During a conference call Wednesday that signaled a White House willingness to fight for its controversial CIA director nominee, The Daily Beast asked what Gina Haspel did at the CIA’s Counterterrorist Center during the critical years of 2003 and 2004. It’s between those dates where the most is at stake for Haspel’s chances to become director. It’s when, substantively, the least about her resume is substantively known.
It’s also between those dates that the Counterterrorist Center was at peak operations of its torture program.
Marc Short, White House Director of Legislative Affairs, pledged to take the question. Later on Wednesday, Short provided the following reply:
“After 9/11, like many of her colleagues, Gina Haspel stepped forward to contribute to the counterterrorism mission. For the next three years, she worked on counterterrorism operations at CIA HQs and for brief periods in the field. Regardless of location, she adhered to the law at all times. Due to the nature of her work, much of her career at CIA was classified. That being said, the CIA intends on sharing her classified record with all Senators so they can properly fulfill their role in the confirmation process.”
It’s worth noting that the human-rights groups and anti-torture senators who have expressed opposition to Haspel have called for disclosure of Haspel’s relationship with the torture program – not only to the Senate, but to the public. Even formally unopposed Senator Dianne Feinstein, to whom many Democratic senators are likely to view as a bellwether on Haspel since Feinstein led the 2014 torture investigation, has called for public disclosure.
Haspel’s hearing before the Senate intelligence committee is slated for May 9.