President Trump Should Withdraw Haspel Nomination Pending Criminal Investigation into Her Alleged Role in Torture
By Daphne Eviatar, Director of AIUSA’s Security with Human Rights Program
In a new statement, Amnesty International is calling on President Trump to withdraw his nomination of Gina Haspel to the post of Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) pending a criminal investigation into her alleged role in torture and other crimes under international law committed in a former program of secret detention run by the Agency.
While government secrecy surrounding that program continues to obscure truth and block accountability, there is credible evidence of Gina Haspel’s close involvement in a CIA secret prison in 2002 and in the destruction of evidence of the torture of two detainees there.
If allegations of Gina Haspel’s involvement in torture and enforced disappearances — and in the destruction of evidence of such crimes — are true, she would be entirely unsuitable to lead the CIA. However, it is not possible to get to the truth without the necessary investigation of her role in the secret detention program and the declassification of information surrounding the crimes in question. President Trump must withdraw her nomination while this fact-finding goes ahead.
If there is admissible evidence of her involvement in crimes under international law, she should be brought to trial, not handed a promotion.
If her nomination is not withdrawn by the President, the Senate must not hold a confirmation hearing unless and until the necessary investigation and declassification take place. If these conditions are not met, the Senate should vote no on her for the role. If Gina Haspel were to be confirmed with these allegations unanswered and the truth obscured by secrecy, it would be yet another demonstration of the US government turning a blind eye to the crimes committed in the CIA program.
The risk for human rights posed by this situation — not least under a President who has publicly voiced his support for torture — is clear. Without transparency and full accountability for past human rights violations, their future recurrence become all the more likely.
Amnesty International takes no position on the appointment of particular individuals to government positions, unless they are reasonably suspected of crimes under international law and could use their appointment to the position in question to either prevent accountability for these crimes or to continue perpetration.
At the same time, the organization calls on governments to thoroughly vet candidates in regard to any human rights concerns arising from their prior conduct. Anyone against whom there is admissible evidence of involvement in crimes under international law should be brought to trial in proceedings that fully comply with international fair trial standards.
While the current focus is on Gina Haspel because of her nomination, Amnesty International has long called for the crimes under international law committed in the CIA secret detention program to be fully investigated and anyone against whom there is admissible evidence of responsibility for such crimes to be brought to justice in full and fair trials.
Take action: Call your two Senators via the Senate switchboard at (202) 224–3121 and urge them to vote no on Gina Haspel for CIA Director unless her alleged involvement in torture is fully investigated and all relevant secret information about her role in the CIA’s detention program is declassified. Let us know you called by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.