The American Civil Liberties Union is suing the CIA for records pertaining to the Agency’s campaign to support Gina Haspel’s nomination as director of the agency.
The Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, filed Thursday, seeks records related to “Haspel’s potential conflict of interest in serving as the classification authority over information about her own role in CIA torture, abuse, detention, and rendition.”
After Trump selected Haspel to be CIA director last March, the agency launched ‘an unprecedented and overt public campaign to influence the legislative branch’s consideration” of her nomination, the charges.
The Agency provided reporters with appealing factoids, including Haspel’s enthusiasm for college sports and Johnny Cash, as well as details of a brief meeting with Mother Theresa in the 1980s.
Gina Haspel joined CIA in the waning days of the Cold War & for the past three decades she has quietly devoted herself to serving on the front lines of our mission.https://t.co/DkksXW2Ue8 pic.twitter.com/MV3P9cIxJQ
— CIA (@CIA) March 23, 2018
As for Haspel’s activities on “the dark side,” well, they did not come to light.
As the agency churned out tweets and press releases lauding Haspel, the intelligence community blocked declassification of more substantive matters. The ACLU notes that Senators Kamala Harris, Ron Wyden, Martin Heinrich, and Dianne Feinstein requested “declassification of “all information related to Ms. Haspel’s involvement in the ‘CIA’s Rendition, Detention, and Interrogation Program.'”
Daniel Coats, the Director of the Office of National Intelligence, spurned the request, the ACLU notes.
At the same time, the ACLUE also requested expedited declassification of material in time for Haspel’s confirmation hearings in May. The agency agreed to expedite the request but provided no information.
The Senate approved Haspel’s nomination by a relatively close vote of 54-45 on was on May 17. The influence operation succeeded.
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Click here for Haspel’s First Speech as CIA Director