Haspel deserved better treatment from Senate panel
To her credit, Gina Haspel, nominated by President Donald Trump to head the CIA, offered last week to withdraw from contention. Reportedly, White House officials, no doubt with Trump’s knowledge, told her she retains the president’s confidence.
Good. Haspel spent much of her career at the CIA in undercover roles, performing work truly critical to national security. It is known she played a key role in what is being termed “brutal interrogation” of suspects involved in Islamic terrorism. “Waterboarding,” a technique used to simulate drowning, was used on some of the detainees.
Many Americans frown on that. Some think it ought to disqualify Haspel from consideration to head the CIA.
But let us remember that Haspel’s work occurred in the years immediately following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States. She and others in the CIA did what they thought needed to be done to prevent additional mass murders by the terrorists. And they refrained from using many torture methods utilized routinely by many of our enemies.
Finally, Haspel and others at the CIA engaged in their work with the knowledge of some in Congress, including a few who claim not to remember being briefed on the agency’s actions.
When activities such as hers were condemned, Haspel followed orders and ceased them. She should have gotten a fair shake at her Senate hearing this past week.
Instead she got a battery of insinuations from some of her questioners, based not her more than 30-year record, but on their own preoccupation with revisiting and revising history.