US President Trump’s decision to nominate Gina Haspel for the directorship of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has been severely criticised on the basis she was previously involved in torture.
Mr Trump nominated Ms Haspel as part of reshuffle of jobs after Rex Tillerson’s departure as Secretary of State.
Ms Haspel previously oversaw a CIA ‘black site’ in Thailand in 2002, where men, including Palestinian Abu Zubaydah, were waterboarded and used as a guinea pigs for torture techniques.
She subsequently helped destroy video evidence of the abuse.
Maya Foa, director of Reprieve, said: “Is this back to the future, or forward to the past? Gina Haspel was one of President Bush’s torturers-in-chief and she is simply not fit to hold an office that requires, at its very heart, a commitment to uphold the values of the Constitution. This is another example of Donald Trump’s backward-looking reliance on people and methods that have failed.
“The bright ideas of the CIA during the ‘War on Terror’ – from Guantánamo and black sites to torture and rendition – did nothing to make America safer. Promoting the people responsible for that failure of strategy shows weakness and not strength from the President.
“This appointment should be a warning to allies of the US in the UK, Europe and around the world to rethink their cooperation with an administration which has refused again and again to show respect for the values we all share.”