Unless we prosecute them, War Criminals will continue to wield power in the US.

Today, Trump nominated a person to lead the CIA who ran torture sites and helped order the destruction of videotapes documenting the torture. Gina Haspel was passed over for a promotion in the Obama era, because she ran a CIA black site and destroyed evidence. She remained in place however, ready for a president with fewer qualms about torturing black and brown people. Trump, of course, has clearly said (as president) that he supports torturing people:

Gina Haspel, Trump’s pick for CIA director, tied to use of brutal interrogation measures

Haspel, 61, would become the first woman to lead the CIA if she is confirmed to succeed outgoing director Mike Pompeo, who has been nominated to serve as secretary of state. Haspel’s selection faced immediate opposition from some lawmakers and human rights groups because of her prominent role in one of the agency’s darkest chapters.

Haspel was in charge of one of the CIA’s “black site” prisons where detainees were subjected to waterboarding and other harrowing interrogation measures widely condemned as torture.

When those methods were exposed and their legality came under scrutiny, Haspel was among a group of CIA officials involved in the decision to destroy videotapes of interrogation sessions that left some detainees on the brink of physical collapse. […]

The Justice Department spent several years investigating alleged abuses in the interrogation program and the destruction of the tapes, but no charges were ever filed. — www.washingtonpost.com/…

This is why Gina Haspel can be elevated to CIA Director, because no charges were filed. This is why yet another generation of officers will be taught that war crimes are no big deal.

The story is also being covered by Slate, LA Times, HuffPo, the Telegraph, and the Intercept. There is some opposition to Haspel’s nomination:

“Ms. Haspel’s background makes her unsuitable to serve as CIA director,” Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said in a statement Tuesday. “Her nomination must include total transparency about this background, which I called for more than a year ago when she was appointed deputy director. If Ms. Haspel seeks to serve at the highest levels of U.S. intelligence, the government can no longer cover up disturbing facts from her past.”

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) also expressed skepticism about Haspel, given her background. “Ms. Haspel needs to explain the nature and extent of her involvement in the CIA’s interrogation program during the confirmation process,” he said. […]

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who blocked Haspel’s promotion to acting head of the agency’s clandestine service in 2013 for her involvement in the torture program, refused to make her stance clear on Tuesday. — www.huffingtonpost.com/…

Other senators, including Diane Feinstein who is on the Select Committee on Intelligence, appear to support (or not actively oppose) Haspel’s nomination.

As a reminder, the CIA’s torture program was developed by two quacks who were paid $81 million dollars to turn agents into war criminals. A senate investigation found that the torture program produced little information of value in preventing terrorism.

Nobody is above the law,” then-Senator Obama said in 2008, when asked whether he’d prosecute Bush administration or CIA officials for torture-related offenses. But he said he also worried that investigations could be viewed as a “partisan witch hunt.” Once he took office, the latter view seems to have trumped the former, and Obama quickly decided not to even open cases against either officials who followed Bush administration “rules” on torture or the officials who wrote those rules in the first place. — www.vox.com/…

Perhaps the next time Democrats are in power, we shouldn’t give in to circumspection. Perhaps we should prosecute war criminals, rather than let them run free to torture another day.

— @subirgrewal