Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, released the following statement today on the proposed leadership changes at the State Department and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA):
“I have known Mike Pompeo for many years and believe he will continue to serve our nation honorably as Secretary of State, if confirmed. With the world order rapidly giving way to chaos, it is more important than ever for our nation to lead from a position of strength on the international stage. And with rising threats wherever we turn, our defense officials—and our troops serving bravely around the world—need a reliable partner in diplomacy. I am confident that Mike Pompeo can meet that challenge as Secretary of State.
“During his own confirmation proceedings for Director of the CIA, Mike Pompeo repeatedly committed that he would comply with the law that applies the Army Field Manual’s interrogation requirements to all U.S. agencies, including the CIA. The American people now deserve the same assurances from Gina Haspel, whose career with the agency has intersected with the program of so-called ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ on a number of occasions. The torture of detainees in U.S. custody during the last decade was one of the darkest chapters in American history. Ms. Haspel needs to explain the nature and extent of her involvement in the CIA’s interrogation program during the confirmation process. I know the Senate will do its job in examining Ms. Haspel’s record as well as her beliefs about torture and her approach to current law.
“In the aftermath of the September 11th attacks, our government squandered precious moral authority in a futile effort to produce intelligence by means of torture. We are still dealing with the consequences of that desperately misguided decision. Current U.S. law is clear in banning enhanced interrogation techniques. Any nominee for Director of the CIA must pledge without reservation to uphold this prohibition, which has helped us to regain our position of leadership in the struggle for universal human rights—the struggle upon which this country was founded, and which remains its highest aspiration."