Sen. Angus King was not reassured by Gina Haspel’s response to questions yesterday about the CIA’s use of waterboarding.
FEINSTEIN: In November and December of 2002, did you oversee the enhanced interrogation of Al Nashiri which included the use of the waterboard? Yes or no.
HASPEL: Senator, anything about my classified assignment history throughout my 33 years, we can talk about in this afternoon’s classified session. Exposing operational information can be damaging to sources and methods, as you know.
KING: Who’s deciding what’s classified and isn’t in terms of what’s released to this committee?
HASPEL: Senator, we are following the existing guidelines.
KING: Who’s deciding?
HASPEL: We are following the existing guidelines — I have chosen to follow the guidelines.
KING: So you are making the classification decisions about what materials should be released to this committee?
HASPEL: I am electing not to make an exception for myself.
David Ignatius asked Sen. King what Haspel would have to do or say to get his support.
“I made a decision, I went into those hearings yesterday morning concerned and came out opposed. I think she had ample opportunity, we had about six hours of hearings yesterday, I’ve met with her privately for probably about an hour. And I think the exchanges that you saw were indicative of one of the red flags that went up for me during the hearing,” King said.
“I don’t think that she was forthcoming in her answers. She was very careful — almost lawyerly, although she kept saying she’s not a lawyer, but you had to sort of pry the information out of her. I had to ask her three times who is making the classification decision. It was her. So she is deciding what of her record should be released. and we’ve gotten some good news things about meetings with Mother Teresa and those kind of things, but there are other things that haven’t been released.
“So I wasn’t satisfied with her answers. I don’t think that she was fully forthcoming. and my focus was on the destruction of the tapes. That is where there is a lot of argument to be had about the torture program and whether it was legal and authorized. But in 2005 when that decision was made to destroy the tapes, she was part of that process.”