CIA Director nominee Gina Haspel told a Democratic lawmaker Wednesday there was no comparison between CIA officers obeying the law and terrorists who follow no law during questioning about enhanced interrogation techniques.
Haspel's role running a CIA black site which employed those methods during the George W. Bush administration has come under scrutiny during her confirmation process. The career intelligence officer has stated she acted in accordance with CIA directives at the time, and she has pledged not to restart a similar program if confirmed.
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Senate Intelligence Committee member Jack Reed (D., R.I.) asked Haspel about a hypothetical situation where an operations officer was kidnapped by a terrorist entity and subjected to waterboarding.
"Would you determine that to be immoral and something that should never be done, condoned in any way, shape, or form?" Reed asked. "Your response seems to be that civilized nations don’t do it, but uncivilized nations do it, or uncivilized groups do it. A civilized nation was doing it until it was outlawed by this Congress."
"Senator, I would never obviously support inhumane treatment of any CIA officers," Haspel said. "We’ve lost CIA officers over the years to terrorists. I just gave an example. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed personally killed a Wall Street Journal correspondent and filmed that. I don’t think there’s any comparison between CIA officers serving their country, adhering to U.S. law, and terrorists who, by their very definition, are not following anybody’s law."
Reed paused for several seconds before continuing to his next question.