Haspel Corrects Feinstein on Retracted Claims About CIA Record

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Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) on Wednesday questioned CIA director nominee Gina Haspel using inaccurate information that has since been corrected by the original author.

The passage in question was written by former CIA lawyer John Rizzo in the book Company Man, and reports citing his book claimed Haspel ran an interrogation program at a CIA site where al Qaeda suspect Abu Zubaydah was interrogated, but Rizzo has corrected that claim. Feinstein asked her question after saying she likes Haspel "personally very much," and Haspel took the opportunity to correct the senator regarding Rizzo’s writing.

"Senator, I am so pleased you asked me that question," Haspel said before saying she did not run the program and noting Rizzo corrected the record.

"If you have your staff check, Mr. Rizzo has issued a correction," Haspel said.

After reporting on Haspel's alleged connection to the CIA black site in 2017, ProPublica corrected its story on the matter in March. The New York Times corrected a similar story and Haspel pointed to a Washington Post’s article about the matter from Tuesday.  Feinstein, nevertheless, appeared to not be aware of the corrections and proceeded to read the since-corrected passage from Company Man.

"Senator, I did not run the interrogation department," Haspel said. "In fact, I was not even read into the interrogation program until it had been up and running for a year."

Feinstein went on to question Haspel about the matter of interrogation tapes that were destroyed. Haspel said she did not watch the tapes and supported destroying them because they included the faces of CIA officers.

ProPublica published a piece headlined "Correction: Trump’s Pick to Head CIA Did Not Oversee Waterboarding of Abu Zubaydah," in which the outlet said it was "clear that Haspel did not take charge of the base until after the interrogation of Zubaydah ended."

Rizzo corrected the record, declaring it was wrong to say Haspel was in charge of the interrogation program.

"I never intended to suggest in my book that Gina Haspell[sic] was in charge of CIA’s interrogation program. She was not. I have nothing further to say on this subject other than to stress that I fully support her nomination to be CIA Director," Rizzo said.

Paul Crookston

Paul Crookston   Email Paul | Full Bio | RSS
Paul Crookston is the deputy war room director at the Washington Free Beacon. He was previously a Collegiate Network fellow at National Review. A 2016 graduate of Gordon College in Wenham, Mass., he served as the managing editor of the Tartan campus newspaper. He is originally from Tampa, Fla., but he still roots for Dad’s Ohio teams. His Twitter handle is @P_Crookston. He can be reached at crookston@freebeacon.com.

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