tv U.S. Senate Senator Leahy Against Gina Haspel CIA Director Nomination CSPAN May 18, 2018 2:35am-2:45am EDT
obama administration support ms. i've said it before and i'll say it again, those people who know ms. haspel best who have worked alongside her on a daily basis in undisclosed locations around the world doing the nation's important work, they like this woman and they admire her and they respect her. and they think she's the best of the best. i speak for many of them, i hope, and expect when i say that all -- when i say that we appreciate ms. haspel's willingness and desire to serve in this new and never easy capacity. i hope we can confirm her in short order so that she can get back to work and continue to do the work she loves and that our nation needs. mr. leahy: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. leahy: mr. president, you know, the senate has often been called the world's greatest
deliberative body. we can thoroughly and respectfully debate weighty matters regardless of the pressures imposed by any given moment. and what i've seen during my time here is that at its best the senate can be and actually should be the conscience of the nation. so as we move to vote on the nomination of gina haspel, with very little debate and gaping holes in her record, i fear the senate's failing to fulfill its basic duty to provide advice and informed consent to her nomination. remember, we're supposed to advise and consent. and worst yet, we're failing in our duty to serve as the nation's conscience. now much of what is publicly known about ms. haspel's role in the c.i.a. is disturbing.
to begin with -- and i've listened to senators on both sides -- i don't question ms. haspel's commitment to our country or to our national security. that, i think she's established. but what i question is her judgment and her fidelity to the core value of our nation. all -- that all people have is certain inalienable rights. and underlying these inalienable rights is our belief in the dignity of human beings, a dignity that's incompatible with the inhumane practices like torture. torture should never be part of the america -- of america's way of leading the world. during the height of the c.i.a.'s torture program ms. haspel ran one of the
agency's most notorious black sites in thailand. brutal techniques were employed. it included waterboarding detainees, slamming them against walls and confining them in boxes for an extended time. there was a name for this treatment. it was called enhanced interrogation techniques, but we know better. this wasn't enhanced interrogation techniques, it was government-sanctioned torture, pure and simple. torture is immoral. torture is inhumane. frankly, torture is un-american. i agree with my colleague senator john mccain, and he's the one who speaks for the
distinct moral clairt on -- clarity on this issue. that ms. haspel's to condemn torture is disqualifying. for that reason alone i cannot in good conscience support her nomination. but it's worse than that. ms. haspel also reportedly advocated for destroying the videotapes of these torture sessions. now, that was against the advice of the c.i.a.'s own lawyers. more than that it was in the convention of a federal judicial order requiring that they be preserved. the c.i.a.'s former general counsel said ms. haspel is one of the staunchest advocates for destroying the tapes, notwithstanding the advice of the c.i.a.'s lawyer, notwithstanding the federal judicial order. she claimed that destroying the
tapes was necessary to protect the security of the c.i.a. officers that conducted these interrogations. if that was really the concern, then the c.i.a. could have easily copied the tapes with the officers' faces blacked out and only then destroyed the originals. we used, all of us, seeing news items and others with the faces of certain witnesses and others blanked out. now, i recognize, and i must say i appreciate, that ms. haspel is committed to not allowing the c.i.a. to resurrect the use of torture if she is confirmed. i also recognize that commitment, while commendable, is not optional. torture is illegal.
that is simply what the law demands. but what about the next immoral action that this president might ask her to commit. should we trust how the moral issue is set up and say, and based on what we've seen i do not. so the world is watching closely today. our allies and our enemies and our own future generations will view this vote as nothing less than a referendum on torture. if the senate -- this body that i cherish gives its blessing to a nominee who is synonymous with the c.i.a.'s interrogation program, with the demands of the our to the c.i.a.'s black sites,
they haunt us anew. i do not believe this plight on our history as representatives is who we are or what we stand for. i really do not believe that this is the soul of america. but it is a terrible mistake. and i believe we must clearly demonstrate that we're capable of learning from and moving beyond our darker chapters as a nation. if we make a mistake, we should admit it and take steps not to have it happen again. it's for that reason i will vote no on ms. haspel's nomination. mr. president, i do not see another senator seeking recognition,