Skip to Main Content
Printer Friendly Home > Press > Press Releases

For Immediate Release

Gina Haspel Perpetuates Secrecy and Refuses to Say Torture is Wrong

Media Contact

Jennifer Atkinson

Media Relations Manager
Tel: (917) 679-0110

New York, NY - 05/09/2018

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is troubled by today’s public confirmation hearing of Gina Haspel, President Trump’s nominee for CIA director, in which she repeatedly evaded questions about her involvement in the CIA’s torture program, including the waterboarding of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri. 

PHR’s senior U.S. anti-torture fellow, Sarah Dougherty, said the hearing highlighted Haspel’s unsuitability to perform the role of CIA head in compliance with U.S. laws and treaty obligations.

“In today’s hearing, Gina Haspel showed exactly why she is unfit to lead the CIA. Her refusal to say that torture is wrong is alarming and speaks volumes about what she would do if asked or ordered to use torture, despite her promises to the contrary. Beyond that, Haspel’s secrecy and evasiveness about her own role in the torture program – including the waterboarding of al-Nashiri – betray a fundamental disdain for oversight and the rule of law. Torture is illegal, immoral, and profoundly harmful, not only for its victims but for all institutions involved. Promoting Haspel to CIA director would cement impunity for torture and weaken the United States’ longstanding commitment against this crime. To uphold the progress that Congress has made to put this dark chapter to rest, the Senate must now follow through by rejecting Haspel’s nomination.”

PHR calls on the U.S. Senate to vote against Haspel’s confirmation and to seek the selection of a replacement nominee who would uphold the absolute ban on torture and ill-treatment without equivocation.

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is a New York-based advocacy organization that uses science and medicine to prevent mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. Learn more here.

PHR News