Press Releases

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, sent a letter to Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and President Trump’s nominee to be CIA Director, Gina Haspel, asking her to explain her involvement in the CIA’s so-called “enhanced interrogation” program during the course of her career with the intelligence community.

In the letter, Chairman McCain asks Deputy Director Haspel if she ever imposed, directed, or oversaw the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques,” including waterboarding, while serving in the CIA. In addition, he asks Deputy Director Haspel to clarify her involvement in the destruction of videotapes or any other material containing potential evidence of the mistreatment of detainees under the custody of the CIA. He also asks whether she, if confirmed, would support current law, which requires all U.S. personnel to follow the Army Field Manual in the detention and interrogation of persons in U.S. custody.

“Over the course of your career with the intelligence community, you have served in positions of responsibility that have intersected with the CIA’s program of so-called ‘enhanced interrogation techniques,’” writes Chairman McCain. “These techniques included the practice of waterboarding, forced nudity and humiliation, facial and abdominal slapping, dietary manipulation, stress positions, cramped confinement, striking, and more than 48 hours of sleep deprivation. We now know that these techniques not only failed to deliver actionable intelligence, but actually produced false and misleading information. Most importantly, the use of torture compromised our values, stained our national honor, and threatened our historical reputation.” 

The letter is below and here.

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Ms. Gina Haspel

Deputy Director

Central Intelligence Agency

Dear Ms. Haspel:

As Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee and an ex-officio member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, I request clarification in writing on several matters that are essential to the Senate’s constitutional responsibility to provide advice and consent on your nomination to be Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). 

Over the course of your career with the intelligence community, you have served in positions of responsibility that have intersected with the CIA’s program of so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques.” These techniques included the practice of waterboarding, forced nudity and humiliation, facial and abdominal slapping, dietary manipulation, stress positions, cramped confinement, striking, and more than 48 hours of sleep deprivation. We now know that these techniques not only failed to deliver actionable intelligence, but actually produced false and misleading information. Most importantly, the use of torture compromised our values, stained our national honor, and threatened our historical reputation.

As you know, the Congress has taken legislative action to mandate standards for the treatment of detainees in U.S. custody and outlaw the use of torture. Given the importance of this issue to me and to the Congress, please provide responses to the following questions no later than April 2, 2018: 

1. Please provide a detailed account of your role in the CIA’s detention and interrogation program between 2001 and 2009, including while you were deployed abroad at so-called “black sites” or other locations where detainees were held in U.S. custody and subjected to “enhanced interrogation techniques.” In particular, please address the following questions in your response.

A. Please describe your role with respect to the detention and interrogation of any detainee subjected to “enhanced interrogation techniques.”

B. Did you ever impose, direct, or oversee the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques,” including the use of waterboarding? Please explain your answer.

C. Were you in a position of authority to stop, or prevent the future employment of, “enhanced interrogation techniques” that were approved for use at the time by executive branch officials? Please explain your answer.

D. At the time, what were your personal views of the legality, morality, and effectiveness of “enhanced interrogation techniques”?

E. Did you ever make any personal views about these techniques known to your chain of command?

2. As you know, many detainees under the custody of the CIA in the wake of the September 11th attacks were subjected to waterboarding and other “enhanced interrogation techniques.”  In just one case, a Libyan detainee and his pregnant wife were rendered to a foreign country, where the woman was bound, gagged, and photographed naked as several American intelligence officers watched. Do you believe actions like these were justified, and do you believe they produced actionable intelligence? 

3. What is your assessment today of the effectiveness of “enhanced interrogation techniques” and their impact on the United States’ moral standing in the world?

4. Were you asked or directed to destroy tapes or any other material containing potential evidence of the torture of, or the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” on, detainees in the custody or under the effective control of the CIA? If yes, please provide details regarding such requests or instructions, including who made them.

5. Did you destroy or direct the destruction of tapes or any other material containing potential evidence of the torture of, or the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” on, detainees in the custody or under the effective control of the CIA? If yes, please provide details regarding such action, including the reason for taking the action.

6. Did you advocate for, or otherwise support, the destruction of tapes or any other material containing potential evidence of the torture of, or the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” on, detainees in the custody or under the effective control of the CIA? If yes, please explain why.

7. Have you read the 2014 report of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on the CIA detention and interrogation program? Do you support declassifying the full report, and would you do so if confirmed?

8. Do you support, and commit to uphold, the standards for detainee treatment specified in the revised Army Field Manual on Interrogations, FM 2-22.3, issued in September 2006, and in DOD Directive 2310.01E, the Department of Defense Detainee Program, dated August 19, 2014, and required by section 1045 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016 (Public Law 114-92)?

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

John McCain

Chairman

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