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The CIA Black Sites Program and the Gina Haspel Nomination

The National Security Archive – GW University: “The [May 9, 2018] nomination hearing for Gina Haspel to be CIA director provides an opportunity for the agency and Haspel to fill in the blanks on the CIA “black sites” and interrogation program.  The National Security Archive has already identified key questions about Haspel’s record [see box below].  Today, the Archive provides the basis for an evidence-based review of the Rendition, Detention and Interrogation (RDI) program, posting a selection of the most recent versions of declassified documents that reveal the RDI’s background.

Classification and redaction still cover key facts in the Gina Haspel torture story.
* Was she still the chief of base when the Green site closed on December 4, 2002?
* Did she supervise the November 27, 2002 waterboarding sessions of Nashiri?
* What was her specific role in perpetuating the false claim that Nashiri’s information had come from torture (what the CIA euphemistically called “enhanced interrogation techniques”) rather than the Dubai interrogations?
* Did she ever ask any questions about the qualifications and motivations of the contract psychologists, Mitchell and Jessen, to whom the CIA outsourced the entire torture program to the tune of $81 million in contracts? (Apparently not, because they still had their sole source contracts when Ms. Haspel served as chief of staff to the head of the CIA National Clandestine Service in 2005.)
* Did she volunteer, or just accept assignment, to command the Green site starting in October 2002?
* Did she review the cable traffic from the Green site in August 2002 before she took command, in which CIA officers complained about the brutality of the torture of Zubaydah and raised questions about the legality? Was she aware of the complaints?
* Did she ever object to the torture, or express any qualms?
* Did she ever review the CIA cables reporting on the torture sessions, compared to the CIA’s disseminated intelligence and the timing of information collected, to judge whether the claims of torture’s effectiveness were true or false – as the Senate Intelligence Committee did?
* What was her role in reducing the amount of information in cables from the black sites circa December 2002?

The materials presented here are actual CIA records, not journalistic reporting or other second-hand accounts. They come from ACLU lawsuits and court cases, CIA’s electronic reading room and former officers’ web site, and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) report on the agency’s controversial program. When the SSCI investigated the program, the CIA did what it could to dissect, delay, and dispute the investigators.[1] Then the record shows that it tried to hide evidence, not just from the public but even inside government, where videotapes depicting CIA torture were destroyed, the SSCI report gutted in declassification, and other documents released with censors’ floors littered with deletions. CIA nominee Haspel was a central figure in the first of these episodes, the tapes destruction. Senate consideration of her nomination to head the CIA therefore offers an opportunity to revisit those bad old days and come clean on activities still unnecessarily shrouded in secrecy…”

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