Gina Haspel, a veteran CIA clandestine officer picked by U.S. President Donald Trump to head the Central Intelligence Agency, is shown in this handout photograph released on March 13, 2018.

© 2018 CIA handout
(Washington, DC) – The US Senate should oppose the nomination of Gina Haspel to be director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to the Senate leadership and Select Committee on Intelligence. She was closely involved in the torture of detainees under the CIA’s Rendition, Detention, and Interrogation (RDI) program, and the destruction of related evidence.

The government should disclose more information about Haspel’s role in the RDI program, but what is already known should disqualify her from serving as CIA director and other senior government positions.

“President Donald Trump’s decision to nominate someone directly involved in overseeing the US torture of detainees and destroying evidence of it makes a mockery of laws prohibiting torture,” said Nicole Austin-Hillery, executive director of the US program at Human Rights Watch. “Haspel’s confirmation at a time when the US president himself has endorsed torture would send a message that violations of fundamental rights will not only be tolerated but rewarded.”