Political Focus: Trump nominates war criminal to lead CIA

John Bozick, Web Editor

The last few weeks in American politics can only be described one way: It was a complete and utter mess. The firing of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, as well as the announcement that President Donald Trump’s Homeland Security adviser H.R McMaster will be replaced, have shown the instability of our current presidential administration.

With Tillerson’s abrupt firing over Twitter, Trump has already found his new Secretary of State in current Director of The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Mike Pompeo.

Yet, it is Trump’s nominee for the soon-to-be vacated Director of the CIA position that is both terrifying and enraging given nominee Gina Haspel’s sanctioned use of torture at a CIA black site overseas. Haspel, who acquired the nickname “Bloody Gina” has been with the CIA for over 33 years, operating the agencies first overseas black sight during the early years of the War on Terror.

CIA black sites are essentially overseas prisons in which individuals face excruciating “interrogation” techniques including waterboarding and other tortious acts. The site that Haspel ran — nicknamed “cat eye”— was infamous for its use of waterboarding to extract information from its detainees. Up to 92 videos from the site were believed to have been destroyed in 2005, an order that came from Haspel herself to hide the fact that the United States was essentially engaging in war crimes.

The fact that Haspel, a war criminal who engaged and supported the use of torture to extract information from suspects, is being considered for the top spot at the CIA by Trump is disturbing and scary given the president’s own praise for torture in the past.

“What do you think about waterboarding?” said Trump to a crowd of supporters in 2016. “I like it a lot. I don’t think it’s tough enough.”

Although waterboarding was formally banned by the Bush Administration in 2006, and torture as an overall means of interrogation in 2015, Trump and Haspel’s support for the use of torture should scare everyone. The fact Haspel could head the CIA could mean the use of it would come back in secret.

Yet Haspel’s nomination has not been sitting well in Congress, as members on both sides of the issue have not taken her nomination kindly. Senator Rand Paul, an adamant supporter of Trump, expressed his distaste toward Haspel and has vowed to even filibuster her nomination.

“I’ll do whatever it takes, including filibuster, to stop the nomination of Gina Haspel. I urge @SenFeinstein to stand against her nomination too!” Paul tweeted.

Given that Paul and various members of Congress wholeheartedly oppose Haspel, the nomination process will be hard fought, yet if she is confirmed the future of the CIA could be darker than the agency already is.

With Haspel running the CIA and Pompeo heading the State Department, America’s foreign policy could be headed in a scary direction. As the Trump Administration continues its shakeup, the fight in the senate over the president’s nominations seems to be just heating up.