Haspel says CIA should not have used enhanced interrogation

Photo: Xinhua/Ting Shen via Getty Images

Gina Haspel, President Trump’s nominee to lead the CIA, said that the United States should not have used the George W. Bush-era "enhanced interrogation" program in a letter to Sen. Mark Warner, the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Why it matters: During her confirmation hearing last week, Haspel repeatedly refused to state whether she believed enhanced interrogation techniques were immoral. Her pivot could secure her additional Democratic votes during her committee vote, which is currently scheduled for tomorrow. While Haspel is expected to be confirmed, only two Senate Democrats — Indiana's Joe Donnelly and West Virginia's Joe Manchin, have said they will vote in her favor.

What she said:

"Over the last 17 years, the Agency and I have learned the hard lessons since 9/11. While I won't condemn those that made these hard calls, and I have noted the valuable intelligence collected, the program ultimately did damage to our officers and our standing in the world. With the benefit of hindsight and my experience as a senior Agency leader, the enhanced interrogation program is not one the CIA should have undertaken. The United States must be an example to the rest of the world, and I support that."

What's next

University of Minnesota student jailed in China over tweets

Xi Jinping. Photo: Noel Celis - Pool/ Getty Images

A University of Minnesota student has been arrested in China and sentenced to six months in prison for tweets he posted while in the United States, according to a Chinese court document viewed by Axios. Some of the tweets contained images deemed to be unflattering portrayals of a "national leader."

Why it matters: The case represents a dramatic escalation of the Chinese government's attempts to shut down free speech abroad, and a global expansion of a Chinese police campaign a year ago to track down Twitter users in China who posted content critical of the Chinese government.

Go deeperArrow5 mins ago - World

⚖️ Live updates: Opening arguments begin in Trump impeachment trial

The second day of the Senate impeachment trial of President Trump will see a full day of opening arguments from Democratic House impeachment managers.

What to watch for: Democrats now have 24 hours — spread out over three days — to take their time to lay out their case against the president's alleged abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. It'll also allow them to highlight gaps that could be filled out by additional witnesses and documents from the administration.

This post will be updated with new developments as the trial continues.

Go deeperArrowJan 21, 2020 - Politics

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