US Senator Dianne Feinstein, who oversaw the release of a CIA torture report in 2014, and two other lawmakers on Wednesday criticized the agency for refusing a request for more information about Haspel’s background ahead of confirmation hearings.
"The Trump administration’s nominee to be CIA director, Gina Haspel, personally supervised the torture of a CIA detainee in 2002 leading to at least three waterboard sessions, subsequently drafted the cable that ordered destruction of the videotape evidence of torture," the release, citing newly-published declassified documents, said.
The new documents include less-redacted versions of materials that reveal activities at a CIA "black site" in Thailand in 2002 when Haspel was chief of base. Haspel supervised psychologists Bruce Jessen and James Mitchell, who had developed so-called enhanced interrogation techniques, the release said. In the same month, Jessen and Mitchell supervised the torture of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, a Saudi Arabian national alleged to be the mastermind of the USS Cole bombing. He was waterboarded three times, according to the release.
The documents include a listing of 12 specific cables Haspel either authored or authorized that, according to a less-redacted CIA Inspector General report, accurately describe the torture sessions that had been documented on now-destroyed videotapes, the release said.
Gina Haspel assumed the role of Acting Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) after the US Senate confirmed former CIA Director Mike Pompeo as new secretary of state, CIA announced in a statement on Thursday.
"Today, upon Mike Pompeo's swearing-in as secretary of state, Deputy Director Gina C. Haspel assumed role of Acting Director of the Central Intelligence Agency," the statement said.
The National Security Archive, which is housed at George Washington University, was founded in 1985 by journalists and scholars to counter US government secrecy. The archive includes more than 100,000 declassified records documenting historic US policy decisions, according to its website. The archive reportedly now holds the largest nongovernmental collection of declassified US documents.