As the war over Gina Haspel’s nomination to lead the Central Intelligence Agency has waged on this week, we’ve been gifted an incredible batch of corporate media apologias for the CIA’s decades-long legacy of torture, extrajudicial killings and civil liberties violations. Perhaps most remarkably, these outlets have spent hundreds of words arguing that Haspel should be confirmed as the next director of the CIA—despite having overseen a black site prison where detainees were brutally tortured, and directing the destruction of evidence of this illegal and inhumane practice—because it’s the feminist thing to do.
This was the perfect line for the Trump administration’s Haspel push—a notion informed both by the Republicans’ elementary understanding of identity politics and their obsession with calling out perceived liberal hypocrisy: After all, how could any self-respecting Democrat vote against a woman to usher the United States’ international spying apparatus into its next no doubt sinister phase?
White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders made this point plainly in a tweet last week, saying: “Any Democrat who claims to support women’s empowerment and our national security but opposes her nomination is a total hypocrite.”
There is no one more qualified to be the first woman to lead the CIA than 30+ year CIA veteran Gina Haspel. Any Democrat who claims to support women’s empowerment and our national security but opposes her nomination is a total hypocrite
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) May 5, 2018
One small step for Gina Haspel is one giant leap for little girls everywhere who dream of growing up to become government interrogators!
Trump himself touted that, in addition to being “the most qualified person” for the job, Haspel is also a woman—a convenient data point for an administration that’s handed a staggering 80 percent of its top jobs to men (most of them also very wealthy and white).
And, shamefully enough, members of the media fell right in line to push this abominable narrative, with two of the most egregious examples published by the Washington Post. On Tuesday, Post features writer Ian Shapira published a story (5/8/18) highlighting all the brave female spies who’ve fought for our freedom—an honorable legacy that would count Haspel as its heir apparent, if only the Senate would confirm her—under