, . . . but “waterboarding” was/is beyond the bounds of human “correctness”. Too many of their neurons are obviously not functioning.
The left is producing too many political leaders like Harris who are reprehensible.
It’s not “moral posturing.” It’s a statement of a moral principle.
To my thinking, the foregoing isn’t actually a statement of situational ethics, or any other sort of ethics. What I see hiding within that statement is an unrecognized premise that The end justifies the means, which can be used to rationalize almost anything. In the case of “enhanced interrogation,” immoral acts that actually took place are being rationalized by citing a purely hypothetical evil outcome that was thereby averted.
There were no particular 3,000 innocent lives saved; in fact, no actionable intelligence has ever been demonstrated to have been obtained. But a couple of particular subjects actually were tortured to death, and untold numbers of others would have readily accepted death as an alternative to what we did to them.
This is not an America I am willing to accept.
@Greg: What if illegally violating the 4th Amendment rights of numerous innocent Americans would have prevented Trump from being elected. Would that have been morally justified?
How many questions about waterboarding were brought up during Brennan’s confirmation?
Pinpointing liberal morals is like trying to build a pyramid out of motor oil.
Probable cause existed, or warrants would not have been issued.
Perhaps Brennan shouldn’t have been confirmed. Had more information been available at the time, he might not have been. I really can’t say. Subsequent to his confirmation, he came in for a lot of very harsh criticism from elected Democrats.
Phony “probable cause” provided by the Hillary campaign. A travesty.
No, Brennan SHOULDN’T have been confirmed, but it has nothing to do with supporting enhanced interrogations. In hindsight, he should have been denied because of this willingness to assist Obama in weaponizing the intelligence agencies against innocent American citizens.
@Deplorable Me: after we beat you morons again in civil war 2, i’m going to make sure every conservative pow is waterboarded over and over until they admit it’s torture
mcCain is a traitor and deserves an unmarked grave site. torture works and is used by the US vis DOJ guidelines. Look them up, no more than 45 min and no more than a quart of water. used waterboarding in Vietnam and it provided much intel, similar to hitting the center circle with a vc prisoner. if you were not there you would not understand
That’ll be the day. Many of us would welcome the challenge tough guy.
@tom hartman: Wow. That’s pretty scary. If you weren’t one of the pussy-hat wearing, sky-screaming, color book coloring, gun-stupid, teddy bear hugging twats that think you are OWED an election, I would really be worried.
How’s it scary? It’s not like I’m threatening to torture you, you stupid retard
@tom hartman: You know, even for a liberal, your stupidity stands out.
@Greg: Sorry Greg – plenty of idiots and leftists choose to call Enhanced Interrogation Techniques as ‘torture’ – and therefore they ‘torture’ the real definition of ‘torture.’
Guess what…..all servicemen who are air crew members (Air Force, Navy, Marines, Army) – go to ‘Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) School – where they are subjected to the same EIT techniques used on KSM and other high-value detainees. It takes brain dead ignorance to think we are ‘torturing’ our air crew members. And it takes supreme arrogance to call the same EIT on Americans, when used on KSM and HVD is now ‘torture.’
AND – what sort of low life Democrat is critical of EIT but supports abortion – especially partial birth abortion.
How about ending abortion…then we can have a debate on EIT/torture….since we typically see over 500K babies killed in the womb – and only 3 HVDs were subjected to EIT.
AND – consider that the HVDs…like KSM – already were grossly guilty of war crimes….and violations of the Geneva Convention. KSM executed journalist Daniel Pearl…and yet the pearl clutching leftist are upset that KSM was subjected to the VERY SAME EIT techniques that our own service members. experience?
How many fatalities do they generally rack up in the process?
Anyone imagining that the waterboarding experience during a U.S. military training exercise is the equivalent of what prisoners repeatedly experienced at CIA-operated black sites is kidding himself. There’s a reason they destroyed all evidence of what happened there, other than written transcripts.
They ought to waterboard Cheney. He’s the s.o.b. that led George W Bush down the garden path.
Two days ago: Cheney calls for US to restart interrogation programs
And the guys below should have their professional licenses revoked—assuming they had any to begin with. Do psychologists take anything equivalent to the Hippocratic oath?
Two military psychologists were paid $81 million to develop the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques
I’m sure the Gestapo had such people. Maybe Gestapo documents were cited as references in the $81 million enhanced interrogation development project.
@Greg: The hysteria over “torture” was meant to incite the lower-thinking minority of Americans, a la basic propaganda distortion, into voting Democrat.
It worked, but not without a price.
The liberals are now known for being the worst bigots the US has ever seen.
You don’t know what you are talking about, but merely have been whipped up by those who would easily gain your hapless vote. You should shut the f*ck up.
Yeah, the reason is stated by Jose Rodriguez. It has nothing to do with a “cover up” or fear of what they had done on behalf of saving American lives. A full account is given in his book, from his perspective. You should read it.
Just think of how video clips often go viral on social media and across the internet- a 20 sec clip of some visually shocking moment without providing a beg to the altercation or accurate context. How about prison guards swarming and tackling an inmate who is screaming bloody murder as if he’s being brutalized when that may not be the case at all? The optics may be unnerving as most normal people are sheep and don’t have the stomach for any kind of conflict or violence.
“She drafted the cable on the direct orders of Mr. Rodriguez; she did not release that cable. It was not her decision to destroy the tapes; it was Mr. Rodriguez’s.”- Mike Morell
Jose Rodriguez only received a slap on the wrist after a 4 year investigation by John Durham and Eric Holder. In the final analysis, they found Rodriguez had the legal authority to destroy those tapes and so no criminal prosecution. For a detailed account, read his book, “Hard Measures”.
Those tapes were unnecessary- they were meant to help double-check that the transcripts (which were required) were thorough and an accurate reflection of what transpired. An inspector general had previously investigated and compared the tapes to the transcripts and deemed them to be accurate.
“In 2007, I was serving as the Democrats’ chief counsel to the House Intelligence Committee, and as such was assigned to investigate the destruction of videotapes by the CIA documenting the interrogation of two suspected Al Qaeda operatives. We looked at Haspel’s role in that decision. She was serving as chief of staff to CIA Director of Operations Jose Rodriguez when the tapes were destroyed in 2005. What we found was that Haspel was not depicted on the videotapes and that she did not make the decision to destroy the videotapes. At the request of Rodriguez, she drafted a brief cable directing CIA officers in the field to destroy the videotapes. Rodriguez sent the cable to the field; Haspel believed Rodriguez had the legal authority to do so.
But importantly, Haspel believed that Rodriguez was going to seek the CIA director’s permission to send the cable. While Rodriguez had the legal authority, and while I believe his intentions were honorable — he wanted to protect the identities of agency personnel who were depicted on the interrogation tapes — the decision belonged to then-CIA Director Porter Goss.
The investigation by the Intelligence Committee was soon overtaken by a criminal investigation by George W. Bush’s administration. The Justice Department assigned a respected assistant U.S. attorney, John Durham, to lead it.
Later, under President Barack Obama, the Durham investigation expanded to review whether any CIA officers had committed crimes as part of the agency’s program of rendition, detention and interrogation. Durham concluded his tapes investigation in 2010, finding that no laws had been broken. In 2012, Attorney General Eric Holder concluded the broader investigation and found that no CIA official should be prosecuted. This was the right decision.”
That article is soooo…..2014!
They didn’t personally pocket $81 million- that went toward their company that hired out sub-contractors and other expenses in creating the CIA RDI program.
James Mitchell’s book is outstanding. You really should read it. It may calm your jets regarding CIA “torture”. This should not be a politically partisan issue.
The problem is people assume the worst with feverish imagination and conflate and confuse military interrogations and abuses with CIA, half-truths, rumors, distortions, and outright lies and falsehoods.
Read Mitchell’s book. He was vastly qualified.
How about the morality of purposely delaying planned abortions to allow for the maximum value of the harvest of baby parts for sale? Liberals supported and defended this, lying about it, denying it even though it was ON VIDEO.
That’s a good question. How many?
Indeed there was. Because if a liberal ever go their hands on them, they would publicly release them just to damage America. Because, like they do anything else, liberals would weaponize it against the United States, out of context and calling it “torture”. Just like you are doing with the phony “Russian collusion” fantasy. It’s what liberals do.
Ah. A while back you were attacking Trump for suggesting there were rogue agents in intelligence that were working for the liberals to attack his administration. Now, they are the GESTAPO. Again, when Brennan was confirmed, where was your “moral compass” then? Where was all this Democrat “morality” then? Well, I’ll tell you where it was; carefully stored away in their quiver of political weapons to be drawn out and used when the political conditions require it.
How often has the left taken a portion of a video, removing all context, of a police shooting and used it to incite violence? Hell, even the MEDIA does it, even editing video and audio to create the narrative they want. Questions about WHY those tapes were destroyed is ridiculous. Besides, I heard all they destroyed was the tapes of the terrorists discussing yoga, weddings and funerals… just personal stuff. So, it should be believed and forgotten. Besides, it happened a long time ago. The left should move on.
Um… doubtful. It’s not at all about morality or justice. It is completely about about political leverage and they will BURN the books that dispute that.
the left have no morals or anything worth using all they have is their desires for America to become another socialists nation just like China and the former USSR why else do they support the democrat party
@Deplorable Me, #19:
Perhaps you could explain why those who get textbooks pulled from public schools and books banned from public libraries always seem to be on your side of the political divide—though you’ll more likely just deny that the obvious is the case, and start complaining that liberals took the bible out of classrooms.
@Greg: Currently the left is who seeks to silence opposition voices and cover up the evidence of their crimes. You should probably spend more time with your eyes and ears open.
@Nanny G: I can guarantee you that the captives will be begging to be given to the CIA. They know darn well that It’d be a picnic compared to what the Iraqi’s will do to them.
@Greg: #21 how can you say that with any kind of straight face? Books the left hates includes classics such as To Kill a Mockingbird, Huck Finn and Captain underpants. http://www.independentsentinel.com/burning-of-conservative-books-on-college-campuses-is-a-reality/
Then multiple news reports that kids in school quietly reading the bible some teacher goes all stupid on them. Even google cant hide all those news stories.
My GAF about mild non injury torture isnt existent when I remember people jumping out of the towers so they wouldnt burn to death.
@kitt: Great points, but hard core leftists are also America Haters, and are more worried about protecting terrorists (while treating abortion ad a religious sacrament that must not be hampered. )
And forget that shortly after 9/11 attacks, plenty of leftist politicians were clamoring for enhanced interrogation, only to later pretend they never said what they said, as they turned on the very people trying to protect our country. Face it, they are evil hypocrites.
@Mike: No one ever says it is immoral for a she bear to kill another creature to protect her young, survival has nothing to do with morals. If the plane that crashed in the woods made it to DC on 911 we may not have had to worry about some of these criminally insane hypocrites.
What kind of people wouldnt snicker a little at Captain Underpants and the Perilous Plot of Professor Poopypants?