Central Intelligence Agency deputy director linked to torture at Thailand black site

Her ascent to the number two position at the agency is another signal that the new administration may take an even tougher stance on national intelligence than previous ones, coming just after President Donald Trump confirmed his belief that torture "works" as an interrogation tactic, and the confirmation of Mike Pompeo-who once called agents who tortured detainees "patriots"-as CIA director".

Charles Allen, former assistant director for collection at CIA: "As a CIA officer of 47 years, I can say without reservation that Gina Haspel has my strongest support in her appointment as Deputy Director".

Democrat Mark Warner, vice chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, said while he appreciated Haspel's many years of service he wanted "reassurance from her that she intends to comply with both the spirit and the letter of the law, like director Pompeo testified that he would during his confirmation process".

Haspel briefly ran a secret CIA prison where accused terrorists Abu Zubayadah and Abd al Rahim al-Nashiri were waterboarded in 2002, according to current and former United States intelligence officials, who spoke earlier to The Associated Press.

Former CIA officials said that Haspel was highly regarded as an effective officer and leader at the agency, with some believing she had been unfairly penalized for her role in counterterrorism operations that were launched after the September 11, 2001, attacks and carried out with the legal approval of the Justice Department.

"We want to make sure that the views of (Defense secretary James Mattis) in particular who said torture doesn't work and that American law prohibits torture because we have to follow the Army field manual", he told CNN's Alisyn Camerota Friday on "New Day".

Haspel, the first female career Central Intelligence Agency officer to be named deputy director, has extensive overseas experience, including several stints as chief of station at outposts abroad. That order prompted a lengthy Justice Department investigation that ended without charges.

Trump said late week he believed torture "absolutely" works and that the USA should fight "fire with fire".

Mr. Pompeo "must explain to the American people how his promotion of someone allegedly involved in running a torture site squares with his own sworn promises to Congress that he will reject all forms of torture and abuse", said Christopher Anders, the deputy director of the ACLU office in Washington. She has selflessly dedicated her life to the Agency and to the security of the nation.

The Bush administration authorised the use of waterboarding after the 9/11 attacks, operating from unacknowledged overseas black sites to avoid domestic restriction on interrogation techniques. "She is also a proven leader with an uncanny ability to get things done and to inspire those around her", said Director Pompeo.

Other veteran intelligence officials praised the promotion of Haspel. However, Avril Haines was the first woman to hold the position, from 2013-15.

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