Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, defended President Donald Trump's choice to head the CIA Wednesday after numerous public officials and others decried Gina Haspel's history with the agency's torture program.
Ms. Cheney took specific aim at Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Rand Paul (R-KY).
Haspel's involvement with the “Enhanced Interrogation Program" took place during the elder Cheney's tenure at the White House.
Via The Casper Star-Tribune:
Responding to a video of Paul criticizing Haspel’s role in the torture program, Cheney wrote that he was “defending and sympathizing with terrorists.” Cheney praised Haspel as a strong leader who has worked to defend Americans.
McCain has long criticized the CIA's torture program, himself a prisoner of war in Vietnam. In response to Haspel's nomination, McCain said “the Senate must do its job in scrutinizing the record & involvement of Gina Haspel in this disgraceful program.”
Cheney took aim at McCain's comments as well:
“The Enhanced Interrogation Program saved lives, prevented attacks, & produced intel that led to Osama bin Laden,” Cheney wrote. “The techniques were the same as those used on our own people in the SERE program. No one should slander the brave men & women who carried out this crucial program.”
In 2002, Haspel ran a CIA black site in Thailand called Cat's Eye, where some of the war's first terrorist suspects were detained and tortured.
Haspel oversaw the torture of suspected al-Qaida leader Abu Zubaydah there, according to an in-depth investigation by ProPublica that was based on the published accounts of former agency officials.
Haspel watched “as Zubaydah vomited, passed out and urinated on himself while shackled. During one waterboarding session, Zubaydah lost consciousness and bubbles began gurgling from his mouth. Medical personnel on the scene had to revive him. Haspel allowed the most brutal interrogations by the CIA to continue for nearly three weeks even though, as the cables sent from Thailand to the agency’s headquarters repeatedly stated, ‘subject has not provided any new threat information or elaborated on any old threat information,’” according to ProPublica.
Zubaydah was waterboarded 83 times during 19 days in August 2002, according to the Associated Press. Another suspect was also tortured.