Trump Defends CIA Nominee Haspel Amid Torture Doubts

Trump claims she was just 'too tough on terrorists'

Throwing his backing behind his nominee for CIA Director Gina Haspel, President Trump expressed annoyance at growing criticism about her role in past CIA torture of detainees. Trump says Democrats don’t like her because she was “too tough on terrorists.”

Haspel’s role in the coordination of torture has fueled a lot of questions from lawmakers in both parties. That President Trump is comfortable with this is unsurprising, as he has often publicly expressed support for torture.

Trump’s pro-torture stance likely makes concerns about Haspel’s morality much more serious. Haspel has promised not to bring back previous “interrogation” programs that involved torturing detainees at black sites.

Opponents say that Haspel’s history of ties to torture would both make her unsuitable to lead the CIA, and also warn that her approval would send a negative signal to the world about America’s stance on its torture in the past decade.

Haspel is intended to replace Mike Pompeo, who was promoted to the Secretary of State from the CIA directorship.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.