G.H. – The SpeCIAl Choice?

A fresh controversy has been triggered in the US, as some Americans have questioned President Donald Trump’s decision to appoint Gina Haspel as the director of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
President Trump recently nominated Gina for this position. As per the president’s plan, the civilian foreign intelligence service of the US Federal government – tasked with gathering, processing and analysing national security information from around the globe – would get its first female chief. However, many of President Trump’s ‘Republican’ friends are against this decision. They are not at all happy with her role during the CIA’s “interrogation and detention” process in the past. The Republican Senator, Rand Paul, has accused Gina of having shown ‘joyful glee‘ during the torture of terrorism suspects, saying that she would have to explain her view on the procedure before taking the charge of the Agency.

Gina has more than 30 years of experience…….still, she has been asked to explain the reason for her ‘gleeful joy‘ at torture. The CIA had assigned Gina to oversee a secret prison in Thailand – code-named ‘Black Site’ – in October-December 2002. The prison housed people suspected of involvement in al-Qaeda. An American daily claimed that she was in charge of interrogating two prisoners at the Black Site. Upon her arrival at the prison as Station Chief, she ‘water-boarded’ one of the prisoners 83 times during the interrogation.
Water-boarding is basically an interrogation technique, simulating the experience of drowning, in which a person is strapped head downwards on a sloping board or bench with the mouth and nose covered, while large quantities of water are poured over the face. Some of her colleagues, who served as CIA officers during the tenure of former President George W Bush, were against the use of this painful technique. They, too, are opposing President Trump’s decision. Even some human rights organisations have strongly condemned Gina’s nomination and urged the US government to make her performance record public.


John McCain, the Republican Senator from Arizona who himself was tortured as a prisoner during the Vietnam War, has said that President Trump’s CIA pick was involved in ‘one of the darkest chapters in American history’. Speaking at a press conference over the weekend, he stressed: “The torture of detainees in US custody during the last decade was one of the darkest chapters in American history. Ms Haspel needs to explain the nature and extent of her involvement in the CIA’s interrogation programme during the confirmation process.”
Gina, who had supported the war in Iraq, wants the US to declare a war against Iran, seemingly. So, it is quite natural for President Trump, nicknamed ‘madman’, to nominate a controversial person for the position of CIA director.

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