CIA director nominee Gina Haspel speaks during her confirmation hearing before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence May 9, 2018 ,in Washington, D.C.Photo: Alex Wong (Getty Images)
On Wednesday, Gina Haspel, President Donald Trump’s nomination to head the CIA, made her first appearance before a Senate committee hearing and she sounded and looked the part of a sweet, cookie-baking grandmother who wants nothing more than to “Make America great again.” But, make no mistake about it, during her 33 years with the CIA, in the Directorate of Operations unit, Haspel oversaw some top secret spying missions around the globe and the horrendous torture of prisoners.
During the George W. Bush administration, Haspel oversaw a secret “black site” prison in Thailand in which prisoners were subjected to torturous interrogation methods including waterboarding, sleep deprivation and “walling,” where prisoners were repeatedly thrown into walls.
If that wasn’t bad enough, internal CIA documents obtained by BuzzFeed showed that Haspel was involved in the destruction of nearly 100 videotapes reportedly showing the abuse of two prisoners, Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri. Haspel contends that the destroyed videotapes were only of one prisoner.
In March 2004, Fatima Boudchar was abducted and put in a secret U.S. prison in Thailand. According to records, Haspel was in charge of a secret prison in Thailand in 2002. Since the CIA is, well, the CIA, there is no way to confirm whether Haspel was in fact in charge of the exact prison where Boudchar was kept. Boudchar wrote a first-person account of her experience as a prisoner for the New York Times:
I have no idea how long I was in the Thai secret prison because no one would let me sleep. The cell was white and stark, with nothing in it but a camera and hooks on the wall. The masked abductors were waiting. I was terrified. They chained me to the hooks. Because I was midway through my pregnancy, I could barely move or sit.
Some of what they did to me in that prison was so awful I can’t talk about it. They hit me in the abdomen just where the baby was. To move me, they bound me to a stretcher from head to toe, like a mummy. I was sure I would shortly be killed.
For the rendition flight to Libya, I was taped to a stretcher again. The tape