10 May 2018
Cogito Ergo Non Serviam
Gina Haspel is a career CIA officer, and she is an undoubted patriot. She has served in a dangerous occupation at a dangerous time. Normally, such a person would be entirely suitable to lead the CIA. Unfortunately, Ms. Haspel is morally, if not legally, unfit to occupy the director's chair. Having run a black prison in Thailand after 9/11 where waterboarding occurred and having written an illegal order to destroy evidence of war crimes, she is not the kind of person who should lead anything or anyone.
She was in charge of a prison in Thailand, near Udon Thani, in the interior of the country. It was run by the CIA and known as Detention Site Green. [DSG] She took charge of the site in October 2002. That waterboarding and other torture occurred at DSG is beyond dispute. Whether it occurred after her appointment as its warden is less certain. However, the dog that didn't bark is telling. In her testimony yesterday before the Senate Intelligence Committee, she did not point to any order she gave demanding that such abuse stop.
One must recall that the administration of Bush the Lesser had approved torture and held that it was entirely legal. John Yoo of the Office of Legal Counsel within the US Justice Department wrote a series of opinion memos to this effect. It was under this cover that the torture occurred.
This was nonsense both in American law and in international law. Under 18 US Code 2340A, "Whoever outside the United States commits or attempts to commit torture shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both, and if death results to any person from conduct prohibited by this subsection, shall be punished by death or imprisoned for any term of years or for life." Under 18 US Code 2441, the Geneva Convention prohibitions on torture, cruel or inhuman treatment are made explicitly part of US law. Waterboarding meets those criteria. The US prosecuted Japanese war criminals after WWII for waterboarding among other crimes.
What is as troubling is that video tapes of the torture existed, and those 92 tapes were destroyed in 2005 by the order of Jose Rodriguez, head of Clandestine Operations. Ms. Haspel admits to drafting the order as his chief of staff, and her name appeared on the cable when it was sent out. In other words, she was part of a conspiracy to destroy evidence of war crimes.
An investigation undertaken by former DCIA Michael Morell, according to CBS News, "places responsibility for the destruction of 92 tapes on Jose Rodriguez, Jr., then the head of the agency's directorate of operations, while noting Haspel drafted the cable authorizing the measure."
Mr. Morrel wrote "I have found no fault with the performance of Ms. Haspel. I have concluded that she acted appropriately in her role as Mr. Rodriguez's Chief of Staff. [Haspel] drafted the cable on the direct orders of Mr. Rodriguez; she did not release that cable. It was not her decision to destroy the tapes; it was Mr. Rodriguez's." Mr. Rodriguez received a reprimand. Ms. Haspel was just following orders, the Nuremberg Defense.
Clearly, the CIA looks after its own, and it did so in this instance. A reprimand isn't what 18 US Code 1519 demands, "Whoever knowingly alters, destroys, mutilates, conceals, covers up, falsifies, or makes a false entry in any record, document, or tangible object with the intent to impede, obstruct, or influence the investigation or proper administration of any matter within the jurisdiction of any department or agency of the United States or any case filed under title 11, or in relation to or contemplation of any such matter or case, shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both."
Mr. Rodriguez should have been indicted. And so should Ms. Haspel as a co-conspirator. That didn't happen, and it is unfortunate that both escaped trial. However, at very least, the US should not reward her with the position of DCIA for having destroyed evidence to obstruct justice.
© Copyright 2018 by The Kensington Review, Jeff Myhre, PhD, Editor. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written consent. Produced using Ubuntu Linux.