A progressive advocacy group made up of US veterans is urging the Senate to oppose Gina Haspel in her confirmation hearings. VoteVets has released a new TV ad asking lawmakers to “stand with John McCain” and reject Haspel’s nomination to head the CIA.
Calling McCain “the conscience of the Senate,” the ad calls on senators to “Stand with John McCain against torture. Block Haspel.” The ad’s narrator says “Haspel’s supporters [are] insulting his legacy.”
The ad, which will run in Washington, DC, during MSNBC’s Morning Joe, CNN’s New Day, and Fox News’s Fox & Friends on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.
McCain, who is at home battling terminal brain cancer, last week publicly called for Haspel to be rejected because of the part she played in CIA torture schemes.
The Democratic staff of the Senate Intelligence Committee has prepared a classified background document on Haspel that includes details some senators and aides have found disturbing, according to NBC News.
The document describes Gina Haspel’s role in the CIA’s post-9/11 torture program, citing cable traffic and internal CIA messages that were not discussed in her public confirmation hearing. It reports comments by Haspel in support of the CIA’s brutal interrogation program at the time it was ongoing.
Haspel was not an architect of the interrogation program, but she ran a secret CIA base in Thailand where a detainee was waterboarded and confined to a small box. Several years later, she played a role in the destruction of videotapes of interrogation sessions, drafting a cable ordering shredding that later was sent by her boss.
McCain was captured and tortured during the Vietnam War. The Senate passed an amendment in 2015 sponsored by McCain that formally banned brutal interrogation techniques widely classified as torture, including waterboarding, as part of an annual defense policy bill.
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