Senator Rand Paul has registered his opposition to President Trump’s nomination for new Director of the CIA, Gina Haspel, whom Paul notes actively participated in torture programs under the Bush Administration and enjoyed it.
Appearing on Fox News Wednesday, Paul said that the nomination of Haspel is “the wrong kind of message to send to the world”:
“She believes that waterboarding should be something that we use, and I think America shouldn’t be known for torture,” Paul urged.
When challenged by Fox anchor Harris Faulkner, Paul noted that in the past Haspel had acted “basically gleeful” at the prospect of enemy combatants being tortured and that she seemed to “enjoy” the interrogations.
“We should not reward somebody who actually participated in torture treatment,” Paul exclaimed.
The Senator also warned that neocon war-hawks are still circling Trump, and finding their way into his administration.
“Trump’s appointing people around him who actually still think the Iraq war was a good idea and actually think we should have a new war with Iran.” Paul warned.
In an op-ed piece, Paul further clarifies his position, saying that he is against Haspel’s appointment as well as the appointments of Mike Pompeo at The State Department and John Bolton at the NSA.
“We’re not simply talking about a run-of-the-mill CIA agent here. Haspel was someone in a position of power who presided over practices that epitomized the abuse of that power.” Paul notes.
“Even worse, as scrutiny of the CIA’s actions intensified, Haspel was directly involved in the destruction of videos documenting the torture.” Paul adds, noting that “this alone should be instantly disqualifying.”
Paul warns that Pompeo also supports torture, and that he has displayed “consistent defense of the National Security Agency’s (NSA) unconstitutional spying programs.”
“Pompeo even called in a 2016 op-ed for Congress to “pass a law re-establishing collection of all metadata, and combining it with publicly available financial and lifestyle information into a comprehensive, searchable database,” and he has previously stated that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden should receive the death penalty.” Paul writes.
With regards to rumors of John Bolton taking over at the NSA, Paul urged that “this would be a catastrophically bad idea.”
“Bolton has been for all of the wars Donald Trump has been against, most importantly the Iraq war. His policies would have been perfectly at home in a Hillary Clinton administration, but should have no place in President Trump’s White House.” The Senator states, adding that Bolton has called for conflicts with Iran and North Korea.
“The failed neocons’ legacy will not be stability, safety and peace. Following their course will only lead to more chaos and quagmires.” Paul notes, adding a personal message to Trump:
“Mr. President, you had it right in your campaign that our foreign policy has been a disaster. Arming the neocons with massive power will only pave the way for more of the same.”