Abdul-Hakim Belhaj and Fatima Boudchar were my clients. Belhaj led a Libyan Islamist group that sought to overthrow Moammar Gadhafi; Boudchar, a Moroccan citizen, is his wife. The CIA abducted them in 2004 with the help of Libya and the United Kingdom. CIA officers roughed them up at a “black site” in Thailand—a year and a half after Gina Haspel, recently confirmed as director of the CIA, had reportedly shut down the Thai site code-named “Cat’s Eye”—and shipped the couple to Gadhafi’s Libya. At the time, Boudchar was heavily pregnant.
Latest in Interrogation: Abuses
On Thursday, the Senate voted to make Gina Haspel the next director of the CIA. I don’t know Haspel myself, but I have no reason to doubt that she is someone with a deep-rooted patriotism and a sense of duty to the officers who work under her. By all accounts, she appears to be a highly effective administrator. Her long career in the CIA makes her well suited to understand the agency and its operations, and having served as acting director, she already knows how to run the CIA day-to-day.
In his Tuesday post in support of Gina Haspel’s nomination to be director of the CIA, Benjamin Wittes wrote about “the insulation that Haspel stands to provide for the agency from a president hostile to the task of intelligence gathering and analysis.” For this and other reasons, Wittes argued, Haspel should be confirmed—even though President Trump has linked her nomination to his “enthusiasm for torture.” He also wrote that “barring revelations about her role” in running a Thailand “black site” at which d
Gina Haspel, the deputy director of the CIA and President Trump’s nominee to head the agency, will testify before the Senate intelligence commitee Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. Eastern on her nomination.
Haspel's prepared testimony and responses to congressional questions are available here:
Gina Haspel was nominated by Donald Trump, not Barack Obama. That makes a huge difference. Here’s why the Senate should confirm her anyway.
In answers to written questions preceding his confirmation hearing, now-CIA Director Mike Pompeo caused concern by indicating a willingness to revisit rules governing military and intelligence interrogations. Specifically, he said he would “consult with experts at the Agency and at other organizations in the U.S.
Mohammed Jawad was arrested in Kabul in December 2002 by Afghan security forces responding to the scene of a grenade attack on US military personnel. See Jawad v. Gates, No. 14-00811 (D.D.C. July 8, 2015) (D.D.C. Opinion). He was 14 or 15 at the time; Jawad doesn’t know his exact age but believes he was born in 1987. Afghan security forces abused, threatened, and coerced Jawad, “forcing him to sign a confession (written in a language that he could not read) with his thumbprint.” D.D.C. Opinion at 2.
When the Senate Intelligence Committee initially released its Study on the CIA’s Enhanced Interrogation Program in December 2014, the CIA quietly released a Note to the Reader along with its Fact Sheet, statement from Director John Brennan, and June 2013 Response to a draft of the SSCI Study.
I was extremely disappointed to read Professor Amy Zegart’s post regarding the Senate Intelligence Committee’s study of the CIA Detention and Interrogation Program. Not only did it include factually inaccurate statements, it also appeared to blame the Committee for the impediments imposed on the Study by the Executive Branch.
My staff has compiled a detailed description of the inaccurate and misleading statements included in Ms. Zegart’s post, which appears below.
Who won the torture debate -- the CIA or Senate Intelligence Committee Report? Were waterboarding, rectal hydration, stress positions, and other techniques used against detainees effective? Legal? Ethical? In a forthcoming special issue of the journal Intelligence and National Security, a range of academics and one former CIA lawyer weigh in.