The Trump administration has nominated Gina Haspel to head the CIA. This week, the U.S. Senate will be considering that nomination. Maine Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King should definitely vote against her.

After 9/11, the CIA authorized waterboarding and other forms of torture as part of its rendition, detention and interrogation program. In 2014, the Senate Intelligence Committee concluded that those “brutal interrogation techniques” were “in violation of U.S. law, treaty obligations and our values.”

From public records, we know that Ms. Haspel was intimately involved in that CIA torture program. She ran a secret prison in Thailand in 2002 where waterboarding and other brutal interrogation techniques were implemented on prisoners while under her authority.

Also, the CIA made tapes of these torture sessions, but later destroyed them just as Congress was beginning to investigate the program. The CIA has confirmed that Ms. Haspel was directly involved in the agency’s decision to destroy those tapes.

When the Senate Intelligence Committee released its report on the CIA detention and interrogation program in 2014, Sens. Collins and King said in a joint statement: “Torture is wrong, and we must make sure that the misconduct and the grave errors made in the CIA’s detention and interrogation program never happen again.”

Now, Maine’s U.S. senators have a chance to make good on that commitment by voting against the Gina Haspel nomination. Otherwise, the United States would be sending a terrible message to the rest of the world.

Cushman D. Anthony


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